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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 12167 times)

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #915 on: April 01, 2019, 06:22:38 pm »

The U.S. Is Run by a Financial Oligarchy 👹💵🎩🍌: The Ruling Elite , Money & the Illusion of Progress (1993)

The Film Archives

Published on Apr 28, 2014

Some contemporary authors have characterized current conditions in the United States as being oligarchic in nature. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080...

Simon Johnson wrote that "the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent," a structure which he delineated as being the "most advanced" in the world. Jeffrey A. Winters argues that "oligarchy and democracy operate within a single system, and American politics is a daily display of their interplay." Bernie Sanders (I-VT) opined in a 2010 The Nation article that an "upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country."

United States political and finance industry leadership has recently been dominated by people associated with Harvard and Yale. All nine members of the current Supreme Court attended Harvard or Yale law schools. The last member appointed to the court who was not a former student at one of those two institutions was Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by the newly elected President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Reagan was also the last United States President who did not attend either Harvard or Yale.

A well-known fictional oligarchy is represented by the Party in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The socialists in the Jack London novel The Iron Heel fight a rebellion against the oligarchy ruling in the United States. In the Ender's Quartet, by Orson Scott Card - specifically Xenocide, Speaker for the Dead, and Children of The Mind - there is an Oligarchy of the Starways Congress which rules by controlling communication by the Ansible. The Capitol in The Hunger Games trilogy is also a form of Oligarchy, as is the nation of Tear (ruled by a group of High Lords, until the appointment of High Lord Darlin as King of Tear) in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.


Corporatocracy is a term used as an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests. It is a generally pejorative term often used by critics of the current economic situation in a particular country, especially the United States. This is different to corporatism, which is the organisation of society into groups with common interests. Corporatocracy as a term tends to be used by liberal and left-leaning critics, but also some economic libertarian critics and other political observers across the political spectrum. Economist Jeffrey Sachs described the United States as a corporatocracy in his book The Price of Civilization. He suggested that it arose from four trends: weak national parties and strong political representation of individual districts, the large U.S. military establishment after World War II, big corporate money financing election campaigns, and globalization tilting the balance away from workers.

The term was used by author John Perkins in his 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, where he claimed that a "corporatocracy" exists, involving tacitly coordinated corporations, banks, and governments. This collective is known as what author C Wright Mills would call the Power Elite. The Power Elite are wealthy individuals who hold prominent positions in Corporatocracies. These individuals control the process of determining society's economic and political policies.

The concept has been used in explanations of bank bailouts, excessive pay for CEOs, as well as complaints such as the exploitation of national treasuries, people, and natural resources. It has been used by critics of globalization, sometimes in conjunction with criticism of the World Bank or unfair lending practices, as well as criticism of free trade agreements.


Category Education
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #916 on: April 02, 2019, 09:52:37 pm »
Deep Faith in the Deep State Gives Dems a Set Back

March 31, 2019

Our weekly panel discusses the Mueller Report, as the Democrats and their media allies put their eggs in the Russia-Gate basket and handed Trump a PR victory – Jacqueline Luqman, Jeff Cohen and host Paul Jay

Story Transcript
PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

This is our weekly roundup panel. But before we get started, let me do a bit of a rant introduction here, because we’re going to talk about the Mueller report. On The Real News, we’ve been always extremely skeptical of the whole Russiagate story. We’ve carried many, many reports that said that the evidence of Russian interference was dubious, at best. The collusion story, the evidence seemed rather thin and dubious. But I always said, myself, all through all of this, I actually–I’m sorry–don’t give a damn. I didn’t care whether there was some low-level Russian interference that we all know was mostly ineffective. Not mostly ineffective, was ineffective. I didn’t care whether Trump colluded or didn’t collude with some mostly or completely ineffective Russia troll farm inc. Maybe there was, wasn’t, whatever. Because in the list of the crimes of Donald Trump, all of this was a distraction.

So let me preface our discussion about the Mueller report with that framing, because it still is a major news story. It is a crisis within the political class of the United States. It does reflect real splits amongst the elites. It will affect the well-being of ordinary people, which is what we care about. But we’ve never put any eggs in the “Oh, he didn’t collude” basket; nor were we, a la Rachel Maddow and some others, constantly hammering that his big crime was the collusion. So when the Mueller report briefing, a four page summary, whatever it is Barr did, came out, I didn’t jump for joy that he didn’t collude, as some did. Nor was I disappointed that it didn’t show that he didn’t collude. All of it is so secondary.

That being said, as a political event, it’s actually not secondary. It is a reflection of some real stuff, and that’s what we’re going to talk about. So joining me to talk about all of this, first of all, coming from Woodstock, New York, is Jeff Cohen. Jeff is the founder of the media watchdog FAIR, and he is currently, and was the co-founder of RootsAction.org. And joining me in the studio is Jacqueline Luqman. She’s editor-in-chief of Luqman Nation, and she’s a regular contributor and sometimes host at The Real News. So thanks for joining us.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Thanks for having me.

PAUL JAY: So Jeff, let me start with you. What’s your main takeaway? We’re going to break this down into various categories, but first of all, your main takeaway of the events, the Mueller events of this week.

JEFF COHEN: Well, I think that the Trump team played it well. They had Barr hide the full 300 plus page report, and Barr quoted about 50 words. So Trump’s able to claim vindication. He clearly has not been vindicated. I think that, wearing my media critic hat, this has been a horrific episode in mainstream media; the fixation, the obsession, the exaggerations about Russia election collusion, while excluding far bigger issues and far bigger affronts to U.S. democracy committed by Trump. So as a media critic, what’s happened the last two years is really offensive.

And as a political analyst, the leadership of the Democratic Party putting their eggs in this basket, and every time Nancy Pelosi, for a year and a half, two years, has been asked about impeachment, rather than laying down the many grounds of possible impeachment inquiry–and RootsAction.org has about 15 of them, from abuse of the pardon power, politicizing federal prosecutions, the violation of the anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution because of Trump’s self-dealing–you can go on and on–the discrimination based on religion represented by the Muslim ban, tearing refugee families apart at the border. There’s 15 different grounds, and every time Pelosi is asked about impeachment, she says, “Well, let’s wait for the Muller report.” And all the leaders of the party, “Let’s wait for the Mueller report.” And what that achieved was it tended to take these huge affronts against the U.S. public, against democracy, against the Constitution, and marginalize them like they’re less important than Russian election collusion. I think it was a horrible strategy.

One final point. In November of 2018, the exit polls have shown that virtually no voters cared about Russian election collusion. So if the Democrats had focused on Trump’s corruption and his violation of the two clauses in the Constitution saying you can’t accept a financial benefit from your office, and it had been about his greed and self-interest, that might have impacted the 2018 election, and it might have been a bigger Democratic victory they squandered politically by saying, “We’re waiting for Mueller.”

PAUL JAY: Well, let’s play a clip of perhaps the person who is the face of this media frenzy and what I would call Russophobia. She’s not the only one. I’m talking about Rachel Maddow, obviously, but CNN is every bit as guilty as MSNBC is. But Rachel, her show rose to the top of cable ratings at the height of all this. Back in July of 2018, Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, and this is one of the most highest points of the fever pitch of this craziness. And here’s a couple of clips from MSNBC.

RACHEL MADDOW: I mean, for everything that we have been through as a country, for every kind of trial and challenge and intrigue and embarrassment and scandal that we have been through as a nation, we haven’t ever had to reckon with the possibility that somebody has ascended to the presidency of the United States to serve the interests of another country rather than our own. What’s the corrective to that? How do you remedy that? These are no longer hypothetical questions.

JILL WINE-BANKS: It’s just as serious to me as the Cuban missile crisis in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack. The president is taking the side of the people who attacked us instead of trying to prevent a future attack. He has done nothing to make sure that the elections four months away are going to be safe. And I would say that his performance today will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht. And it’s really a serious issue that we need to deal with.

PAUL JAY: So Jacqueline, the level of that rhetoric is hard to believe, and they put their eggs in the Mueller basket. But to me, the underlying crime here is the beating the drums of a new Cold War. Far more significant than anything Trump may or may not have done.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yes. I mean, what I think I have to do is make very clear that I think Trump is guilty of something. I’m certain he’s guilty of something, but I think that something is more along the lines of financial crimes. Just from looking at his behavior, the things that have come to light from this investigation, you can look at the way he’s been trying to solidify this deal to build this Trump Tower in Russia for 30 years. And I think any thinking person can look at what’s come out of this investigation and say, “OK, he’s thinking he can capitalize on the presidency to finally get this done.” I think that that makes sense. So yes, he’s guilty of something.

But this whole Russophobia and the level of hysteria from people like Maddow and the other clip, where the woman ended saying that this is akin to Kristallnacht. Are you kidding? This is this is not a situation where the president of the United States is acting on behalf of a foreign government, as opposed to acting on our behalf. First of all, our own government has not acted on the behalf of the people that is supposed to elected it a very long time. So to feign this outrage that this particular president is doing something different from what other presidents have done, as if other presidents have acted on behalf of the people; that, first of all, is just dishonest about our government. That’s just a dishonest premise to start from.

And then, to take this discourse of Russia corrupting our elections and corrupting our electoral process. You had a Democratic Party that was involved in purging registered voters in some places. Then you had a Democratic Party that was also actively colluding, for real, with the media to completely not cover a very popular insurgent candidacy. I mean, I believe these agents in the media have created this narrative that is centered on Russia being the enemy and creating this crisis in this country, when really the crisis is and always has been this really unseemly alliance between both political parties and the media–that is, the corporate media, I should say–that’s more than willing to trot out whatever narrative the highest bidder will pay for. And whoever gets hurt by it–meaning the American people–whoever gets hurt by that level of disinformation, it doesn’t matter, as long as one party is seen as winning over the other.

PAUL JAY: Jeff, when you discuss this kind of within the rough framing of the mainstream discourse, there is something fishy about Barr’s letter, and there is something fishy about the Mueller report; first of all, how on earth the Democrats trusted Mueller. In an interview I did recently with Larry Wilkerson, he called Mueller the “cleanup man” for the Republican Party. Years post 9/11, Iraq war, I mean, the FBI was accused by Graham under Mueller’s administration for directly not properly investigating the 9/11 situation. I mean, it goes on and on. And then they put all their eggs in the Mueller basket, so why trust them in the first place? But still, Barr was obviously put in place by Trump to block anything that might hurt Trump in the report, and so far, that’s what he’s doing. The whole thing is pretty fishy.

JEFF COHEN: Yeah. Let’s do Mueller and then Barr. I mean, I’m a person of the left. When I was young, the FBI was spying on me.

PAUL JAY: And I’m sure still is.

JEFF COHEN: Yeah. We have this thing in the mainstream media where there’s Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left. No, MSNBC is not on the left. If you’re on the left, your saviors are not FBI chiefs. For 16 years, Mueller and Comey ran the FBI. During that time, Occupy Wall Street was surveilled, Black Lives Matter was surveilled, The Standing Rock activists, the Water Protectors, were surveilled. So they’re not my heroes. So that’s number one. And all these former generals that got paraded on MSNBC and CNN, they are not the saviors of progressive America. So on the one hand, there really were attempts to collude. Collusion is not a crime, but with the antics of Trump aides like Papadopoulos, Carter Page, trying to arrange meetings with the Russians and getting a green light from the leadership, and then you have the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, that’s not a minor issue.

And when I hear people say, “Oh, who cares if they met,” I mean, think about it. If a foreign power, say Israel or Saudi Arabia, during the Democratic primaries, had contacted the leadership of the Hillary Clinton campaign and said, “As part of our effort to help you defeat Bernie, here’s some dirt on Bernie” And then the leader of that campaign says back in an e-mail, “I love it,” I mean, we’d be outraged. And I don’t know if I agree with Steve Bannon when he referred to the Trump Tower meeting as unpatriotic or treasonous, which is what Bannon said about the Trump Tower meeting, but clearly there was some attempt to collude, and that’s why–getting to Barr–the American public has a right to see the full 300 plus pages. Because all we know from Bar, is which is fascinating, is that Muller punted, he sort of threw up the white flag, he said, “I cannot–this report does not prove a crime of obstruction of justice, but it does not exonerate President Trump.” That’s pretty intense, and I want to hear more about that.

And then, secondarily, that comment that’s been quoted from the report, and we only know it from Barr, which is they did not find that Trump or Trump’s associates conspired or coordinated with the Russians during the election; when they say did not find, in legal terms, when a prosecutor says that–he said did not establish–that means did not establish beyond a reasonable doubt. But clearly, there was some collusion, and I want to hear about it. So I’m happy that there’s activism trying to demand the full report.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yeah. I do believe there was some coordination to get information, I do think there was some coordination. Again, I really do think the meat of this matter is financial crimes. When this report is released–and I do believe the report absolutely needs to be released, because I’m interested to find out what other things came that Trump hasn’t been exonerated for. I want to know what those things are. I think I have a pretty good idea, but I’d just like to see for myself, as I think we all have a right to.

PAUL JAY: And I think a lot of that’s being followed up by the Southern District Prosecutors in New York, who are going after the financial crime.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Exactly. And it might be that that’s exactly what it said in the report, that because there are these connections to financial misdeeds and questionable financial dealings involving Russia, then these issues are being shuttled to the Southern District of New York, who are continuing an ongoing investigation. That could be the things that Trump is not exonerated for from this report. But again, we don’t know, because we don’t see the full report. But I am really concerned about the damage that the corporate media has done to black activists, to black voters, and to people who they claimed were influenced by this very limited, and not extensive in scope at all, Russian troll farm operation to so-called influence voters not to vote for Trump.

The media, the corporate media, never reported the truth about the extent of that operation. They always inflated the reach and the scope and the influence to make it seem as if this really small agency that didn’t spend a lot of money–the Internet Research Agency, I think they’re called, didn’t spend a lot of money. They actually spent less money on this so-called national troll farm campaign than the New Knowledge Agency that wrote a report spent on their nefarious dealings in the Alabama election. So there is a problem that was never reported by corporate media with this whole situation. But also, they didn’t report that most of the ads didn’t even appear on social media until after the election. Most of them didn’t mention Trump or Clinton or Sanders or the election at all. There were a bunch of memes of Jesus saying, “Click if you if you love Jesus, share,” ridiculous things like that.

PAUL JAY: Although that’s part of data gathering, to figure who they want to talk to, assuming they is they. And that’s still not clear.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: But that’s the same thing that Amazon does, that’s the same things that any online retailer does when they want to build an audience for their product. The Internet Research Agency did not create a campaign that was wide enough, large enough, influential enough to influence anyone to vote one way or another in this election. But these people in the corporate media, the Maddows and the people at CNN, they created this narrative and then they turned it into “black activists were influenced by these ads,” as if we are a bunch of ridiculous, silly, childish people who decide who to vote based on some shoe ads on Facebook. And for me, the damage is done. For me, I think that the corporate media has done an irreparable amount of damage by trotting out that storyline.

PAUL JAY: Jeff, I mean, we’ve said this on The Real News a million times, I’ll say it again. The critical thing that elected Donald Trump is, number one, Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate with a ton of baggage. Two, her campaign itself was awful and didn’t campaign in the swing states the way any normal campaign would. And most importantly, she promised to be the legacy of the Obama administration, under which inequality got far worse. So she was going out there with a message of essentially more of the same, when it was clear that much of the electorate was rejecting more of the same.

JEFF COHEN: There’s no doubt. She got defeated in the Rust Belt. And I worked on a movie, the corporate coup d’etat, and we interviewed workers who voted for Obama, voted for Bernie, and then voted for Trump. She got beat in the rust belt because she was seen as the candidate of the status quo. And so, the day after the election, the Democratic leadership and the Clinton campaign decided, “Well, who are we going to blame this on? Because certainly it wasn’t our fault.” And that was one of the impetuses behind the Russia hysteria. I think we should name some names in terms of the media and some specifics. I mean, the Washington Post reported, and it was false, that the Russians had hacked into the electric utility grid in Vermont. That is false. And again, the big Russia-bashing scare is always big news, and the retraction is always smaller.

NBC, MSNBC reported that the Russians had used a supersonic microwave weapon against U.S. diplomats in Havana. It wasn’t true. Forbes reported that RT, Russia’s television network, had hacked into C-SPAN and had put RT programming on C-SPAN. And C-SPAN had to rush out and say, “Well, no, no. That was our technical glitch.” But the most damaging story in the whole two plus years of Russiagate was from the Washington Post quoting some research outfit, they were a bunch of hacks, they’re charlatans, claiming to have a list–if it sounds McCarthyite, it was–claiming to have a list of more than 200 websites that were routinely disseminating Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. And that was in the Washington Post, it was promoted by the editor, Marty Baron. And on that list of Russian propaganda websites were credible, important, independent news sites like Truthdig.dot com, truthout.org, Black Agenda Report. It was just old fashioned McCarthyism in the Washington Post.

So you had a series of these stories that not only–again, I’m no defender of Putin. I think he’s a right wing nationalist, anti-gay, sexist, and all of that, but Russia did not do all of these things. And since Russia and the U.S. have 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons at their ready, let’s try to have some sobriety when we talk about U.S.-Russia relations.

PAUL JAY: Just finally, I want to make the point that while I didn’t care whether there was collusion or not collusion because I think in the scheme of things the whole thing was so minor; that being said, I think there’s something good about the fact that one, that the political elites are at war with each other. Because when they work together, it’s usually not good for the rest of us. I also think Trump is–I guess it was Chomsky who said this, but a lot of people have said it–I think Trump is extremely dangerous as a president. And I think the more that this process might wound him. And unfortunately, putting all their eggs in the Mueller basket didn’t play that role. On the other hand, if in fact in the Mueller report is damning evidence, whether it’s about collusion or corruption doesn’t matter, it’s a good thing this comes out and perhaps weakens the Trump presidency. Actually, Jacqueline, do you want to–

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yeah. I think among those of us who are not Trump’s base–he has a die-hard, hard-core base that I’m telling you, no matter what comes out of this report–I think even if this report actually does say this evidence shows a connection to Trump colluding with Russia, Trump’s base is not going to care.

PAUL JAY: But Trump’s base is not enough to elect him.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: This is true, but I’m just telling you about the political, and maybe more importantly, the social reality.

JEFF COHEN: Let me just jump in. Imagine if even one tenth of CNN and MSNBC and Rachel Maddow program, just one tenth had focused on his greed and self-dealing and his violation of the Constitution with, for example, the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. You’ve got governments like Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, they’re having their events there. The National Mining Association, they’re having their events there. You have all this greed going on which is in violation of the Constitution. When Jimmy Carter, a businessman, became president, before that, he divested himself of his peanut farm and his peanut warehouse. Trump has refused to divest. I just want one tenth of the time focused on how, in violation of the Constitution, he’s received all these financial benefits at his businesses from international interests and domestic interests. That would have hurt Trump even more in the November 2018 election, would have hurt him even with some of those die-hard members of the base.

PAUL JAY: It may yet get there. Because with these congressional committees following up on Cohen’s testimony, obviously the Democrats have to switch to the corruption story now and the pending release of the Mueller story. So we’ll see. OK, quick last word.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yeah. I think what I’m trying to get at is there is a section of Trump’s base that no matter what he does, they will see him as their hero.

PAUL JAY: Yeah, and we know that.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: There is no reasoning with these people. There are always going to be people who will respond, “No collusion,” like in New York with the parade with a bunch of Trump supporters who were out there having a parade because the report came back half a nothing burger.

PAUL JAY: We don’t know that because we don’t have the report.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Well, that’s why I said half a nothing burger. So there is a section of this country, of the electorate, of voters, who regardless of what Trump does, regardless of what it’s proven that he does–

PAUL JAY: But it’s not enough for him to get elected. [crosstalk]

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: It might not be enough to get him reelected, but they will always be a factor. They will always be a factor because they will always be that group of aggrieved people who believe that their hero was set upon by this evil liberal government. We’re always going to have to deal with these people, they’re not going to go away.

PAUL JAY: OK, all right. Thanks for joining us, Jeff. Thanks for joining us, Jacqueline.

JEFF COHEN: Thank you.


PAUL JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #917 on: April 03, 2019, 05:21:52 pm »

Nancy Pelosi Believes in Nothing

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Last month, Nancy Pelosi gave an interview to the Washington Post that incensed an increasingly socialist flank of the Democratic Party. “I don’t think we should go down that path,” she said of President Trump’s possible impeachment, before adding the president of the United States is “just not worth it.”

It was unclear, in this context, what “worth it”  ;) meant to Pelosi. In the same interview, she claimed that Trump was unfit for office “ethically,” “intellectually” and “curiosity-wise.” So “worth it,” it seems, translated to “politically advantageous.” From this, one might draw the conclusion that the Speaker of the House thinks it better to keep this guy around—a far cry from newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s pledge several months before to “impeach the motherfucker.”

Pelosi regretted the negativity of her tone in describing the president. “I don’t usually talk about him this much,” she offered. “This is the most I’ve probably talked about him. I hardly ever talk about him. You know, it’s not about him.” Rather it’s about “lower health-care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government.” What exactly that “it” is remains unclear.

Her critics have seized on her impeachment language, but Pelosi gave a more telling answer in her reply to the question that immediately preceded it. Asked whether Trump had done any good for the country, she replied:

He’s been a great organizer for Democrats, a great fundraiser for Democrats and a great mobilizer at the grass-roots level for Democrats. [Laughs.] And I think that’s good for America.

A great organizer; a great fundraiser; a great mobilizer. If you are in the business of running the Democratic Party, then Donald Trump is good for 💵🎩🍌🏴‍ business.

A few weeks later, the Mueller 😈 investigation concluded with a whimper. The former g-man had been lionized by a core of Hillary Clinton stalwarts, who came to view him with an almost messianic fervor, parsing every new tidbit that emerged from his tight-lipped shop for hints of a grand strategy. Some seemed to legitimately expect him to march Trump out of the White House in chains—or barring that, Don Jr. out of Trump Tower in handcuffs. Fed a steady diet of conspiracy theories by cable news pundits and a coterie of online grifters, they lost their ability to distinguish Cold War fantasy from late-capitalist reality.

Then Attorney General William Barr released his four-page memo on the report, which was immediately denounced as a whitewash. Barr’s memo made two principal points: that there was no proof of a grand conspiracy between the Trump campaign and malign actors in the Russian government, and that the special prosecutor remained agnostic about the possibility of criminal obstruction of justice by the president. Given the broad legal immunities enjoyed by the executive office, Barr and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, concluded the Department of Justice could not proceed with any prosecutions.

Members of the hashtag resistance were devastated that Mueller had seemingly failed to catch Teflon Don in the act of defiling their sacred republic, but the disappointment among Democratic leadership felt more muted: less concerned with how the investigation ended than that it had ended at all.

Democratic House leaders like Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff have since pivoted to calling for the release of the full Mueller report. They are right to do so, as Barr has proved himself a notorious water-carrier for corrupt conservatives. It is entirely possible he slanted his abstract of the investigation’s conclusions so they’d land with the loosest, wettest possible plop.

But these tactics still feel dilatory, as did the investigation itself, which Democrats seemed perfectly content to let unspool forever, picking off petty crooks at the fringes while leaving the more grave implications of the probe—collusion, conspiracy, treason—forever unresolved. A boundless, unending investigation, after all, could have produced precisely the kind of paralysis that marred the latter years of the Obama administration.

Pelosi and her Senate counterpart, Chuck Schumer, have not been entirely ineffective at grinding the gears of the Trump administration’s policy apparatus, in as much as it has any policy apparatus to speak of. They held firm through the “partial government shutdown,” and managed to sell it pretty effectively as the fault of the president, though not without Trump’s help in hanging it around his own neck to begin with.

But in the face of demands from their own activist base that they try to actually do something, they have sought—as Democratic centrists inevitably doto negotiate against their own best positions before they even begin. The Green New Deal? Expensive, overly broad. Medicare-for-all? Likewise, not to mention impractical and disastrous for the beloved private health insurance industry. 🤬They did pass H.R. 1, an admirable bill to protect and expand voting rights, in the House, but only after months of quibbling over censorious anti-BDS bills and symbolic condemnations of their own ranks for trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism. The legislation is, of course, doomed in the Senate.

Since their decisive turn toward neoliberalism under Bill Clinton, Democrats have reinvented themselves as a party of technocrats, embracing a kind of proceduralism that stands in stark contrast to the red-meat ideology of the GOP. Ironically, it is the lunatic asylum of the Republican Party that has produced the most successful parliamentarian in the history of the United States, Mitch McConnell.

There is a curious void at the heart of Democratic politics. It isn’t necessary to believe in some absurd, magical notion of willpower to note that at its highest level, the party seems to lack an essential, motivating will. Instead, it views itself as something more akin to a professional membership organization that has a convention in a nice hotel every few years. They are not so much an emperor without clothes—that grand, ridiculous figure for the delusions of power—as they are clothes without an emperor; a lot of nice fabric blown away in a breeze and borne aloft on someone else’s hot air.


Agelbert COMMENT: Sadly true about Pelosi et al and her crooked corporate UNDEMOCRATIC Democratic Party supporters. 😟

We are  now OFFICIALLY a First World BANANA REPUBLIC. 🤬

PAUL JAY: Jeff, when you discuss this kind of within the rough framing of the mainstream discourse, there is something fishy about Barr’s letter, and there is something fishy about the Mueller report; first of all, how on earth the Democrats trusted Mueller. In an interview I did recently with Larry Wilkerson, he called Mueller the “cleanup man” for the Republican Party. Years post 9/11, Iraq war, I mean, the FBI was accused by Graham under Mueller’s 😈 administration for directly not properly investigating the 9/11 situation. I mean, it goes on and on. And then they put all their eggs in the Mueller basket, so why trust them in the first place? But still, Barr was obviously put in place by Trump to block anything that might hurt Trump in the report, and so far, that’s what he’s doing. The whole thing is pretty fishy.

JEFF COHEN: Yeah. Let’s do Mueller and then Barr. I mean, I’m a person of the left. When I was young, the FBI was spying on me.

Full transcript and video

Learn MORE about "Cleanup Man" 🦍 Mueller 👹 and 911

« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 11:37:31 am by AGelbert »
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #918 on: April 04, 2019, 10:32:29 pm »
Trump 🦀 ” Tweets his Ignorance” about Puerto Rico

April 4, 2019

San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz 👍 calls out Trump’s false statements about how much aid has reached Puerto Rico, and says that he uses the peoples suffering to pitch them against each other

Story Transcript

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

President Trump once again attacked politicians in Puerto Rico Tuesday, tweeting “Puerto Rico got $91 billion for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before. And all their local politicians do is complain and ask for more money. The politicians are grossly incompetent,” he wrote. “They spend the money foolishly or corruptly, and only take from the USA,” he said.

Trump also singled out San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz when he tweeted “The crazed and incompetent mayor of San Juan had done such a poor job of bringing the island back to health. $91 billion to Puerto Rico and now the Dems want to give them more, taking dollars away from our farmers and so many others. Disgraceful!” he wrote.

Well, Mayor Carmen Cruz had a very respectful response to the president.

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ [CLIP]: First of all, Mr. President, 3,000 Puerto Ricans died on your watch. They died because your government was inefficient, ineffective, and unable to do its job. Secondly, again, you should fire whoever told you $91 billion were given to Puerto Rico. As you just mentioned, the Washington Post says between 11—our estimate is between $11-13 billion. There are still 30,000 people with rooftops that are not good enough. If a tropical storm comes, we have to take all of those people out of harm’s way. We have $600 million that the president is holding hostage because his vanity is much higher than his humanity is. $600 million to feed 1.3 million Puerto Rican people. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Julia Velasquez have put forth a plan just to feed people. So what kind of a man is he that he looks the other way when people need to be fed?

SHARMINI PERIES: Well, she joins us today, right here on The Real News Network, the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, with us. She joins us from Puerto Rico. Carmen Yulin Cruz, Mayor, I welcome you to The Real News.

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Thank you so much.

SHARMINI PERIES: Mayor, you are in a Twitter war with the president, and all of this because the Senate failed to pass bills that would have provided additional aid to Puerto Rico on Monday. Then the Senate could not muster enough votes, which is 60 votes, in a procedural motion to approve $600 million for food stamps, because the Democrats said this was not enough to address the issues faced by Puerto Ricans.

Now, $600 million seems like a lot to people. Why is it not adequate to address what the Puerto Rican people are facing at the moment?

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Well, first of all, the president continues to tweet his hate and his ignorance out to everybody. No, Mr. President, $91 billion have not been sent to Puerto Rico. And he makes it sound as if it is a prize. You have two terrible hurricanes that devastated your island, and you have gotten—that’s the way he said it—$91 billion. Not only does he lie, but he has the amount completely wrong. According to the Washington Post, it’s about $11 billion.

Now, what we’re talking about is money that has been promised to Puerto Rico but has not been delivered to Puerto Rico. A lot of—much to do about not so much.

Number 2, this is classical Donald Trump. He tries to pin people against one another. This is what we’re talking about: 1.3 million Puerto Ricans out of 3.2 million Puerto Ricans that live in Puerto Rico are under the poverty level and require food stamps in order to put food on the table and not starve. That is exactly what we’re talking about. Now, the president continues to be ignorant about what the Puerto Rican people need, and continues to say that it’s too much money. Not only that, he seems not to even trust his own government. For example, FEMA money that has come to Puerto Rico as a reimbursement is money that is audited by FEMA. So FEMA doesn’t give you anything that they don’t think should be eligible for reimbursement.

So this $600 million is money that is needed; 85% of the Puerto Rican population is in dire need of this assistance. Now, out of this, plenty of them are children. Plenty of them are elderly, and plenty of them are handicapped people. And I want to correct myself. It’s 45% of the Puerto Rican population.

Now, the president does two things that are horrendous. One is he uses people’s suffering to hold them hostage. We will all remember a couple of weeks ago when he said “I want the money for the wall,” he didn’t get the money for the wall, and he left out of work 800,000 federal employees. If he doesn’t get what he wants he throws a little temper tantrum and he tries to put people down. And the other thing is that assistance, things that people need to breathe, to be alive, to survive, should never be weaponized and should never be used as a carrot, so to speak. But that’s what the president does best, tries to put people at odds with fake news that comes out of his mouth, and with totally ignorant comments that really are shameful to the presidency and to himself.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, let’s talk about that $91 billion he claims that Puerto Rico received. And there’s been various studies proving and showing that that is not the case. Give us some details in terms of how this committed or allocated money never arrived in Puerto Rico.

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Well, one of the things that is very important is FEMA keeps changing the rules of engagement. For any other situation where there’s a climate change-related catastrophe or any type of devastation, FEMA initially would give 50% of the money that you certify, just through a letter. And they would give 50% before. Well, remember, there was Irma, then there was Maria. And FEMA somewhere in the middle changed the rule and said, you know what? That’s only going to be for Irma. For Maria we’re going to give you 50% up to $1 million.

Now, they continue also to change the systems, the systems where you have to input the data. And now, this is recovery money, right, the money that comes from picking up debris or vegetative material. This is what they call Category A and B. We’re getting close to the second year anniversary of Irma and Maria, and still that part has not been given completely to the Puerto Rican municipalities. We haven’t even begun from Category C through G, which are the categories which allows you to clean up any debris that’s in the water systems, or, for example, bridges, roads, or any facility. In the case of the municipality of San Juan, there are 487 facilities that need to be looked at by FEMA in order for them to certify the damage and then give the money in order to go ahead and fix them.

At the rate they’re going—and hopefully, I had a conversation with some FEMA people this afternoon, and they’re going to amp up what they’re doing. But at the rate they’re going till today, it’s going to take them 5 years and 10 months to review those 487, of which they have only reviewed so far 57. That’s only for the municipality of San Juan. You can imagine how much further back this system is going to take all over Puerto Rico.

Now, all of this money that we’re talking about, that he’s talking about, this is what it would take for Puerto Rico to come out of every difficult situation that happened during both hurricanes and as a result of both hurricanes. But he just doesn’t know what’s going on in his own administration, and his lack of leadership is really forcing him to lie in order to save face.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Trump also singled out San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz when he tweeted “The crazed and incompetent mayor of San Juan has done such a poor job of bringing the island back to health; $91 billion to Puerto Rico, and now the Dems want to give them more, taking dollars away from our farmers and so many others. Disgraceful!” he wrote.

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Well, on our part we don’t want to defend ourselves at the cost of somebody else. And let me tell you, a couple of weeks ago, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico said, “Mr. President, I support the wall. And I’ve done so publicly. But don’t take the money for Puerto Rico. Take everybody else’s money, but not the money for Puerto Rico.” That’s totally ludicrous. That’s not the way to ensure that a dignified path going forward amongst all people. This is not about shared citizenship. This is about a shared humanity. There are people in a reservation in Pine Ridge right now that are clamoring for the same thing that I was clamoring for the people of Puerto Rico in September, October, November of 2017.

But this is classic Donald Trump. Donald Trump likes to pit people against each other. And I repeat, the suffering of people should never be weaponized. The suffering of people and the need that people have in California, in Pine Ridge, in the Midwest, should never be weaponized. And the president just—there is money to go around. But the president has to understand that his role is not to be the divider in chief. It is to be the commander in chief. His role is not to pin people against each other. His role is to unite people through the thread of common humanity. But he doesn’t get it. He cannot get it done. So what he does is he attacks, he insults, he tweets his hate away. And it just, frankly, shows how embarrassing it must be for him to have to resort to such low tactics of pitting people against one another.

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s very clear that President Trump doesn’t even realize that you were hit by Maria and Irma, because he keeps making reference to ‘a’ hurricane in Puerto Rico. Mayor, if you had a plan to address all the issues that people are facing in Puerto Rico, and had that $91 billion that you should have received, what would be your plan of action?

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Well, there needs to be a complete overhaul of our electrical system. And that’s another program altogether. The current local Puerto Rican government is selling the Puerto Rico electrical power authority, which will give the private sector something like a monopoly in Puerto Rico for everybody. So they may or may not decide that it’s good for X or Y community or neighborhood to receive electricity just because it would be not profitable.

That’s number one. Number two, all of our health systems, our hospitals, our diagnostic clinics, all of them, need to have solar generation systems. Because climate change is real, despite what the president continues to say. And this will bring stronger and faster hurricanes coming altogether. This is going to be a powerful situation that we have to deal with. And number three is the infrastructure, the bridges and the roads, which frankly make it very difficult for people and very unsafe for people to deal with.

SHARMINI PERIES: And that was the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. I thank you so much for joining us today.

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Thank you so much.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #919 on: April 04, 2019, 10:54:08 pm »
Trump 🦀 and Pelosi 🐍 Both Cater to Private 👹 Health InsuranceWendell Potter

April 4, 2019

Trump’s “great healthcare plan” and opposition to Medicare for All’s “socialism” and Pelosi’s defense of the ACA and opposition to single-payer are both aimed at garnering support from the private insurance industry

Story Transcript

PAUL JAY: Welcome to Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

Ten years ago, Wendell Potter had quit his job as a senior executive at CIGNA health insurance. He’d been in the business for about 20 years and had risen to a very senior executive position, head of communications at CIGNA, and he decided he’d had enough. He took a year off to decide what he would do with the rest of his life. Well, here’s what he decided to do.

WENDELL POTTER [CLIP]: It recently became abundantly clear to me that the industry’s charm offensive—which is the most visible part of duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns — may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans …. The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent, publicly-accountable health care option as a “government-run system.” But what we have today, Mr. Chairman, is a Wall Street-run system that has proven itself an untrustworthy partner to its customers, to the doctors and hospitals who deliver care, and to the state and federal governments that attempt to regulate it.

PAUL JAY: That was June 24, 2009. And that kicked off the rest of Wendell Potter’s life, where he became a fighter for health care reform, consumer rights advocacy, fighting to keep money out of politics, and now working in investigative journalism. He’s the author of several books; Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, also with Nick Penniman, he wrote Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It. And his new project is Tarbell.org   , a website which does investigative journalism into how money in politics impacts millions of Americans. Thanks for joining us.

WENDELL POTTER: My pleasure, Paul. Thank you.

PAUL JAY: So normally on Reality Asserts Itself, we do this sort of biographical and then we get into the issues. But because of all the recent brouhaha about how the Republican Party is going to become the party of great health care, and the Democrats all now fighting Trump on health care after the Mueller report didn’t give them what they wanted, at least not so far, we’re going to start with this current iteration of the health care debate. And then in following segments we’ll get into the more biographical issue, and then we’ll pick up again drilling into the whole health care and some of the other issues you’re interested in.


PAUL JAY: So as we say, Trump–there’s a court case going on, they’re trying to rule the Obamacare as unconstitutional. Trump’s jumping on that, saying now we’re going to have an opportunity to do a Republican health care plan. Nancy Pelosi is taking him up on it, saying no, they need to fix the ACA, Affordable Healthcare Act. In the wings, people are running for president, many of whom are various versions of Medicare for All, single payer health care. What do you make of the politics of all this?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, the politics of all of it is that nothing is actually going to happen in Congress one way or another that will affect our health care system, even though Pelosi and Schumer are saying–well, at least Pelosi–they’re going to be able to introduce some legislation to, as they put it, “shore up the Affordable Care Act.” That’s not going to go anywhere. Even if they pass it in the house, it’ll surely not pass the Senate and never reach the president’s desk.

The president has really got Republicans in Congress quite concerned, because he has said publicly–and he’s had to backtrack–he’s said that the Republicans would come up with some kind of bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, which they spent years saying they would try to do and never did. And of course, he said that his administration would support this lawsuit that is challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. That actually could work its way through the court system and even reach the Supreme Court this year or next. No one knows exactly how long it would take. But that could–if the Supreme Court upholds a decision in a Texas court–that could really undo the Affordable Care Act. That’s where things stand right now. But in terms of legislation, don’t expect to see anything out of either chamber that will reach the president’s desk.

PAUL JAY: Now, a lot of this is positioning for the 2020 elections.


PAUL JAY: On both sides. In terms of the judicial process, I mean, how quickly can this proceed. If, for example, the Supreme Court found against the ACA–although previously, not that dissimilar numbers of the court. Roberts went with saying the ACA was constitutional, but there’s some new twist with the case this time that maybe would change his vote. I mean, what timeframe might this happen in, and how realistic is it that Roberts may go the other way this time?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, the case is being appealed. The decision of the Texas federal court which sided with the attorneys general of the Republican states that filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, that is being appealed at a federal appeals court in New Orleans. Don’t know exactly when we’ll hear about that case, but I would expect probably that that case will overturn the Texas judge’s decision. It’s all political, and the judge in New Orleans was appointed by Democrat, so there is some expectation that he will overturn that earlier court decision. Whatever happens, it likely will proceed on to the Supreme Court, because whoever loses probably will try to get it to the Supreme Court. How long that will take is really unknown, but conceivably if the court decides to take it up, it could take it up next year.

PAUL JAY: I mean, one would think, given Trump has so many allies on the Supreme Court, that they will make damn sure that they do not make a decision pre-election, or they will be handing Trump and the Republicans a dog’s breakfast mess, no health care system at all, going into the 2020 elections.

WENDELL POTTER: I think you’re exactly right.

PAUL JAY: So this is a good propaganda move, but this is not… Be careful what you wish for President Trump, because if you get this handed back to you, this is going to kill you in the 2020 election.

WENDELL POTTER: Yeah, it absolutely will. And I think the attorneys general that brought this suit did this. Without really understanding what would happen if this law is declared unconstitutional. And you’re exactly right. If the Supreme Court were to side with those attorneys general, it would be an absolute chaotic mess for the president– for everybody, for that matter, but it would be a disaster–

PAUL JAY: First and foremost for the American people, who will have no idea what their health insurance is anymore.

WENDELL POTTER: Exactly. And it would be worse than the reality of our healthcare system before the Affordable Care Act was passed, because health care costs, they’ve continued to go up. And so, it would be, as you put it, a dog’s breakfast. It would be a real mess. And for that reason, I don’t think we’ll see the Supreme Court being eager to take this up, quite frankly, and they may never do it. But if they do, there are two Trump appointees on the bench now.

PAUL JAY: And for Trump’s base, it makes him look good. Because one of the accusations of the base is how they didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare. Some of the right wing radio pundits give him hell for it and give the Republicans hell for it. So he can now show, “I haven’t given up on this,” even though it’s mostly BS probably. Another kind of BS that’s happening on the side of the Democratic Party–Ryan Grim from The Intercept had an interesting story how behind the scenes, Nancy Pelosi is actually meeting with–or her representatives are–meeting with the private insurance companies and saying, “Don’t worry, we who actually really run the Democratic Party are not interested in single payer Medicare for All style health care.” What do you know about this?

WENDELL POTTER: It’s terrific reporting by Ryan Grim at The Intercept. And it’s been verified that a guy named Wendell Primus  , who is Pelosi’s chief healthcare policy 😈 guy, was meeting behind closed doors with health insurance company executives, more or less reassuring them that “not to worry, we’re not going to do anything that will bother your profits.” And even more recently, reports surfaced about his having yet another closed door meeting, this time with staff of Democrats in the House, essentially saying, “We know some of you guys have introduced and are cosponsoring a Medicare for All bill. Go slow on that. We’re not going to really pay any attention to that legislation.” So what’s behind this, quite frankly, is money in politics, Paul. Because a lot of the Democratic leaders have taken a boatload of money from the health insurance industry, from the pharmaceutical companies, and they don’t want that to end anytime soon.

PAUL JAY: Yeah. Let me say to our audience go, to Tarbell.org. Because there’s an article there which actually lays out which of the Democrats have gotten money from the health care industry. You’ve done a lot of that kind of reporting.

WENDELL POTTER: We have. And we’re going to continue to take a close look at that. As we go through this election cycle, we’re going to continue to report on which Democrats are on the take, and there are a lot of them in the House in particular. Both in the House and the Senate, but it’s clear that those that have taken a lot of money–and one of those who has is a congresswoman from Illinois, 😈 Cheri Bustos, who is now the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

PAUL JAY: And if I remember from your article, she’s a former insurance executive as well. You guys went in kind of different directions.

WENDELL POTTER: Exactly. She and I had exactly the same title, Vice President of Corporate Communications. And yes, we went different directions. But she is one of the members of the House, the Democratic Caucus, who’s taken big checks from all five of the political action committees of the big for-profit insurance companies. And she’s, her own self, been throwing cold water on the idea of moving toward a Medicare for All type system. So she’s really carrying water for the health insurance industry. 

PAUL JAY: Well, we’ll get into some of the detail of the objections to single payer coming from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party leadership in one of the future segments. But the current situation, I think it’s kind of ironic in some ways. When President Obama got Obamacare passed, he made a deal with pharma that “if you don’t fight me on this health care reform because we’re ‘taking on the private insurance companies'”–I think in the early stages, maybe the private insurance companies didn’t like what was coming, but in the end, watch what happened to their stock once it got passed. They didn’t mind it whatsoever. But in the beginning, they didn’t like the fact that it was even being talked about, how to change the system.

But President Obama says to pharma, “Stay out of this and we’ll leave you guys alone, and we’ll protect you from this importation of Canadian generic drugs and such.” Now it’s a bit of the reverse. Pelosi is saying to the insurance companies, “Don’t worry, we’ll protect you from single payer, Medicare for All, but don’t you fight us, because we want to bring down drug prices,” when the whole thing’s an integrated problem.

WENDELL POTTER: Oh, it is. It is an integrated problem. In fact, all the special interests in health care–we’re talking about insurance companies, drug companies, big hospital companies, medical device manufacturers, the AMA–they have symbiotic relationships. And it’s just foolishness to think that there is any interest among any of those parties, including the insurers, to really do something about bringing down health care costs. There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on, and that serves a useful purpose for them. The drug companies point the finger of blame at insurance companies, and the insurance companies say it’s pharma or the pharmacy benefit managers, which is another layer of middlemen that we might talk about. But it’s an extraordinarily complex system.

PAUL JAY: We’re going to get into this in more detail, but let me just ask you one question. I don’t understand why the insurance companies don’t have a self interest in being more active in reducing certain costs. And I’ll give you an example from my personal experience. My kid needed a CPAP machine for apnea. And for a technician to come to the house, bring the machine, shove it on his head, and in about four minutes, do it up, the insurance company–which wound up getting the whole bill because I’d already met our crazy 3000 dollar deductible for the year–but 2300 dollars for a machine that sells on Amazon for 125 dollars, and ten minutes of this woman’s time. I don’t understand, why do insurance companies put up with that?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, they don’t have any real incentive to bring costs down. They talk a good game. And they sold us, the American public, a bill of goods over many years, trying to make us believe that they can bring costs down, or have an interest in doing that. See, they have kind of a monopoly situation. You are not eligible for Medicare, so you have to get your coverage through the private insurance market. Not one of them, even those big ones, including the big ones that I used to work for, has enough market share to really negotiate favorable deals with the drug companies or big hospital companies. So that’s number one. They’re not big enough, they don’t have enough clout to do it. The other is they don’t have much of a desire to do that, despite what they say. Because as health care costs go up, and because they’re kind of the only game in town for most of us, they’re able to raise premiums.

PAUL JAY: I was about to say, it helps justify crazy deductibles and all the rest.

WENDELL POTTER: Yeah. It’s just a matter of their, over time, being able to shift more and more the cost of premiums and the cost of health care to us. And as health care costs go up and they are able to take in more premiums, that means they get more revenue. So they grow, and they have more revenue to convert to profit. So that’s why it’s all a game, and that’s why all this finger pointing is just nonsense. They’re all in on the game and they’re making out like gangbusters, and the rest of us are getting screwed.

PAUL JAY: OK. On the next segment of Reality Asserts Itself with Wendell Potter, we are going to go back to those days leading up to his testimony at the Senate hearing. And we will go through the process of transitioning from a communication person, executive, defending the private insurance industry, to a communication activist attacking, or exposing, the private insurance industry. That’s on Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network. Thanks for joining us.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #920 on: April 05, 2019, 07:08:38 pm »
Passing the Smell 💵🎩😈👹🍌🏴‍☠️🦍 Test

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #921 on: April 06, 2019, 01:53:39 pm »
April 6, 2019

Signs Our Constitution Is Apparently Headed the Way of the Dinosaur 😨

It's enough to make your head spin, it's happening so quickly. Your rights are slipping away like quicksand and the world we're heading into is rapidly resembling a scientific dictatorship where you're fed only what government and industry want you to know.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #922 on: April 07, 2019, 08:19:30 pm »

April 3 2019, 6:01 a.m. 🔊 Podcast

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #923 on: April 08, 2019, 01:19:35 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: This comment corrects the 'free' market fundamentalist bias of the article it references with FACTS.

Extremely oversimplified.  90's were "right" and 2000s were "left?"  As I recall, we got an extremely right-wing administration in 2000 through what amounted to a coup wherein the right-wing governor of a state basically put his right-wing brother and his very right-wing handlers in the White House through election shenanigans.  Oh, and that state had been decided for the other guy until the right-wing cousin on the right-wing network announced, "No, wait a minute! Something is up in my right-wing cousin's state!"

That was the moment when we officially became a right-wing banana republic  after several decades of swinging  right.

Medicare Part D was a cash grab by private insurers.  No Child Left a Dime was robbery.  WeDontSayHisName-Feingold was a joke, a way to give PACs all the power.

Oh, and those two trillion-dollar wars.

But hey, I guess it was the leftists sticking up for the working man that stole all the working man's money, right?  Like forcing people to buy private health insurance.  That was sooo leftist. 

We've been a right-wing warmongering banana republic with nukes for 40+ years, man.  That's why all the money's gone even after Social Security was pillaged.  Al Gore was pointing out a real problem with all his talk of a "lock box."  They raided all that money we workers put in all our lives and used it to pay for boondoggle **** planes like the F-22 and F-35 and wars we didn't need to be in.
 The last marginally left wing administration was JFK and before that FDR.

The one thing you're right about is that this wealth gap has become so insane that there will be genuine upheaval when the music stops. You won't want to be living in a rich neighborhood when hunger sets in, but how do you think the wealth gap grew so much in the past 40 years? Duh. It damn sure wasn't leftists redistributing wealth and standing up for the common working man. You think Obama was a leftist?  ****, you are an NPC and the one whose program makes him retarded at that.

Sun, 04/07/2019 - 10:15

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #924 on: April 08, 2019, 02:04:13 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: Originally posted in 2014. It's every bit as applicable today, if not more so, than it was in 2014.

Karpatok said,

So am I, even if you can't see it. But thank you anyway. This is all true AG and the Perps need to be stopped and taken out. How do YOU propose it should and could be done. And please spare us FAKE DEMOCRACY and "WORKING WITHIN  THE SYSTEM" The system is dead and the JUNTA and CABAL operate for SATAN and the DEMIURGE OF DEATH. In such a demolished and dumbed down apathetic society, what can be the WAY?  PLEASE!                               

These people are the problem:

The solution IS NOT this: Although I admit it has a certain appeal. ;D But as a student of history, you surely know that it just passes the buck to another clever "king (or queen) of the hill" that then proceeds to grow the tyranny cancer from the democratic beginnings. See Yogi Berra and Deja vu all over again.

The hippies had it right in the 1960's. It was a workable, viable plan. That is why our gooberment stepped in and drugged them left and right to give them a bad rep with "respectable" people. The hippies were a HUGE threat to the MIC!

IF we STOPPED supporting the system of consumerism, materialism, and hedonism, the system would DIE. They could print all the money in the world and if we (or about 40% - that's all we would need to bring the bastards to their knees) REFUSED to eat ANYTHING but what we absolutely HAD to have to get by (and less if they jacked up the price!) and REFUSED to use energy for ANYTHING except the bare necessities and ALL lived the MINIMALIST life style REFUSING to have cable, REFUSING to change our clothes more than once a month (so we wouldn't use as much energy washing and soap to wash with), REFUSING to travel except to get food and go to work (and then WALKING or riding a bike as often as possible) and REFUSING to work ANYWHERE that contributes to FEED TPTB, they would be FORCED to stop their damn wars,  24/7 dehumanizing of everything good about human empathy and celebration of brutality and ruthlessness as a "Virtue" of the "Apex Predator" or go to prison.

If everybody VOLUNTARILY decides to be SUPER FRUGAL and live DIRT POOR even if they have the money or the gold or whatever to consume, then MONEY LOSES ITS POWER to undermine ethical behavior and morality in this country.

Yep. That is one tall order. But at the end of the day, TPTB are supported, as MKing correctly says, by every kilowatt hour we consume, every house we buy, every car we run and so on. Every gadget, every cell phone, every CD, every sound system, every cable subscription and even every internet subscription is a compromise that HELPS the CORRUPT status quo.

Well then, how come I'm not living in a panther cave? Because I'm NOT a purist! I don't have the intestinal fortitude to take a vow of poverty like Knarf. Mea Culpa.

HOWEVER, if 40% of the American public had exactly the same "consumer" (see Orwell    ) profile that I do, The stock market would have collapsed, the real estate market would have collapsed, the town budgets would have shrunk from low real estate taxes from people living in 980 sq. ft.  houses or smaller and there would be no mortgage industry to speak of because everybody's house would be paid for.

The derivatives, tranches, scams and so on in mortgages would never have EXISTED. The price of oil would have crashed in 2003 from lack of demand. The Fossil Fuel profits would NOT have been able to buy the politicians they bought to get the wars going and the oil price climbing and torture escalating AND SO ON.

The entertainment industry would be bankrupt. The hotel, travel and tourism industries would be bankrupt. Most automobile manufacturers would have had to shut down. Most mall and stores would have closed, including Walmart! The PC gaming industry would have never taken off. Less than 10% of the electorate would vote! The main stream media would be a JOKE to Americans in any and all surveys put out by TPTB (their advertising revenue would TANK). No printed newspapers would be in business for at least ten years now.

But the internet would still be there.  :-[

In the above Agelbert Frugality is Freedom Scenario, TPTB would fight back JUST LIKE THEY DID WITH THE HIPPIES in the 1960's. IN fact, they ARE fighting back by using every trick in the book to make us believe we MUST support the system (and the saintly, holy- and so on- TROOPS) that BRINGS us all these GOODIES.

What will they do if we all say they AREN'T "GOODIES"?  What will they do if they see us making the CONNECTION between consumerism here and destroying a family or a piece of planet there?

They will try to RIDICULE, DEFAME, DEMONIZE and, if that don't woik, IMPRISON the leaders (in that order. It's cheaper and more efficient that way, ya know. ). And a few examples of killing the people making too much sense are in order to keep the rest of the sheeple in line, of course.
My response is, SO WHAT? What have YOU GOT that makes me feel good about the traitors running my country and the planet into the trashed biosphere ground? You've got NOTHING! Take your cell phones and distractions and shove them up your descending colon!

At which point TPTB do what they have always done when everything they try does not work. They 🦍 go on a killing rampage with agent provocateurs starting it and the "new hippies" getting blamed. Works every time.

But those of us left who know their tricks will continue to NOT work within the system. The financial elite pretend all this is a distraction because they own all the stocks anyway AND the government AND the Military AND the health care (and so on).

And we win. We win because TPTB NEED to make us work for peanuts so they can HAVE their piggery and Planetary Pillage. They are slaves themselves of gigantic consumerism and hedonistic world views so they just cannot get it through their heads that people would rather live in misery than support a suicidal world view.

What's different now from previous history is that people, in the past, resisted tyranny as a matter of justice, morality, and common sense. But what they were after was a reasonable level of HUMAN COMFORT AND PEACE.

There WAS a future. There WAS hope for a better world. There WAS more patience and willingness to give the new top dog the benefit of the doubt that he or she would not revert to the Lord of the Manor BULLSHIT.

NOW, we KNOW that human comfort and peace is IMPOSSIBLE if TPTB continue their fascist business as usual. NOW we know we ALL ARE COMMITTING SUICIDE by supporting the corrupt system.

So we are given a choice to have some relative comfort while we commit suicide or undergo a lot of hard times and misery of dealing with a government that hates us because we won't consume enough to support the MIC fascism.
Certain materialism worshipping types will tell us that agelbert's attitude is suicidal along with being anarchic and stupid. I counter that, as compromised as I appear to be because I don't "live in a panther cave" ;D, I am waging a war for peace and justice with my level of frugality that nobody I know, except maybe Knarf, is willing to engage in to battle the CERTAIN suicidal world view of TPTB.

EVERYONE out there buying lots of STUFF is helping destroy our species. And FOR WHAT?

For COMFORT! You are BRAINWASHED! You have been told that comfort is GOOD! It's good If you aren't degrading the biosphere and democracy to get it! At that point you become a Quisling!

The sophist 🐉 water carriers for 🦕🦖 polluters, that spend their day defending the profit over planet status quo, will tell you that if you consume ANYTHING AT ALL, you are as big a pig as they are and have no moral standing. That's false. WHY? Because
TPTB operate MOSTLY on marginal profits. It's the old make a penny here and there and it adds up through volume sales. If the Frugality is Freedom Minimalist mindset is embraced by 40% or more of the populace, it's a death sentence for the MIC fascist status quo. Peer pressure will take care of the inertia of change.

People with a lick of sense CANNOT be bought for a COMFORTABLE SUICIDE. That is what most people are, in fact, accepting as what they GOTTA DO TO GET BY!

That's just plain STUPID, PITIFUL and, of course, aiding and abetting eventual HUMAN EXTINCTION ☠️. 

So yeah, Karpatok, we are between a rock and a hard place. I recommend as extreme frugality as you can handle and the preaching of said lifestyle everywhere you can along with berating the materialistic DUMB ASSES shooting themselves (and the rest of us) in the foot FACE with their unethical  addiction to stuff.


We must be willing to Starve to death, if need be, not for our principles or purity or purpose, but because TPTB are parasitic. Ticks cannot live without blood. They WILL NOT breed unless they have sufficient nutrition. WE-THE-PEOPLE are the host. Unlike the tick metaphor, WE are actually sticking a VOLUNTARY and UNNECESSARY IV in our blood veins and feeding TPTB. Pull that INFERNAL IV OUT of your arm!

IF 40% of us UNITE in a
Frugality is Freedom Minimalist Mindset, most of us will not starve to death, ethical behavior will have a fighting chance of being what most of humanity embraces, our stupid view of the "economy" can be discarded along with the "might is right" insanity causing the pillaging of our planet and JUSTICE has a chance to exist among Homo SAPS.

In fact, it's our ONLY CHANCE to have a government based on

Sure, a lot of people will die horrible deaths. The specter of dying of hunger or/and disease because you didn't work for the fascists or support their consumerist crap is terrible. :(

But the CURRENT PATH IS SURE to prevent the life of BILLIONS of humans in the future because there won't BE any humans in the future.

Violence is dumb, Karpatok. I possess the skills to do all kinds of horrendous things. If I wanted to, I could actually duplicate the grizzly scenario in one of those Tom Clancy books (without an A-bomb - I'm anti-nuke. LOL!). I know EXACTLY how to fly a huge airliner. I know EXACTLY how to fool ATC radar with certain transponder code settings that only someone who has programmed ATC computers AND been an air traffic controller will know about - And I would NEVER DO IT even if the devil himself, every fascist in the world and every corrupt and murdering MIC bastard were all gathered in a stadium for an easy hit BECAUSE they will be REPLACED the next day and they will MULTIPLY. Violence BREEDS VIOLENCE. I want LESS VIOLENCE. I want MORE LIFE, not more DEATH, COMPRENDE, AMIGA?

The fascists FEED on DEATH as well as our habits.

We must all make a choice. I have made mine. That is, to the best of my ability, to live the most frugal minimalist life possible to starve TPTB that feed on me. If I die in the process, I'll die knowing that, even though I might have lived longer if I had participated in a bit more fun in my dotage, had everyone emulated my lifestyle, humanity would not have gone extinct. As you see, I really am not misanthropic, even though that is the way I act sometimes.

I repeat, I have made my choice.
I ENJOY the fact that I live small and spend little. Yeah, I'm a Christian. And that has a LOT to do with my supreme disgust with materialism. But this is NOT about religion. I do not think God is going to do JACK SH-IT to keep us from reaping what we have sown.

Anyone that follows the
Frugality is Freedom Minimalist Mindset pattern should sell ALL their stock, move to the smallest place they can possibly live in (and so on as mentioned above). They must STOP participating in the world of money as much as possible by severely downsizing their expenses regardless of their buying power. Said person must disparage demonize, criticize, mock and take every opportunity to embarrass worshippers of pecuniary wealth with hard, direct and angry vitriol about the fact that these people are aiding and abetting civilizational suicide.

My choice is not popular. So if you take it, you will not be popular. But you will be doing the right thing.

Any other choice, from violence to clever prose about Maslow's hierarchy and whatever that leads to doing zip to actually change the suicidal trajectory we are on is wrong.

I urge you to make the right choice.

For anyone reading this that makes the wrong choice (comfortable suicide leading to eventual human extinction), I have a question for you:

Do you feel lucky?

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #925 on: April 08, 2019, 06:47:27 pm »
LISTEN TO ME!!!" AOC & Elijah Cummings TAG TEAM Trump & Trump Lackey Jim Jordan GOES DOWN IN FLAMES


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Published on Apr 2, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elijah Cummings, & others take turns destroying Trump for his recklessness, and Trump lackey Jim Jordan goes down in flames!

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Featuring Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Congressman Elijah Cummings, Trump lackey Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, Congressman Gerry Connolly, & Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #926 on: April 08, 2019, 06:58:13 pm »
Heated Argument ERUPTS in Congress over Ocasio-Cortez's line of Question On Census


Published on Mar 15, 2019

Heated Argument ERUPTS in Congress over Ocasio-Cortez's line of Question Over Census

This is How Yahoo News Wrote The Article On This 🤣

Ocasio-Cortez and House Democrats roast Wilbur 👹 Ross over census citizenship question

WASHINGTON — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was roasted before a House of Representatives committee Wednesday in a hearing that lasted more than six hours. It was not a roast of the comedic variety, however, with Ross repeatedly scorched by Democrats as he struggled to explain why he sought the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Ross was on the ropes for much of his testimony before the House Oversight Committee, but the knockout blow did not come until the seventh hour of the hearing, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., finally had the chance to interrogate Ross, who is 52 years her senior. Ocasio-Cortez, who has been in Congress a little more than two months, effectively summarized the Democrats’ central argument against Ross: that in putting the question on the census, Ross did not consult with U.S. Census Bureau experts but instead took advice from voter-suppression specialists aligned with President Trump.

“It’s all there in black and white,” Ocasio-Cortez said of a July 2017 email to Ross from Kris Kobach, the then Kansas secretary of state who has made a career of voter suppression. The email said that adding a citizenship question was “essential,” presumably so that congressional apportionment would prove more favorable to Republicans.

Ocasio-Cortez then asked if Ross spoke about the citizenship question after that email.
“I have no recollection of speaking to him again after that,” Ross answered.

She quickly noted that Ross and Kobach spoke again later that same month, referencing a ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where New York, along with more than a dozen other states, sued to block the inclusion of the question. (The judge in that case, Jesse Furman, ruled against Ross earlier this year, though the broader legal battle over the citizenship question continues.)

Referring again to the legal proceedings from the Southern District, Ocasio-Cortez showed that Ross had, in fact, discussed Kobach’s proposal for a citizenship question in September 2017.

Ocasio-Cortez also argued that Ross had not met the congressional reporting requirements mandated by law, because the new citizenship question was materially different from the one that last appeared on the census, in 1950. This seemed like the kind of appeal to constitutional authority that could resonate with some conservatives.

“Why are we violating the law to include any question whatsoever in the 2020 census?” said Ocasio-Cortez, banging her fist on the podium for emphasis.

When the young Democrat finished with her questioning, an exasperated Ross looked to Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who chairs the committee.

“I believe she is out of time, chairman,” Ross practically pleaded.
“I don’t have any need to respond, sir,” answered a defeated-sounding Ross.

Seated next to Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., followed with her own sharp interrogation of Ross. She argued that while Ross claimed to be a supporter of an accurate census, the inclusion of a citizenship question would effectively undermine its accuracy. She also noted that the information technology division of the Census Bureau was “severely understaffed,” citing a report by the Government Accountability Office.

Throughout the day, Ross faced repeated accusations of dishonesty and obfuscation. In his forceful opening remarks, Cummings lit into the Commerce secretary, charging that the former corporate raider — who has been accused of exaggerating his wealth and not fully disclosing foreign investments — “engaged in a secret campaign" from his first days in the Trump administration to put the “unconstitutional” citizenship question on the 2020 census.

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #927 on: April 09, 2019, 05:45:09 pm »
Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

April 9, 2019


Though not surprising, it’s nevertheless extraordinary to watch Donald Trump publicly and shamelessly morph into a George W. Bush era neocon when it comes to foreign policy, and a CNBC stock market cheerleader when it comes to the economy.

Just like Barack 😈 Obama before him, Trump talked a good populist 😇 game on two issues of monumental importance (foreign policy and the rigged economy), but once elected immediately turned around and prioritized the core 🐉🦕🦖😈👹💵🎩🍌🏴🦍☠️ interests of oligarchy.

Trump doesn’t even give lip service to big picture populist topics anymore unless they’re somehow related to the culture war, which works out perfectly for the entrenched oligarchy since the culture war primarily serves as a useful distraction to keep the rabble squabbling while apex societal predators loot whatever’s left of this hollowed out neo-feudal economy.

The pivot toward status quo consensus when it comes to two of the most existential issues facing the nation should be deeply concerning to everyone, but particularly to thosewho thought Donald 🦀 Trump  would be different.

Full article;

Agelbert NOTE: Trump KNOWS the Saudis were only minimally engaged in funding a tiny part of 911 (the scapegoat Saudi 🐵 🐒 pseudo highjackers) and certainly DID NOT plant and detonate the explosives in those WTC towers. The Israelis, however, WANT Trump to always point towards AYrab Boogeymen whenever 911 is discussed. The "war on Terror" is scam that required a "Pearl Harbor" (i.e. 911, 2001) to get kick started. The main beneficiaries of this monstrous treason are the Israelies and Military Industrial Complex. This comment sheds light on why Trump says, and does, what he does.

Come on guys, trump is amazing, incredible deal maker, big business brain and his foreign policy decisions are beyond criticism and reproach.

I predict he will go down in history as the greatest US president ever, in fact you should all be so lucky as to have him sit in that Oval Office for life. Don’t be so negative,cause from where I’m sitting he is doing an exceptional job and has exceeded my wildest hopes and dreams.

here is to your good health and four more years just imagine what we can accomplish with your leadership!

warmest regards,

Tel Aviv

This video will clear up ANY confusion you may have about Israel and 911:

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Christopher Bollyn DC 9/11/2017 “The War on Terror among Truth Seekers”

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #928 on: April 11, 2019, 02:35:15 pm »
Bernie Beware: Packed Primary May Let Superdelegates 😈 Screw Progressives Again

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #929 on: April 11, 2019, 02:49:02 pm »
Cenk Uygur Debates Glenn Greenwald | They Both Get Trump/Russian Sanctions Wrong 👀

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