Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

WSJ Shreds Vaccine Makers, Biden Admin Over “Deceptive” Booster Campaign, by Tyler Durden

It’s like turning an aircraft carrier, but it’s clear that sentiment is turning against vaccines, the companies that make them, and the regulators who supposedly regulate them. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Allysia Finley has taken a flamethrower to vaccine makers over their “deceptive” campaign for bivalent Covid boosters, and slams several federal agencies for taking “the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.

You might have heard a radio advertisement warning that if you’ve had Covid, you could get it again and experience even worse symptoms. The message, sponsored by the Health and Human Services Department, claims that updated bivalent vaccines will improve your protection.

This is deceptive advertising. But the public-health establishment’s praise for the bivalent shots shouldn’t come as a surprise. -WSJ

The narrative behind the campaign was simple; mRNA Covid shots could simply be ‘tweaked’ to to target new variants – in this case, the jabs were claimed to confer protection against BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, along with the original Wuhan strain.

To call this wishful thinking would be extremely generous.

As Finley writes, three scientific problems have arisen.

  1. The virus is mutating much faster than vaccines can be updated.
  2. Vaccines have ‘hard wired’ our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, “so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralize variants targeted by updated vaccines.”
  3. Antibody protection wanes after just a few months.

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“No Individuals Have Been Held Accountable”: WSJ Editorial Board Slams FISA Circus, by Tyler Durden

Will the individuals responsible for the depredations detailed in IG Horowitz’s report ever be called to account? A cynical answer would certainly be understandable. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Following the release of the DOJ Inspector General’s report revealing that the FBI deceived the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in order to spy on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, presiding FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a rare public rebuke – while ordering the agency to clean up its act, and fast.

Collyer noted despite the FBI’s “heightened duty of candor,” officials fabricated evidence and concealed information from the court which harmed their argument that Page was an “agent of a foreign power,” fabricated evidence.

Because of this, the court is now concerned about “whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.”

Those involved in the operation to take Trump down, meanwhile, are scrambling to downplay the IG report while taking as little responsibility as possible. After the FBI first tried to pass the buck – insisting that the Page applications were legit since the FISA court approved them, former FBI Director James Comey’s feet were finally held to the fire by Fox News host Chris Wallace last weekend:

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WSJ Says CIA Chief Wouldn’t Do Anything ‘Inappropriate’—Despite Record of Torture and Coverup, by Joshua Cho

Sometimes you wonder if the Wall Street Journal doesn’t just take dictation from the CIA. From Joshua Cho at fair.org:

Depiction of Gina Haspel in Wall Street Journal

A Wall Street Journal report (5/25/19) by Warren Strobel whitewashed CIA Director Gina Haspel’s career and put a positive spin on the CIA’s insulation from public accountability with its turn towards its greatest opacity “in decades.”

While one might expect CIA officials to support greater secrecy around the organization, it’s odd that ostensibly independent journalists—with a mission to hold official organizations accountable by informing the public—would treat less information coming from the agency as a positive development.

WSJ: Under CIA Chief Gina Haspel, an Intelligence Service Returns to the Shadows

The Wall Street Journal (5/25/19) says “returns to the shadows” like that’s a good thing.

Yet that’s exactly what the Journal report did, depicting Haspel’s strategy of avoiding backlash from the Trump administration by not publicly contradicting its dubious claims as “protecting the agency” from “the domestic threat of a toxic US political culture.”

“She and her agency have adopted their lowest public profile in decades,” Strobel writes—just before summing her up as a “CIA director who has been warmly received by the workforce she has spent her life among.”

In other words, for the Journal, a public intelligence agency sharing its intelligence with the public is a bad thing, unless it supports US foreign policy by agreeing with whatever the Trump administration is saying. This position is echoed in the piece by official sources, like former CIA official and staff director of the House Intelligence Committee Mark Lowenthal, who assures us, “It’s not going to be any good for her [Haspel] to be out there attracting lightning bolts.”

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“The Stakes Here Go Beyond Trump’s Future” WSJ Editors Demand Truth About FBI Spying, from Zero Hedge

The Wall Street Journal is asking awkward questions and making troublesome demands. From the Journal via zerohedge.com:

Amid all the liberal media’s meltdown over President Trump’s “interference” in the ‘investigation’ by “hereby demanding” that potential crimes by Obama’s FBI be investigated – and The Deep State’s insistence that any exposure of the already-leaked name of the Trump campaign spy would damage national security – The Wall Street Journal refuses to back off its intense pressure to get to the truth.

President Trump dropped a three-tweet quote this morning…

John Brennan is panicking. He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the…

…top of the FBI. Brennan started this entire debacle about President Trump. We now know that Brennan had detailed knowledge of the (phony) Dossier…he knows about the Dossier, he denies knowledge of the Dossier, he briefs the Gang of 8 on the Hill about the Dossier, which…

…they then used to start an investigation about Trump. It is that simple. This guy is the genesis of this whole Debacle. This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation. Brennan has disgraced himself, he’s worried about staying out of Jail.”

– Dan Bongino

This “odd” action of actual news reporting comes as a shock to many as The Editorial Board asks some very awkward questions of various messianic people and institutions as reporter Kimberley Strassel’s findings are proved correct and the truth is demanded

Well, what do you know. The Federal Bureau of Investigation really did task an “informant” to insinuate himself with Trump campaign advisers in 2016. Our Kimberley Strassel reported this two weeks ago without disclosing a name.

To continue reading: “The Stakes Here Go Beyond Trump’s Future” WSJ Editors Demand Truth About FBI Spying

WSJ Asks “Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’?” by Kimberly Strassel

When did the FBI become an arm of the Democratic party’s campaign against Trump, and when did the Democratic party become an arm of the FBI’s investigation of Trump? Key questions from Kimberly Strassel at The Wall Street Journal, via zerohedge.com:

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter  the  liberal mainstream media’s anti-Trump-ness with Kimberly Strassel leading the charge, dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as ‘Alt-Right’ or ‘Nazi’ or be ‘punished’ by search- and social-media-giants.

Earlier in the week, with Trump now calling out the debacle as “possible bigger than Watergate,” Strassel tweet-stormed some key points that everyone – leftist and right – should consider… (that’s wishful thinking)…

1. So a few important points on that new NYT “Hurricane Crossfire” piece. A story that, BTW, all of us following this knew had to be coming. This is DOJ/FBI leakers’ attempt to get in front of the facts Nunes is forcing out, to make it not sound so bad. Don’t buy it. It’s bad.

2. Biggest takeaway: Govt “sources” admit that, indeed, the Obama DOJ and FBI spied on the Trump campaign. Spied. (Tho NYT kindly calls spy an “informant.”) NYT slips in confirmation far down in story, and makes it out like it isn’t a big deal. It is a very big deal.

3. In self-serving desire to get a sympathetic story about its actions, DOJ/FBI leakers are willing to provide yet more details about that “top secret” source (namely, that spying was aimed at Page/Papadopoulos)–making all more likely/certain source will be outed. That’s on them

4. DOJ/FBI (and its leakers) have shredded what little credibility they have in claiming they cannot comply with subpoena. They are willing to provide details to friendly media, but not Congress? Willing to risk very source they claim to need to protect?

5. Back in Dec., NYT assured us it was the Papadopoulos-Downer convo that inspired FBI to launch official counterintelligence operation on July 31, 2016. Which was convenient, since it diminished the role of the dossier. However . . .

6. Now NYT tells us FBI didn’t debrief downer until August 2nd. And Nunes says no “official intelligence” from allies was delivered to FBI about that convo prior to July 31. So how did FBI get Downer details? (Political actors?) And what really did inspire the CI investigation?

To continue reading: WSJ Asks “Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’?”

Why Have Investigations of Wall Street Disappeared from Corporate Media? by Pam Martens and Russ Martens

The corporate media, most notably the Wall Street Journal, has no interest in investigating Wall Street. From Pam Martens and Russ Martens at wallstreetonparade.com:

Hurricanes, wildfires, the multiple investigations of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and the calamity-du-jour in the Trump White House are gobbling up an outsized share of digital and print news pages at corporate media. What’s gone missing is intrepid, in-depth investigations of Wall Street’s latest scam against the public – even at corporate media outlets purporting to focus on Wall Street.

Consider today’s front page of the Wall Street Journal: there’s an article on health care; central banks and stimulus; Iraqi forces and Kurdish fighters; how Blackstone Group is on the prowl for retail investors; and a curious report on long-haul truckers cooking up jambalaya and Thai peanut pork (you can’t make this stuff up). There is nothing about an investigation of a mega Wall Street bank; the dangers these behemoths continue to pose to taxpayers and the U.S. economy; nothing about Wall Street’s return to its jaded ways that led to the epic financial crash of 2008 – despite the fact that all of this is happening and timely and the public has a right to be reading about it in a paper whose beat is ostensibly Wall Street.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought Dow Jones & Company in late 2007 after a century of ownership by the Bancroft family. The purchase just happened to come at a time when the Federal Reserve had secretly begun to funnel what would end up totaling $16 trillionin cumulative low-cost loans to bail out the Wall Street mega banks and their foreign counterparts.

In 2011, the Pew Research Center released a study on how front page coverage had changed since the News Corp. purchase of the Wall Street Journal. Pew found that “coverage has clearly moved away from what had been the paper’s core mission under previous ownership—covering business and corporate America.  In the past three and a half years, front-page coverage of business is down about one-third from what it had been in 2007, the last year of the old ownership regime.”

What is not down but “up” at the Wall Street Journal is its defense of the Wall Street banking giants’ indefensible practices on its editorial and opinion pages.

To continue reading: Why Have Investigations of Wall Street Disappeared from Corporate Media?

Fed Reporter Pedro Da Costa Is Leaving The Wall Street Journal After Asking Yellen “Uncomfortable” Questions, by Tyler Durden

As if the mainstream press needed any further reinforcement, between the WSJ and the Federal Reserve the message is painfully clear: Don’t Rock The Boat! From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

It was virtually inevitable.

As we reported on June 17, Pedro Da Costa, one of the more determined and controversial Fed reporters, was shocked to learn he was no longer welcome to ask Janet Yellen uncomfortable questions, questions related to the biggest scandal currently gripping the Fed: its leaks of proprietary information to “expert network” Medley Global (recently sold by Pearson to Japan’s Nikkei) and one which has since morphed into a criminal investigation.

As a reminder, this is the Q&A that got Pedro in hot water with Janet Yellen during the March press conference:

PEDRO DA COSTA. Pedro da Costa with Dow Jones Newswires. I guess I have two follow-ups, one with regard to Craig’s question. So, before the IG’s investigation, according to Republican Congressman Hensarling’s letter to your office, he says that, “It is my understanding that although the Federal Reserve’s General Counsel was initially involved in this investigation, the inquiry was dropped at the request of several members of the FOMC.” Now, that predates the IG. I want to know if you could tell us who are these members of the FOMC who struck down this investigation? And doesn’t not revealing these facts kind of go directly against the sort of transparency and accountability that you’re trying to bring to the central bank?

CHAIR YELLEN. That is an allegation that I don’t believe has any basis in fact. I’m not going to go into the details, but I don’t know where that piece of information could possibly have come from.

PEDRO DA COSTA. If I could follow up on his question. I think when you get asked about financial crimes and the public hears you talk about compliance, you get a sense that there’s not enough enforcement involved in these actions, and that it’s merely a case of kind of trying to achieve settlements after the fact. Is there a sense in the regulatory community that financial crimes need to be punished sort of more forcefully in order for them to be—for there to be an actual deterrent against unethical behavior?

CHAIR YELLEN. So, the—you’re talking about within banking organizations? So, the focus of regulators—the banking regulators—is safety and soundness, and what we want to see is changes made as rapidly as possible that will eliminate practices that are unsafe and unsound.

We can’t—only the Justice Department can bring criminal action, and they have taken up cases where they think that that’s appropriate. In some situations, when we are able to identify individuals who were responsible for misdeeds, we can put in place prohibitions that bar them from participating in banking, and we have done so and will continue to do so.

To continue reading: Pedro Da Costa Is Leaving The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal–Lapdog For Multiple Laps, by Robert Gore

Using The Wall Street Journal for either news or analysis presents considerable risks. Last week the website Zero Hedge published and SLL reposted an article, “WSJ Notes ‘Chances That China’s Data Is Real Is Very Low’ Then Promptly Scrubs It.” China reported second quarter GDP growth of 7 percent to widespread skepticism. In its initial online story, the Journal included a quote concerning the growth figure.

“The chances that that data is real is very low,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, Natixis’s chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region. “Would you publish GDP data that looks south at this point in time? I don’t think so.”

However, when the final draft was published, the quote from Nataxis’s Herrero had been deleted.

Most financial research—from all sources—coming out of Hong Kong and China about the Chinese government or its policies is sterile and circumspect, and therefore suspect. Even bearish calls on the economy or financial markets are rare; they can imply inefficacy of the government’s policies. It is quite sensitive and sometimes takes action against those who don’t toe the line, understandably frightening everyone else. Did the Journal self-censor itself to avoid giving offense by eliminating the suggestion that Chinese numbers are not “real”? We may never know, but it is certainly a plausible explanation.

That the Journal would kowtow to the Chinese government is disturbing, and if it did both its veracity and integrity are impugned. However, its stance toward Saudi Arabia’s government abandons even the facade of objectivity.

Wednesday, the Journal published an editorial, “What Will the Arabs Do Now?” that could have been written in Riyadh. There should have been a border around the editorial with the label ADVERTISEMENT. The opening paragraph implores those always reticent Middle Eastern Arab nations to speak up and let their opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal be known. Is there any reasonably well-informed person on the planet who does not know the Arab position on the Iranian deal? For anyone still ignorant, consider the recent Arab snub of President Obama. Subalterns instead of the invited heads of state attended a conference in Washington in which he attempted to explain and defend the preliminary agreement with Iran. Arab feelings are no mystery.

And the Journal is deeply empathetic.

The prospect of a nuclear-threshold Iran newly fortified with cash from sanctions relief has to be terrifying for its [Saudi Arabia’s] Sunni Arab neighbors. Tradition Persian imperialism combined with Shiite revolutionary fervor make for a fearsome regional threat, especially with President Obama signaling U.S. retreat from the region. Iran is now the most important foreign influence in Baghdad, and its Shiite militias are more powerful than Iraq’s army. Iran will have far more resources to spend arming its Shiite and other proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Why should the US care if Sunni Arabs are terrified? We know the answer to that one, which we’ll get to later, but are Sunni Arabs any less terrifying than Shiite Iranians? Saudi Arabia and Iran are both repressive, fundamentalist Islamic theocracies. The Journal warns of Iran having more resources to fund its “proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen,” but never mentions Saudi Arabia and its Sunni neighbors’ proxies: Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is fighting alongside Al Qaeda against Shiite Houthi rebels who overthrew a US-backed government (installed without an election). Although ostensibly part of a US alliance against the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Arab Gulf States have aided and abetted those Sunni forces.

Iran’s support of fellow Shiite Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Shiites in Lebanon and Syria, is worrisome to the Journal, but the Arabs get a free pass for their support of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. You might think that the US had picked sides in the never-ending Sunni-Shiite conflict, a fools’ errand (see “Deal Us In!”). Unfortunately, the American government’s foolishness goes beyond that: it’s on both sides of the conflict. It has installed a majority Shiite government in Iraq and trained its military. Not too well, evidently; the Iraqis main battle plan against Islamic State has been retreat. Iran’s Shiite militias, which the Journal notes are more powerful than Iraq’s army, have actually won battles against Islamic State. However, nobody in the US government or at the Journal will admit that the US and Iran are on the same side in that fight, or that Iran has aided the US.

The Journal’s primary concern is that Iran might obtain nuclear bombs, and it raises the possibility that an Iranian bomb would set off a Middle Eastern arms race.

He [Saudi Prince Alaweed bin Talal] all but said the Saudis could purchase a nuclear bomb off the shelf from Pakistan given the close ties between the countries.

Prince Turki al Faisal, Riyadh’s former intelligence minister, was even more blunt this March, saying the Kingdom “will want the same” nuclear technology Iran is granted in a deal. That would include a plutonium reactor and thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium.

If the possibility that Iran after the agreement might someday develop a nuclear weapon (but only after a great deal of subterfuge, effort, and expense) is disturbing, why has nobody worried that Saudi Arabia might buy bombs from Pakistan, which Prince Alaweed bin Talal implies they could do? If the possibility of a bomb in the hands of fundamentalist, repressive, terrorism-fomenting Iran sparks horror, why does it not do so in the hands of fundamentalist, repressive, terrorism-fomenting Saudi Arabia? For that matter, is anyone concerned that Pakistan, a corrupt, politically unstable, Muslim state (with a Sunni majority) already has the bomb? It would seem that if we are to lose sleep over the prospect of an Iranian bomb years down the road, then the present reality of a Pakistani bomb should induce nonstop insomnia.

As for the possibility that Saudi Arabia could develop the same nuclear technologies that Iraq will be permitted to develop under the agreement: it has had that option for years and retains it whether the agreement is adopted or not. Saudi Arabia and Iran have both ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), which allows participants to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Under the agreement, Iraq can continue the peaceful nuclear research that it has the right to continue under the NNPT. The safeguards are designed to prevent it from developing prohibited military applications, that is, nuclear bombs. Saudi Arabia has always had the same right to pursue peaceful nuclear research. If it did so, would anyone in the US government or at the Journal worry, as they do with Iran, that it might secretly develop its own bombs?

We know the reason for the US double-standard between Iran and Saudi Arabia: the grand bargain. The US protects the Arab nations from all enemies, domestic and foreign, stationing military bases in Saudi Arabia and its neighbors and selling them massive amounts of military hardware. In return, they guarantee the flow of oil at a price that is profitable to them, but which does not overly tax the US economy. The oil trade is denominated in dollars, bolstering the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. The Arabs recycle the dollars acquired into US investments, including its sovereign debt.

Undoubtedly there is sub rosa plank in the grand bargain: the US government and its compliant media outlets, including the Journal, will downplay or ignore Arab depredations. Swept under the rug is the brutality of Sharia-based criminal law, including stoning and beheading; subjugation of women; persecution of homosexuals; widespread discrimination against Shiite minorities; promotion of world-wide terrorism (we still do not have a complete accounting of the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government or its citizens in the 9/11 attack); cronyism and rampant corruption; foreign espionage and skullduggery; glaring inequality of wealth, and lack of opportunity and high unemployment, especially among the region’s young.

Iran will never be a party to such a grand bargain. It is inconceivable that Iran will declare it’s love for the US, even an insincere, Saudi-style love. In 1953, the CIA and Britain’s MI6 organized a coup against Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq in retaliation for the nationalization of the British-owned oil industry. Mossaddeq was replaced by exiled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah’s repression, especially the brutal internal security service SAVAK, economic and financial policies tilted towards a small elite, and support from the United States fueled popular resentment. He was overthrown in the 1979 revolution. Iranians have forgotten neither the US role in the 1953 coup nor its support of the hated Shah, which makes the continuous US refrain about Iran not being trustworthy almost comical—the mote versus the beam (Matthew 7:3).

Sometimes fights break out because the opponents are so much alike. That fits the present version of the long-running conflict between Persia and Arabia. In championing Saudi Arabia and demonizing Iran, the Journal misses the real prospect that “has to be terrifying” to both nations’ governments. Sooner or later, their peoples will get fed up with the archaic economics, politics, technology, communications, piety, and social interaction to which those reactionary, repressive, fundamentalist governments have consigned them. Both governments are doomed dinosaurs. When Persians and Arabs overthrow their tyrannies, maybe they can instate the freedom that would allow them to regain their historical prominence, realize their considerable potential, and enjoy all the benefits the 21st century has to offer.


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A CIA Press Release, by Robert Gore

Trevor Timm does a fine job of taking the mainstream media to task (see “The media’s Reaction to Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Scoop has been disgraceful,” SLL, 5/18/15) for its coverage of Seymour Hersh’s story on the death of Osama bin Laden ( see “The Killing of Osama bin Laden,” SLL, 5/13/15). In Mr. Timm’s words: “Barrels of ink have been spilled ripping apart Hersh’s character, while barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his claims—even though there’s no doubt that the Obama administration has repeatedly misinformed and misled the public about the incident.” This piece will confine itself to one article, “Separating Fact From Seymour Hersh’s Fiction About bin Laden,” by Michael Morell, published on The Wall Street Journal opinion page this weekend in its May 16-17 edition.

Morell is a former deputy director of the CIA and author of a book, “The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism—From al Qa’ida to ISIS.” He is obviously top-drawer CIA. Hersh’s story maintains that the account given the public about bid Laden’s death is mostly a fabrication, and that the CIA was at the heart of constructing and maintaining that fabrication. By his own account, Morell had a central role in the part the CIA played in bin Laden’s death. So the Journal is allowing someone who, if Hersh’s story is correct, would have been involved in the fabrication.

There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone is entitled to tell their story, although most of us don’t have access to the WSJ. Morrell gets right to it, claiming, “that Mr. Hersh’s 10,000-word story in the London Review of Books was filled with falsehoods,” and offering refutations of some of them. On these points, he claims personal knowledge of contrary facts and actual presence at certain disputed events. However, he offers no corroboration for his assertions, and the people he says were present with him during some of the events—former CIA director Leon Panetta and President Obama—would have an obvious interest in supporting Morell’s version.

If this were a trial, a jury would give Morell’s article about the same weight as a jury would in a trial where the defendant’s mother testified, with no other evidentiary support, that her boy was watching TV in her living room, enjoying his milk and cookies, at the time of the murder. Morell admits he got something wrong: “I was certain that Mr. Hersh’s allegations would be quickly dismissed.” Hersh broke the Mai Lai massacre story, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, and has faced off with the CIA before. In 1974, his New York Times article exposed its massive domestic intelligence operation and files on at least 10,000 American citizens (see “Huge C.I.A. Operation Reported in U.S. Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents In Nixon Years,” cryptome.org). The reactions from most of the press and the government at the time of that story were identical to reactions to the bin Laden story—blanket denials and challenges to the quality of reporting—but a year later William Colby, director of the CIA, admitted the allegations were true. Hersh hasn’t always been right, but his veracity is less open to question than the C.I.A.’s, which makes Morell’s statement laughable.

If the Journal thinks that all it need do is trot out an authority figure and case closed, it is either caught in a 1950‘s time warp, when authorities’ statements were generally accepted without question, or believes its readers are dolts. There has been far too much documented and verified lying the last six decades from the government, including the military and the intelligence agencies, to take Morell’s piece as anything more than a press release. The Journal resorts to such puffery because it has no case against Mr. Hersh. If it did, it would hold its tongue, practice actual journalism, and dig up sources, documentation, and other evidence that confirmed its version of the events in question, rather than print an airy denial of the alternative version from someone allegedly complicit in that version’s account of skullduggery. With prevarication rampant across journalism, business, and government, one can rarely be 100 percent certain of anything. However, the Morell piece should move fair-minded readers to the 99 percent certainty level on two points: the Journal is an intelligence agency press organ, and Hersh got it right, again.



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Getting High On Their Own Supply, by Robert Gore

The Wall Street Journal recently had an editorial on Mike Huckabee’s presidential aspirations, “Huckabee’s Revival Campaign,” 5/6/15. It noted that evangelicals support Huckabee, but as governor of Arkansas, he was a taxer and spender. The editorial was pedestrian, but the concluding sentence revealed why this august newspaper’s editorial page is fast becoming go to humor for anyone with a fealty to facts and a disdain for political parties and the powers that be: “It’s hard to see the logic of a Huckabee candidacy in this era of conservative reform, but if anyone can sell bigger government to Republicans, it’s probably him.”

About that “era of conservative reform,” when did it begin? It must have been when Republican majorities in both houses were sworn in last January, but less than four months hardly seems to qualify as an era, and what “reform” can Republicans lay claim to in that short span? Their brain trust has proposed a long term budget that will, like most such plans, increase spending now but supposedly cut it in the future. Like most such plans, it will soon gather dust in some Congressional archive. Republican partisans will argue given opposition from President Obama, implementation is not what’s important, but rather to illustrate the difference between their party and those fiscally irresponsible Democrats in 2016.

No doubt those Democrats are fiscally irresponsible, but swallowing small government Republican mythology requires complete ignorance of: history for the last six decades; the party’s electoral base, and its foreign and military policies. The last fiscally responsible Republican president was Eisenhower; Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush all left the national debt, and the government, larger than when they took office. All five talked good games, but you can count on one hand the number of programs they eliminated, and if those are netted out against the programs they started, you will need negative fingers.

Republican apologists blame Democratic-majority Congresses, but the second Bush had Republican Congressional majorities from 2001 to 2007 (from 2001 to 2003, the Senate was split 50-50, however there was a Republican vice-president to break ties) and the debt went from $5.769 trillion to $8.951 trillion, a 55 percent increase (Wikipedia, “History of the United States public debt”). For complete chapter and verse on Republican fiscal irresponsibility, see David Stockman’s excellent The Great Deformation (see “Entomology 101, A Review of David Stockman’s The Great Deformation,” SLL, 10/9/14). He was Reagan’s Budget Director, and he does not flinch recounting the Gipper’s spending and debt bacchanalia.

It will be smaller, not bigger government, that Republicans will have to “sell” to their own base. In 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, 23 percent of the budget went to Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care entitlements, and 22 percent went to Social Securities. Much of that spending goes to older people, the heavy-turnout group that tends to vote Republican. The demographics and economics are clear: these entitlements will, left unchecked, swallow an increasing share of the budget and drive taxes and the government’s debt to levels the economy cannot sustain.

Only a brave, or foolhardy, Republican would even bring up the subject, much less propose effective reform and have the tenacity to fight for it. The best chance the Republicans had was during the Bush presidency when they were in the majority in both houses of Congress, but pusillanimity was the order of the day. Now, the baby boom generation’s retirement is no longer on the horizon, but an ongoing fact, as the ranks of the eligible-for-benefits elderly swell. Any cuts in those benefits, increases in the age of eligibility, or taxing more affluent seniors will require an improbable and Herculean sales job. If getting their checks means that the government must continue to grow, then most recipients will swallow whatever qualms they might have about bigger government.

Here are facts of which many Republicans seem unaware. The military and intelligence agencies are part of the government. Global intervention is a “big government” program. Surveillance is a “big government” program. There is just as much waste in military and intelligence programs as there is in welfare and government medical programs (see “How to Build a $400 Billion F-35 That Doesn’t Fly,” SLL, 3/17/15 and “American F-35 vs Russia SU-30. Who wins?” SLL, 3/26/15). Finally, dollars spent on military and intelligence come from somewhere—either taxes or from borrowing that adds to annual deficits and the national debt (the military accounts for 19 percent of outlays before veterans’ benefits). Nobody has to “sell bigger government” to Republicans when it comes to defense and intelligence budgets and fighting wars all over the world; increasing the former and more of the latter will be planks in the party platform.

The Wall Street Journal’s concluding sentence is advertising copy, like “Miracle Eat All You Want Diet,” or “Natural Extract Cream Eliminates Wrinkles.” There is a saying in the advertising industry: “Don’t believe your own bullshit,” and a similar one in the illegal drug industry: “Don’t get high on your own supply.” We are not in an “era of conservative reform,” and Republicans don’t need to be sold on “big government.” The Journal and Fox News (both owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) have come to believe their own tirelessly recirculated Republican bullshit. High on their own supply, they were genuinely surprised that Barack Obama’s base stuck with him in 2012 and that many libertarian-leaning voters, those who actually want reform and smaller government, sat on their hands for big government Mitt Romney. For 2016, they either have their fingers crossed or are unaware that a two-minute Google search—“Historical federal budget”—is sufficient to dash their mythology. Either way, it won’t stop them from riding that mythology hard, or from being any less clueless if Hillary Clinton wins.


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