• LRC Blog

    3:07 pm on July 28, 2017

    L’affaire Scaramucci

    Two comments about the Scaramuucci incident yesterday:

    First, a guy that doesn’t know to manage whether he’s on or off the record when he heads off on a street-punk tirade with a reporter from an unfriendly news outlet is probably not a good choice to be communications director.

    Being Trump’s Mini-me is not a qualification.

    And second, like the definition of a diplomat as someone sent abroad to lie for his country, a White House spokesman is someone who steps up to lie for the President.

    Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went out of the lawn yesterday to tell a Fox reporter that the Scaramucci flame-out wasn’t the focal point of those in the White House.

    “This isn’t something that is all-consuming for us or our staff,” she said.

    Puh-leeze, Sarah!

    Try to show at least a modicum of respect.

    “Most of us in the White House are focused on who has a job out it the country, not who has a job here,” she said.

    Right.

    Anybody who has been on the inside of a media firestorm knows better.

    12:41 pm on July 28, 2017

    10:37 am on July 28, 2017

    Anti-Media May Interest You

    I carefully pick and choose among articles in alternative media web sites, based upon my personal curiosity, my interests, my prior beliefs, what I see as an article’s slant, and my preferences. I do not endorse the entire output of any site, and that includes LRC. Every site has variance in article quality. I look at Anti-Media lately. It aggregates news from elsewhere and it has original articles.

    Anti-Media has an article today that’s very helpful in showing the bias of the big-time press (Washington Post, CNN, etc). It quotes a slew of media reactions to Trump’s killing of the CIA program in Syria; one can see immediately how slanted these reactions are. You and I could have done this reading and reached the same conclusion, but only with a significant investment of time and effort. Anti-Media has done the work for us very nicely.

    The Anti-Media team consists of a lot of young men and women. They’re doing a good job. Another article observes that while Trump’s move might signal the end of the regime change objective in Syria, U.S. designs on the country are being maintained by the Pentagon’s intrusions therein.

    9:05 am on July 28, 2017

    8:58 am on July 28, 2017

    8:15 am on July 28, 2017

    McCain Seals His Legacy – Hero To The Left, Hypocrite To The Rest

     

    Was McCain turned?

    Count on it.

    Picture Chuck Schumer welcoming him back and whispering, “John – remember the Keating Five? Remember your POW coverup?  Remember “Hanoi John“?

    (Chuck continues, whispering soothingly in John’s ear): “We can make it all go away, John. Remember, we write the history books.”

    John McCain: Exit, stage left. May he rest in peace.

    Updates:

    Ah, the memories. They keep flowing into my inbox…

    Did Goof-Off McCain cause the Forrestal Inferno that killed 134?

    Bottom of his class, tops in disciplinary reprimands at the Naval Academy.

    More reminders rolling in:

    From Sundance:

    “FBI Director James Comey was using propaganda commissioned by Russia to attack Trump, as the framework to launch his FBI investigation into candidate Donald Trump and Russian collusion….  This means the Russian collusion narrative the U.S. media has been running with for a year to attack Trump, was actually factual collusion between Russia and the the U.S. FBI, via James Comey.

    From JP:

    “Remember it was McCain who commissioned a staffer to get this memo – and McCain then turned it over to the FBI.”

    So loser McCain’s extended middle-finger at Trump the winner is silhouetted against the setting Arizona sun.

    7:47 am on July 28, 2017

    6:59 am on July 28, 2017

    Trump’s Lack of Savvy and Commitment Weigh Him Down

    Daniel, Trump loses. We lose. America loses. The “system” would have produced the same result had the other candidate won and had other Republicans won the nomination. Trump has shown time and again that, beyond his capacity to win the election, he lacks several things. He lacks political savvy when it comes to measures that he cannot handle unilaterally, that is, when he must deal with opposing interests and people. This is shown every day. It is shown by his failures to have planned out appointments of people to fulfill his agenda, instead surrounding himself with people who are against him and also filling posts with incompetents. Furthermore, he doesn’t have a line of information into his antagonists and doesn’t know how to put them in their place and outflank them. He acted as if Washington were a business he was leading, but it’s not. He’s swimming in shark-infested waters.

    The second failing is that he lacks commitments based on sensible priorities, or has no well-defined priorities. If he had really wanted to alter the U.S. policy toward Russia, he should have started doing that on day one and used the political powers of his office; and that failure ties in with his lack of political savvy. In fact, he would have had to handle his campaign speeches in a different way to spell out priorities and then hit the ground running.

    His third failing is that he has gross misconceptions, like his attitude toward Iran as compared with Saudi Arabia, and his misreading of foreign leaders.

    What we have here in important respects is amateur hour. Clearly Trump has been unable to influence the legislative agenda and his own party members.

    However, for all that, among all his bad decisions like increasing the military budget, Trump has clearly had the steel to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, to close down the CIA operation in Syria, to reach an agreement with Putin over some aspects of Syria, and to ban transgender persons in the military. He has attacked major media when it needed to be attacked. These are not moves that required him to deal with Congress.

    Trump’s presidency continues to unfold. He has shown some tendency to circle back to issues he believes in. He is not going to throw in the towel just yet because of losing some battles. He has shown some resilience and some healthy anger. He has to translate his strengths into workable leverage and mitigate his weaknesses. Nobody’s perfect, and, although his political experience is slight, he is not any less capable than the sordid and dishonorable Lilliputians of hypocrisy and hate who’d like to terminate his presidency now.

    8:39 pm on July 27, 2017

    Breaking: Senate Passes Russia, Iran, North Korea Sanctions Bill, 98-2!

    Minutes ago the US Senate passed HR 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by a massive 98 yeas to two nays. Opposing the bill were Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). The bill passed in the House by 419-3 on Tuesday, with Reps Massie (R-KY), Amash (R-MI), and Duncan (R-TN) opposing.

    The new sanctions bill ties President Trump’s hands on foreign policy, as he will be forced to ask Congress for permission to ease the measures.

    Speaking in favor of the legislation, Sen. Bob Menendez (R-NJ) cited the need to send Russia a message that it cannot meddle in US elections, that it cannot annex Crimea, that it cannot invade Ukraine, and that it cannot indiscriminately kill women and children in Syria.

    Those of us living in the actual real world recognize that the first count remains unproven and the remaining counts are simply fatuous, fact-free bluster by Washington’s uninformed, group-thinking, foreign policy elites. Fueled by the millions coming in to the military-industrial complex.

    The House and Senate passed “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” now goes to President Trump’s desk, where he faces a damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t scenario. A veto would certainly be over-ridden, handing the president a bitter bi-partisan blow that would likely end whatever aspirations he may retain to keep his campaign promises to get along better with Russia. Similarly, signing the bill signs a death warrant for any foreign policy different than the one served up by the neocons for decades: create enemies; push war propaganda; collect massive checks from military industrial complex; demonize any American refusing to go along; repeat, adding bombs as necessary.

    Checkmate, President Trump.

    6:03 pm on July 27, 2017

    3:12 pm on July 27, 2017

    Here’s the True Definition of a Recession — It’s Not About GDP

    Frank Shostak: Recessions are the liquidation of a boom that sprang up thanks to a previous period of loose monetary policy.

    3:12 pm on July 27, 2017

    Immunity for Prosecutors Encourages Fraud

    Prosecutorial immunity provides an incentive to government prosecutors to engage in fraud if it’s good for their careers. William Anderson explains.

    3:11 pm on July 27, 2017

    To Fix Healthcare, We Need to Repeal a Lot More than Obamacare

    The focus on Obamacare as the source of all our health-care woes has distracted us from the real foundations of the healthcare mess. 

    3:10 pm on July 27, 2017

    What’s Wrong With Auditing The Fed? Rep. Bill Posey Grills Janet Yellen

    12:15 pm on July 27, 2017

    Coup Against Trump Looks to His Financial Dealings

    Led by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel investigation of Trump and his team is examining financial dealings of Trump et al with Deutsche Bank. This is the current cutting edge of the coup against Trump. Mueller’s foray into financing, debt, and payments has been known for some time, but it’s now gaining momentum. The entire matter of financial ties, contracts and cash flows is complex. It’s the most promising vulnerability of Trump because other avenues are dead ends so far.

    Mueller is not going to be able to prove Russian interference in the 2016 election, or interference with any significant degree of influence; not unless he comes up with new evidence, because what has been revealed so far provides no proof. Mueller won’t therefore be able to make a case that Trump or his associates worked with Russians in their non-existent or negligible interference.

    Mueller certainly can’t prove that Trump or his associates were Russian agents or helped Russian agents. Mueller can’t prove the lesser charge of collusion to influence the election either. Contacts and conversations are not collusion and so far what we know of these is that they were trivial in nature and content.

    So far there has been no obstruction of justice either. That charge is even more unsubstantial than the Russian interference and collusion charges. Trump has many future opportunities, however, to fall into this trap.

    That leaves Trump’s financial dealings. Mueller and his team will be at this fishing expedition for many months to come.

    11:56 am on July 27, 2017

    11:11 am on July 27, 2017

    7:03 am on July 27, 2017

    Be Still My Heart! Where’s the Nitroglycerin?!

    FOX News flashed “Breaking News” across its screen this morning informing the world that Mitch McConnell was about to address the senate on the topic of healthcare.

    1:22 pm on July 26, 2017

    Migrant Crisis, Secession, And More…Ask Ron Paul!

    11:04 am on July 26, 2017

    The CIA: On Company Business – Interview With John Stockwell


    John Stockwell is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving seven tours of duty over thirteen years. Having managed American involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies and The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order. 

    The documentary discussed in the interview is Inside The CIA: On Company Business. The disingenuous Tom Braden, original co-host of CNN’s Crossfire with Pat Buchanan, may not be as well known to many of you. He was a former intelligence operative with the OSS during WWII, and later a high ranking CIA official close to director Allen Dulles — playing an important role in the Agency’s massive media manipulation Operation Mockingbird, and the post-WWII secret CIA funding of American Federation of Labor leader Irving Brown who paid off top Corsican gangsters in Marseilles to organize against Communist Party dockworkers to establish a foothold for delivery of Marshall Plan goods delivered to France. (See Tom Braden at 20:53 on this video). This crucial covert relationship cemented the Corsican control of Marseilles as the leading heroin way station in what became known as the French Connection of the international narcotics trade over the next several decades. Braden later wrote about his experiences, defending his activities in a classic Saturday Evening Post article, “I’m Glad The CIA Is ‘Immoral’,” which outraged his old boss Dulles. Braden was a longtime Council on Foreign Relations member; one of his best friends was Henry Kissinger.

    In 1975, Senator Frank Church appeared on Meet the Press and raised serious concerns about the capabilities of the United States intelligence community. As the chairman of the Church Committee, which was a senate probe into government intelligence activities, he notes the dual importance of gathering data on potential enemies of the nation while respecting the privacy of American citizens. Though forty two years have passed, the recent controversy surrounding Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance makes these prophetic and searing remarks as relevant as ever.

    9:48 am on July 26, 2017

    If Trump Doesn’t Veto Sanctions Bill, ‘He’s Given Up on His Presidency’

    I am interviewed by RT on yesterday’s House-passed Russia sanctions bill…

    7:51 am on July 26, 2017

    Michele Bachmann Loves Trump

    “I could not be more happy with what I am seeing coming out of the Trump White House,” said Michelle Bachmann. I wonder if that includes all the bombs, missiles, and drone strikes? Trump “understands who the God of the Bible is and he wants to lift up the God of the Bible here in the United States.” We were told the same thing about George W. Bush. Although I am a conservative Christian, I would rather have a president who is an atheist and actually follows the Constitution and libertarian principles.

    2:22 pm on July 25, 2017

    Israel Anti-Boycott Act – An Attack On Free Speech?

    1:22 pm on July 25, 2017

    Normally, We’d Expect Such Lunacy from Leviathan

    A Wisconsin company is about to become the first in the U.S. to offer microchip implants to its employees. …”It’s the next thing that’s inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it,” Three Square Market Chief Executive Officer Todd Westby said.

    …Just as people are able to purchase items at the market using phones, Westby wants to do the same thing using a microchip implanted inside a person’s hand.

    “We’ll come up, scan the item,” he explained … “We’ll hit pay with a credit card, and … I’ll hold my hand up, just like my cell phone, and it’ll pay for my product.”

    More than 50 Three Square Market employees [volunteered to have] the devices implanted starting next week. Each chip is about the size of a single grain of rice.

    James Nellis, who sent me the link, “wonder[s] how difficult it was to find 50 morons.” In dumbed-down, fascist Amerika, probably not very.

    12:17 pm on July 25, 2017

    The Coup: Who’s Winning?

    The coup story keeps unfolding day by day.

    At this time, Trump is pulling out from under by degrees but hasn’t defeated his foes yet. His followers remain loyal, and this support is growing. This is alarming to Democrats in office. Some of them, seeing the political liability, are saying to move on and away from the Russia issue. Jared Kushner’s published statement is detailed and open. Its detail is plausible and realistic, hiding nothing. The collusion angle has no legs in this instance. The hacking attribution to Russia has been degraded and demoted repeatedly, most recently by the coalition of retired intelligence professionals named VETS. The counterattack against the coup has gained some steam, its main spear pointing at the instigators of the infamous dossier. John Brennan remains at the center of that; more on his shifty position below. The issue of “unmasking” is cutting against Brennan, Rice and Power. Loretta Lynch is in trouble. Comey’s political machinations have been aired, bringing him down several notches. Calls for investigating Hillary Clinton and the Foundation still have legs.

    Brennan now calls for government employees to disobey the orders of their boss, Trump, under certain conditions (43-45 minutes in). This is a new direction for the coup. But he’s very nervous about coming out into the open in this way. He’s breathing heavily. He’s not used to being in the public eye. He’s propagandizing and he knows it. He’s actually showing weakness, being on the defensive to resort to such a suggestion. Brennan’s exact statement: “First of all, I think it’s the obligation of some of these Executive branch officials to refuse to carry out some of these orders that, again, are inconsistent with what this country is all about.”

    This statement’s legal grounding is that government officials have a right to disobey so that they do not support war crimes or other high crimes and misdemeanors or treason. Brennan’s belief is an accusation against Trump of extremely serious crimes, but he has nothing concrete to say as to what these crimes are. If he has something to say along these lines, why not say it? If the matter is so serious, why not tell the public now? Why hold back if you really know of or suspect some serious crimes that warrant disobedience in the chain of command? Brennan’s beefs with Trump have been aired before; but they are nowhere near the status of high crimes except in the eyes of a man with a one-sided view of Russia. Sure, Russia cannot be accorded blind trust, but does that mean one cannot find grounds for cooperation, as many past administrations did when differences were far greater? Brennan’s now doubling down in this poker game while Trump’s hand has strengthened. But unless Brennan has an ace in the hole, he’s going to lose.

    Brennan can look to Mueller, who remains an obstacle to Trump. There is going to be a spat over Trump’s tax returns. However, whatever Mueller does or threatens, he is basically grinding his wheels and he knows it because Trump has waved the power to pardon in his face. Furthermore, as long as Mueller keeps at it, Trump can keep calling for the investigation of Clinton’s, Brennan’s, Comey’s, Rice’s, Power’s, and Lynch’s misdeeds. Trump can keep scoring points against Democrats and making people like Schumer nervous.

    9:00 am on July 25, 2017

    Victim Mentality and Resentment of the Left

    8:39 am on July 25, 2017

    Urinals in Women’s Restrooms

    Although new Navy ships won’t have urinals, I suspect that urinals will soon be installed in some women’s restrooms to accommodate men who say they have the right to use a women’s restroom.

    8:24 am on July 25, 2017

    Why Can’t People See This?

    8:07 am on July 25, 2017

    Trump Should Tell Congress to Kiss His Ass

    [Some earthy language herein]

    Concerning the Bill “To provide congressional review and to counter aggression by the Governments of Iran, the Russian Federation, and North Korea”, Trump should VETO it if it passes; he should already have made this clear to Congress and scolded them severely. He should tell Congress that the bill is unconstitutional, and that if they override his veto, he will ignore the bill. He should tell them that he will not countenance any further unilateral abolition of the Constitution by Congress as long as he is president. In other words, in so many words, he should tell Congress that as far as this bill goes, they can kiss his ass.

    The power to handle foreign policy is the president’s power, not that of Congress. The House’s power comes through its control of financing foreign policy ventures. Trump has a stack of precedents to back him up as high as the Capitol dome. “Jefferson wrote: ‘The Constitution …has declared that “the Executive powers shall be vested in the President.”…The transaction of business with foreign nations is Executive altogether. It belongs then to the head of that department, except as to such portions of it as are specially submitted to the Senate.'”

    This bill requires the president to genuflect before Congress, to grovel before Congress, to report to Congress in the most demeaning way possible as if he is a prisoner who won’t be allowed to make a move until he sucks Congressional dick. The bill requires that “the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership a report that describes the proposed action and the reasons for that action.” The president is supposed then to wait around for 60 days while Congress reviews what he intends to do. His hands are tied. “…the President may not take that action unless a joint resolution of approval with respect to that action is enacted…”

    Unbelievable! Congress is writing a law that usurps the president’s authority in foreign affairs. He cannot possibly let this stand, as it destroys the separation of powers. It’s entirely unconstitutional. The Senate voted 98-2 for a bill like this last month. The House will vote tomorrow. If ever we needed evidence that our government is completely out of control and cannot possibly serve our interests, this is it. The whole enterprise is a farce. It really should be dissolved.

    Congress already exercises oppressive rule. This only makes it more so. At least with separation of powers, there is a chance of each side blocking or mitigating the tyranny of the other. This bill, if it ever becomes law, sets a course for hostilities against no less than three countries: Russia, Iran and North Korea; plus it alters America’s government for the worse. At present, the foreign policy power is divided with some powers under the Executive and others (financing, treaty approvals) in Congress. If Congress gets away with micromanaging the president through bills like this, the power of select committees and committee chairs rises dramatically. However, their responsibility for foreign policy blunders is diffused and their accountability is unclear. Voting is already inadequate for registering dissatisfaction with foreign policy. If Congress has its way, it will be even harder to decipher who has what authority and who bears the liability for errors and misjudgments.

    6:37 pm on July 24, 2017
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