Friday, July 29, 2016

Clean Up Convention Wisdom (Blame the Russians, Nader, Alan Grayson)  HST Speaks  (Max & Stacy Present Solutions to Global Economic Crisis)

(Due to Blogger blow-ups, the Thursday night Convention coverage will come later)

Blame It on the Russians
Dems Dropping the N Word:  When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World

So, at the end of the truly bought-and-paid-for New Democrat(ic) Convention we learn that the Clintons are very happy (why not?), our saviors like Alan Grayson are wife beaters (if not child violators), and that the truly corrupt (however invaluable) but already gone from the scene are calling the shots (h/t Harry Reid).

Reminds one of the end of the movie "MI-5," doesn't it?

You know. Where the head of MI-5 tells the sacrificing-everything hero that he shouldn't think he's getting away with his clandestine work for the good guys because once they are through with him in the media he will find himself an outed wife-abuser if not both daughter- and son-abuser, as well as a seller of secrets to Russia and China - or some such made-up nonsense easily used to discredit anyone who gets in the way of those in permanent power.

Yes. TPP/TTIP/TISA and all the rest of the nightmare scenario for the country's underlings (and further massive enrichment of their masters) will be inflicted full force (no matter the heavily advertised Convention changes of heart) , and the populace who are flaunting their Hillaryosis now will be severely surprised at the actions of their superwoman choice once annointed. Oh, and forget the Federally-mandated increases in the minimum wage and all the rest of the safety net program "promises."

"Promises. Promises." (I believe there was a popular Broadway show with that title some time back.)

My hero, the long-gone but not forgotten, Hunter S. Thompson would be smiling right about now.


Night of the Hollow Men:  Notes From the Democratic Convention

+ Since my co-editor Joshua Frank prefers to go surfing rather than do his reportorial duty and watch the DNC Convention from gavel-to-gavel, he’s telling me that I have to write another account of tonight’s proceedings. I’m not sure I’m up to it ‘frankly.’ What would Hunter Thompson do? Oh, yes, he would get his body and mind in fighting form by having breakfast. I guess I’ll follow the good Doctor’s example:  “Four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned-beef hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of key lime pie, two margaritas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert.” All to be consumed while naked. Snarf! Sniff! Belch! ALRIGHT! I’m primed. Bring on Biden!

+ Margie Kidder was one of Hunter Thompson’s best friends. I asked her if this menu remotely resembled his real appetites. Margie told me that she and Hunter were together during the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco, where his main obsession was in scoring some cocaine to get him juiced for covering the tedium of the convention.

“Here’s what Hunter would do,” Margie told me. “He believed firmly in getting your cocaine first, which at that convention involved spending a lot of time with a gay friend of mine he referred to in his writing as “the bowl of fruit”. Then you got your drinks lined up and we would sit and watch the TV in the press room. I kept insisting in going out onto the floor to interview what often turned out to be ex-lovers of mine, who I couldn’t really quote for obvious reasons. He was disgusted with me. At one point, back at the St Francis hotel, Hunter screamed down the hall at me “You are a political neophyte! You are a dangerous woman!” Then he went off to a party at Ann Getty’s house or apartment and called her a fascist dyke and punched a hole in her living room wall and Pat Caddell (the Democratiic pollster) and I had to race over with my trans driver Greta and our 1960s Cadillac convertible loaned to me by the gay community and rescue Hunter from the well-dressed and horrified Democrats. Sen Patrick Leahy thought he was funny. Few other Democrats did. But then Leahy often rode around with us in that Cadillac.” 

+ Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton’s former BFF (second now to Elizabeth Warren), mentor to Tim Kaine in the art of political grifting and current governor of Virginia, has an ego the size of Trump Tower. McAuliffe knows all of the Clintons secrets. He knows what they think and how they deal.
McAuliffe gave an early morning interview to Politico, where he confided to the reporter that Hillary was only pretending to oppose the TPP to neuter one of Bernie Sanders’s main campaign themes. The governor assured the reporter that after the election Hillary would once again support the job-killing trade pact with a few cosmetic adjustments.
The McAuliffe Leak exposed the worst kept secret in Washington.
+ Bill O’Reilly did his best last night to calm a perplexed nation, still reeling from Michelle Obama’s allegation, which had not been vetted by the Texas School Book Commission, that slaves had built the White House. Yes, it’s true, O’Reilly told his anxious viewers, but relax the slave construction workers were, in fact, “well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.”
With these ameliorating words from a professional historian, Fox Nation slept soundly.
* A few days ago, Michael Moore hauled himself like a stranded walrus onto the set of the Bill Maher Show, where he predicted that Trump was going to win in the fall. Those of us who know Michael Moore knew that this was a con, a scare tactic to drive potential Greens, Libertarians or stay-at-home anarchists to vote for HRC. Michael Moore does this every general election. Flirts with a Third Party candidate, then folds. He has previously confessed his obsession with Hillary, an obsession that borders on the sexual.

. . . Now into my inbox lands a message from Moore under the subject heading: “Add Your Name?” How quaint, I thought, I didn’t think we’d been on speaking terms since his deplorable betrayal of Nader in 2004. I was crushed to discover that this was actually a fundraising letter for, imploring me to join with Moore and Lena “friggin‘” Dunham to “do everything we can to stop Trump.” Sicko, indeed.

+ Trump is a carnival barker of bullshit. This morning at his press conference in Scranton he tweaked Clinton by calling on the Russian hackers to release her emails. The reaction was seismic. Trump is inviting a foreign nation to spy on the US! Trump is calling for an enemy of the US to interfere in the American election! Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!

+ The Democrats reacted with predictable hysterics, calling Trump’s remarks “treasonous,” which is ridiculous. What Trump actually said was that “if” Russia did in fact hack into Hillary’s email account then they should release the emails, especially the 30,000 emails that her lawyers deleted AFTER they were subpoenaed.

+ Shortly after offending all of the foreign policy elites in both parties with his remarks on Russia, Trump broke with Republican orthodoxy again by announcing that he would support a $10 an hour minimum wage. Mike Pence, who opposing any minimum wage, must be having a hard time keeping up with the new talking points. The liberals, of course, reflexively denounced Trump’s plan as “incoherent.” But it is one more sign that Trump is trying to outflank Hilary on a range of issues.
Fortunately for him, he doesn’t have to veer his Rolls that far to get to the left of Clinton.

+ The US is shocked! Shocked, I tell you!! That any government might want to interfere in US elections. It is morally wrong. It violates international law. It’s the kind of action that violates every sacred principle of Democratic governments. (See Bill Blum, see Zoltan Grossman.)

+ In their quest to ensure a fully-informed American electorate, the Russian hackers should also release Trump’s tax returns and the text of Hillary’s Goldman Sachs speeches
+ The neoliberal ticket is now consecrated. The nomination of the unapologetically pro-fast track, pro-TPP Tim Kaine approved without objection Change (of positions) you can believe in. “At least he’s not Putin,” Jelle Versieren told me. “Nominating Putin would definitely be worse.”

+ Hillary’s new BFF, Elizabeth Warren, refused to say whether Tim Kaine was the “right pick” for the Democratic Party. Instead Warren mumbled that Kaine “is a good man, he has a good heart, and he has a lot of experiences. I think he is going to be a valuable member of the team for Secretary Clinton and a valuable member of the team when she is president of the United States.”

+ New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio is now on stage. Wonder if he’ll do a reprise of his “Colored Person Time” routine as a way to win back some of those Trump voters in western Pennsylvania?

+ Bernie Sanders hasn’t left the building with the Sandernistas. He gave a speech this morning to the Texas delegation, where he called Trump the “worst candidate in modern history.” If that’s true, what are they scared of? The election should be a cakewalk.

+ Almost every speaker on stage today has repeated the phrase “scary Donald Trump.” They are working overtime to scrub away the image of Madeleine Albright from last night, which caused so many Democratic children to have a sleepless night.

+ Jesse Jackson is a hollow shell of his former self. Once one of the most electrifying speakers of our time, he now is thoroughly pacified and house trained. He can’t really believe what he is saying about the woman who called black teenagers “super-predators”? What does he really mean when he says that you can “trust” the woman who pushed for the destruction of welfare that further impoverished the lives of poor black mothers and their children?
“Hillary Time? Hope Time?” Jackson couldn’t even look at the camera when he wrenched out those tortured phrases. If Jackson wasn’t embarrassed for that speech, I was on his behalf. Once he was a rebel against the System. Now he is a hired gun for the elites.

+ Who is up for a drinking game during Tim Kaine’s speech!? One shot of mezcal for every formerly long-held position that Kaine’s reverses himself on tonight. If you don’t pass out, then congratulations, you are probably one of Hunter Thompson’s illegitimate children…

+ The Clinton campaign is saturating the airwaves with a commercial featuring a montage of some of Trump’s most offensive remarks with shocked children looking on. In fact, most children probably watched few if any of Trump’s heresies before they saw all of them at once in Hillary’s commercial. Is it really about protecting the kids, Hillary?

+ Harry Reid and his wife just shuffled on stage wearing sunglasses they must have picked up at the House of Blues in Vegas. This is probably the last time we’ll see Harry Reid at one of these things. I like Harry Reid. I don’t know why. If I thought hard about it, I probably wouldn’t. But I do. He’s a former boxer and is still a fighter, even if he is so often punching the wrong targets. Alex and I interviewed him about 10 years ago. He was totally unpolished and unvarnished. We could have been talking to somebody in a bar. In fact, we were talking to somebody in a bar. Reid stood up to the nuclear lobby and won. He single-handedly kept nuclear waste out of Yucca mountain. You won’t see his kind in the future Democratic Party of pre-packaged Westworld-like clones.

+ The ambitious Lt. Gov. of California Gavin Newsom just praised the “sunny optimism” of Ronald Reagan, specifically referencing the Gipper’s “tear down that Wall” speech, one of the most rabid rants of the Cold War era.

+ The Boho Gov. of California Jerry Brown, proponent of fracking and oil drilling, is who the DNC picks to speak about climate change? Is Bill McKibben committing seppuku? One fracker endorsing the environmental bona fides of a ticket of two frackers. Give them points for consistency. Is Brown auditioning for Secretary of Interior or the board of Exxon. Is there a difference?

Why did the Democrats feel as if they could send out Jerry Brown to talk about global warming? Because Gang Green is already “all in” for Hillary and the DNC thought they could stick it right in their face with impunity (they’d be right).

+ This gun violence sequence is unfolding like a flashback to Death Night at the Republican convention.

+ There’s Chief Charles Ramsey, the former police commission for Washington, DC., talking about gun violence and the “war on cops.” You remember Ramsey don’t you? He’s the man who instituted traffic checkpoints in largely black sections of DC where information on detained motorists who were committing crimes was entered into a mass police database. Ramsey also ordered the illegal mass arrests of more than 400 protesters (perhaps even one of you) in Pershing Park during the World Bank and IMF protests in 2002. The city of DC was ordered to pay nearly $2 million in fines as compensation for this trampling of civil rights. So much for the Constitution. Perhaps Hillary is auditioning Ramsey for the next Secretary of Homeland Security. Do you feel more secure?

+ Cpt. Mark Kelly, Space Cowboy, just praised the “awesome extent of American power and capability” that engineered the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The Democrats are doubling down on the Iraq War.

+ Naturally, Commander Kelly’s homily to the Iraq War is followed by a group sing of ‘What the World Needs Now’ as a statement against gun violence! Maybe Yoko denied them the rights to ‘Give Peace a Chance?’ No matter which way you turn people are living in an Alt Reality.

+ In a strange cinematic interlude, the big screen behind the stage just aired a surreal film warning that Trump couldn’t be trusted with the “nuclear button”, which was partially narrated by … the nuclear bomber himself, Harry Truman!
+ Leon Panetta, the CIA’s master of drones, is being shouted down with “No war, No drone” chants, most of them coming from the Oregon and Washington state delegations. Play on, Sandernistas!

+ Leon Panetta sniveling about Russian hacking is the best laugh of the night. Didn’t his own hackers, working with their cohorts in Mossad, unleash the malicious Stuxnet worm on Iran?

+ The floor managers are in crisis mode. They have given all of the delegates on the floor “Stronger America” placards which they are waving with patriotic vigor and have them shouting “USA! USA!” to drown out the anti-war protesters. Did they import these people from the Trump rally in Scranton? They cut the lights to the anti-war protesters section and they responded with their Flashlight apps on their cellphones. Be prepared people!

+ Are they arresting and waterboarding the protesters in the Oregon and Washington delegations now before Biden and Obama speak? Please text home!

+ Right on cue, Rachel Maddow denounced what another MS-DNC hack called the Lunatic Left for heckling Leon Panetta, director of the CIA’s remote control killing program. “It made no sense,” she said. Which means it must have been impeccably timed.

+ And now an important message on decency, justice and morality by Joe Biden, the man who betrayed Anita Hill and wrote the Clinton Crime Bill.
+ Did they run the Biden speech through the plagiarism software? They should make sure to use the UK edition.

+ For the Democrats the only man on Earth scarier than Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin, who Biden seems to believe is the Dr. Moriarty of Moscow.

+ Introducing Michael Bloomberg to present the Bililionaire Seal of Approval to Ms. Hillary Clinton!

+ Bloomberg:  “We don’t need a bomb thrower as president.” Apparently, we need another drone launcher, instead!

+ Leave it to Bloomberg to give the most coherent indictment of Trump. There’s no hate quite as pure as that between rival billionaires. . . .

+ Get the mezcal out, here comes Citizen Kaine. Will he embrace his inner neoliberal? Or make a false confession about his sudden epiphanies on trade, bank regulation, the death penalty, abortion, and collective bargaining rights?

+ Tim Kaine is off to a halting start. Perhaps they should have had Kaine on at 3 pm? He has a goofy quality that would be endearing in a TV weather personality.

+ If Hillary and Kaine are elected, will Toni Morrison dub Kaine the first Hispanic VP because he spoke some snatches of Spanish tonight?
+ Tim Kaine, the Jesuit Missionary, talked about witnessing the horrors of the Honduran dictatorship without mentioning that it and its death squads were entirely supported by the US government and that the same generals were put back into power in a coup supported by Hillary Clinton!
+ Tim Kaine looks like he honed his rhetorical chops by watching home videos of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Did the Clintons ever see him give a speech or did they just take Terry McAuliffe’s word for it? Nothing against the great Fred Rogers, of course.

+ Kaine, the Wall Street bag man, quoting John McCain’s economic advisor for the 2008 campaign as an expert witness is probably not the most compelling testimonial against Trump.

+ Obama enters to the banal mewling of Bono! How apt. At least he didn’t profane James Brown or Smokey Robinson.

+ Obama may have been impotent to stop the killing of the kids at Newtown or the church members in Charleston. But he had complete authority to stop the killing of children, doctors, nurses, and wedding parties in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan killed by his drone strikes.

+ Optimism is the word from the O Man, which means things must be much worse than we think.

+ With a smile on his face, Obama claims “gay marriage” as a victory on his resume, even though he opposed it.

+ Obama: “There are pockets of the country that never recovered from factory closings.” Pockets? Those pockets are big enough to shoplift the Great Lakes.

+ Now Obama is quoting Reagan. Truman and Reagan have been quoted more frequently than any other figures at this convention. In fact, Obama’s speech is played in the key of Reagan. He has said that he sees himself as a “transitional figure” like, yes, Reagan.
He has exceeded beyond his expectations.
+ Obama just said Hillary has been caricatured by some on the Left. I assume he’s referring to the jacket cover of Doug Henwood’s deliciously vicious book, My Turn.

+ Obama could sell Trump Steaks to a vegan.
+ Obama swears that Hillary is the “most qualified person ever to run for president.” Perhaps. But she’s qualified in all the wrong directions.

+ Exit to Stevie Wonder. When Hillary surprised Obama on stage, she had the look of love in her eyes, as if she had just jilted Bill for Barack. But then wouldn’t you after Bubba’s creepy stalker speech last night?

This was a night dominated by the hollow men of the Democratic Party:  Panetta, Kaine, Biden and Obama. Men who knew better, but did worse. The theme was liberal virility, strength, and managerial efficiency. Missing was any empathy for the homeless and the hungry, the poor and the downtrodden. It was a frontal embrace of the neoliberal order, a demonstration that the Democrats have the competency and toughness to manage the imperial order in a time of severe internal and external stress.

The last three hours weren’t a full-throated repudiation of Sanderism, so much as a casual dismissal, as if the core concerns Bernie’s movement gave voice to regarding the ravages of economic inequality didn’t even merit their attention. And Bernie sat passively in the imperial box seats with Jane squirming at his side, watching it all unfold.

Barack Obama possesses so many scintillating skills, perhaps more skills than any other political figure of the modern era. Yet he put those magical gifts to such meagre, timid and often brutal uses. What a waste.

His is the tragedy of a squandered presidency.

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are doing a "Solutions Summer" group of programs which is intellectually stimulating and quite controversial possibly for those who think there's no way out of our current economic troubles without waging more war.

Will Any Future POTUS Matter (Other Than Launching More Wars)?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dem Problem Out and Back In - Mother Donna Courtesy of CNN Replaces Her (How the FED Could Have Solved Lehman Without Ruining Economy Forever?)  Jamie Dimon Violates More Proudly  (Does Hillary Get IT? Does Trump?)  Warren Buffett's Machines Choose Hillary or Trump  (Who Wants Elections Easily Stolen?)  Same Israeli Photographs Munich and Nice - Where Are Moving Vans?

Same Israeli Photo-Propagandist Pre-positioned to Record Both Munich and Nice Attacks - Cynthia McKinney

Afghanistan:  President Obama’s Vietnam

Wasserman-Schultz out and then back in? Remind you of anything?

Hillary Clinton Welcomes Wasserman-Schultz to Campaign as ‘Honorary Chair’

CNN commentator Donna Brazile will suspend her ties with the news network as she takes the reins of the Democratic National Committee after the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
Politico quoted a CNN spokeswoman, who said via email on Sunday, “With news of Donna Brazile stepping in as interim chair for the Democratic National Committee, CNN and Brazile have mutually agreed to temporarily suspend her contract as a contributor for the network effective immediately. As a valued voice and commentator, CNN will revisit the contract once Brazile concludes her role.”

Brava! (So to speak.)

Whistleblower told "Life isn't fair." What a realization! Too late.

Justin Bull, the bank’s former chief operating officer, mocked Chris Ashton during his April 2015 disciplinary hearing, Ashton said in a witness statement made public Tuesday. During the hearing, Ashton said it was unfair to apply rules made in the wake of the scandal to his conduct in 2012.
“Justin leaned forward, spread his arms and said ‘Well, life isn’t fair,”’ Ashton said in his statement. "I found it not only unfair, but entirely unreasonable and deeply offensive."
Ashton sued, saying he was fired unfairly and made a scapegoat after he blew the whistle on improper conduct in electronic chat rooms in 2012, a year before news of the scandal broke.
The bank says Ashton intentionally ignored its code of conduct by using offensive language and sharing confidential information.

Echoing articles I've been reading for over seven years, we finally have a noted economist from the Johns Hopkins University to fill in the blanks. (Click on the link below to read the .pdf file.)

Could the Fed Have Prevented the Lehman Brothers Collapse?

Johns Hopkins economist Laurence Ball examines 2008 bankruptcy that ushered in financial crisis

Laurence M. Ball
Image caption: Laurence M. Ball
The September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, an event that touched off a global financial crisis and ultimately ushered in the Great Recession, could have been averted had the Federal Reserve acted more decisively, asserts Laurence Ball, chair of the Department of Economics at Johns Hopkins University.
Ball makes his case in a paper titled "The Fed and Lehman Brothers," the result of four years of research. He recently presented the research to a group of economists in Cambridge, Mass.
More from The New York Times:
In especially strong language for an academic, Professor Ball takes issue with the established narrative that the Fed was powerless to lend to Lehman in its waning hours:  "Fed officials have not been transparent about the Lehman crisis. Their explanations for their actions rest on flawed economic and legal reasoning and dubious factual claims."
By focusing narrowly on a claim by the Fed that it had no choice but to let Lehman fail, Professor Ball, in his 214-page paper, has brought much needed clarity and rigor to the historical record. His conclusions directly contradict accounts in testimony, memoirs and myriad media interviews by the principal decision makers — Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary; Ben S. Bernanke, then the Fed chairman; and Timothy F. Geithner, who was president of the New York Fed.
Ball's research suggests that the Fed did have legal authority to intervene, but instead chose — for a variety of reasons — to let Lehman fail.
"I'm not trying to judge them or say I or anyone else would have done any better," he told "The Times." "There was extraordinary political pressure not to bail out Lehman, and it would have been very difficult to go against that. But that's completely different from what they've said. The record needs to be set straight."
In his report, Ball concludes:  "Lehman might have survived indefinitely as an independent firm; it might have been acquired by another institution; or eventually it might have been forced to wind down its business. Any of these outcomes, however, would likely have been less disruptive to the financial system than the bankruptcy that actually occurred."

No surprise here.

Wonder how grand (and disgusting) his next Chritmas card will be?

Did Jamie Dimon’s Secret Meetings With Competitors Violate Antitrust Laws?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 22, 2016
A mere three months after JPMorgan Chase and three of its competitors (Citicorp, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland) pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to rig foreign currency trading and paid criminal fines totaling over $2.5 billion, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, began meeting in secret with his competitors in the asset management field.
On February 1 of this year, the "Financial Times" reported that “secret summits” had been held beginning in August 2015 between “asset management bosses” including Jamie Dimon, Abby Johnson of Fidelity, Larry Fink of BlackRock, and Tim Armour of Capital Group. The article went on to report that Dimon and Warren Buffett had convened the sessions at JPMorgan’s headquarters in New York to discuss “a statement of best practice on corporate governance.”
Secret meetings between competitors, regardless of what they are said to be discussing, is a serious no-no under U.S. antitrust law. A company like JPMorgan Chase, that was charged by the U.S. Justice Department in 2014 with two deferred prosecution felony counts for its egregious conduct in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and hit again the next year with the felony count in the foreign currency conspiracy is skating on very thin ice. (It should be noted that under Jamie Dimon’s leadership, JPMorgan Chase received its only felony counts in the bank’s century old history. That should tell the public something about how things have changed in American banking culture.)
Two trial lawyers, Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer, have written a book and set up a web site to call the public’s attention to JPMorgan’s mob-like activity. The lawyers write:  “In the past four years alone, JPMorgan Chase has paid out $35,735,254,670  in fines and settlements for fraudulent and illegal practices.” In one chapter of the book, they compare JPMorgan Chase to the Gambino crime family and recommend that it be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
If these meetings were genuinely about crafting “best practice on corporate governance” why did they commence in secret? Why were they not commenced at one of the official financial industry trade associations like the Financial Services Forum or the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), which says it is “the voice of the nation’s securities industry.”

According to guidelines published by various trade associations and law firms, the following rules must be followed when conducting meetings between competitors to avoid the perception, or actual charges, of antitrust violations:
– Meetings must be regularly scheduled and should never be secret.
– A properly designated Chairman shall prepare and follow a formal agenda which should be reviewed in advance by legal counsel.
– Legal counsel should be present at all meetings.
– Formal written minutes of meetings should be taken and archived.
– Properly instituted bylaws should be followed.
– A Board of Directors should be properly instituted.
– Any company meeting the requirements of the bylaws should be allowed membership in the group.
Yesterday, the "New York Times"’ Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote about the secret meetings, providing an altruistic spin. Despite writing in the article that participants “had arrived for a meeting that they were told they would absolutely have to keep secret,” Ross Sorkin does not once raise the antitrust issue in the article.
He does note however that at some point the group was expanded beyond just asset managers to include “the chiefs of General Motors, General Electric and Verizon,” although he does not make it clear if these individuals actually attended meetings or just participated in conference calls and email exchanges.

The group has launched a web site that includes no mention of a Board of Directors, bylaws, minutes, legal counsel or any of the other mandates to comply with U.S. antitrust laws. It has published its recommendations on corporate governance principles and says in a letter that:
“More than 90 million Americans own our public companies through their investments in mutual funds, and millions more do so through their participation in corporate, public and union pension plans. These owners include veterans, retirees, teachers, nurses, firemen, and city, state and federal workers. We owe it to all of them – and to all our shareholders and investors who have entrusted us with their savings – to get this right.”
The governance principles are signed by billionaires Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett and 11 other One-Percenters. There is no mention that any veteran, retiree, teacher, nurse, fireman, municipal worker or consumer rights group (that the authors correctly note are impacted by these decisions carved out in secret) sat in on the meetings or had input into the fashioning of the principles.

Want to know whom the protesters are?

Wouldn't everyone.

Philadelphia is bracing for up to 200,000 protesters -- even as organizers insist there could be up to 1 million. 
A “fart-in” so people can smell the “stink” of U.S. political system, a “Clintonville” shanty town modeled off of then Hoovervilles of the 1930s, de-registration efforts by multiple groups — these are just a few things that demonstrators protesting this week’s Democratic National Convention have up their sleeves.

Don't miss the comments below the next article.

Because they are especially pithy.

(Careful, Erica. It's all in the pronunciation.)

Does Hillary Get It?

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Website
25 July 16
Does Hillary Clinton understand that the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment?

I worry she doesn’t – at least not yet.

A Democratic operative I’ve known since the Bill Clinton administration told me “now that she’s won the nomination, Hillary is moving to the middle. She’s going after moderate swing voters.”

Presumably that’s why she tapped Tim Kaine to be her vice president. Kaine is as vanilla middle as you can get.

In fairness, Hillary is only doing what she knows best. Moving to the putative center is what Bill Clinton did after the Democrats lost the House and Senate in 1994 – signing legislation on welfare reform, crime, trade, and financial deregulation that enabled him to win reelection in 1996 and declare “the era of big government” over.

In those days a general election was like a competition between two hot-dog vendors on a boardwalk extending from right to left. Each had to move to the middle to maximize sales. (If one strayed too far left or right, the other would move beside him and take all sales on rest of the boardwalk.)

But this view is outdated. Nowadays, it’s the boardwalk versus the private jets on their way to the Hamptons.

The most powerful force in American politics today is anti-establishment fury at a system rigged by big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy.

This is a big reason why Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. It’s also why Bernie Sanders took 22 states in the Democratic primaries, including a majority of Democratic primary voters under age 45.

There are no longer “moderates.”  There’s no longer a “center.” There’s authoritarian populism (Trump) or democratic populism (which had been Bernie’s “political revolution,” and is now up for grabs).

And then there’s the Republican establishment (now scattered to the winds), and the Democratic establishment.

If Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party don’t recognize this realignment, they’re in for a rude shock – as, I’m afraid, is the nation. Because Donald Trump does recognize it. His authoritarian (“I’ am your voice”) populism is premised on it.

“In five, ten years from now,” Trump says, “you’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry.”

Speaking at a factory in Pennsylvania in June, he decried politicians and financiers who had betrayed Americans by “taking away from the people their means of making a living and supporting their families.”

Worries about free trade used to be confined to the political left. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, people who say free-trade deals are bad for America are more likely to lean Republican.

The problem isn’t trade itself. It’s a political-economic system that won’t cushion working people against trade’s downsides or share trade’s upsides. In other words, a system that’s rigged.

Most basically, the anti-establishment wants big money out of politics. This was the premise of Bernie Sanders’s campaign. It’s also been central to Donald (“I’m so rich I can’t be bought off”) Trump’s appeal, although he’s now trolling for big money.
. . . Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to move toward the “middle.” In fact, such a move could hurt her if it’s perceived to be compromising the stances she took in the primaries in order to be more acceptable to Democratic movers and shakers.

She needs to move instead toward the anti-establishment – forcefully committing herself to getting big money out of politics, and making the system work for the many rather than a privileged few.

She must make clear Donald Trump’s authoritarian populism is a dangerous gambit, and the best way to end crony capitalism and make America work for the many is to strengthen American democracy.

# Anonymot 2016-07-25 09:07
Hillary has not shot herself in the foot, but in the head - and we'll all be buried with her despicable ignorance, her ego, her greed, and her bad judgment.

Reading your article merely is convincing that between these two devils there is a greater chance of survival with Trump than with the Clintons/Deep State.

Mr. Reich, you surely have the Clinton phone number. Tell her to stand down in favor of Sanders or she will go down in the infamy she has brought on herself.

# Helga Fellay 2016-07-25 09:34
and Reich doesn't get it either or he would not have written that "the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment." It's both. The establishment represents the right, in both parties. The left represents those that are leaving both establishment parties to join the Greens or the growing numbers of voters unaffiliated with either party.
# Buddha 2016-07-25 09:41
One could argue that the Tim Kaine appointment shows that she doesn't get it. The Dems strayed from Progressive principles and stopped caring about the working class. Whereas the GOP hasn't represented the working class in more than a century. The irony is that the Republican Party overthrew their bought-and-paid-for Establishment, whereas the Democratic Party simply re-nominated its Establishment for ANOTHER 4 years of rigging the system against the working class. If Trump wins, it isn't going to be "idiot Americans'" fault, it isn't going to be the fault of any of us Progressives who vote Stein or just don't show up, it will be the fault of the Democratic Party Establishment and the "Stockholm Syndrome" Dem voters who supported that Establishment in the Primary for shoving such a despised and untrustworthy candidate like HRC down our throats.
# christianadvocate 2016-07-25 09:52
It is amazing to me that the party whose very existence is premised on beating down wages and jobs so that profits could rise for corporate America, has actually seized from the Democrats the working class. This is due to the Dems spending their time focused on moral and cultural issues at the expense of the every-day working class individual. Shame on us Democrats for letting it happen. 
# Blackjack 2016-07-25 09:55
No, she doesn't get it and she doesn't care. This entire election is all about her. She's not as vocal in her narcissism as Trump is, but it exists, nonetheless. She also doesn't get how she and her DNC henchmen have turned off older, loyal Dems. I will not vote for her and my days as a Dem loyalist are over. I could once hold my head up high, knowing that Dems had higher moral values and cared more about the little people than the Repukes. No more. For the last 40 years Dems have slid more and more rightward, to the point that I no longer recognize the party. It truly has left me and now I am leaving it. The election is up for grabs and the Dem candidate should be one who "gets it." That would be Bernie, of course, but thanks to the sleazy tactics employed by the Dem Party, the DNC, and HRC, the best man/woman will NOT win in 2016. Dems have squandered a golden opportunity and the party, the country and the world will suffer as a result.
# librarian1984 2016-07-25 10:17 First off, HRC has NOT won the nomination. You can say it 5000 times but it doesn't make it true. Nice AP imitation BTW.

Secondly, Kaine is as 'vanilla middle' as you can get? Really? MOST people are FOR TPP, fracking, WS deregulation and limits on women's control of their own healthcare? hmm

I'm in PA, a big state in play, and if the election were held today I think Trump would win.

Establishment vs populism -- that's the big idea? Everybody has known this for a year. You going to tell us all about the iphone 5 next? Or is the news that the Clinton people aren't listening, aren't taking input, aren't even pretending to be transparent or honest? yawn.

Trump isn't desirable but he can read a room and he's right about the left forming a populist party. If the Democrats don't eject the Clintons this week they are looking at a new opponent from the left, and they can kiss the executive goodbye for a long time. They can kiss a Democratic Senate goodbye too because HRC heading the ticket will depress the base. Literally! It is really a pleasure to watch the convention activities. These establishment shills are squirming under the negative attention. I've even seen a couple of reporters ask tough questions! It's about time.
# RMDC 2016-07-25 11:12 The Clinton political machine is a front for big banks. If the Clintons did not do this dirty work, the banks would have plenty of others who would. Obama was happy to do the work for the banks. By banks I really mean the military-industrial-banking-israeli complex.

The Clintons are just functionaries. They do what they are told. They have been able to put together a political machine what is very effective. They essentially took over the Democrat party in the 1990s when it was in disarray after the Reagan revolution. They turned it into the elite servant staff that is is today.

This is the essence of an establishment party and functionary. Clinton will say whatever is needed to get people to vote for her.

Hillary will be president. She has the political machine that Trump cannot beat. She will be very unpopular and Trump will beat her up pretty badly. The congressional republicans will impeach her during her first term. The senate won't convict her. A damaged and weak Hillary is good for congressional republicans. She will be bullied and will do their bidding, just as Bill did in the 90s.
# Headzzzup 2016-07-25 11:16
Part 1: Sat - day after Rep. Convention. The Establishment MSM & Establishment pundits got it all wrong. They said the week was a disaster for the Republican Party and blamed Trump for his disorganized and badly planned Convention. What they got wrong is that this Convention was about the planned demolition of the Rep Party by Trump. The “any one but Trump movement” was totally defeated. Ted Cruz had a long (vetted) speech that laid out the Conservative, Religious right view of the Republican Party. He was booed off stage. He said don’t vote for this charlatan (“vote your conscience”} and was booed off stage. His wife had to be escorted through the crowd of delegates to prevent her from being injured. The pundits said this was a disastrous speech. Instead, it cemented Trump as the anti-Republican candidate.
# Headzzzup 2016-07-25 11:20
Part 4: Watch Trump drop all the Rep trappings in the next month and move consistently to the left of Hillary. Against the TPP and all the trade agreements that benefit the corporate elite, not the common man (Bernie’s stance) - against the regime changes that are Hillary’s hawkish hallmark (Bernie’s stance) - instead of spending our money abroad, spend it at home, building our infrastructure (Bernie’s stance) - revise the broken, obsolete NATO alliance (similar to Obama’s stance). Have NATO countries carry the costs of our defending their countries. Stop Hillary’s aggressive war against Russia - risking a Nuclear War that would wipe out civilization as we know it. 

These are now Warren Buffett's "strip-and-flip" voting machines.

Ready for the fun, kiddies?

You can't tell the players without a score card!

Will GOP Swing State Governors Strip & Flip Donald Trump Into the White House?

By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
24 July 16 
s the Democratic Convention opens in Philadelphia, there’s just one one clear message that matters from the Republicans: Donald Trump will be within ten points of Hillary Clinton in the fall election.
Thus, unless the Democrats do something about the issue of election protection, it will be within the power of key GOP swing state governors to give Donald Trump the presidency.

For all its problems, the wildly disorganized and fractious gathering in Cleveland all boiled down to Trump’s final speech. It was rambling and often incoherent. But it delivered the classic strongman message: You need ME to protect you.

Given the chaos, violence, and injustice of imperial America in 2016, that message is almost certain to sell with enough Americans to keep Trump close enough to Hillary Clinton to allow the election to be electronically stripped and flipped.

In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama was able to overcome these barriers with a huge popular margin in more states than the GOP could reasonably steal.

This year, in a close election, given how the mechanics of our election system operate, the decision of who will enter the White House will be in the hands of the GOP governors of such swing states as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona.

Those will be the only six votes that really count in November. Should all or most of these governors (with their GOP Secretaries of State) flip the vote count for Trump, he will likely has a lock on the White House.

Two major “strip and flip” forces can doom the Democrats in 2016.

First, the GOP stripping of millions of suspected Democrats from the voter roles is proceeding. As Greg Palast reports in his brilliant new film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy – a Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits,” computer programs coordinated by Kris Kobach, Kansas’s GOP secretary of state, are being used to disenfranchise millions of mostly African-American, Hispanic and young citizens.

As exposed by Palast, the stripping technique entered the computer age in 2000, when Florida governor Jeb Bush dropped more than 90,000 blacks and Hispanics from the registration rolls in an election ultimately decided by 537 votes.

In 2004 the Ohio GOP stripped more than 300,000 inner city voters in an election decided by 118,775 officially, though more than 90,000 votes still remain uncounted.

Palast shows that in 2016, the Democratic constituency will be electronically stripped of millions of voters in at least two dozen key states, easily enough to make the difference in a close election.

But if that isn’t enough to put Trump in the White House, the final count can be flipped with computerized “adjustments” made in the dark hours of election night.

In both Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, electronic manipulation put and kept George W. Bush in the White House.

In 2016, well over half the votes will be cast on electronic voting machines. Most of these are ten years old or more. All can be easily manipulated by their owners, which are private corporations, primarily Warren Buffett’s ES&S.

The courts have ruled that the software on these machines is proprietary. So there is no effective public monitoring or accountability of the tallying process. At the end of election day, if they are in agreement with each other, the governor and secretary of state can make the vote count pretty much whatever they want.

In a close election, the six key swing states electronically available to the GOP are likely to comprise more than enough votes to swing the Electoral College. The question is:  will their governors give those electoral votes to Trump?

Florida’s governor is the far-right Rick Scott. After 2000, Florida reformed the secretary of state position used by Katherine Harris to help Jeb Bush put George W. Bush in the White House. But the governor’s power over the vote count remains potentially decisive. Florida also has a key Senate race involving Marco Rubio, which gives the GOP an added incentive

North Carolina has also made adjustments to its vote count system, and has a Democratic Secretary of State. But its disenfranchisement measures are legendary and could be decisive.

Michigan, Iowa and Arizona could all be strip-and-flip locks for the GOP.

So as always, Ohio may be the key. Governor John Kasich has made very clear his disdain for Donald Trump. But the US Senate race pits his good friend Rob Portman against the former Democratic governor Ted Strickland. Kasich may be willing to throw Trump under the bus. But he and his secretary of state, Jon Husted, will be strongly committed to sending Portman back to the Senate.

Thus they won’t want the unlikely discrepancy of a GOP Senate victory alongside a GOP presidential loss.

Whatever the case, no matter how many hundreds of millions are spent on this campaign, no matter how many thousands of hours the bloviators blab about this issue or that, when push comes to shove, this election will be decided on election night by the swing state governors and secretaries of state who have their hands on the electronic vote count.

Thus the smart money would be on Donald Trump entering the White House in January 2017.

(Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman’s Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft is at, along with The Fitrakis Files. Harvey Wasserman’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History is at
# grandlakeguy 2016-07-24 22:54 Everyone should know what happens to anyone in office (or attempting to get into office) when their election is hacked and they cry foul...

Please look into the case of DON SIEGELMAN who won the election for Governor in Alabama in November 2002 only to have his win taken away the next morning when thousands of votes were "discovered" in Baldwin County flipping the election to Republican Riley. The Republicans would not allow an examination or recount of those
votes and Don Siegelman raised hell about it.
Karl Rove got involved and...
Don Siegelman is still in prison on ridiculous charges.
. . . When we monitor elections in foreign nations any discrepancy in the exit polling in excess of 2% throws the results into question. 

In this year's primaries we saw exit polling discrepancies in numerous states in the 8% to 11% range.

Coincidentally those primaries ALWAYS showed that the manipulations favored Hillary Clinton.

The obvious nature of what was happening became so glaring that the DNC found an ingenious way to make sure that they would not be thusly embarrassed in California, what was the solution?

# elizabethblock 2016-07-24 21:18
Yes, we do. I've been an election official in Canada for every election for something like twenty years. We only use machines to count ballots in municipal elections, where there is more than one office on the ballot -- but there are still paper ballots, and if there's a problem they can be recounted.

If Americans use stealable election technology, it's because that's what they, or some of them, want. Eh?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

(What Are You Looking At?)  Trump Bravado Rules Weak (Hillary Good As Goldmen)  Scary Veeps Galore  (Nice Not Nice)  Take Back Your Economy?

The latest from the Republican Convention floor (from DailyKos) on the Trumpiness ramifications:

  • Republicans are in full-on panic mode. Donald Trump is officially the Republican Party's nominee for president. The Republican National Convention has been a disaster for them. Hillary Clinton is leading in the polls.

  • The Koch brothers have started abandoning at-risk GOP senators. Koch-funded Freedom Partners just canceled a whopping $2.2 million ad buy in Wisconsin, where incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has struggled in the polls. The Kochs abandoning Wisconsin suggests they think the race is unwinnable and that their money would be better-used elsewhere.

  • This could be the beginning of a full-scale GOP retreat. Trump is toxic and he could sink the entire GOP ticket this fall — Democrats could run the table. We need to respond to the Kochs' retrenchment with a surge of support for Democrats running in must-win Senate seats for that to happen. 

Don't forget to ask President Obama's half-brother Malik for whom he's voting now though.

I'm guessing all's right in the neolib/con world what with both VP candidates chosen due to being anti-abortion religious nut cases who seem really normal to the unobservant (they dress-up well). Both sides seem to still be in love with that famous line attributed to either Lincoln or P.T. Barnum (imagine that) about fooling all of the people some of the time. Because that may be enough.

Hillary and Tim Kaine:  a Match Made on Wall Street

Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders warned that Hillary Clinton’s eventual vice presidential pick must not be someone from the milieu of Wall Street and Corporate America. And while Sanders is still fighting to win the Democratic Party nomination in what many have argued is a rigged system with a foregone conclusion, it appears that Sanders is also intent on influencing the course of the Clinton campaign and the party itself.

Yeah. I'm worried about Trump.

But not this worried.

Good as Goldman:  Hillary and Wall Street

. . . Mrs. Clinton’s stubborn refusal to disclose the text of her three speeches to Goldman Sachs executives in the fall of 2013 fits this self-destructive pattern of greed and guilt. She was fortunate that Bernie Sanders proved too feeble a candidate to seize the advantage. Each time Sanders was asked to show a nexus between the $675,000 she was paid and any political favors to the financial vultures at Goldman, the senator froze, proving strangely incapable of driving a stake into the heart of her campaign.
A less paranoid politician would have simply released the tedious transcripts of the speeches on a Friday evening to bore insomniac readers to sleep. The real question, of course, was never about the content of the speeches, but about why Goldman was paying her $225,000 an hour to give them.

Goldman executives weren’t huddling around Mrs. Clinton to listen to her recite the obscurantist mish-mash ghost-dictated by her top economic advisor Alan Blinder. Blinder, a well-known Wall Street commodity himself, is a former vice-chair of the Federal Reserve and co-founder of Promontory Interfinancial Network, a regulatory arbitrage outfit whose top executives pocket $30 million a year. Blinder has publicly assured his Wall Street pals that Clinton will not under any circumstances break up the big banks and neither will she seek to reanimate Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era regulatory measure whose exsanguination by her husband enabled the financial looting by firms like Goldman and Lehman Brothers that spurred the global economic collapse of 2008.

The lavish fee from Goldman for Hillary’s speeches was both a gratuity for past loyalty and a down payment on future services. Goldman’s ties to the Clintons date back at least to 1985, when Goldman executives began pumping money into the newly formed Democratic Leadership Council, a kind of proto-SuperPac for the advancement of neoliberalism. Behind its “third-way” politics smokescreen, the DLC was shaking down corporations and Wall Street financiers to fund the campaigns of business-friendly “New” Democrats such as Al Gore and Bill Clinton.

The DLC served as the political launching pad for the Clintons, boosting them out of the obscurity of the Arkansas dog-patch into the rarified orbit of the Georgetown cocktail circuit and the Wall Street money movers. By the time Bill rambled through his interminable keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta, the Clintons’ Faustian pact with Goldman had already been inked, their political souls cleansed of any vestiges of the primitive southern populism Clinton had exploited so effortlessly during his first term as governor.

In 1991, the Clintons traveled to Manhattan, where they tested the waters for Bill’s then rather improbable presidential bid. At a dinner meeting with Goldman’s co-chair Robert Rubin, Clinton made his case as a more pliant political vessel than George H.W. Bush, who many of the younger Wall Street raiders had soured on. Rubin emerged from the dinner so impressed that he agreed to serve as one of the campaign’s top economic advisors. More crucially, Rubin soon began orchestrating a riptide of Wall Street money into Clinton’s campaign war chest, not only from Goldman but also from other banking and investment titans, such as Lehman Brothers and Citibank, who were eager to see the loosening of federal financial regulations. With Rubin priming the pump, Clinton’s campaign coffers soon dwarfed his rivals and enabled him to survive the sex scandals that detonated on the eve of the New Hampshire primary.

After his election, Clinton swiftly returned the favor checking off one item after another on Rubin’s wish list, often at the expense of the few morsels he’d tossed to the progressive base of the party. In a rare fit of pique, Clinton erupted during one meeting of his National Economic Council, which Rubin chaired, in the first fraught year of his presidency by yelling:  “You mean my entire agenda has been turned over to the fucking bond market?” Surely, Bill meant this as a rhetorical question.

When the time came to do the serious business of deregulating the financial sector, Rubin migrated from the shadows of the NEC to become Treasury Secretary, where he oversaw the implementation of NAFTA, the immiseration of the Mexican economy, imposed shock therapy on the struggling Russian economy, blocked the regulation of credit derivatives and gutted Glass-Steagall.

When Rubin left the Treasury to cash in on his work at Citigroup, Clinton called him “the greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton.” Nine years later, following the greatest upward transfer of wealth in history, the global economy was in ruins, with Clinton, Rubin and Goldman Sachs’ fingerprints all over the carnage.

In mid-May, Hillary announced her intention to make Bill the “economic czar” for her administration. This served to quell any anxiety that she might have been infected during the primary campaign by the Sanders virus. For Wall Street, the Clintons are still as good as Goldman. Quid pro quo.

    And on the world scene (just awaiting Hillary's re-arrival?):

    Another incredible familiar 9/11 scenario?

    Cui Bono?

    Nice Attacks, Destroying Evidence at Crime Scene:  French Government Orders Destruction of CCTV Video Footage

    Gearóid Ó Colmáin 21 July 2016 
    A report in 21st of July edition of Le Figaro newspaper states that France’s anti-terrorist executive (sous-direction anti-terroriste- SDAT) has ordered Nice’s urban surveillance authorities to destroy all CCTV footage of the Nice Attacks on Bastille Day that rocked the city on the 14th of July 2016.
    Although SDAT have cited articles 53 and L706-24 of the prosecution procedure and article R642-1 of the penal code, authorities in Nice interviewed by Le Figaro say that it is the first time they have ever been asked to destroy evidence at a crime scene – something they point out is illegal.

    The explanation given by the French Ministry of Justice is that they don’t want ‘uncontrolled’ and ‘non-authorised (non maîtrisée) diffusion of the images of the terrorist attacks. The Judicial Police have noted that 140 videos of the attacks in their possession show ‘important pieces of the inquiry’ (éléments d’enquête intéressants). The French government claims it wants to prevent ISIS from gaining access to videos of the attacks for the purposes of propaganda. They also claim that the destruction of evidence is intended to protect the families of the victims. The comments section of the Le Figaro article is replete with outrage and disgust by the fact that the French government, instead of preserving evidence for the purposes of a thorough, independent investigation, is in fact behaving rather more like the chief suspect in the attack – ordering the destruction of vital evidence.

    There is something rotten in France’s Judicial Police. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the 7th of January 2015, the judicial police behaved suspiciously before and as they did after the ‘suicide’ of Limoge’s deputy Police Commissioner Helric Fredou. Fredou was found dead shortly after the arrival of the French Judicial Police to his office in Limoges shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. His family were not allowed see his body for 24 hours after his death; they suspect foul play. The Judicial Police claimed he had shot himself in the head, though his mother said she did not see evidence of this. The police commissioner was said to be suffering from depression, a claim denied by the family doctor. Fredou was found dead in his office before the publication of a report on the relationship between Jeanette Bougrab, a former press secretary of Nicolas Sarkozy, and one of the deceased in the attack, Stéphane Charbonnier

    He was found dead in his office before the publication of a report on the relationship between Jeanette Bougrab, a former press secretary of Nicolas Sarkozy, and one of the deceased in the attack, Stéphane Charbonnier known as ‘Charb’. The relationship between Bougrab, who is close to all the leaders of the French Zionist movement, and Charb, was one of the most controversial aspects of the Charlie Hebdo massacre story. Fredou was also investigating the background of the Kouachi brothers who were accused of the massacre. They had lived in the town of Limoges.

    An article in France’s l’Est Républicain newspaper attempts to reassure the public of the French government’s bona fides with the title ‘No, the footage of the attack has not been deleted’. The report asserts that the Ministry of Justice have not ordered the destruction of evidence but just the deletion of the images from the cameras in Nice.

    This reassurance might be enough to placate those who are loathe to question the narrative of the war on terror. But, as the recent booing of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Nice showed, the French people are waking up.

    Now France’s Judicial Police and anti-terrorist authorities want to destroy evidence of the attacks. In most crime cases, those who destroy or seek to destroy evidence are usually trying to cover something up. I have already pointed out some of the inconsistencies in the story we have been told about the Nice massacre. I have not claimed nothing happened or no one was killed but rather that the video evidence so far presented does not match the story. Perhaps new video evidence proving the government’s story will emerge. Let’s hope so! If researchers and journalists with a proven record of peace advocacy and a passion for truth and honesty in reporting were to gain access to those videos, ISIS would be weakened not strengthened.
    But we would be naive to believe the French government intends to weaken ISIS, given the incontrovertibly proven fact that they support the child-murdering head choppers in Syria. While some will find their comfort zones and systems justification syndrome perturbed by this information, many more will simply fall back to sleep.Falling asleep is easier in the short term but in time people will realise that the mattress is being pulled from under them, so that when they wake up in terrible discomfort, it will be too late. It’s time to wake up!

    Nice–14 July – Lie Propaganda in Overdrive – Murder Is the New Normal

    Now that the French Secret Services and their foreign associates have read the accounts of ‘false flag’ suspicion in the non-mainstream media, the French Government had to resort immediately to all sorts of doubt deviating maneuvers.
    - The truck driven through the Bastille Day celebrating masses on Boulevard des Anglais, suddenly did not break through the barricade protecting the strip as a pedestrian area for the celebration, but it entered through an unprotected side-street. The ‘drive’ was allegedly prepared days in advance, even with dry runs, according to street cameras and telephone conversations between Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel (MLB), the driver of the truck, and a bunch of friends, whom he also asked to supply him with weapons. Strangely, the videos and telephone conversations emerged just days later.
    - Judging from the bullet holes in the truck’s cabin, it doesn’t look like the police was actually shooting at the driver. Has anybody seen him dead?
    - About five or six of MLB’s sudden associates where in the meantime apprehended for questioning. The number of associates varies depending on the mainstream media you read or listen to.

    - Mr. MLB’s psychiatrist in Tunisia has revealed that his patient had indeed a violent and unstable personality – hello! – did you know that MLB, a destitute man, the alleged perpetrator of the crime, had a psychiatrist in Tunisia? – Well, we can’t ask him anymore. He is dead – or is he?

    - TeleSur reported that MLB’s brother in Tunisia was surprised having received a sudden transfer of € 100,000 from his brother, as compared to the former small transfers corresponding to MLB’s previously reported poverty and debt. Is this a hint to make us believe that he got paid a lot of money to carry out this mass-murder on behalf of Daesh?

    France as a country and through NATO is supporting ISIS-Daesh with training, weapons and money, along with Washington and Washington’s other European and Mid-Eastern vassals. Why would Daesh attack France?

    May this be a dual complot, Daesh cells in connivance with the highest French authorities, is ordered to attack France yet again, so as to incite France and other US vassals to keep funding more bombing campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Libya, knowing quite well that to the contrary of what the mainstream media (msm) wants us to believe, the bombs are not meant to subdue and eliminate Daesh, but rather to conquer Syria, Iraq, Libya and more to come – of course, on behalf of the empire. Daesh-IS-ISIS are in fact NATO’s foot soldiers.

    After all, Mr. Hollande and his Minister of Defense have in the past boasted of supporting Al-Nusra on behalf of Washington, of course, since Washington declared them as ‘moderate rebels’ who have to be helped to oust the legitimate President Al Assad, no matter that Pentagon observers concluded that Al-Nusra was identical with the Islamic State.

    In the meantime, even the illustrious, neoliberal mouth piece of Washington, the New York Times, pits some doubts against the official story. In an article on 18 July, the paper concludes

    “governments also see a benefit in linking the Islamic State to what are sometimes random and unconnected acts of violence. It is a way to project order amid chaos, and to try to assure jittery citizens that there is a strategy to end the violence. For example, in the days since the Nice attack, French officials have pledged to increase the resources that the country is devoting to the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.”
    “after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel slaughtered dozens of people when he drove a 19-ton refrigerated truck through a Bastille Day celebration on Thursday in Nice, France, the authorities did not hesitate to call it an act of Islamic terrorism. The attacker had a record of petty crime but no obvious ties to a terrorist group, yet the French prime minister swiftly said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel was “a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another.”
    Quoting Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism and a professor at Dartmouth College, the NYT article concludes, “If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism.”

    This definition of terrorism serves the purpose. It allows building up more hatred against Muslims, more public support to go to war against them, more profit for the war industry – and, foremost, allows the elite and real perpetrators of such crimes and wars moving ever a step closer to Full Spectrum Dominance. And, We, the People, remain oblivious to this Bigger Picture.

    This, like the previous two French massacres – and also the one in Brussels earlier this year – are botched cases of the security agencies in charge of organizing them. As in the previous cases, the media will now be told to shut up. The case will be forgotten fast; until the next massacre, when innocent people are being murdered to steadily advance the cause of a small elite to whom our western governments are enslaved.

    Since the ascent of neoliberalism in the 1980s, our western world’s leaders have gradually turned to criminals and associates of an industry of legalized thieves, killers, drug-traffickers and liars. Hard to believe? Just look at the FED (Federal Reserve), ECB (European Central Bank), BIS (Bank for International Settlement), Wall Street; the war industry, DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), and the six giant Anglo-Zionist media corporations that control 90% of the western news.

    Take Obama, he prides himself to personally approve every drone killing, extra-judiciary killings are assassinations. We, the People, have become numb to these events.

    The president of the United States of America, the head of the self-proclaimed empire, is effectively a murderer, has become the new normal. The fact that Hollande, Cameron, Merkel and many other peons of his empire are also murderers cumleaders (sic) of western countries around the globe – of billions of people – is swallowed without a whimper by the masses.

    Where have we gone? What have we become?

    Where is our self-esteem, our respect for the life of our fellow human-beings – our deep-rooted original sense of ethics and solidarity?

    (Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, Chinese 4th Media, TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.)

    Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent

    With the Republican convention just concluded, and the Democrat party nominating convention around the corner, it has now become clear that the 2016 U.S. presidential election is unlike preceding elections in recent decades. Large percentages of those who consider themselves members of either party do not approve of their presidential candidates, for one thing. That includes more than a third of both Republican and Democrat voters.

    For another, both candidates have assumed positions on issues that in previous elections would have been considered anathema to the dominant ruling economic and political elites. For example, both candidates have been highly critical of U.S. trade and free trade policies — especially Trump.

    Trump’s more vehement criticism of U.S. trade policies in particular has U.S. elites concerned, to put it lightly. Almost hysterical might more accurately express their emotional state when the subject of Trump and trade is raised.

    Wall Street and its neolib/con masters do not like Hedges.

    Bet on it.

    Take a few minutes and listen to the video below during your lunch break or relaxation break or nap break. I guarantee you'll learn a little bit about economics, history and sociology as well as get about 80% tear-inducing bathos (if you're in need of a good cry) in the anecdotes about his grandson and the disappearing forests.

    Really. It's more than worth your time.

    Oh yes. Buy the books! Hoodwinked (as well as John's latest New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) is full of named corporations with their misdeeds highlighted for your further edification.

    Also more than worthwhile of your time is the following movie.


    Thursday, July 21, 2016

    (Chaotic Republicans Rule and Nominate The Fraudulent Don)  Republican Party Over?  (Donald Did Not Write Art of the Deal) Surprise! (28 Pages Put 9/11 Truths on Life Support) D.C. Madness Apparent  (Baton Rouge Redux) Frankenbanks Convention Poison Ivy? (Ill-Served Citizens Expose Brussels Bureaucrats)

    The inestimable Driftglass strikes:  (Springtime for Donald and Pence VP) .

    Holy Shit, It Really Was The Orange Wedding (tm)

    The Dream Dies:  Karl Rove's Republican Century Already Over As The Donald Nominated at Republican Convention

    From the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch to an increasingly influential GOP financier Paul Singer, from those who fell short in 2016 - Ted Cruz and Scott Walker - to those who could be fresh faces in 2020 - Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, Nikki Haley - from House Speaker Paul Ryan to the not-so-subterranean contest for the chairmanship of the RepublicanNational Committee, the maneuvering is underway to pick up the shards of the shattered GOP.

    “There’s a school of thought that Trump, who’s gonna get crushed, will somehow teach the party a lesson and they’ll get it out of their system,” said Stuart Stevens, who was Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012. “I don’t have confidence in that.”


    Official 9/11 Narrative on Life Support

    Revelations in 28 Pages Don’t Align With 9/11 Commission Conclusions

    With the declassification Friday afternoon of the infamous “28 Pages,” the foundation of the official 9/11 narrative is really beyond repair at this point.
    Al Qaeda did not act alone in carrying out the 2001 terror attacks on America that killed nearly 3,000 people. Foreign government officials did indeed provide financial and logistical support to the hijackers. Leads to that effect were never fully investigated.

    We had been assured of the opposite on all three counts.

    While still considerably redacted, and conveniently released right before Congress’ summer break, the long-hidden material from the Congressional Joint Inquiry report of 2002 revealed what lawmakers have hinted about over the past several years.

    “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11 and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” Florida Senator Bob Graham said in mid-January, 2015.
    They sure do.

    A few nuggets from the chapter centered on Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan — both suspected Saudi intelligence officers in the US at the time of the attacks with close links to two of the hijackers:

    • “During the post-Sept. 11 investigation, the FBI discovered that al-Bayoumi had far more extensive ties to the Saudi Government than previously realized.”

    • “According to the FBI, al-Bayoumi was in contact with at least three individuals at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C.”

    • “(Bassnan) also lived across the street from the hijackers, and made a comment to an FBI asset that he did more than al-Bayoumi did for the hijackers.”

    • “FBI information indicates that Bassnan is an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Laden, and has been connected to the Eritrean Islamic Jihad and the Blind Shaykh.”

    In a most awkward passage for the Bush White House, it appears Bassnan even received direct payments from former Saudi ambassador to the US (and close Bush family friend) Prince Bandar bin Sultan al Saud:

    • “On at least one occasion, Bassnan received a check directly from Prince Bandar’s account. According to the FBI, on May 14, 1998, Bassnan cashed a check from Bandar in the amount of $15,000.”

    Prince Bandar resigned as ambassador to the U.S. in 2005, but has held other high government positions for the Kingdom since.

    A number of other suspected Saudi agents with links to the hijackers are mentioned throughout the chapter, all according to FBI and CIA documents.

    Of course, the spin machine kicked into high gear Friday, with the White House and Director of National Intelligence repeating earlier claims that the information in the 2002 report was followed up on by the 9/11 Commission and found to be innocuous.
    A statement from the office of the DNI on Friday read:  “The 9/11 Commission built on existing investigations and information, including that of the Joint Inquiry, but had greater access to senior officials and classified information. Its final report concluded that it ‘found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [al Qaeda].’ ”

    Countless mainstream media entities obediently followed suit, deferring to the vague conclusions of the 9/11 Commission, while ignoring the fact that the newly released chapter cited the FBI and CIA’s own documents.
    Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister was happy to agree with that exoneration, conducting a well-prepared statement during a press conference shortly after declassification of the material.

    Unfortunately, the DNI narrative remains at odds with the objections made by multiple 9/11 Commissioners, themselves, who insist their team wasn’t actually allowed to follow all leads involving Saudi Arabian nationals.

    “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Commission member Bob Kerrey wrote in a statement submitted in the 9/11 victims’ suit against Saudi Arabia.

    One Commission investigator, Dana Lesemann, was even fired by controversial director Philip Zelikow for being too aggressive in pursuit of the Saudi angle.

    Zelikow, a Bush White House policy advisor who maintained contact with influential White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove throughout the Commission’s investigation, rejected much of the Saudi-related material his team submitted. He then re-wrote the entire section before it was sent to publishing, concluding “we have found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al Qaeda.

    Life support or Revelations-level reveal, whether this "event" is just another limited hang-out (lies/half-lies that obscure the truth about what happened) or not, it's a great story to release at the beginning of a slow, hot July week when the sullen masses are screaming for heads.

    And that's just the Republican Convention. Read the entire essay here.

    Here's the latest on the madness being inflicted on the world's citizens from our man on the scene, Professor Paul Craig Roberts:

    The Truth About Trident:  The Shocking Fact that Would Turn Us All Against Paying for Nukes

    And as to current Convention foolishness?

    GOP Platform Calls for Elimination of Almost All Campaign Finance Laws

    Oh, those capitalist entrepreneurs.

    Truly role models.

    The Billionaire Pedophile Who Could Bring Down Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

    When I taught Business Administration - Management - several years ago, I was asked by a few of my students about the possibility of using Donald Trump's Art of the Deal as a textbook. I can't remember exactly what I told them now but I'm pretty sure I mentioned that there was very little likelihood that he actually wrote it, let alone that it probably had very little to do with how he negotiated his business deals (and that I wasn't sure there was much in it that would benefit beginning entrepreneurs unless they started out with a lot of seed money to risk).

    Some of them seemed disappointed in not being able to trust the Donald. The focus of my class, however, was for them not to trust anyone in business (no matter how seemingly successful) who was a slick talker with a lot of shaky deals in his/her wake (which would provide an ideal subject for their paper on business successes/failures - and thus I said they could do a study on Trump's business acumen if they thought it would be a good project). No one took me up on the offer. Funny thing about that Trump guy. No one among those conventioneers seems to have noticed even now his lack of actual preparation (shakiness) for his next venture.

    Josh Barro
    Tonight's convention debacle proves that Donald Trump is a terrible dealmaker.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Chaos on Republican Convention Floor; Colorado, Iowa Delegates Walk Out
    First Day of the Republican Convention Is the Last Day for the Never Trump Moment
    Trump Campaign Denounces John Kasich in Ohio, Where Convention Begins

    Colbert speaks!

    Imagine my glee when I started to read the following article which appeared in this month's "New Yorker."


    Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news:  Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated.
    Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal.” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet:  “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote The Art of the Deal.
    Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the "Times" best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”
    Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump — camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One — when it was so easily refuted — he is likely to lie about anything.” 
    It seemed improbable that Trump’s campaign would succeed, so Schwartz told himself that he needn’t worry much. But, as Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” near the end of the speech, Schwartz felt anxious. He had spent hundreds of hours observing Trump firsthand, and felt that he had an unusually deep understanding of what he regarded as Trump’s beguiling strengths and disqualifying weaknesses. Many Americans, however, saw Trump as a charmingly brash entrepreneur with an unfailing knack for business—a mythical image that Schwartz had helped create. “It pays to trust your instincts,” Trump says in the book, adding that he was set to make hundreds of millions of dollars after buying a hotel that he hadn’t even walked through. 
    In the subsequent months, as Trump defied predictions by establishing himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Schwartz’s desire to set the record straight grew. He had long since left journalism to launch the Energy Project, a consulting firm that promises to improve employees’ productivity by helping them boost their “physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual” morale. It was a successful company, with clients such as Facebook, and Schwartz’s colleagues urged him to avoid the political fray. But the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.
    Schwartz thought about publishing an article describing his reservations about Trump, but he hesitated, knowing that, since he’d cashed in on the flattering Art of the Deal, his credibility and his motives would be seen as suspect. Yet watching the campaign was excruciating. Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In June, he agreed to break his silence and give his first candid interview about the Trump he got to know while acting as his Boswell. 
    “I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
    If he were writing The Art of the Deal today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, The Sociopath.
    The idea of Trump writing an autobiography didn’t originate with either Trump or Schwartz. It began with Si Newhouse, the media magnate whose company, Advance Publications, owned Random House at the time, and continues to own Condé Nast, the parent company of this magazine. “It was very definitely, and almost uniquely, Si Newhouse’s idea,” Peter Osnos, who edited the book, recalls. "GQ," which Condé Nast also owns, had published a cover story on Trump, and Newhouse noticed that newsstand sales had been unusually strong.
    Newhouse called Trump about the project, then visited him to discuss it. Random House continued the pursuit with a series of meetings. At one point, Howard Kaminsky, who ran Random House then, wrapped a thick Russian novel in a dummy cover that featured a photograph of Trump looking like a conquering hero; at the top was Trump’s name, in large gold block lettering. Kaminsky recalls that Trump was pleased by the mockup, but had one suggestion:  “Please make my name much bigger.” After securing the half-million-dollar advance, Trump signed a contract.
    Around this time, Schwartz, who was one of the leading young magazine writers of the day, stopped by Trump’s office, in Trump Tower. Schwartz had written about Trump before. In 1985, he’d published a piece in "New York" called “A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story,” which portrayed him not as a brilliant mogul but as a ham-fisted thug who had unsuccessfully tried to evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from a building that he had bought on Central Park South. Trump’s efforts — which included a plan to house homeless people in the building in order to harass the tenants — became what Schwartz described as a “fugue of failure, a farce of fumbling and bumbling.” An accompanying cover portrait depicted Trump as unshaven, unpleasant-looking, and shiny with sweat
    Yet, to Schwartz’s amazement, Trump loved the article. He hung the cover on a wall of his office, and sent a fan note to Schwartz, on his gold-embossed personal stationery. “Everybody seems to have read it,” Trump enthused in the note, which Schwartz has kept.

    Read the rest of the essay here.

    Baton Rouge redux? Calling Toni Morrison!

    There is a scene in Toni Morrison’s novel “Song of Solomon” in which a character named Guitar explains to the protagonist Milkman that violence inflicted without repercussion is not a matter of morality, but mathematics. The tide of black death at the hands of white people, he reasons, sets the world at an imperfect ratio. He then explains the corrective.
    There is a society. It’s made up of a few men who are willing to take some risks. They don’t initiate anything; they don’t even choose. They are as indifferent as rain. But when a Negro child, Negro woman, or Negro man is killed by whites and nothing is done about it by their law and their courts, this society selects a similar victim at random, and they execute him or her in a similar manner if they can. If the Negro was hanged, they hang; if a Negro was burnt, they burn; raped and murdered, they rape and murder. If they can. If they can’t do it precisely in the same manner, they do it any way they can, but they do it.
    The call-and-response pattern of violence over the past ten days has distorted that line between fictional and factual. The virtual blur of gunfire, death, protest, sorrow, recrimination, anger, remembrance, and shock that has defined this period has made it possible to lose count of the totals. The record stands at two civilians dead at the hands of law enforcement, in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, followed by eighteen police officers who have been shot, eight fatally, in two separate mass shootings, in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We know, or at least ought to know by now, that harm inflicted upon innocents as retribution for other harmed innocents is bad mathematics. The grief isn’t dimmed; it’s compounded like interest.

    President Obama, wearied and six inches past his wits’ end, addressed the violence hours after the most recent incident — the shooting on Sunday, in Baton Rouge, of six police officers, three of whom died as a result of their injuries. The alleged shooter, Gavin Eugene Long, was, like Micah Johnson, the sniper in Dallas, an African-American military veteran in his twenties. Last week, after the massacre in Dallas, the President adamantly declared, “We are not as divided as we seem.” This was a familiar refrain.

    Obama’s path to the White House began at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the night he gave a speech in which he argued, in essence, that we are not as divided as we seem. Perhaps he’s right. But the fact that he’s had to keep making that point for the past twelve years means that we’re not all that close together, either. The events in Baton Rouge, which came like a personal rebuttal to Obama’s invocation of our common bonds, seemed to take something out of the President. He delivered his remarks with the muted affect of an actor doing a table read.

    This is a season of rebuttals. The Dallas shooting revealed the bankruptcy of the good-guy-with-a-gun theory. A single shooter hit twelve trained, armed officers before being cornered and killed by a robot-delivered bomb. The events in Baton Rouge exposed a different kind of bankruptcy. In the chaotic wake of the shooting, Stephen Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, requested that Governor John Kasich, of Ohio, suspend open carry in the area surrounding the Republican Convention, in Cleveland, given the heightened threat level. Kasich, who has an “A-” rating from the National Rifle Association, responded by saying he could not suspend the constitutionally insured right to carry firearms. But the simple fact of the request is the most honest admission that firearms create dangerous situations.

    Loomis represents police officers in a department responsible for the death of the twelve-year-old boy Tamir Rice; the officer who shot him, Timothy Loehmann, faced no criminal charges for it. Officers from the same police department fired a hundred and thirty-seven bullets into a vehicle after a car chase, with one officer climbing on top of the hood to fire more directly at the unarmed motorists. In both those circumstances, Cleveland police sought to justify their actions by pointing to their fears that the victims had been armed.

    The N.R.A.’s zealotry in the name of self-defense founders when race enters the equation. After the death of Philando Castile, a licensed gun owner, at the hands of a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the organization released a tepid statement that didn’t name Castile and emphasized that “it is important for the N.R.A. not to comment while the investigation is ongoing.” In an attempt to cloak the most obvious elements of its racial hypocrisy, the N.R.A. has in recent years attempted to recruit African-American members by pointing to their disproportionate need to defend themselves against violent crime.

    But self-defense is only one part of the gospel of gun ownership. The more fundamental element of the argument is that gun ownership is what differentiates a citizen from a subject. Sidearm conservatives rushed to the defense of the Malheur occupation in Oregon and Cliven Bundy’s armed defiance against federal authority over grazing lands in Nevada. We don’t know what motivated Long, who was killed in the shootout, to murder police officers in Baton Rouge. But Micah Johnson reportedly seethed over police brutality, and what he perceived as a failure to do anything about it. In other words, he was angry over governmental power and abuse:  just the sort of grievance that the gun lobby, under other circumstances — say, a beleaguered cult of fundamentalist Christian landowners in Colorado — would laud as “Second Amendment remedies” and the prevention of government overreach. Mao Zedong theorized that “power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” By the N.R.A.’s estimation, democracy does, too.

    Read it all here.

    Both Democrat and Republican Platforms Have Had It With Frankenbanks

    By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
    July 19, 2016
    Breaking up the dangerous banks on Wall Street that are gambling with their taxpayer-backstopped insured deposits by restoring the Glass-Steagall Act is now a part of the newly adopted platforms of both the Democrat and Republican parties. Under a restored Glass-Steagall Act, banks holding insured deposits would not be allowed to affiliate with Wall Street investment banks and brokerage firms that regularly underwrite risky securities and engage in trillions of dollars of derivative gambles. It would effectively put an end to the idea that these complex banks are too-big-to-fail because the life savings of small savers holding insured deposits in the bank would be at risk.
    Bernie Sanders’ supporters pushed the Democratic Party to include the provision in its platform. Today’s media spin is that Trump & Company added it in hopes of picking up some Sanders’ supporters who have vowed not to vote for Hillary Clinton.
    What has been lost in the frenzy of political posturing is that there already exists a bi-partisan bill in the Senate to restore the Glass-Steagall Act. It’s called the “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2015” and is co-sponsored by progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren and Republican Senator John McCain among others.
    “This case represents another shameful demonstration of a bank engaged in wildly risky behavior. The ‘London Whale’ incident matters to the federal government because the traders at JPMorgan were making risky bets using excess deposits, portions of which were federally insured. These excess deposits should have been used to provide loans for main-street businesses. Instead, JPMorgan used the money to bet on catastrophic risk.”
    According to documents released by the Senate, JPMorgan Chase had gamed the system in multiple ways. On January 16, 2012, JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office held $458 billion notional (face amount) in domestic and foreign credit default swap indices. Of the $458 billion, $115 billion was in an index of corporations with junk bond ratings, which the bank was not allowed to own.

    According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, JPMorgan “transferred the market risk of these positions into a subsidiary of an Edge Act corporation, which took most of the losses.” An Edge Act corporation refers to the ability of a bank to obtain a special charter from the Federal Reserve. By establishing an Edge Act corporation, U.S. banks are able to engage in investments not available under standard banking laws.
    Read the entire essay here.

    Stephen Lendman on Brexit on “It’s Our Money”

    Posted on
    by Ellen Brown
    BREXIT, FREXIT, GREXIT – where’s everybody going? The recent vote in the United Kingdom to get out of the European Union is a telling example of how ill-served citizens in the political/financial union are feeling about their status. Such feeling suggests the potential for contagion with other European nations souring on the control of the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Ellen talks with a noted international observer Stephen Lendman about this vote and the politics that led up to it and are now playing out.
    Matt Stannard reports on another political stage, in NC, where money for local infrastructure depends on compliance with onerous immigration policies.  And our What Wall Street Costs America report focuses on the tragic human costs inflicted on Puerto Rico by American hedge funds. Archived here.

    Click here for the interview.