MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

First They Came for Assange… – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

As in mid-20th Century Germany, so today, in 2020 America. Only, let me propose a modified version of Niemoller’s quote that’s highly relevant to the mainstream press:

First they came for (that’s right) Antiwar.com WikiLeaks. Then WikiLeaks. Then Max Blumenthal’s The Grayzone…then, well, you know how this ends…

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2020/02/26/first-they-came-for-assange/

“WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.”
~
Donald Trump, October 10 2016, Wilkes-Barre, PA

“This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.”
~ Donald Trump, October 31, 2016 in Warren, MI

Back in the day, not so long ago, The Donald loved him some WikiLeaks. He said so on at least five occasions out on the campaign trail – in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan. That was when WikiLeaks, ostensibly at least, served his purposes by releasing hacked DNC emails that were rather unflattering to his opponent, Hillary Clinton. The MAGA crew must’ve agreed with him regarding the Julian Assange-headed web publication at the time: Trump carried all four battleground states, which propelled him into the White House. He’s had more than three years, now, to acclimate to his new digs and, somewhere along the way, pulled a 180 on Assange, whom his administration now labels “an enemy of the state who must be brought down.” So it is that this week, Assange began the fight – perhaps, quite literally, for his life – in the UK against the Justice Department’s stated intent to extradite and try him in the United States.

A journalist, a publisher, has been labeled by the U.S. Government as an “Enemy of America.” Now that’s dangerous language with scary historical precedent in America and abroad. Recall that the term has been used against “unfriendly” press elements by others: the military junta in Myanmar; Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, President Richard “The press is your enemy” Nixon; and, you know, Cambodia’s Pol Pot, and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, for starters. In our own history, press suppression, especially in times of war, is as American as apple pie. During World War I, the (still on the books) 1917 Espionage Act was used to wage all-out combat against any and all critical media sources. Sometimes persecution bordered on the Orwellian absurd. For example, in September 1918, even The Nation was banned from the mail for four days by the US Postal Service simply for criticizing the pro-war labor leader Samuel Gompers.

The relatively muted coverage of this press-freedom fight-of-our-times in the mainstream American media is as remarkable as it is disturbing. But it isn’t surprising. Besides a few brief spikes in coverage – often focused as much on her transgender status or that blatantly accused her of treason – the same can be said of Assange’s alleged co-conspirator, former army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning. Consider Manning, herself a longtime – and still unfree – political prisoner, collateral damage in the ongoing Assange martyrdom saga.

For her role in passing the documents in question to WikiLeaks, the Obama Justice Department slapped her with a 35-year federal prison sentence – one of the most draconian ever handed down for a leaker. She served seven years before receiving an eleventh-hour communtation (but, notably, not a full pardon) from President Obama. Now, Chelsea, in an admirable, high-risk, display of courage, has refused to testify against Assange. That show of integrity landed her back in jail a time or two, where, notably, she remains at the time of writing.

For his “sins,” Assange likely faces even harsher punishment if extradited to and – almost invariably, in this political climate – convicted in a US court. He could serve 75 years if found guilty on the 18 counts – most under the archaic Espionage Act – he’s been charged with. That’s a long bid. It seems the US Government has lost all sense of scale, maybe even sanity. For example, the just nine convicted perpetrators of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq – a global scandal that, empirically, created far more “terrorists, and thus contributed to more American deaths than anything Assange has been accused of – were all enlisted soldiers, none higher ranking than a staff sergeant. The top prison sentence meted out was ten years; the rest ranged from 0-3 years. Sure, a few officers received verbal or written reprimands – slap-on-the-wrist admonishments, these – and one female brigadier general was relieved and reduced one rank. As for Assange, though, 75 years is warranted? Give me a break.

Some of the more remarkable revelations, so far, from this week’s hearing have involved the totally believable (given the agency’s sordid history) Assange-defense-team claims of US Intelligence (read: CIA) threats and shenanigans against the defendant. These include allegations that U.S.-induced Spanish security company employees conducted surveillance on Assange whilst he was in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and, potentially even discussed kidnapping or poisoning him. It all reads like a bad John le Carre spy novel – which is precisely why I wouldn’t rule it out.

The case against Assange, meanwhile is rather weak. It hinges on vague, furtive, and unproven allegations, according to the administration lawyers, that he “knowingly placed lives at risk,” by publishing the leaked files. Specifically, James Lewis, acting for US authorities, told the court that: “The US is aware of sources, whose redacted names and other identifying information was contained in classified documents published by WikiLeaks, who subsequently disappeared.” Sounds ominous, huh? Well, wait for it – Lewis then continued with the stunning admission: “although the US can’t prove at this point that their disappearance was the result of being outed by WikiLeaks.”

Sounds like hearsay. Isn’t that inadmissible in court? And the US government can’t prove that WikiLeaks had these detrimental effects? Call me crazy, but I was under the silly impression that “proof” was the name of the game in the legal system. Bottom line, even after the egregious record of Intelligence community lies peddled during the run-up to the Iraq War and regarding the CIA torture program (for starters), the American people are expected to just blindly trust these clowns. Count me out.

Furthermore, British law states that extradition may not move forward if the requesting nation’s criminal charges are “politically-motivated,” which, the defense team asserts the case against Assange is. Of course, it is patently politically-motivated. However much the administration’s lawyers deny it – “the lady doth protest too much?” – Assange’s real crime, from the perspective of the government, was to embarrass them by exposing widespread US war crimes and concomitant coverups. All information, mind you, that We the People had a right to know.

What is at stake here, absent any hyperbole, is the very existence of a free press. And, in today’s increasingly globalized information sphere, it matters not, really, that Julian Assange happens to be an Australian national. See, in an even aspirational free society, the benefit of the doubt in such cases ought go to the publisher, the journalist, the writer. As Thomas Jefferson wrote the very year the current US Constitution was crafted, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Given such “radical” – especially for the 18th century – sentiment, can there be much doubt where our third president would (at least theoretically) fall on the Assange issue?

These complaints, mind you, aren’t simply a low-hanging-fruit Trump-swipe either. Saint Obama set the precedent and foundations of press censorship that Trump is now running with. Recall that Obama went after more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all other previous presidents (over the course of a century) combined. Furthermore, his wanna-be, aspirational successor, Joe Biden is on the record calling Assange a “high-tech terrorist.” So, if Obama can be said to have set up the pins, Trump is poised to roll a strike. The Donald has, however, taken matters a dangerous step further that could, in the near future, pose an existential threat to the very existence of permissive publication of sensitive information.

This all sets a rather dangerous precedent. Leakers have long been prosecuted and punished by the US Government. Publishers? Not so often. That’s a line few administrations will cross. Even Espionage Act-enthusiast Obama flinched, and decided not to charge Assange. Regarding the Obama Justice Department’s thinking the Washington Post reported, in 2013, that:

Justice officials said they looked hard at Assange but realized that they have what they described as a “New York Times problem.” If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

So, mainstream American publishers – of newspapers, online sites, and even cable news producers – really ought to brush up on their Evelyn Beatrice Hall; you know her oft-quoted, but rarely practiced profession: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Ultimately, it matters not whether one likes Assange, shares his worldview, or even approves of his tactics. The name of the civil libertarian game must instead be a press-sovereignty solidarity that transcends the person of Mr. Assange. Love him or hate him; like WikiLeaks or loathe it; the most powerful American press organizations must close ranks with Assange. Almost assuredly, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the rest of their establishment ilk will not. Mark my words: they will rue the day they didn’t.

For when Trump – or whatever potential monster that follows him – pulls out the legal precedent from a past Assange conviction to prosecute, say, the New York Times, when that paper someday publishes something that embarrasses or angers the governing administration, who will be there to speak up for the nation’s “newspaper of record?” Reflecting on Nazi state oppression and his conclusion that common Germans’ complicity made it possible, Martin Niemoller famously wrote about how:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

As in mid-20th Century Germany, so today, in 2020 America. Only, let me propose a modified version of Niemoller’s quote that’s highly relevant to the mainstream press:

First they came for (that’s right) Antiwar.com WikiLeaks. Then WikiLeaks. Then Max Blumenthal’s The Grayzone…then, well, you know how this ends…

Be seeing you

Martin Niemoller quote: There was no one left to speak for me

 

 

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China’s Stealth Plan to Use Gold for World Domination

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

Russia bought $100 billion worth of euros, yuan, and yen in 2018… the Keyser Söze of gold won’t make that mistake again.

And over eleven trillion U.S. dollars’ worth of global investment opportunities have a negative yield. So Russia would end up paying money to hold them.

Gold, on the other hand, has paid off handsomely for Putin.

The real plan-Some feel this is why the US is trying to topple countries that are looking to alternative currencies.

In short, China and Russia want a world where the U.S. dollar is no longer the reserve currency.

To do that, both Russia and China (specifically China) have a lot of gold buying to do before they can realistically back up their currency.

It won’t be a return to the gold standard, certainly. It will be more of a “gold support.”

https://internationalman.com/articles/red-gold-china-stealth-plan-to-use-gold-for-world-domination/

by Marin Katusa

Gold used to be important.

During and after World War II, every major developed country amassed as much physical gold as they could. It stabilized currencies and signaled independence.

But with the end of the gold standard in 1971, most countries began to sell off their reserves.

So much so that in 1999, an agreement was formed to limit the amount of gold that central banks could sell. Fast forward to today, and Canada’s central bank owns ZERO gold.

Despite the agreement, most countries continued to shed their gold reserves as fast as possible.

Central bank gold reserves

That is until a few years ago, when a handful of countries reversed course. Central Banks started buying gold with fury, and they haven’t let up since.

In the final quarter of 2018, central banks purchased more gold than in any other quarter on record.

By the end of the year, central banks collectively held around 1.064 billion ounces of gold (equivalent to 33,200 tons).

That’s about one-fifth of all the gold ever mined.

In the first half of 2019, central banks purchased 11.97 million ounces of gold (374 tons). Once again, that was far more than ever before. And it’s equivalent to one-sixth of total gold demand in that period.

And total central bank gold purchases for 2019 were the second highest they’ve been in the last 50 years (2018 being the first).

The Unusual Suspects in Central Bank Gold Purchases

And the Keyser Söze of gold is Vladimir Putin.

I’ve been very quiet about Russia and Putin the last few years as I’ve been swamped with media requests following the success of my NY Times Bestseller The Colder War.

Don’t underestimate what the Russians are doing, as others are starting to follow…

While the world focuses on China, Russia has positioned itself at the center of the global political chessboard.

Here’s what’s interesting about the recent central bank gold purchases: the vast majority of that unprecedented purchasing came from just four countries.

These are places you’d never expect.

  • One of those countries is Kazakhstan, whose GDP is smaller than Kansas’s. Kazakhstan grew their reserves from 2.4 million ounces (75 tons) in 2011 to 12 million ounces (375 tons) in 2020 — A 400% increase.
  • Turkey moved far faster. In 2017, they had 3.71 million ounces (116 tons). Now, they have 12.32 million ounces (385 tons) of gold. That’s a 232% increase in just the last two years.
  • In 2018 alone, Russia bought 8.78 million ounces (274.3 tons). That’s the most it’s ever purchased in one year, and its fourth year above 6.4 million (200 tons) ounces of gold. For reference, that’s $15.7 billion worth of gold.

Putin is undertaking what’s called a “de-dollarization.” Aware of sanctions from the United States, Russia is positioning itself to not be dependent on U.S. Dollar holdings.

So, the central bank in Russia has sold nearly all of their U.S. Treasury notes. And it’s used the proceeds to buy gold.

Like I said, the Keyser Söze of gold is Vladimir Putin.

Pay attention to the world’s master strategist. This is very bullish for gold.

Russian gold purchases

You might be wondering why Russia doesn’t buy a yielding investment with the cash.

The problem is that other reserve currencies, like the euro or the yen, are extraordinarily weak against the dollar and Putin knows this will continue.

Russia bought $100 billion worth of euros, yuan, and yen in 2018… the Keyser Söze of gold won’t make that mistake again.

And over eleven trillion U.S. dollars’ worth of global investment opportunities have a negative yield. So Russia would end up paying money to hold them.

Gold, on the other hand, has paid off handsomely for Putin.

In 2019, the value of Russian-held gold has increased from $86 billion to more than $112 billion. The rising gold price has generated a windfall for the Russians of nearly $20 billion that the Russians can leverage.

That’s providing plenty of incentive to keep Russia buying in the long run, stoking further demand.

The problem is that Russia’s buying is fairly well-known. Unless it continues to step up gold purchases, its effect on gold prices has mostly already been taken into account.

China’s New Golden Rule

With WuFlu (the Coronavirus) now having infected more people than SARS did in 2003, will China continue their gold purchases?

China stockpiled huge amounts of gold every single month last year.

You’re probably wondering why…

Well, you’ve probably heard the saying, “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” Xi Jinping, President of China, agrees with Putin’s strategy.

WuFlu no doubt has sidetracked China here in the near term, but it’s been proven that the gold insurance strategy is a very wise one.

The Chinese elite are aware of their aging demographics and high debt loads.

The gold will be valuable to potentially backstop any shortfalls without being overly dependent on their foreign exchange reserves.

China is diversifying its foreign exchange reserves away from the USD and towards gold. This will take many years, but it’s a sound strategy.

The major Western countries hold upwards of 60 percent of their foreign exchange reserves in gold.

China is currently at just 2.9%. Russia is currently at 20%.

China knows it has to pick up its gold to reserves ratio and WuFlu will accelerate this belief.

The chart below shows where Russia and China will want to be at—with the western superpowers. They will get there. And the price of gold will be positively impacted as a result.

gold percentage

Of course, China has much larger foreign exchange reserves than most other countries. So its gold holdings represent a lower percentage of its total reserves.

But even when looking at actual gold holdings, you can see that China and Russia have long lagged behind the west. Only now are they catching up.

gold reserves

If – and it’s a big if – China were to shoot for the same gold-to-forex reserve ratio as the United States, that would take 1.98 billion ounces of gold (62,000 tons) of gold off the market—or fourteen years’ worth of 100% of the world’s gold demand.

The subsequent rise in the price of gold would be unlike anything the world has ever seen. But it seems impossible… right?

Here’s the thing: Russia’s own gold-to-forex reserve ratio fell below 2.5 percent in 2007. Now it’s at 20 percent—and climbing.

Not only that, but China has a much longer-term vision in mind with their gold purchases.

According to one of my favorite people to debate on stage at conferences, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, Russia and China are “preparing for the world where the dollar is no longer the reserve currency.”

China can’t do this, and they know it. Peter knows it too, until China’s reserves grow 10-fold.

In short, China and Russia want a world where the U.S. dollar is no longer the reserve currency.

To do that, both Russia and China (specifically China) have a lot of gold buying to do before they can realistically back up their currency.

It won’t be a return to the gold standard, certainly. It will be more of a “gold support.”

The Angry Dragon

So here are the trillion-dollar questions: exactly how much gold is China planning to buy?

And what will it do to the price of gold?

The problem with China is that it doesn’t update its gold reserve numbers very often. When the numbers are updated, their accuracy is impossible to verify.

Few believe the official WuFlu numbers, never mind gold numbers.

China lacks global trust.

Real gold reserves are one step towards building that trust.

China buys its gold extremely quietly via back channels to avoid running up the price via its purchases. (Remember Kazakhstan’s huge gold buys? Guess who they share a border with…)

From 2009 to 2015, the Chinese government didn’t provide any updates about its gold holdings. Then it suddenly announced a massive 57 percent jump in its reserves.

What we do know is that China purchased nearly 3.2 million ounces (100 tons) of gold in the past year. But, they need to buy 1.9 billion ounces to be on par with America. 3.2 million ounces is a lot of gold, but relative to where they need to be—it’s not.

Moving forward, that’s set to rise—dramatically.

Zhang Bingnan, vice president of the China Gold Association, forecasted the optimal gold reserve capacity for China for the next two decades…

He found that in 2020, China’s optimal gold reserves should be between 185.6 million ounces and 217.6 million ounces (5,800 and 6,800 tons) of gold.

Remember, China’s gold reserves currently sit around 58.94 million ounces (1,842 tons).

That means it would need to buy 128 million ounces (4,000 tons) at a minimum, this year, to meet Zhang Bingnan’s optimal rate.

But even that would be short by 1.77 billion ounces to meet the ratio that U.S. reserves are at.

Another way to look at it is, even if China doubles their gold reserves, they’re still short of meeting the same ratio as the United States by 93%.

A Dragon’s Appetite for Gold

According to a precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank…

Just to achieve the diversification it’s looking for, China would need to buy two years of global gold production.

In short, when China really starts buying, it’s not going to be able to disguise it any longer. And that could cause a run on gold like the world has never seen before.

Central reserve banks are already snatching gold up at record levels… when prices are at record levels. These central banks themselves anticipate prices going much, much higher.

When central reserve banks begin to see gold both as diversification, insurance and leverage there will never be enough of it to go around.

I wouldn’t want to bet against them. I’d never bet against the Keyser Söze of gold, Vladimir Putin.

Because gold still matters—a lot.

And with any shakiness in the global economy, it’s going to matter a lot more.

Editor’s Note: In this shaky economic environment, big buyers like China and Russia, are accumulating as much gold as possible.

It’s no question that negative interest rates and the devaluation of currencies will only put fuel on the fire.

In a newly released video, legendary speculator Doug Casey and resource expert Marin Katusa breakdown exactly what is coming, and exactly how you can profit from the rally in gold. Click here to watch it now.

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Fiat Money - The main driver behind boom & Bust Cycles ...

 

 

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Doug Casey on the Truth About Millennials and the Next Crisis

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

I don’t think that Millennials as a group really believe in themselves. A lot of blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are resentful; a lot of the whites feel guilty and unjustly entitled. Few in any of these groups any longer seem to believe in the values—like individualism, personal responsibility, and liberty—that actually made the US different once upon a time.

Forget about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free markets. All of these things are radically under attack. Those things are why America became what it is—or once was. It’s being washed away.

https://internationalman.com/articles/doug-casey-on-the-truth-about-millennials-and-the-next-crisis/

by Doug Casey

International Man: Many people perceive Millennials to be entitled, spoiled snowflakes who refuse to work hard.

Whether or not this is true, Millennials as a group will soon surpass the number of baby boomers as the largest generational group.

How equipped is this soon-to-be dominant generation for handling a financial crisis, a major war, or civil unrest?

Doug Casey: According to William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book, The Fourth Turning, the Millennials should be a “Hero” Generation, set to face a huge threat to the country.

For previous so-called Hero Generations, the threats were the Great Depression and then World War II. The time from 1929 to 1946 was full of societally threatening events. Much like today.

The Millennials are in a generational position similar to that of the so-called Greatest Generation, who are now mostly dead. The Millennials, however, don’t seem quite ready for hero-scale challenges. They’re mostly talking about safe spaces, diversity, free college, a guaranteed income, and being gender uncertain.

When the United States encounters a civilizational crisis—which in my opinion is here, it’s unfolding as we speak—it’s questionable whether the Millennials will have what it takes. You don’t get there by being gender questioning or sitting in your mother’s basement playing video games and getting fat.

International Man: It’s no secret that Democrats are turning to socialist ideas like universal health care, universal basic income, and more.

The baby boomer generation had a significant impact on government policies and welfare programs like Medicare. From 2008 to 2018 alone, Medicare spending grew from $462 billion to $731 billion.

What’s your take on how Millennials will shape the future of the United States?

Doug Casey: Let’s look at this from a long-term perspective—0ver the last 120 years.

At the turn of the 20th century, something like 85% or 90% of Americans were on the farm, actually growing food, getting up at 6:00 AM, and working 16-hour days. They were on the ragged edge of starvation during bad years. Even people in the cities had it pretty tough.

Now, with the Millennial generation, the average American is at least three generations off the farm. A lot of them think that milk doesn’t come from cows. They think it comes from cartons.

The kind of values that you get from growing up on a farm, or at least having parents who did, tend to vanish when you grow up in a suburb, have helicopter parents, and your main relationship with the outside world is electronic.

I don’t think that Millennials as a group really believe in themselves. A lot of blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are resentful; a lot of the whites feel guilty and unjustly entitled. Few in any of these groups any longer seem to believe in the values—like individualism, personal responsibility, and liberty—that actually made the US different once upon a time.

Forget about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free markets. All of these things are radically under attack. Those things are why America became what it is—or once was. It’s being washed away.

It seems like we have transitioned quite easily from a war against “godless communism” to war against Islam. Muhammedans look at the United States and Europe and see degraded societies without a philosophical center, without a belief in themselves. I suppose the Chinese are next on the dance card…

Even though they may for the most part be primitive, barefoot goat herders, Muhammedans hold the West in contempt. I’m afraid any serious conflict with the Muhammedans could end badly, regardless of our huge technological advantage. Why? Because, as Napoleon said, in war the psychological is to the physical as three is to one. And most of these people have a strong unifying faith—something totally lacking in the West.

Incidentally, I call their faith “Muhammedanism” as opposed to “Islam,” partly because you call followers of Christ, “Christians.” You call followers of Buddha, “Buddhists.” Followers of Confucius, “Confucians.” And so forth.

We used to call followers of Muhammed, “Muhammedans.” But the fact we no longer do is part of the general corruption of the language we now have in so many areas. “Islam” means “submission” in Arabic; it’s a PC word.

When you let an adversary take control of what words mean and which words are used, you’ve already lost the high ground. When you lose control of your own language, you lose control of your thought processes, and basically everything else follows. No wonder they hold the West in contempt.

If it comes down to a military conflict where the Millennial generation has to fill in for the previous so-called Hero Generation in the Strauss-Howe model, the West is in trouble. That’s true whether the conflict is with the Chinese or the followers of The Prophet.

That’s apart from the fact the US military itself is a very different animal from what it once was. With some exceptions, the US military today is made up of refugees from barrios, trailer parks, and ghettos. I don’t approve of the draft, but for what it’s worth, at least the draft was kind of a cross section of the US. Now, the military is very self-selecting.

It’s actually a completely separate culture within the US. Their first loyalty, like the police, is to other soldiers. Secondarily to their employer, the US government. And only third to America—which is no longer a republic. It’s a domestic empire.

I’m very antiwar as a matter of principle. But if it comes down to a military conflict I don’t see a happy ending, because all we have are ultra-expensive and obsolescent toys useful mainly to fatten the profits of so-called “defense” companies. Generals cozy up to them so they can cash in with fat consulting contracts after they retire. I suspect, incidentally, the next war will have huge biological and cyber elements.

There’s another x factor. The Millennial generation has grown up on first-person shooter video games. Some, if they have an extra Y chromosome, may want to put that into practice. You can really do that only in the military or the police—most of whom are ex-military today.

I’ve gone off on a few tangents, using the Strauss and Howe book as a platform. But my intention here wasn’t to do a book review. That said, I again want to recommend their work. They came up with something original and valuable, which offers a pretty solid look into the near future.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion.

The coming economic and political crisis is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.

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If THIS Continues To Happen, America Is Doomed ...

 

 

 

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David Ray Griffin’s The Christian Gospel for Americans: A Systematic Theology – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

The Christian Gospel for Americans is his crowning achievement, a rare marriage of spiritual contemplation and social analysis that brings to life Jesus and the Hebrew prophets for contemporary Americans.  It is an accessible systematic theology of freedom and creativity that will inspire hope in all caring souls to resist the demonic American Empire.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/02/edward-curtin/david-ray-griffins-the-christian-gospel-for-americans-a-systematic-theology/

By

There are very few writers who have done more to try to open the public’s mind to the evil nature of the American empire than David Ray Griffin.  His series of books on the false flag attacks of September 11, 2001 will endure for a long time, and they will one day, when it is safe to do so, be recognized as seminal texts exposing the traitorous conspiracy of elements within the Unites States’ government to launch the endless so-called war on terror.  That many now know, and many more will, that those so-called “terrorist” attacks were carried out by terrorists in the highest reach of the U.S. government will be due to his extraordinary work.

What many do not know is that David Ray Griffin is a Christian theologian with impeccable credentials and a scholarly oeuvre of dozens of theological books. And that long before his conscience led him to devote himself to exposing the U.S. government’s lies about the September 11 attacks, he was committed to proclaiming the radical Christian gospel of a living Christ, who was executed by the Roman state for opposing its grotesque and violent empire.

The Christian Gospel for Americans is his crowning achievement, a rare marriage of spiritual contemplation and social analysis that brings to life Jesus and the Hebrew prophets for contemporary Americans.  It is an accessible systematic theology of freedom and creativity that will inspire hope in all caring souls to resist the demonic American Empire. It is an intellectual tour de force, a kaleidoscopic “constructive postmodern” example of process theology at its finest, drawing on the work of Alfred North Whitehead, John Cobb, and Henri Bergson, among others.  Rarely does such a book come along to roil the waters of religious and social complacency.

Times change.  Once in the United States of America, theologians were fêted as important social critics and considered worth heeding.  Two of the most famous in the mid-to-late twentieth century were Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich.  Both appeared on the cover of Henry Luce’s Time Magazine, and Barack Obama was later fond of referring to Niebuhr to justify his violent policies to extend the American empire.  Obama knew his audience, for Niebuhr was noted for a neo-orthodox theological perspective that encouraged “political realism,” popular among the elites who had created and extended the American empire.  He was a friend of the rich and famous ruling establishment.  His critiques of immoral government practices were always offered within the parameters of official acceptance, conservative and liberal.  He was the establishment’s theologian, lionized by the empire-touting Time magazine as the theologian who really understood politics and how God figured into the necessary realism of American foreign policy.

To his great credit, David Ray Griffin is a brave theologian who will never appear on the cover of Time magazine, for his message is more in keeping with the Biblical prophets who warned the people that their government’s behavior is an abomination in the eyes of God, and if they do not dissent and reject such policies, they will be rejecting the God they say they worship.  In true prophetic style, he connects the dots to say: look at what you are doing, slaughtering innocents everywhere as you worship your golden calf. When the Hebrew prophets “indict Israel or Judah,” he writes, “the indictments are not directed against the people in general, but against the elites who were responsible for creating and maintaining the structures of domination and exploitation.’”

The American elites surely do not wish to publicize a man who says such things; better to ignore him or have their mouthpieces call him a “conspiracy nut,” which of course they have.

Griffin’s book is rooted in the basic fact that “Christian theology is necessarily at once theological and political” since Jesus was a radical rebel leader who opposed the demonic power of the Roman Empire and was executed for that reason.  This is so fundamental, yet it has been papered over, especially since the age of Constantine in the fourth century.  Griffin says:

For one thing, the complete opposition of Jesus and his followers to the imperialism of their day has been largely hidden to readers of the gospels.  The main reason for this hiddenness is that the authors of the gospels, seeking to present the message of Jesus so as to serve the needs of the Christian movement 40 or more years after the death of Jesus, sought to make it appear that Jesus’ message was directed against, and evoked opposition from, ‘the Jews,’ rather than the Roman Empire and those who collaborated with it….This failure of later Christians to understand the beginnings of their religion has contributed to what is arguably the most fateful reversal in history: Christianity, in origin probably the most explicitly anti-imperial religious movement ever, has since the fourth century provided the religious foundation for the growth of empires even more extensive than Rome’s….He [Jesus] was crucified by the Roman Empire – not by ‘the Jews’ – because he was perceived as a threat by Roman authorities.  Given the nature of Jesus’ life and his death, American Christians today should be anti-imperialistic, rather than basking in the pleasures of Empire, as did the Roman populace two thousand years ago – ignoring the terror and poverty brought to other provinces by Roman rule.

This is the foundation upon which Griffin builds his gospel for Americans.

His theological method is liberal, while his content is conservative.  This means that to establish truth by appealing to authority is rejected as a method.  It is only evidence and reason that he relies on to establish the truth of various doctrines.  Therefore science and modern scholarship are important and must always be considered.  To claim something is true because of a deposit of divine revelation that you can read in the Bible is an old way of doing theology and Griffin rejects that method.  In fact, his understanding of revelation is an ongoing process, insight as part of the creative and spontaneous freedom of living in openness to God’s spirit.

His theology is conservative in content because it rests upon certain primary doctrines of the Christian gospel (good news) “such as God’s creation of the world, God as actively present in it, and divinely-given life after death.”

For those unfamiliar with modern theological thinking that is not bound by a particular church’s teachings and respects science, Griffin’s method might at first seem unusual.  As one trained in theology and philosophy, I can assure you it is not.  His process of reasoning accords with the best scholarship in those disciplines, but one has to take the time to enter into its postmodern worldview that positions many of the conundrums of traditional religious thinking within a new framework, one that Griffin calls postmodern naturalism where “divine influence must be understood as part of the normal cause-effect relations, not an exception to them.”

Griffin takes on many of the great issues that have perplexed inquiring minds: the problem of evil, creation, truth, human freedom, God’s so-called omnipotence, miracles, life after death, out-of-body experiences, etc. Whether you end up agreeing with all his reasoning or not, you will be challenged to assess your thinking.  I find his systematic theological analyses to be brilliant and always intriguing.

But the point of his systematic theology is to bring us to his analysis of the demonic nature of the American Empire and the need for Christians and people of all faiths to resist it.  In my opinion, his argument for the demonic as a real power in the world, and that the United States is in its grip, is true.  He says:

Can we look at the past century of our world without thinking that the human race must be under the influence of such a power?  The twentieth century was by far the bloodiest century in history, with unprecedented slaughter and genocide, and yet we have taken no steps to overcome the war-system of settling disputes.  Americans created nuclear weapons and then, when we learned how deadly they are, built thousands more, until we had the world wired to be destroyed many times over.  After we learned that a relatively modest exchange of nuclear weapons could initiate a “nuclear winter,” leading to the death of human civilization and other higher forms of life, we still did not abolish them.

He gives the historical background to the American belief in its divine mission, the idea of Manifest Destiny, and the city on the hill nonsense about America being God’s country whose mission was to spread democracy around the world.  He quotes George W. Bush saying, in his state-of-the-union address two months before laying waste to Iraq based on lies, “The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world; it is God’s gift to humanity.”

Melville couldn’t have said it better through the mouth of mad Ahab.  Mad Ahab, mad Bill Clinton, mad George, mad Lyndon Johnson, the list goes on and on.  Madmen all, God’s men in their minds, or perhaps just lying madmen playing with our minds, God be damned.

Griffin lays it all out – Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Vietnam 1954-73, Indonesia 1965, etc.  – all the blood, the massacres, the evil empire doing its nonstop handiwork across the world.

He does, however, omit a crucial element of the demonic at work here in the U.S., as if something is blocking him from recognizing it, some shadow blocking his sight.  It is a strange omission.  It is as if his vision is focused outward on all the evil the American government inflicts on the world, but here in his own house, he cannot see the demonic at work.

He nowhere mentions the American government’s assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, and RFK, all martyrs to the unspeakable truth that this country is in the grip of evil killers who will stop at nothing to silence the voices of genuine peacemakers who have opposed the American Empire. Their deaths opened the door to hell on earth for millions of others around the world.

He correctly catalogues the long list of U. S. atrocities, false flag attacks, coup d’états, immoral and endless wars; gives dates; draws a damning picture of a country in the grip of demonic forces intent on savagely killing innocents wherever it can find them.  He shows conclusively that the United States is the Roman Empire updated and outfitted to kill millions with sophisticated weapons and to spread its imperialistic power with evil intent.

He makes an open and shut case that if one wishes to follow the Christian Gospel, one must act in opposition to this evil empire.  But he forgets that the crucifixion is also a domestic affair, and the homegrown rebels must be eliminated first.

Even the wisest of men, such as the David Ray Griffin, have their Achilles heels.

But despite that omission, or maybe because of it since it shows us how flawed we all are, The Christian Gospel for Americans is a brilliant clarion call to action.

Read it.  It will rock your world.  It is gospel.

Be seeing you

 

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Project Veritas: ABC News’ David Wright Identifies as ‘a Socialist’

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

Oddly, I feel there are more where he came from.

https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2020/02/26/project-veritas-abc-news-david-wright-says-i-would-consider-myself-a-socialist/#

by Joshua Caplan

abc-news-david-wright

Senior ABC News correspondent David Wright accused his own network of denying President Donald Trump “credit” for his administration’s accomplishments and revealed that he’s a “socialist,” according to an undercover video captured by Project Veritas. 

“I feel terrible about it,” Wright says of ABC’s coverage of the presidential election. “I feel that the truth suffers, the voters are poorly informed and people have the opportunity to tune into whatever they want to hear.”

“It’s like there’s no upside in, or our bosses, don’t see an upside in doing the job we’re supposed to do; which is to speak truth to power and hold people accountable,” he adds.

In another part of the video, Wright claims that the media doesn’t hold President Donald Trump to account, and then admits that reporters don’t give the president “credit” where it’s due. “I think, some of that at least in the place that I work and places like it, is that with Trump, we’re interested in three things: we’re interested in the outrage of the day, the investigation, and of the palace intrigue of who’s backstabbing who,” he says.

Later in the footage, Wright is asked about his political ideology, to which he says that he not only sees himself as a Democrat-socialist, but a full-blown socialist. “I think there should be national health insurance,” Wright argues. “I’m totally fine with reining in corporations, I think there are too many billionaires, and I think that there’s a wealth gap. That’s a problem.”

The video concluded with Wright saying that the establishment media is more interested in covering the election as a “horse race” than a contest about issues important to voters. “I don’t think we’re terribly interested in voters,” he concedes.

“In addition to the candidate of the week, we need the story to move on,” Wright explains. “We’re happy to have Buttigieg be the story last week and we’re happy to have Klobuchar as a new subject this week, and then when we’re tired of her we’ll be delighted if Elizabeth Warren kicks ass in Nevada because then we have something new to talk about.”

“We’re all guilty of the same thing,” Wright continues.” I think that all of the big news organizations… ABC, CBS, NBC.”

“We recognize that we’re dinosaurs and we’re in danger of dying,” he adds.

The Washinton Post reported that ABC News has suspended correspondent Wright “for unguarded remarks he made in a video by operatives of Project Veritas.”
In a statement to Project Veritas, ABC News said of the decision: “Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved. David Wright has been suspended, and to avoid any possible appearance of bias, he will be reassigned away from political coverage when he returns.”
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DOJ Drooling Over Likely Assange Extradition | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

Let’s make this clear, there has never been any evidence presented in the decade since those cables were released, that anyone was ever harmed. This is a baldfaced canard deployed by Washington from the start and it is now being used to attempt to drag Assange back to the U.S. where he faces 18 federal charges of espionage, including theft and hacking, and for that, up to 175 years in prison.

Because the UK has no constitutional guarantee of a free press and its free speech rights are practically non-existent today, which means his pleas for both won’t buy him a basket of fish and chips from the local pub.

In other words, putting trust in the British system of law is a gamble. The British establishment hated Assange from the beginning too. And why not? Former PM Tony Blair was President George Bush’s poodle, and dragged his country into the war in Iraq against the majority of his countrymen’s wishes. They were right there with us as the lies played out in real time.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/state-of-the-union/doj-drooling-over-likely-assange-extradition/

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IRS Warns Against Keeping IRA Funds In Gold At Home | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

What the heck is a windfall profit anyway?

As far as I can tell, it’s whatever politicians decide it is. It’s completely arbitrary. There are no objective measures to define it.

In short, a windfall profit is simply a profit politicians don’t like. The whole concept is a scam—a word trick to camouflage and sanitize legalized theft.

Gold-harder to steal than a digital bank account. Gold-It screams independence. The government like neither.

Never use a safety deposit box. If legal troubles find you the box gets a lock for which you are not allowed a key. If the bank gets in trouble-same.

If you bank is like Wells Fargo the contents of your box are up for grabs.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-07/irs-warns-against-keeping-ira-funds-gold-home

 

The Internal Revenue Service isn’t too keen on the recent advertisements suggesting retirement savers store their tax-free individual retirement account funds in gold at their house or in safety-deposit boxes, the Wall Street Journal writes.

Storing Gold at Home: Legal, But with Caveats

The statement from the IRS comes in response to a number of ads online and on the radio, such as one from Hartford Gold Group, suggesting investors can avoid stock market turbulence by investing IRA accounts in gold coins and bullion they can store where they like, including their home, according to the Journal.

 

But the law on such practices is cloudy, the publication writes.

 

For example, IRA assets can’t be stored in collectibles such as antiques, gems, artworks or wine, according to the Journal. On the other hand, it’s legal to keep IRA investments in coins and bullion-quality bars in metals such as gold, silver and platinum, the publication writes.

 

But few IRA investment providers offer the option — Vanguard and Charles Schwab don’t allows their clients to invest IRAs in physical metals, according to the Journal.

 

The IRS may be taking issue with just how difficult and expensive investing in physical gold could end up for the investor. Fidelity, which allows IRA investing in some coins and bullion, charges up to 2.9% to buy and 2% to sell the assets, and a further 0.125% quarterly storage fee, the publication writes.

 

And keeping the gold at home is not an option: out of tax compliance considerations, Fidelity requires physical metals to be stored at a qualified facility and doesn’t let IRA investors take the gold out or even view it without notification from the IRA custodian, the Journal writes.

 

Proponents of store-at-home gold say that IRA owners can legally keep their gold in a safe-deposit box or at home if they are the owners and managers of a limited-liability company that uses the funds from the IRA to obtain the gold, according to the publication.

 

Some attorney says this structure would allow investors to store coins owned by the LLC at home — but for bullion, they would still have to store it in an LLC-owned safety-deposit box, the Journal writes.

 

Home storage can get pricy, too: one professional whose company provides paperwork for at-home storage of IRA gold charges $400 to $1,200 to set up such an LLC, according to the publication.

 

And because the issue of LLC ownership by IRA has no legal precedent, companies advertising home storage of IRA gold are careful to note that they don’t provide legal advice, the Journal writes.

*  *  *

Amid the increasingly mainstream “war on cash” and ‘hoarding’ across the globe, the timing of the IRS’ warning about keeping gold in your IRA seems highly coincidental at best and more than worrisome at least as the “different this time” confiscation methods shift attitudes from concerns to actions…

The government blatantly stole wealth from the American people before.

Many worry the U.S. government might confiscate gold again if it becomes desperate enough. I don’t think those fears are unfounded. The U.S. government’s abysmal financial situation is only getting worse.

But would it really do a 1933-style grab again?

I don’t think it will. However, there is another growing threat to your gold.

More Likely Than Outright Confiscation

Today, only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population owns gold. Heck, I’d bet most Americans have never even seen a gold coin, much less appreciate its value.

This wasn’t the case in 1933, when the U.S. was still on a variation of the gold standard. That’s why the government probably won’t repeat the 1933 rip-off. It’s simply not worth the effort.

If the government wants to confiscate wealth, it’s far more likely to go for the easy option… steadily debasing the currency by printing money. It’s a stealthy way to confiscate from savers.

That doesn’t mean gold owners are in the clear.

I think the government will try a new scam: taxing windfall profits on gold. This would make it much easier for the government to accomplish something similar to its 1933 heist.

There’s precedence for it, too. In 1980, Congress passed the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act, which taxed up to 70% of “windfall profits” of domestic oil producers.

What the heck is a windfall profit anyway?

As far as I can tell, it’s whatever politicians decide it is. It’s completely arbitrary. There are no objective measures to define it.

In short, a windfall profit is simply a profit politicians don’t like. The whole concept is a scam—a word trick to camouflage and sanitize legalized theft.

If the price of gold explodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress passes a Fair Share Gold Windfall Profit Tax Act levying a tax of 80%, 90%, or more on gold profits.

Be seeing you

Bernie

 

 

 

 

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IRS Agent Indulges In Bizarre Fetish In Taxpayer’s Home | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

Bear in mind, Shelly wasn’t suspected of a crime. But an agent from the Internal Revenue Service stood there and watched this innocent woman urinate and defecate in her own toilet in her own home…

?u=https1.bp.blogspot.com-21je6qbGpuYWbP_oknTIQIAAAAAAAApsg37eDfz-Vh8oZXOSlTzcqR2lMNJLWUs_RwCLcBGAss1600Uncle-Sam-in-Control-Sans.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-24/irs-agent-indulges-bizarre-fetish-taxpayers-home

On June 8, 2006, more than a decade ago, armed agents from the Internal Revenue Service arrived at the home of Michael and Shelly Ioane of Atwater, California.

Michael Ioane was suspected of tax fraud, and the IRS agents were there to conduct a search of the premises and look for evidence.

About thirty minutes into the search, Shelly Ioane (the wife, who was not suspected of any crime whatsoever) told the agents who were ransacking her bedroom that she needed to use the bathroom.

According to court documents, one of the IRS agents escorted Shelly to the bathroom… then came inside with her.

Shelly protested and asked the agent to wait outside. The agent refused, stating that she needed to make sure Shelly was not hiding any evidence.

Bear in mind, Shelly wasn’t suspected of a crime. But an agent from the Internal Revenue Service stood there and watched this innocent woman urinate and defecate in her own toilet in her own home… without so much as turning her head slightly or even pretending to avert her eyes.

This is truly disgusting on so many different levels.

In most civilized countries, tax problems aren’t even a criminal matter. They’re civil… sorted out administratively, rather than at gunpoint.

And armed government thugs certainly aren’t able to abuse power to this extreme– indulging in their weird fetishes to watch innocent women defecate in their own homes.

But what’s probably the craziest part about this entire story is that when Shelly Ioane sued (for obvious reasons), the federal government mounted an aggressive and spirited defense of its actions.

It’s appalling. They literally tried to justify this ritualistic degradation of an innocent human being’s most basic dignity by calling it ‘standard procedure’.

Really? It’s standard procedure for agents of the Internal Revenue Service to watch people crap in their own toilets? Do you get extra benefits for that?

(Another interesting fact here is that when Michael Ioane requested to use the restroom – i.e. the guy who was actually suspected of a tax crime– no IRS agent accompanied him.)

Bear in mind we’re talking about the Internal Revenue Service. This isn’t Jack Bauer saving the world from nuclear-armed terrorists.

No. This level of abuse and brutality is justified because of a dispute over taxes.

That’s how desperate the government wants its money.

Now, as you can imagine, the wheels of justice grind very, very slowly. Especially when it’s the government (or an agent of the government) being sued.

Shelly Ioane was violated back in 2006. But the case was only recently settled LAST WEEK!

Seriously! How pathetic. It took more than a DECADE to get this far… because the government kept fighting.

When the Ioanes filed suit, the government fought tooth and nail to keep it out of court, and to throw out most of the charges.

Then the government claimed that IRS agents couldn’t be sued due to ‘qualified immunity’, which protects federal employees from lawsuits that may arise from the performance of their duties.

In 2016 it finally went to court. And a US federal judge ruled that the IRS agents could not be protected by qualified immunity since they were clearly violating basic standards of decency.

But the government refused to accept that outcome and appealed the decision.

Finally, just last week, a federal appeals court affirmed the original court’s ruling, concluding that the IRS agents completely violated Shelly’s “clearly established right to bodily privacy” and were hence not entitled to qualified immunity.

That’s a major blow to the IRS. But this issue is STILL not resolved.

The only thing that’s been settled is that the agents aren’t entitled to qualified immunity. So now Shelly has to sue AGAIN on the original charge of being violated twelve years ago.

Sadly it will probably take a few more years for this case to ultimately be resolved, if ever.

And it shows the lengths to which the government will protect its own, regardless of how egregious and vile the behavior of its agents.

Be seeing you

Taxes

 

 

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High-Income Taxpayers Now Confronted At Home By IRS Agents | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

And here’s the most bizarre move the IRS made before they launched a massive campaign across the country to confront rich and poor non-compliant taxpayers. The agency bought 5,000 guns, some automatic weapons, and 5 million rounds of ammunition.

It’s that time of year again. The time the IRS stocks up on tax compliance equipment.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/high-income-taxpayers-now-confronted-home-irs-agents

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

The IRS announced Wednesday that it would increase at-home visitations to high-income taxpayers who haven’t filed tax returns on time.

Remember when the IRS under the Obama administration targeted conservative groups? Now it appears this anti-wealth attitude extends to anyone earning over $100,000 that hasn’t filed a return since 2018 or prior years.

During an at-home visit, IRS agents will inform the non-compliant taxpayer how to file returns and show them a pathway of regaining compliant status.

Uncle Sam wants his goddamn money! 

“The IRS is committed to fairness in the tax system, and we want to remind people across all income categories that they need to file their taxes,” said Paul Mamo, Director of Collection Operations, Small Business/Self Employed Division. “These visits focusing on high-income taxpayers will be taking place across the country.”

Visitations have already started this month and will continue through March for severe cases of high-income taxpayers not filing.

In the last year, the agency started aggressively targeting low-income families who neglected to pay their taxes. These struggling folks in the “greatest economy ever” are barely surviving on depressed wages, insurmountable debts, and soaring housing and healthcare inflation, have no money left over to pay taxes.

If you’re rich or poor and haven’t paid your taxes in the last several years, watch out because Big Brother is now dispatching its agents to hunt you down.

And in case an agent confronts a non-compliant taxpayer – they will offer several options if the tax bill cannot be paid in full, such as a payment plan. But if a non-compliant taxpayer declines to pay, the IRS will inform the individual that they will pursue them in court.

Land of the free? Not when it comes to debt…

And here’s the most bizarre move the IRS made before they launched a massive campaign across the country to confront rich and poor non-compliant taxpayers. The agency bought 5,000 guns, some automatic weapons, and 5 million rounds of ammunition.

 

Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles, and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities,” said john Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute.

The militarization of the IRS?

Seriously, why do IRS agents need AR-15 rifles?  To collect all the money that is owed, of course!

Be seeing you

DPL-Surveillance-Equipment.com: Going Postal: Why Is USPS ...

 

 

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Russiagate II: Return of the Low Intelligence Zombies | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-intelligence-community-is-the-real-election-meddling-threat/

Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside, the bad guys are already inside the house.

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn’t think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel “community” (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere) weren’t going to play their games again, and that they wouldn’t learn from their mistakes? Those errors were in retrospect amateurish. A salacious dossier built around a pee tape? Nefarious academics befriending minor Trump campaign staffers who would tell all to an Aussie ambassador trolling London’s pubs looking for young, fit Americans? Falsified FISA applications when it was all too obvious even Trumpkin greenhorns weren’t dumb enough to sleep with FBI honeypots? You’d think after influencing 85 elections across the globe since World War II, they’d be better at it. But you also knew that after failing to whomp a bumpkin like Trump once, they would keep trying.

Like any good intel op, you start with a tickle, make it seem like the targets are figuring it out for themselves. Get it out there that Trump offered Wikileaks’ Julian Assange a pardon if he would state publicly that Russia wasn’t involved in the 2016 DNC leaks. The story was all garbage, not the least of which because Assange has been clear for years that it wasn’t the Russians. And there was no offer of a pardon from the White House. And conveniently Assange is locked in a foreign prison and can’t comment.

Whatever. Just make sure you time the Assange story to hit the day after Trump pardoned numerous high-profile, white-collar criminals, so even the casual reader had Trump = bad, with a side of Russian conspiracy, on their minds. You could almost imagine an announcer’s voice: “Previously, on Russiagate I…”

Then, only a day after the Assange story (why be subtle?), the sequel hit the theaters with timed leaks to the NYT and WaPo. The mainstream media went Code Red (the CIA has a long history of working with the media to influence elections).

CNN concluded that “America’s Russia nightmare is back.” Maddow was ecstatic, bleating “Here we go again,” recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.” Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said, “’Let the Voters Decide’ doesn’t work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again.” The NYT fretted, “Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation’s intelligence agencies.” John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said, “we are now in a full-blown national security crisis.” The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Putin’s Puppet is at it again.”

It is clear we’ll be hearing breaking and developing reports about this from sources believed to be close to others through November. Despite the sense of desperation in the recycled memes and the way the media rose on command to the bait, it’s intel community 1, Trump 0.

But it’s still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying, “Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”

Sanders handed Russiagate II legs, signaling that he’ll use it as cover for the Bros’ online shenanigans, which were called out at the last debate. That’s playing with fire: it’ll be too easy later on to invoke all this with “Komrade Bernie” memes in the already wary purple states. “Putin and Trump are picking their opponent,” opined Rahm Emanuel to get that ball rolling.

Summary to date: everyone is certain the Russians are working to influence the election…(adopts cartoon Russian accent) but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Is Putin helping Trump get re-elected to remain his asset in place? Or is Putin helping Bernie “I Honeymooned in the Soviet Union” Sanders to make him look like an asset to help Trump? Or are the Russkies really all in because Bernie is a True Socialist sleeper agent, the Emma Goldman of his time (Bernie’s old enough to have taken Emma to high school prom)? Or is it not the Russians but the American intel community helping Bernie to make it look like Putin is helping Bernie to help Trump? Or is it the Deep State saying the Reds are helping Bernie to hurt Bernie to help their man Bloomberg? Are Russian spies tripping over American spies in caucus hallways trying to get to the front of the room? Who can tell what is really afoot?

See, the devil is in the details, which is why we don’t have any.

The world’s greatest intelligence team can’t seem to come up with anything more specific than “interfering” and “meddling,” as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper, a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo, which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit “It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.”

Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden’s skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim “something something social media” again?

If you’re going to scream that communist zombies with MAGA hats are inside the house, you’re obligated to provide a little bit more information. Why is it when specifics are required, the response is always something like “Well, the Russians are sowing distrust and turning Americans against themselves in a way that weakens national unity” as if we’re all not eating enough green vegetables? Why leave us exposed to Russian influence for even a second when it could all be shut down in an instant?

Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That’s where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn’t true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don’t read much anyway, so just make claims. You’ll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. After all, they managed to convince a large number of Americans Trump’s primary purpose in running for president was to fill vacant hotel rooms at his properties. Let the nature of the source—the brave lads of the intelligence agencies—legitimize the accusations this time, not facts.

It will take a while to figure out who is playing whom. Is the goal to help Trump, help Bernie, or defeat both of them to support Bloomberg? But don’t let the challenge of seeing the whole picture obscure the obvious: the American intelligence agencies are once again inside our election.

The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn’t work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means.

The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian’s marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.

Be seeing you

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