Category: political struggle
The Anti-Empire Report #153

By William Blum – Published December 5th, 2017

Cold War Number One: 70 years of daily national stupidity

Cold War Number Two: Still in its youth, but just as stupid

https://williamblum.org/aer/read/153

“He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.” – President Trump re Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Vietnam.

Putin later added that he knew “absolutely nothing” about Russian contacts with Trump campaign officials. “They can do what they want, looking for some sensation. But there are no sensations.”

Numerous US intelligence agencies have said otherwise. Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, responded to Trump’s remarks by declaring: “The president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election.”

As we’ll see below, there isn’t too much of the “clear and indisputable” stuff. And this of course is the same James Clapper who made an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans. Lies don’t usually come in any size larger than that.

Virtually every member of Congress who has publicly stated a position on the issue has criticized Russia for interfering in the 2016 American presidential election. And it would be very difficult to find a member of the mainstream media which has questioned this thesis.

What is the poor consumer of news to make of these gross contradictions? Here are some things to keep in mind:

How do we know that the tweets and advertisements “sent by Russians” -– those presented as attempts to sway the vote -– were actually sent by Russians? The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), composed of National Security Agency and CIA veterans, recently declared that the CIA knows how to disguise the origin of emails and tweets. The Washington Post has as well reported that Twitter “makes it easy for users to hide their true identities.”  Even if these communications were actually sent from Russia, how do we know that they came from the Russian government, and not from any of the other 144.3 million residents of Russia?

Even if they were sent by the Russian government, we have to ask: Why would they do that? Do the Russians think the United States is a Third World, under-developed, backward Banana Republic easily influenced and moved by a bunch of simple condemnations of the plight of blacks in America and the Clinton “dynasty”? Or clichéd statements about other controversial issues, such as gun rights and immigration? If so, many Democratic and Republican officials would love to know the secret of the Russians’ method. Consider also that Facebook has stated that 90 percent of the alleged-Russian-bought content that ran on its network did not even mention Trump or Clinton.

On top of all this is the complete absence of even the charge, much less with any supporting evidence, of Russian interference in the actual voting or counting of votes.

After his remark suggesting he believed Putin’s assertion that there had been no Russian meddling in the election, Trump – of course, as usual – attempted to backtrack and distant himself from his words after drawing criticism at home; while James Clapper declared: “The fact the president of the United States would take Putin at his word over that of the intelligence community is quite simply unconscionable.”

Given Clapper’s large-size lie referred to above, can Trump be faulted for being skeptical of the intelligence community’s Holy Writ? Purposeful lies of the intelligence community during the first Cold War were legendary, many hailed as brilliant tactics when later revealed. The CIA, for example, had phoney articles and editorials planted in foreign newspapers (real Fake News), made sex films of target subjects caught in flagrante delicto who had been lured to Agency safe houses by female agents, had Communist embassy personnel expelled because of phoney CIA documents, and much more.

The Post recently published an article entitled “How did Russian trolls get into your Facebook feed? Silicon Valley made it easy.” In the midst of this “exposé,” The Post stated: “There’s no way to tell if you personally saw a Russian post or tweet.”  So … Do the Cold Warriors have a case to make or do they not? Or do they just want us to remember that the Russkis are bad? So it goes.

An organization in the Czech Republic with the self-appointed name of European Values has produced a lengthy report entitled “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact”. It includes a long list of people who have appeared on the Russian-owned TV station RT (formerly Russia Today), which can be seen in the US, the UK and other countries. Those who’ve been guests on RT are the “idiots” useful to Moscow. (The list is not complete. I’ve been on RT about five times, but I’m not listed. Where is my Idiot Badge?)

RT’s YouTube channel has more than two million followers and claims to be the “most-watched news network” on the video site. Its Facebook page has more than 4 million likes and followers. Can this explain why the powers-that-be forget about a thing called freedom-of-speech and treat the station like an enemy? The US government recently forced RT America to register as a foreign agent and has cut off the station’s Congressional press credentials.

The Cold War strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

Writer John Wight has described the new Cold War as being “in response to Russia’s recovery from the demise of the Soviet Union and the failed attempt to turn the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington via the imposition of free market economic shock treatment thereafter.”

So let’s see what other brilliance the New Cold War brings us. … Ah yes, another headline in the Post(November 18, 2017): “British alarm rising over possible Russian meddling in Brexit”. Of course, why else would the British people have voted to leave the European Union? But wait a moment, again, one of the British researchers behind the report “said that the accounts they analyzed – which claimed Russian as their language when they were set up but tweeted in English – posted a mixture of pro-‘leave’ and pro-‘remain’ messages regarding Brexit. Commentators have said that the goal may simply have been to sow discord and division in society.”

Was there ever a time when the Post would have been embarrassed to be so openly, amateurishly biased about Russia? Perhaps during the few years between the two Cold Wars.

In case you don’t remember how stupid Cold War Number One was …

  • 1948: The Pittsburgh Press published the names, addresses, and places of employment of about 1,000 citizens who had signed presidential-nominating petitions for former Vice President Henry Wallace, running under the Progressive Party. This, and a number of other lists of “communists”, published in the mainstream media, resulted in people losing their jobs, being expelled from unions, having their children abused, being denied state welfare benefits, and suffering various other punishments.
  • Around 1950: The House Committee on Un-American Activities published a pamphlet, “100 Things You Should Know About Communism in the U.S.A.” This included information about what a communist takeover of the United States would mean:Q: What would happen to my insurance?A: It would go to the Communists.

    Q: Would communism give me something better than I have now?

    A: Not unless you are in a penitentiary serving a life sentence at hard labor.

  • 1950s: Mrs. Ada White, member of the Indiana State Textbook Commission, believed that Robin Hood was a Communist and urged that books that told the Robin Hood story be banned from Indiana schools.
  • As evidence that anti-communist mania was not limited to the lunatic fringe or conservative newspaper publishers, here is Clark Kerr, president of the University of California at Berkeley in a 1959 speech: “Perhaps 2 or even 20 million people have been killed in China by the new [communist] regime.” One person wrote to Kerr: “I am wondering how you would judge a person who estimates the age of a passerby on the street as being ‘perhaps 2 or even 20 years old.’ Or what would you think of a physician who tells you to take ‘perhaps 2 or even twenty teaspoonsful of a remedy’?”
  • Throughout the cold war, traffic in phoney Lenin quotes was brisk, each one passed around from one publication or speaker to another for years. Here’s U.S. News and World Report in 1958 demonstrating communist duplicity by quoting Lenin: “Promises are like pie crusts, made to be broken.” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles used it in a speech shortly afterward, one of many to do so during the cold war. Lenin actually did use a very similar line, but he explicitly stated that he was quoting an English proverb (it comes from Jonathan Swift) and his purpose was to show the unreliability of the bourgeoisie, not of communists.“First we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States, which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.” This Lenin “quotation” had the usual wide circulation, even winding up in the Congressional Record in 1962. This was not simply a careless attribution; this was an out-and-out fabrication; an extensive search, including by the Library of Congress and the United States Information Agency failed to find its origin.
  • A favorite theme of the anti-communists was that a principal force behind drug trafficking was a communist plot to demoralize the United States. Here’s a small sample:Don Keller, District Attorney for San Diego County, California in 1953: “We know that more heroin is being produced south of the border than ever before and we are beginning to hear stories of financial backing by big shot Communists operating out of Mexico City.”Henry Giordano, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1964, interviewed in the American Legion Magazine: Interviewer: “I’ve been told that the communists are trying to flood our country with narcotics to weaken our moral and physical stamina. Is that true?”

    Giordano: “As far as the drugs are concerned, it’s true. There’s a terrific flow of drugs coming out of Yunnan Province of China. … There’s no question that in that particular area this is the aim of the Red Chinese. It should be apparent that if you could addict a population you would degrade a nation’s moral fiber.”

    Fulton Lewis, Jr., prominent conservative radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist, 1965: “Narcotics of Cuban origin – marijuana, cocaine, opium, and heroin – are now peddled in big cities and tiny hamlets throughout this country. Several Cubans arrested by the Los Angeles police have boasted they are communists.”

    We were also told that along with drugs another tool of the commies to undermine America’s spirit was fluoridation of the water.

  • Mickey Spillane was one of the most successful writers of the 1950s, selling millions of his anti-communist thriller mysteries. Here is his hero, Mike Hammer, in “One Lonely Night”, boasting of his delight in the grisly murders he commits, all in the name of destroying a communist plot to steal atomic secrets. After a night of carnage, the triumphant Hammer gloats, “I shot them in cold blood and enjoyed every minute of it. I pumped slugs into the nastiest bunch of bastards you ever saw. … They were Commies. … Pretty soon what’s left of Russia and the slime that breeds there won’t be worth mentioning and I’m glad because I had a part in the killing. God, but it was fun!”
  • 1952: A campaign against the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because it was tainted with “atheism and communism”, and was “subversive” because it preached internationalism. Any attempt to introduce an international point of view in the schools was seen as undermining patriotism and loyalty to the United States. A bill in the US Senate, clearly aimed at UNESCO, called for a ban on the funding of “any international agency that directly or indirectly promoted one-world government or world citizenship.” There was also opposition to UNESCO’s association with the UN Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that it was trying to replace the American Bill of Rights with a less liberty-giving covenant of human rights.
  • 1955: A US Army 6-page pamphlet, “How to Spot a Communist”, informed us that a communist could be spotted by his predisposition to discuss civil rights, racial and religious discrimination, the immigration laws, anti-subversive legislation, curbs on unions, and peace. Good Americans were advised to keep their ears stretched for such give-away terms as “chauvinism”, “book-burning”, “colonialism”, “demagogy”, “witch hunt”, “reactionary”, “progressive”, and “exploitation”. Another “distinguishing mark” of “Communist language” was a “preference for long sentences.” After some ridicule, the Army rescinded the pamphlet.
  • 1958: The noted sportscaster Bill Stern (one of the heroes of my innocent youth) observed on the radio that the lack of interest in “big time” football at New York University, City College of New York, Chicago, and Harvard “is due to the widespread acceptance of Communism at the universities.”
  • 1960: US General Thomas Power speaking about nuclear war or a first strike by the US: “The whole idea is to kill the bastards! At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!” The response from one of those present was: “Well, you’d better make sure that they’re a man and a woman.”
  • 1966: The Boys Club of America is of course wholesome and patriotic. Imagine their horror when they were confused with the Dubois Clubs. (W.E.B. Du Bois had been a very prominent civil rights activist.) When the Justice Department required the DuBois Clubs to register as a Communist front group, good loyal Americans knew what to do. They called up the Boys Club to announce that they would no longer contribute any money, or to threaten violence against them; and sure enough an explosion damaged the national headquarters of the youth group in San Francisco. Then former Vice President Richard Nixon, who was national board chairman of the Boys Club, declared: “This is an almost classic example of Communist deception and duplicity. The ‘DuBois Clubs’ are not unaware of the confusion they are causing among our supporters and among many other good citizens.”
  • 1966: “Rhythm, Riots and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, The Communist Master Music Plan”, by David A. Noebel, published by Christian Crusade Publications, (expanded version of 1965 pamphlet: “Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles”). Some chapters: Communist Use of Mind Warfare … Nature of Red Record Companies … Destructive Nature of Beatle Music … Communist Subversion of Folk Music … Folk Music and the Negro Revolution … Folk Music and the College Revolution
  • 1968: William Calley, US Army Lieutenant, charged with overseeing the massacre of more than 100 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai in 1968, said some years later: “In all my years in the Army I was never taught that communists were human beings. We were there to kill ideology carried by – I don’t know – pawns, blobs, pieces of flesh. I was there to destroy communism. We never conceived of old people, men, women, children, babies.”
  • 1977: Scientists theorized that the earth’s protective ozone layer was being damaged by synthetic chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons. The manufacturers and users of CFCs were not happy. They made life difficult for the lead scientist. The president of one aerosol manufacturing firm suggested that criticism of CFCs was “orchestrated by the Ministry of Disinformation of the KGB.”
  • 1978: Life inside a California youth camp of the ultra anti-communist John Birch Society: Five hours each day of lectures on communism, Americanism and “The Conspiracy”; campers learned that the Soviet government had created a famine and spread a virus to kill a large number of citizens and make the rest of them more manageable; the famine led starving adults to eat their children; communist guerrillas in Southeast Asia jammed chopsticks into children’s ears, piercing their eardrums; American movies are all under the control of the Communists; the theme is always that capitalism is no better than communism; you can’t find a dictionary now that isn’t under communist influence; the communists are also taking over the Bibles.
  • The Reagan administration declared that the Russians were spraying toxic chemicals over Laos, Cambodia and Afghanistan – the so-called “yellow rain” – and had caused more than ten thousand deaths by 1982 alone, (including, in Afghanistan, 3,042 deaths attributed to 47 separate incidents between the summer of 1979 and the summer of 1981, so precise was the information). Secretary of State Alexander Haig was a prime dispenser of such stories, and President Reagan himself denounced the Soviet Union thusly more than 15 times in documents and speeches. The “yellow rain”, it turned out, was pollen-laden feces dropped by huge swarms of honeybees flying far overhead.
  • 1982: In commenting about sexual harassment in the Army, General John Crosby stated that the Army doesn’t care about soldiers’ social lives – “The basic purpose of the United States Army is to kill Russians,” he said.
  • 1983: The US invasion of Grenada, the home of the Cuban ambassador is damaged and looted by American soldiers; on one wall is written “AA”, symbol of the 82nd Airborne Division; beside it the message: “Eat shit, commie faggot.” … “I want to fuck communism out of this little island,” says a marine, “and fuck it right back to Moscow.”
  • 1984: During a sound check just before his weekly broadcast, President Reagan spoke these words into the microphone: “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I have signed legislation to outlaw Russia, forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” His words were picked up by at least two radio networks.
  • 1985: October 29 BBC interview with Ronald Reagan: asked about the differences he saw between the US and Russia, the president replied: “I’m no linguist, but I’ve been told that in the Russian language there isn’t even a word for freedom.” (The word is “svoboda”.)
  • 1986: Soviet artists and cultural officials criticized Rambo-like American films as an expression of “anti-Russian phobia even more pathological than in the days of McCarthyism”. Russian film-maker Stanislav Rostofsky claimed that on one visit to an American school “a young girl trembled with fury when she heard I was from the Soviet Union, and said she hated Russians.”
  • 1986: Roy Cohn, who achieved considerable fame and notoriety in the 1950s as an assistant to the communist-witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy, died, reportedly of AIDS. Cohn, though homosexual, had denied that he was and had denounced such rumors as communist smears.
  • 1986: After American journalist Nicholas Daniloff was arrested in Moscow for “spying” and held in custody for two weeks, New York Mayor Edward Koch sent a group of 10 visiting Soviet students storming out of City Hall in fury. “The Soviet government is the pits,” said Koch, visibly shocking the students, ranging in age from 10 to 18 years. One 14-year-old student was so outraged he declared: “I don’t want to stay in this house. I want to go to the bus and go far away from this place. The mayor is very rude. We never had a worse welcome anywhere.” As matters turned out, it appeared that Daniloff had not been completely pure when it came to his news gathering.
  • 1989: After the infamous Chinese crackdown on dissenters in Tiananmen Square in June, the US news media was replete with reports that the governments of Nicaragua, Vietnam and Cuba had expressed their support of the Chinese leadership. Said the Wall Street Journal: “Nicaragua, with Cuba and Vietnam, constituted the only countries in the world to approve the Chinese Communists’ slaughter of the students in Tiananmen Square.” But it was all someone’s fabrication; no such support had been expressed by any of the three governments. At that time, as now, there were few, if any, organizations other than the CIA which could manipulate major Western media in such a manner.

NOTE: It should be remembered that the worst consequences of anti-communism were not those discussed above. The worst consequences, the ultra-criminal consequences, were the abominable death, destruction, and violation of human rights that we know under various names: Vietnam, Chile, Korea, Guatemala, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brazil, Greece, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and many others.

Al Franken

Poor Al, who made us laugh for years on Saturday Night Live, is now disgraced as a woman molester – not one of the worst of the current pathetic crop, but he still looks bad. However, everything is relative, and it must be pointed out that the Senator is guilty of a worse moral transgression.

The erstwhile comedian would like you to believe that he was against the war in Iraq since it began. But he went to that sad country at least four times to entertain American troops. Does that make sense? Why does the Defense Department bring entertainers to military bases? To lift the soldiers’ spirits of course. And why does the military want to lift the soldiers’ spirits? Because a happier soldier does his job better. And what is the soldier’s job? For example, all the charming war crimes and human-rights violations in Iraq that have been documented in great detail for many years. Didn’t Franken know what American soldiers do for a living?

Country singer Darryl Worley, who leans “a lot to the right,” as he puts it, said he was far from pleased that Franken was coming along on the tour to Iraq. “You know, I just don’t understand – why would somebody be on this tour if they’re not supportive of the war? If he decides to play politics, I’m not gonna put up with it.”

A year after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Franken criticized the Bush administration because they “failed to send enough troops to do the job right.”  What “job” did the man think the troops were sent to do that had not been performed to his standards because of lack of manpower? Did he want them to be more efficient at killing Iraqis who resisted the occupation? The volunteer American troops in Iraq did not even have the defense of having been drafted against their wishes.

Franken has been lifting soldiers’ spirits for a long time. In 2009 he was honored by the United Service Organization (USO) for his ten years of entertaining troops abroad. That includes Kosovo in 1999, as imperialist an occupation as you’ll ever want to see. He called his USO experience “one of the best things I’ve ever done.”  Franken has also spoken at West Point (2005), encouraging the next generation of imperialist warriors. Is this a man to challenge the militarization of America at home and abroad?

Tom Hayden wrote this about Franken in 2005 when Franken had a regular program on the Air America radio network: “Is anyone else disappointed with Al Franken’s daily defense of the continued war in Iraq? Not Bush’s version of the war, because that would undermine Air America’s laudable purpose of rallying an anti-Bush audience. But, well, Kerry’s version of the war, one that can be better managed and won, somehow with better body armor and fewer torture cells.”

While in Iraq to entertain the troops, Franken declared that the Bush administration “blew the diplomacy so we didn’t have a real coalition,” then failed to send enough troops to do the job right. “Out of sheer hubris, they have put the lives of these guys in jeopardy.”

Franken was implying that if the United States had been more successful in bribing and threatening other countries to lend their name to the coalition fighting the war in Iraq the United States would have had a better chance of WINNING the war.

Is this the sentiment of someone opposed to the war? Or in support of it? It is actually the mind of an American liberal in all its depressing mushiness.

To be put on the tombstone of Western civilization

On November 15, 2017, at Christie’s auction house in New York City, a painting was sold for $450,312,500.

Notes

  1. Washington Post, November 12, 2017
  2. Washington Post, October 10, 2017
  3. Washington Post, November 15, 2017
  4. Reuters, November 12, 2017
  5. Washington Post, November 2, 2017
  6. Wikipedia entry for George Kennan
  7. Sources for almost all of this section can be found in William Blum, “Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire” (2005), chapter 12; or the author can be queried at bblum6@aol.com
  8. Washington Post, February 16, 2004
  9. Ibid.
  10. Star Tribune, Minneapolis, March 26, 2009
  11. Huffington Post, June 2005
  12. Washington Post, February 16, 2004

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to williamblum.org is provided.

Texas prisons ban ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ but not Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’

https://www.rt.com/usa/412449-texas-prisons-ban-books/

Texas prisons ban ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ but not Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’

Texas prisons ban ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ but not Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’
Thousands of books are considered prohibited reading for inmates doing time in Texas prisons. The list of banned and permissible material, however, has raised some eyebrows.

The Texas prison system has banned more than 10,000 selections from the shelves of their on-site libraries, yet it is sometimes difficult to find the logic behind the decision-making process.

For example, Alice Walker’s ‘The Color Purple,’ which was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, will not be found in Texas prisons. Yet inmates may cuddle up at night with a copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf,’ the notoriously anti-Semitic tract that Hitler began writing, ironically, while behind bars.

‘The Color Purple’ is forbidden because it describes a rape scene.

Other selections with completely innocuous titles – including ‘Hello Kitty,’ ‘Harry Potter Film Wizardry’ and ‘The Amazing Spider Man’ – are prohibited not because of their content, but because they may contain pop-up sections or multilayer pages with which it may be possible to conceal contraband.

Other books are banned from prison libraries in Texas because they may provide certain information that prison officials would prefer not to be disseminated. For example, the ‘History of Pubs and Pubs Signs’ got blacklisted because it contains a section outlining the manufacture of alcohol.

Not everyone, however, agrees that there should be a blacklist for certain controversial books.

“To block access to ‘Where’s Waldo’ on the one hand, and Shakespeare on the other, doesn’t preserve order,” James LaRue, the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, told the New York Times. “It preserves ignorance and imprisonment. All too often, prison censorship, in addition to being an arbitrary abuse of authority, denies the incarcerated the chance to get out of jail and stay out.”

Nevertheless, some of the titles from the lengthy banned list – including ‘Concealed Carry Handguns,’ ‘The Complete Survival Guide,’ ‘The Idiot’s Guide to Kickboxing’ and ‘FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics’ – seem like obvious choices to keep out of the hands of the general prisoner population.

At the same time, one may wonder how ‘My Awakening’ by David Duke, an American white nationalist, got the green light.

Novels of an erotic nature are only banned if the sexual behavior is unlawful, which explains why some of E.L. James’ ‘Fifty Shades’ books were deemed inappropriate.

“If the book does not violate the uniform offender correspondence policy, then offenders are allowed to have it,” Clark, a spokesman at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told The New York Times. “Offenders have access to thousands of publications.”

Prisoners serving time in the Texas prison system have access to more than 248,000 titles, which were detailed by the Dallas Morning News in November.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a publication may be banned because it contains:

– Information on the manufacture of explosives, weapons or drugs.

– Material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption, like strikes, riots.

– Graphic presentations of illegal sex acts, “such as rape, incest, sex with a minor, bestiality, necrophilia or bondage.”

– Sexually explicit images. “Naked or partially covered buttocks” does not necessarily mean automatic disapproval. Staff review required for publications containing nudity on a case-by-case basis.

– Information on criminal schemes or “how to avoid detection of criminal schemes.”

– Contraband that cannot be removed.

What if Donald Trump loses and refuses to leave? | Opinion

http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2017/12/what_if_trump_loses_and_refuse.html

What if Donald Trump loses and refuses to leave? | Opinion

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump's business dealings with Deutsche Bank as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In the annals of sore losers, few presidents stand out like John Adams after his loss to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. On Inauguration Day, the testy Adams passed up his successor’s swearing-in. He left the White House, boarded his horse-drawn coach and fled toward Quincy, Mass., before sunrise.

Adams’ offense was leaving too soon. The question worrying me, however, is: What if Congress ousts Donald Trump by impeachment — or he’s defeated for reelection — and he won’t go?

Before you sneer at this notion as preposterous, consider the exhausting list of our president’s normalized behaviors and outrageous offenses that, two years ago, would have been unfathomable: A torrent of lies and insulting tweets, public affection for tyrants, turning the presidency into a profit center, alleged obstruction of justice, unabashed racism, praise of Nazis and stunning denigration of the State Department, FBI and CIA.

Today, Trump’s ill-mannered, infantile and illegal behavior prompts nary a raised eyebrow with 30 percent of the public. The rest, meanwhile, cannot remain scandalized about yesterday’s outrage because of today’s new outrage and the expectation of what fresh hell comes tomorrow.

The other day, Trump endorsed Roy Moore, the bigoted, lawless Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama accused of child molestation. This shameful, shocking endorsement is now known as “something that happened on Monday.”

The idea Trump might barricade himself in the White House, declare his impeachment unconstitutional — or his reelection stolen — is within the realm of possibility. It comports with what we know about Trump’s anti-democratic, authoritarian tendencies. From there, it’s easy to picture Trump going a dangerous step further and urging his supporters to descend on Washington and prevent his removal. Honestly, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision Trump, if he loses, encouraging civil unrest to save his hide.

Hogwash, you say. The president must leave if the Senate convicts or voters reject him. OK, show me the clause in the Constitution that spells out who arrests a defeated president and escorts him from the White House. Here’s what the Constitution says about presidents who refuse to leave: Nothing, absolutely nothing.

It turns out American democracy is built upon the now-shaky assumption that our elected officials respect the voters’ will. Our system works because those who serve at all levels know they answer to the people. The president is not above the law. And no one, especially the president, has the legal standing to veto an election (or an impeachment conviction by the Senate).

The United States differs from pseudo-democracies in that if you lose, no one need send the cops or the troops to extract you from office. It’s been the long tradition in American politics that losing, outgoing officials cooperate in the transition of power.

I ask you this: Knowing what you know about Trump, his values and his personality, what are the chances he would relinquish the office peacefully?

If you don’t believe Trump regards himself as above the law, consider that his attorney recently declared it impossible for the president to obstruct justice, the key charge against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton during their respective impeachment proceedings.

The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, told Mike Allen of the news site Axios last weekend. Trump and his spokespersons have yet to repudiate the outrageous position that the president is now a monarch.

A president such as Trump, with autocratic impulses, who persists in claiming the popular vote was stolen from him by three million illegal ballots would have no qualms voiding the results of the next election.

A Congress that attempted to enforce the election outcome or its impeachment decision could not remove Trump from office if he resolved to stay. What official could get past the Secret Service to arrest and imprison a former president who refuses to abdicate? Does that mean defenders of democracy might have to storm the White House, overpower the former president’s protectors and drag him from the building?

Laugh at this scenario, but two years ago you would have scoffed at the possibility of 95 percent of what Trump has done since Jan. 20. Consider also the recent speculation that Trump might fire special counsel Robert Mueller or pardon himself and current and former staff members if they are indicted. After Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey, these once-preposterous notions are now conventional wisdom. None of it should surprise anyone who’s paid attention.

In the era of Trump, the obscene becomes normalized. What was unimaginable last year is next year’s plausible nightmare. I pray it will not happen, but with Donald Trump as president, it would be foolish not to discuss it and prepare for just such a constitutional crisis.

Robert Mann, an author and former U.S. Senate and gubernatorial staffer, holds the Manship Chair in Journalism at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. Read more from him at his blog, Something Like the Truth. Follow him on Twitter @RTMannJr or email him at bob.mann@outlook.com.

Oswald killer Jack Ruby told FBI informant to ‘watch the fireworks’ the day JFK was shot – documents
| November 18, 2017 | 8:45 pm | political struggle | No comments

https://www.rt.com/usa/410303-fbi-documents-jack-ruby-jfk/

Oswald killer Jack Ruby told FBI informant to ‘watch the fireworks’ the day JFK was shot – documents

Oswald killer Jack Ruby told FBI informant to ‘watch the fireworks’ the day JFK was shot – documents
Freshly released FBI records show that Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, asked an FBI informant if he wanted to “watch the fireworks” just hours before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

The document, which was among 10,744 files released by the National Archive on Friday, outlines what an FBI informant told officials about Ruby, hinting that the nightclub owner may have known that Kennedy was going to be targeted.

In March 1977, nearly 14 years after JFK’s assassination, the chief of the intelligence division of the Internal Revenue Service, Robert J. Potrykus, hand delivered a letter to the agent Ted L. Gunderson of the FBI’s Dallas office which outlined that Ruby telephoned the informant on the morning of the fatal shooting of the president and asked him if he wanted to go to watch the presidential parade.

READ MORE: JFK assassination: What was Lee Harvey Oswald doing in the USSR?

“The informant stated that on the morning of the assassination, Ruby contacted him and asked if he would ‘like to watch the fireworks,’” the letter reads.

“He was with Jack Ruby and standing at the corner of the Postal Annex Building facing the Texas School Book Depository Building at the time of the shooting. Immediately after the shooting, Ruby left and headed toward the area of the Dallas Morning News Building.”

The follow up documentation reveals that the informant was Bob Vanderslice of Dallas. In 1977 he told the FBI that Ruby said nothing to him immediately after the assassination. However after Ruby was arrested for killing Oswald, Vanderslice was also arrested on an unrelated charge, and he got to know Ruby better in Dallas County Jail.

Former marine Oswald was formally charged with killing the president before being gunned down by Ruby, as he was being transported to the county jail, just two days after the assassination in November 1963. Ruby later died in prison.

The Warren Commission, which was set up to investigate the president’s death, concluded that Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald and that Oswald acted entirely alone. It also concluded that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald.

The National Archives has been releasing JFK assassination records in batches. An earlier release revealed no connection between Oswald and the CIA, undermining the popular theory that Oswald was a CIA operative.

Demonization of RT, Sputnik Marks the Death Rattle of the Washington Consensus
| November 18, 2017 | 8:31 pm | political struggle | No comments
Стенд Международного информационного агентства Sputnik (Спутник) в ЭкспоФоруме перед открытием XX Санкт-Петербургского международного экономического форума

Demonization of RT, Sputnik Marks the Death Rattle of the Washington Consensus

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“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not fearful men, not descended from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.”

US broadcast journalist, Edward Murrow, spoke these words in the 1950s, protesting against the witchhunt of communists, alleged communists, and of anyone thought to evince anything resembling sympathy or support for ideas associated with communism by Senator Joseph McCarthy, inspired by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings of the 1940s.

McCarthy and his team of witch hunters were able to sow fear, paranoia, and a rigid adherence not to democracy or free speech, but to intolerance of dissent and the questioning of the received truths that sustained America’s engagement with the rest of the world.

In 2017 we are witnessing the rebirth of McCarthyism across the West in response to Russia’s recovery from the demise of the Soviet Union and the attempt to turn the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington via the imposition of free market economic shock treatment thereafter. In the process critical thinking and reason has been sacrificed on the altar of Pavlovian conditioning and unreason, resulting in the embrace of hysterical Russophobic nostrums by a liberal political and media class for whom Russia can only ever exist as a vanquished foe or one that needs to be vanquished.

When a think-tank with the impertinence of naming itself “European Values” feels emboldened to compile and publish a “hit list” of over 2000 contributors to RT, as it did recently, made up of politicians, former diplomats, journalists, and academics from across the West, the foundations of Western liberal democracy start to crack. And when the US Congress passes a bill to force RT America to register as a “foreign agent,” then we are talking war being waged not against Russian media per say, but the thousands of US citizens who work for Russian media and their right to ply their trade in the land of the free.

There is nothing that RT or Sputnik International does that other state-funded broadcasters — the BBC, Voice of America, and France24 et al. — are not doing when it comes to their operations overseas. All state-funded media engage in cultural outreach, and each proffers an analysis of events via the prism of their own cultural, ideological and national worldview.

But let us not be naive. It would be a mistake to divorce the ongoing,  ever-intensifying campaign to drive RT and Sputnik out of existence in the West from the wider geopolitical struggle over the Washington-led unipolar status quo and the multipolar alternative demanded by Moscow’s recovery and re-emergence as a global power, along with Beijing. In this regard, in the context of this geopolitical struggle, Russian media in the West is seen as low hanging fruit, an easy target by which to render Russia a bloody nose.

Does anyone really believe for a moment that if Russia had or did accept its place as a neo-satellite of Washington that this campaign against RT and Sputnik would be taking place? If both media channels were echo chambers of the Washington Consensus you can best believe they would be allowed to operate freely and without molestation, without their employees or contributors being traduced as “Kremlin propagandists” or de facto “Russian agents.”

Speaking for myself for a moment, the views I express on Russian media are the same as those I express when they appear anywhere else, including the BBC. I am not told what to write, say or think by Moscow, and nor would I accept for a moment if any attempt was made to tell me what to write, say or think. Here I know that I speak for the many British and US citizens I know personally who also work at, with or for RT and Sputnik.

The entire thing is a sham — a malicious and ideologically driven attempt to police the portals of news dissemination and analysis to the point where rigid acceptance and obeisance to the aforementioned Washington Consensus, one responsible for upending the lives of millions at home and abroad over the years, is total.

There is a simple rule of thumb that will never let you down. It dictates that those who tell you who your enemy is are usually your enemy. It begs the question of whether Russophobia has become the acceptable form of racism among a liberal class whose hypocrisy is only exceeded by their mendacity?

The only conspiracy underway when it comes to RT and Sputnik is one designed to drive them out of operation in the West, thus allowing those ‘sons of liberty’ within the liberal class to gloat in a victory against the right to have their worldview questioned or contested.

If and when the day arrives that they do succeed it will be a hollow victory, pregnant with a dangerous precedent that it would be incredibly unwise to take lightly.

“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Check out John’s Sputnik radio show, Hard Facts.

Brazile Fallout: Hillary Privatized the DNC with Help from a Washington Law Firm

Brazile Fallout: Hillary Privatized the DNC with Help from a Washington Law Firm

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 6, 2017

Hillary Clinton Tells Senator Bernie Sanders That There's No Evidence She Can Be Swayed by Wall Street Money During CNN Debate, April 14, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders During CNN Debate, April 14, 2016

Secret side agreements are a common maneuver by corporate law firms. Here’s how they work. An agreement that is legal and passes the smell test is drafted and submitted to a court or a regulatory body for public consumption. Then, a separate, secret side agreement is written and signed by both sides and it contains all of the smelly, shady, ethically questionable hard details on how the original agreement will be carried out.

Donna Brazile, the former interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 presidential campaign, has written a new book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,” and has revealed the secret side agreement that the DNC had with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In 2015, Hillary Clinton’s campaign set up a joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) with the DNC and over 30 state democratic committees. The public portion of the agreement indicated that Hillary would raise funds for her own campaign while also allocating a portion to the DNC to help the overall Democratic Party as well as allocating funds to state democratic committees in order to support down-ballot candidates in their local elections. But the secret side agreement that effectively privatized the DNC, giving Hillary and her campaign lawyers control of the DNC and its money, had yet to see the light of day.

This is how Brazile describes the secret side agreement in her book:

“The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook [Clinton’s campaign manager] with a copy to Marc Elias [lawyer at Perkins Coie]  — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

The Clinton camp has now attempted to defend itself by saying these terms are standard because they were not going to kick in until the Democratic Party had chosen its official presidential nominee at its party convention in July 2016. But that’s not what the actual secret side agreement says. It indicates the following: “Beginning October 1, 2015,” the HVF would begin transferring $1.2 million to the DNC at the start of each month with that release “conditioned on” Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign personnel being consulted “and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate.”

Additionally, the secret agreement states that “the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA” (Hillary for America, the primary campaign fund for Clinton) as its Communications Director. All of this is occurring in the fall of 2015 with the official Democratic nominating convention not taking place until July 2016.

As Politico reported in May 2016, the Hillary Victory Fund was a sham in multiple other ways. First, Politico writes that less than 1 percent of the money raised stayed in the state’s coffers. The Treasurer of the Hillary Victory Fund actually had the power to move money in and out of state committee bank accounts. Politico reporters Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf cite the following example to show how things actually worked:

“…the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party received $43,500 from the victory fund on Nov. 2, only to transfer the same amount to the DNC that same day. The pattern repeated itself after the Minnesota party received transfers from the victory fund of $20,600 on Dec. 1 (the party sent the same amount to the DNC the next day) and $150,000 on Jan. 4 (it transferred the same amount to the DNC that day).

“That means that Minnesota’s net gain from its participation in the victory fund was precisely $0 through the end of March. Meanwhile, the DNC pocketed an extra $214,100 in cash routed through Minnesota — much of which the DNC wouldn’t have been able to accept directly, since it came from donors who had mostly had already maxed out to the national party committee.

“A similar pattern transpired with most of the participating state parties. As of March 31, only eight state parties (most of which were in battleground states such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia) had received more from the victory fund than was transferred from their accounts to the DNC.”

Brazile backs up this account in her book, writing that “the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding….”

Brazile notes in her book that the lawyer, Marc Elias, of the politically-connected law firm, Perkins Coie, was copied on the secret side agreement. Elias has repeatedly come under scrutiny for his multi-faceted roles in the 2015-2016 presidential campaign. Most recently, he was exposed as the guy behind the hiring of Fusion GPS which compiled the scandalous Russian dossier on Donald Trump, using both Hillary campaign funds and DNC funds. The Washington Post reported that Elias was allowed to spend these funds “without oversight by campaign officials, according to a spokesperson for his law firm.”

Elias served as the General Counsel to Hillary’s primary campaign committee, Hillary for America, as well as serving as one of a team of lawyers from Perkins Coie that provided legal advice to the DNC. (Elias also provided legal advice to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Associations, according to the Perkins Coie web site last year.)

As a legal adviser to the DNC, Elias should have known that its charter mandated fairness and impartiality to all primary candidates. But when WikiLeaks released emails last year that had been hacked at the DNC, Marc Elias was caught giving advice on how to tar Senator Bernie Sanders after his campaign suggested that the Hillary Victory Fund was skirting Federal election law. The email from Elias read:

“My suggestion is that the DNC put out a statement saying that the accusations the Sanders campaign are not true. The fact that CNN notes that you aren’t getting between the two campaigns is the problem. Here, Sanders is attacking the DNC and its current practice, its past practice with the POTUS and with Sec Kerry. Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over ‘rigged system’, the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful the [sic] the Democratic party.”

Writing for Politico in 2014, Ken Vogel detailed how Elias and Perkins Coie have not only been the legal go-to guys for the Democratic party over the years but how they have also tinkered with Federal election law to shift more power to the 1 percent. Vogel writes:

“Perkins Coie’s political law practice, anchored by Elias and former White House Counsel Bob Bauer, has something of a stranglehold on the Democratic Party’s election law business, representing not only the party committees themselves but everyone from [Harry] Reid (whose various committees have paid $317,000 in legal fees to Perkins Coie over the years) to Obama ($7.4 million) to the major Democratic super PACs ($19 million).”

The thrust of the article, however, is that Elias played a central role in further opening the spigots for legal revenues his firm might be expected to collect in the future by tinkering with Federal legislation at the eleventh hour. Vogel writes:

“A powerful Democratic lawyer helped craft a provision that was slipped into a year-end spending bill allowing political parties to raise huge new pools of cash — including some for legal fees that are likely going to be collected by his own firm…

“The change has the potential to halt or at least slow the erosion of power of the political parties, since it would increase the maximum amount of cash that rich donors may give to the national Democratic and Republican party committees each year from $97,400 to $777,600 or more.”

The question that no one seems to be asking is who are the main beneficiaries of Perkins Coie’s heavy influence at the top of the Democratic Party. Despite Obama’s re-election for a second term, the Democratic Party shed nearly 1,000 seats from coast to coast. The Republicans now control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch. A man with the lowest approval rating in modern history now occupies the Oval Office.

The primary beneficiaries of this hubris have been the 1 percent – Wall Street and hedge fund titans – and giant multi-national corporations that dominate the client roster at Perkins Coie.

Those within the Clinton camp and DNC who are suggesting to the American people that there is nothing to see here, time to move along, are dead wrong. Just because the Republican presidential campaign may have been corrupted by outside forces doesn’t mean that the Democratic campaign wasn’t also corrupted by its own outside forces. It’s time to follow the obscene political money trail wherever it leads.

Outrage Targeting Brazile Shows ‘Serious Decline in the Democratic Party’

Democratic party chairperson Donna Brazile talks with audience members before the debate between Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.

Outrage Targeting Brazile Shows ‘Serious Decline in the Democratic Party’

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In a post on Medium Saturday, nearly 100 campaign staffers signed an open letter firing back at Donna Brazile, former DNC chair, for her depiction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in her book set to hit stores Tuesday.

“Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time,” the letter reads. “We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.”

Despite (sort of) acknowledging the difficulties that the campaign faced, the signers also noted that it was “particularly troubling and puzzling that [Brazile] would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and [Trump], about [Clinton’s] health.” This was a response to Brazile’s statement that she considered replacing Clinton as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee with then-Vice President Joe Biden.

How could a political figure who’s been hailed as a “longtime Democratic insider” be tossed aside for not standing by the Clinton campaign?

For Anoa Changa, it’s just part of the mentality used to “undermine” anyone whose beliefs and statements don’t fall into lockstep with the whole of the group — in this case the Democratic Party.

​Speaking to Sputnik Radio’s Brian Becker and John Kiriakou on Loud & Clear, Changa, the host of “The Way With Anoa,” says that Brazile “never claimed she herself had the authority to circumvent the process and insert a new [Democratic] nominee.”

According to Changa, what Brazile did say was that while serving as interim DNC chair there was a “process in the bylaws that she would oversee, but that it was still a difficult process.”

“What she was talking about was just her experience in just those few months she served as chair, ahead of the election cycle,” Changa told Becker and Kiriakou. “And to see the mass panic and chaos is in some ways hysterical, considering a month and a half ago everyone was told to sit down and be quiet because Hillary, with the release of ‘What Happened,’ deserved to have the opportunity to tell her story on what happened [during the 2016 election].”

The pushback that Brazile is getting from the party reveals an even bigger issue, says Changa.

“What the Donna Brazile commentary has been is a greater indictment on the problems in current capitalism that has infected the Democratic Party for the last 25 years,” Changa, also the director of political advocacy for the Progressive Army, said. “It’s been 25 years since Bill Clinton was elected and we have seen a serious decline in the Democratic Party in the last 25 years and that’s what she speaking to.”

In excerpts of Brazile’s upcoming book published in Politico last week, she presents evidence that the DNC rigged the nomination so that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was put aside in favor of Clinton and that the Clinton campaign was in control of the committee via its purse strings throughout the entire campaign cycle.