It would seem strange to call the Republican Party desperate, given that they will soon hold more power at the federal level than at any time since 1928, plus control of a majority of the states. But despite the good fortune of the GOP in their unexpected slim victories in the Rust Belt, Republicans remain in a precarious position. Their party remains divided between new Trump loyalists predicated on white nationalism and economic protectionism, and the more establishment donor class core that supported Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
. . . Nowhere is that desperation more visible than in North Carolina, where Republicans reacted to electoral losses in the governorship and State Supreme Court by making a shocking power grab to strip the incoming Democratic governor of most of his powers–most notably over the boards of elections.
The Republican approach to power dynamics here more resembles asymmetric warfare than traditional political conflict: parties that expect to regain power once they have lost it don’t typically behave this way, because they know that bad behavior can become a precedent used against them that will make it difficult for them to govern when they return to power. The Republican strategy here only makes sense if they expect never to regain power once they have lost it.
There’s a good reason for this, of course. In states like North Carolina, the demographic tide is working against Republicans. There are fewer rural angry whites, and an increasing number of more liberal, younger, browner, better educated and more urban voters moving in. The Republican Party in states like North Carolina has made it a priority to restrict access to the voting booth in a desperate play to prevent their own electoral collapse. Their attempts to disenfranchise poor and minority voters were so egregious that the Supreme Court had to step in to stop them.
If Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is confirmed after this latest news, it will mean Republicans have no shame at all:
Rex Tillerson, the businessman nominated by Donald Trump to be the next US secretary of state, is the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas, leaked documents show.Tillerson – the chief executive of ExxonMobil – has been a director of the oil company’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, since 1998. His name – RW Tillerson – appears next to other officers who are based at Houston, Texas; Moscow; and Sakhalin, in Russia’s far east.The leaked 2001 document comes from the corporate registry in the Bahamas. It was one of 1.3m files given to the Germany newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. The registry is public but details of individual directors are typically incomplete or missing entirely.
I would feel a little bit bad about using anonymously leaked documents to discover how our new overlords are abusing us, but … well, you know.
So, let’s see. Oil company CEO? Check. Direct ties to Russian oligarchs? Check. Using a Caribbean tax haven to cheat taxes? Check.
We know that a few GOP Senators were opposing Tillerson before this leak: McCain, Rubio, and Graham have all had their concerns because of the Russian connection. All it would take to derail the nomination would be three Republicans, assuming Democrats hold a firm party line – which given all of Tillerson’s problems shouldn’t be too challenging.
The question is whether more Senators on the right will come forward against Tillerson based on these leaks. In a normal political system with a normal political party we would expect to see that. But Republicans are not a normal political party these days, and neither use of international tax havens nor ties to dictators seem to bother them. Nor, apparently, having an oil company CEO with no previous diplomatic experience acting on behalf of the nation itself.
If the Republican Senate does confirm Tillerson, it will signify a final surrender to Trump, with all that entails. And then all that remains is resistance and accountability in 2018 and 2020.
R&A instead of R&R?
We'll see how they work that one out in the new Republican-dominated Congress.
Meanwhile . . .
In the spirit of Christmas?
That spirit of generosity, forgiveness, contrition and understanding?
Well, in the spirit of the USA! USA! USA!
After four years behind bars, journalist and activist Barrett Brown was released from federal prison on the morning of November 29, 2016, and ordered to report to a halfway house in Dallas, Texas. “I was picked up by my parents and Alex Winter and his camera crew,” Brown told "Shadowproof." “They filmed me on the six-hour drive over to Dallas. We had to get to the halfway house by 4:00 pm, or it would be an escape charge. So, we barely made it.” “[The Bureau of Prisons] originally gave me less time than was necessary to get there, and I had to go in there and forcibly get them to give me an hour more,” he said. “They also told me falsely that I could go in any car, and it wouldn’t be any problem, when in fact I could actually go back to jail for not being in a registered car.” SOURCE: "Shadowproof"
by Daniel Espinosa Winder / December 17th, 2016
The Russians are coming! Once again, the structural bias of the American news media in favor of the ‘official version’ turns them into a propaganda tool. Intelligence sources point out Russian interference in recent elections. However, WikiLeaks-related sources say the Democratic Party’s mail leak was the working of a whistleblower within that institution.
“Experts point out…”, “Specialists agree…”, “There is a consensus among intelligence agencies …” While the plot’s been cooking for several months now, it was the DNC leaks and Hillary Clinton’s subsequent defeat against Donald Trump what finally put the ‘serious’ press, mainly the "Washington Post" and the "New York Times," working in its propagandistic role: ‘the Russians are trying to destroy American democracy’, they say.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a key tool of the US executive, was created in 1947 and has since been involved in more than a dozen coups, attempted assassinations, and a long list of covert operations around the world. However, this record does not seem to matter to the American corporate press, which continues uncritically channeling its official statements.
Mossadegh in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Goulart in Brazil, Allende in Chile, are just some of the leaders in the long list of CIA successful hits. Where it did not operate directly, as in Iraq in 2003, the CIA fabricated intelligence information indispensable to justify military aggression, with the dire consequences already known to the world.
Now they have brought it home: they don’t like Trump and little more than a month away from January the 20th, intelligence reports, full of circumstantial evidence and ‘official’ opinions, have already caused the "New York Times" to begin comparing the alleged incursion of Russian hackers into the Democratic mailing servers with Watergate, the incident that saw Richard Nixon’s departure from the White House in 1972.
However, indications that this is all about the working of a whistleblower, probably within the Democratic Party, and not an army of Russian hackers, seems more convincing:
“I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they’re certainly not Russians, he’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; they are two different things. If what the CIA says is true, and their statements refer to people they know is related to the Russian state, they would arrest someone if he was inside the United States … (who) has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers or extraditing Hackers. They just do not have any knowledge.”1
This insistence on involving the Russians was at first useful to divert attention from the contents of John Podesta’s and DNC’s mails, but now we see it mutate into something far more dangerous, with monolithic support from mass media, as every time their masters smell blood, the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post" are dedicating front pages to it and the world’s corporate media is going along. But where is this going?
As Craig Murray points out, when the media speak of ‘credible’ sources, and all this Russian charade is based on this blind trust in American officials, what it is saying is that they are establishment sources, for whom presenting solid evidence has been always optional.
In a statement to the "Daily Mail," Murray, a former United Kingdom ambassador to Uzbekistan, said he was the one to receive the documents from a Democratic Party employee in Washington, after the boycott suffered by Bernie Sanders in the primaries, which ended in the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and caused the condemnation by many operatives and sympathizers of the Democratic Party.
This kind of renewal of the 50’s McCarthyism was carried out on several fronts, one of vital importance being referred to the alarm regarding the proliferation of ‘false news’. The "Washington Post" published an article on November 24, citing the findings of an organization called Propornot, an anonymous group that drew up a list of 200 media devoted to ‘Russian propaganda’ and ‘false news’.
Propornot’s analysis against these media was made using a methodology that would embarrass even the laziest of school boys, since no real association was necessary with the Russian State: they simply incorporated the vast majority of alternative journalism blogs that had something critical say about US foreign policy, which generated the univocal rejection of both mainstream and independent journalism and a later clarifying note by the WP.
When the media that ‘set the agenda’ — such as when the "Washington Post," the "New York Times" or CNN publish an article — the rest of the world’s corporate/state media follow obediently. What we observe, in short, is a transmission of information based on a questionable concept of authority, not facts.
Let us remember Iraq. At the inaugural rally of President George W. Bush’s (January 30, 2001) the issue of removing Saddam Hussein was put at the top of the list, as recalled by former US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill:
“It was about finding a way to do it. The president said, ‘Go find me a way to do this.’”That’s where the CIA comes in. The American anthropologist David Price has studied the agency for two decades and agrees with former agent Philip Agee that the CIA is: “the secret police of American capitalism.” In addition, he believes that Trump is embracing political allies that would point to a strengthening of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to the detriment of the CIA.
An interesting month awaits us and Trump would do well in avoid trips to Dallas.
1“CIA Concludes Russia Interfered to Help Trump Win Election,” "Guardian," 12/10/16.
Daniel Espinosa Winder lives in Caraz, a small city in the Andes of Peru. He graduated in Communication Sciences in Lima and started researching monopoly media and more specifically, propaganda. His writings are a critique of the role of mass media in our society. Read other articles by Daniel.
This article was posted on Saturday, December 17th, 2016.
I watched "Wag the Dog" (again) last night. It’s amazing how bad our news has become in the 20 years since. At the end of one of the DVD extras was this: “So, will the next generation be able to tell the difference between real news and news that has been faked?” And that’s a good question considering how many different source there are out there.
This is one of the extras:
"Wag The Dog" – From Washington to Hollywood and Back
This is an interview with the author of "American Hero," the book that the movie was built from:
(19:35 min, 1998)
Posted by: Curtis | Dec 17, 2016 10:14:13 AM | 20
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Cut It Out
“George Soros Is Funding Facebook’s “Third-Party Fact Checking” Organization Targeting “Fake News.”” “US Gov’t, Oligarchs Behind Planned Fake News Flagging on Facebook”. The censors are funded by what could be described as a caricature of a conspiracy theorist’s fantasy of the real workings of the world.
“ 9 Reasons Why PolitiFact Is Unqualified to Label ‘Fake News’”. Obviously partisan.
“Will Facebook’s Fake News Warning Become a Badge of Honor?”. I found it bizarre than any site so honored would strive to get off the ‘fake news’ list. Don’t read anything that doesn’t have a warning!
“That Time Tillerson Tried to Take on Hugo Chavez… And Lost”. His $9 billion of revenge couldn’t be any worse than what Barry is doing.
“Venezuela Brings Toys to Poor Kids, Gets Called ‘Grinch’ on CNN:”
“CNN‘s “Grinch” report exemplifies a popular new technique: Twitter has become the lazy journalist’s favorite tool. With millions of users expressing millions of different opinions, ostensibly “neutral” news outlets can cite tweets that confirm their biases as putative “evidence” that the public feels a particular way on an issue - a way that almost always just so happens to reflect and serve powerful interests.Random tweets from unknown users can hence be quoted as examples of anonymous “critics” who echo corporate and government propaganda and rehash conventional wisdom. CNN‘s reporting is a case study in how to further sling mud at an elected socialist government that has for years faced aggression from the United States.”
“Justin Liverman – emergency appeal”.
Bearing in mind that Snowden may be CIA, this is still interesting: “Snowden: “Russia Successfully Rigged US Elections In Favor Of Trump”.”
“NSA Whistleblower Destroys Obama’s Russia Narrative – “Hard Evidence Points To An Inside Leak, Not Hacking””. Snowden has noted that the NSA’s Panopticon should have gathered evidence showing exactly who was responsible. Exactly as with the MH17 crash, the lack of evidence from the NSA is itself evidence that the Americans are hiding something which doesn’t match their preferred narrative. “As Binney further notes, the only way the leaks could have avoided NSA detection is if they were never passed over fiber networks but rather downloaded to a thumb drive by someone with internal access to servers.” Proving it is a leak, not a hack.
“Assange: Some leaks may have been Russian” (the headline, while not false, is obviously carefully crafted to mislead you). Assange is playing a bit of game here, as he came as close as possible to naming Seth Rich as the leaker while denying he was doing so, so his ““Craig Murray is not authorized to talk on behalf of WikiLeaks,” Assange said sternly.”, and the timely tweet, should be read in the context of a bigger game. Binney’s thumb drive theory is consistent with Murray’s story.
“As a threshold matter, no national security agency is going to monitor an American registered to work as an agent for the Saudis. That’s all the more true if the agent has the last name Podesta.” Seriously? Also, more clarifying Clintonista swill in the guise of sophisticated analysis: “There’s a section on the murdered DNC staffer, which I’m not going to focus on because I find it distasteful.”
“Revealed: Who Gave Democratic Emails to Wikileaks.”
“Politicized Intelligence Kneecapping Trump.”
“The Cold War, Continued: Post-Election Russophobia.”
“Iceland’s Former Minister Of The Interior Claims The FBI Tried To Frame Julian Assange.”
“Syrian girl posting #Aleppo diary is real, investigator concludes”. The ‘evidence’ comes, in what must be some kind of sick meta-joke, from "Bellingcat!" The CIA lifts itself up by its own suspenders.
“Scoundrel Time: Lessons in Patriotism and Journalism From a Master.”
“Large Number of Turkish, Saudi (Israeli) Officers Deployed in Syria’s Aleppo City”. Might just be Syrian government propaganda but it makes perfect sense that the state sponsors of terror would be watching their operation. Added: “BREAKING: At Least 14 US Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Special Forces in East Aleppo Bunker.”
“Aleppo Starts Uncovering Washington’s Evil Designs”. I wonder if the CIA has a clean-up crew working furiously in Aleppo to destroy evidence.
“Leftists and Jihadis.” If you read Pulse, and I don’t recommend you do, you’ll see that the Wahabists are furious that the Left doesn’t buy their lies.
“Eva Bartlett on Syria: Responding to Buzzfeed”. There are still real journalists, but you can be sure they don’t work for something as meaningfully named as Buzzfeed.
“US Backed Terrorists in Aleppo Consumed Food Delivered From Abroad While Civilians Starved”. This kind of thing always happens.
“Top Ten Western Lies About Liberation of Aleppo.” ““Aleppo Atrocities” – The Western Mainstream Media’s Latest Psy-Op”. “Celebrating the Liberation of Aleppo, Western Media Paints a Grim Picture without Mentioning that East Aleppo has Been Occupied by Al Qaeda For More than Four Years.”
. . . “A 20-year toll: 368 gymnasts allege sexual exploitation.” Look over there, Russian athletes are doping!
“The humane and sensitive Western correspondents in Beirut won’t be tweeting this”. Also, have you read any news about the humane battle in Mosul recently? Or: “Journalist Iona Craig: The U.S. Could Stop Refueling Saudis & End Devastating War in Yemen Tomorrow.”
“Assad is thriving on the west’s hesitation. The time for standing back is over”. I had to laugh while reading this extraordinarily late call for boots on the ground. For all the riyals spent, the Saudis are not getting good value!
. . . “More Detroit Voting “Irregularities”: 95 Poll Books “Missing” For Days; 5 Still Nowhere To Be Found”. We stopped hearing about the recount when it started to uncover the wrong kind of fraud.
. . . “Why the Nazis studied American race laws for inspiration”. There is more than a bit of irony in the current obsession of the mainstream media with neo-Nazis in the alt-right.
. . . from 21st Century Wire (H/T Greg Bacon)
According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 US Coalition military officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.
This story was quietly leaked by Voltaire.net, who announced, “The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”
Louisville, Virginia Tech fined $25000 by ACC for accepting Wake Forest game plan
December 17, 2016 by Stacy Herbert
We discuss how both the Italian bank, Monte dei Paschi, and the American retailer, Sears, survived war, Great Depressions and famine, only to be destroyed by the modern paper derivative. In the second half, Max does some stand up and then interviews comedian Lee Camp about the business of comedy in the age of Trump.