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Category Archives: Cronyism

Brazilgate is Turning into Russiagate 2.0, by Pepe Escobar

The situation in Brazil isn’t getting a lot of attention in the US media, but a recent report in The Intercept made people sit up and take notice. From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:

The Intercept‘s bombshell about Brazilian corruption is being ludicrously spun by the country’s media and military as a “Russian conspiracy,” writes Pepe Escobar

It was a leak, not a hack. Yes: Brazilgate, unleashed by a series of game-changing bombshells published by The Intercept, may be turning into a tropical Russiagate.

The Intercept’s Deep Throat – an anonymous source — has finally revealed in detail what anyone with half a brain in Brazil already knew: that the judicial/lawfare machinery of the one-sided Car Wash anti-corruption investigation was in fact a massive farce and criminal racket bent on accomplishing four objectives.

  • Create the conditions for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and the subsequent ascension of her VP, elite-manipulated puppet, Michel Temer.
  •  Justify the imprisonment of former president Lula in 2018 – just as he was set to win the latest presidential election in a landslide.
  • Facilitate the ascension of the Brazilian extreme-right via Steve Bannon asset (he calls him “Captain”) Jair Bolsonaro.
  • Install former judge Sergio Moro as a justice minister on steroids capable of enacting a sort of Brazilian Patriot Act – heavy on espionage and light on civil liberties.

Moro, side by side with prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who was leading the Public Ministry’s 13-strong task force, are the vigilante stars of the lawfare racket. Over the past four years, hyper-concentrated Brazilian mainstream media, floundering in a swamp of fake news, duly glorified these two as Captain Marvel-worthy national heroes. Hubris finally caught up with the swamp.

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FBI Never Saw CrowdStrike Unredacted or Final Report on Alleged Russian Hacking Because None was Produced, by Ray McGovern

The FBI never examined the DNC’s servers and instead relied on a report from the DNC’s handpicked “investigator,” CrowdStrike for the conclusion that the servers were hacked by the Russians and passed on to WikiLeaks. However, CrowdStrike never even produced a final report. This is a very good summary of all the issues surround the DNC’s servers. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:

The FBI relied on CrowdStrike’s “conclusion” to blame Russia for hacking DNC servers, though the private firm never produced a final report and the FBI never asked them to, as Ray McGovern explains.

CrowdStrike, the controversial cybersecurity firm that the Democratic National Committee chose over the FBI in 2016 to examine its compromised computer servers, never produced an un-redacted or final forensic report for the government because the FBI never required it to, the Justice Department has admitted.

The revelation came in a court filing by the government in the pre-trial phase of Roger Stone, a long-time Republican operative who had an unofficial role in the campaign of candidate Donald Trump. Stone has been charged with misleading Congress, obstructing justice and intimidating a witness.

The filing was in response to a motion by Stone’s lawyers asking for “unredacted reports” from CrowdStrike in an effort to get the government to prove that Russia hacked the DNC server. “The government … does not possess the information the defandant seeks,” the filing says.

In his motion, Stone’s lawyers said he had only been given three redacted drafts. In a startling footnote in the government’s response, the DOJ admits the drafts are all that exist. “Although the reports produced to the defendant are marked ‘draft,’ counsel for the DNC and DCCC informed the government that they are the last version of the report produced,” the footnote says.

In other words CrowdStrike, upon which the FBI relied to conclude that Russia hacked the DNC, never completed a final report and only turned over three redacted drafts to the government.

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When Dead Companies Don’t Die – Welcome To The Fat, Slow World, by Ruchir Sharma

There’s a huge price to pay for not allowing the market to kill off companies that can’t compete. From Ruchir Sharma at nytimes.com via zerohedge.com:

he policies created to pull the world out of recession are still in place, but now they are strangling the global economy…

The United States’ recovery from the Great Recession recently turned 10 years old, matching the longest American expansion since records were first kept in the 1850s. The global recovery will also turn 10, in January, if it lasts that long — and that, too, would be a record.

But there have been few celebrations, in part because trade tensions have further slowed the pace of recovery. Since the end of the recession, the economy has grown at about 2 percent a year in the United States and 3 percent worldwide – both nearly a point below the average for postwar recoveries.

What explains the longest, weakest recovery on record? I blame the unintended consequences of huge government rescue programs, which have continued since the recession ended.

Before 2008, more open trade borders and better internet communications promoted strong growth by leveling the playing field, inspiring the Times columnist Thomas Friedman to declare that “the world is flat.”

Once the crisis hit, however, governments erected barriers to protect domestic companies. Central banks aggressively printed money to restore high growth. Instead, growth came back in a sluggish new form, as easy money propped up inefficient companies and gave big companies favorable access to cheap credit, encouraging them to grow even bigger.

If the world was flat and fast before 2008, today it’s fat and slow.

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The Truth Versus Your Truth, by James Howard Kunstler

The “truth” of those peddling the Russiagate story is starting to clash with the truth of actual facts, actors, and their actions. That latter truth may discomfit the Russiagate peddlers. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Who knew that these mid-cycle days of the long emergency (i.e. the collapse of techno-industrial economies) would feature the willful abandonment of reason by the thinking class of Western Civ, and America extra-specially? Reminder: the basic catalyst for collapse is over-investments in complexity with diminishing returns. The rest follows from there.

Another name for diminishing returns is blowback. The Internet is certainly the most complex assembly of human thought in human history and it is blowing back ferociously on humanity in ways that are far from obvious. It has set in motion countless recursive feedback loops of misinformation, disinformation, and ideas that are simply bad in the sense that they don’t comport with reality. Hence, the new elastic meaning of the concept known as “truth.”

Capital T Truth used to be mankind’s conduit to reality. To even state it that way now may invite censure for sexism, since the word “man” has lately been burdened with toxic overtones; while the concept of sexism itself is tinged with the unreal notion that the hard-wired tensions between men and women should not be allowed to exist and must be abolished. That’s how hopelessly complex it’s getting. The divorce between truth and reality is nearly complete now that everybody has his/her/zhe’s own truth, and the facts are just ornaments subject to rearrangement within anyone’s own story.

The stupendous failures of authority driving America to political collapse are one manifestation of these dynamics, and one that might concern the thinking class, if it wasn’t so busy mind-fucking itself and everybody else. For instance, that most recent example of non-inclusive “truth” known as the Mueller Report. That hallowed document states unequivocally that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s email server in 2016.

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From Dollar Hegemony to Global Warming: Globalization, Glyphosate and Doctrines of Consent, by Colin Todhunter

Get people to focus on your made-up issues and they’ll not notice that you’re robbing them blind of both their money and their freedom. From Colin Todhunter at counterpunch.org:

There has been an on-going tectonic shift in the West since the abandonment of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. This accelerated when the USSR ended and has resulted in the ‘neoliberal globalization’ we see today.

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented campaign to re-engineer social consensus in the West. Part of this strategy, involves getting populations in Western countries to fixate on ‘global warming’, ‘gender equity’ and ‘anti-racism’: by focusing on identity politics and climate change, the devastating effects and injustices brought about by globalized capitalism and associated militarism largely remain unchallenged by the masses and stay firmly in the background.

This is the argument presented by Denis Rancourt, researcher at Ontario Civil Liberties Association, in a new report. Rancourt is a former full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada and author of ‘Geo-economics andgeo-politics drive successive eras of predatory globalization and socialengineering: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, andanti-racism as state doctrines’ (April 2019).

In the report, Rancourt references Michael Hudson’s 1972 book ‘Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire’ to help explain the key role of maintaining dollar hegemony and the importance of the petrodollar to US global dominance. Aside from the significance of oil, Rancourt argues that the US has an existential interest to ensure that opioid drugs are traded in US dollars, another major global commodity. This explains the US occupation of Afghanistan. He also pinpoints the importance of US agribusiness and the arms industry in helping to secure US geostrategic goals.

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The Generals Won’t Save Us From the Next War, by Danny Sjursen

Generals are boot-licking careerists. They won’t speak up against the US’s next idiotic military misadventure. From Danny Sjursen at theamericanconservative.com:

U.S. Pentagon brass listen to President Trump’s State of the Union Address, Feb. 5, 2019. (CSPAN/You Tube/Screengrab)

Poll after poll indicates that the only public institution Americans still trust is the military. Not Congress, not the presidency, not the Supreme Court, the church, or the media. Just the American war machine.

But perhaps that faith in the U.S. Armed Forces is misplaced. I got to thinking about this recently after I wrote articles calling for dissent among military leaders in order to stop what seems to be a likely forthcoming war with Iran. While I still believe that dissent in the ranks stands the best chance of galvanizing an apathetic public against an ill-advised, immoral conflict in the Persian Gulf, I also know its a pipe dream.

These are company men, after all, obedient servants dedicated—no matter how much they protest otherwise—to career and promotion, as much or more than they are to the national interest. The American military, especially at the senior ranks, is apt to let you down whenever courage or moral fortitude is needed most. In nearly 18 years of post-9/11 forever war, not a single general has resigned in specific opposition to what many of them knew to be unwinnable, unethical conflicts. Writing about the not-so-long-ago Vietnam War, former national security advisor H.R. McMaster, himself a problematic war on terror general, labeled in his book title such military acquiescence Dereliction of Duty. That it was, but so is the lack of moral courage and logical reasoning among McMaster and his peers who have submissively waged these endless wars in Americans’ name.

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Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems, by Caitlin Johnstone

Above all, governments must control the flow of information, and anything that threatens that control must be eliminated. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

A new article by Forbes reports that the CEO of Crowdstrike, the extremely shady cybersecurity corporation which was foundational in the construction of the official CIA/CNN Russian hacking narrative, is now a billionaire.

George Kurtz ascended to the billionaire rankings on the back of soaring stocks immediately after the company went public, carried no doubt on the winds of the international fame it gained from its central protagonistic role in the most well-known hacking news story of all time. A loyal servant of empire well-rewarded.

Never mind that US government insiders like Hillary Clinton had been prepping for escalations against Russia well in advance of the 2016 elections, and that their preexisting agendas to shove a geostrategic obstacle off the world stage benefitted from the hacking narrative as much as George Kurtz did.

Never mind that Crowdstrike is tied to the NATO narrative management firm known as the Atlantic Council, which receives funding from the US government, the EU, NATO, Gulf states and powerful international oligarchs. Never mind either that Crowdstrike was financed with a whopping $100 million from Google, which has had a cozy relationship with US intelligence agencies since its very inception.

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