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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 24, 2018, 12:10:06 pm »

I want to vomit

Bill Palmer | 12:04 am EDT September 24, 2018

Palmer Report » Opinion

When the buzz began on Sunday night that one or more additional accusers were about to come forward against Brett Kavanaugh, I found myself momentarily excited. After all, this nomination needs to be killed off for the sanctity of democracy in general, and for the safety and well being of women everywhere. Then the stories surfaced. I’ve been reading, studying, researching, and writing about these new developments for the past few hours – and now I want to vomit.

These stories are simply horrifying. Deborah Ramirez says that Brett Kavanaugh subjected her to sexual assault at a drunken college party. This comes after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said that Kavanaugh subjected her to attempted r a p e at a drunken high school party. See the pattern here? If these two women are both telling the truth, and why wouldn’t they be, how many more women were subjected to this sort of thing by Kavanaugh? How many more of his victims are out there who are afraid or unable to come forward? Then it somehow got even worse.

Michael Avenatti announced that he has multiple witnesses who want to testify before Congress that Brett Kavanaugh and his friends arranged parties in their youth for the specific purpose of getting women drunk and high so they could gang r a p e them. If this proves to be true, then just how many women has Kavanaugh r a p e d ? Five? Ten? Fifty? These aren’t just numbers; these women are real people whose lives have been ruined by this maniac and the surrounding culture which allowed him to get away with it.

Yeah, this is “good news” in the sense that it puts us much closer to keeping a corrupt monster off the Supreme Court, which in turn puts us closer to ousting the corrupt monster who occupies the Oval Office. But there’s nothing to celebrate here. I feel physically ill just from reading these revelations, and I’m not a woman. I don’t have to live in fear that someone like Kavanaugh might do something like this to me in the future, or have to relive the memories of someone like Kavanaugh having done something like this to me in the past. I can’t begin to imagine what women are feeling tonight.

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Agelbert OBSERVATION: Kavanaugh is a walking, taking example of MENS REA (with malice aforethought) modus operandi in thought, word and deed.

Kavanaugh is, like Trump🦀, a symptom of our disease, not the disiease. The disease is the rampant fascist corruption in our government.

From the DINOs, who pretend to be Democrats in order to fool people of good will into voting for them, to the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who, in MENS REA fashion, DID THE FOLLOWING:

Farrow and Mayer are reporting that last week, Senate Republicans learned about Ramirez’s accusations. How did they respond? They “issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.” In other words, they tried to bury it by ramming Kavanaugh through before it could become public and sink the nomination.

So now we know that the Republican Senators attempted to withhold critical and potentially criminal information about their Supreme Court nominee from the public.

Mammon worshipping reprobates, who's every breath is exemplified by MENS REA, have taken over the U.S. Government.

We bring ("restore" or "bring back" are both not the correct verb or term because our government was elitist and greed based from the start!  >:() respect for our fellow humans (and the biosphere that enables humans and millions of other species to survive and thrive) to our government, as Jesus Christ Commanded, or we are doomed to destruction, PERIOD.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 23, 2018, 07:05:35 pm »

Justice Is Blind ... Drunk (Video)

September 23, 2018

By Mark Fiore —  Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is hanging in the balance after Christine Blasey Ford accuses him of sexual assault when they were teenagers.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 21, 2018, 09:36:14 pm »


September 21, 2018  39 Comments/ in Law / by emptywheel

Over the last week, some pretty curious character witnesses have come out to insist that Brett Kavanaugh is a nice man who would never sexually assault someone else.

First, there’s Ken Starr, who judged that Christine Blasey Ford had had her opportunity to come forward and had not done so, and so “the matter has adjourned.”

As someone who’s interested in process and fairness, obviously any allegation of this nature is an unfortunate serious allegation, but to be honest, I was outraged about the timing, as well as the process, that the letter, about something long ago, was in the hands of — you covered it very well — of the Democrats in July, and yet there is nothing done about this. I just think it’s too late for there to be any serious consideration at this stage. The matter has adjourned. You had your opportunity to come forward and you failed to do that year after year after year.

Starr was forced to resign as president of Baylor University in 2016 for his role in covering up sexual assault committed by members of the football team. The report that led to his firing specifically talked about a culture of victim-blaming on behalf of administrators.

In addition, the investigations were conducted in the context of a broader culture and belief by many administrators that sexual violence “doesn’t happen here.” Administrators engaged in conduct that could be perceived as victim-blaming, focusing on the complainant’s choices and actions, rather than robustly investigating the allegations, including the actions of the respondent.

Then, yesterday, Bill Shine said that the White House stands by Kavanaugh 100%.

“We stand behind Judge Kavanaugh 100 percent,” Bill Shine, deputy WH chief of staff for communications, told us a few minutes ago in the Rose Garden. He did not say whether Kavanaugh should testify alone on Monday.

Shine was forced to resign from Fox News in 2017 after he was accused of attacking the victims of Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment.

In a case settled in December (the dollar figure is under wraps), Shine was accused of retaliating against a woman who declined to have a sexual relationship with Ailes. In another lawsuit, a woman who complained to Shine about Ailes’ behavior said he told her that he was “a very powerful man” and that she “needed to let this one go.” A third woman, who said she was psychologically tortured by Ailes for 20 years, was, at one point sent to live in a hotel for six weeks where senior leaders at Fox could “monitor” her. She claims that Shine reviewed all of her emails, which he 😈 denies.

Finally, this morning, Donald Trump joined in, both defending Kavanaugh’s honesty and (echoing Starr’s line) suggesting that because Ford didn’t file a police report, the attack must not have happened.

This defense of an alleged abuser mirrors the ones Trump made for Rob Porter 👹, in which he complained that mere allegations shattered his life before hailing the good job he did at the White House.

We found out about it recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job when he was at the White House.

According to Bob Woodward’s book (which relied heavily on Porter as a source), Kavanaugh recommended Porter for his old position as Staff Secretary.

And also the defense he mounted for Roy Moore 😈, where he emphasized Moore’s denials even while continuing to campaign for him.

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And look, you have to look at him also.”

To be sure, with Kavanaugh there’s no hint of serial abuse, as there was when Trump took the side of both Porter and Moore. Which is why Republicans should be really cautious about who comes out in defense of Kavanaugh. Because his character witnesses ( 😈 👹 ) damn him as much as his unconvincing denials.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 20, 2018, 08:30:47 am »


September 19, 2018/108 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel

Robert Mueller has a slew of really good lawyers working for him. But I think his biggest asset is Donald Trump’s bubble. ;D

Consider this NYT story, in which a bunch of lawyers anonymously blame each other for getting 16 months into the Special Counsel investigation without ever figuring out what the President did.  ;)

The lawyers have only a limited sense of what many witnesses — including senior administration officials and the president’s business associates — have told investigators and what the Justice Department plans to do with any incriminating information it has about Mr. Trump, according to interviews with more than a dozen people close to the president.

What is more, it is not clear if Mr. Trump has given his lawyers a full account of some key events in which he has been involved as president or during his decades running the Trump Organization.


Mr. Dowd took Mr. Trump at his word that he had done nothing wrong and never conducted a full internal investigation to determine the president’s true legal exposure.


And once Mr. Dowd was gone, the new legal team had to spend at least 20 hours interviewing the president about the episodes under investigation, another necessary step Mr. Dowd and his associates had apparently not completed.

In spite of the effort to blame all this on Dowd, the NYT article provides abundant evidence (which they, in typical Maggie and Mike fashion, don’t seem aware of) that Trump’s lawyers continue to be clueless.

There’s the notion that just 20 hours of Trump interviews would be sufficient for nailing down the actual story. Don McGahn, after all, has had 30 hours of interviews with Mueller’s team, and while he has played several central roles, he’s not the principal. And, unlike Trump, he can and presumably did tell a mostly consistent story.

There’s the admission that Trump’s lawyers actually don’t know how ten senior officials testified.

During Mr. Dowd’s tenure, prosecutors interviewed at least 10 senior administration officials without Mr. Trump’s lawyers first learning what the witnesses planned to say, or debriefing their lawyers afterward — a basic step that could have given the president’s lawyers a view into what Mr. Mueller had learned.

Complain all you want that Dowd didn’t obstruct competently. But the Joint Defense Agreement (the one that gave Rudy no advance warning that Paul Manafort had flipped on the President) is what Rudy has always pointed to to justify his confidence that Trump is not at any risk. So Rudy is, by the standards of the anonymous people leaking to Maggie and Mike, just as incompetent.

Perhaps best of all is the claim of an anonymous Maggie and Mike source that poor Jay Sekulow was left to clean up after Dowd’s, and only Dowd’s, mistakes.

In March, Mr. Dowd resigned, telling associates that he disagreed with the president’s desire to sit for an interview with Mr. Mueller — one form of cooperation he opposed — and leaving Mr. Sekulow with the task of rebuilding the legal team from scratch, and without knowing many of the details of the case. Mr. Dowd left few notes or files about the case, which had to be recreated months after the fact.

Somehow, Ty Cobb, the guy brought in after Marc Kasowitz left amid concerns that Trump was obstructing justice, who oversaw responding to discovery requests and who was initially celebrated as being very aggressive, gets no blame. Cobb was the guy who put McGahn in a defensive crouch — leading directly to 20 of his 30 hours of testimony — after blabbing in public about him hiding documents.

Crazier still, Jay Sekulow gets no blame in this narrative, even though Sekulow was around during all of Dowd’s purportedly mistaken decisions. As recently as March, Sekulow was quite confident that his undeniable expertise in litigating the right wing’s ressentiment prepared him to deal with the challenges of a Special Counsel investigation.

When Jay Sekulow joined President Donald Trump’s legal team for the Russia investigation last summer, he was largely expected to serve as the public face of the group. But after former lead attorney John Dowd resigned last week, and with other top lawyers reportedly reluctant to join the team, Sekulow is now the key player in one of the most high-stakes investigations in the world.

“I have maintained since the beginning of the representation that my interest is representing the client,” Sekulow tells TIME. “And it may take different forms at different times, and we’re just right now in a different phase.”


Peter Flaherty, who worked for Romney on both campaigns and has known Sekulow for more than a decade, offers effusive praise for Sekulow that draws on the world of Boston sports.

“Jay is a combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, wrapped into one super-lawyer,” Flaherty says, citing the New England Patriots’ coach and quarterback. “He is capable of both devising successful strategy in a conference room, as well as being able to execute it in a courtroom.”

Critics say that legal expertise in high-minded constitutional issues won’t translate well to the guts of a criminal case. But Sekulow says he feels his “broad background” in the law has prepared him for the current challenge, citing a recent case he worked on in which the IRS admitted to unfairly scrutinizing tax forms of conservative groups.

In the wake of Manafort’s plea deal, Sekulow seems less certain he’s got control of the situation.

Here’s the thing though. This is a 2,100-word story presented as truth, disclosing evidence (albeit unacknowledged) that the lawyers who have serially managed press outreach (Sekulow, then Rudy) are clueless. It repeats, as Maggie and Mike always do, two key threads of the spin from these men: that Trump’s only exposure is obstruction and that the end result will be a report.

[Manafort’s] plea brings to four the number of former close associates of Mr. Trump who have agreed to cooperate with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election and obstruction of justice by the president.

And while Mr. Trump’s lawyers insist Mr. Mueller has nothing on their client about colluding with Russia, they are bracing for him to write a damaging report to Congress about whether the president obstructed justice.


The sense of unease among the president’s lawyers can be traced, in part, to their client. Mr. Trump has repeatedly undermined his position by posting on Twitter or taking other actions that could add to the obstruction case against him.


Even after Mr. Mueller’s appointment, Mr. Trump did things like ask witnesses about what they told Mr. Mueller’s investigators and put out misleading statements about contacts between his campaign and Russia, which appear to have deepened the special counsel’s examination of possible obstruction.

A mere review of Jay Sekulow’s own list, drafted in March, of questions Mueller might ask Trump, should make it clear to anyone exercising a tiny degree of skepticism that the claim Mueller is exclusively focused on obstruction is utter nonsense. And after the speaking criminal information released with Manafort’s plea, the expectation of a report should be treated far more critically.

But it’s not.

In an article about how Trump’s lawyers, generally, are clueless, and demonstrating though not reporting that the lawyers providing information to the press are part of that general cluelessness, Maggie and Mike don’t pause to reflect on whether that leaves them, too, clueless.

So when Trump tries to understand his plight by reading Maggie and Mike, he would believe a fiction largely created by the lies he has already told his lawyers and his preference for PR rather than solid legal advice.

Of course, it gets worse from there. Trump has benefitted from nine months of Devin Nunes-led intelligence, fed both via staffers and through a stable of incompetent right wing stenographers, about the investigation. I know for a fact that the most competent Republicans who have read the most investigative documents do not have a grasp about either the scope of the investigation or how it evolved (though someone at least understands that after August 1, 2017, the investigation got far more risky for the President).

But when you take that misunderstanding about the investigation and launder it through incompetent hacks like John Solomon, then the picture it provides is even more misleading.

Which led us to Trump’s decision on Monday to declassify a bunch of stuff.

That led Mark Warner, who has a better though still incomplete understanding of the potential risk to Trump, to quip, “Be careful what you wish for,” suggesting that the documents might be very incriminating to Trump.

Batshit crazier still, Trump went on to do an interview with the aforementioned John Solomon. (The Hill, unlike the NYT and virtually all other outlets, has the dignity to label interviews where Trump tells reporters a bunch of bullshit “opinion.”) In it, Trump suggests he had the authority and should have fired Jim Comey they day he won the primaries (an interesting suggestion by itself as Mueller appears to be investigating Roger Stone’s activities from that time period), which would likely have resulted in a Hillary win.

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,” Trump said. “I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. … I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

Crazier still, Trump admits that he has no idea what is included in the vast swath of documents he has already ordered to be released.

Trump said he had not read the documents he ordered declassified but said he expected to show they would prove the FBI case started as a political “hoax.” 

“I have had many people ask me to release them. Not that I didn’t like the idea but I wanted to wait, I wanted to see where it was all going,” he said.

In the end, he said, his goal was to let the public decide by seeing the documents that have been kept secret for more than two years. “All I want to do is be transparent,”   he said.

As I’ve noted here and elsewhere, even careful readers, to say nothing of the frothy right, have little visibility on how this investigation evolved (even the tiny bit more visibility I have makes me aware of how much I don’t know). If the smartest Republican upstream of Trump’s concerns about the genesis of the investigation doesn’t understand it, then far stupider Congressmen like Mark Meadows, who hasn’t reviewed all the documents, is surely misrepresenting it.

And yet Trump, from within the bubble of sycophants, clueless lawyers, and credulous reporters is blindly taking action in the hope of undercutting the pardon-proof plea deal of his campaign manager.

Update: Thanks to those who corrected my error in the bracketed description of the fourth plea.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 19, 2018, 04:25:06 pm »

Brett Kavanaugh’s own words about Georgetown Prep come back to bite him

Bill Palmer | 8:40 am EDT September 19, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

Brett Kavanaugh now stands accused of having attempted to r a p e Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during a party, back when he was a high school student at Georgetown Prep, and she was attending a nearby high school. Ford has gone into great detail about the incident; Kavanaugh claims he never even attended any such party. But now Kavanaugh’s own words are coming back to bite him.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has unearthed a video from 2015 in which Brett Kavanaugh told an audience that “Fortunately we’ve had a good saying that we’ve held firm to, to this day, as the Dean was reminding me before the talk, which is what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.” The audience responded with what sounded like nervous laughter.

Kavanaugh was clearly trying to spin the famous “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” tagline, which has long been seen as a pitch that any debauchery you engage in while visiting Las Vegas won’t follow you home. It’s more than a bit unsettling to hear any adult insist that the same motto would apply to his time in high school. He’s a federal judge and a nominee for the Supreme Court, so everything he’s ever done in his life is fair game for determining his suitability.

Yet even after becoming a judge, Brett Kavanaugh went on to make this remark. In so doing, he tacitly acknowledged that his high school years were indeed full of debauchery, while insisting that none of it is anyone’s business, and thinking it’s hilarious that his former classmates would cover for anything he’s done. When you place this within the context of what Christine Blasey Ford is asserting about Kavanaugh’s high school years, it takes on a profoundly disturbing context.

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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 19, 2018, 11:32:50 am »

Here comes Brett Kavanaugh’s cradle of filth

Bill Palmer | 9:16 am EDT September 18, 2018

Palmer Report » Opinion

Here we go yet again. Now that the stage has been set for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to publicly testify before the Senate about her attempted r a p e accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, and for Kavanaugh to testify in his defense, we’re already seeing the ugliest factions of American society racing to remind us just how ugly they are. It’s already begun.

The race is now on to insist that Kavanaugh – because he’s a powerful man – should be taken at his word, while Ford – because she’s a woman – should not be believed. We’re also seeing the argument that even if Kavanaugh did try to r a p e  a woman, he’s somehow magically a better person now, so we should just ignore it and put him on the Supreme Court anyway, where he’ll get to spend the rest of his life deciding the fates of other lowlifes and their victims. That’s just so pathetic.

If Brett Kavanaugh were being accused of having stolen a candy bar from a convenience store in his youth, we could have a serious conversation about whether he’s grown over the decades from a minor violator of the law, to someone who can be trusted to interpret the law. But attempted  R A P E? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of argument you’d expect to hear after a guy has spent twenty years in prison, and he’s asking to be let out on parole. Even then, you’d expect him to be placed on a sex offender registry for the rest of his life, not on the Supreme Court.

If nothing else, times like these serve as a good litmus test for society, because we see the lowest of the low crawling out of their cradle of filth in order to tell us how they feel. Take a look around at the politicians, pundits, public figures, and guys at the local pub who are arguing that we should automatically believe Brett Kavanaugh because he’s a man, and disbelieve Christine Blasey Ford because she’s a woman. These are the people you can safely reject from society, because if they’re that morally wrong about this, they’re never going to be morally right about anything.


For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. - Proverbs 5 KJV: 21-23

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 17, 2018, 03:51:12 pm »



September 17, 2018/54 Comments/in Law /by emptywheel

SNIPPET from SEVERAL EXCELLENT, historically accurate, comments: ✨🕯️     

Jim says:
September 17, 2018 at 12:36 pm
The GOP has been co-opted by right wing evangelical crazies and wannabe libertarian crazies.  It started under Nixon, really took flight under Reagan, and went to hell in a handbasket when Gingrich had the keys.  The party is completely controlled by people like the Kochs and the Mercers, the money men who have far too much influence on policy planks.

Add the Citizen’s United ruling really untying the hands of the monied to influence elections, and this is the result.  A tsunami of madness.

marc schuman says:
September 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm
Thank you Jim, well said.  A tsunami for sure.

When people ask “what happened?” its important that they know this was not some kind of overnight thing, although as Hannah Arendt pointed out, it took less than a couple of decades for Europe to slide into a totalitarian horror with death camps.  Importantly, going forward, we have to convince people that this kind of thing wont end with Trump – not by a long shot.

Morris Berman now lives in Mexico – his readers and friends there should know well by now what happened up here over the last couple of decades and why Morris now chooses to live there instead.  (Not saying I agree with all of his opinions, just pointing out that he articulates the gravity of the problem pretty well.)

Media control and dumbing down over the last couple of decades is of course another big part of it.  Jon Stewart said it something like this and few others have: (paraphrasing) “if you listen to the radio and watch Fox news, its pretty much a continuous 24/7 alarm bell that the immigrant gangs are en mass trying to get over the border and are coming to steal from you and **** your daughter …… so if that’s all you hear every day, then what Trump is saying makes perfect sense to you.”

Ollie says:
September 17, 2018 at 11:19 am
Oh thank you Marcy for writing this today.  I watched DN! and Amy had this woman’s attorney on and as of this am airing?  No one has reached out to the attorney at all from Congress.  No one.  Well, I guess Kellyanne has publicly stated that this woman should be hear (for whatever that’s worth, lol).  I think this is a great idea about also have Mark Judge testify too as well as Brett.


earlofhuntingdon says:
September 17, 2018 at 11:22 am
By all means, let’s ignore prep school indiscretions – she was only a girl and she wanted it – and let’s comfort the comfortable.  But we must prosecute those miscreant 15-17 year olds as adults for murder, especially when they are people of color.  Slippery slope, moral consequences, and all that.

The disparities of the plot read like the banksters rewarding themselves for nearly toppling the global financial system, while foreclosing on nearly a million people who worked hard to own a home, sometimes foreclosing on people who were not delinquent, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I realize the Goopers have no shame, let alone an awareness of hypocrisy, but that should not stop anyone else from pointing out their failings, and proposing fixes for them, as well as the apparent failings of Mr. Kavanaugh.

He has the hallmarks of a well-groomed political hit man, not a legal scholar.  Some of his quotes from his Ken Starr days seem straight out of a coming of age novel, by a guy who never came of age.  His carefully built persona, meant to convince us that the man who would be king has the substance of a real one, I find unpersuasive.

pseudonymous in nc says:
September 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm
I was thinking a lot about Molly Ringwald’s reassessment of her role in John Hughes’s movies, and how those films simultaneously spoke to young adults who felt marginalised while treating really sketchy sexual stuff as normative.

As I said before, the word that came to mind for Kavanaugh during the hearings was “unctuous”. The focus on his 80s elite-bro years has only heightened that. Impunity for me means the full force of the carceral state for thee.

Vern says:
September 17, 2018 at 12:34 pm
A few more syllables but better:


(root is “oleo” as in the margarine — with all that implies)

Pete says:
September 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm
I dunno what the law was 30+ years ago in the place where this (is alleged to have happened – gotta say that even though my gut tells me it did happen) – but it’s possible that even if this were consensual (and my gut tells me no way it was) it’s still possible to have been a sex crime.

My point is, there are many more teenage boys in more contemporary times who are labelled sex offenders for a variety of sexual conduct..  I suppose one could argue the binary status of some of those labelings, but I suspect a black-out drunk attempted sexual assault (****) would get you in legal trouble and labeled in a lot of places.

I have witnessed black out drunk persons “function” in ways that, if you did not witness it, you would no believe.

Kavahaugh (still) under oath, Ms. Ford and Judge under oath, and the two other females as well if possible.


posaune says:
September 17, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Pete @ 12:19

Seems like there’s not a SOL on sexual assault in MD; IANAL and I could be wrong, though.

mathteacher says:
September 17, 2018 at 11:25 am
Also, the conversation about youthful indiscretions happened on the day that Kennedy retired. Funny coincidence, no?

readerOfTeaLeaves says:
September 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm
And when you put together that Kennedy’s son work(ed) for Deutsche: (1) in a division that seemed skilled at laundering Russian rubles into American real estate, and (2) which made loans to the Trump Org, the plot thickens.

Add onto this foul mire that Kavanaugh was nominated by President PussyGrabber, a man who repeatedly sent his lawyer to alternately harass women, and/or pay them off.   And who wished that he could date his own daughter (!).  In addition, his current tv lawyer (Judi Ruliani), is notable for cross dressing: wig, lipstick, nylons, yada yada.

Lady Karma must be a **** on wheels, and she seems to morph into an S/M Dominatrix when she gets Trump and Kavanaugh in her sights.   I imagine Lady Karma is having the time of her very long, bitchy, and irony-laden life — delivering a whole lot of poetic justice to asshats who can’t seem to decipher the real thing.


AndTheSlithyToves says:
September 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm
ROTL, Thank you for reminding everyone of Kennedy’s (privileged) kids and their sleazy behavior. He’s another smug a$$hat that sold his soul to the devil of money and deprived Al Gore of the presidency.


Read more:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 16, 2018, 05:18:20 pm »

Kavanaugh Accuser Breaks Silence About Sexual Misconduct Allegations

BY MICHAEL BURKE - 09/16/18 01:46 PM EDT


Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, were both “stumbling drunk” when they took her into a bedroom while they were at a house in suburban Maryland. Judge and Kavanaugh were both students at Georgetown Preparatory School.

Judge and Kavanaugh pushed Ford onto a bed in the room, where rock-and-roll music was playing at a high volume, Ford alleged.

According to her, Kavanaugh “held her down with the weight of his body and fumbled with her clothes, seemingly hindered by his intoxication,” the Post reported. She added that both of the boys were laughing “maniacally.”

Ford was able to escape when Judge jumped on top of her and Kavanaugh and broke them up, she said. She said she then locked herself in a nearby bathroom for five or 10 minutes before leaving the house.

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 15, 2018, 02:09:16 pm »

harpie says:
September 15, 2018 at 8:51 am
Yesterday on Twitter Marcy responded to @StanleyCohenLaw:

SCL 6:56 PM – 14 Sep 2018 3/statements in furtherance of the conspiracy are an execption to the hearsay rule once prima facie conspiracy is established and the participation of declarant. Confrontation the only limit & statements by unindicted coconspirator i.e. the president are admissible as 2 others.

emptywheel: 7:03 PM – 14 Sep 2018 Yup. Hearsay exception is going to light up the Trump conspiracy.

…ordering popcorn now…

Bob Conyers says:
September 15, 2018 at 10:40 am
Can someone unpack this for us non-lawyers?

I have a basic sense of hearsay, but I’m quite foggy on how it’s admissable here, and even more, why it’s such a threat.

bmaz says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:09 am
See Rule of Evidence 801 d2E:

(d) Statements That Are Not Hearsay.
 A statement that meets the following conditions is not hearsay:

(1) A Declarant-Witness’s Prior Statement.
 The declarant testifies and is subject to cross-examination about a prior statement, and the statement:

 is inconsistent with the declarant’s testimony and was given under penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding or in a deposition;

 is consistent with the declarant’s testimony and is offered:

(i) to rebut an express or implied charge that the declarant recently fabricated it or acted from a recent improper influence or motive in so testifying; or

(ii) to rehabilitate the declarant’s credibility as a witness when attacked on another ground
; or

 identifies a person as someone the declarant perceived earlier.

(2) An Opposing Party’s Statement.
 The statement is offered against an opposing party and:

 was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity;

 is one the party manifested that it adopted or believed to be true;

 was made by a person whom the party authorized to make a statement on the subject;

 was made by the party’s agent or employee on a matter within the scope of that relationship and while it existed; or

 was made by the party’s coconspirator during and in furtherance of the conspiracy.

orionATL says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:01 am
i had just read that manafort had pleaded guilty to two counts, one of which was conspiracy to defraud the u.s. that seems to me to be a very important outcome for the osc team.

i’ve never been too sure of that particular charge re a jury’s decision, though i no doubt mueller’s team (who actually know the law :) ) have confidence in their decision to deploy it.

at the very least now, manafort’s guilty plea sets up confraudus as the hurdle other conspirators better be able to jump cleanly over or it’s a face full of dirt and time in the slammer for them.

harpie says:
September 15, 2018 at 9:34 am
Justin Hendrix:

I’m interested whether he [Manafort] helped funnel payments to right wing media sites on behalf of Yanukovich. / Per this: [links to this 2013 article]: Exclusive: How Ukraine Wooed Conservative Websites  Rosie Gray 7/16/13 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rosiegray/exclusive-how-ukraine-wooed-conservative-websites

Willis Warren says:
September 15, 2018 at 10:15 am
This is just amazing stuff, Marcy.  Wow

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 10:37 am
Marcy, I think you retweeted something yesterday about Dowd emailing all of the people in the JDA that, paraphrased, ‘Manafort doesn’t know anything about the campaign’ (which is insane on the face of it since he was a campaign chairman, but I digress).

Doesn’t Dowd put himself at risk of obstruction? He quit. He is no longer Trump’s attorney. Isn’t everything he says AFTER resigning not under attorney/client privilege? Plus, it may be have been an utterance in the furtherance of a crime: obstruction, (keeping everyone zipped without being privy to Manafort’s cooperation)?

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:10 am
Apparently not.

In case anyone is interested:
Id.at 392; see also IBJ Whitehall
Bank and Trust Co. v. Corey & Associates, Inc., 1999 WL 617842, at *3
(M.D. Ill. Aug. 12, 1999) (joint defense privilege cannot be waived without the consent of all parties to the defense, except when one of the joint defendants becomes an adverse party in the litigation).
Because cooperating with the government, and even testifying against a former joint defense member, is generally not deemed “actually adverse” to the interests of other joint defense members, it does not trigger a waiver of the privilege. Instead, even when one defendant agrees to cooperate with the government and testify against his co-defendants, the assumption is that joint defense information will remain privileged, and will not be useable against the producing party.

In United States v. Henke
, 222 F.3d 633 (9th Cir. 2000)

Joint defense agreements: the benefits and the risks

bmaz says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:28 am
First, let’s stick to criminal context as opposed to civil. Second, much depends on the nature of the JDA. Without seeing the language there is simply no way to know how it might be enforced. Lastly, I have issues about a JDA where most of the 37….37….people involved are not even defendants per se.

There is no easy answer at this point to this question. Googling stuff will not help that fact.

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:32 am
I’m not a lawyer. I’m just trying to understand. And yes, that 37 people are involved is both astounding and incomprehensible.

TheraP says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm
Could we add disturbing?  (Thanks for asking these questions, Trip!)

I honestly hope it’s also a sign of 37 very anxious possible defendants.   (Or conspirators?)

Tracy says:
September 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm
Defendants vs. witnesses (as I think these 37 were described), that is interesting.

It all seems v wrong headed!! Aren’t there ethics people all over this?

But yeah, what happens now re: that JDA/ people still in/ why Dowd still involved/ what happens w/ Manafort sounds v unclear from all the comments I’ve read here, and perhaps impossible to know w/out seeing the actual JDA. Well, I look forward to a future post about it ;)

earlofhuntingdon says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:38 am
This gets complicated, but the short version is that Dowd is bound by the attorney-client privilege to keep confidential permanently information he learned about during the representation.

There are few exceptions.  One is that if the client and attorney litigate the bill or something else regarding the representation, then the privilege – which is the client’s – is deemed waived by the client.  That is, the attorney is able to use information learned during the representation to defend herself against claims made by the client.

After Dowd’s representation of Trump ceased, he would have to keep confidential whatever he learned during the representation, where that information is covered by the privilege.  Their private discussions, for example, would be covered.

Discussions in front of non-lawyers – other than Dowd’s staff or people working for him in connection with the representation (e.g., an accountant) – or lawyers not acting for Trump and not bound by a joint defense or similar agreement with Trump, would not be covered. If Trump opens up about privileged information in front of his own staff, for example, then he’s waived privilege.

The usual course for a lawyer, post-representation, is to keep shtum about it.

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:47 am

Tracy says:
September 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm
And Earl, do you know why according to Maddow (I think from Fear) Ty Cobb does NOT have privilege w/ Trump – why Cobb can be called as a witness – and why when T learned this he was like: oh ****, I told him a lot of stuff.

Aneela says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:12 am

“Had he succeeded, perhaps Trump would have recognized the jeopardy that put Manfort (and, presumably, himself) in. Perhaps he would have taken that moment to pardon Manafort, and save him from that jeopardy.”

Not understanding why, since they were in a joint defense agreement, Manafort’s lawyers couldn’t just inform Trump’s lawyers of what Rick Gates had given up rather than having to go through the circuitous route of reading into the public record?

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:29 am
Aside from what he knew or didn’t know, or the potential pipeline, it would seem that they were keeping the JDA on the down lo, at least as far as the public was concerned. Who knew until a few days ago? It looks kind of bad when some are convicted of crimes, and the others look guilty by association, in a sense, since they considered their interests ‘equal’ via the agreement. I realize that is perception more than fact, but in politics perception is everything.

Trump was kind of between a rock and hard place with the pardon. If he had done this before the midterms and before Kavanaugh was brought up, the public perception would have been that of guilt and obstruction. That would make Kavanaugh’s appointment even more loaded. I think the GOP wouldn’t let him do it when it would have served him best (because they were invested in their own agendas), and threatened to withdraw support from him (someone like McConnell comes to mind).

bmaz says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:56 am
JDA’s are never public information. The fact that it is closely held is as it should be.

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm
So then Rudy shouldn’t have should have kept it shut, as usual?

Does the gov’t typically know before trials, or is this something they learn during the trial? Or perhaps, is it something that is attempted to be kept secret throughout?

bmaz says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Government may or may not directly learn of a JDA, but usually do not get affirmatively told. More often they can just guess by how their interactions with the lot of the defendants’ attorneys goes.

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm

It sounds like Rudy was trying to send a message, or was just being stupid with this declaration.

bmaz says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm
Hard to tell with Rudy!

TheraP says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:22 pm
Since some of these 37 are in this Defense Agreement as parties to a conspiracy, and at least one of them is a known serial liar (even to an attorney), does that potentially make this “agreement” also part of a conspiracy? Or Obstruction of Justice? And if so, would that allow Mueller or a Grand Jury to pry into some of this?

(Hold your fire, please. I am a tender, if naive, soul and not out to incur your wrath. Or to disturb the flow of information here.)

Thanks for whatever help you can provide. (As somehow this grand effort – of alleged conspirators – to collaborate on defense feels disturbing to me. Also to Justice being done.)

bmaz says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm
The answer is, I don’t know, maybe! Maybe not. Who knows? Again, so much comes down to how the actual JDA’s are worded and/or agreed to.

TheraP says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:58 pm
Thanks! So they’re open questions. And we’ll see how this plays out.

Trip says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:18 am
Do we think the stipulation in Manafort’s cooperation agreement to offer info to the gov’t without his attorney(s), frees them (lawyers) from negative consequences associated therein with the JDA? Or does it not matter since the attorney agreed on behalf of Manafort?

*I know this is probably a very dumb question, but not being a lawyer, I’m having full comprehension issues.

orionATL says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:20 am
i found this discussion of manafort’s plea deal useful:


Willis Warren says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:28 am
WAPO fire walled, what’s the takeaway?

TheraP says:
September 15, 2018 at 12:11 pm
To evade the fire wall, erasing history and cache generally works for me. Either that or set up an account to post. (That’s still free, I believe.)

Thomas says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:30 am
From what I piece together from public information:

It seems likely that the back and forth between Russians and the Trump campaign was not direct communications between individuals, but rather, one individual (Manafort, eg) would send a message to another (Kiliminick, eg), who would then share it with a group(Russian Intel, oligarchs, Putin) and a different individual from that group (Russian official, eg) would then give the answer to another individual (Carter Page, eg) who would then transmit the answer (to Manafort, eg)

This may be the way that Manafort, JD Gordon, Page handled the “Memorandum of Understanding” or quid pro quo, of the conspiracy.

If I’m right, then the GOP platform change was a show of good faith about the future quid pro quo arrangement to lift sanctions, and Trump’s  “Russia if you are listening” statement was a signal for the Russians to begin executing the campaign assistance.

This is also the likely way that the whole NRA/Butina/Gordon scheme was coordinated, and THAT is the likely scheme alluded to in Manafort’s notes about RNC fundraising during the Trump Tower meeting.

If I am right, Gordon and Page are next, not Don jr or Stone.

Not discussed by anyone yet is the connection between Flynn and Gordon. Flynn was the person handling the sanctions relief payoff after the election.

I think it’s likely Flynn was a lot more instrumental in the entire conspiracy than has heretofore been revealed.

It would explain why prosecutors keep putting off sentencing Flynn over the initial charges, and why they keep on questioning him as they learn more from other witnesses.

Thomas says:
September 15, 2018 at 11:51 am
Recently I read everything I could find about the Seth Rich conspiracy theory.
Everyone involved in that cover story to divert attention away from the DNC hack by the GRU has been under investigation by the Special Counsel, including Jerome Corsi.
Jack Burkman (a Trump campaign fundraiser and associate of Rick Gates!) went to extraordinary lengths to push that conspiracy theory.
I watched the press conference Burkman held with a “witness” who by telephone told Wapo, Daily Beast, and many other skeptical journalists that Seth Rich was killed by federal agents connected to Rod Rosenstein and MS13.
Shortly after that, Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian military officers for the DNC hack completely destroyed the Seth Rich conspiracy theory.
After that, the Rich conspiracy theorists went silent.
It is plain to me that Stone, Hannity, Burkman, Butowski and Fox News (and others!) ALL carried water for this conspiracy theory which was a Russian disinformation operation.
It’s clear to me that Roger Stone was deeply involved. I am waiting with anticipation for Hannity to go down, too.
I think this part of the story won’t materialize until after the election though.

Read more:


September 14, 2018 by emptywheel


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 15, 2018, 12:04:38 pm »


September 15, 2018 by emptywheel



The Manafort plea includes over three pages laying out how the government is going to take his ill-gotten gains. Given my newfound obsession with Paul Manafort’s forfeitures, I’ll write that up separately (or better yet make bmaz, who actually knows something about how this works, do so). The short version, though, is the government is intent on making sure they’ll get it all.

Ful article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 14, 2018, 10:01:03 pm »

Rick Wilson, "Everything Trump 🦀 Touches Dies ☠️ 🚩 "


Politics and Prose

Published on Sep 12, 2018

Rick Wilson discusses his book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies", at Politics and Prose on 8/28/18.

Wilson is a seasoned Republican political strategist well versed in the art of negative ads. He’s also been a leader of the Never Trump movement, and his searing analysis of the president, from the early days of Trump’s campaign through his first year in office, is a no-holds-barred critique of the damage Trump has done to the country, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement. Combining his signature dark humor with penetrating insight about today’s politics, Wilson dissects Trump’s deceptions, exposes the illusions his followers blindly follow, and calls out Trump’s enablers among politicians and media figures. Yet dire as the situation is, Wilson is hopeful that the nation can find its way back to reason. 


Rick Wilson is a seasoned Republican political strategist and infamous negative ad-maker. His regular column with The Daily Beast is a must-read in the political community. Published in The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, The Federalist, Independent Journal Review, he’s also a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, With Friends Like These, and the national networks. Rick Wilson lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife, three dogs, and a nameless cat. They have two grown children.

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics and Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.'s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics and Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at http://www.politics-prose.com/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 14, 2018, 09:13:24 pm »

The Collapse of the American Empire?


The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Published on Sep 12, 2018

The Agenda welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, who over the past decade and a half has made his name as a columnist, activist and author. He's been a vociferous public critic of presidents on both sides of the American political spectrum, and his latest book, 'America, the Farewell Tour,' is nothing short of a full-throated throttling of the political, social, and cultural state of his country.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 14, 2018, 08:50:40 pm »

Bret Kavanaugh Should Be Impeached for Lying to the Senate (w/guest Lisa Graves)

Thom Hartmann Program

Published on Sep 10, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh has lied to the senate during his hearing a week prior to the publication of this video, by stating he has no knowledge of memos from his time during the Bush administration, here to correct Kavanaugh and call for his impeachment is Lisa Graves the author of the very memos Brett Kavanaugh lied about to the Senate, Should Brett be impeached rather than elevated for lying to the senate?
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 14, 2018, 01:47:56 pm »

Here's What We Know About All That Bottled Water Abandoned in Puerto Rico [Updated]

By Yessenia Funes

September 12, 2018

Filed to: WHAT A WASTE

The government’s mismanagement of the crisis Hurricane Maria wrought on Puerto Rico was once again thrust into the spotlight this week, when photos of a large number of bottled water pallets sitting derelict outside an airport in Ceiba went viral on social media.

But while the public outcry was swift after CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud broadcasted the photos of what he said looked like “millions” of bottles of water on his Twitter account Tuesday night, what really happened may be a bit more complex than a simple failure to deliver relief supplies.

The photographer who took these images, Abdiel Santana, works for the Puerto Rican Joint Forces of Rapid Action, a federal law enforcement agency. He told Begnaud he had noticed these loads of water in October or November of last year, according to CBS. After flying over the region again recently, Santana told Begnaud he noticed the bottles were still there and uploaded the images to Facebook Tuesday. Earther has reached out to Santana for comment and we will update if we hear back.

Puerto Rican General Services Administration (GSA) has a somewhat different account of the events. In a press release shared with Earther, the agency explained the Puerto Rican government was eager to receive some of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “excess water inventory” and claimed about 20,000 pallets in May 2018. But after delivering over 700 pallets, the agency received “several complaints” about their smell and taste. That’s why the rest of the bottles are still sitting unused, per the agency.

On Thursday, FEMA told CBS News it had moved the water outside in January to save money before transferring it over to the Puerto Rican government in April.

FEMA 👹 was initially quick to distance itself from the story. On Wednesday, the agency told Earther that the water was handed off to the GSA, and, from there, the water was its responsibility. Looks like the administration is clapping back at FEMA, however, with claims that the water wasn’t fit to drink by the time they got it. Now, the Puerto Rican government is coordinating water tests with FEMA and the Department of Health.

“I always had food and water to give the people, sometimes two cases of water for families.”
“The Municipality of Barceloneta and the Corporation for Public Dissemination expressed these complaints,” said GSA Administrator Ottmar Chávez, in the press release.

All of this is news to Ceiba Mayor Angelo Cruz Ramos, who told Earther he had no idea these pallets of water were sitting within his municipality. He found out about it Tuesday night like the rest of us. He doesn’t have access to the area where the water is, he said, because it’s run by FEMA.

However, Cruz Ramos said his municipality had enough water and food at the height of the crisis. Around 700 to 800 people would visit a local distribution center to pick up water and food every day in the aftermath of the storm, and the mayor would also hit the streets to give out further water. Once power returned to the region in March, he ended relief supply distribution efforts.

“I’m thankful to FEMA and the U.S. government,” he told Earther. “I always had food and water to give the people, sometimes two cases of water for families.”

The same can’t be said for other remote parts of the island where water distribution centers were something out of a fairy tale. Still, Cruz Ramos made a good point that once this water was left in the sun even for a day or two, it was no longer safe to drink. The Caribbean sun is no joke, and researchers caution against drinking bottled water that’s been left out in the garage or a car all day during the summer because of the chemicals that can leach from the plastic into the water. In Puerto Rico, summer never ends.

This entire mess comes on the heels of President Donald Trump 👹 calling the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria an “unsung success.” Whoever’s at fault, thousands of water bottles abandoned on an island where people have been struggling for months to access clean water isn’t exactly what success looks like.

Updated: 9/13/18, 2:30 p.m. ET: After a day of outrage, FEMA 👹 admitted to CBS News it had left the water bottles out since January as a cost-saving measure. It then went on to give the General Services Administration the water in April. The story has been updated to include this new information.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 12, 2018, 08:04:39 pm »

Senate Democrats publish documents that catch Brett Kavanaugh committing even more felony perjury

Bill Palmer | 9:21 am EDT September 12, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

The Senate confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have already been controversial and dramatic. We’ve seen Democratic Senator Cory Booker release emails which exposed Kavanaugh as a shady character and an ideological extremist👹☠️. We’ve seen GOP Senator John Cornyn 😈 make the empty threat of expelling Booker. Yesterday we saw Democrats seek to expose Kavanaugh’s apparent gambling problem. Now the Democrats are zeroing in further on Kavanaugh’s status as a perjurer.

Influential Senator Dick Durbin tweeted this: “In 2006, I asked Judge Kavanaugh about his role in the 4th Circuit nomination of Jim Haynes – a key figure in crafting the Bush White House detention & interrogation policies. Under oath, he said, ‘I’ve—I know Jim Haynes, but it was not one of the nominations that I handled.’ However, these emails from 2002 and 2003 show that then-Associate White House Counsel Brett Kavanaugh played a substantial role in the decision to nominate Haynes, including examining whether Haynes ‘would be an across-the-board judicial conservative.'” Durbin then posted the emails in question.

Durbin went on to add: “This is a theme that we see emerge with Judge Kavanaugh time and time again – he says one thing under oath, and then the documents tell a different story. It is no wonder the White House and Senate Republicans are rushing through this nomination and hiding his record.” The key phrase here is “under oath.” Lying under oath is perjury, a felony, and you generally go to prison for it. Senate Democrats are exposing Kavanaugh as not merely a serial liar, but a criminal liar.

As Palmer Report has previously spelled out, the Democrats are trying to do two things here. The first is to expose Brett Kavanaugh as such as toxic pile of crap, certain vulnerable Republican Senators might conclude that they can’t vote for him, for fear it’ll cost them reelection. The second is to firmly establish that Kavanaugh has committed multiple felonies, which would set the stage for Kavanaugh to be impeached even if he is confirmed. More and more, it’s starting to feel like – whatever direction this goes in for now – it’ll end up with Kavanaugh in prison.

Help fund Palmer Report's efforts to send Donald Trump to prison!

Be sure to follow Palmer Report on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our mailing list.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 01, 2018, 04:43:00 pm »

New court filing reveals George Papadopoulos has incriminated Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions

Bill Palmer | 12:12 pm EDT September 1, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

As recently as a week ago, former Donald Trump adviser George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona were publicly suggesting that George might rip up his longstanding plea deal and take his chances at trial. That’s now off the table, as Papadopoulos has formally decided to go along with the deal – although he does intend to ask the judge during his September 7th sentencing for a more lenient sentence than the one recommended by Robert Mueller. His new approach: directly incriminating Donald Trump.

Attorneys for George Papadopoulos made their official court filing for the upcoming sentencing hearing. The filing documents how Papadopoulos met with Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions during the campaign, and told them that he could get Trump a meeting with Vladimir Putin, and that “Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions, who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.” So why is this important?

For one thing, it directly accuses Donald Trump of having been in on the Trump campaign plot to work with the Russian government. On its own, there wouldn’t have been anything illegal about Trump meeting with Putin during the election. But when coupled with other revelations, including separate reports that Donald Trump knew in advance about his son’s meeting with Russian government representatives who were illegally offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, this new revelation helps incriminate Trump. It also means Jeff Sessions lied under oath to the House Judiciary Committee.

Of course this court filing is only for sentencing purposes. But it finally reveals at least part of what George Papadopoulos told Robert Mueller when he began cooperating with him; Mueller has had this information all along. This helps build the criminal case against Donald Trump for illegally plotting with the Russians during the election. It also means that Mueller has Sessions nailed on at least two counts of perjury, when you include the lies that forced him to recuse himself to begin with. Yesterday we learned that Trump-Russia players are being criminally pursued for committing perjury.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 30, 2018, 10:32:47 pm »

Book Alleges Trump is Compromised by Russian Mafia

August 30, 2018   

As the legal cloud surrounding President Trump and his associates grows, the new book “House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia,” argues that Trump is compromised by financial links to Russian mafia money laundering. Author Craig Unger discusses his book

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 29, 2018, 06:00:36 pm »

Is Trump Betraying the American People? Q&A (Pt 1/6)

August 28, 2018

Part 1 of Paul Jay and Aaron Mate’s interactive discussion with viewers about the real reasons Trump should be considered a traitor by the American people – From a live recording on August 2nd, 2018

Paul Jay is the CEO and senior editor of The Real News Network. He has overseen the production of over 7,000 news stories and is the host of TRNN news analysis programming. Previously, he was executive producer of CBC Newsworld’s independent flagship debate show CounterSpin for its 10 years on air. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with over 20 films under his belt, including Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows; Return to Kandahar; and Never-Endum-Referendum. He was the founding chair of Hot Docs!, the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival and now the largest such festival in North America.

Aaron Maté is a host/producer for The Real News and a contributor to the Nation. He has previously reported and produced for Democracy Now!, Vice, and Al Jazeera, and written for the Toronto Star, the Intercept, and Le Monde Diplomatique.

Story Transcript

AARON MATE: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate. And we are doing a live Q&A with The Real News Senior Editor Paul Jay. He’ll be taking your questions throughout this hour, so if you have them, put them in the chat below wherever you’re watching, or send them to us on Twitter.

Welcome, Paul. Your thoughts on this question that we’ve been hearing about in the aftermath of the Helsinki summit, of Trump’s betrayal of the American people. Do you think that Russia should be the area of focus for this question?

PAUL JAY: Well, it’s hard to argue with anyone that says that Trump has betrayed the American people. And I’m sure he has, and will do so many, many more times. But simply meeting with Putin is not a betrayal of the American people. Now, we don’t know what was really said between Trump and Putin. I am not one that thinks there was some lovely conversations about arms reduction. Nor do I think that one should hope for such things out of a meeting between Trump and Putin. I don’t think either of them are peaceniks. But of course, Trump represents the most aggressive power in human history, I guess you could say. So they’re certainly in the same league as being dangerous characters. Trump and the American oligarchy have committed great crimes against humanity. That being said, I don’t trust any conversation between Trump and Putin. And not because either of them is the devil or are demons. Because both of them represent very reactionary states, and represent states that are essentially controlled by oligarchies, whether it’s the Russian or the American.

So yeah, I’m always wary of when two leaders like that get together. But to be wary of these negotiations or discussions, one should not feed the most reactionary fears and stoke the paranoia that harkens up all the ghosts and demons of the Cold War. One should have a sober appraisal of when a big imperial power meets a mid-level power, and look at what the consequences might be for the peoples of the United States, the people of Russia, peoples of the world.

And there’s a lot of reasons to think that Trump is betraying the American people, but not because he met with Putin. And I, you know, while I have many points of agreement with Bernie Sanders, I think it’s honestly- I don’t know. I guess outrageous. Bernie Sanders should not jump on this bandwagon. And it doesn’t, it says something- one should be careful of about Bernie Sanders’ vision of foreign policy, that he does jump on this bandwagon. Because the real reasons to fear this meeting between Trump and Putin and the real reasons for betrayal, well, first and foremost, this is the meeting of two climate science deniers. The most serious existential threat of our time and no one’s talking about that. And that’s a betrayal of the of the human species. And so we should be focused on that. We should be very concerned about that.

There was a letter going around a lot of progressive people signed, saying we shouldn’t critique this meeting because it’s a good thing when two nuclear powers meet. And of course, in principle it is. But John Bolton just appointed to the National Security Council as an adviser, I think is the position, a guy named Tim Morrison. Tim Morrison was against the START Nuclear, the treaty, Russian-American treaty. He’s against New START. He was one of the key guys pressuring Obama and lobbying for Obama to put a big investment into nuclear weapons, which he did. Apparently there’s under Obama, and continued under Trump, a trillion dollars over 10 years into developing new nuclear weapons. I mean, that’s a betrayal of the American people, both by Obama and now by Trump. We should condemn that.

And to think that, that Trump, who appoints John Bolton, who appoints a Tim Morrison- and of course Bolton and Morrison are on the same page- who are against any kind of nuclear restrictions on the American military and thus against any kind of arms treaty with anyone that might restrict Americans’ might, to think that is going to be the conversation between Trump and Putin, we should call that out. We shouldn’t be Pollyanna and create illusions that Trump is somehow going to be a peacenik with Putin. And we should try to think through what might- what those discussions might really have been. And yes, condemn them, because we condemn the oligarchies of both countries. But we don’t do it by jumping in the boat of this kind of American exceptionalism, American nationalism, rabid nationalism, where we are all of a sudden praising the CIA. And now we’re cheering on the FBI. Like, the organs of repression in the United States, who have systematically destroyed progressive political forces in this country for decades and spied on people. All of a sudden we’re rooting them on?

What’s going on in much of the liberal and much of the left in the United States is atrocious, and it’s- whatever the Russians did in terms of the 2016 elections is so insignificant compared to wrapping up this vile, rabid, chauvinistic language. And I’m really sorry to see Bernie jumping and using the same kind of words. We need to talk about the whole truth here, and not create the grounds for the kind of militaristic policies that we know Trump’s coming down the pike with, and I suspect is the real conversation between Trump and Putin, which is Iran. And what’s happening with Iran- you have Netanyahu threatening Israeli military action. The you have all kinds of back and forth rhetoric. The Iranians are now threatening they might block the Straits of Hormuz if the Americans start blocking Iranian oil exports.

We know John Bolton and Trump, not just Bolton, that the objective is regime change in Iran. And Iran’s going to be in a position with increasing economic pressure, that they’re going to need Russia and China in far more significant ways to buy Iranian oil and break the American sanctions. And that’s, in all likelihood, what Trump is really talking to Putin about. And I wasn’t in the meeting, and I guess other than a couple of translators nobody was. But if I’m looking at this situation, Trump is saying to Putin, we don’t want you to bail out the Iranian economy, and we don’t want you to bail out the Iranian government the way you did Assad in Syria. You know, we’re living with you saving Assad in Syria. But when we’re coming after destabilization of Iran, we don’t want you playing that role. And I have no idea what Putin responded with. But you know, Trump came out of those meetings smiling.

So yeah, do I think Trump has betrayed the American people? Sure. But for none of the reasons that corporate media and the whole Democratic Party establishment mostly are talking about.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 20, 2018, 12:31:28 pm »

Donald Trump’s rats are eating him alive

Bill Palmer | 10:01 pm EDT August 19, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

This morning Donald Trump revealed quite a bit about his worldview when he referred to Richard Nixon’s White House Counsel John Dean as a “RAT” for testifying against Nixon. History remembers Dean as a courageous hero who did the right thing; Trump is condemning Dean for having been personally disloyal to his criminal boss. But it’s funny that Trump is talking about people ratting each other out, because his own proverbial rats are now eating each other – and him – alive.

Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen so many of Trump’s people stab each other in the back, it’s been difficult to keep track. Omarosa has begun releasing humiliating secret recordings of Donald Trump and his advisers and his family in order to promote her new book. Michael Cohen released an incriminating recording just to spite Trump. Rick Gates testified against Paul Manafort. Oh, and everyone is testifying before the grand jury against Roger Stone.

To give you an idea of how nervous Donald Trump and his people are about all of this, consider that Stone just posted an image to Instagram depicting his fellow former Trump adviser (and former friend) Sam Numberg as a rat. This comes after Cohen posted a tweet claiming that Omarosa was lying, and Trump called Omarosa a “dog.” Now that Cohen has just been informed he’ll likely be charged and arrested within two weeks, we’ll see if and when he cuts his inevitable plea deal against Trump.

This may help explain why Donald Trump had the concept of a “rat” in mind when he was ranting this morning. He’s publicly insisting that his own White House Counsel Don McGahn hasn’t actually ratted him out, but Trump surely knows different. McGahn has been ratting him out for ten months, right under his nose. We’ll see how history ends up remembering McGahn, if he’s remembered at all. But it’s really starting to look like Trump will be remembered as having been taken down by his own handpicked, underhanded people.

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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 16, 2018, 08:54:59 pm »


By Lorraine Chow

Aug. 13, 2018 12:54PM EST

DNC Will Take Fossil Fuel Money 🐉🦕🦖 After All


That was fast. Just two months after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) unanimously prohibited donations from fossil fuel companies, the DNC voted 30-2 🙉 🙊 on Friday on a resolution that critics say effectively reverses the ban, The Huffington Post reported.

The resolution, introduced by DNC Chair Tom Perez 🦖, allows the committee to accept donations from "workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions' or employers' political action committees" or PACs.

It conflicts with the original resolution that called on the committee to "reject corporate PAC contributions from the fossil fuel industry that conflict with our DNC Platform."

In a conference call after the vote, Perez said that members of the labor community considered the original resolution passed in June "an attack on the working people in these industries," per The Hill.   

Read more:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 14, 2018, 07:11:38 pm »

Harvard Professors Levitsky & Ziblatt - How Democracies Die

Washington Watch

Published on Feb 25, 2018

Harvard professors Steve Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt examined the causes that lead to breakdowns in democracies around the world.

January 31st, 2018

Daniel Ziblatt is Professor of Government at Harvard University, a faculty associate in residence at Harvard University's Minda De Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and a nonresident associate of Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Steven Levitsky is a political scientist and Professor of Government at Harvard University. A comparative political scientist, his research interests focus on Latin America and include political parties and party systems, and democratization, and weak and informal institutions.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 14, 2018, 05:28:31 pm »

Trump is Not What He Seems - Maggie Haberman

He is a LOT WORSE!

Washington Watch

Published on Aug 13, 2018

Maggie Haberman, a New York Times White House correspondent and CNN political analyst, spoke about covering the White House. Among the areas she talked about were the mechanics of the daily press briefings and how information is disseminated by the White House to the press.

Recorded July 21st, 2018

Agelbert NOTE: Maggie Haberman reveals that Trump actually believes that he can shape reality according to his whims simply because he has no concept of truth whatsoever. His loud mouthed vengeful, vicious nature, which negatively affects the press and the White House staff 24/7, is also evidenced with some rather euphemistic vocabulary.

This POTUS is a wannabe Textbook Fascist Big Brother straight out of Orwell's book, 1984. Absolutely every single one of Trump's "frustrations" as POTUS are caused, as detailed by Maggie Haberman, by his inability to DICTATE whatever he wants to dictate.

If the USA survives Trump, it will be a miracle.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 13, 2018, 09:16:47 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Pentagon response to the following 100% factual article:

The Political Economy of the Weapons Industry: Guess who’s sleeping with our insecurity blanket

by Joan Roelofs, Counterpunch 25:3, 16-22 (2018) republished August 7, 2018

For many people the “military-industrial-complex (MIC)” brings to mind the top twenty weapons manufacturers. President Dwight Eisenhower, who warned about it in 1961, wanted to call it the military-industrial-congressional-complex, but decided it was not prudent to do so. Today it might well be called the military-industrial-congressional-almost-everything-complex. Most departments and levels of government, businesses, and also many charities, social service, environmental, and cultural organizations, are deeply embedded with the military.

The weapons industry may be spearheading the military budget and military operations; it is aided immensely by the cheering or silence of citizens and their representatives. Here we will provide some likely reasons for that assent. We will use the common typology of three national sectors: government, business, and nonprofit, with varying amounts of interaction among them. This does not preclude, though it masks somewhat, the proposition that government is the executive of the ruling class.

Every kind of business figures in the Department of Defense (DoD) budget. Lockheed is currently the largest contractor in the weapons business. It connects with the worldwide MIC by sourcing parts, for example, for the F-35 fighter plane, from many countries. This helps a lot to market the weapon, despite its low opinion among military experts as well as anti-military critics. Lockheed also does civilian work, which enhances its aura while it spreads its values.

Other types of businesses have enormous multi-year contracts—in the billions. This despite the constitutional proviso that Congress not appropriate military funds for more than a two year term. Notable are the construction companies, such as Fluor, KBR, Bechtel, and Hensel Phelps. These build huge bases, often with high tech surveillance or operational capacity, in the US and abroad, where they hire locals or commonly, third country nationals to carry out the work. There are also billion-funded contractors in communications technology, intelligence analysis, transportation, logistics, food, and clothing. “Contracting out” is our modern military way; this also spreads its influence far and wide.

Medium, small, and tiny businesses dangle from the “Christmas tree” of the Pentagon, promoting popular cheering or silence on the military budget. These include special set-asides for minority-owned and small businesses. A Black-owned small business, KEPA-TCI (construction), received contracts for $356 million.  [Data comes from several sources, available free on the internet: websites, tax forms, and annual reports of organizations; usaspending.gov (USA) and governmentcontractswon.com (GCW).] Major corporations of all types serving our services have been excellently described in Nick Turse’s The Complex. Really small and tiny businesses are drawn into the system: landscapers, dry cleaners, child care centers, and Come-Bye Goose Control of Maryland.

Among the businesses with large DoD contracts are book publishers: McGraw-Hill, Greenwood, Scholastic, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, Elsevier, and others. Rarely have the biases in this industry, in fiction, nonfiction, and textbook offerings, been examined. Yet the influences on this small but significant population, the reading public, and the larger schooled contingent, may help explain the silence of the literate crowd and college graduates.

Much of what is left of organized industrial labor is in weapons manufacture. Its PACs fund the few “progressive” candidates in our political system, who tend to be silent about war and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Unlike other factories, the armaments makers do not suddenly move overseas, although they do use subcontractors worldwide.

Military spending may be only about 6% of the GDP, yet it has great impact because: 1. it is a growing sector; 2. it is recession-proof; 3. it does not rely on consumer whims; 4. it is the only thing prospering in many areas; and 5. the “multiplier” effect: subcontracting, corporate purchasing, and employee spending perk up the regional economy. It is ideally suited to Keynesian remedies, because of its ready destruction and obsolescence: what isn’t consumed in warfare, rusted out, or donated to our friends still needs to be replaced by the slightly more lethal thing. Many of our science graduates work for the military directly or its contractee labs concocting these.

The military’s unbeatable weapon is jobs, and all members of Congress, and state and local officials, are aware of this. It is where well-paying jobs are found for mechanics, scientists, and engineers; even janitorial workers do well in these taxpayer-rich firms. Weaponry is also important in our manufactured goods exports as our allies are required to have equipment that meets our specifications. Governments, rebels, terrorists, pirates, and gangsters all fancy our high tech and low tech lethal devices.

Our military economy also yields a high return on investments. These benefit not only corporate executives and other rich, but many middle and working class folk, as well as churches, benevolent, and cultural organizations. The lucrative mutual funds offered by Vanguard, Fidelity, and others are heavily invested in the weapons manufacturers.

Individual investors may not know what is in their fund’s portfolios; the institutions usually know. A current project of World Beyond War advocates divestment of military stocks in the pension funds of state and local government workers: police, firepersons, teachers, and other civil servants. Researchers are making a state-by-state analysis of these funds. Among the findings are the extensive military stock holdings of CALpers, the California Public Employees Retirement System (the sixth largest pension fund on earth), the California State Teachers Retirement System, the New York State Teachers Retirement System, the New York City Employees Retirement System, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund (state and local employees). Amazing! the New York City teachers were once the proud parents of red diaper babies.

The governmental side of the MIC complex goes far beyond the DoD. In the executive branch, Departments of State, Homeland Security, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Interior; and CIA, AID, FBI, NASA, and other agencies; are permeated with military projects and goals. Even the Department of Agriculture has a joint program with the DoD to “restore” Afghanistan by creating a dairy cattle industry. No matter that the cattle and their feed must be imported,  cattle cannot graze in the terrain as the native sheep and goats can, there is no adequate transportation or refrigeration, and the Afghans don’t normally drink milk. The native animals provide yogurt, butter, and wool, and graze on the rugged slopes, but that is all so un-American.

Congress is a firm ally of the military. Campaign contributions from contractor PACs are generous, and lobbying is extensive. So also are the outlays of financial institutions, which are heavily invested in the MIC. Congresspeople have significant shares of weapons industry stocks. To clinch the deal, members of Congress (and also state and local lawmakers) are well aware of the economic importance of military contracts in their states and districts.

Military bases, inside the US as well as worldwide, are an economic hub for communities. The DoD lists more than 4,000 domestic properties. Some are bombing ranges or recruiting stations; perhaps 400 are bases with a major impact on their localities. The largest of these, Fort Bragg, NC, is a city unto itself, and a cultural influence as well as economic asset to its region, as so well described by Catherine Lutz in Homefront. California has about 40 bases, and is home to major weapons makers as well. Officers generally live off-base, so the real estate, restaurant, retail, auto repair, hotel and other businesses are prospering. Local civilians find employment on bases. Closed, unconvertible installations are sometimes tourist attractions, such as the unlikeliest of all vacation spots, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

DoD has direct contracts and grants with state and local governments. These are for various projects and services, including large amounts to fund the National Guard. The Army Engineers maintain swimming holes and parks, and police forces get a deal on Bearcats. JROTC programs nationwide provide funding for public schools, and even more for those that are public school military academies; six are in Chicago.

National, state and local governments are well covered by the “insecurity blanket;” the nonprofit sector is not neglected. Nevertheless, it does harbor the very small group of anti-war organizations, such as Iraq Veterans Against War, Veterans for Peace, World Beyond War, Peace Action, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for International Policy, Catholic Worker, Answer Coalition, and others. Yet unlike the Vietnam War period there is no vocal group of religious leaders protesting war, and the few students who are politically active are more concerned with other issues.

Nonprofit organizations and institutions are involved several ways. Some are obviously partners of the MIC: Boy and Girl Scouts, Red Cross, veterans’ charities, military think-tanks such as RAND and Institute for Defense Analysis, establishment think-tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, Atlantic Council, and the flagship of US world projection, the Council on Foreign Relations. There are also many international nongovernmental organizations that assist the US government in delivering “humanitarian” assistance, sing the praises of the market economy, or attempt to repair the “collateral” damage inflicted on lands and people, for example, Mercy Corps, Open Society Institutes, and CARE.

Educational institutions in all sectors are embedded with the military. The military schools include the service academies, National Defense University, Army War College, Naval War College, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air University, Defense Acquisition University, Defense Language Institute, Naval Postgraduate School, Defense Information School, the medical school, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the notorious School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. “In addition, Senior Military Colleges offer a combination of higher education with military instruction. SMCs include Texas A&M University, Norwich University, The Virginia Military Institute, The Citadel, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), University of North Georgia and the Mary Baldwin Women’s Institute for Leadership.”

A university doesn’t have to be special to be part of the MIC. Most are awash with contracts, ROTC programs, and/or military officers and contractors on their boards of trustees. A study of the 100 most militarized universities includes prestigious institutions, as well as diploma mills that produce employees for military intelligence agencies and contractors.

Major liberal foundations have long been the “Sinews of Empire,” engaging in covert and overt operations to support imperial projection. They have been close associates of the Central Intelligence Agency, and were important in its instigation. The foundation created and supported Council on Foreign Relations has long been a link among Wall Street, large corporations, academia, the media, and our foreign and military policymakers.

Less obvious are the military connections of philanthropic, cultural, social service, environmental, and professional organizations. They are linked through donations; joint programs; sponsorship of events, exhibits, and concerts; awards (both ways); investments; boards of directors; top executives; and contracts. The data here covers approximately the last twenty years, and rounds out the reasons for the astounding support (according to the polls) that US citizens have conferred on our military, its budget, and its operations.

Military contractor philanthropy was the subject of previous reports, in 2006 and 2016. Every type of nonprofit (as well as public schools and universities) received support from the major weapons manufacturers; some findings were outstanding. Minority organizations were extremely well endowed. For many years there was crucial support for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from Lockheed; Boeing also funded the Congressional Black Caucus. The former president and CEO of the NAACP, Bruce Gordon, is now on the Board of Trustees of Northrop Grumman.

General Electric is the most generous military contractor philanthropist, with direct grants to organizations and educational institutions, partnerships with both, and matching contributions made by its thousands of employees. The latter reaches many of the nongovernmental and educational entities throughout the country.

Major donors to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (listed in its 2016 Annual Report) include the Defense Intelligence Agency, Cisco Systems, Open Society Foundations, US Department of Defense, General Electric, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Lockheed Martin. This is an echo of the CEIP’s military connections reported in Horace Coon’s book of the 1930s, Money to Burn.

The DoD itself donates surplus property to organizations; among those eligible are Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League Baseball, and United Service Organizations. The Denton Program allows non-governmental organizations to use extra space on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport humanitarian assistance materials.

There is a multitude of joint programs and sponsorships. Here is a small sample.

The American Association of University Women’s National Tech Savvy Program encourages girls to enter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, with sponsorship from Lockheed, BAE Systems, and Boeing. Junior Achievement, sponsored by Bechtel, United Technologies, and others, aims to train children in market-based economics and entrepreneurship. Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is partnered with Northrop Grumman for an “early childhood STEM ‘Learning through the Arts’ initiative for pre-K and kindergarten students.” The Bechtel Foundation has two programs for a “sustainable California”— an education program to help “young people develop the knowledge, skills, and character to explore and understand the world,” and an environmental program to promote the “management, stewardship and conservation for the state’s natural resources.”

The NAACP ACT-SO is a “yearlong enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students,” with sponsorship from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman et al. The national winners receive financial awards from major corporations, college scholarships, internships, and apprenticeships—in the military industries.

In recent years the weapons makers have become enthusiastic environmentalists. Lockheed was a sponsor of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation Sustainability Forum in 2013. Northrop Grumman supports Keep America Beautiful, National Public Lands Day, and a partnership with Conservation International and the Arbor Day Foundation (for forest restoration). United Technologies is the founding sponsor of the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools, and co-creator of the Sustainable Cities Design Academy. Tree Musketeers is a national youth environmental organization partnered by Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

Awards go both ways: industries give awards to nonprofits, and nonprofits awards to military industries and people. United Technologies, for its efforts in response to climate change, was on Climate A list of the Climate Disclosure Project. The Corporate Responsibility Association gave Lockheed position 8 in 2016 in its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. Points of Light included General Electric and Raytheon in its 2014 list of the 50 Most Community-Minded Companies in America. Harold Koh, the lawyer who as Obama’s advisor defended drone strikes and intervention in Libya, was recently given distinguished visiting professor status by Phi Beta Kappa. In 2017, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility recognized 34 Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers; 3 were executives in the weapons industry. Elizabeth Amato, an executive at United Technologies, received the YWCA Women Achievers Award.

Despite laborious searching through tax form 990s, it is difficult to discover the specifics of organizations’ investments. Many have substantial ones; in 2006, the American Friends Service Committee had $3.5 million in revenue from investments. Human Rights Watch reported $3.5 million investment income on its 2015 tax form 990, and more than $107 million in endowment funds.

One of the few surveys of nonprofit policies (by Commonfund in 2012) found that only 17% of foundations used environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in their investments. ESG seems to have replaced “socially responsible investing (SRI)” in investment terminology, and it has a somewhat different slant. The most common restriction is the avoidance of companies doing business in regions with conflict risk; the next relates to climate change and carbon emissions; employee diversity is also an important consideration. Commonfund’s study of charities, social service and cultural organizations reported that 70% of their sample did not consider ESG in their investment policies. Although 61% of religious organizations did employ ESG criteria, only 16% of social service organizations and 3% of cultural organizations did.

Weapon industries are hardly ever mentioned in these reports. Religious organizations sometimes still used the SRI investment screens, but the most common were alcohol, gambling, pornography, and tobacco. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a resource for churches, lists almost 30 issues for investment consideration, including executive compensation, climate change, and opioid crisis, but none concerning weapons or war. The United Church (UCC) advisory, a pioneer in SRI investment policies, does include a screen: only companies should be chosen which have less than 10% revenue from alcohol or gambling, 1% from tobacco, 10% from conventional weapons and 5% from nuclear weapons.

The Art Institute of Chicago states on their website that “[W]ith the fiduciary responsibility to maximize returns on investment consistent with appropriate levels of risk, the Art Institute maintains a strong presumption against divesting for social, moral, or political reasons.” Listed as an associate is Honeywell International, and a major benefactor is the Crown Family (General Dynamics), which recently donated a $2 million endowment for a Professorship in Painting and Drawing.

Nonprofit institutions (as well as individuals and pension funds of all sectors) have heavy investments in the funds of financial companies such as State Street, Vanguard, BlackRock, Fidelity, CREF, and others, which have portfolios rich in military industries. These include information technology firms, which, although often regarded as “socially responsible,” are among the major DoD contractors.

In recent years foundations and other large nonprofits, such as universities, have favored investments in hedge funds, real estate, derivatives, and private equity. The Carnegie Endowment, more “transparent” than most, lists such funds on its 2015 tax form 990 (Schedule D Part VII). It is unlikely that Lockheed, Boeing, et al, are among the distressed debt bonanzas, so these institutions may be low on weapons stock. Nevertheless, most of them have firm connections to the MIC through donations, leadership, and/or contracts.

Close association with the military among nonprofit board members and executives works to keep the lid on anti-war activities and expression. The Aspen Institute is a think-tank that has resident experts, and also a policy of convening with activists, such as anti-poverty community leaders. Its Board of Trustees is chaired by James Crown, who is also a director of General Dynamics. Among other board members are Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Javier Solana (former Secretary-General of NATO), and former Congresswoman Jane Harman. Harman “received the Defense Department Medal for Distinguished Service in 1998, the CIA Seal Medal in 2007, and the CIA Director’s Award and the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2011. She is currently a member of the Director of National Intelligence’s Senior Advisory Group, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.” Lifetime Aspen Trustees include Lester Crown and Henry Kissinger.

In recent years, the Carnegie Corporation board of trustees included Condoleezza Rice and General Lloyd Austin III (Ret.), Commander of CENTCOM, a leader in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and also a board member of United Technologies. A former president of Physicians for Peace (not the similarly named well-known group) is Rear Admiral Harold Bernsen, formerly Commander of the US Middle East Force and not a physician.

TIAA, the college teachers’ retirement fund, had a CEO from 1993-2002, John H. Biggs, who was at the same time a director of Boeing. TIAA’s current board of directors includes an associate of a major military research firm, MITRE Corporations, and several members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Its senior executive Vice President, Rahul Merchant, is currently also a director at two information technology firms that have large military contracts: Juniper Networks and AASKI.

The American Association of Retired Persons’ chief lobbyist from 2002-2007, Chris Hansen, had previously served in that capacity at Boeing. The current VP of communications at Northrop Grumman, Lisa Davis, held that position at AARP from 1996-2005.

Board members and CEOs of the major weapons corporations serve on the boards of many nonprofits. Just to indicate the scope, these include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall Society, Conservation International, Wolf Trap Foundation, WGBH, Boy Scouts, Newport Festival Foundation, Toys for Tots, STEM organizations, Catalyst, the National Science Center, the US Institute of Peace, and many foundations and universities.

The DoD promotes the employment of retired military officers as board members or CEOs of nonprofits, and several organizations and degree programs further this transition. U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Eden Murrie (Ret.) is now Director of Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. She maintains that “[F]ormer military leaders have direct leadership experience and bring talent and integrity that could be applied in a nonprofit organization. . .”  Given the early retirement age, former military personnel (and reservists) are a natural fit for positions of influence in federal, state, and local governments, school boards, nonprofits, and volunteer work; many are in those places.

Perhaps the coziest relationships under the insecurity blanket are the multitudes of contracts and grants the Department of Defense tenders to the nonprofit world. DoD fiscal reporting is notoriously inaccurate, and there were conflicting accounts between and within the online databases. Nevertheless, even a fuzzy picture gives a good idea of the depth and scope of the coverage.

From their 2016 Annual Report: “The Nature Conservancy is an organization that takes care of people and land, and they look for opportunities to partner. They’re nonpolitical. We need nongovernment organizations like TNC to help mobilize our citizens. They are on the ground. They understand the people, the politics, the partnerships. We need groups like TNC to subsidize what government organizations can’t do.” Mamie Parker, Former Assistant Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arkansas Trustee, The Nature Conservancy.

Among the subsidies going the other way are 44 DoD contracts with TNC totaling several million for the years 2008-2018 (USA). These are for such services as Prairie Habitat Reforestation, $100,000, and Runway and Biosecurity upkeep at Palmyra Atoll, HI, $82,000 (USA). For the years 2000-2016, GCW lists a total of $5,500,000 in TNC’s DoD contracts.

Grants to TNC for specific projects, not clearly different from contracts, were much larger. Each is listed separately (USA); a rough count of the total was more than $150 million. One $55 million grant was for “Army compatible use buffer (acubs) in vicinity of Fort Benning military installation.” Similar grants, the largest, $14 million, were for this service at other bases. Another was for the implementation of Fort Benning army installation’s ecological monitoring plan. Included in the description of these grants was the notice: “Assist State and local governments to mitigate or prevent incompatible civilian land use/activity that is likely to impair the continued operational utility of a Department of Defense (DoD) military installation. Grantees and participating governments are expected to adopt and implement the study recommendations.”

TNC’s Form 990 for 2017 states its investment income as $21 million. It reported government grants of $108.5 million, and government contracts of $9 million. These may include funds from state and local as well as all departments of the federal government. The Department of the Interior, which manages the vast lands used for bombing ranges and live ammunition war games, is another TNC grantor.

Other environmental organizations sustained by DoD contracts are the National Audubon Society ($945,000 for 6 years, GCW), and Point Reyes Bird Observatory ($145,000, 6 years, GCW). USA reports contracts with Stichting Deltares, a Dutch coastal research institute, for $550,000 in 2016, grants to the San Diego Zoo of $367,000, and to the Institute for Wildlife Studies, $1.3 million for shrike monitoring.

Goodwill Industries (training and employing the disabled, ex-offenders, veterans, and homeless people) is an enormous military contractor. Each entity is a separate corporation, based on state or region, and the total receipt is in the billions. For example, for 2000-2016 (GCW), Goodwill of South Florida had $434 million and Southeastern Wisconsin $906 million in contracts. Goods and services provided include food and logistics support, records processing, army combat pants, custodial, security, mowing, and recycling. Similar organizations working for the DoD include the Jewish Vocational Service and Community Workshop, janitorial services, $12 million over 5 years; Lighthouse for the Blind, $4.5 million, water purification equipment; Ability One; National Institute for the Blind; Pride Industries; and Melwood Horticultural Training Center.

The DoD does not shun the work of Federal Prison Industries, which sells furniture and other products. A government corporation (and thus not a nonprofit), it had half a billion in sales to all federal departments in 2016. Prison labor, Goodwill Industries and other sheltered-workshop enterprises, along with for-profits employing immigrant workers, teenagers, retirees, and migrant workers (who grow food for the military and the rest of us), reveal the evolving nature of the US working class, and some explanation for its lack of revolutionary fervor, or even mild dissent from the capitalist system.

The well-paid, and truly diverse employees (including executives) of major weapons makers are also not about to construct wooden barricades. Boards of directors in these industries are welcoming to minorities and women. The CEOs of Lockheed and General Dynamics are women, as is the Chief Operating Officer of Northrop Grumman. These success stories reinforce personal aspirations among the have-nots, rather than questioning the system.

Contracts with universities, hospitals, and medical facilities are too numerous to detail here; one that illustrates how far the blanket stretches is with Oxford University, $800,000 for medical research. Professional associations with significant contracts include the Institute of International Education, American Council on Education, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Academy of Sciences, Society of Women Engineers, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Society of Mexican-American Engineers, and U.S. Green Building Council. The Council of State Governments (a nonprofit policy association of officials) received a $193,000 contract for “preparedness” work. Let us hope we are well prepared.

The leaders, staff, members, donors, and volunteers of nonprofit organizations are the kind of people who might have been peace activists, yet so many are smothered into silence under the vast insecurity blanket.

In addition to all the direct and indirect beneficiaries of the military establishment, many people with no connection still cheer it on. They have been subject to relentless propaganda for the military and its wars from the government, the print and digital press, TV, movies, sports shows, parades, and computer games—the latter teach children that killing is fun.

The indoctrination goes down easily. It has had a head start in the educational system that glorifies the violent history of the nation. Our schools are full of in-house tutoring, STEM programs, and fun robotics teams personally conducted by employees of the weapons makers. Young children may not understand all the connections, but they tend to remember the logos. The JROTC programs, imparting militaristic values, enroll far more children than the ones who will become future officers. The extremely well-funded recruitment efforts in schools include “fun” simulations of warfare.

There is a worldwide supporting cast for the complex that includes NATO, other alliances, defense ministries, foreign military industries, and bases, but that is a story for another day.

The millions sheltered under our thick and broad blanket, including the enlistees under the prickly part of it, are not to blame. Some people may be thrilled by the idea of death and destruction. However, most are just trying to earn a living, keep their organization or rust belt afloat, or be accepted into polite company. They would prefer constructive work or income from healthy sources. Yet many have been indoctrinated to believe that militarism is normal and necessary. For those who consider change to be essential if life on this planet has a chance at survival, it is important to see all the ways that the military-industrial-congressional-almost everything-complex is being sustained.

            “Free market economy” is a myth. In addition to the huge nonprofit (non-market) sector, government intervention is substantial, not only in the gigantic military, but in agriculture, education, health care, infrastructure, economic development (!), et al. For the same trillions we could have a national economy that repairs the environment, provides a fine standard of living and cultural opportunities for all, and works for peace on earth.


Joan Roelofs is Professor Emerita of Political Science, Keene State College, New Hampshire. She is the author of Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (SUNY Press, 2003) and Greening Cities (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996). She is the translator of Victor Considerant’s Principles of Socialism (Maisonneuve Press, 2006), and with Shawn P. Wilbur, of Charles Fourier’s anti-war fantasy, The World War of Small Pastries (Autonomedia, 2015). A community education short course on the military industrial complex is on her website, and may be used for similar purposes.

Web site: www.joanroelofs.wordpress.com Contact: joan.roelofs@myfairpoint.net


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 09, 2018, 09:35:46 pm »

Trump 🦀 Ally Rep. Chris Collins 😈 Arrested for Insider Trading – Is the Swamp Drained Now?

August 9, 2018

White collar criminologist Bill Black analyzes the significance of Rep. Chris Collins arrest for insider trading along with his son and son’s fiance’s father on 13 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and making false statements to the FBI.

Collins was first Congressman to endorse Trump and is one of his closest confidants


Agelbert NOTE: This is just the tip of the Trump "iceberg" .

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 05, 2018, 05:55:16 pm »

Do Major Corporations Pay a Lot in Income Tax?

The nation's top CEOs get richer, while the U.S. government loses out, at least according to the Institute for Policy Studies. The think tank reviewed tax and personal financial information from 2010 and found that at least 25 U.S. companies paid their CEOs more in total compensation than the firms themselves paid in corporate income taxes.  >:(

In fact, while the CEOs earned an average of $16.7 million USD each, their businesses received an average of $304 million in tax refunds from the federal government.

Among the widest discrepancies:

John Lundgren got paid more than $32.5 million from Stanley Black & Decker, while the firm saw a tax refund of $183 million.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally earned more than $26.5 million and Ford received a $69 million refund. 🤬

The report follows up on recent controversies about sky-high CEO pay, as some estimates show that top executives earn about 325 times more than the average American worker.

It's good to be the boss: 

On average, CEOs in the United States earn the equivalent of $6,000 per hour.

Average CEO pay has jumped 930 percent since 1978, compared with an 11 percent hike for all other employees.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the world's wealthiest man, with a net worth of about $150 billion USD.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 31, 2018, 08:14:08 pm »

Gore Vidal Interview Series with Paul Jay (7/7)

July 31, 2018

On the sixth anniversary of the death of Gore Vidal, and the final day of our fundraising campaign, we republish Paul Jay’s 2007 interview with Vidal on the state of journalism. Vidal says, “I’ve been around the ruling class all my life, and I’ve been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country”

Story Transcript

PAUL JAY: The economic structure of television makes what I’m going to ask difficult to accomplish. But do you think television journalists have learned anything from this last four years?

GORE VIDAL: Well, they’ve always been lazy, and they’re not used to getting to the heart of problems, of matters. They’re not used to investigating anything. Socrates tells us that the unexamined life is not worth living, and that is an absolute truth. Those who want to examine life don’t go in for journalism, because they’re not allowed to. So they’ve got to be very careful. They have to think about tenure if they’re at a university. They’ve got to think about, you know, the publisher and advertisers. So it’s a difficult row to hoe, and we have no intellectual tradition of any kind in the United States. I even told Arthur Schlesinger, you know, Arthur, one Schlesinger does not make a spring. He was horrified.

PAUL JAY: What do you think is the significance of what we’re trying to do?

GORE VIDAL: Well, I’m all for it. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t like the notion. And it’s apt to catch on. It’s when the news starts to break how two presidential elections, 2000 and 2004, were stolen, and The New York Times would not review the book written about it by Congressman Conyers, nor Washington Post, nor Wall Street Journal. The great instruments of news were silent. Well, they’re saying, we don’t give a goddamn about the United States. Just stew in your own juice. Leave us alone. We have corporate figures to add up now, and we have certain things we want to put in place, and we may have a couple of candidates for you dumdums, but you probably won’t like them.

You know, I’ve been around the ruling class all my life, and I’ve been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country. And the Republican machine became so good at transmitting its own feelings about the world to the enemy, to the liberals, once anyone, any of the right wing hear what I just said, he’ll say, oh, the liberals have always hated America. We know that. They despise family values, because they’re only interested in gangbangs and drugs and so forth. This is the way they deal. And whenever they have a real coward for president, like Bush himself, and you have a hero like Kerry, oh, he’s a coward. Didn’t you know that? We’ve got five guys who were in Vietnam with him. What they do is whatever is their transgression, whatever are their faults, they lie and apply it to the other person. That confuses everything. If I were an average voter in the United States I wouldn’t know who was telling the truth, whether Kerry really had run away and didn’t get purple hearts, or whether Junior, you know, had actually learned how to fly a plane.

PAUL JAY: And television news covers the lies like news.

GORE VIDAL: Yes. It has a lock on it.

PAUL JAY: You’ve been touring the country after your new book.

GORE VIDAL: Well, no, I was touring it before the last congressional election to raise money for the Democratic Party. Not that I like the Democratic Party, but we have to have the semblance of a second party to get rid of these others.

PAUL JAY: What do you hear from people?

GORE VIDAL: Well, I’ve never heard cries of rage so loud. It’s when I’m in New Mexico or West Virginia. I’ve covered the whole country by now.

PAUL JAY: Our project’s fundamentally motivated out of our own concern for what the future holds, especially in terms of what democratic rights we do have and the way the media has played such a destructive role. What do you think is the potential for what we’re doing? What do you make of the project?

GORE VIDAL: Well, the potential is enormous. There’s not anyone with an IQ above, you know, lowest room temperature who isn’t interested in something like this. Everybody is on to the con act of our media, that they are obeying bigger, richer interests than informing the public, which is the last thing that corporate America has ever been interested in doing. So I think, you know, the sky’s the limit to the amount of audience you can get.

And one of the secrets is, aside from telling the truth, which most people in America hate because they’ve been brought up on advertising, and they think the truth is just something irrelevant. Irrelevant. You know, everybody lies. You know, I love that line. So it’s alright to steal the election. Well, that isn’t what the world’s about. And I think it’s really come down to we’re going to be blown up one of these days. We have now acquired so many enemies with so much power in the world that, well, they’re going to take a couple of cracks at us. I would rather have Real News here telling us just where it was they struck, where it is, intelligence says they may strike again, and maybe why they’re doing it. We blew up their mosque, we killed their president, or whatever it was that set them off. What our fictional news does now, and this is- all it is is fiction, whether it’s CNN or CBS or NBC, it’s all fiction. The people making this junk know that. The viewers suspect it. But where are they going to turn to? Where are they going to find out? They can’t all go out and get a, you know, subscription to The Nation, which would help straighten them out, at least in print.

So you’re going to be the only alternative, and the word will start to spread. Look at the speed with which, you know, just by telling jokes, John Stewart and company got the attention of everybody. And now they say, well, most of the real news that the people know about they get from the satirizing of it that Stewart does. And very funny he is, too. In other words you build a better mousetrap, and the mouse will come to your door.

PAUL JAY: Thank you.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 28, 2018, 04:39:30 pm »

Common Dreams

BY Jake Johnson

PUBLISHED July 27, 2018

How are they going to pay for this?” asked one commentator on Twitter. “Oh wait, that question only gets asked when it comes to social programs that benefit the working class.”

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald added:

It seems strange, at least to me, that Democrats – with one side of their mouth – say Trump is an authoritarian, lawless traitor, but then, with the other side, keep voting to increase his war powers, military budget and detention & spying authorities. https://t.co/nRoOM7Kifw pic.twitter.com/X11kYf9Qsf

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 27, 2018

House Democrats Join GOP to Approve $717 Billion in Military Spending

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 27, 2018, 09:49:04 pm »


American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths

Our society should’ve collapsed by now. You know that, right?

No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.

Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.

So … shouldn’t there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn’t it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren’t on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone’s going to work at gunpoint? No. We’re all choosing to continue on like this.


Well, it comes down to the myths we’ve been sold.

Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted 🙉 🙊 and basically never questioned.

I’m going to cover eight of them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I’m going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled “Hundreds of Myths of American Society,” (B) these are the most important ones and (C) we all have other s h i t to do.

Myth No. 8—We have a democracy.

If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? … You probably can’t do it. It’s like trying to think of something that rhymes with “orange.” You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn’t. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy: A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control.

Myth No. 7—We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.

Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!

What part of this sounds like a legitimate election system?

No, we have what a large Harvard study called the worst election system in the Western world. Have you ever seen where a parent has a toddler in a car seat, and the toddler has a tiny, brightly colored toy steering wheel so he can feel like he’s driving the car? That’s what our election system is—a toy steering wheel. Not connected to anything. We all sit here like infants, excitedly shouting, “I’m steeeeering!”

And I know it’s counterintuitive, but that’s why you have to vote. We have to vote in such numbers that we beat out what’s stolen through our ridiculous rigged system.

Myth No. 6—We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.

Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can’t get anything resembling hard news because it’s funded by dicks.) The corporate media’s jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It’s their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I’m telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they’re standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.

Myth No. 5—We have an independent judiciary.

The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted, “The most basic constitutional rights … have been erased for many. … Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.”

If you’re not part of the monied class, you’re pressured into releasing what few rights you have left. According to The New York Times, “97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence.”

That’s the name of the game. Pressure people of color and poor people to just take the plea deal because they don’t have a million dollars to spend on a lawyer. (At least not one who doesn’t advertise on beer coasters.)

Myth No. 4—The police 🦍 are here to protect you. They’re your friends.

That’s funny. I don’t recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states.)

The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs—which by definition is a war on our own people.

We lock up more people than any other country on earth. Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea—none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty’s skirt.

Myth No. 3—Buying will make you happy.

This myth is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).

If we’re lucky, we’ll make enough money during the week to afford enough beer on the weekend to help it all make sense. (I find it takes at least four beers for everything to add up.) But that doesn’t truly bring us fulfillment. So what now? Well, the ads say buying will do it. Try to smother the depression and desperation under a blanket of flat-screen TVs, purses and Jet Skis. Now does your life have meaning? No? Well, maybe you have to drive that Jet Ski a little faster! Crank it up until your bathing suit flies off and you’ll feel alive!

The dark truth is that we have to believe the myth that consuming is the answer or else we won’t keep running around the wheel. And if we aren’t running around the wheel, then we start thinking, start asking questions. Those questions are not good for the ruling elite, who enjoy a society based on the daily exploitation of 99 percent of us.

Myth No. 2—If you work hard, things will get better.

According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey: “80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs” and “[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.” That’s about one-seventh of your life—and most of it is during your most productive years.

Ask yourself what we’re working for. To make money? For what? Almost none of us are doing jobs for survival anymore. Once upon a time, jobs boiled down to:

I plant the food—>I eat the food—>If I don’t plant food = I die.

But nowadays, if you work at a café—will someone die if they don’t get their super-caf-mocha-frap-almond-****-latte? I kinda doubt they’ll keel over from a blueberry scone deficiency.

If you work at Macy’s, will customers perish if they don’t get those boxer briefs with the sweat-absorbent-ass fabric? I doubt it. And if they do die from that, then their problems were far greater than you could’ve known. So that means we’re all working to make other people rich because we have a society in which we have to work. Technological advancements can do most everything that truly must get done.

So if we wanted to, we could get rid of most work and have tens of thousands of more hours to enjoy our lives. But we’re not doing that at all. And no one’s allowed to ask these questions—not on your mainstream airwaves at least. Even a half-step like universal basic income is barely discussed because it doesn’t compute with our cultural programming.

Scientists say it’s quite possible artificial intelligence will take away all human jobs in 120 years. I think they know that will happen because bots will take the jobs and then realize that 80 percent of them don’t need to be done! The bots will take over and then say, “Stop it. … Stop spending a seventh of your life folding shirts at Banana Republic.”

One day, we will build monuments to the bot that told us to enjoy our lives and … leave the shirts wrinkly.

And this leads me to the largest myth of our American society.

Myth No. 1—You are free.

And I’m not talking about the millions locked up in our prisons. I’m talking about you and me. If you think you’re free, try running around with your nipples out, ladies. Guys, take a dump on the street and see how free you are.

I understand there are certain restrictions on freedom we actually desire to have in our society—maybe you’re not crazy about everyone leaving a Stanley Steamer in the middle of your walk to work. But a lot of our lack of freedom is not something you would vote for if given the chance.

Try building a fire in a parking lot to keep warm in the winter.

Try sleeping in your car for more than a few hours without being harassed by police.

Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms.

Try signing up for the military because you need college money and then one day just walking off the base, going, “Yeah, I was bored. Thought I would just not do this anymore.”

Try explaining to Kentucky Fried Chicken that while you don’t have the green pieces of paper they want in exchange for the mashed potatoes, you do have some pictures you’ve drawn on a napkin to give them instead.

Try running for president as a third-party candidate. (Jill Stein was shackled and chained to a chair by police during one of the debates.)

Try using the restroom at Starbucks without buying something … while black.

We are less free than a dog on a leash. We live in one of the hardest-working, most unequal societies on the planet with more billionaires than ever.

Meanwhile, Americans supply 94 percent of the paid blood used worldwide. And it’s almost exclusively coming from very poor people. This abusive vampire system is literally sucking the blood from the poor. Does that sound like a free decision they made? Or does that sound like something people do after immense economic force crushes down around them? (One could argue that sperm donation takes a little less convincing.)

Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers—most of the time—don’t need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.

It’s time to wake up.

If you think this column is important, please share it. Also, check out Lee Camp’s weekly TV show “Redacted Tonight” and weekly podcast “Common Censored.”

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 22, 2018, 12:25:46 pm »

Poisoning Our Children: The Parent's Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides

July 22, 2018 • 71,521 views 👀

Story at-a-glance

• In the U.S., there are about 80,000 registered chemicals. Of these, only a few hundred have been tested for safety, and even that testing is considered inadequate by most toxicologists

• Chemicals are tested in isolation. In real world application however, chemicals are used in combination, and the few studies done on synergetic effects reveal even nontoxic chemicals can become toxic when mixed together

The agricultural and global chemical industries have manipulated the system to control and suppress safety concerns. Through regulatory capture, regulators end up working for the industry’s 😈 👹 💵 🎩 rather than the public’s interest

• Regulators make decisions on the safety of poisons in our food and environment based on data provided by the company selling the toxin, and outsiders cannot review that evidence

• There’s no specific safety testing done for children, but studies show there is no lower level of pesticides that is safe for children

Read more:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 13, 2018, 04:51:38 pm »


July 13, 2018

Exploiting Pensions, Wall Street Cost Taxpayers $624 Billion Over Last Decade

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams: In a frenzied bid for higher profits in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street pension fund managers have siphoned as much as $624 billion from Americans' retirement savings -- and, as a direct result, taxpayer coffers -- through a vicious combination of high fees and foolish investment strategies.

Read the Article

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