Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Paradise Papers: Wonder Who Outed These Tax Cheats Global Elites?


theconversation |  The so-called Paradise Papers may sound familiar – leaked documents from a law firm that specialises in offshore services reveal how the global elite avoids paying taxes. Even the name has the same ring to it as last year’s Panama Papers expose. But the Paradise Papers are different, reflecting the complexity of the global offshore tax system.

Panama is generally considered among tax haven experts as one of the least reformed corners of the offshore world. International rules regarding tax evasion and avoidance are intended to help national governments to pursue their own offenders, but the Panama Papers revealed that the country was being used primarily by the business and political elites of countries like Russia, China and many more in Latin America and Asia; countries where the governments are closely linked to business and which are less likely to use tools provided by new international rules to pursue offenders. Hence, relatively few Americans or Europeans were caught in the Panama story. And Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the leak has since been discredited

The Paradise Papers reveal the goings on of the elites of the offshore world – this time in the supposedly highly-regulated havens of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Singapore and the like. All places that received a fairly clean bill of health during the OECD peer review process only a few years ago. The law firm at the centre of this new leak, Appleby, insists there is “no evidence of wrongdoing” in any of the revelations.

Nonetheless, the Paradise Papers will tell us a lot about the activities of business and political elites of well-regulated countries like the US and UK – implicating big multinationals such as Nike and Apple, and individuals including the British Queen.

seudeutsche |   Dear Tim Cook,
You don’t know me, but I know you. Not personally, but from TV, livestreams of your appearances in Cupertino as you unveiled the next iPhone, and of course, from my organization’s newspaper and its website. I am the editor-in-chief of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s leading daily and the outlet that obtained the Panama Papers and later the Paradise Papers, which we continue to analyze and report on with colleagues from the New York Times, the Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and nearly 100 other media organizations.

Yours is one of the most famous and prestigious companies on the planet. Its products are outstanding. The iPhone not only changed the world, it did so faster than virtually any other technological innovation in history. Apple is adored by millions and has achieved cult status. Personally, I have had an iPhone for 10 years. My fingers brush across my iPad every day. At home, a MacBook awaits. If everyone in our newsroom had their choice of work computer and smartphone, I’m confident most people would opt for an Apple device.

My colleagues and I have long followed the debates in the United States and Europe over the taxation of Apple. You, yourself, have often taken a stance on the issue, like you did before the U.S. Senate in 2013. You said at the time that Apple did not “depend on tax gimmicks.” In the Paradise Papers, however, we uncovered information that tarnishes the image of Apple that you try to convey. Questions posed by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and our aforementioned colleagues have gone either unanswered or been met with, at best, tight-lipped platitudes. Why?


NSA Whistleblower Meets With CIA Director On DNC Leaks


theintercept | CIA Director Mike Pompeo met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.

Pompeo met on October 24 with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community’s official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year’s theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system.

In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.

A senior intelligence source confirmed that Pompeo met with Binney to discuss his analysis, and that the CIA director held the meeting at Trump’s urging. The Intercept’s account of the meeting is based on interviews with Binney, the senior intelligence source, a colleague who accompanied Binney to CIA headquarters, and others who Binney told about the meeting. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment. “As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” said Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.

Binney said that Pompeo asked whether he would be willing to meet with NSA and FBI officials to further discuss his analysis of the DNC data theft. Binney agreed and said Pompeo said he would contact him when he had arranged the meetings.

It is highly unorthodox for the CIA director to reach out to someone like Binney, a 74-year-old ex-government employee who rose to prominence as an NSA whistleblower wrongfully persecuted by the government, for help with fact-finding related to the theft of the DNC emails. It is particularly stunning that Pompeo would meet with Binney at Trump’s apparent urging, in what could be seen as an effort to discredit the U.S. intelligence community’s own assessment that an alleged Russian hack of the DNC servers was part of an effort to help Trump win the presidency.



The Democratic Money Behind RussiaGate


consortiumnews |  The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election — without providing convincing evidence — were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee, and in one instance also by the Clinton campaign: the Steele dossier and the CrowdStrike analysis of the DNC servers. Think about that for a minute.

We have long known that the DNC did not allow the FBI to examine its computer server for clues about who may have hacked it – or even if it was hacked – and instead turned to CrowdStrike, a private company co-founded by a virulently anti-Putin Russian. Within a day, CrowdStrike blamed Russia on dubious evidence.

And, it has now been disclosed that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for opposition research memos written by former British MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele using hearsay accusations from anonymous Russian sources to claim that the Russian government was blackmailing and bribing Donald Trump in a scheme that presupposed that Russian President Vladimir Putin foresaw Trump’s presidency years ago when no one else did.

Since then, the U.S. intelligence community has struggled to corroborate Steele’s allegations, but those suspicions still colored the thinking of President Obama’s intelligence chiefs who, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “hand-picked” the analysts who produced the Jan. 6 “assessment” claiming that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.

In other words, possibly all of the Russia-gate allegations, which have been taken on faith by Democratic partisans and members of the anti-Trump Resistance, trace back to claims paid for or generated by Democrats.

If for a moment one could remove the sometimes justified hatred that many people feel toward Trump, it would be impossible to avoid the impression that the scandal may have been cooked up by the DNC and the Clinton camp in league with Obama’s intelligence chiefs to serve political and geopolitical aims.

Absent new evidence based on forensic or documentary proof, we could be looking at a partisan concoction devised in the midst of a bitter general election campaign, a manufactured “scandal” that also has fueled a dangerous New Cold War against Russia; a case of a dirty political “oppo” serving American ruling interests in reestablishing the dominance over Russia that they enjoyed in the 1990s, as well as feeding the voracious budgetary appetite of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Though lacking independent evidence of the core Russia-gate allegations, the “scandal” continues to expand into wild exaggerations about the impact of a tiny number of social media pages suspected of having links to Russia but that apparently carried very few specific campaign messages. (Some pages reportedly were devoted to photos of puppies.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

"Acting White" for White People...,


NationalReview | Ice-T never received an Academy Award, which makes sense inasmuch as his movies have been for the most part crap. But as an actor, you have to give the man credit: Along with other gangster rappers such as Ice Cube, he turned in such a convincing performance — amplifying negative stereotypes about black men and selling white people their own Reagan-era racial panic back to them in a highly stylized form — that people still, to this day, believe he was the guy he played on stage. One social-media critic accused him of hypocrisy for having recorded the infamous song “Cop Killer” before going on to a very lucrative career playing a police officer on television. Ice-T gave the man an honest answer: “It’s both acting, homie.” Acting, indeed. Pretty good acting, too, across the board in the rap world. 

Consider the strange evolution of Tupac Shakur, who went from the quiet, effeminate young man seen in this interview — a former acting and ballet student at the Baltimore School for the Arts apparently pointed like a rocket at a career in musical theater — to the “Thug Life” antihero persona that made him famous in a remarkably short period of time. He played tough-guy Roland Bishop in Juice and basically stayed in character for the rest of his public life. As with Ice-T, many of his fans assumed the stage persona was the real man. There’s a whole weird little racial dynamic in there waiting for some doctoral student to sort it out. Nobody expects Anthony Hopkins to eat a census worker. 

A theater critic can’t really begrudge a performer for making a living, and Ice-T put on a great show. I do wonder how much damage those performers did by reinforcing and glamorizing criminal stereotypes of black men. And I do mean that I wonder — I do not know. Maybe the act is more obvious if you are the sort of person who is being dramatized or caricatured. (I experience something like that when I hear modern country songs on the radio, all that cheerful alcoholism and casual adultery and ridiculous good-ol’-boy posturing.) It would be weird to describe black men as “acting black,” but whatever they were up to was the opposite of “acting white.”

There’s a certain kind of conservative who loves to talk about “acting white,” i.e., about the legendary social sanction purportedly applied to African Americans who try too hard in school or who speak in an English that is too standard or who have interests and aspirations other than the ones that black people are stereotypically supposed to have. (“Acting white” isn’t a complaint exclusive to African Americans. My friend Jay Nordlinger relates a wonderful story about the American Indian educator Ben Chavis, who once was accused by a sister of “acting white.” His reply: “‘Acting white’ is not enough. I’m acting Jewish. Or maybe Chinese.”) Oh, how we love to knowingly tut-tut about “acting white,” with the obvious implication that black Americans corporately would be a good deal better off if they would do a little more acting white. That sort of thing is not entirely unique to conservatives, of course: Nine-tenths of all social criticism involving the problems of the American underclass consists of nice college graduates and policy professionals of many races and religions wondering aloud why they can’t be more like us, which is why so much social policy is oriented toward trying to get more poor people to go to college, irrespective of whether they want to do so or believe they would benefit from it. 
Conservatives have a weakness for that “acting white” business because we are intellectually invested in emphasizing the self-inflicted problems of black America, for rhetorical and political reasons that are too obvious to require much elaboration. It’s a phenomenon that may or may not be exaggerated. John McWhorter argues that it is a real problem, and makes a pretty good case. So did President Barack Obama, who called on the nation to “eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.” I am not sure that a white man from Lubbock, Texas, has a great deal to add to President Obama’s argument there. But I do have something to say about the subject of white people acting white.

Drug Industry's Control of Congress Makes the NRA Look Like a Piker...,


WaPo |  In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets. 

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.

A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” The DEA had opposed the effort for years.

The law was the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market. The industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, pouring more than a million dollars into their election campaigns.

The chief advocate of the law that hobbled the DEA was Rep. Tom Marino,a Pennsylvania Republican who is now President Trump’s nominee to become the nation’s next drug czar. Marino spent years trying to move the law through Congress. It passed after Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) negotiated a final version with the DEA.

For years, some drug distributors were fined for repeatedly ignoring warnings from the DEA to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills, while they racked up billions of dollars in sales.

The new law makes it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies, according to internal agency and Justice Department documents and an independent assessment by the DEA’s chief administrative law judge in a soon-to-be-published law review article. That powerful tool had allowed the agency to immediately prevent drugs from reaching the street.



Monday, November 06, 2017

Ruthless Marketing - Billions of Dollars, Millions of Addicts...,


newyorker  |  The north wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a vast, airy enclosure featuring a banked wall of glass and the Temple of Dendur, a sandstone monument that was constructed beside the Nile two millennia ago and transported to the Met, brick by brick, as a gift from the Egyptian government. The space, which opened in 1978 and is known as the Sackler Wing, is also itself a monument, to one of America’s great philanthropic dynasties. The Brooklyn-born brothers Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond Sackler, all physicians, donated lavishly during their lifetimes to an astounding range of institutions, many of which today bear the family name: the Sackler Gallery, in Washington; the Sackler Museum, at Harvard; the Sackler Center for Arts Education, at the Guggenheim; the Sackler Wing at the Louvre; and Sackler institutes and facilities at Columbia, Oxford, and a dozen other universities. The Sacklers have endowed professorships and underwritten medical research. The art scholar Thomas Lawton once likened the eldest brother, Arthur, to “a modern Medici.” Before Arthur’s death, in 1987, he advised his children, “Leave the world a better place than when you entered it.”

Mortimer died in 2010, and Raymond died earlier this year. The brothers bequeathed to their heirs a laudable tradition of benevolence, and an immense fortune with which to indulge it. Arthur’s daughter Elizabeth is on the board of the Brooklyn Museum, where she endowed the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Raymond’s sons, Richard and Jonathan, established a professorship at Yale Cancer Center. “My father raised Jon and me to believe that philanthropy is an important part of how we should fill our lives,” Richard has said. Marissa Sackler, the thirty-six-year-old daughter of Mortimer and his third wife, Theresa Rowling, founded Beespace, a nonprofit “incubator” that supports organizations like the Malala Fund. Sackler recently told W that she finds the word “philanthropy” old-fashioned. She considers herself a “social entrepreneur.”

When the Met was originally built, in 1880, one of its trustees, the lawyer Joseph Choate, gave a speech to Gilded Age industrialists who had gathered to celebrate its dedication, and, in a bid for their support, offered the sly observation that what philanthropy really buys is immortality: “Think of it, ye millionaires of many markets, what glory may yet be yours, if you only listen to our advice, to convert pork into porcelain, grain and produce into priceless pottery, the rude ores of commerce into sculptured marble.” Through such transubstantiation, many fortunes have passed into enduring civic institutions. Over time, the origins of a clan’s largesse are largely forgotten, and we recall only the philanthropic legacy, prompted by the name on the building. According to Forbes, the Sacklers are now one of America’s richest families, with a collective net worth of thirteen billion dollars—more than the Rockefellers or the Mellons. The bulk of the Sacklers’ fortune has been accumulated only in recent decades, yet the source of their wealth is to most people as obscure as that of the robber barons. While the Sacklers are interviewed regularly on the subject of their generosity, they almost never speak publicly about the family business, Purdue Pharma—a privately held company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, that developed the prescription painkiller OxyContin. Upon its release, in 1995, OxyContin was hailed as a medical breakthrough, a long-lasting narcotic that could help patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. The drug became a blockbuster, and has reportedly generated some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue for Purdue.

The Opioid Crisis in America...,


newyorker |  When we talk about drug abuse in America, our leaders use the language not just of war but of invasion. It is true, of course, that many illegal drugs are produced in other countries and imported into the United States. But our tendency to focus, relentlessly, on the supply side of the drug problem obscures the more intractable problem of the demand side—and of our complicity, as voracious consumers. “An astonishing ninety per cent of the heroin in America comes from south of the border,” President Trump said on Thursday, in his remarks on the opioid epidemic. And this is true. But, in focussing on this particular statistic, and promising that “building a wall” along the Mexican border “will greatly help this problem,” President Trump indulged the old nativist myth of drug prohibition.

This week, in the magazine, I wrote a piece about the origins of the current epidemic—a story that unfolded not in Mexico but in Stamford, Connecticut, where Purdue Pharma, a privately held company that is owned by the Sackler family, developed a powerful opioid painkiller, OxyContin, and set out to persuade the American medical establishment that it was not addictive. As my piece relates, Purdue succeeded beyond its wildest imaginings. OxyContin became a blockbuster drug, generating billions of dollars for the Sacklers. Meanwhile, a generation of Americans grew addicted to opioid painkillers. Four out of five people who try heroin today first abused prescription painkillers. In light of such a statistic, it would be folly to focus on Mexico and not look very hard at the F.D.A.-approved drug pushers closer to home.

Trump may not be particularly focussed on pharmaceutical companies, but there are promising signs that others are. On Thursday morning, federal agents arrested the founder of Insys, a drug company that produces a powerful opioid, and charged him with racketeering and fraud. And on Wednesday it was revealed that federal prosecutors in Connecticut have opened a new criminal investigation of Purdue Pharma—focussed on the marketing of OxyContin.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

White Anger or White Stupor (Don't Forget the 2-Piece/Biscuit Opioid Crisis)


unz  |  The phrase “angry white males” has been around awhile, but Donald Trump’s election has pushed it to the forefront. Indeed, at least for some, it is central to Trump’s election. As Steven M. Gillon put it in The Washington Post, “Donald Trump has tapped into this anger and manipulated it to his political advantage. The bond between President Trump and his white followers is not based on policy but on grievance. They both reject the cultural changes over the past half-century, and Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan signals his intent to unravel them.”
 
Whether this anger is somehow justified is, of course, a question of immense complexity but let me offer three observations that explain its scope regardless of its justification. My point is that affirmative action and other egalitarian social engineering nostrums inescapably spreads antagonisms beyond those immediately affected by the policies. And the anger will only grow as government keeps pushing the egalitarian fantasy.

First, violating the merit principle, whether in college admissions or hiring police officers guarantees disgruntled white males far in excess of its true victims. Consider hiring five firefighters strictly according to civil service exam scores. Let’s assume that a hundred men apply for the position and can be ranked by test scores. The top four are white and are hired. Now, thanks to a Department of Justice consent decree, the fire department must hire at least one African American from the list and if the highest ranking black scores at 20 in the array he will be hired despite his middling score.

How many white males have actually lost their job to a black? The correct answer is exactly one, the fifth ranking applicant. But how many whites will mistakenly believe that they lost out to an affirmative action candidate? The answer is 14 since this is the number of rejected white candidates between 6 and 19 and, to be honest, all can make a legitimate claim of being passed over to satisfy the diversity bean counters. Further fueling this anger is that each of those fourteen “unfairly” rejected applicants may complain to family and friends and thus tales of the alleged injustice multiply though, in fact, only a single white applicant lost out to a less qualified black.

Affirmative action is thus a white grievance multiplier if this information is public (as is often the case in university admissions and in reverse discrimination litigation). No doubt, every Spring when colleges and professional schools such as law and medicine mail out their acceptance/rejection letters, millions of white males can honestly complain that they would have been admitted to their first choice if they had only been black or Hispanic and judged exclusively by test scores. Of course, if the university admitted all those whites who exceeded the scores of the least qualified black, the university would have to dramatically increase the freshman class, a policy that possibly tantamount to admitting nearly every white applicant.

Second, the greater the pressure to increase “diversity” via adding additional under-qualified blacks and Hispanics and not expanding enrollment, the greater the visible gap between affirmative action admittees and all others. Again, everything is purely statistical. For example, in the pre-affirmative action era only a few blacks attended college, nearly all of whom got there on merit. Whites (and Asians) would likely view them as equals, no small benefit in a society obsessed with expunging “racist stereotypes” regarding black intellectual ability.

Patsy the Slave Donna Brazile 'Bout to Catch that Two-shot Arkancide



WaPo |   Brazile alleges that Clinton’s top aides routinely disrespected her and put the DNC on a “starvation diet,” depriving it of funding for voter turnout operations.

As one of her party’s most prominent black strategists, Brazile also recounts fiery disagreements with Clinton’s staffers — including a conference call in which she told three senior campaign officials, Charlie Baker, Marlon Marshall and Dennis Cheng, that she was being treated like a slave.

“I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile recalls telling them, a reference to the character played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film, “12 Years a Slave.” “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

Cheng, the campaign’s national finance director, did not participate in this call, according to a senior Clinton campaign official.


Brazile’s book, titled “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,” will be released Tuesday by Hachette Books. A copy of the 288-page book was obtained in advance by The Washington Post.

Former Clinton campaign officials strongly disputed some details in Brazile's account as well as her overall characterization of the campaign, and they disparaged her memoir as an effort to sell books and manufacture drama.

More than 100 former senior aides issued an open letter Saturday night reading, “We do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Who Made Up This Crap About Mueller's Unimpeachable Integrity?


washingtonsblog |  Talking heads act like Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is fair, impartial and unbiased.

But the facts are a wee bit different …

Failure to Aggressively Prosecute the BCCI Scandal

The BBC noted:
[Mueller] is also known for leading the probe into the 1991 collapse of the Luxembourg-registered Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
William Safire wrote in the New York Times:
The B.C.C.I. scandal involves the laundering of drug money, the illicit financing of terrorism and of arms to Iraq, the easy purchase of respectability and the corruption of the world banking system.
For more than a decade, the biggest banking swindle in history worked beautifully. Between $5 billion and $15 billion was bilked from governments and individual depositors to be put to the most evil of purposes — while lawmen and regulators slept.
Now the fight among investigators is coming out into the open. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who gave impetus to long-contained probes, told a Senate subcommittee headed by Senator John Kerry that he is getting no cooperation from the Thornburgh Justice Department.
Justice’s Criminal Division chief, Robert Mueller, tells me he will have a hatchet-burying session with the independent-minded D.A. next week, and vehemently denies having told British intelligence to stop cooperating with the Manhattan grand jury.

Mueller’s handling of the BCCI scandal as the point man for the Justice Department was widely criticized.  As noted by a Senate report written by Senators Kerry and Brown:
Over the past two years, the Justice Department’s handling of BCCI has been criticized in numerous editorials in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, reflecting similar criticism on the part of several Congressmen, including the chairman of the Subcommittee, Senator Kerry; the chief Customs undercover officer who handled the BCCI drug-money laundering sting, Robert Mazur; his superior at Customs, Commissioner William von Raab; New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau; former Senate investigator Jack Blum, and, within the Justice Department itself, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Dexter Lehtinen.
Typical editorials criticized Justice’s prosecution of BCCI as “sluggish,” “conspicuously slow,” “inattentive,” and “lethargic.” Several editorials noted that there had been “poor cooperation” by Justice with other agencies. One stated that “the Justice Department seems to have been holding up information that should have been passed on” to regulators and others. Another that “the Justice Department’s secretive conduct in dealing with BCCI requires a better explanation than any so far offered.
***
Under Assistant Attorney General Mueller, the Department assigned nearly three dozen attorneys to the case. During 1992, the Department brought several indictments, which remained narrower, less detailed and, at times, seemingly in response to the efforts of District Attorney Robert Morgenthau of New York, the Federal Reserve, or both
***
Suddenly, on August 22, Dennis Saylor, chief assistant to Assistant Attorney General Mueller, called Lehtinen and, according to the US Attorney, “indicated to me that I was directed not to return the indictment.”
The Senate Report also noted:
While the Justice Department’s handling of BCCI has received substantial criticism, the office of Robert Morgenthau, District Attorney of New York, has generally received credit for breaking open the BCCI investigation.
***
In going after BCCI, Morgenthau’s office quickly found that in addition to fighting off the bank, it would receive resistance from almost every other institution or entity connected to BCCI, including at various times, BCCI’s multitude of prominent and politically well-connected lawyers, BCCI’s accountants, BCCI’s shareholders, the Bank of England, the British Serious Fraud Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
 

Trump Undermining Faith In U.S. Criminal Justice System?!?!


CNN |  "Like me, most Americans hope that our justice system is independent and free of political interference," Corker said in a statement Friday afternoon. "President Trump's pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people's confidence in our institutions."

It is the third time in recent weeks Corker has been highly critical of the President. The Tennessee Republican announced in September that he's not running for re-election.
kunstler |  What America might want to know right now is: how come Hillary Clinton doesn’t have any legal problems? Why aren’t DOJ investigators examining the financial records of the Clinton Foundation? You would think somebody would want to find out how over $120 million of Russian “charitable donations” ended up on its ledgers around the time that Secretary of State HRC approved the Uranium One deal — compared to which, Bill Clinton’s $500,000 payment from a Russian bank for giving a speech around the same time just looks like walking-around money. 

This is not to mention (well, I will) the flow of donations from Saudi Arabia pending approval of a major arms deal by HRC. Or of myriad other donations from foreign nationals tendered simply for face-time with the Secretary. Has any other cabinet officer in US history run a money-gathering org while serving? I don’t think so. Maybe the arrant selling of influence right out-front strains the credulity of government auditors. And while we’re at this, I would like to know how then-FBI director Robert Mueller and President Obama might have been informed about these activities. Or not?

Mr. Mueller also needs to answer about his relationship with former FBI director James Comey — he was apparently Mr. Comey’s mentor — while Mr. Comey needs to answer for his peculiar and probably lawless behavior in dismissing the investigation around HRC’s private email server — that was not his decision to make — and the notorious meeting at the Phoenix airport of former president Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch around the same time the email investigation under Mr. Comey came to a head.

Now comes the news from Donna Brazille, on-again-off-again Democrat Party chair, that the primary elections were elaborately rigged by HRC functionaries to buy control of her nomination. Let’s not even go into the bidding for the Christopher Steele “dossier” alleging kinky sexual romps in Moscow by Donald Trump, or the activities in Ukraine of Tony Podesta’s DC lobbying company — that’s Tony, brother of John Podesta, Clinton campaign chief, whose emails remain a truffle cache for the rooting dogs of the DOJ, if they were actually on-the-task.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Too Big To Self-Regulate - Social Media Fitna Get Federalized...,


oftwominds |  The nation's elites are desperate to misdirect us from the financial and power dividethat has enriched and empowered them at the expense of the unprotected many.


There are two competing explanatory narratives battling for mind-share in the U.S.: 1. The nation's social discord is the direct result of Russian social media meddling-- what I call the Boris and Natasha Narrative of evil Russian masterminds controlling a vast conspiracy of social media advertising, fake-news outlets and trolls that have created artificial divides in the body politic, or exacerbated minor cracks into chasms.

2. The nation's social discord is the direct result of soaring wealth/power inequality-- the vast expansion of the wealth and power of the nation's financial elites and their protected class of technocrat enablers and enforcers (the few) at the expense of the unprotected many.
Core to this narrative is the view that the elites and technocrats have engaged in a massive, coordinated official/media propaganda campaign of fake newsaimed at persuading the bottom 95% that their prosperity and financial security are expanding when the reality is they have lost ground they will never be able to recover. 

This propaganda campaign includes official (i.e. gamed/distorted) statistics such as unemployment and inflation, a reliance on the manipulated stock market to "signal widespread prosperity" and a steady drumbeat of corporate media coverage promoting the Boris and Natasha Narrative as the primary source of all our troubles. 

The reality the elites must mask is that the few (the elites) have benefited at the expense of the many. The rising tide of financialization, globalization and neofeudal-neocolonial neoliberalism has not raised all boats; the yachts have floated higher while the rowboats have either sunk or are leaking badly. 

bloomberg |  Forces are aligning to bring some sunlight to the political dark arts as they’re practiced on social media. Last week, Congress held a hearing to discuss a bill that would require new disclosures for online political ads, and a bigger confrontation looms Tuesday when executives from Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google come to the hill to discuss Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 

Tech platforms, understandably worried that the salad days of benign neglect from regulators are numbered, are scrambling to head off new rules by proposing ways to increase transparency on their own. At the least, it seems possible that online advertising will soon be subject to some version of the rules that apply to political ads on TV. But drawing a line around political activity on social media is tricky no matter who is wielding the pencil. That’s partially because it’s hard to define what counts as political activity, and also hard to define what counts as advertising.

Corporatist Conformity Was Normative For Big Social Media To Begin With...,


Counterpunch |  The depressing fact of the matter is, in our brave new Internet-dominated world, corporations like Google, Twitter, and Facebook (not to mention Amazon), are, for elitist wankers like me, in the immortal words of Colonel Kurz, “either friends or they are truly enemies to be feared.” If you are in the elitist wanker business, regardless of whether you’re Jonathan Franzen, Garth Risk Hallberg, Margaret Atwood, or some “mid-list” or “emerging” author, there is no getting around these corporations. So it’s kind of foolish, professionally speaking, to write a bunch of essays that will piss them off, and then publish these essays in CounterPunch. Literary agents advise against this. Other elitist literary wankers, once they discover what you’ve been doing, will avoid you like the bubonic plague. Although it’s perfectly fine to write books and movies about fictional evil corporations, writing about how real corporations are using their power to mold societies into self-policing virtual prisons of politically-correct, authoritarian consumers is … well, it’s something that is just not done in professional elitist wanker circles.

Normally, all this goes without saying, as these days most elitist wankers are trained how to write, and read, and think, in MFA conformity factories, where they screen out any unstable weirdos with unhealthy interests in political matters. This is to avoid embarrassing episodes like Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize lecture (which, if you haven’t read it, you probably should), and is why so much of contemporary literature is so well-behaved and instantly forgettable. This institutionalized screening system is also why the majority of journalists employed by mainstream media outlets understand, without having to be told, what they are, and are not, allowed to report. Chomsky explains how this system operates in What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream. It isn’t a question of censorship … the system operates on rewards and punishments, financial and emotional coercion, and subtler forms of intimidation. Making examples of non-cooperators is a particularly effective tactic. Ask any one of the countless women whose careers have been destroyed by Harvey Weinstein, or anyone who’s been to graduate school, or worked at a major corporation.

Trump Overcame Significant Oppositional Social Media Collusion


Breitbart |  Twitter “hid” nearly 50 percent of tweets bearing the hashtag #DNCLeak along with a quarter of those with #PodestaEmails during the last two months of the 2016 presidential campaign, according to new testimony from Twitter’s general counsel.

On Oct. 31, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism heard testimony from Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett in its investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Edgett said that Twitter systems concealed substantial numbers of tweets relating to hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee as well as from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, despite the fact that it knew that only a tiny percentage of these could have even “potential links to Russia.”

“We found that slightly under 4% of Tweets containing #PodestaEmails came from accounts with potential links to Russia,” Edgett said in his written testimony, whereas of tweets bearing the #DNCLeak, “roughly 2% were from potentially Russian-linked accounts,” he said.

Despite the low correlation between those hashtags and possible Russian involvement, Twitter hid 48 percent of tweets with the #DNCLeak hashtag and 25 percent of tweets with #PodestaEmails, Edgett said.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Bish Bettah Have My Money!!! Is This A #MeToo Dindu Defection?



politico |  Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested.

I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.

Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.

Intersectional Allies Absotively Cannot Hold Up Their End In The Coming Civil War...,


ourfiniteworld |  Most of us are familiar with the Politically Correct (PC) World View. William Deresiewicz describes the view, which he calls the “religion of success,” as follows:

There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern.

There are other beliefs that go with this religion of success:
  • Wind and solar will save us.
  • Electric cars will make transportation possible indefinitely.
  • Our world leaders are all powerful.
  • Science has all of the answers.
To me, this story is pretty much equivalent to the article, “Earth Is Flat and Infinite, According to Paid Experts,” by Chris Hume in Funny Times. While the story is popular, it is just plain silly.
In this post, I explain why many popular understandings are just plain wrong. I cover several controversial topics, including environmentalism, peer-reviewed literature, and climate change models. This post pretty much excludes religion. It was added for people who find it hard to believe that a scientific article could also touch upon religion. If you want the complete discussion, as the post was originally written, please see this post

Myth 1: If there is a problem with the lack of any resource, including oil, it will manifest itself with high prices.

As we reach limits of oil or any finite resource, the problem we encounter is an allocation problem. 

As long as the quantity of resources we can extract from the ground keeps rising faster than population, there is no problem with limits. The tiny wedge that each person might get from these growing resources represents more of that resource, on average. Citizens can reasonably expect that future pension promises will be paid from the growing resources. They can also expect that, in the future, the shares of stock and the bonds that they own can be redeemed for actual goods and services.

If the quantity of resources starts to shrink, the problem we have is almost a “musical chairs” type of problem.

In each round of a musical chairs game, one chair is removed from the circle. The players in the game must walk around the outside of the circle. When the music stops, all of the players scramble for the remaining chairs. Someone gets left out.

The players in today’s economic system include
  • High paid (or elite) workers
  • Low paid (or non-elite) workers
  • Businesses
  • Governments
  • Owners of assets (such as stocks, bonds, land, buildings) who want to sell them and exchange them for today’s goods and services
If there is a shortage of a resource, the standard belief is that prices will rise and either more of the resource will be found, or substitution will take place. Substitution only works in some cases: it is hard to think of a substitute for fresh water. It is often possible to substitute one energy product for another. Overall, however, there is no substitute for energy. If we want to heat a substance to produce a chemical reaction, we need energy. If we want to move an object from place to place, we need energy. If we want to desalinate water to produce more fresh water, this also takes energy.

The world economy is a self-organized networked system. The networked system includes businesses, governments, and workers, plus many types of energy, including human energy. Workers play a double role because they are also consumers. The way goods and services are allocated is determined by “market forces.” In fact, the way these market forces act is determined by the laws of physics. These market forces determine which of the players will get squeezed out if there is not enough to go around.

Non-elite workers play a pivotal role in this system because their number is so large. These people are the chief customers for goods, such as homes, food, clothing, and transportation services. They also play a major role in paying taxes, and in receiving government services.

History says that if there are not enough resources to go around, we can expect increasing wage and wealth disparity. This happens because increased use of technology and more specialization are workarounds for many kinds of problems. As an economy increasingly relies on technology, the owners and managers of the technology start receiving higher wages, leaving less for the workers without special skills. The owners and managers also tend to receive income from other sources, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, and rents.

Do You See Yet - How Political Dissidence Is Dealt With As Treason?


countercurrents |  The freedom to publish and speak, and protection from vigilante justice are two examples of what actor Bill felt would most likely fall under an appalling Reagan presidency, as they had in very dramatic fashion under President Wilson. He also underscored the fragility of voting results, emphasizing that “unacceptable results” might not be honored. That’s the sort of thing the U.S. has been doing — not honoring election results — around the world for a very long time, its “Exceptional Good Guy” (carefully honed democratic) image notwithstanding.


“When… in 1918 and again in a special election the next year, Wisconsin voters elected a Socialist to Congress, and a fairly moderate one at that, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 330 to 6, simply refused to seat him. The same thing happened to five members of the party elected to the New York state legislature.”

Third parties in the U.S.  don’t tell their members that if they run a candidate for a major office there’s the strong possibility that electoral fraud will kick in if the candidate wins and is seriously offensive to the powers that be, the two major parties and those they really represent for the most part. Which is not the people, of course, in an oligarchy. Or is it a plutocracy? It should be discussed. In schools. Instead of the ideal democratic checks and balances being given more time than they deserve in the classroom, options for dealing with our macabre momentum could be the subject of spot on, useful exchanges.

But third parties themselves have an obligation to do this. To really get down with their members respecting why their major candidates don’t have a shot in hell at taking office even if they win. Again, not just in the context of electoral fraud, but because newspapers and other media outlets — just as they did during Wilson’s wartime antics — are likely to be supportive of anti-democratic actions which keep radicals out of office. Whatever form they take.

Managing The Dangerous Classes - Our Aggressive Domestic War On The Poor


truthdig  |  None of the reforms, increased training, diversity programs, community outreach and gimmicks such as body cameras have blunted America’s deadly police assault, especially against poor people of color. Police forces in the United States - which, according to The Washington Post, have fatally shot 782 people this year - are unaccountable, militarized monstrosities that spread fear and terror in poor communities.

By comparison, police in England and Wales killed 62 people in the 27 years between the start of 1990 and the end of 2016.

Police officers have become rogue predators in impoverished communities. Under U.S. forfeiture laws, police indiscriminately seize money, real estate, automobiles and other assets. In many cities, traffic, parking and other fines are little more than legalized extortion that funds local government and turns jails into debtor prisons.

Because of a failed court system, millions of young men and women are railroaded into prison, many for nonviolent offenses. SWAT teams with military weapons burst into homes often under warrants for nonviolent offenses, sometimes shooting those inside. Trigger-happy cops pump multiple rounds into the backs of unarmed men and women and are rarely charged with murder. And for poor Americans, basic constitutional rights, including due process, were effectively abolished decades ago.

Jonathan Simon’s “Governing Through Crime” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” point out that what is defined and targeted as criminal activity by the police and the courts is largely determined by racial inequality and class, and most importantly by the potential of targeted groups to cause social and political unrest. Criminal policy, as sociologist Alex S. Vitale writes in his new book, “The End of Policing,” “is structured around the use of punishment to manage the ‘dangerous classes,’ masquerading as a system of justice.”

The criminal justice system, at the same time, refuses to hold Wall Street banks, corporations and oligarchs accountable for crimes that have caused incalculable damage to the global economy and the ecosystem. None of the bankers who committed massive acts of fraud and were responsible for the financial collapse in 2008 have gone to prison even though their crimes resulted in widespread unemployment, millions of evictions and foreclosures, homelessness, bankruptcies and the looting of the U.S. Treasury to bail out financial speculators at taxpayer expense. We live in a two-tiered legal system, one in which poor people are harassed, arrested and jailed for absurd infractions, such as selling loose cigarettes—which led to Eric Garner being choked to death by a New York City policeman in 2014—while crimes of appalling magnitude that wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth are dealt with through tepid administrative controls, symbolic fines and civil enforcement.

The grotesque distortions of the judicial system and the aggressive war on the poor by the police will get worse under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. There has been a rollback of President Barack Obama’s 2015 restrictions on the 1033 Program, a 1989 congressional action that allows the transfer of military weaponry, including grenade launchers, armored personnel carriers and .50-caliber machine guns, from the federal government to local police forces. Since 1997, the Department of Defense has turned over a staggering $5.1 billion in military hardware to police departments.

The Trump administration also is resurrecting private prisons in the federal prison system, accelerating the so-called war on drugs, stacking the courts with right-wing “law and order” judges and preaching the divisive politics of punishment and retribution. Police unions enthusiastically embrace these actions, seeing in them a return to the Wild West mentality that characterized the brutality of police departments in the 1960s and 1970s, when radicals, especially black radicals, were murdered with impunity at the hands of law enforcement. The Praetorian Guard of the elites, as in all totalitarian systems, will soon be beyond the reach of the law. As Vitale writes in his book, “Our entire criminal justice system has become a gigantic revenge factory.”

The arguments—including the racist one about “superpredators“—used to justify the expansion of police power have no credibility, as the gun violence in south Chicago, abject failure of the war on drugs and vast expansion of the prison system over the last 40 years illustrate. The problem is not ultimately in policing techniques and procedures; it is in the increasing reliance on the police as a form of social control to buttress a system of corporate capitalism that has turned the working poor into modern-day serfs and abandoned whole segments of the society. Government no longer makes any attempt to ameliorate racial and economic inequality. Instead, it criminalizes poverty. It has turned the poor into one more cash crop for the rich.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Patsy In Hand, Mueller Scripting Collusion Same Way He Scripted Terror Attacks...,


Not a fan of the FBI.  Outside the anti-Russian neoconservative deep state cabal and its flunky political #MeToo Dindu Amen Chorus that wants to take down Trump by any means necessary, what moderately well-informed, self-respecting Black Man American citizen could be? A few examples of the numerous instances in which the FBI has shown itself to be the tainted spawn of what ran down JEdgar Hoover's leg should make the case.

Counterpunch |  There’s more about Mueller that people should know, too, like the fact that he was the architect of an FBI entrapment program that lured simple-minded gangbangers into terrorist scams and then threw them in the slammer for the rest of their lives.  Check out this blurb from an article at Electronic Intifada titled “The FBI’s penchant for “manufacturing terrorists”:
RT | The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975.

If you think that’s a few spies too many — spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment — one doesn’t have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil.

Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes. 
slate | The FBI has a lead. A prominent religious leader and community advocate is in contact with a suspected sleeper agent of foreign radicals. The attorney general is briefed and personally approves wiretaps of his home and offices. The man was born in the United States, the son of a popular cleric. Even though he’s an American citizen, he’s placed on a watchlist to be summarily detained in the event of a national emergency. Of all similar suspects, the head of FBI domestic intelligence thinks he’s “the most dangerous,” at least “from the standpoint of … national security.”
Is this a lone wolf in league with foreign sponsors of terrorism? No: This was the life of Martin Luther King Jr. That FBI assessment was dated Aug. 30, 1963—two days after King told our country that he had a dream.
Comes now Robert Mueller performing and up-to-the-minute cover of all the FBI's greatest hits on none other than the sitting preznit of the U.S. 

theburningplatform |   Baby George’s carelessness about the exact dates and sequences of utterly irrelevant and inconsequential events is enough to get him time in one of Uncle Sam’s hospitality suites:
Defendant PAPADOPOULOS acknowledged that the professor had told him about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the forms of ‘thousands of emails,’ but stated multiple times that he learned the information prior to joining the Campaign. In truth and fact, however, defendant PAPADOPOULOS learned he would be an advisor to the campaign in early March, and met the professor on or about March 14, 2016……
That’s all she wrote. This damning nugget appears on page  2 of the “Statement of Offense” and the balance of the 14 pages are a complete farcical joke. Papadopoulos’ failure to get anywhere with the Russians in his digging for dirt on Hillary would make for a good episode for the rascals of South Park, but that’s about all.

Anyone not involved in the campaign to reverse the 2106 election and remove the Donald from office should be forgiven for splitting a gut laughing when reading this hideous and utterly bogus case against Baby George Papadopoulos.

Every single player in the cast of characters — mostly unnamed by the prosecutors but already sussed out by the press — identified by Team Mueller had no ability to influence anything, let alone 165 million voters in a US election bombarded with upwards of $20 billion worth of reported and unreported campaign expenses, and the mainstream media’s free nonstop campaign in behalf of Hillary.

Yet the document and Monday mornings announcement are also cause for alarm. The “crime”, if there was any, was the $10 million that the DNC and Clinton campaign paid for the Trump Dossier. Those scurrilous documents were actually purchased for real money on the back streets of Moscow and do cite actual, live Russian MFA sources, not allegedly “MFA-connected” people, who apparently weren’t.

But, of course, that’s not what’s coming down. The self-righteous Mueller who turned a blind eye to the massive stench of corruption coming out of the Uranium One deal in 2009/2010 when he was FBI director has only one mission in mind: To mug the American electorate for its audacity in electing Donald Trump President, thereby disturbing the equanimity of the Deep State’s untethered rule.

The truth of the matter, however, is nearly the opposite. Prosecuting anyone — one either side of the partisan aisle — for marginal and tangential contacts with a Russian government purportedly wishing to influence the US election amounts to the height of hypocrisy.

We're Witnessing the Implementation of Cass Sunstein's Vile Wet Dream...,


WaPo |  Almost all conversations about roadblocks Trump faces or opposition to his initiatives centered on what was perceived as the media’s biased portrayal of him and his administration, rather than on anything the Democrats were doing.

Republicans and conservatives have grumbled about unfair coverage from the “mainstream media” for decades. But the Trump era has brought us to a new plateau, one where the media has moved from adversarial to oppositional. Many observers, on both right and left, have come to see the media as the leader of the resistance.

If you care about journalism, it’s a disturbing trend. Many in the media would undoubtedly lay much of the blame on Trump’s “fake news” attacks. But peruse the pages or websites of most of our nation’s leading news providers, and it’s easy to understand why such a perception has taken hold, apart from Trump’s claims. 

Former Democratic president Jimmy Carter’s widely reported comments in Maureen Dowd’s recent New York Times column about the media’s coverage of Trump were a welcome acknowledgment of the obvious from someone other than a Trump loyalist. 

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter said. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.” 

Out of curiosity, I checked the Democratic National Committee’s website this week. Some of the headlines were: “Trump abuses role as commander-in-chief in latest lie.” “Tom Perez on Trump’s executive order to sabotage Americans’ health care.” “Trump’s lapdog Pence must return wasted taxpayer dollars.” 

That’s what you would expect from the opposition party. The problem is, headlines accusing Trump of “sabotage,” “lies” and more are not uncommon from our major media outlets. That’s why I was curious whether the DNC was still bothering to employ a press staff when it has been made so redundant.

Categorical Violation of JFK's Limits of Official Concealment



countercurrents |  REFLECTIONS ON HOW LITTLE IS REVEALED BY JUST-RELEASED JFK ASSASSINATION DOCUMENTS AND JUST SOME OF THE MANY REASONS WHY THERE HAD TO BE A CONSPIRACY

In the recent, and supposedly last, release of files pertaining to the Kennedy assassination, most of the corporate press did not dwell on the fact that the most important and secret files were kept from the public, but, of course, that was actually the big story.

Now, I say that not knowing just what was not released or indeed whether the unreleased files even contain any serious information. You see, in the world of state secrets, secrecy is often used to hide embarrassing incompetence or even criminality. The unreleased documents may be just as uninformative as much of what has been released. So much of what has been released over recent decades is of little hard value to the case. We may legitimately ask, why was a lot of this junk ever declared national secrets to be squirreled away for a half century and more?

I can’t answer that question, but exactly the same question may be asked about so very many things and activities pertaining to the assassination. Of course, it shouldn’t be that way, but it is, and that fact alone screams that important things always were, and still are, hidden. Are the key facts really that unbelievably sensitive? Are they even known?

The question might even be asked whether the authorities themselves ever really understood accurately what happened. The FBI and CIA not even knowing what happened might itself be a worthy state secret, reflecting on the sheer competence of these two massively-funded and often abusive security agencies. God knows, they both have long records of embarrassing and destructive failures at home and abroad.

And, it must be remembered that outfits like CIA always have fallback positions ready for major activities should the first story spring some unexpected leak. So, even if records were maintained of actual events – something which is not always certain going by CIA’s past record, as in the case of the coup in Guatemala against a democratic government, an event whose files could not be found at their scheduled release date – whatever is eventually released to the public may reflect a fallback narrative. The complexity of filing systems at a place like CIA permits some amazing antics, and no one from the outside is able to check. That of course is just one of the dangers of having such powerful, secret, and largely unaccountable agencies.

The facts of a murder case – no matter who the victim was, a rather simple murder actually if you believe the Warren Report, a murder by one disgruntled man with a rifle and no accomplices of any kind – should be public information in a free society. What possibly warrants secrecy in such a case? Nothing, of course. Yet we know we have had secrecy and still have it, massively so, and since the earliest days after the crime.

We still face a huge, impenetrable, blank wall, much resembling something from an ancient mysterious tomb, when it comes to this history-changing event.

If the assassination of an elected President can be effectively covered-up, what cannot? And a great many terrible events have happened in the United states since that crime. Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria plus many other bloody awful things that make little sense and have never been honestly explained to the people by government.

The press still is very fond of the term, “conspiracy theory,” and it is easy to find articles weekly which employ it, but the term should always serve as a red flag for astute readers. It is said to have been coined by a CIA publicist/disinformation officer in 1967 as a way to express ridicule of those doubting the Warren Report, a document in fact riddled with errors and inconsistencies.