Trump has it in his power to obliterate the whole Russiagate controversy. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:
Read part 1
The explanation for the kind of soft-power aggression embedded in Washington globe-spanning “sanctions” regime, as we detailed in Part 1, is not national security: It’s simply what Imperial Washington does for a living.
In the same vein, the billions of taxpayer money being pumped through the foreign policy agencies, NGOs, think tanks, advocacy organizations and sleazy lobbying operations like those of the Podesta brothers and Paul Manafort finance there own raison d’être.
Stated differently, the recipients of this fabulous supply of fiscal largesse create their own reason for being in the form of manufactured dangers and fake threats to the security and liberty of the American homeland.
Indeed, when it comes to the Empire’s great beltway beehive of national security operations, you could well paraphrase Stalin’s brutal secret police chief, Lavrenti Beria, who once boasted, “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”.
The Imperial City operates on the same principle: Show the agencies, contractors, NGOs, foreign aid lobbyists and the rest of the vast gang the money and they will show you the threat.
Needless to say, it does not occur to the busybodies of the Imperial City beehive that their meddling and interventions are not welcome or that the big sacks of walking around money they dispense end up being plundered arbitrarily by whichever faction of local bandits gets Washington’s ear first.
Many industries are becoming increasingly concentrated or are already alarmingly concentrated. From Michael Snyder at endoftheamericandream.com:
Vibrant competition is absolutely essential in order for a capitalist economic system to function effectively. Unfortunately, in the United States today we are witnessing the death of competition in industry after industry as the biggest corporations increasingly gobble up all of their competitors. John D. Rockefeller famously once said that “competition is a sin”, and he was one of America’s very first oligopolists. According to Google, an oligopoly is “a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers”, and that is a perfect description of the current state of affairs in many major industries. In early America, corporations were greatly limited in scope, and in most instances they were only supposed to exist temporarily. But today the largest corporations have become so huge that they literally dominate our entire society, and that is not good for any of us.
Just look at what is happening in the airline industry. When I was growing up, there were literally dozens of airlines, but now four major corporations control everything and they have been making gigantic profits…
AMERICA’S airlines used to be famous for two things: terrible service and worse finances. Today flyers still endure hidden fees, late flights, bruised knees, clapped-out fittings and sub-par food. Yet airlines now make juicy profits. Scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $15.5bn in 2017, up from $14bn in 2016.
What is true of the airline industry is increasingly true of America’s economy. Profits have risen in most rich countries over the past ten years but the increase has been biggest for American firms. Coupled with an increasing concentration of ownership, this means the fruits of economic growth are being monopolised.
Trump’s window of opportunity to investigate and prosecute the FBI and intelligence officials that put together the plot against him has probably passed. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:
With just a few days left before Congress adjourns, House Republicans, like their President, have pretty much let the clock run out. There’s little chance now in “taking on the intelligence community,” says Ray McGovern.
Because President Donald Trump has again pulled the rug out from under them, House Republicans face Mission Impossible on Friday when they try to hold ex-FBI Director James Comey accountable for his highly dubious authorization of surveillance on erstwhile Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Comey let go his unprecedented legal maneuver to have a court quash a subpoena for him to appear behind closed doors before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee before the Democrats take over the committee in January. The current committee chair, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), decried Comey’s use of “baseless litigation” in an “attempt to run out the clock on this Congress.”
The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA); so the still secret FISA application “justifying” surveillance of Page is almost sure to come up.
Comey had wanted a public hearing so he could pull the ruse of refusing to respond because his answers would be classified. He has now agreed to a closed-door meeting on Friday, with a transcript, likely to be redacted, to appear soon after.
The Deep State and its captive media grow increasingly desperate. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
When even the Washington Post is saying your Russiagate article is bad journalism, your Russiagate article is really, really bad journalism.
In an article titled “The Guardian offered a bombshell story about Paul Manafort. It still hasn’t detonated.”, WaPo writer Pul Farhi draws attention to the fact that it has been a week since the Guardian published a claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met repeatedly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, without any evidence backing up the claim, using solely anonymous sources, and despite the claims contradicting known records of Assange’s guests at the Ecuadorian embassy. Criticism and demands for answers have been growing louder and louder from both friends and enemies of WikiLeaks, with new plot holes opening up in the Guardian‘s narrative daily, and the scandal is now moving into mainstream awareness.
And the Guardian remains silent, with its editor-in-chief Katharine Viner refusing to utter so much as a peep of defense this entire time. The only comment the publication has issued has been repeated day after day verbatim to every news outlet which writes about this bizarre occurrence: “This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.” Which is basically just implying that they can print any libelous nonsense they want about anyone if their denials aren’t sent to the proper email address on time.
This, clearly, is bananas.
By socializing risk, in other words by making others pay for someone else’s mistakes, we make sure those risks will be taken again and again. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:
Several years ago back in 2004-2006, if you had a pulse, you could borrow money from a bank to buy a house.
In fact, bank lending standards were so loose back then that there were some infamous cases of people who DIDN’T have a pulse who were still able to borrow money.
That’s right. Some banks were so irresponsible that they actually loaned money to dead people.
Of course, it turned out that lending money to dead people… or people with terrible credit who had a history of default, was a bad idea.
And the entire financial system almost blew up as a result of this reckless stupidity.
But then something even crazier happened: the Federal Reserve came in and bailed out all the banks with trillions of dollars of free money.
That was utterly nuts. Instead of being wiped out by their idiotic mistakes, the banks learned that they would always be bailed out no matter how stupid or greedy they acted.
The key lesson was that there would be zero consequences for bad behavior.
Posted in Business, Capitalism, Collapse, Cronyism, Debt, Economics, Economy, Financial markets, Government, Investing, Politics
Tagged bail outs, Japan, Risk, Safety nets
A thousand points of power.
There are a few in every high school. They vie for class valedictorian, collect honors and awards, and run every school club worth running. Some of them are athletes, rounding out the college applications. They manage both charitable work and part-time jobs. Resting their heads on their pillows after busy, meritorious days, they dream of acceptance letters from elite institutions, the golden tickets to the good life in America.
They get their letters and some go on to lead productive, admirable lives. Some build ostensibly impressive resumés while pursuing prestige, power, and pelf, on the way abandoning principles, idealism, integrity, and honor. Perhaps the holes in their souls are filled by whatever self-satisfied, ego-driven pleasure is derived from the elite’s embrace. Perhaps not. In their waning years, they do have a questionable consolation: imagining the fulsome tributes and eulogies and their lengthy and impressive obituaries when they die.
Last week the gilded resumé set lost a shining exemplar: George Herbert Walker Bush, forty-first President of the United States, forty-third Vice President, a US Representative, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, multi-millionaire founder of an oil company, captain of the Yale baseball team, and an aviator in the US Navy during World War II. Generationally, his resumé stretches backwards and forwards. His father was a successful investment banker and US Senator. One son was the forty-third president, another was governor of Florida.
The alternative media has filled with uncomplimentary articles about Bush. They’re a welcome counterweight to the cloying eulogies in the mainstream media, which is determined to make Bush a statist hero surpassing even the recently lionized John McCain. We’re mourning for an entire week. Financial markets are closed today for Bush’s funeral, which Trump will attend.
If Donald Trump’s Twitter-led attacks undermine public confidence in the Deep State, he will have performed a valuable public service. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:
When the Donald promised to “drain the swamp” during the 2016 election campaign – it did sound vaguely like an attack on Big Government, and at least a directional desire to shrink the state and let free market capitalism breathe.
After 22 months in office, however, the truth is patently obvious: The only Swamp that Donald Trump wants to drain is one filled with his political enemies and policy adversaries at any given moment in time. Even then, you have to consult his tweetstorm ledger to know exactly who the swamp creatures de jure actually are.
Still, the Donald’s daily Twitter assaults on the Deep State are a wondrous thing. They surely do undermine public confidence in rogue institutions like the FBI, CIA and NSA, which profoundly threaten America’s constitutional liberties and fiscal solvency.
Likewise, his frequently unhinged tweets also lather their congressional sponsors and beltway poo-bahs with well-deserved mud and opprobrium. And the Donald’s increasingly acrimonious public feuding with Deep State criminals like James Comey and John Brennan is just what the doctor ordered.
The Deep State thrives and milks the public treasury so successfully in large part because the Imperial City’s corps of permanent policy apparatchiks like Comey and Brennan (and thousands more) pretend to be performing god’s work. So doing, they preen sanctimoniously to the adoration of their sycophants in the mainstream media, claiming to be above any governance or sanction from the unwashed electorate.
Posted in Cronyism, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, Horseshit, Intelligence, Investigations, Media, Politics
Tagged Deep State, President Trump, Twitter