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.
US relations with China go from bad to worse. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
So much for a trade war truce between China and the US, or a stock market Christmas rally for that matter.
Shortly after the news hit that Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng — also deputy chairwoman and the daughter of Huawei’s founder — was arrested on December 1, or right around the time Trump and Xi were having dinner in Buenos Aires last Saturday, and faces extradition to the U.S. as a result of a DOJ investigation into whether the Chinese telecom giant sold gear to Iran despite sanctions on exports to the region, China immediately lodged a formal protest publishing a statement at its embassy in Canada, and demanding the U.S. and its neighbor “rectify wrongdoings” and free Meng, warning it would “closely follow the development of the issue” and will “take all measures” to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.
Full statement below:
Remarks of the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Canada on the issue of a Chinese citizen arrested by the Canadian side
At the request of the US side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim. The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou.
We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.
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.
In trading and gambling, there’s a phrase: cut your losses. The phrase has its uses in foreign and military policy as well. From Maj. Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
These days it seems everything the U.S. military touches in Afghanistan turns to rubbish. It’s possible this war is already over, only Washington won’t concede it.
I’ll admit it. I’m sick of writing about America’s longest war – the quagmire in Afghanistan. Still, in a time of near media blackout on this issue, someone has to keep banging the drum. Of late, it seems every single week that those of us who follow the war are inundated with more bad news. It all adds up to what this author has long been predicting in Afghanistan: the impending military defeat of the U.S.-trained Afghan Army and its American advisors. This is a fact that should rattle the public, shake up policymakers, and usher in a holistic review of the entirety of America’s interventions in the Greater Middle East. Only don’t count on it – Washington prefers, like a petulant child, to cover its proverbial eyes and ignore the fated failure of this hopeless war and several others like it.
This past month, four US service members were killed in Afghanistan, bringing the 2018 total to 13 American deaths. That may sound like a relatively modest casualty count, but given the contracted US troop totals in country and the transition to using those troopers only in an advisory capacity, this represents a serious spike in American deaths. Add to this the exponential rise in Afghan Security Force casualties over the last few years, and the recent rise in green-on-blue attacks – in which partnered Afghan “allies” turn their guns on their American advisors – and matters look even worse. Despite the ubiquitous assertions of senior US commander after commander that the mission has “turned a corner,” and that “victory” is near, there’s no meaningful evidence to that effect.
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
This should come as no surprise. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
It appears that special counsel Robert Mueller withheld key information in its plea deal with Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, which would exonerate Trump and undermine the entire purpose of the special counsel, according to Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations.
Cohen pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Senate intelligence committee in 2017 about the Trump Organization’s plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow – telling them under oath that negotiations he was conducting ended five months sooner than they actually did.
Mueller, however, in his nine-page charging document filed with the court seen by Capitol Hill sources, failed to include the fact that Cohen had no direct contacts at the Kremlin – which undercuts any notion that the Trump campaign had a “backchannel” to Putin.
On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel’s collusion case. –RCI
Trump has been neutered. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
I knew there was something wrong with Donald Trump’s presidency the day he bombed the airbase at Al-Shairat in Syria. It was a turning point. I knew it was a mistake the moment he did it and argued as such at the time.
No act by him was more contentious.
It cost me hundreds of followers gained throughout the campaign who wanted to believe Trump was playing 4-D chess. My Periscopes went from being events to afterthoughts.
Those that left needed to believe this because they had invested so much in him.
They had to believe he was playing some deep game with Putin to bring peace to the region.
I was right and truth is painful. The need for him to be Orange Jesus was so strong they created Qanon and the ‘science’ of political horoscope as slowly but surely Trump was stripped of all of his power except that of complaining about how unfair it all is.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Insurrection, Military, Politics, Trade
Tagged Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin