Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Age of Consequences

aspendailynews |  Building a wall between Mexico and the United States has been a controversial issue in America's current election cycle, but in India, it's a moot point. That's because the country has nearly completed a 2,500-mile, double barbed-wire fence all the way around its border with Bangladesh and instituted a shoot-on-sight policy.

Indian officials say the wall was primarily built to prevent the smuggling of narcotics, but it should also be noted that illegal migration over the past two decades is a major issue. As Bangladesh continues to be an epicenter for climate change refugees — with tens of millions of people to be displaced by rising sea levels, drought and famine — India's concern about a flood of immigrants into its country is also a catalyst, points out "The Age of Consequences," a documentary screening in Aspen on Monday, Nov. 7.

The film, which hit the festival circuit in the spring and is set to be released theatrically in early 2017, looks at climate change through a lens of global security, featuring interviews with several military leaders and experts. It starts by examining the history of Syrian civil war, which undoubtedly is rooted in centuries o conflict, yet accelerated by a severe three-year drought in the mid-2000s which forced 1.5 million people from the agricultural countryside into major cities.

"A bunch of unemployed young men in a major city is not a recipe for stability," says Brig. Gen. Stephen Curry, of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Today, Syria is the headquarters for the Islamic State, and they're using resource scarcity to their advantage, the movie explains. With less water, extremists leverage the resource to take over local populations, as seen with ISIS' withholding of water storage facilities in Syria.

"Water becomes an instrument of war," he says.

Privatizing Nature, Outsourcing Governance: The Economics of Extinction

theecologist |  A few weeks ago the World Wide Fund for Nature released their latest Living Planet Report.

Its findings have reverberated around the world, with the bleak news that the 3,706 wildlife populations that are actively monitored by scientists have declined by an average of 58% since 1970.
To blame? Agriculture, fisheries, mining and other human activities. The report's authors predict that this figure will reach 67% by the end of the decade.

How on earth has this happened? The answer that's often put forward is that wildlife protection laws in the 'lawless' regions of the world (meaning large swathes of Africa and Asia) are woefully inadequate.

But the true root of the problem is that nature is being monetized in order to generate profits for investors and corporations in a process that's facilitated by changes in the structure of global governance - and it's about to get much worse.

Unless we get to grips with the real issues at stake, the destruction of nature is all-but guaranteed, except in those few parts of the world that are set aside as reserves for the enjoyment of wealthy visitors.

In 2011, for example, oil, gas and mineral exports from Africa were worth US$382 billion - more than eight times the value of development aid received by African countries in that year.

This money streams through mechanisms for cross-border accounting, tax evasion and the repatriation of profits that are designed and maintained by wealthy countries; facilitated by the institutional secrecy that is built into the global financial system; and controlled by corporate elites.

In a shadow economy that flows alongside the economy we see, commercial tax dodgers and criminals shift vast amounts of money across international borders quickly, easily and largely undetected. Hundreds of billions of dollars pour into western coffers each year, from both streams, leaving little behind for those whose lands and wildlife have been plundered.

Monday, November 07, 2016

You Cannot Fire the Elite or the Deep State by Voting

charleshughsmith |  Let's review the central institutions of the nation:
1. Healthcare: a failed system doomed to bankrupt the nation.
2. Defense: a failed system of cartels and Pentagon fiefdoms that have saddled the nation with enormously costly failed weapons systems like the F-35 and the LCS.
3. Higher Education: a bloated, failed system that is bankrupting an entire generation while mis-educating them for productive roles in the emerging economy. (I cover this in depth in The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.)
4. Foreign policy: Iraq: a disaster. Afghanistan: a disaster. Libya: a disaster. Syria: a disaster. Need I go on?
5. Political governance: a corrupt system of self-serving elites, lobbyists, pay-to-play, corporate puppet-masters, and sociopaths who see themselves as above the law.
In Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, I explain why the only possible output of these systems is failure.
The sole output of America's Establishment/Ruling Elite is self-serving hubris.
In the open market, failed leadership has consequences. Customers vanish and the enterprise goes bankrupt, or shareholders and employees rally to fire the failed leadership.
In our state-cartel system, failed leadership only tightens its grip on the nation's throat. The Deep State can't be fired, nor does it ever stand for election. The two political parties are interchangeable, as are the politicos who race from fund-raiser to fund-raiser.
It's tempting to blame the individuals who inhale the wealth and power of our failed system, but it's the system, not the individuals, though a more corrupt, craven, self-serving lot cannot easily be assembled.
In broad brush, the Establishment and its Ruling Elite are still fighting World War II. The solution to the Great Depression and fascism was to cede complete control of the economy, the media and the social order to the central state.
Tens of millions of people were aggregated into vast industrial corporations or the Armed Forces. Everyone heard the same "news" and had the same limited choices of work and consumption.
It was easier for the federal government to control a handful of cartel-corporations and unions, and this cemented the state-cartel system that remains dominant today.

Covert Fascists Will Become Quite Overt When Their Unfunded Pension Bubbles Burst...,

zerohedge |  So what do pension fund managers do when perpetually declining interest rates continue to drive their funded status lower and lower despite one's return profile?  Well, there is little choice: one has to move further and further out the yield curve in an attempt to match asset duration with that of one's liabilities. That, or reach for the skies by buying the riskiest assets possible, and pray for a home run.

Unfortunately, most pension fund managers better known as "dumb money", are hardly star stockpickers. One such example is the fast imploding Dallas Police & Fire Pension (DPFP), which covers nearly 10,000 police and firefighters, and whose troubles we first covered back in August, is on the verge of collapse as its board and the City of Dallas struggle to pitch benefit cuts to save the plan from complete failure.  According the the National Real Estate Investor, DPFP was once applauded for it's "diverse investment portfolio" but turns out it may have all been a fraud as the pension's former real estate investment manager, CDK Realy Advisors, was raided by the FBI in April 2016 and the fund was subsequently forced to mark down their entire real estate book by 32%, thereby exposing just how great the risk truly is when pension funds swing for the fence... and miss.

Thing only got worse, when news of the fund's woes spread, and as we reported in September, Dallas police officers caught on to the ponzi and rushed to withdraw retirement funds as quickly as possible before the whole system goes bust.  As reported by a local ABC affiliate, Dallas police officers are retiring at a record rate and opting for full cash withdrawals of their pension benefits as opposed to equal monthly distributions for life (apparently they don't think the fund will be around long enough to pay them for very long).
Through the first two weeks of September, there have been 21 Dallas police officers who retired. Multiple sources told NBC 5 that commanders are bracing for many more retirements over the next two weeks as well.

The Dallas Police Department did not foresee the volume of retirements this month. In early August, Deputy Chiefs told city council members in a presentation that they projected 14 retirements between Aug. 9 and Oct. 1.
In short, declining returns, a mismatched asset-liability book, and a surge in redemptions: the three things that no fund managers wants to hear, let alone at the same time.

Unfortunately, for the Dallas Police & Fire Pension, it is now too late, as none other than Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings appears to have discovered. As ABC reports, Mayor Rawlings told the state's Pension Review Board that recklessness led to the financial crisis of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund.

"This is much like a Bernie Madoff scheme, if you ask me," he said.

Fascism in Its Most Covert Form

counterpunch |  No matter which candidate wins the presidential election, this shadow government is here to stay. Indeed, as recent documents by the FBI reveal, this shadow government—also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”—may well have played a part in who will win the White House this year.

To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.

The first shadow government, referred to as COG or Continuity of Government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a “catastrophe.” COG is a phantom menace waiting for the right circumstances—a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, an economic meltdown—to bring it out of the shadows, where it operates even now. When and if COG takes over, the police state will transition to martial law.

Yet it is the second shadow government—also referred to as the Deep State—that poses the greater threat to freedom right now. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government is the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our government.

The Deep State, which “operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power,” makes a mockery of elections and the entire concept of a representative government.
So who or what is the Deep State?

It’s the militarized police, which have joined forces with state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to establish themselves as a standing army. It’s the fusion centers and spy agencies that have created a surveillance state and turned all of us into suspects. It’s the courthouses and prisons that have allowed corporate profits to take precedence over due process and justice. It’s the military empire with its private contractors and defense industry that is bankrupting the nation. It’s the private sector with its 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, “a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.” It’s what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as “a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies”: the Department of Defense, the State Department, Homeland Security, the CIA, the Justice Department, the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a handful of vital federal trial courts, and members of the defense and intelligence committees.

If You're Looking to Kill Rather Than Protect People...,

aljazeera |  Then there is the essential criminalisation of incoming migrants, a result of the apparent US opinion that only American people, products, and armies should be able to penetrate global borders at will.

This arrangement ensures high returns on human-smuggling operations that also contribute to cartel coffers.

Finally, as The Intercept explained last year, billions of dollars in drug war assistance continue to flow "with few exceptions" to Mexico despite "US government documents … demonstrat[ing] that the United States is well aware that its support is going to Mexican authorities connected to abuses".

The article went on to comment on the fact that Mexico had "recently surpassed Colombia to become the largest customer for US weapons in Latin America."

Objectively, if you are looking to protect rather than kill people, the last thing you do is inject a bunch of money and weapons into a landscape of lethally corrupt impunity.

Everywhere in the Western World the Ruling Classes and Their Media Outlets Fear and Loath ‘Populists’

petras-lahaine |  Seven is a winning throw of the dice. But in our civil society, seven now signifies the multi-thong scourge, the whip used by the Western world as its instrument of punishment and, in response; seven signifies Nemesis and her sisters, the inescapable agents of the West’s downfall.

The seven scourges of the Western world are used against the people of Asia, Africa, Latin and North America. These whips are constructed, wielded and unleashed especially by the US and the UK.

The seven sisters of Nemesis, the Erinyes, are the Furies who pursue the injustices committed by the Western world against Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. Those holding the scourge detest and fear Nemesis and the Furies, but are incapable of destroying them. Try as they might, their whip is in corrupt and feeble hands and, of course, it can only follow their orders: Otherwise, it just twitches and remains immobile, while Nemesis pursues the scourgers of humanity.

The Seven-Tailed Scourge of the Western World
The ‘whip’ wielded by the Western world, is used to punish disobedient, ‘rebellious’ people, movements and states. Their multiple lashes have bloodied countless generations and buried millions.
The seven scourges against humanity are unrepentant in their promotion of ‘Western values’ – visible to the terrified world on the red raw backs of oppressed people, their wounds flayed open by the faceless drones proclaiming their gifts of … freedom and democracy.

Let us go forward now and describe the pillars holding up the Western empire, the seven-tailed scourge of humanity.

An Order of Chaos Please...,

energyskeptic |  no matter who is elected, we are going to enter hard times as energy and natural resources decline at the same time as population is still growing. If the carrying capacity of the U.S. is about 100 million people without fossil fuels according to several scientists, and half of Americans own guns, millions have military training, 80% of people live within 200 miles of the coasts but 80% of calories come from the corn and wheat belts of the interior: that doesn’t bode well.
In a collapse, just about everyone will wish their leaders and culture were more like Fidel Castro and Cuba, because in a collapse, only the most brutal and the most cooperative survive.
There are already three examples of what happens when oil is suddenly cut off:
  1. Japan (brutal). This is why they started started WW II
  2. North Korea (brutal)
  3. Cuba (cooperative). Castro helped in many ways, such as preventing middle-men from profiting off of the disaster (i.e. truckers who tried to sell produce in Havana at 10 times what they paid farmers had their trucks confiscated). Oxen were quickly bred to replace tractors, organic farming instigated on a massive basis not only in the country but in cities too, and so on. Yes there was suffering, but not the millions of deaths as happened in North Korea.
Venezuela now seems to be in collapse with their own unique descent from a mix of bad leadership and culture.

Russia also had a downturn, and an article by Dmitry Orlov called “How Russians survived the collapse of the Soviet Union” explains why the Soviet culture was far better prepared than American culture to cope in a collapse.  

If your local and state leaders have been bought and paid for by the right-wing, they are enabling their rich psychopathic selfish libertarian owners achieve their goal of no taxes and no regulations to grow richer. How do you think that will end up? Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot come to mind.

After reading “White Trash” I learned that many of the rich see most of us as disposable white trash (and have since America was founded and on beyond to Europe). And that very few of us have ever had a chance of getting rich, not even the first settlers who came to America. This is because early on, wealthy Americans already owned most of the land and had economies of scale that soon put middle-class and poor farmers out of business, especially if they had free slave labor, and so their property continued to grow.  Now just 3% of Americans own 85% of the land, the true source of wealth, and the 7 million farms that existed in 1920 have dropped to 2 million farms, with just a few percent of them that own thousands of acres producing most of the food using economies of scale industrial techniques and equipment dependent on fossil fuels, and continue to drive smaller farms bankrupt. Care for a feudal society anyone? 

It really will matter who is in power as collapse accelerates. It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal of the right-wing rich is to continue to live their lives as before by keeping the lion’s share of energy and natural resources that’s still left, just as North Korean leaders have done. And like Japan, start WW III and invade the Middle East and Central/South America, where 3/4 of the remaining oil reserves are, to steal their remaining oil.

Premature Political and Military Ejaculations...,

petras-lahaine |  Introduction: Wall Street and the Pentagon greeted the onset of 2016 as a ‘banner year’, a glorious turning point in the quest for malleable regimes willing to sell-off the most lucrative economic resources, to sign off on onerous new debt to Wall Street and to grant use of their strategic military bases to the Pentagon.

Brazil and Argentina, the most powerful and richest countries in South America and the Philippines, Washington’s most strategic military platform in Southeast Asia, were the objects of intense US political operations in the run-up to 2016.

In each instance, Wall Street and the Pentagon secured smashing successes leading to premature ejaculations over the ‘new golden era’ of financial pillage and unfettered military adventures. Unfortunately, the early ecstasy has turned to agony: Wall Street made easy entries and even faster departures once the ‘honeymoon’ gave way to reality. ; The political procurers persecuted center-left incumbents but, were soon to have their turn facing prosecution. The political prostitutes, who had decreed the sale of sovereignty, were replaced by nationalists who would turn the bordello back into a sovereign nation state.

This essay outlines the rapid rise and dramatic demise of these erstwhile ‘progeny’ of Wall Street and the Pentagon in Argentina and Brazil, and then reviews Washington’s shock and awe as the newly elected Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte embraced new ties with China while proclaiming, ‘We are no one’s ‘tuta’ (puppy dog)!’

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Paying Full Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Time |  In many ways this is the job Podesta has dreamed about for 20 years, though his first interaction with Hillary Clinton in her husband’s White House didn’t suggest it would ever happen. When Podesta was staff secretary, the then White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty gave Podesta an extra job: handling the scandals of Bill Clinton’s first term. “You needed to isolate those as much as you can and keep the staff focused on the president and his agenda,” McLarty said. “I asked John to spear head that. He was superb.”

As part of that job, Podesta headed up the internal investigation on Travelgate, a scandal started when Hillary Clinton in May 1993 helped direct the firing of seven people from the travel office—usually non-political staff who continue through changes of Administrations. Ultimately, several investigations found the firings were inappropriate and most of the staff was reinstated. Podesta’s report was surprisingly critical of the First Lady’s role. Though no charges ever came of the scandal, the affair left Podesta in her doghouse. But the two policy wonks weren’t estranged for long. “When he left the White House he said to me he’d only go back for one job: Hillary’s chief of staff,” John’s brother Tony Podesta recalls. John Podesta declined to comment on the record for this story.

Podesta did eventually go back for other jobs, becoming Bill’s chief of staff in the final years—weathering Monica Lewinsky and impeachment with his friendships with both Clintons still in tact, that in itself a marvel. Though Podesta wouldn’t directly work for the Clintons again for years, he remained a key player in their orbit, publicly encouraging her to run for the Senate; helping raise money with his brother, with whom he co-founded Washington’s fourth largest lobbying firm, the Podesta Group; and then with the blessings and support of both Clintons launching his think tank, the Center for American Progress in 2003.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Wikileaks Has Made American Elite Corruption Wholly Transparent

Guardian |   The emails currently roiling the US presidential campaign are part of some unknown digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week’s scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers.

The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn’t have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

 Let us turn the magnifying glass on them for a change, by sorting through the hacked personal emails of John Podesta, who has been a Washington power broker for decades. I admit that I feel uncomfortable digging through this hoard; stealing someone’s email is a crime, after all, and it is outrageous that people’s personal information has been exposed, since WikiLeaks doesn’t seem to have redacted the emails in any way. There is also the issue of authenticity to contend with: we don’t know absolutely and for sure that these emails were not tampered with by whoever stole them from John Podesta. The supposed authors of the messages are refusing to confirm or deny their authenticity, and though they seem to be real, there is a small possibility they aren’t.

With all that taken into consideration, I think the WikiLeaks releases furnish us with an opportunity to observe the upper reaches of the American status hierarchy in all its righteousness and majesty.

Granny Goodness and Her Walmart Fascism ARE Perpetual Austerity and Inequality

truthdig  |  Thomas Frank’s writing about electoral politics and its impact on American culture has been published for decades in such venues as Harper’s Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, and in his 2004 book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” In his latest book, “Listen Liberal: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?,” the journalist and political analyst tackles the question of what changed within the Democratic Party to make it become a “liberalism of the rich.”

“The Democratic Party itself has changed,” Frank told Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer during an episode of “Scheer Intelligence” earlier this year. “What’s changed about them is the social class that they answer to, that they respect, that they come from.”

The trend has gotten worse.

“Democrats look at Wall Street, and they see people like themselves,” he said in an interview with Scheer during the Democratic National Convention in July. 

On Tuesday night, Frank joined Scheer at the University of Southern California to discuss “Listen, Liberal” and his analysis of Hillary Clinton during this election cycle, from her public views on inequality in United States to her promises to tamp down greed on Wall Street. 

Frank offered critiques of the Democratic Party’s abandonment of the average working-class American, the Clintons—who signed off on welfare reform that proved discriminatory—and the two-party system. He said:
Hillary has changed her position on issues many, many times over the years, and some of the things she’s done that her husband did that she had a hand in—she was a close adviser to her husband as president—have been disastrous, had catastrophic effects on people—welfare reform, for example. Every time Hillary says—and she says it a lot—that her whole life has been about protecting children, there’s an enormous counterexample, which is welfare reform, or what they called reform. They abolished the welfare system in this country, Hillary and her husband did. This is one of the cruelest things [...] It was a New Deal program that they abolished. It was a cruel thing, it was more or less an overtly racist thing, and to do that to the poorest and weakest members of society—at the time, it just turned my stomach. And it’s a little creepy that Hillary sees fit to represent herself as the great defender of poor women and children because she manifestly is not. And that’s one of many contradictions in Hillary Clinton’s record.
If you read the biographies of Hillary Clinton, if you watch a speech by Hillary Clinton, if you watch the presentation of her life story that they had at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary’s story is all about virtue. She is good with a capital G. When she gave her acceptance speech at the convention, she was wearing all white. She likes to dress in all white; she is Joan of Arc. That is how she sees herself. Her favorite saying that she quoted at the convention, it’s this Methodist thing: Do all the good you can, all the ways you can, to all the people you can, for as long as ever you can. She’s good, she’s so good, she’s so virtuous, her heart’s in the right place, and every biography of her emphasizes this intense sense of her goodness, her virtues—her overpowering, 100-proof virtue. ... She is intensely good. And yet, look at Libya, look at the welfare system in this country.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Nevermind, "Rule of Law" and "Just-Us" Dont Apply to the Rulers...,

RT |  In the second excerpt from the John Pilger Special, to be exclusively broadcast by RT on Saturday, courtesy of Dartmouth Films, Julian Assange accuses Hillary Clinton of misleading Americans about the true scope of Islamic State’s support from Washington’s Middle East allies. 

In a 2014 email made public by Assange’s WikiLeaks last month, Hillary Clinton, who had served as secretary of state until the year before, urges John Podesta, then an advisor to Barack Obama, to “bring pressure” on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, “which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Islamic State, IS, ISIS] and other radical Sunni groups.”

Pilger also questioned Assange over increasingly frequent accusations from the Clinton camp, and Western media, that WikiLeaks is looking to swing next week’s US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – perhaps at Russia’s behest.

But Assange dismissed the prospect of Trump, who is behind in the polls, winning as unlikely – and not necessarily due to his standing with the electorate.

“My analysis is that Trump would not be permitted to win. Why do I say that? Because he has had every establishment off his side. Trump does not have one establishment, maybe with the exception of the Evangelicals, if you can call them an establishment,” said Assange. “Banks, intelligence, arms companies, foreign money, etc. are all united behind Hillary Clinton. And the media as well. Media owners, and the journalists themselves.”

What Will it Take to Bring Hillary Clinton to Justice?

RT |  Last July, the DOJ – under Clinton/Obama asset Loretta Lynch - decided not to prosecute anyone on Emailgate. And yet FBI director Comey – who nonetheless stressed Hillary’s “extreme carelessness” – turbo-charged his no-denial mode on another investigation, as in the FBI “sought to refocus the Clinton Foundation probe.” 

Soon we had Clinton Foundation FBI investigators trying to get access to all the emails turned over in the Emailgate investigation. The East District of New York refused it. Very important point; up to 2015, guess who was the US attorney at the East District; Clinton/Obama asset Lynch. 

Enter an extra layer of legalese. Less than two months ago, the Clinton Foundation FBI investigators discovered they could not have access to any Emailgate material that was connected to immunity agreements. 

But then, roughly a month ago, another FBI team captured the by now famous laptop shared by Huma and Wiener - using a warrant allowing only a probe on Weiner’s sexting of a 15-year-old girl. Subsequently they found Huma Abedin emails at all her accounts – from Humaabedin@yahoo.com to the crucial huma@clintonemail.com.  This meant not only that Huma was forwarding State Dept. emails to her private accounts, but also that Hillary was sending emails from the “secret” clintonemail.com to Huma at yahoo.com. 

No one knew for sure, but some of these emails might be duplicates of those the Clinton Foundation FBI investigators could not access because of the pesky immunity agreements. 

What’s established by now is that the metadata in the Huma/Wiener laptop was duly examined. Now picture both teams of FBI investigators – Clinton Foundation and pervert Wiener – comparing notes. And then they decide Huma’s emails are “relevant”.  

Key questions apply; and the most pressing is how the emails were deemed “relevant” if the investigators could only examine the metadata. What matters is that Comey certainly was made aware of the content of the emails – a potential game-changer. That’s why one of my sources insists his decision to go public came from above. 

The other key question now is whether the DOJ – via Kadzik? - will once again thwart another investigation, this time on the Clinton Foundation. Senior, serious FBI agents won’t take that – massive euphemism – kindly.

The FBI has been on the Clinton Foundation for over a year. Now, arguably, they are loaded with evidence – and they won’t quit. Winning the presidency now seems to be the least of Hillary Clinton’s Bonfire of Scandals’ problems.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Why Hillary Clinton Is Such An Effective Perpetual Liar

thefederalist |  Why is Hillary Clinton likely to be our next president, rather than the next inmate at FCI Aliceville? A big part of the answer involves a corrupt, compromised, politicized federal government that protects powerful lawbreakers like Hillary from being imprisoned or even prosecuted. If you or I had committed even one-tenth of the crimes Clinton committed in her tenure as secretary of State alone, we’d be watching the sun rise through a set of bars for the next few decades.

As it stands, Hillary will likely be watching the sun rise and set over Pennsylvania Avenue for the next four to eight years. You can thank your government for that. Another part, though—maybe the larger part, and surely the more practically consequential part—is that Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton political machine itself, is really, really good at lying. There is really a kind of genius to it all—a conniving, narrow-eyed genius, to be sure, but one which requires a considerable amount of talent and investment.

The Hillary Lie Machine Meets Her Email Scandal Consider, for example, what we know about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal alone, and the skill it must take to avoid prison time for it. We know that Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server was highly illegal because it processed and stored classified government information on an unsecure system. We know that much of this classified information originated with Clinton herself.

We know that she ordered at least one aide to break the law on her behalf by sending classified information over an unsecure system. We know she has lied repeatedly about transmitting classified information on her server, at press conferences and once, incredibly, under sworn testimony. We know that, although she insisted otherwise, Clinton deleted thousands of work-related e-mails. We know that one of her aides destroyed Clinton’s mobile devices with a hammer, preventing a full forensic analysis of her e-mail usage. We know that Clinton has lied about the FBI’s own assessment of her previous lies. And so forth.

Given this staggering level of criminal behavior, one might ask: how has Clinton been able to defend herself? The answer is: lying. For much more than a year Clinton has lied repeatedly and ceaselessly about her e-mail woes. She has lied about the classified information on the server, she has lied about her recordkeeping, she has lied about the very lies she has previously told, she has lied so frequently that it is entirely possible she has come to believe some of her own lies.

Therein lies the unrivaled brilliance of the Clinton Lie Machine: it’s the relentlessness of it all, the utter refusal to tell the truth, the determination to lie long after other self-respecting people would have given up and just admitted the facts.

Granny and Willy Intended to Get Hella Paid, Mishandling Classified Emails was Unintentional...,

WSJ |   Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said.

Agents, using informants and recordings from unrelated corruption investigations, thought they had found enough material to merit aggressively pursuing the investigation into the foundation that started in summer 2015 based on claims made in a book by a conservative author called “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” these people said.

The account of the case and resulting dispute comes from interviews with officials at multiple agencies.

Starting in February and continuing today, investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and public-corruption prosecutors became increasingly frustrated with each other, as often happens within and between departments. At the center of the tension stood the U.S. attorney for Brooklyn,Robert Capers, who some at the FBI came to view as exacerbating the problems by telling each side what it wanted to hear, these people said. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Capers declined to comment.

The roots of the dispute lie in a disagreement over the strength of the case, these people said, which broadly centered on whether Clinton Foundation contributors received favorable treatment from the State Department under Hillary Clinton.

Senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI didn’t think much of the evidence, while investigators believed they had promising leads their bosses wouldn’t let them pursue, they said.

These details on the probe are emerging amid the continuing furor surrounding FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure to Congress that new emails had emerged that could be relevant to a separate, previously closed FBI investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement while she was secretary of state.

Much of the skepticism toward the case came from how it started—with the publication of a book suggesting possible financial misconduct and self-dealing surrounding the Clinton charity. The author of that book, Peter Schweizer—a former speechwriting consultant for President George W. Bush—was interviewed multiple times by FBI agents, people familiar with the matter said.

The Clinton campaign has long derided the book as a poorly researched collection of false claims and unsubstantiated assertions. The Clinton Foundation has denied any wrongdoing, saying it does immense good throughout the world.

Mr. Schweizer said in an interview that the book was never meant to be a legal document, but set out to describe “patterns of financial transactions that circled around decisions Hillary Clinton was making as secretary of state.”

Nasty Underage Interweb Cooty/Pooty Flasher Mad at the FBI Too!!!

NYPost |  Anthony Weiner’s alleged underage sexting gal is “upset” with the director of the FBI after she found out her case had been tied to the use of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

“The FBI asked for me to speak to the media as little as possible. I have tried to stay quiet, but [FBI Director James] Comey has upset me,” the 15-year-old North Carolina girl told BuzzFeed.

“The last thing that I wanted was to have this become political propaganda,” she added.

The girl, whose name is not being released because of her age, said she had an hours-long interview Friday with the FBI.

The randy former congressman allegedly sent her a slew of naughty messages, even asking her to undress on Skype.

Her father said he had voted early for Hillary Clinton but was regretting his decision.

“With the recent developments with my daughter, I can say that I would likely not have voted for either of these clowns if I had it to do over again,” he said.

“How do you not know who works for you? How could you have so many sleazeballs close to you?”

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Russians Must've Hacked Grizzled Old News-Actor's Teleprompter...,

Source of DNC/Podesta Leaks Comes From Within Washington...,

sputnik |  "The source of these emails and leaks has nothing to do with Russia at all. I discovered what the source was when I attended the Sam Adam's whistleblower award in Washington. The source of these emails comes from within official circles in Washington DC. You should look to Washington not to Moscow."

Asked about whether or not WikiLeaks have ever published information at the behest of Moscow, Murray said that "WikiLeaks has never published any material received from the Russian government or from any proxy of the Russian government. It's simply a completely untrue claim designed to divert attention from the content of the material." 

While blasted by Washington, first by Republicans several years ago, and most recently by Democrats, the WikiLeaks revelations have often been hailed as a champion of accountability.

"I think whistleblowers have become extremely important in the West because the propaganda model — as Chomsky puts it — has been reinforced to the extent that people don't get any true information out of the media at all. It's worth saying that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are publishers; they publish what whistleblowers leak to them," Mr. Murrary told Sputnik. 

Yet, whistleblowers in the US continue to be subject to lengthy prison sentences. A key example is Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced on August 21, 2013 to a thirty five year sentence for providing WikiLeaks with sensitive military and diplomatic documents highlighting, among other things, US military conduct in Iraq. Murray also mentions the case of John Kiriakou, a former investigator of international terrorism with the CIA who turned whistleblower.

"The people who did the torture have suffered no comeback at all," adds Mr. Murray.

Taking a step back and discussing the risk of geopolitical escalation between Russia and the US, Murray told Sputnik that "there is no chance whatsoever that Russia is going to ever attack the United States, that simply isn't going to happen."

"Just as Russia is not going to attack the United Kingdom. There never has been a chance that Russia would ever attack either of these two countries. But of course the narrative is all to do with power and funneling huge amounts of American taxpayer money into the defense industry and the security industry and these people are both from the class that benefits."

It's an extremely dangerous game, says Mr. Murray, and it feeds into a foreign policy that is completely mad.

Does Scrabble Spell Doom For The Racial Hypothesis of Intelligence?

unz |  The first logical way the American-invented cognitive game of Scrabble settles the score against radical hereditarians in the racial (Black-White) IQ gap debate is through a two step process: how do white female players compare to white male players in top-level elite Scrabble? Since many mainstream cognitive psychologists tell us that white women (like white men) have much higher tested intelligence than blacks, whether you measure this as “general intelligence” or you just limit it to visuospatial intelligence or mathematical ability, we should expect white women to perform better than black men in any activity that depends on these abilities (since a slight deficiency in such abilities is also the reason white women perform lower than white men, according to the same hereditarians). What we have in Scrabble is an emphatic refutation of this hereditarian expectation of Black cognitive under-performance, especially when the full picture of African achievement in such mental games is examined, as I attempt to do in this article. I also refute any suggestions that such games are insufficient for this analysis.

Hereditarian Science
When I oppose “hereditarians,” I am really concerned with only one specific aspect that many self-described hereditarians seem to share: their intriguingly confident belief that they have already found some kind of proof for a genetic cognitive gap between racial groups that has a certain magnitude and direction, which consequently explains scholastic and IQ test score differences among different ethnic groups. I will call this the “racial hypothesis” in this article, even though it is officially called the “genetic hypothesis,” because I do not want to leave the impression that I reject any genetically transmitted differences in mental (or any other) ability between any two populations. (I have previously theorized that the American black-white IQ gap could simply be a reflection of a high incidence of functionally mild neurological disorders among native black Americans, which tend to affect many more males than females: such a gender IQ gap reversal is less acute in black Caribbeans than black Americans, and absent in Africans, which could suggest that the disorder may have been inherited from mating with similarly affected poor whites during the time of slavery; it has nothing to do with race or evolution per se.)

Although I am therefore also skeptical about a radical global “environmental hypothesis” as the universal explanation for every single time there are any significant performance differences between populations or genders, I think that it should be obvious that the drastically inferior environment of Africa, especially the learning or educational environment (the training factor), is a sufficient explanation for any inferior intellectual performance or IQ of Africans living in Africa (which is why African school children born in Western countries perform as well as white European children, if not better). This article tests that proposition by examining the performance of Sub-Saharan Africans on contests that are much less hindered by the artificial lack of educational (training) resources while simultaneously requiring the application of high natural cognitive resources.

Contrary to Popular Belief, Mathematical Ability Is Not Innate

cambridge |  In this review, we are pitting two theories against each other: the more accepted theory—the ‘number sense’ theory—suggesting that a sense of number is innate and non-symbolic numerosity is being processed independently of continuous magnitudes (e.g., size, area, density); and the newly emerging theory suggesting that (1) both numerosities and continuous magnitudes are processed holistically when comparing numerosities, and (2) a sense of number might not be innate. In the first part of this review, we discuss the ‘number sense’ theory. Against this background, we demonstrate how the natural correlation between numerosities and continuous magnitudes makes it nearly impossible to study non-symbolic numerosity processing in isolation from continuous magnitudes, and therefore the results of behavioral and imaging studies with infants, adults and animals can be explained, at least in part, by relying on continuous magnitudes. In the second part, we explain the ‘sense of magnitude’ theory and review studies that directly demonstrate that continuous magnitudes are more automatic and basic than numerosities. Finally, we present outstanding questions. Our conclusion is that there is not enough convincing evidence to support the number sense theory anymore. Therefore, we encourage researchers not to assume that number sense is simply innate, but to put this hypothesis to the test, and to consider if such an assumption is even testable in light of the correlation of numerosity and continuous magnitudes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What's Going On Between the FBI and the DOJ?

kunstler |  What was with James Comey’s Friday letter to congress? It looks to me like the FBI Director had to go nuclear against his parent agency, the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, his boss, in particular. Why? Because the Attorney General refused to pursue the Clinton email case when more evidence turned up in the underage sexting case against Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary’s chief of staff, Huma Abedin.

Over the weekend, the astounding news story broke that the FBI had not obtained a warrant to examine the emails on Weiner’s computer and other devices after three weeks of getting stonewalled by DOJ attorneys. What does it mean when the Director of the FBI can’t get a warrant in a New York minute? It must mean that the DOJ is at war with the FBI. Watergate is looking like thin gruel compared to this fantastic Bouillabaisse of a presidential campaign fiasco.

One way you can tell is that The New York Times is playing down the story Monday morning. Columnist Paul Krugman calls the Comey letter “cryptic.” Krugman’s personal cryptograph insinuates that Comey is trying to squash an investigation of “Russian meddling in American elections.” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid chimed in with a statement that “it has become clear that you [Comey] possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers and the Russian government.” How’s that for stupid and ugly? It’s the Russian’s fault that Hillary finds herself in trouble again?

Earlier this week, lawyers at the DOJ attempted to quash a parallel investigation of the Clinton Foundation. They must be out of their minds to think that story will go away. Isn’t it about time that a House or Senate committee subpoenaed Bill Clinton to testify under oath about his June airport meeting with Loretta Lynch. He doesn’t enjoy any special immunity in this case.

satirical sounding screed is entirely shameless, unselfconscious, and sincere....,

TheNation |   For in almost every way that matters, Hillary Clinton is nothing more and nothing less than a successful professional woman like most successful professional women we all know and that we often like, and that indeed many of us are

* She preaches and practices a kind of “lean-in” feminism that valorizes meritocracy and the professional success of elite women like herself and her daughter. 

Is this really different from the way most professional women, including left academic women, proceed? The university is as much a corporate institution as is a corporate business or a government bureaucracy. Do we fault our colleagues, our friends, for seeking prestigious research grants that give them course release, and for asking their famous friends to write letters of recommendation or to organize book panels promoting their work? Do we fault our colleagues for being preoccupied with publication in the officially sanctioned journals, so that they can build records of accomplishment sufficient to earn tenure and promotion, and the privileges these involve, privileges that are not available to most women in the work force? Do we cast suspicion on our friends who do everything possible to promote the educational performance of their children so that they can be admitted into elite universities? In her pursuit of movement up the career ladder, and her valorization of this approach to success, is Clinton that different than most of us who, honestly, belong to the “professional managerial class” as much as she does, and who work through its institutions in the same way she does? 

* She has achieved positions of leadership in hierarchical corporate institutions, where she has traded on connections, and has mixed with members of a power elite with access to money and power. 

In this, is she any different than other colleagues, women and men, who become Distinguished Professors, and department chairs, and Deans and Provosts and College Presidents? I have many friends—feminists, leftists—who have achieved such positions, and who have embraced them. These positions are obtained by “playing the academic game,” by cooperating with others in positions of institutional authority, by compromising on ideals in order to get something done in a conservative bureaucracy, by agreeing to manage programs and personnel, i.e, colleagues, by agreeing to fundraise from wealthy alumni and corporate donors, and to participate in events that please such alumni and donors so that they will support you and your institution. Is Clinton’s “game” really that different? 

* She uses her professional connections for personal advantage, making connections that can benefit her in the future, accepting side payments in exchange for her services. 

Is this that different than colleagues in the academic bureaucracy, who accept the salary increases and bonuses and research and travel accounts and course release that come with this kind of work? I am a Distinguished Professor at Indiana University. I enjoy these things. Many of us do, including many wonderful scholars to my left who really dislike Clinton. But is she really so different than the rest of us? Really

In some ways, the differences are obvious. Clinton has succeeded largely through public institutions. She has succeeded on a much larger scale. She has benefited financially on a much larger scale. She is a woman of great power and influence and wealth, who has sought out a degree of power and influence and wealth that greatly exceeds the norm for anyone and especially for any woman. And she is on the public stage, so that every aspect of her action, and her self-promotion—and her e-mailing—is potentially subject to public scrutiny. But is this a sign of her personal corruption, or simply a sign that she has learned how to play the establishment political game and to win at the highest levels?

What have we got here? What did I miss?

-- Perjury
-- Obstruction of Justice
-- Conspiracy to Commit Obstruction of Justice
-- Mulitple violations of the Espionage Act
-- Conspiracy to commit multiple violations of the Espionage Act
-- Lying to the FBI
-- and let's throw in RICO while we're at it

libertyblitzkreig |  Today’s college-related article is not about safe spaces, macro aggressions and trigger warnings. Rather, it’s about a remarkably stupid claim made by Robin Lakoff (a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley), that the entire email scandal plaguing Hillary Clinton is nothing more than a vast patriarchal driven conspiracy manufactured by men for the sole purpose of taking down a strong and powerful woman. No, I’m not kidding.

Here are a few excerpts from the delusional Time published article, Hillary Clinton’s Emailgate Is an Attack on Women:
‘It’s not about emails; it’s about public communication by a woman’ 
I am mad. I am mad because I am scared. And if you are a woman, you should be, too. Emailgate is a bitch hunt, but the target is not Hillary Clinton. It’s us.
The only reason the whole email flap has legs is because the candidate is female. Can you imagine this happening to a man? Clinton is guilty of SWF (Speaking While Female), and emailgate is just a reminder to us all that she has no business doing what she’s doing and must be punished, for the sake of all decent women everywhere. There is so much of that going around.

If the candidate were male, there would be no scolding and no “scandal.” Those very ideas would be absurd. Men have a nearly absolute right to freedom of speech. In theory, so do women, but that, as the creationists like to say, is only a theory.
Clinton’s use of a personal server has not been found to be a crime. Then how is it that so many have found the charge so easy to make, and make stick? How has her use of the server made plausible all the claims that she is “deceptive” and “untrustworthy”?
It’s not about emails; it’s about public communication by a woman in general. Of course, in the year 2016, no one (probably not even The Donald) could make this argument explicitly. After all, he and his fellow Republicans are not waging a war on women. How do we know that? They have said so. And they’re men, so they must be telling the truth.
But here’s Hillary Rodham Clinton, the very public stand-in for all bossy, uppity and ambitious women. Here are her emails. And since it’s a woman, doing what decent women should never do—engaging in high-level public communication—well, there must be something wrong with that, even if we can’t quite find that something. We will invoke the terminology of criminal law to account for our feelings. She’s getting away with treason! Put her in jail! We can’t quite put our fingers on it, but the words sure do make a lot of people feel better, so they must be right.

The Establishment Senses a Disturbance in the Farce....,

thedailybell |  In other words, paranoia and conspiratorial cynicism need to be damped for government to survive and perform its proper function.
Why, then, did a seasoned operator like Mr Comey, whose judiciousness was praised by the Clinton campaign through the summer, feel the need to divulge this half-baked and potentially insignificant development before assessing it? There is one answer: fear of the mob.
The director of the FBI – those tough guys who smash in doors and shoot people – was scared that if he didn’t talk now and the news leaked out, it would confirm every conspiracy theory going about how the agency was in the Clintons’ pocket. In other words, we’ve reached a point in the politics of the world’s most powerful democracy where the appearance of probity matters more than the reality.
This is a key point in the article. It is one that fully reveals the cognitive dissonance at the heart of this particular argument. The idea is that government is too delicate to sustain itself in the face of the “mob.” The mob must therefore be silenced or “probity will matter more than reality.”

But who is to determine what constitutes a “mob”? And who is determine that the mob’s “reality” is false?

Both the Sunstein article and now this one are erecting very specific kinds of arguments. Government, we are told, is fragile and must be protected from forces that will undermine its credibility.

But this conclusion is merely assumed. It is never proven.

This argument begins and ends with government. Yet the Internet and its recovered history shows us clearly that Western governments mostly provide concealment for the world’s real powers that prefer to operate behind the scenes.

This is the reason for so much cynicism. Many have realized that the society constructed around them is lie. They have reacted by distrusting almost anything associated with modern society.
But in these articles, we can see the forces being marshaled against this state of mind. The preferred antidote is simply to assert that people’s distrust is corrosive to government authority and democracy generally.

No logic bolsters this argument. That’s why it is an emergent elite meme.

The goal of an elite meme is to be convincing not truthful.

And if it is not convincing – and increasingly elite memes are not – then its function is, anyway, to provide a justification for what we call directed history. These are the authoritarian strategies that elites wish to inflict on the rest of us.

This latter meme is an outgrowth of “populism versus globalism.” Populists, as we’ve pointed out, are being cast as ignorant, violent and intolerant. The current meme – let’s call it “conspiracy versus government” – lumps in conspiracy with populism.

Populists, we learn, are apt to adopt an irrational distrust of government. And what is government? It must comprise all that is good and virtuous in an uncivil world.

Both populists and conspiracy theory are to be vanquished, eventually, by wise globalists who understand that the absence of government will lead to violent “anarchy.”

Would that it were true. It is not. Government is merely in this day-and-age a curtain hiding the world’s real controllers who use endless violence, monetary debasement and economic depression to get their way.

Conclusion: We are watching the emergence of a new, dangerous meme. Increasingly and forcefully, it is being argued that “government” is good and that the truths people have discovered about their lives and society are destabilizing to government, and therefore “bad.” The idea will be to use these memes to make a case for increased censorship and even, eventually, violent repression – and worse.

Have You Deuterostems Blasphemed and Cast Down Deep Time...?

theatlantic |  Late one summer night in 1949, the British archeologist Jacquetta Hawkes went out into her small back garden in north London, and lay down. She sensed the bedrock covered by its thin layer of soil, and felt the hard ground pressing her flesh against her bones. Shimmering through the leaves and out beyond the black lines of her neighbors’ chimney pots were the stars, beacons “whose light left them long before there were eyes on this planet to receive it,” as she put it in A Land (1951), her classic book of imaginative nature writing.

We are accustomed to the idea of geology and astronomy speaking the secrets of ‘deep time,’ the immense arc of non-human history that shaped the world as we perceive it. Hawkes’s lyrical meditation mingles the intimate and the eternal, the biological and the inanimate, the domestic with a sense of deep time that is very much of its time. The state of the topsoil was a matter of genuine concern in a country wearied by wartime rationing, while land itself rises into focus just as Britain is rethinking its place in the world. But in lying down in her garden, Hawkes also lies on the far side of a fundamental boundary. A Land was written at the cusp of the Holocene; we, on the other hand, read it in the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene, or era of the human, denotes how industrial civilization has changed the Earth in ways that are comparable with deep-time processes. The planet’s carbon and nitrogen cycles, ocean chemistry and biodiversity—each one the product of millions of years of slow evolution—have been radically and permanently disrupted by human activity. The development of agriculture 10,000 years ago, and the Industrial Revolution in the middle of the 19th century, have both been proposed as start dates for the Anthropocene. But a consensus has gathered around the Great Acceleration—the sudden and dramatic jump in consumption that began around 1950, followed by a huge rise in global population, an explosion in the use of plastics, and the collapse of agricultural diversity.