Friday, October 21, 2016

The Biggest Liars Win?  (Rigged? The Horror!:  The Bad and The Uglier)  No One Wins in a Rigged System (Except Those Who Rigged It)  Ignoring the Nastiness and Considering the Issues - But Wait . . . (War! Who Is It Good For?)

Because they know what's really important:

Hillary Clinton took the stage at the charity event, a respite of humor in a bruising campaign against Donald J. Trump.
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Damn it.

She is not that good.

I may have to give up Diet Coke!

Coca-Cola Marketing Guru Secretly Worked Behind the Scenes to Brand Hillary as a Super Hero
Emails released by WikiLeaks have led to the outing of an elaborate scheme to scour, buff and shine the decades of scandals attached to Hillary and Bill Clinton using the marketing, branding and messaging tricks employed by corporations to resuscitate a stale, discredited or sagging brand. We’ve also learned that at least one of those re-branders, Wendy Clark, had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the Clinton camp, agreeing not to divulge details of her work. Clark acknowledged that agreement at a recent Fortune Magazine forum.
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We know, through Wikileaks, that Hillary and the Clinton campaign rigged, in many ways, the Democratic primary, using the State Department to influence the FBI, lying and deceiving within the DNC, collaborating with the mainstream media. Trump has every reason to believe that the Clinton campaign will do all it can to rig the election.

It appears that Trump will fight such rigging. He's started fighting it already. He's preparing his supporters to be furious, to take action. I don't know what kind of action, but they'll be ready for action.

. . . his message that he does not trust the election is not a bad one for democracy. It is a good one. It is getting millions of people to look more closely at the election system and process. The risk of corruption of electronic voting, with the inability to do a verifiable recount is very real, yet the mainstream media have literally mocked those who raise the concern as conspiracy theorists. Chuck Todd, current host for "Meet The Press," is one of the worst.

It's hard to know where to begin.

The very idea that trusted "pundits" and every clown imaginable on the nation's stage would not try to mislead the poorly informed (by necessity) population mindlessly (as much as possible), on and on, who are trying to carefully evaluate the purposely ambiguous election "festivities" is just over the top.

And it's all happening beneath the big top now. So get your cotton candy and snow cones, kids, as the elephants and asses are prancing in fanciful anticipation for the "shot from the cannon" finale.

Get out of the way!

And keep laughing heartily as they continually try to convince you that it's all real.

And you have no chance to change it.

‘Remember, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged election,’ said the candidate over the weekend. Is the election really rigged? Probably not in the way Mr Trump intends listeners to believe. But the ‘system’ is so rigged that the election results hardly matter. 
A real conservative would shift the debate away from fanny pinching and other ungentlemanly comportment to how it is rigged. Americans want to know. How come the economy no longer grows as it used to? How come most Americans are poorer today than they were in 1999? How come we no longer win our wars? He would explain to listeners that much of the rigging took place while Hillary and Bill Clinton were collecting more than $150 million in speaking fees, telling us how to improve the world! Then, he would help listeners put two and two together - explaining how the fake dollar corrupted the nation’s economy…and its politics, too. And he would offer real solutions.
As it is, nobody seems to care. Not the stock market. Not the bond market. Not commentators. Not Hillary. Not Donald. Nobody.

Hillary receives debate question in advance? She gets insider break on server usage illegality (not to mention all the other breathless press coverage of the first-woman-ever-President-of-the-USA USA USA)? Lloyd Blankfein is in charge of denying banking cabal agenda? Who'da thunk it? (Although it's seemed clear to me for quite some time now that this must be her payoff for screwing up that early 90's healthcare program.) THANK YOOOOU! (h/t Steve Martin)

And why not? Everything else is rigged.

There’s a new mantra making the rounds of Washington and Wall Street. No matter how big the lie you’re caught in, no matter how much documented evidence exists against you, just deny, deny, deny. That’s how Democratic National Committee Interim Chair Donna Brazile handled the email released by WikiLeaks showing that she leaked a debate question to Hillary Clinton; that’s how Hillary Clinton handled revelations about sending classified government material over an unclassified server in the basement of her home; and that’s how Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is handling the widespread public perception that there’s a banking cabal meeting in secret to plot its continued dominance over the interests of the average U.S. citizen.
Yesterday, CNBC’s David Faber interviewed Blankfein and asked about the suggestion that Donald Trump had made on October 13 in a speech in West Palm Beach, Florida that there is an international banking conspiracy undermining the sovereignty of the United States. Faber asked Blankfein: “So am I to take it that you weren’t meeting in secret with international banks and Hillary Clinton to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty?” Blankfein responded:  “We could parse that clause by clause, but to every clause, the answer is no, we weren’t doing it. We weren’t meeting in secret and we certainly weren’t plotting destruction.”
The first half of Blankfein’s answer is flatly false and he knows it. The big Wall Street banks do meet in secret and have been doing it for decades. His own General Counsel, Gregory Palm, part of the Management Committee at Goldman Sachs, is part of the secret cabal
Just five days before Blankfein made his false denial, Bloomberg News’ reporters Greg Farrell and Keri Geiger had landed the bombshell report that the top lawyers of the biggest Wall Street banks had been meeting secretly for two decades with their counterparts at international banks. At this year’s secret May meeting at a posh hotel in Versailles, the following were among the big bank lawyers in addition to Palm according to the Bloomberg report:  Stephen Cutler of JPMorgan (a former Director of Enforcement at the SEC); Gary Lynch of Bank of America (also a former Director of Enforcement at the SEC); Morgan Stanley’s Eric Grossman; Citigroup’s Rohan Weerasinghe; Markus Diethelm of UBS Group AG; Richard Walker of Deutsche Bank; Robert Hoyt of Barclays; Romeo Cerutti of Credit Suisse Group AG; David Fein of Standard Chartered; Stuart Levey of HSBC Holdings; and Georges Dirani of BNP Paribas SA.
The Bloomberg report indicates that the meetings are secret and that this is the first time their existence has been reported to the public. But this is hardly the first time there have been reports of Wall Street banks huddling in secret.
Just this past July we raised the question as to whether the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, was violating anti-trust law by meeting secretly with competitors following a February 1 report in the "Financial Times" of “secret summits.”
. . . Secret summits that are by invitation-only, have no boards or bylaws, no public minutes would certainly appear to be both violations of anti-trust law as well as fueling the public perception of conspiratorial meetings.
The top Federal regulator of the Wall Street bank holding companies, the Federal Reserve, has also fueled the perception of banking cartels by allowing the New York Fed to sponsor its own bank groups like the Foreign Exchange Committee, which has been operating for the past 38 years and whose members, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, each pleaded guilty on May 20, 2015 to a felony count brought by the U.S. Justice Department for – wait for it – engaging in rigging foreign exchange markets. The New York Fed-sponsored group, among other things, writes best practices rules for Wall Street.
The New York Fed also bizarrely sponsors the Financial Markets Lawyers Group. Its web site is an extension of the New York Fed’s web site. Members of the group are from the same Wall Street banks whose General Counsels are meeting secretly in posh hotels once a year.
While the New York Fed sponsored groups (see its latest one here) have regularly scheduled meetings, bylaws and minutes, it’s an affront to common sense to suggest that Wall Street banks serially charged with crimes against the public should be writing their own best practices rules. This Ayn Randian concept that businessmen will do what’s best for the public interest without any interference from government has twice in the past century nearly bankrupted the United States – in the Great Depression when Wall Street banks were allowed to hold savings deposits and again in 2008 when the Wall Street banks crashed with the taxpayer on the hook for the trillions of insured savings deposits they held, thanks to the mass de-regulation of Wall Street in 1999 under the Bill Clinton administration.
We don’t believe that Wall Street banking executives have ever plotted the destruction of the United States. We believe the majority want their children and grandchildren to grow up in a socially stable America. But we also believe they have been blinded by their greed, their multi-million dollar bonuses, their mansions in Greenwich, their yachts and penthouses, from consciously acknowledging that their actions brought us to the brink and continue to endanger America’s economy and future.
. . . Following the financial crash in 2008, the Federal Reserve battled in court for years to avoid providing details of the money it funneled to the Wall Street banks and their global brethren during the years of the crisis. When the Federal Reserve lost that court battle, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) eventually issued a detailed report in 2011 that chronicled the mind-boggling secret Fed loans, all of which had been made at super low interest rates, many below 1 percent, without any public disclosure or authorization from Congress. The final tally came to $16.1 trillion in cumulative loans. (See Table 8 below from the GAO report.) It was not just Wall Street banks that got the bailout but their foreign competitors as well, as millions of families in the U.S. were foreclosed on by the same banks.
Since the crisis, the U.S. national debt has skyrocketed from $9 trillion to $19.5 trillion, more than doubling in just eight years while the $9 trillion took 232 years to accumulate while financing major wars and the Great Depression. In no small part, that debt growth came from the fiscal stimulus needed to shore up the economy as a result of the Wall Street-fueled financial collapse.

But don't worry about that debt (we are instructed).

It's not like household debt.

It's not real. We owe it to ourselves - okay - to anyone who wants to buy it actually (and those Red Chinese do loves them some American equity (bonds)).

So, yes, everyone's proud to be the biggest liar?

And we're stunned  . . . stunned that anyone thinks the candidates for the highest office in the land are also lying (or mentioning, even casually, that the election is rigged! Rigged! I tells ya!).

Shame on us.

Charles Hugh Smith always has to mention these facts about the consent of the governed. As if anyone else is paying attention to that. Or cares.


He is not a rigging fan.

(Probably not a sailor.)

Brimming with hubris and self-importance, the ruling Elite and mainstream media cannot believe they have lost the consent of the governed.
Every ruling Elite needs the consent of the governed:  even autocracies, dictatorships and corporatocracies ultimately rule with the consent, however grudging, of the governed.

The American ruling Elite has lost the consent of the governed. This reality is being masked by the mainstream media, mouthpiece of the ruling class, which is ceaselessly promoting two false narratives:

1. The "great divide" in American politics is between left and right, Democrat/Republican

2. The ruling Elite has delivered "prosperity" not just to the privileged few but to the unprivileged many they govern.

Both of these assertions are false. The Great Divide in America is between the ruling Elite and the governed that the Elite has strip-mined. The ruling Elite is privileged and protected, the governed are unprivileged and unprotected. That's the divide that counts and the divide that is finally becoming visible to the marginalized, unprivileged class of debt-serfs.

The "prosperity" of the 21st century has flowed solely to the ruling Elite and its army of technocrat toadies, factotums, flunkies, apparatchiks and apologists.The Elite's army of technocrats and its media apologists have engineered and promoted an endless spew of ginned-up phony statistics (the super-low unemployment rate, etc.) to create the illusion of "growth" and "prosperity" that benefit everyone rather than just the top 5%.

The media is 100% committed to promoting these two false narratives because the jig is up once the bottom 95% wake up to the reality that the ruling Elite has been stripmining them for decades. As I have tirelessly explained, the U.S. economy is not just neoliberal (the code word for maximizing private gain by any means available, including theft, fraud, embezzlement, political fixing, price-fixing, and so on) - it is neofeudal, meaning that it is structurally an updated version of Medieval feudalism in which a top layer of financial-political nobility owns the engines of wealth and governs the marginalized debt-serfs who toil to pay student loans, auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and taxes - all of which benefit the financiers and political grifters.

The media is in a self-referential frenzy to convince us the decision of the century is between unrivaled political grifter Hillary Clinton and financier-cowboy Donald Trump. Both belong to the privileged ruling Elite: both have access to cheap credit, insider information (information asymmetry) and political influence.

The cold truth is the ruling Elite has shredded the social contract by skimming the income/wealth of the unprivileged. The fake-"progressive" pandering apologists of the ruling Elite - Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and the rest of the Keynesian Cargo Cultists - turn a blind eye to the suppression of dissent and the looting the bottom 95% because they have cushy, protected positions as tenured faculty (or equivalent).

They cheerlead for more state-funded bread and circuses for the marginalized rather than demand an end to exploitive privileges of the sort they themselves enjoy.

Consider just three of the unsustainably costly broken systems that enrich the privileged Elite by stripmining the unprivileged: healthcare (a.k.a. sickcare because sickness is profitable, prevention is unprofitable), higher education and Imperial over-reach (the National Security State and its partner the privately owned Military-Industrial Complex).

While the unprivileged and unprotected watch their healthcare premiums and co-pays soar year after year, the CEOs of various sickcare cartels skim off tens of millions of dollars annually in pay and stock options.

The system works great if you get a $20 million paycheck. If you get a 30% increase in monthly premiums for fewer actual healthcare services - the system is broken.

If you're skimming $250,000 as under-assistant dean to the provost for student services (or equivalent) plus gold-plated benefits, higher education is working great. If you're a student burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt who is receiving a low-quality, essentially worthless "education" from poorly paid graduate students ("adjuncts") and a handful of online courses that you could get for free or for a low cost outside the university cartel - the system is broken.

If you exit the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc. at a cushy managerial rank with a fat pension and lifetime benefits and are hired at a fat salary the next day by a private "defense" contractor - the famous revolving door between a bloated state and a bloated defense industry - the system works great. If you joined the Armed Forces to escape rural poverty and served at the point of the spear somewhere in the Imperial Project - your perspective may well be considerably different.

Unfortunately for the ruling Elite and their army of engorged enablers and apologists, they have already lost the consent of the governed. They have bamboozled, conned and misled the bottom 95% for decades, but their phony facade of political legitimacy and "the rising tide raises all boats" has cracked wide open, and the machinery of oppression, looting and propaganda is now visible to everyone who isn't being paid to cover their eyes.
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The demonization of Vladimir Putin is rigged. Nobody has seen evidence that he or his government did us the favor of informing us of the DNC's corruption. He proposed a ban on cyber "war" that was rejected by the United States, for goodness sake. There's no evidence that Russia shot down an airplane in Ukraine or invaded Ukraine or seized Crimea or plotted attacks on the United States. The United States pulled out of the ABM treaty, expanded NATO to Russia's border, built missile bases, arranged military "exercises," facilitated a Ukrainian coup, and pushed a string of hostile lies. Russia has shown even more restraint than your typical U.S. voter (who usually sits home and does not vote, especially in primaries).



Or goodly (for whom?).

But really rigged.


That's what we in the U.S. live with daily.

It's tough to get away from the idea that this election has been rigged against the interests of the citizens (voters) from the start.

So many people have theories about how.

And who.

David Swanson provides an excellent examination of our mea culpa moment (after this last so-called "debate" of the issues).


By David Swanson

The 2016 Republican presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by the Republicans, the Democrats, Russians, space aliens, or voters. It was rigged by the owners of television networks who believed that giving one candidate far more coverage than others was good for their ratings. The CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves said of this decision:  "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Justifying that choice based on polling gets the chronology backwards, ignores Moonves' actual motivation, and avoids the problem, which is that there ought to be fair coverage for all qualified candidates (and a democratic way to determine who is qualified).

The 2016 Democratic presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by bankers, misogynists, Russians, Republicans, or computer hackers. It was rigged by the Democratic National Committee and its co-conspirators in the media, many of whom have helpfully confessed (in case it wasn't obvious) in emails leaked from the DNC and from John Podesta. The DNC chose Hillary Clinton and worked hard to make sure that she "won." Nobody has produced a hint of evidence as to who leaked the emails that added unnecessary confirmation of this rigging, but they should be thanked for informing us, whoever they are.

The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of email was as rigged as the non-prosecution of the CEO of Wells Fargo. The U.S. political system is bought and paid for. Without millions of dollars to funnel to television networks for advertising, any candidate is rigged right out of participating. This rigging of the system is not fixed by someone like Donald Trump pretending for a while that he won't take bribes, that he'll spend only his own money, because most people don't have that kind of money to spend. This rigging is not fixed by making someone like Hillary Clinton take her bribes through her family foundation or requiring that her political action committees remain theoretically separate from the campaign they are collaborating hand-in-glove with, because money buys power.

The debates are rigged by a private entity with no official status that calls itself the Commission on Presidential Debates and transforms open debates among multiple candidates into exclusively bipartisan joint appearances with many large and fine points negotiated beforehand.

Actual governance of the United States is rigged. Congress plans to attempt to ram through a number of intensely unpopular measures just after the election, including a supplemental spending bill for more wars and including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The hope is that most people will have tuned out after the election circus, and that most of them will forget what happened 2 or 4 years later.

The demonization of Vladimir Putin is rigged. Nobody has seen evidence that he or his government did us the favor of informing us of the DNC's corruption. He proposed a ban on cyber "war" that was rejected by the United States, for goodness sake. There's no evidence that Russia shot down an airplane in Ukraine or invaded Ukraine or seized Crimea or plotted attacks on the United States. The United States pulled out of the ABM treaty, expanded NATO to Russia's border, built missile bases, arranged military "exercises," facilitated a Ukrainian coup, and pushed a string of hostile lies. Russia has shown even more restraint than your typical U.S. voter (who usually sits home and does not vote, especially in primaries).

Military spending is rigged. Nobody knows it amounts to over half of U.S. discretionary spending. Nobody knows it's as much in the U.S. as in the rest of the world (allies and otherwise) combined. Nobody pays attention to the bribes from war profiteers, or to the threats held over Congress members to pull weapons jobs out of districts or states. Supporters of both big candidates claim their candidate plans to cut military spending. Both candidates have said the exact opposite. The debates and interviews steer clear of the whole topic.

The shapes of the districts are blatantly rigged by gerrymandering. The existence of the Senate, in which Rhode Island and Wyoming each have as much say as California is rigged against the popular will. The electoral college is rigged against the popular will and in favor of concentrating national campaigns in a handful of "swing states."

Voter registration is rigged. A handful of states have now made it automatic, as most states have long-since done for military draft registration. In the rest of the country, thousands of young people run around registering voters, imagining they are engaged in "activism." Meanwhile, the right to vote can be denied to anyone by claiming they aren't registered.

People's names are stripped from voting rolls through a so-called justice system that brands them as felons, and through the careful rigging of those rolls by corrupt and partisan state governments that intentionally strip out people likely to vote for a particular party. This includes racial profiling. Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Greg Palast and others have reported extensively on these practices.

Election day is rigged as well. It's not a holiday. Most people have to work. Poor districts and racial minority districts tend to have fewer machines and longer lines. ID requirements are used to deny people the right to vote. Intimidation and racial profiling by partisan activists serve the same function of rigging the election. The myths and lies about the virtually nonexistent phenomenon of "voter fraud" also serve to rig the election.

The election machines are also rigged. That is to say:  instead of verifiable paper ballots publicly hand-counted in front of observers from all interested parties in each polling place, we have a faith-based system of voting on black-box machines that can never, even in theory, be checked for accuracy. These machines have been very easily hacked in demonstrations. These machines have visibly flipped votes before the eyes (and cameras) of countless voters. These machines have almost certainly played a key role in flipping the results of numerous elections.

Now, the wider the margin of victory, the less likely an electronic flipping. And the fact that machines can easily be used to steal an election does not mean that they always will be. But it was very odd during the late summer of 2016 to watch the U.S. media announce that these machines were totally unreliable - just what many of us had been saying for years. But the media said this in order to accuse Russia of planning to sabotage the coming U.S. election, or in order to accuse Russia of exactly what these media reports themselves did:  plant seeds of doubt in U.S. minds.

Those doubts should be there. People should watch for visible problems with machines and with partisan and racist intimidators, and report all such to 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to county clerks, to secretaries of state, and to corporate and independent media. Then we should work for necessary reforms, including a respectful cessation of the U.S. government's routine practice of interfering in elections and overthrowing governments in other people's countries - a practice that has clearly resulted in the U.S. media projecting such behavior on others.

Ultimately, an unrigging of the U.S. system might take the form of amending the U.S. Constitution to slip in words like these:

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

All elections for President and members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate shall be entirely publicly financed. No political contributions shall be permitted to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. No political expenditures shall be permitted in support of any federal candidate, or in opposition to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. The Congress shall, by statute, provide limitations on the amounts and timing of the expenditures of such public funds and provide criminal penalties for any violation of this section.

State and local governments shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for state or local public office or any state or local ballot measure.

The right of the individual U.S. citizen to vote and to directly elect all candidates by popular vote in all pertinent local, state, and federal elections shall not be violated. Citizens will be automatically registered to vote upon reaching the age of 18 or upon becoming citizens at an age above 18, and the right to vote shall not be taken away from them. Votes shall be recorded on paper ballots, which shall be publicly counted at the polling place. Election day shall be a national holiday.

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press. During a designated campaign period of no longer than six months, free air time shall be provided in equal measure to all candidates for federal office on national, state, or district television and radio stations, provided that each candidate has, during the previous year, received the supporting signatures of at least five percent of their potential voting-age constituents. The same supporting signatures shall also place the candidate's name on the ballot and require their invitation to participate in any public debate among the candidates for the same office.

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Must read.



Shake, Rattle, and Rickroll

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
Her voice was shaking so dramatically, I thought for a minute that First Lady Michelle Obama was talking about the latest lethal attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital by American forces or their Saudi surrogates. Or maybe she was reacting to one of the almost daily shootings of a black person by militarized American police, or the shocking news that one American citizen is being arrested on a drug charge every 25 seconds.

But why dwell on such mundane nightmares affecting vulnerable people, both near and far, when one can pretend to be shocked that Don John Trump is a vile-mouthed oafish sexual predator who forgot to take a charm school course in the Fine Art of Seduction? It's been common knowledge for decades that the man has been a gross serial groper of women, but nobody important much cared until the final weeks of the presidential campaign. When they weren't ignoring his criminal history, they were laughing at him. When they weren't laughing at him, they were giving him more than a billion dollars' worth of free advertising, the better to ignore Bernie Sanders's liberal policy ideas and Hillary Clinton's own scandals, lackluster campaign, and paranoid penchant for secrecy. As America's highest paid media mogul Les Moonves gushed to a group of Morgan Stanley bankers last winter, Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damned good for CBS." 

If disgust at Trump during the final weeks of the campaign isn't enough to propel consumer-citizens to the polls to vote for Hillary, then maybe shaming them and intimidating them and impugning their patriotism will do the trick.

Today's message from The Establishment: if you report on or even so much as read the hacked Podesta emails, you're going to hell in a deplorable hand basket.  

There's more than one reason that elite cores are shaking this week. As reported by The Hill, Clinton's Deep State advisers held a McCarthyesque emergency conference call with reporters on Friday to hysterically warn them that revelations about the shoddy inner workings of their corporate political party are a threat to national security and to democracy itself.

"I'm simply enraged by these Russian hacks," fumed Clinton surrogate and former acting CIA Director and CBS analyst Michael Morell.“It shakes me to my core. This is a direct assault on our democracy. It’s a direct assault on how we choose our leaders. And quite frankly, I can’t think of a more serious issue at the moment than Russia trying to interfere in our election.”

It matters little that no proof exists that Russia is actually behind the leaked emails. The truthiness is out there in a million Tweets and Retweets and Clintonoid propaganda in the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and MSDNC.

It matters little to Morell that the CIA's entire 70-year-old raison d'etre has been to interfere in the politics of other countries and to foment violence, coups, proxy wars, and death. It matters little that in the leaked emails, Hillary Clinton acknowledged - and not for the first time - that Saudi Arabia (recipient of billions of dollars' worth of American weaponry) is the prime backer of ISIS and other extremist groups.
What matters is the deflection of public attention away from the tawdry content of the Clinton machine's anti-democratic correspondence and toward the alleged source of the damaging information. What matters is ramping up the attack on press freedoms and the public's right to know what our candidates and our government are doing in all our names.

The waning days of this dreadful election season have devolved into the two kinds of pornography that sell the best:  sex and violence. The elites have all but abandoned any pretense at caring about poverty, health, jobs and most of all, climate change.

Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump's imploding campaign and psychopathy and the endless reverential coverage of the pseudo-rattled First Lady's feminist outrage at same, a meeting on Friday of her husband's National Security Council to weigh a deadly escalation of the undeclared American war in Syria went almost unnoticed by the media. Ditto for the US naval missile attack on poverty-stricken Yemen the previous day, in a direct escalation of that undeclared war. Ditto for the American-backed Saudi bombing of a Yemeni funeral last week that resulted in the deaths of 150 innocent people. Including many women and children.
But pay no attention to the mass atrocities and the looming World War III and unhinged American aggression abroad
. Instead, be outraged and amused and shaken to your very core by the unhinged Donald Trump and #PussyGate. Support President Obama's pledge to vanquish Putin by secretly launching an "unprecedented" cyber-attack of our own on the Kremlin.

In case you hadn't guessed, the media-political complex is attempting to punk, or "rickroll" the American public with the usual weapons of mass distraction. But their methods are becoming increasingly desperate. They're as inept at disseminating their self-serving propaganda as Donald Trump apparently is at consummating his own serial predations.

From all accounts, the Trump victims coming forward this week managed to escape his grotesque slimy tentacles right in the nick of time. It's too bad we can't say the same for the silent and silenced victims of the unending state-sanctioned economic, social, physical and mental violence directed at millions of innocent people all over this country and all over this world.
America you don't really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
- Allen Ginsberg, 1956.

I'm thinking about that Diet Coke right about now.

And I'm not smiling.

Washington Moves to Silence WikiLeaks
Why is the Truth on Syria Difficult to Decipher?
Clinton Emails Reveal Direct US Sabotage Of Venezuela
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
Turkey and US Consolidate Terror Assets from Iraq to Syria
FOCUS:  Glenn Greenwald and Naomi Klein Discuss the Podesta Emails
FOCUS:  The Question I Get Asked the Most
Internet sleuths connect Clinton to mysterious intelligence contractor associated with Assange false accusations 2

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Millennials Not Apathetic or Uncaring?  (Fascists Gather As Election Putridity Quotient Increases Sharply)  Civil War?  (They've Been Hoping for It)  Ceaucescu Memory Evoked  (Why Hillary's Speeches Worth So Much)  Clinton Foundation in Haiti Questioned

Fascist attack?

In a speech delivered by Donald Trump to an audience of thousands in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Republican candidate turned his campaign in a more distinctly fascistic direction. Presenting himself as both the savior of America and the victim of a ruthless political and economic establishment, Trump sought to connect deep-seated social anger among masses of people with an “America First” program of anti-immigrant xenophobia, militarism, economic nationalism and authoritarianism.

Responding to the latest allegations of sexual abuse, Trump proclaimed that he is being targeted by international bankers, the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment who fear that his election will undermine their interests.

He offered as an alternative his own persona—the strong-man leader who is willing to bear the burden and make the sacrifices necessary for a pitiless struggle against such powerful adversaries. Trump warned that the November 8 election would be the last opportunity for the American people to defeat the powerful vested interests that are supporting Hillary Clinton.

The clear implication of the speech is that if Trump loses the election, the struggle against the political establishment will have to be carried forward by other means:  in other words, by force and violence.

Frankenstein's Monster: Donald Trump Was a Rampaging Paranoid Demagogue Yesterday — Just Ask the People Who Enabled Him

The voting day question of this election hasn’t been whether Donald Trump will quit or whether Hillary Clinton will be indicted; it has been whether millennial voters will turn out and for whom. Millennials — 18- to 34-year-olds — now represent 69.2 million voters, and they are almost a perfect match in size to the baby boomers, who now number 69.7 million. Millennials are a large enough voting bloc to literally decide who wins. And there are 10 states where the millennial vote could be decisive. The question, of course, is: Will millennials vote?
As we went into this election cycle all signs pointed to the affirmative. Thanks in large part to the energy of the Bernie Sanders campaign, we witnessed building millennial participation. Millennials turned out in record numbers during the primaries in certain contests. In New York, for instance, they helped break state records and voted at a higher percent of their demographic than they had done in 2008 when they supported Barack Obama.
But the post-primary climate has been quite different. A recent GenForward survey shows that 16 percent of voters 18-30 are planning to sit it out and 9 percent have still not decided. Given that Trump only pulls 18 percent of the demographic and Clinton draws 36 percent, these numbers are significant. The survey also shows that young voters support third party candidates far less than the media frequently suggests: Gary Johnson polls at 11 percent and Jill Stein at only 4 percent.
USA Today reports that, “according to Public Policy Polling results from Sept. 29, 63% of 18- to 29-year-olds had an unfavorable opinion of Republican nominee Donald Trump, while 40% held an unfavorable opinion of Clinton.”
So what do we make of the “Nobody 2016″ movement? Is it yet another sign of a new disaffected slacker generation? Are these just clueless youngsters who don’t understand the realities of the political world?

Nobody 2016:  The Millennial Voters Are Engaged, Not Apathetic — But the Candidates Are Pathetic

The "putridity" of this election is getting denser fast . . . as Andrew Levine had been quoted in the last column and John Oliver made clear in the "Last Week Tonight" video regarding the level of horridness that had risen far above the clouds where it had been residing since the last week and was now miles above what we'd been experiencing then.

The irony of what seems like a full-fledged civil war breaking out in the U.S. between the political factions is that that's what the U.S. government has seemed to have been inculcating overseas in more than a few countries since the 9/11 event.

And we're not even worried about Sunni, Shia, Kurd, etc., ethnic/religious differences here.

Just all ready-for-a-fight U.S.A.-ers are the applicants.

And what a fight it has evolved into.

Although I'm sure that the reaction can't be as bad as it's depicted (by both factions). Nothing, surely, can reach that level.

Every society eventually reaches a breaking point. Ours is nearly there. Some of those who might feel threatened, the so-called elite and insiders, think that they can buy protection as easily as they can buy a Gulfstream.  How naïve!  Who are the private security contractors?  Who are the various SOGs?  Like law enforcement and the rest of the military, they are the Deplorables.  The Deplorables will take your money, but you will not take their lives.  Better said, they won’t give up their lives for you or your family.  The security you believe you have purchased is an illusion.  Make that delusion.  Best to get that out front here and now.
ome who feel threatened, or nervous, might fall back on the tired adage of ‘We gave them (the Deplorables) everything; what do they think they will do without us?’  Well, the use of ‘we’ is arrogant, because those who have actually produced something of value are few and far between.  Industrialists, for lack of a better term, are those who produced for society things of lasting value.  There are few true industrialists today, and many who still remain have shipped their production overseas, jacking up the compensation of bonus-based execs, but contributing to the hollowing out of America.  The true industrialists did produce the cars, trucks, machine tools, generators, servers and even computers.  They produced lifesaving medicines and treatments.  They made steel plants and built railroads.
They produced jobs.  They even produced the guns that the Deplorables have by the hundreds of millions. The Deplorables recognize that entire contribution.
. . . Some might think this is all Trump’s fault. Again, that shows a degree of ignorance and naïveté which characterizes the elite.  Trump is a symptom, not a cause.  He might even be a salve, as the changes he could bring might defuse some of the current anger.
On the other hand, Hillary is a lit match in a room of dynamite. She, like many of the self-important, thinks her very existence is a favor to the rest of us.  She epitomizes the absolute worst of what America has become.  Above the law, wealthy not through accomplishment, but through influence peddling only, and a bull in a china shop in terms of her effect on both the country and the world - and I apologize to bulls for that analogy.  The world is more unstable because of her.
America is less safe because of her. Russia and the US - the two largest nuclear powers - are more at odds because of her.  With her in power, we will reach the breaking point at home and internationally, perhaps leading to ‘accidental’ nuclear war, as the heightened rhetoric impacts clear thinking.  Society is more stratified because of her.  Race relations have deteriorated because of her (and Obama).
A recently hacked email of John Podesta finds him saying “she (Hillary) has begun to hate everyday Americans. No doubt the same feelings were voiced by Nicolas Ceaucescu.  It turned out the feeling was mutual.
Elect Hillary, and continue with business as usual, and it is likely this warning will become an epitaph for the America we know.  Society may collapse regardless, because the rot is already very great, but she will hasten the day of reckoning.
The Deplorables have already considered what is coming. They are as prepared as they can be.  Years of decline have enabled many to build their survival skills, to make due with less, to build real communities where one man can trust another, to discover what is truly important and what can and should be salvaged from this society.
Read the entire essay here (and weep).

Keiser Report:  Hillary Speeches

Posted on October 13, 2016 by Stacy Herbert
We discuss the Wikileaks #PodestaEmails documents which shed some light on why a self-described not very charismatic speaker is paid so much for her speeches… to bankers and brokers. Max talks to entrepreneur Sinclair Skinner (@SkinnerLiber8ed) of BitMari about the startup and crypto landscape in Africa and about the Clinton Foundation’s role in Haiti.

Published on Oct 15, 2016

Wow! Wikileaks’ Julian Assange claims he’s in possession of 50,000 John Podesta’s emails. Podesta is the chairman of the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. Thousands of his emails have already been released and more are coming everyday. Redacted Tonight correspondent John F. O’Donnell files this report breaking down what’s most controversial about what the leaks reveal about the inner workings of the Clinton campaign.

Published on Oct 15, 2016

Lee Camp reveals the total incompetence of the 2016 Presidential Debates. The energy policies alone are absurd and unsettling. Lee unearths what’s really going on behind the blatant lies and misdirection about coal, natural gas, and our environment. This and more on Redacted Tonight.

Published on Oct 14, 2016

The recent Wikileaks release cover the gambit of things that we all suspected such as Hillary Clinton’s connection to the Big Banks and Walmart. Lee highlights the shocking details we can find in the speeches to Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and Fidelity Bank. Are the details really as damning as we thought? Was there a reason why she wouldn’t release the transcripts of these speeches despite being asked multiple times by various media sources? Lee Camp breaks it all down on Redacted Tonight VIP.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Farcical Election or Terminal Postmodernity?  (Banks Are Bleeding Cash! Federal Funds Rate Scrapes Bottom)   Ex British Ambassador Makes Astonishing Speech About Tony Blair, George Bush, War and Profit

Are we okay with this?

With any of this?

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's Chief of Staff, says "Let these people go!"

(H/T to John Oliver)

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
-Paul Simon

Debate & Switch . . . Ad Infinitum:  Democracy is Dead. Short Live the Oligarchy.

As our two favorite despised plutocrats met for Round Two of their Neoliberal Death Match Sunday, you didn't really expect the show to be about anyone else but themselves, did you? Oh, sure, Hillary for the millionth time delved into that time 30 years ago when she liked children well enough to actually have taken a short-lived job devoted only to them. And between his own chronic sniffs and snuffles, Donald waxed fake concern for "The" African Americans in a sort of amplified dog-whistle that he totally doesn't relate to anybody outside his own race and class. And that was about it for the empathy.
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A Government Is Seizing Control of Our Election Process, and It Is Not the Russians

US-Backed Saudi Coalition Strikes Funeral in Yemen, Killing and Wounding Hundreds

GOP leaders want the TPP. The leader of the Democratic Party, President Barack Obama, wants the TPP. If they can ram it through Congress in the lame duck session after the election, then the next president’s hands are clean, and the leaders of the two major parties get to deliver a gift to those they really represent, corporate America

Leaked John Podesta Emails Show Bernie Was Right

Testing Obama's Transparency Pledge, Groups Send List of Drone Strikes to Investigate

The Age of Decline, Apple Pie, and America's Chosen Suicide Bomber And Truly, This Is Not About Donald Trump...

Has the path forward for the USA! USA! USA! been so perfectly predefined that we are just left with farce? This election seems to continually make that point in spades (or trumps). And illustrate the cold calculation behind every planned doofus move. From both directions. Tears begin to flow in torrents when memories of regrettable elections past begin to take charge of cerebral cortexes.

The Postmodern Election

Postmodernism is dead, long live postmodernism. During the 2004 election, journalist Ron Suskind famously reported in the October 17, 2004 issue of  The New York Times Magazine on the chasm between what an anonymous source linked to the Bush termed the "fact-based community" and the faith based, epistemically closed world of turn of the 21st century conservatives around the sitting president:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
One way of reading this statement is an assertion of raw Nietzschean reshaping of the truth to the dictates of power. It would not be out of place in any dictatorship, or, to be less strident, any real political power center anywhere.  
Another way to look at it is as postmodernism in its contemporary and diffuse, political form. We now live in a society in which multiple, conflicting "truths," which is to say subjective or discursively shaped impressions of reality, do not and cannot cancel each other out. Instead, much like postmodern stylistic antecedents of the late 1970s and early 1980s onwards, they sit side by side, often awkwardly and, unlike their literary and artistic predecessors, often antagonistically, rendering any possibility of a unifying, ideologically coherent master understanding or reading of reality not impossible, but difficult and often futile. Our politics now consist of contrasting regimes of truth, some as manufactured as any work of fiction on a library bookshelf, which hold sway and constitute "reality," or the kinds of "new realities" that Suskind's interlocutor was talking about, thereby allow agents of that reality - Congress, corporations, what have you - to reshape reality as they see fit.  
While it's easy to point the finger at Fox News as the main progenitor of this situation, critic Bob Somerby has shown on his Daily Howler site how, since the 1990s in particular, the legacy - supposedly "liberal" - media have been repeatedly at fault, nearly sinking Bill Clinton's presidency with the fake "Whitewater" and "Travelgate"s scandals, their embrace of "truthiness" and creating false equivalencies between candidates such as George W. Bush and Al Gore, while also penning damaging, untrue stories or inflating created narratives (those Gore "sighs") about the latter candidate, thereby helping to ruin his chances of victory in 2000; and vitally aiding in the push to send US troops into the debacle that we now know as a the Iraq War. These are only a few of the many examples from the last 20 years, but the process has been underway for quite some time.  
I hate to say because it represents real cynicism, but I think this situation is only going to get worse no matter who wins, and it will require a deep and thorough reckoning from people on all sides to think through how ideologically requisite critiques of the status quo and the political, social and economic spheres, which is to say, attempts to understand and challenge the dominant discourse and the systems that constitute it, can function without a complete dismissal of any baseline of factuality or, to put another way, any recourse to a foundation of empirical and coherent truths. As far as this election goes, it seems, it's a wash.  
Bernie Sanders was the candidate the Occupy Movement made possible; he was, to some extent, the one who, in political and economic, if not symbolic and social terms, they - or we - had been waiting for.  Given the deep vein of frustration about the slow and unequal recovery, wage stagnation for most workers and student loan debt for millennials, and the steadily widening post-Great Recession wealth gap, Sanders spoke to an enthusiastic constituency on the left. Indeed he went further than nearly any major candidate I've seen in recent years in offering a vision and proposing policies that would fundamentally reform and transform our economic system for the better. It was, to paraphrase, Noam Chomsky, a kind of New Deal 2.0., and badly needed. At the same time, however, Sanders sometimes came off as a one-note herald - important though that one-note was! - who did not seem to grasp how important and necessary it was to take a more intersectional approach to the country's pressing issues and challenges.  
So, instead of Sanders, we have Hillary Clinton. She is brilliant; she is accomplished; she has a long record of public and governmental service. . . . As New York's junior US Senator Clinton voted reliably along socially liberal lines, but  then as she has again and again during this campaign, she has shown that her initial instincts are usually primarily neoliberal in economic terms and neoconservative in global interventionist terms. (The recent Wikileaks document dump of emails to her campaign chief John Podesta suggest that her core beliefs are decidedly pro-market and "open borders," and that she views progressive positions as nothing more than a "public face" to gain political and electoral support.) One reason I absolutely could not support Clinton in 2008 was because of her vote for the Iraq War, against all better judgment and evidence, and the Patriot Act. Little in her campaign suggests to me that she has completely reoriented her thinking about the path she has helped to lead us down. And yet, other than voting for Jill Stein, who will not win, or not voting at all, what choice do we have but to vote for her, and for every possible progressive candidate running for Congress, and then demand that they not reprise the 1990s or early 2000s?  
Moreover, her history on race and racism leave a great deal to be desired. Beyond her role in the Clinton administration's triangulatory economic and social policies, which often had a racial - and racist - component. More than a few commentators have noted Clinton's adoption of conservative language pathologizing black adolescent criminals in the 1990s, and her support of the odious Welfare Reform legislation, Three Strikes laws, and so forth, and her failure to speak out initially about Stop and Frisk and Broken Windows policies. In fact, I can recall how her husband left his federal judicial court nominee Lani Guinier twisting in the wind because of conservative screeching about her eminently reasonable approach to the voting system, at which point Hillary Clinton cut her longtime friend loose as well, greeting her with the casual and dismissive "Hey Kiddo" when they ran into each other in the White House.

Read the entire essay here.

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. . . their banks are bleeding cash and screaming at them, and they have got to figure out some way to walk back what is becoming a very destructive program. When you look at what low rates have done to the Japanese economy and Japanese retirees, Kuroda-san’s coming to Jackson Hole and declaring that negative rates have been a success demonstrated a fair amount of chutzpah. But then he supplied only a small helping of the staggering amount of hubris displayed at Jackson Hole by central bankers from all over the world, who were celebrating the success of the most repressive monetary policy conditions in the history of mankind. The IMF, the BIS, and the World Bank are all revising their global growth predictions downward at a rapid clip. You get the feeling these guys could spin Napoleon’s invasion of Russia into a positive story and one they could take credit for. 


And me thinking the bleeding was debited to the public(s).

On the assumption that the ongoing events deciding the actual financial lives of the citizens of the U.S. (which somehow never make it into the national electoral "conversation") are more important than the ongoing clown shows (see tonight's debate and all the previous ones). . . . 

Here is the federal funds rate from 2007 to 2016. The shaded area is what we now call the Great Recession.

The Federal Open Market Committee entered 2007 with the rate target at 5.25%. They starting lowering it in August of that year – months before the economy went into recession. Why was that? Recession or not, many folks weren’t doing well. Even then there was talk of banks having difficulty, though the worst was yet to come.
Look how fast rates fell. In July 2007 savers could buy Treasury bills, certificates of deposit, or other principal-protected savings instruments and enjoy a 5% or better risk-free yield. Longer-term fixed-income products actually offered even higher yields. A year and a half later, the fed funds rate was bumping the zero bound, and savers could make nothing without taking on market risk, which few wanted to do at the time, because iconic brands were blowing up everywhere.
Here is the great irony and possibly the most iniquitous part of the Fed’s monetary policy initiative. They wanted investors to move out on the risk curve. But did they bother to look at the demographics of this country? We have a huge bulge of Boomers – retirees and near-retirees who do not need to be moving out the risk curve at this time in their lives. They need Steady-Eddie returns, and they need to be reducing their risk, not increasing it.
A sober look at the current economic environment reveals overvalued, overbought, and illiquid markets everywhere. The global central bank community’s ultra-low and negative interest rates have created an environment of risk that is looking more and more like a bubble in search of a pin. If and when it bursts, it will take the retirement dreams of millions of Americans with it.
From the Fed’s perspective, super-low interest rates were economic stimulus. With borrowing costs so low, we were all supposed to race out and buy stuff. Companies should have expanded and hired more workers. Homebuilders should have been incentivized to build more McMansions in the suburbs, knowing qualified buyers would appear like magic.
What was supposed to happen was a normal recovery. What we got was the weakest recovery on record. The Federal Reserve will offer the counterfactual that if they had not given us their stimulus, the recovery would have been even weaker. That, of course, is something that neither they nor we can prove, one way or the other. We can go back and look at a far worse recession in the early 1920s, when the government did nothing and the resulting recovery gave us the Roaring ’20s. Very few people remember what was called the Depression of 1920–21. Unemployment was close to 12%, and there was extreme deflation – the largest one-year percentage price decline in 140 years of data. Christina Romer estimates it was a 14.8% decline. Put that in your CPI pipe and smoke it. Industrial production dropped by 30%. And there was a horrendous bear market.
By the time President Harding and his Commerce Secretary, Herbert Hoover, got around to calling for a conference and organizing committees, the economy was already recovering. Notably, the administration did cut income taxes, which helped reinforce the Roaring ’20s.
A large part of the problem in the late ’10s was that the Fed was raising rates into the recession in an effort to protect the dollar and fight what they considered to be inflation. Central bankers of that era had a gold and hard-dollar fetish that led to massive policy errors. When they actually began to normalize their monetary policy, the economy took off. A normalized interest rate policy, what a concept…
In our own generation, we got stimulus for Wall Street in the form of QE, and it led to an inflation of asset prices. No one really minds if the value of their stocks, real estate, and other assets go up; and there was the assumption that a rise in the stock market and real estate would trickle down to Main Street. Clearly, it has not.

And speaking (or not) of the ever-present Don . . .

Will he stay or will he go? (Or will he trickle down?)


The councils of true  right-wingerism are meeting (and not secretly).

The usual suspects are fighting for the front position of  the line-up.

Who  will be the next to call for the white flag?

A short time ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Reince Priebus told party officials today to start redirecting funds away from Trump and to down-ballot candidates.
The speed and breadth of the abandonment of Mr. Trump’s candidacy shocked some long-time party members and exposed a shattered party without a clear path forward.
“Our party is in its deepest crisis since Watergate in 1974,” said Ron Nehring, former chairman of the California Republican Party, referring to the mid-term election when the resignation of then-President Richard M. Nixon led to a Democratic landslide. “It’s compounded by the fact that it doesn’t matter whether Donald Trump were to bow out. It’s too late to change the candidate on the ballot."

The immediate consequence of the RNC’s decision on allocating resources is a halt to the party’s mail program so it can be redirected toward a new universe of voters, the official said. News of the mail program stopping was first reported by Politico. Mr. Priebus and top party strategist Sean Spicer didn’t respond to requests for comment.
...Trump’s latest imbroglio is also widening a chasm between the party’s old guard and the legions of voters drawn to his anti-establishment message.

Those divisions surfaced on Saturday when House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared at a rally in his Wisconsin district after disinviting Mr. Trump from that event and denouncing his crude comments. Mr. Ryan’s own welcome was mixed with boos and pro-Trump hecklers in the crowd.

And from the prior Debate Wars:

Well, that was depressing.
Not because Vice Presidential Candidate X beat Vice Presidential Candidate Y in Tuesday night’s debate. Or vice versa.

No, it was dispiriting because it so vividly displayed the problem with our current system of debates. This is no way to run a democracy.

If last week’s Donald Trump free-for-all, freefall debate performance was one extreme – out of control and fact-resistant – this week’s vice presidential event showed another, a demonstration of the perils of being overcoached and overprepared with stock, canned answers repeated ad nauseum and infinitum.

So there was Republican Mike Pence stolidly behaving like a real-life version of Sam the Eagle from the Muppets, shaking his head and bemoaning the fate of an America ruled by Hillary Clinton, and Tim Kaine as the overeager puppy eager to make his presence known, apparently told that the way to dispel the image some may have of him as too soft and nice is to keep interrupting; in effect, chewing the other guy’s new slippers.

Kaine may have started it, but in truth, the interruptions by each of the two were, as Rachel Maddow said on MSNBC, “maddening to the point of incomprehensibility.” The hectoring crosstalk did diminish some as the night wore on but it wasn’t conducive to any real dialogue or thoughtful discussion of the issues (the exchange on abortion at the end actually came somewhat close, thanks to Kaine).

And once again there was no talk of climate change or income inequality or education or infrastructure or health care, to name but a few of the topics that desperately need to be addressed. Instead, we got Pence running contrary to his running mate’s embrace of Vladimir Putin, calling the Russian leader “small and bullying” and Kaine repeatedly going after Pence for Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. No one would mistake Monday’s slapfest as a celebration of the Federalist Papers.

. . . Rating by onstage performance and the response of the pundit class, Pence’s icy calm may have won out over Kaine’s hyper champing at the bit, and the Republican governor certainly has deftly positioned himself for 2020. But as Mark Twain said of Richard Wagner’s operas, Kaine’s attacks may have been better than they sound.
We’ll see. What’s for sure is that the clear losers tonight were any Americans who hoped to hear something, anything, of real substance. Days to go: 33, and the republic is still adrift, with no sign of the lifeboats.

If you've reached your quota of stomach-turning political theory for the day, don't read the next essay. It won't help. The number will not decrease.

I grew up (in my 30's) reading Scott Adams' "Dilbert" cartoons religiously.

He's graduated. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

by Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert"
"By now you know about the Access Hollywood recording in which Donald Trump said bad things eleven years ago. Many of my readers asked me to weigh in. One of the requests came from anti-Trump GOP elite person Erick Erickson. (Middle name Erick, I assume.) This was his polite request and my response. Read it from bottom to top.

Challenge accepted! I’ll give you my thoughts, in no particular order.
1. If this were anyone else, the election would be over. But keep in mind that Trump doesn’t need to outrun the bear. He only needs to outrun his camping buddy. There is still plenty of time for him to dismantle Clinton. If you think things are interesting now, just wait. There is lots more entertainment coming.

2. This was not a Trump leak. No one would invite this sort of problem into a marriage.

3. I assume that publication of this recording was okayed by the Clinton campaign. And if not, the public will assume so anyway. That opens the door for Trump to attack in a proportionate way. No more mister-nice-guy. Gloves are off. Nothing is out of bounds. It is fair to assume that Bill and Hillary are about to experience the worst weeks of their lives.

4. If nothing new happens between now and election day, Clinton wins. The odds of nothing new happening in that timeframe is exactly zero.

5. I assume that 75% of male heads of state, including our own past presidents, are total dogs in their private lives. Like it or not, Trump is normal in that world.

6. As fictional mob boss Tony Soprano once said in an argument with his wife, “You knew what you were getting when you married me!” Likewise, Trump’s third wife, Melania, knew what she was getting. It would be naive to assume Trump violated their understanding.

7. Another rich, famous, tall, handsome married guy once told me that he can literally make-out and get handsy with any woman he wants, whether she is married or not, and she will be happy about it. I doubted his ridiculous claims until I witnessed it three separate times. So don’t assume the women were unwilling. (Has anyone come forward to complain about Trump?)

8. If the LGBTQ community wants to be a bit more inclusive, I don’t see why “polyamorous alpha male serial kisser” can’t be on the list. If you want to label Trump’s sexual behavior “abnormal” you’re on shaky ground.

9. Most men don’t talk like Trump. Most women don’t either. But based on my experience, I’m guessing a solid 20% of both genders say and do shockingly offensive things in private. Keep in mind that Billy Bush wasn’t shocked by it.

10. Most male Hollywood actors support Clinton. Those acting skills will come in handy because starting today they have to play the roles of people who do not talk and act exactly like Trump in private.

11. I’m adding context to the discussion, not condoning it. Trump is on his own to explain his behavior. 

12. Clinton supporters hated Trump before this latest outrage. Trump supporters already assumed he was like this. Independents probably assumed it too. Before you make assumptions about how this changes the election, see if anyone you know changes their vote because of it. All I have seen so far is people laughing about it.

13. I hereby change my endorsement from Trump to Gary Johnson, just to get out of the blast zone. Others will be “parking” their vote with Johnson the same way. The “shy Trump supporter” demographic just tripled.

14. My prediction of a 98% chance of Trump winning stays the same. Clinton just took the fight to Trump’s home field. None of this was a case of clever strategy or persuasion on Trump’s part. But if the new battleground is spousal fidelity, you have to like Trump’s chances.

15. Trump wasn’t running for Pope. He never claimed moral authority. His proposition has been that he’s an assh**e (essentially), but we need an assh**e to fight ISIS, ignore lobbyists, and beat up Congress. Does it change anything to have confirmation that he is exactly what you thought he was?

My thoughts above have more to do with reason than persuasion. And that means you can ignore all of it because reason is not part of decision-making when it comes to politics. On the persuasion level, all that matters is whether this new development changes what you already assumed about Trump. Personally, it didn’t change what I assumed about Trump’s personal life. Your mileage may vary.

I hope this answers all of Erick Erick Erickson’s questions.”

What a bunch of hypocrites! I'm not defending what he said, it's outrageous, but how dare these other cheap, money-whore sleaze-bag politicians pretend they're so outraged, so morally better, so pure, so righteous? Really?! Remember, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Gonna be a long, long time till any stones start flying.

And these two, of all people on planet Earth, have NOTHING to say about morality.

So, Billy Bush really has no apologies to make?

The hypocrites are enraged and calling for blood. He may be the first wheel candidate this century. (If you're not counting GITMO - and the Middle East/Afghanistan/Pakistan and Africa.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Large hat tip to cberrl!

No one can or should believe the following essay.

No one.

It's like the Good Fairy, the Easter Bunny (Jesus) and Santa Claus decided to come down the chimney (or appear magically under a pillow or during the Sunrise Service) bearing brand spanking new 12-speed bikes for the world.

Ex British Ambassador Makes Astonishing Speech About Tony Blair, George Bush, War and Profit

October 07, 2016


Set aside 2 minutes to read this and watch a 20 minute video. It will truly astonish you, no matter how cynical you may be when it comes to the so-called ‘war on terror,’ Iraq, Syria and many other conflicts around the world.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was a British Ambassador. While Ambassador to Uzbekistan he accused the Karimov administration of human rights abuses, which he argued was a step against the wishes of the British government. Murray complained to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 2002, again in early 2003 and in June 2004 that intelligence linking the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to al-Qaeda was unreliable, immoral and illegal, as it was thought to have been obtained through torture. He described this as “selling our souls for dross”. He was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial post on 14 October 2004 by Tony Blair’s government.

In this video, Murray talks about how the same people turn out to be behind the same wars in very different parts of the world. In part, he talks about how the USA was in collusion with some of the most dreadful dictatorships in the world whilst the CIA were using them for ‘extraordinary rendition’ or torture programmes. The reasons for these alliances were that U.S. companies were monopolising the natural resources of entire countries. But there’s more to it than that.

Murray exposes the plan to build a gas pipeline over Afghanistan when George W Bush signed the construction deal whilst his father George H Bush was a member of the board of the pipeline construction company.

Murray continues with his experience negotiating the peace talks in war-torn Sierra Leone which Britain subsequently invaded. He explains why ‘humanitarian’ military intervention is a lie and why diplomacy doesn’t work because of powerful individuals in the background with a different agenda.

What is startling about Murray’s revelations is that Tony Blair’s war in Sierra Leone was nothing to do with humanitarian intervention and everything to do with money, no matter what the consequences. This may not surprise you given what we now know about Blair. What might surprise you though is that Murray goes on to accuse individuals in senior government positions with the power to make decisions who were also board members of private companies set to benefit from those decisions. One individual in the U.S. State Dept who was supposedly negotiating a peace deal was also the chair of a resource company that had serious financial interests, where war benefited his company, whilst at the same time being the founding partner of another company that devised the extraordinary rendition or torture programme being conducted in that same country. Murray names the guilty.

There is another revelation in this short video that should utterly astound everyone about Tony Blair’s war in Sierra Leone. Murray makes the case that a senior member of Blair’s government, the Secretary of State for International Development at the time was also a member of the board of Sierra Leone’s only titanium mine.  Murray names and accuses this individual of refusing the resources (along with the American’s) to help make the Sierra Leone peace deal work, which culminated in Britain’s (what turned out to be a pre-planned) invasion and the subsequent deaths of countless thousands. Ironically, this person is today the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is now a Life Peer, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council.

Murray finishes off with a few words about why peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world will not stop whilst western countries retain their current political and economic power structures. He suggests that a tiny number of evil people truly aspire to gain total domination of the world’s resources and are at the centre of much of the needless death and destruction across the planet.

Lee Camp at "Redacted Tonight" is on fire.

And no one escapes.

Happy Halloween from Max and Stacy!