Friday, December 22, 2017

Treason: Presidential Candidates Successfully Conspired with Foreign Leaders to Thwart Official American Policy and Drag Out War


Long-time rumors about presidential candidate Nixon conspiring to delay the ending of the Vietnam War were recently confirmed.

A year ago, historian and journalist John A Farrell wrote in the New York Times:

A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, [Nixon’s] closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks [President Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion], which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.


We must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.

Nixon had entered the fall campaign with a lead over Humphrey, but the gap was closing that October. Henry A. Kissinger, then an outside Republican adviser, had called, alerting Nixon that a deal was in the works: If Johnson would halt all bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviets pledged to have Hanoi engage in constructive talks to end a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives.

But Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

“! Keep Anna Chennault working on” South Vietnam, Haldeman scrawled, recording Nixon’s orders. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”

Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.

Here are some screenshots from Haldeman’s notes in Nixon’s presidential library:


Nixon also sought help from Chiang Kai-shek, the president of Taiwan. [An enemy of the United States.] And he ordered Haldeman to have his vice-presidential candidate, Spiro T. Agnew, threaten the C.I.A. director, Richard Helms. Helms’s hopes of keeping his job under Nixon depended on his pliancy, Agnew was to say. “Tell him we want the truth — or he hasn’t got the job,” Nixon said.


Nixon had cause to lie. His actions appear to violate federal law, which prohibits private citizens from trying to “defeat the measures of the United States.” His lawyers fought throughout Nixon’s life to keep the records of the 1968 campaign private. The broad outline of “the Chennault affair” would dribble out over the years. But the lack of evidence of Nixon’s direct involvement gave pause to historians and afforded his loyalists a defense.

Time has yielded Nixon’s secrets. Haldeman’s notes were opened quietly at the presidential library in 2007, where I came upon them in my research for a biography of the former president.


When Johnson got word of Nixon’s meddling, he ordered the F.B.I. to track Chennault’s movements. She “contacted Vietnam Ambassador Bui Diem,” one report from the surveillance noted, “and advised him that she had received a message from her boss … to give personally to the ambassador. She said the message was … ‘Hold on. We are gonna win. … Please tell your boss to hold on.’ ”

In a conversation with the Republican senator Everett Dirksen, the minority leader, Johnson lashed out at Nixon. “I’m reading their hand, Everett,” Johnson told his old friend. “This is treason.”

I know,” Dirksen said mournfully.

Johnson’s closest aides urged him to unmask Nixon’s actions. But on a Nov. 4 conference call, they concluded that they could not go public because, among other factors, they lacked the “absolute proof,” as Defense Secretary Clark Clifford put it, of Nixon’s direct involvement.

Nixon was elected president the next day.

The BBC’s 2013 report adds details:

Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson’s telephone calls provide a fresh insight ….


By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks – or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had “blood on his hands”.


In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris – concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.

Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.

So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.

He was also told why. The FBI had bugged the ambassador’s phone and a transcripts of Anna Chennault’s calls were sent to the White House. In one conversation she tells the ambassador to “just hang on through election”.

Johnson was told by Defence Secretary Clifford that the interference was illegal and threatened the chance for peace.

This is treason: contacting foreign leaders, including enemies of the United States, in order to thwart official U.S. policies and prolong war.

(There is also some rather intriguing circumstantial evidence that presidential candidate Ronald Reagan convinced the Iranians not to release American hostages until after the election … to make rival candidate Jimmy Carter look weak.)

That is in sharp distinction to the common practice of presidential candidates contacting foreign leaders for normal diplomatic purposes.

On the other hand, what type of foreign contacts did candidate Trump have with Russia?

The only thing which has proven so far is that Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael “Flynn asked Russia’s ambassador to refrain from escalating the situation regarding the U.S. sanctions on Russia” and “Flynn asked Russia’s ambassador to delay a vote on pending UN Security Council resolution on Israel”.

The first request would promote peace between two nuclear superpowers by delaying an escalating round of sanctions from spiraling out of control.

The second didn’t succeed … Russia ignored the Trump administration’s request, and voted to condemn Israeli settlements.

Such actions pale in comparison to what Nixon (and perhaps Reagan) did.

Treason: Presidential Candidates Successfully Conspired with Foreign Leaders to Thwart Official American Policy and Drag Out War was originally published on Washington's Blog


FBI, BLM Dug Their Own Grave: Cliven Bundy Case Declared Mistrial


It’s taken three years, but the Cliven Bundy family and their supporters finally have a sliver of vindication. On Wednesday, the case against Bundy and two of his sons was thrown out of court. After realizing that important facts were kept hidden from the defense team, and records about shocking behavior from government agents were…

The post FBI, BLM Dug Their Own Grave: Cliven Bundy Case Declared Mistrial appeared first on Conservative Tribune.


Silicon Valley Obscenity - 1 In 4 People Are "Food Insecure"


In the years since the first dot-com bubble burst, Silicon Valley has become emblematic of the intensifying wealth inequality that’s making life increasingly unaffordable for millions of working- and middle-class Americans.

And while the unprecedented wealth creation in the region has helped enrich hundreds of thousands of tech workers and entrepreneurs, virtually everybody else in the region – from college students to the cafeteria workers and janitors who service the headquarters of storied tech firms like Google and Facebook – has suffered from rising rents and a cost of living that’s far outstripped wage inflation.

Now, a study has found that more than one in four Silicon Valley residents is food insecure – meaning they go without at least one meal or rely on food pantries due to lack of financial resources, according to researchers at the Second Harvest food bank.

Using hundreds of community interviews and data modeling, a new study suggests that 26.8% of the population – almost 720,000 people – meet this ignominious designation. Furthermore, nearly a quarter are families with children.

“We call it the Silicon Valley paradox,” says Steve Brennan, the food bank’s marketing director. “As the economy gets better we seem to be serving more people.” Since the recession, Second Harvest has seen demand spike by 46%.

The Guardian interviewed local residents who qualify as food insecure for a story about the worsening wealth gap in one of the wealthiest regions in the US.

Karla Peralta is surrounded by food. As a line cook in Facebook’s cafeteria, she spends her days preparing free meals for the tech firm’s staff. She’s worked in kitchens for most of her 30 years in the US, building a life in Silicon Valley as a single mother raising two daughters.


But at home, food is a different story. The region’s soaring rents and high cost-of-living means that even with a full-time job, putting food on the table hasn’t been simple. Over the years she has struggled to afford groceries – at one point feeding her family of three with food stamps that amounted to $75 a week, about half what the government describes as a “thrifty” food budget. “I was thinking, when am I going to get through this?” she said.


In a region famed for its foodie culture, where the well-heeled can dine on gold-flecked steaks, $500 tasting menus and $29 loaves of bread, hunger is alarmingly widespread, according to a new study shared exclusively with the Guardian.

According to the Guardian, the food bank is literally at the center of the Silicon Valley boom – both literally and figuratively. It sits just half a mile from Cisco’s headquarters and counts Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg among its major donors. But the need it serves is exacerbated by this industry’s wealth; as high-paying tech firms move in, the cost of living rises for everyone else.

As we’ve pointed out, faced with some of the most expensive rental housing in the nation, some Bay Area residents are feeling priced out and are seeking low-cost alternatives like living in their cars, or commuting nearly two hours to work each way.

All of this is happening as the Nasdaq – which includes many of the tech behemoths like Facebook, Google and Apple that are based in the region – reached an all-time high above 7,000 on Monday.

Food insecurity often accompanies other poverty indicators, such as homelessness. San Jose, Silicon Valley’s largest city, had a homeless population of more than 4,000 people during a recent count.

For workers like Karla Peralta – the Facebook cafeteria worker who shared the story of her daily struggles with the Guardian – there’s a stark division between well-heeled salaried tech workers at Facebook, and others like herself who work under contract.

What’s worse, many workers like Peralta are finding themselves mired in an uncomfortable gray area: they make too much to qualify for government assistance, but not enough to get by.

These days Peralta earns too much to qualify for food stamps, but not enough not to worry. She pays $2,000 a month – or three-quarters of her paycheck – to rent the small apartment she shares with her youngest daughter. “Even just the two of us, it’s still a struggle.” So once a month, she picks up supplies at the food bank to supplement what she buys at the store.


She isn’t one to complain, but acknowledges the vast gulf between the needs of Facebook employees and contract workers such as herself. “The first thing they do [for Facebook employees] is buy you an iPhone and an Apple computer, and all these other benefits,” she laughs. “It’s like, wow."

Second Harvest is the only food bank serving Silicon Valley. It’s also one of the largest in the country. In any given month, it provides meals for 257,000 people. It served 66 million pounds of food last year. When the Guardian visited its cavernous, 75,000 square foot main warehouse space, boxes of produce stretched to the ceiling. Strip lights illuminated crates of cucumbers and pallets of sweet potatoes with a chilly glow. Volunteers in PayPal T-shirts packed cabbages and apples that arrived in boxes as big as paddling pools, while in the walk-in freezer turkeys waited to defrost.

To Silicon Valley’s wealthy tech workers, the struggles of the hundreds of thousands of working poor in the region are often invisible.

“Often we think of somebody visibly hungry, the traditional homeless person,” Brennan said. “But this study is putting light on the non-traditional homeless: people living in their car or a garage, working people who have to choose between rent and food, people without access to a kitchen."

He added, “you’re not thinking when you pick up your shirts from dry cleaning, or getting your landscaping done, or going to a restaurant, or getting your child cared for, ‘is that person hungry?’ It’s very easy to assume they are fine."

The cost of housing is one of the biggest contributor to inequality – and the main reason many workers in the region are forced to go hungry. In Santa Clara County, the median price of a family home has reached a new high of $1.125 million, while the supply of homes continues to shrink. A family of four earning less than $85,000 is now considered low income. Meanwhile, the median income in the US is less than $60,000.

These realities mean food insecurity cuts across lines of race, age and employment status.

Minority communities in the Bay Area have been hit the hardest.

The Latino community is “passing through a hard time”, says Vicky Avila-Medrano, a food connection specialist. She runs a program that sends current and former food bank users out into the community, which has been disproportionately affected by the cost-of-living crisis.


“Here in Silicon Valley, we have a big problem. This is a beautiful place to live for people in the tech industry, but we are not working in that industry."

Of course, the problems posed by rising rents aren’t unique to the San Francisco Bay Area. As we noted back in October, rental costs growing faster than disposable income for 22 consecutive months. In September, rent ate up more disposable income than at any prior time in history.

All of this underscores the hypocrisy of the ultra-liberal Bay Area. While well-heeled tech workers spurn anybody who disagrees with their narrow-minded worldview in the name of progress, many of these same workers drift through their daily routines largely ignorant of the dire circumstances of the people who handle their dry cleaning and prepare their food.

Google famously fired former engineer James Damore for publishing an open letter pointing out flaws in the company’s diversity hiring program.

Meanwhile, the more than 10,000 employees who work at the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif. are some of the biggest contributors to wealth inequality in the region.

While we're sure the Bay Area's insistence on social equality in the workplace is well intentioned, progress won't feed the working poor.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Inside FACEBOOK Team Helping Regimes That Crack Down...



Inside FACEBOOK Team Helping Regimes That Crack Down...

(Third column, 4th story, link)

DrudgeReportFeed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA DrudgeReportFeed?i=EaB3gDh8MpU:Yorx03MOq DrudgeReportFeed?d=qj6IDK7rITs DrudgeReportFeed?i=EaB3gDh8MpU:Yorx03MOq


U.S. lawmakers stunned at claim DNC ‘destroyed’ server



Is Facebook Using Your Phone's Camera And Microphone To Spy On You?


Do you ever feel like you’re being watched when there’s nobody else around?

Decades ago, if the answer to that question was ‘yes’, doctors might’ve advised you to see what they called a headshrinker. But technological progress has a funny way of turning situations on their head. For example, at the turn of the 20th century, everybody had horses - but only the wealthy had cars.

Today, everybody has a car: but only rich people have horses.

The same principle applies to surveillance: If you don’t believe you’re being spied on constantly, then you should probably have your head examined.

As advertisers hone increasingly sophisticated microtargeting techniques, ordinary social media users are reporting disturbing coincidences like the one Jen Lewis recounted to the Daily Mail.

While out shopping, Lewis and a friend discussed purchasing a film camera. Not 20 minutes later, Lewis’s friend checked Facebook on her phone and discovered, to her alarm, a targeted advertisement for the very same camera she had just considered purchasing.

Then, less than 20 minutes later, an advert popped up on Lois’s phone, for the exact same product. Same colour, same model, same everything.


‘They’re listening, they’re watching,’ she said.


‘Oh don’t be daft,’ I replied. ‘Who’s listening? Who’d want to listen to us?'


‘I’m serious,’ said Lois. ‘This keeps happening. This is no coincidence. Someone is listening to our conversations. Advertisers. They’re listening via our phones’ microphones.'

At first, Lewis didn’t understand what her friend was getting at. But it quickly dawned on her: Was Facebook recording their conversation and converting its content into fodder for targeted advertisements - all in real time?

‘Look at this,’ said Lois, presenting me with her smartphone, where an advert for a snazzy little instamatic camera was displayed. It had popped up a few seconds earlier, when she’d logged on to Instagram.


She met my quizzical ‘so what?’ face with exasperation.


What were we talking about? Just now? In the street, down there?’ she said.


Sure enough, we’d been window shopping before our lunch reservation, and spotted a little gadget shop. I remembered Lois had commented on the instamatic cameras on display (dropping a few hints for her forthcoming 21st birthday, I suspected).


We’d had a brief conversation about how they were all the rage in the Eighties, and how one of my memories of Christmas parties at my parents’ house was listening to that familiar ‘whirrr’ and watching the wealthier guests flapping about the instant photos, as everyone waited for them to dry.

Of course, Facebook and its fellow tech behemoths have vigorously denied claims that they utilize smartphone cameras and microphones to beef up their targeted advertising capabilities. But the battle for dominance in the digital advertising market is so fierce, it’s difficult to argue that the incentives don’t exist.

Lewis interviewed another individual who decided to test whether he was being spied on by advertisers by switching his phone’s microphone and camera off.

And sure enough, the creepy hypertargeted ads disappeared.

One Facebook user is so convinced his conversations are being monitored that he switched off the microphone on his smartphone — and, sure enough, there haven’t been any more ‘strange coincidences’ since.


Tom Crewe, 28, a marketing manager from Bournemouth, was immediately suspicious in March when he noticed an advert on Facebook for beard transplant surgery. Only hours earlier he’d joked with a colleague about them both getting one, as they remained smooth-faced, despite their age.


‘I had my phone’s Facebook app switched on at the time. Within a few hours, an ad came through for hair and beard transplants,’ he says.


‘I just thought: “Why have I been targeted?” I’d never Googled “hair or beard transplants” or sent an email to anyone about it or talked about it on Facebook.'


The fact that the ad for beard transplants was so unusual and specific made him suspect his phone had been eavesdropping.


He became convinced when later that month he received an advert to his phone — again weirdly and quite specifically — for Peperami sausages.

Of course, the notion that advertisers (to say nothing of the intelligence community) are recording our every keystroke to try and sell us stuff we don’t really need is something we, as a society, have grown eerily accustomed to. But the idea that these same entities are recording and filming us for their commercial benefit has, for many, yet to sink in. Of course, this reprehensible practice isn’t explicitly illegal, and as Lewis points out. If anything, most people inadvertently empower advertisers by blindly signing social media platforms’ “user agreements."

Tracking users offline behavior is hardly a new phenomenon; earlier this year, we highlighted a recent announcement from Google that it would begin keeping tracking users’ in-store credit card purchases.

On the flip side, this arrangement is what allows us to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter without paying for them.

Still, imagine how these companies would react if people started demanding privacy and more control over their data?


What’s Wrong With Apple “Slowing Down” Older iPhones



You weren’t imagining it, after all. After years of speculation and conspiracy theories, Apple disclosed this week that it really does throttle the processors of older iPhones at a certain point in their life cycle—albeit probably not for the nefarious reasons that cynics have suspected.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Questioning the Russia-gate ‘Motive’


The American public is now experiencing mass paranoia over Russia-gate, hysteria about Russia supposedly corrupting and manipulating the U.S. political system. This panic originated with Obama administration holdovers in the intelligence community who outlined the narrative while providing few if any facts — and it has been carried forward by Democrats, some Republicans hostile to President Trump, and by the U.S. mainstream media.

The Russia-gate frenzy has similarities to the madness that followed the 9/11 attacks when public passions were manipulated to serve the geopolitical agenda of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. In that case, civil liberties that had become accepted norms in the U.S. were suddenly cast aside – and the public was deceptively led into the invasion of Iraq.

In both cases – the Iraq War and Russia-gate – the U.S. intelligence community played central roles by – regarding Iraq – promoting false intelligence that Iraq was hiding WMD and had ties to Al Qaeda and – in the Russian case – assessing (without presenting evidence) that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic emails and their publication via WikiLeaks to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and to help elect Donald Trump.

While the Iraq deception was driven by the neoconservatives in the Bush-Cheney administration, the Russia paranoia was started by the nominally left-of-center administration of Barack Obama in the closing months of his presidency. It has been fanned ever since by liberals and centrists in the Democratic Party and the never-Trump contingent in the Republican Party as well as the mainstream media – with the goal of either removing Trump from office or politically crippling him and his administration, i.e., to reverse the results of the 2016 election or, as some might say, reverse the “mistake” of the 2016 election.

Because promoters of the Russia-gate hysteria talk about the Kremlin’s “war” on the U.S. political process, the frenzy also carries extreme dangers, even greater than the death and destruction from the Iraq War. Russia is the only country on earth capable of turning the United States into ashes within a day. And even as U.S. journalists and politicians have casually – and sloppily – hyped the Russia-gate affair, the Russians have taken the growls of hostility from the United States very seriously.


Rumbles of War

Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, in Hamburg. A separate US-Russia-brokered truce for southern Syria, brokered by the U.S. and Russia, is finding support by both Iran and Israel.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is at left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at right. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, in Hamburg. (AP/Evan Vucci)

If Russia is preparing for war, as the latest issue of Newsweek magazine tells us, we have no one but our political leaders and media pundits to blame. They have no concern for Russian national sensitivities and the “red lines” that the Russians have drawn. U.S. senators and congressmen listen only to what U.S. “experts” think the Russian interests should be if they are to fit into a U.S.-run world. That is why the Senate can vote 98-2 in favor of elevating President Obama’s executive sanctions against Russia into federal law as happened this past summer so President Trump can’t reverse them.

There have been a few U.S. journalists and academics who have examined the actual facts of the Russia-gate story and found them lacking in substance if not showing outright signs of fabrication, including,, and But they make up a very small minority.

Instead, the major U.S. media has taken the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” accusing the Russians of meddling in the 2016 election as unassailable truth despite its stunning lack of evidence. According to President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, that “assessment” came from a “hand-picked” group of analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency, not the “all 17 intelligence agencies consensus” that the public was repeatedly told.

Perhaps the most significant challenge to the Russia-did-the-hacking “assessment” came from a study of the available forensic evidence by a group of former U.S. intelligence officers with relevant technical expertise from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

The VIPS’ analysis of the known download speed of one batch of Democratic emails concluded in July that the emails were likely extracted by a local download, not an external hack over the Internet, i.e., an inside job by someone with direct access to the computers. But the VIPS findings were largely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media, which has treated the original “assessment” by those “hand-picked” analysts as unchallengeable if not flat fact.

Besides the conventional wisdom that Russia did “hack” the emails and somehow slipped the emails to WikiLeaks, there is another core assumption of the Jan. 6 report – that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hack of the Democratic emails and their publication through WikiLeaks because of his contempt for Hillary Clinton and his desire for Trump to win.

Indeed, the Jan. 6 “assessment” treats this supposed motive as the central evidence of Russian guilt, since actual physical or testimonial evidence is lacking. Yet what is also missing from the report is any recognition of other attitudes among the Russian political elite that would go against the report’s thesis, including whether Putin would have taken such a risk in the face of a widespread consensus that Clinton was the near-certain winner – and the strong possibility that any Russian operation would be exposed. An evenhanded intelligence “assessment” would have included these counter-arguments even if in the end they were cast aside. But the Jan. 6 report offered no such context or balance.


A View from Moscow

Traditional Russian Matreskas depicting Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump displayed in a shop in Moscow. Nov. 8, 2016. (AP/Pavel Golovkin)

Traditional Russian Matreskas depicting Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump displayed in a shop in Moscow. Nov. 8, 2016. (AP/Pavel Golovkin)

However, from my perspective – having participated in some of the leading Russian public affairs programs in 2016 – I heard Russian insiders close to President Putin expressing grave doubts about whether a Trump presidency would be good for Russia.

Political talk shows are a very popular component of Russian television programming on all channels, both state-run and commercial channels. They are mostly carried on prime time in the evening but also are showing up in mid-afternoon where they have displaced soap operas and cooking lessons as entertainment for housewives and pensioners.

The shows are broadcast live either to the Moscow time zone or to the Far East time zone. Given the fact that Russia extends over nine time zones, they are also video recorded and reshown locally at prime time. In the case of the highest quality and most watched programs produced by Vesti 24 for the Rossiya One channel, they also are posted in their entirety and in the original Russian on Youtube.

The panelists come from a rather small pool of Russian legislators, including chairmen of the relevant committees of the Duma (lower house) and Federation Council (upper house); leading journalists; think tank professors; and retired military brass. The politicians are drawn from among the most visible and colorful personalities in the Duma parties, but also extend to Liberal parties such as Yabloko, which failed to cross the five-percent threshold in legislative elections and thus received no seats in parliament.

(Since I live in Brussels, I was flown by the various channels who paid airfare and hotel accommodation in Moscow. That is to say, my expenses were covered but there was no honorarium. I make this explicit acknowledgment to rebut in advance any notion that I and other outside panelists were in any way “paid by the Kremlin” or restricted in our freedom of speech on air.)

During the period under review, I appeared on both state channels, Rossiya-1 and Pervy Kanal, as well as on the major commercial television channel, NTV. My debut on the No. 1 talk show in Russia, “Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev,” on Sept. 11, 2016, was particularly useful because I had a chance to speak with the host, Vladimir Soloviev, for five minutes before the program.

I put to him the question that interested me the most: whom did he want to see win the U.S. presidential election. Without hesitation, Soloviev told me that he did not want to see Trump win because the celebrity businessman was volatile, unpredictable — and weak. Soloviev added that he and other politically knowledgeable Russians did not expect improved relations with the U.S. regardless of who won. He rejected the notion that Trump’s tossing the neocons out of government would be a great thing in and of itself.


The Devil You Know

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Vladivostok, Russia in 2012.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Vladivostok, Russia in 2012.

Soloviev’s resistance to the idea that Trump could be a good thing was not just an example of Russians’ prioritizing stability, the principle “better the devil you know,” meaning Hillary Clinton. During a chat with a Russian ambassador, someone also close to power, I heard the firm belief that the United States is like a big steamship which has its own inertia and cannot be turned around, that presidents come and go but American foreign policy remains the same.

This view may be called cynical or realistic, depending on your taste, but it is reflective of the thinking that came out from many of the panelists in the talk shows.

To appreciate what weight the opinions of Vladimir Soloviev carry, you have to consider just who he is – that his talk show is the most professional from among numerous rival shows and attracts the most important politicians and expert guests. But even more to the point, he is as close to Putin as journalists can get and is familiar with the President’s thinking.

In April 2015, Soloviev conducted a two-hour interview with Putin that was aired on Rossiya 1 under the title “The President.” In early January 2016, the television documentary “World Order,” co-written and directed by Soloviev, set out in forceful terms Putin’s views on American and Western attempts to stamp out Russian sovereignty that first were spoken at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007 and have evolved and become ever more frank since.

Soloviev has a Ph.D. in economics from the Institute of World Economics and International Relations of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was an active entrepreneur in the 1990s and spent some time back then in the U.S., where his activities included teaching economics at the University of Alabama. He is fluent in English and has been an unofficial emissary of the Kremlin to the U.S. at various times.

For all of these reasons, I believe it is safe to say that Vladimir Soloviev represents the thinking of Russian elites close to Putin, if not the views of Putin himself.

I encountered similar skepticism about Trump elsewhere as well. On Sept. 27, 2016, I took part in the “Sixty Minutes” talk show on Rossiya 1that presented a post-mortem of the first Trump-Clinton debate the day before.

Presenter Yevgeny Popov and his wife and co-presenter Olga Skabeyeva made a point that was largely missing in Western news coverage – that the Democrats and Republicans had largely switched positions on the use of military force, with Clinton taking the more hawkish position and Trump the more dovish stance.


Doubting Trump

President Donald Trump, second from right, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, Vice President Mike Pence, and others, listen during a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump, second from right, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, Vice President Mike Pence, and others, listen during a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)

Yet, Russian politicians and journalists on the panel were split down the middle on whether Trump or Clinton was their preferred next occupant of the Oval Office. The Trump skeptics noted that he was impulsive and could not be trusted to act with prudence if there was some crisis or accidental clash between U.S. and Russian forces in the field, for example.

They took the cynical view that the more dovish positions that Trump took earlier were purely tactical, to differentiate himself from his Republican competitors and then Clinton. Thus, these analysts felt that Trump could turn out to be no friend of Russia on the day after the elections.

One Trump doubter called Trump a “non-systemic” politician – or anti-establishment. But that is not a compliment in the Russian context. It has the odious connotation applied to Alexei Navalny and some members of the U.S.- and E.U.-backed Parnas political movement, suggesting seditious intent.

The Oct. 20 program “Evening with Vladimir Soloviev,” which I watched on television from abroad, was devoted to the third Clinton-Trump debate. My main takeaway from the show was that there was a bemused unanimity on the very diverse panel that the U.S. presidential campaign was awful, with both candidates having serious weaknesses of character and/or careers. Particular attention was devoted to the very one-sided position of the U.S. mass media and the centrist establishments of both parties favoring Hillary Clinton.

Though flamboyant in his language, nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the LDPR Party, touched on a number of core concerns:

The debates were weak. The two cannot greet one another on stage, cannot say goodbye to one another at the end. They barely can get out the texts that have been prepared for them by their respective staffs. Repeating on stage what one may have said in the locker room. Billions of people around the world conclude with one word: disgrace!  This is the worst electoral campaign ever.

And mostly what we see is the style of the campaign. However much people criticize the USSR – the old fogies who ran it, one and the same, supposedly the conscience of the world. Now we see the same thing in the USA: the exceptional country – the country that has bases everywhere, soldiers everywhere, is bombing everywhere in some city or other. …

Hillary has some kind of dependency. A passion for power – and that is dangerous for the person who will have her finger on the nuclear button. If she wins, on November 9th the world will be at the brink of a big war.”

Zhirinovsky made no secret of his partiality for Trump, calling him “clean” and “a good man” whereas Clinton has “blood on her hands” for the deaths of hundreds of thousands due to her policies as Secretary of State. But then again, Zhirinovsky has made his political career over more than 30 years precisely by making outrageous statements that run up against what the Russian political establishment says aloud.

Zhirinovsky had been the loudest voice in Russian politics in favor of Turkey and its president Erdogan, a position which he came to regret when the Turks shot down a Russian jet at the Syrian border, causing a rupture in bilateral relations.

The final word on Russia’s electoral preferences during the Oct. 20 show was given by the moderator, Vladimir Soloviev: “There can be no illusions. Both Trump and Clinton have a very bad attitude toward Russia. What Trump said about us and Syria was no compliment at all. The main theme of American political life right now is McCarthyism and anti-Russian hysteria.”

This being Russia, one might assume that the deeply negative views of the ongoing presidential election reflected a general hostility toward the United States as a country. But nothing of the sort came out from the discussion. To be sure, there was the odd outburst from Zhirinovsky. But otherwise the panelists, including Zhirinovsky, displayed informed respect and even admiration for what the U.S. has achieved and represents as a country. But the panelists concluded that the U.S. has a political leadership at the national level that is unworthy and inappropriate to its position in the world.

Yet, back in the U.S., the ongoing hysteria over Russia-gate and the perceived threat that Russia poses to U.S. national interests, risks tilting the world into nuclear war.

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, Does the United States Have a Future?was published on 12 October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide.

The post Questioning the Russia-gate ‘Motive’ appeared first on MintPress News.


Clapper Calls Trump A Russian Asset: He Just Accused The President Of Treason


Just wow. CNN contributor James Clapper actually went there and accused President Trump of being a Russian asset while on The Lead with Jake Tapper. He accused him of treason. Talk about anti-Trump hysteria. This is a guy who was the National Intelligence director under Obama. You remember Obama… the guy that was so ‘flexible’ with Vladimir Putin. Now, Clapper says Trump is being “handled” by Putin. Prove it or shut it. Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton nailed Clapper for it on Judge Jeanine Pirro’s show on Fox. “He just accused the president of treason essentially. He’s saying that he is an unwitting Russian agent. If he’s got evidence for that I would like to hear it!” Me too.

Bolton said in no uncertain terms that this unsubstantiated narrative being pushed by liberal media has gotten way out of control and is hurting the United States. And it’s time for the Russia conspiracy theorists to put up or shut up. We’ve been doing this dance for a year and there is no proof that Trump is involved with the Russians at all. And there won’t be. But the left just won’t stop… they think if they say it long enough, it will become fact and they can impeach Trump.

“This paranoia really is causing enormous negative consequences for our democratic institutions,” Bolton said. “Unless there is evidence of ‘collusion’ — of which we have seen none so far — we really need to narrow the dimension of Mueller’s probe. [The special counsel] is out of control, they are not supervised. It’s dangerous.” I have a great deal of respect for John Bolton. He doesn’t say things like this lightly.

This response from Bolton came after Clapper exchanged thoughts with fill-in host Sciutto:

JAMES CLAPPER: “I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the President.”

JIM SCIUTTO: “You’re saying that Russia is handling President Trump as an asset?”

CLAPPER: “That seems to be — that’s the appearance to me. So, you know, we’ve shared intelligence with the Russians for a long time. We’ve always done that. Although my experience with them has been pretty much of a one-way street, where we provide them intelligence and we don’t get much back. And oddly enough, my first exposure to that was in the early ‘90s when I served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and we were trying to engage the Russians on, of all places, North Korea and didn’t get much back from them. I think what we did is the right thing. Certainly when people’s lives are at risk that we do have a duty to warn. So the intelligence community, CIA did the right thing here.
And I thought in a rather theatric gesture of a phone call to thank President Trump for something that goes on below the radar and is not all that visible.”

SCIUTTO: “I just want to be clear though here, you’re saying Russia is treating the President of the United States as an asset?”

CLAPPER: “I’m saying this figuratively.”

Clapper was referring to reports that the Trump administration shared intelligence that thwarted a terrorist bombing and that Putin called the President to thank him. Silly me, I thought that is what we were supposed to do. I consider the Russians enemies, but if we have intel that will stop terrorists, why wouldn’t we share it? That’s what Trump did.

For someone like Clapper to say such a thing is incredibly reckless and slanderous. This is the same guy that was accused of lying to Congress in 2013. At issue was the scope of the Obama administration’s surveillance of Americans. This is outright defamation of character and President Trump should not let this stand.

Not everyone at the CIA is like Clapper though. Former acting CIA director Michael Morell said US intelligence agencies should not have treated President Trump so unfairly. I agree, but it goes even further than that. They conspired against a sitting President.

Morell endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidency and he has repeatedly criticized Trump. But he pointed out that the CIA, NSA, FBI and other intel agencies should have remained neutral instead of undermining him. “I don’t think I fully thought through the implications,” Morell said. “There were downsides to it that I didn’t think about at the time.” Again, he’s right. But the damage has already been done. He did point out that undermining the authority of a sitting President as the leader of the free world, makes the intel agencies look like partisan hacks. Which they are, I’m sorry to say.

H/T: BizPac Review, PolitiStick

The post Clapper Calls Trump A Russian Asset: He Just Accused The President Of Treason appeared first on The Minority Report Blog.


Former US Navy pilot’s story of a UFO encounter takes internet by storm


Daily Life Kansas

(Credit: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

On Monday, a former Pentagon official who ran the U.S. government’s program to identify and detect UFO threats said he has good reason to believe life could exist outside of planet Earth.

“My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” Luis Elizondo told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Recent reports published by by both Politico and The New York Times highlighted the Pentagon’s former program for the first time, which began largely at the request of the then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada — though some also believe the shadowy program could still be receiving funding.

"My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone" – Fmr. Military Intelligence Official Luis Elizondo ran the Pentagon's UFO Unit

— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) December 19, 2017

“These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of,” Elizondo, who no longer works for the program or the government, said. “We found a lot.”

Much of the aircraft Elizondo said he appeared to defy “the laws of aerodynamics.”

He elaborated, “Things that don’t have any obvious flight services, any obvious forms of propulsion, and maneuvering in ways that include extreme maneuverability beyond, I would submit, the healthy G-forces of a human or anything biological.”

Reports also included two videos of pilots attempting to assess what they had been seeing, which looked like a circular flying object.

That NYT UFO story didn't get nearly enough coverage. I am reposting here along with that amazing video footage —

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) December 18, 2017

“My gosh,” one pilot said. “They’re all going against the wind the wind is 120 miles to the west.”

“Look at that thing, dude!” one said.


The reports detailed that the Pentagon had secretly been putting money towards investigating UFO’s, in what was called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program which began in 2007 and reportedly shut down only five years later. Parts of the program still remain classified and the funds had gone to an aerospace research company run by Reid’s longtime friend, Robert Bigelow.

Bigelow has previously said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he’s “absolutely convinced” aliens exist and that UFO’s have paid Earth a visit.


Facebook Admits Its Use Can Affect Mental Health… Suggests Using It More

Monday, December 18, 2017

Twitter rolls out new 'hate-speech' guidelines



The day has finally come. Twitter rolled out new guidelines Monday for “hate speech,” and many Trump supporters think they will be the first to go.

According to the new rules on “abuse and hateful conduct,” users may not “promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

We’ve updated our rules around abuse and hateful conduct as well as violence and physical harm. These changes will be enforced starting December 18. Read our updated rules here:

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 17, 2017

Users also are prohibited from using “hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header,” and there is to be no targeted harassment toward a “protected” category.

Understand what makes a liberal tick. “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness,” by Dr. Lyle Rossiter explains it all.

What counts as “hateful” is up for debate, and the groups Twitter is relying on to make that determination have a strong left-wing bias.

In 2016, Twitter unveiled a “Trust & Safety Council” consisting of 40 “organizations and experts,” many of which are frequent critics of conservatives and Christians.

The groups include the homosexual-rights organization GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League, the feminist organization Feminist Frequency and the Islamic organization the Wahid Institute.

In October 2017, tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter announced a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to combat what it called “cyberhate.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s national director and CEO, formerly worked for the Obama administration as director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and previously served as director of the Impact Economy Initiative at the Aspen Institute.

As WND reported in 2011, the Aspen Institute is a social justice group funded by George Soros, dedicated to fighting what it calls “structural racism,” which it claims permeates the United States.

With groups and individuals like ADL and Greenblatt helping to determine policy, many conservatives and Trump supporters believe they will be purged while leftists will remain unsanctioned.

Twitter’s recent changes to its verification rules also indicate a double standard regarding the “far right” and the “far left.”

Until recently, white nationalists such as “alt right” figurehead Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler were verified by Twitter and given the “blue checkmark,” showing their accounts were legitimately linked to them, not imitators.

However, this blue checkmark was widely interpreted as a kind of ideological “endorsement” by Twitter itself and condemned by left-wing journalists.

“Twitter has a white-nationalist verification problem,” wrote Maya Kosoff in Vanity Fair on Nov. 9 in a piece representative of the mainstream media’s attitude.

As a result of the negative publicity, Twitter removed the verifications of Spencer, Kessler and other “far-right” figures and announced it would track the conduct of users “on and off Twitter” when considering verification.

As some commentators noted, it meant Twitter was now putting itself in the position of implicitly endorsing every verified user, at least to the point of not labeling their views “hateful.”

But some users still verified by Twitter would be considered “hateful,” especially by Jews and conservatives. For example, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan remains verified on Twitter, despite his well known anti-Semitic views.

Vulgar and violent rhetoric against conservatives, Christians, white people and President Trump is also spewed by verified users on the platform without consequence.

Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey, also have a close relationship with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Although commentators such as the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson have called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” linked to violence against police, Black Lives Matter was rewarded with an emoji on Twitter, an all but official endorsement of the group.

All of this is taking place in the context of increasing censorship of conservatives by tech giants under the guise of combatting “hate.” As WND reported earlier this month, the National Religious Broadcasters group has identified more than 30 instances of corporate censorship against Christians and conservatives.

Left-wing journalists are cheering the upcoming purge. For example, Vox’s Aja Romano is hoping “helpful Twitter elves came in the night and kicked all the white supremacists off the platform while we slept.”

In contrast, many nationalists and conservatives are looking to transition to Gab, an alternative free speech platform. However, mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times have already targeted the site with a hit piece mocking it as “buggy and confusing” and celebrating how venture capitalists are steering clear of alternative platforms.

Understand what makes a liberal tick. “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness,” by Dr. Lyle Rossiter explains it all.


Why I Quit Teaching

It wasn't just the liberal groupthink or the mob mentality among the teachers.  There was a worse reason on top of those.


Midnight at the Democracy Dies in Darkness Café

...and the coffee was pretty bad, too.