He Said That? 2/18/17

From Henry Kissinger, and he would know:

Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.

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The Stakes for Trump and All of Us, by Paul Craig Roberts

The intelligence ommunity will never forgive Trump for opposing its policies (Are intelligence communities supposed to have foreign policies?) towards Russia and the Middle East. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

 We need to understand, and so does President Trump, that the hoax “war on terror” was used to transform intelligence agencies, such as the NSA and CIA, and criminal investigative agencies, such as the FBI, into Gestapo secret police agencies. Trump is now threatened by these agencies, because he rejects the neoconservative’s agenda of US world hegemony that supports the gigantic military/security annual budget.

Our secret police agencies are busy at work planting “intelligence” among the presstitute media that Trump is compromised by “Russian connections” and is a security threat to the United States. The plan is to make a case in the media, as was done against President Nixon, and to force Trump from office. To openly take on a newly elected president is an act of extraordinary audacity that implies enormous confidence, or else desperation, on the part of the police state agencies.

Here you can see CNN openly cooperating with the CIA in treating wild and irresponsible speculation that Trump is under Russian influence as if it is an established fact. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46476.htm
The “evidence” provided by CNN and the CIA is a “report” by the New York Times that, with little doubt, was planted in the NYT by the CIA.

This is so obvious that it is clear that CNN and the CIA regard the American people as so gullible as to be completely stupid.

Glenn Greenwald explains to Amy Goodman that the CIA is after Trump, because Trump’s announced policy of reducing the dangerous tensions with Russia conflicts with the military/security complex’s need for a major enemy.

To continue reading: The Stakes for Trump and All of Us

 

Not Nearly Enough Growth To Keep Growing, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Growth has been in a long-run downtrend, and the Chinese credit spigot that has kept the global economy afloat is running into the law of diminishing returns. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

It’s amusing to see how views start to converge, at the same time that it’s tiresome to see how long that takes. It’s a good thing that more and more people ‘discover’ how and why austerity, especially in Europe, is such a losing and damaging strategy. It’s just a shame that this happens only after the horses have left the barn and the cows have come home, been fed, bathed, put on lipstick and gone back out to pasture again. Along the same lines, it’s beneficial that the recognition that for a long time economic growth has not been what ‘we’ think it should be, is spreading.

But we lost so much time that we could have used to adapt to the consequences. The stronger parties in all this, the governments, companies, richer individuals, may be wrong, but they have no reason to correct their wrongs: the system appears to work fine for them. They actually make good money because all corrections, all policies and all efforts to hide the negative effects of the gross ‘mistakes’, honest or not, made in economic and political circles are geared towards making them ‘whole’.

The faith in the absurd notion of trickle down ‘economics’ allows them to siphon off future resources from the lower rungs of society, towards themselves in the present. It will take a while for the lower rungs to figure this out. The St. Louis Fed laid it out so clearly this week that I wrote to Nicole saying ‘We’ve been vindicated by the Fed itself.’ That is, the Automatic Earth has said for many years that the peak of our wealth was sometime in the 1970’s or even late 1960’s.

To continue reading: Not Nearly Enough Growth To Keep Growing

 

This Is How the U.S. Empire Destroys Itself, by Bill Bonner

One of the best parts about Trump’s reign is the whining and wailing of his enemies. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

BALTIMORE – Victoribus spolia…

So far, the most satisfying thing about the Trump win has been the howls and whines coming from the establishment.

Each appointment – some good, some bad from our perspective – has brought forth such heavy lamentations.

You’d think Washington had been invaded by Goths, now raping the vestal virgins (if there are any within the Beltway) on the White House lawns while the Capitol burns to the ground.

Regret and Suffering

Trump is happening, of course.

And the very people who made it happen are now in various stages of regret… suffering… or hysteria.

What a delight it is to see them in such pain!

All along I-95 – from the Holland Tunnel to Route 295 into the heart of D.C., at a distance of a football field between one and another – you see their fabled leaders, lieutenants, and water carriers crucified, with a small crowd gathered around each, weeping.

There is Hillary, of course. And Senator Elizabeth Warren (secretly happy to see HRC brought to grief).

Then there’s Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. If there is another 9/11 crisis with Trump in charge, he warns: “America as we know it will soon be gone.”

There are the Republican traitors, too – Colin Powell, Henry Paulson, Michael Chertoff – now hanging from their crosses.

And there are the neo-con turncoats, too – Max Boot, Robert Kagan… Crucifixion is probably too good for them.

They are not only traitors to the Republican cause, whatever that may be, but warmongers, too, ready to switch allegiances just to keep the money flowing to their crony friends in the security industry.

Now they all keen away… But what did they expect?

To continue reading: This Is How the U.S. Empire Destroys Itself

 

Worse Than a Decade of Stagnation, by Wolf Richter

SLL has long maintained that the economy is in much worse shape than indicated by official statistics. With President Trump taking office, it’s a good bet the numbers will catch up with reality. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Retail sales are held up by only two sectors. The rest are sinking.

There are two components of “retail and food services sales” that have been booming over the past few years through the fourth quarter 2016. And then there’s all the rest combined – 71% of total retail sales – that has been in decline since the third quarter of 2008. That’s the tough reality of retail sales in the US.

First the good news: e-commerce sales

In the fourth quarter, e-commerce sales soared 14.3% from a year earlier, to $123.6 billion, not adjusted for seasonality and price changes, according to the Commerce Department today. E-commerce sales for the entire year 2016 jumped 15.1% year-over-year to $394.9 billion, accounting for 8.1% of total retail and food services sales, up from 7.3% in 2015. You see where this is going.

E-commerce sales include online sales by retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, such as Walmart and Macy’s that are all trying to carve out a presence on the internet, with varying success.

This chart uses seasonally adjusted e-commerce sales to eliminate the very large seasonal fluctuations, including the spike every Q4 and plunge every Q1, but it’s not adjusted for inflation:

While e-commerce soared 14.3% year-over-year in Q4, total retail and food services sales, including e-commerce, rose only 3.9%. In all of 2016, total retail sales edged up only 2.9% from 2015. So what is left over once e-commerce is removed from the equation?

To continue reading: Worse Than a Decade of Stagnation

 

Put Up Or Shut Up: Judicial Watch Sues FBI, NSA, CIA For Flynn Records, by Tyler Durden

It’s a matter of public interest, and perhaps of President Trump’s political survival, to investigate the leaks of information from the intelligence community, as it’s politely called in Eunuchville, to the friendly press agents of the mainstream media, and especially to give the American people a chance to see actual transcripts and original data, not just bullshit “assessments” and “summaries” from unnamed sources. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

As we noted previously, given the FBI has already ‘cleared’ Flynn, the only possible path for escalation from here by the deep state, is to leak the actual recorded calls to the press, thus “proving” Flynn lied, assuming of course, he did.

Furthermore, as Mike Krieger recently raged, the public should demand the Flynn transcripts

…How do we know what was really said without the transcript? The New York Times tells us…

“During the Christmas week conversation, he urged Mr. Kislyak to keep the Russian government from retaliating over the coming sanctions — it was an open secret in Washington that they were in the works — by telling him that whatever the Obama administration did could be undone, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified material. Federal officials who have read the transcript of the call were surprised by Mr. Flynn’s comments, since he would have known that American eavesdroppers closely monitor such calls. They were even more surprised that Mr. Trump’s team publicly denied that the topics of conversation included sanctions. Prosecutions in these types of cases are rare, and the law is murky, particularly around people involved in presidential transitions. The officials who had read the transcripts acknowledged that while the conversation warranted investigation, it was unlikely, by itself, to lead to charges against a sitting national security adviser.”

I have so many issues with the above reporting it’s hard to know where to start. Everything mentioned above is given to us secondhand via “anonymous American officials.” Nowhere do I see any specific quotes from the transcript, despite the fact that the paper admits it talked with federal officials who read it. Why not? Why must we hear about the content of the transcripts secondhand from anonymous officials? This is the most significant red flag with this whole story. If the leakers were truly interested in transparency, and wanted the public to know the truth, why not leak the transcript to Wikileaks and let the public decide?

To continue reading: Put Up Or Shut Up: Judicial Watch Sues FBI, NSA, CIA For Flynn Records

Who Rules the United States? by Matthew Continetti

Who runs the government—unelected bureaucrats or the people we elect? From Matthew Cotinetti at freebeacon.com:

Donald Trump was elected president last November by winning 306 electoral votes. He pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., to overturn the system of politics that had left the nation’s capital and major financial and tech centers flourishing but large swaths of the country mired in stagnation and decay. “What truly matters,” he said in his Inaugural Address, “is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”

Is it? By any historical and constitutional standard, “the people” elected Donald Trump and endorsed his program of nation-state populist reform. Yet over the last few weeks America has been in the throes of an unprecedented revolt. Not of the people against the government—that happened last year—but of the government against the people. What this says about the state of American democracy, and what it portends for the future, is incredibly disturbing.

There is, of course, the case of Michael Flynn. He made a lot of enemies inside the government during his career, suffice it to say. And when he exposed himself as vulnerable those enemies pounced. But consider the means: anonymous and possibly illegal leaks of private conversations. Yes, the conversation in question was with a foreign national. And no one doubts we spy on ambassadors. But we aren’t supposed to spy on Americans without probable cause. And we most certainly are not supposed to disclose the results of our spying in the pages of the Washington Post because it suits a partisan or personal agenda.

Here was a case of current and former national security officials using their position, their sources, and their methods to crush a political enemy. And no one but supporters of the president seems to be disturbed. Why? Because we are meant to believe that the mysterious, elusive, nefarious, and to date unproven connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin is more important than the norms of intelligence and the decisions of the voters.

To continue reading: Who Rules the United States?