Majorityrights News > Category: The American right

Bannon’s disregard of ethno-nationalism is “leaked.”

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 17 August 2017 12:38.

        ...purposefully leaked or not, apparently kissing-up to YKW

Robert Kuttner revealed his conversation with Bannon: “To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything.” ... “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.” ...“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.

American Prospect, “Steve Bannon, Unrepentant”, by Robert Kuttner, 16 Aug 2017:

Trump’s embattled strategist phones me, unbidden, to opine on China, Korea, and his enemies in the administration.

You might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss’s continuing indulgence of white supremacists. Allies of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hold Bannon responsible for a campaign by Breitbart News, which Bannon once led, to vilify the security chief. Trump’s defense of Bannon, at his Tuesday press conference, was tepid.

But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury. “They’re wetting themselves,” he said, proceeding to detail how he would oust some of his opponents at State and Defense.

Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me.

Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me. I’d just published a column on how China was profiting from the U.S.-North Korea nuclear brinkmanship, and it included some choice words about Bannon’s boss.

“In Kim, Trump has met his match,” I wrote. “The risk of two arrogant fools blundering into a nuclear exchange is more serious than at any time since October 1962.” Maybe Bannon wanted to scream at me?

I told the assistant that I was on vacation, but I would be happy to speak by phone. Bannon promptly called.

Far from dressing me down for comparing Trump to Kim, he began, “It’s a great honor to finally track you down. I’ve followed your writing for years and I think you and I are in the same boat when it comes to China.  You absolutely nailed it.”

“We’re at economic war with China,” he added. “It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow.”

Bannon said he might consider a deal in which China got North Korea to freeze its nuclear buildup with verifiable inspections and the United States removed its troops from the peninsula, but such a deal seemed remote. Given that China is not likely to do much more on North Korea, and that the logic of mutually assured destruction was its own source of restraint, Bannon saw no reason not to proceed with tough trade sanctions against China.

Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Bannon went on to describe his battle inside the administration to take a harder line on China trade, and not to fall into a trap of wishful thinking in which complaints against China’s trade practices now had to take a backseat to the hope that China, as honest broker, would help restrain Kim.

“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”

Bannon’s plan of attack includes: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping. “We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”

But what about his internal adversaries, at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing’s aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don’t want to mess with the trading system?

“Oh, they’re wetting themselves,” he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence.
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“I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.”

But can Bannon really win that fight internally?

“That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”

“We gotta do this. The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day.”

Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me.

There are a couple of things that are startling about this premise. First, to the extent that most of the opponents of Bannon’s China trade strategy are other Trump administration officials, it’s not clear how reaching out to the left helps him. If anything, it gives his adversaries ammunition to characterize Bannon as unreliable or disloyal.

More puzzling is the fact that Bannon would phone a writer and editor of a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump’s election were “Resisting Trump” and “Containing Trump”) and assume that a possible convergence of views on China trade might somehow paper over the political and moral chasm on white nationalism.

The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America.

I asked Bannon about the connection between his program of economic nationalism and the ugly white nationalism epitomized by the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s reluctance to condemn it. Bannon, after all, was the architect of the strategy of using Breitbart to heat up white nationalism and then rely on the radical right as Trump’s base.

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”

“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.

From his lips to Trump’s ear.

“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

I had never before spoken with Bannon. I came away from the conversation with a sense both of his savvy and his recklessness. The waters around him are rising, but he is going about his business of infighting, and attempting to cultivate improbable outside allies, to promote his China strategy. His enemies will do what they do.

Either the reports of the threats to Bannon’s job are grossly exaggerated and leaked by his rivals, or he has decided not to change his routine and to go down fighting. Given Trump’s impulsivity, neither Bannon nor Trump really has any idea from day to day whether Bannon is staying or going. He has survived earlier threats. So what the hell, damn the torpedoes.

The conversation ended with Bannon inviting me to the White House after Labor Day to continue the discussion of China and trade. We’ll see if he’s still there.


Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, says leftists more dangerous than neo-Nazis

Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 16 August 2017 12:33.

        Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair. (AFP)

Times of Israel, “Yair Netanyahu says leftists more dangerous than neo-Nazis”, 16 Aug 2017:

Echoing Trump, PM’s son claims ‘thugs of Antifa and Black Lives Matter are getting stronger’ while Nazis are a thing of the past.

The son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said American left-wing groups are more dangerous than neo-Nazis.

Weighing in on the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a far-right march, and US President Donald Trump’s controversial statements that “both sides were to blame” for the deadly incident, Yair Netanyahu said he was far more concerned by leftist organizations that have recently come into public focus.

“To put things in perspective,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook, “I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli, the neo nazis scums [sic] in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out.

“However the thugs of Antifa and [Black Lives Matter] who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”

The Israeli premier himself tweeted Tuesday that he was “outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred,” after he was criticized for staying silent on Charlottesville.

In a response Wednesday afternoon to Yair Netanyahu’s comments, sources close to the prime minister said, “Yair is an adult and his views are his alone”

Trump’s stance was also supported by Likud MK Oren Hazan, who said Tuesday that the president “is right. Violence and extremism on any side is forbidden and demands condemnation. That doesn’t matter to the bleeding hearts on the left and in the media. After all, they believe that only the right is extremist and violent.”

Other Israeli politicians - from left and right - have been far more critical of Trump’s position, some more directly than others.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett has called on US leaders to denounce the rally’s “displays of anti-Semitism.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of Bennett’s Jewish Home party has urged prosecution of neo-Nazi activists.

Yesh Atid chair MK Yair Lapid and Zionist Union number two MK Tzipi Livni explicitly criticized Trump’s equivalence.

“There aren’t two sides,” Lapid said in a Wednesday statement. “When Neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville and scream slogans against Jews and in support of white supremacy, the condemnation has to be unambiguous. They represent hate and evil. Anyone who believes in the human spirit must stand against them without fear.”

Livni said “When it comes to racism, anti-Semitism and Nazism, there are never two equal sides. There’s good and there’s evil. Period.”

Trump sparked a political firestorm Tuesday when he doubled down on his initial response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that ended in bloodshed, saying there was “blame on both sides.”

The Republican president — who the previous day solemnly denounced racism and singled out the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as “criminals and thugs” — also hit out at what he called the “alt-left” over the weekend melee.

Trump has faced days of criticism from across the political spectrum over his reaction to Saturday’s unrest in the Virginia college town, where a rally by neo-Nazis and white supremacists over the removal of a Confederate statue erupted in clashes with counter-demonstrators.

               

The violent fracas ended in bloodshed when a 20-year-old suspected Nazi sympathizer, James Fields, plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters, leaving one woman dead and 19 people injured.

In a rowdy exchange with journalists at Trump Tower in New York, Trump made clear on Tuesday that he was fed up with continued questioning about the issue.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said.

As he spoke, his new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a former Marine general, appeared displeased during the president’s long tirade, standing rigidly.

“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,” Trump continued. “What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?… There are two sides to a story.”

“What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I am concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments were immediately welcomed by David Duke, a former “grand wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan and a key figure at Saturday’s rally.

“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists,” Duke tweeted.

               
Torch-wielding white supremacists march at the University of Virginia on August 11, 2017 (Screen Capture/ YouTube)

But on the political left, the president’s words were met with indignation.

“Charlottesville violence was fueled by one side: white supremacists spreading racism, intolerance & intimidation. Those are the facts,” said Tim Kaine, a former Democratic vice presidential candidate and senator from Virginia.

The state’s other Democratic senator, Mark Warner, tweeted: “No words.”

Trump’s fellow Republicans also didn’t mince words.

“We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive,” Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan wrote on Twitter.

“This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

When asked why he waited until Monday to explicitly condemn hate groups present in Charlottesville, Trump said he wanted to be careful not to make a “quick statement” on Saturday without all the facts.

“I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct,” Trump insisted.

Trump called Fields, who has been charged with second-degree murder, a “disgrace to himself, his family and this country.”

But he also said that while there were troublemakers at the rally, there were also many people there “to innocently protest and very legally protest” the removal of a “very important statue” of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

“I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” he said angrily, referring to the fact they owned slaves.

“Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? … You’re changing history. You’re changing culture.”


Unite The Right? Let their instability emerge by contrast to our coordinated Left Nationalisms

Posted by DanielS on Sunday, 13 August 2017 00:00.

Unhinge the Right


Video shows car crashing into Charlottesville protest. Witnesses say that it was absolutely intentional; it is being treated as homicide.

Fox News, A 32-year-old woman was killed Saturday and 19 others were injured, five of them critically, when a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran told the Associated Press that the driver of the car, a man, was in custody. Moran did not provide the driver’s name.

While following the goings on of the “Unite The Right Rally” in Charlottesville, in a live feed, Tara McCarthy took friendly questions from the likes of Roosh V. and fielded reports from the likes of Pax Dickinson, recommending that people contribute to his Mencious Moldbug (a Jewish man of Neo Reactionary fame) backed crowdfunding; Tara scolded “The Left” for counter-protesting what she says was meant to be a peaceful rally for free speech, and to encourage “normies” to join the cause of ethno-nationalism by showing them they’re not a bunch of neo-Nazis, skinheads and so-on. She might have wondered how that was supposed to happen with the motley array of right wingers that showed-up, including Commander Jeff Schoep’s Neo-Nazi group in full regalia, Carolina K.K.K., Matt Heimbach’s Jesus Freak Group, calling itself “The Traditional Workers Party” and a skinhead gang called “The Detroit Right Wings.” 

    ...and look at the headliners, starting with Mike Enoch Peinovich:

                 

Yep, (((they’ve))) marshaled a reactionary formation against the so-called “left.” 

...with plenty of warning beforehand to nearly assure that there would be violence and prison sentences for those reactionaries coming most unhinged.

A death, dozens injured, including five critically, and a ruined life for the perpetrator of the car attack was only a somewhat surprising outcome of this mix.


         

Fox News, “Charlottesville white nationalist rally blamed for 3 deaths, dozens of injuries”, 12 Aug 2017:

A 32-year-old woman was killed Saturday and 19 others were injured, five of them critically, when a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

A helicopter crash that killed the pilot and a passenger later in the afternoon outside the university town also was linked to the rally by State Police, though officials did not elaborate on how the crash was connected.

At a late afternoon news conference, Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said that 35 people had been injured in various confrontations during the rally and made a point of saying that none of those involved his officers. Thomas also said that the car crash was being treated as an act of “criminal homicide.”

READ MORE...


James Damore, an idiot with a “definition” of left / right to serve Jewish & Right Wing interests

Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 09 August 2017 16:36.

Damore was fired from Google for writing a memo alleging reverse discrimination at Google.

Not only is Damore an idiot by evidence of his rendering of a beginner level, completely idiotic definition of the “the left”, a “definition” that is perfectly serviceable to Jewish and right-wing manipulation - i.e., suggesting that “the left is more open, while the right is more closed; the right is dealing with facts while the left is applying merely wishful social/humanitarian concepts to reality” - not only is this not someone worth listening to, but it is shocking that he and his statement would be trending exponentially at the lead among popular searches, such that he would be featured by the partial Jewish alt-liter, Stefan Molyneux - with popular concern far greater than the fact that North Korea (a regime propped up against the enemies of (((the Russian Federation))) now has 60 miniature (i.e., handy) nuclear bombs to deploy against the targets of their prerogative.

Meanwhile, the less naive, more obedient shabbos goy continue with their efforts to (mis)define and mislead people against “the left” as the enemy -

In yet another obnoxious effort to completely confound and conflate the idea of the left with liberalism, Jim Goad brings out someone calling himself “Michael Malice”  - doing it again, here at the behest of (((Edwin Oslan’s Savage Hippie))) platform:

Jim Goad Savage Hippie
Episode 2: MICHAEL MALICE (theme: LEFT/RIGHT), Aug 2017.

These people cannot be allowed to define what the left, i.e., social unionization, means for us. They cannot be allowed to cast it into universal and liberal terms, as if they are “just dealing with facts” while people concerned with full social groups are “just falsely applying liberal concepts” to reality.


Cernovich seeds FireMcMaster hashtag propogated by 600 most active Russian Twitter operative handles

Posted by DanielS on Monday, 07 August 2017 00:02.

Mike Cernovich is exposed as being at best a dumb vehicle for Active Measures, as his #FireMcMaster hashtag is botted and propagated hundreds of thousands of times by the 600 most active Russian fake Twitter accounts ...

John Ziegler confronts Cernovich
with that and Cernovich’s conspiracy theory nonsense - that Soros* is pulling McMaster’s strings - Cernovich quivers nervously and makes the feeble counter-allegation that ‘Ziegler is anti-Zionist; just like McMaster.’

* We have long observed that Soros is a convenient Jew for other Jews to throw under the bus, particularly the more ardent Zionists.

John Ziegler, Free Speech Broadcasting.com, August 6th 2017, hour 2:

John Ziegler (25:55): Are you claiming that you alone are the reason that #FireMcMaster has been re-Tweeted at last check over 600,000 times worldwide - you’re saying that’s because of you?

Mike Cernovich
: Amazing, the great citizens out there who support “America first”, participating very active, there was a protest today in front of The White House, the people are showing up…

John Ziegler: No, Mike, let me tell you the facts. That happened because of Russian operatives on Twitter.

Mike Cernovich: They’re everywhere, oh my god, the Russians. Imagine you talked about Jewish people the way you talk about Russians? Or you talked about Israel the way you talk about Russians?

John Ziegler: Are you anti-Semitic?

Mike Cernovich: You sound anti-Semitic and you sound xenophobic, because to me you’re xenophobic of Russians, an entire race of people…Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia…

Do you hate Israel the way McMaster does?

John Ziegler
: You don’t want to answer the question because its troubling for you.

Mike Cernovich: McMaster hates Israel, do you hate Israel the way McMaster does? He fired pro-Israel Jews, he fired a guy for going to a Bar Mitzvah in Israel. Do you support that decision by McMaster?

John Ziegler (27:15): Are you denying that the 600 most well known Russian operative Twitter handles are responsible for the re-Tweets of the hashtag #FireMcMaster and that it was the top re-Tweet for all 600? Are you (Cernovich) denying that?

Mike Cernovich: I categorically deny that.

John Ziegler (29:03): “Here is my assessment; unless you’re totally lying and since we’re on the phone and we’ve never talked before in any substantive matter so I can’t know for sure; but my sense is that you are not actively working on behalf of Russia; but that Russian forces see you as somebody that they can use because he is so dumb he doesn’t realize he is being used and effectively you are being used as a stooge by Russia to do their dirty work for them among certain elements of the American population, i.e., the Trump cult.

That’s my belief, why am I wrong?

Mike Cernovich
: Well my belief is you’re being used by anti-Zionist forces to support McMaster’s attacks on Israel and that’s why you support the purge of Jewish Trump supporters from the Trump administration.

John Ziegler: So you just think it is a coincidence that Russia is behind the fact that the #FireMcMaster hashtag has been re-Tweeted hundreds of thousands of times?

Mike Cernovich: I’m behind hat, I came up with that.

John Ziegler: Donald Trump, when he Tweets, if its a good Tweet, it might get 20,000 re-Tweets. #FireMcMaster has been re-Tweeted over 600,000 times world-wide because of you and you alone?

[...]

You think it’s beautiful that the President said, basically, you’re wrong, I’m not going to fire McMaster?

You implied on line that you did not believe that Trump wrote the statement that supported McMaster.

Mike Cernovich: No, Gen. Kelley definitely wrote that. I don’t believe Trump wrote that, it doesn’t sound anything like him.

John Ziegler: So, you don’t believe Trump is in charge then?

Mike Cernovich: Trump delegates a lot of things.

John Ziegler: Delegates a statement of his personal beliefs about McMaster, his National Security Advisor?

With that, thanks for your time, and I’ll be happy to send you the link to the entire interview un-edited.

Cernovich and Milo, Shills for the (((Trump agenda)))
That’s Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy nut-job, who has become famous in the Alt-Right by being a Donald Trump supporter, who no longer wants to be known as a Donald Trump supporter but is still doing the work for Donald Trump, although Trump is rejecting that work on the issue of whether National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster should be fired; if you understand all that, you’ve been listening very carefully and I appreciate it.

Related Story: From the week before, Ziegler does a good job exposing Milo Yiannopoulis as a mercenary stooge for Trump, brought onto Breitbart by Bannon and backed by Robert Mercer’s agenda and money. Milo did not promote the interview, which he would tend to do if he thought he came off well (he didn’t, his arguments came across as highly prefigurative, ill-fitting and mercenary for Trump).


Trump Admin cornered by Grand Jury, will be forced to diclose documents, financial records, emails.

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 05 August 2017 01:44.

Trump administration cornered by Mueller in a grand jury investigation.

Trump was not able to veto new sanctions against Russian as it would have been hapless against Capitol Hill’s unanimity on the measure, but betrayed his lack of innocence anyway by attaching a note of complaint (on behalf of his Russian friends?) to go along with his signing.

It would be a similar dead-ringer of guilt, revealing divided loyalties, if Trump tried to remove Mueller from the position of special investigation into Russian influence over his campaign, even if by the proxy of appointing someone who will do the dirty work where Sessions has recused himself - but now even that weasel-out of hiring someone to replace Sessions for the position to fire Meuller is being closed off; the Trump administration is being cornered, such that all administration personnel will be subject to appear before a grand jury and forced to present any documents, financial records, even emails that might have bearing - material evidence that they probably would not disclose voluntarily. 

Politico, “Could Trump Fire Mueller? It’s Complicated”, 3 August 2017:

But the real question is what Congress would do to stop him.

It turns out that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been calling ducks chickens all year long. In February, April and July, the Senate broke for 10 days or more. Each time, the Senate convened pro forma sessions. Subsequent reporting indicated that this was part of a plan hatched by the Senate GOP to prevent Trump from making any recess appointments at all. So it’s highly unlikely that Trump will be able to make a recess appointment during the upcoming break.

Does this mean Trump can’t ease out Sessions without sparking a messy confirmation process for his successor?

A Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing would inevitably rehash the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and even Republicans would be unlikely to confirm a nominee who didn’t pledge to protect Mueller’s investigation.

But Trump has other cards to play. He can appoint an acting attorney general and never get around to nominating a real one. By default, Rosenstein would take the helm. But Rosenstein is the one who hired Mueller, so if Trump’s goal is to get rid of the special counsel, he needs to pick someone else as acting attorney general.

But while a Grand Jury investigation is anything but good news for Trump and his administration, it is not news failing his incapacity to get rid of the Mueller and the investigation altogether - it is standard operating procedure for a special investigation of this kind:

Washington Post, “Why Mueller’s use of a grand jury confirms what we already knew”, 3 August 2017:

reathless tweets and breaking-news banners notwithstanding, reports that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has empaneled a grand jury in the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign and potential Russian collusion are entirely unsurprising. This development isn’t a nothing-burger, but it doesn’t suggest anything we didn’t already know.

Grand juries are how federal prosecutors conduct their investigations. The grand jury has the subpoena power that prosecutors need to compel reluctant witnesses to testify under oath. Grand jury subpoenas are also how prosecutors gather documents such as bank records, emails and corporate papers from entities or people who might not produce them voluntarily.

If a preliminary inquiry suggests there is nothing to a case, prosecutors might never empanel a grand jury. They and the FBI might conduct voluntary interviews, examine readily available documents and determine that no more formal inquiry is warranted.

That quick-look, let’s-move-on scenario was never likely here. It’s been clear for months that the allegations are sufficiently serious to merit a full investigation. And in the world of federal prosecutors, that means using a grand jury.

In fact, prosecutors in this probe have been using a grand jury for some time. Grand jury proceedings take place in secret, so there is often not a lot of news about what is happening in the room.

But someone who receives a subpoena to testify or produce documents is not bound by those secrecy rules. They are free to disclose — to the media or to anyone else — that they received a grand jury subpoena or testified in the grand jury. It may be that someone who just received a subpoena contacted a reporter and that has resulted in the “breaking news” stories.

The reality is that any investigation serious enough to warrant the appointment of a special counsel was always likely to involve a grand jury. It was always going to drag on for months. In a case this complex, it takes a long time to investigate the various allegations, subpoena and review relevant documents, and put relevant witnesses before the grand jury. If there are grants of immunity or plea deals to be negotiated, that takes time as well.

Mueller has already hired more than a dozen prosecutors to staff his investigation. Anyone who thought this was going to be over quickly was kidding themselves. The “news” confirms what we already knew.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the existence of a grand jury investigation does not mean criminal charges will necessarily result. Especially in white-collar cases, it’s not unusual for grand jury investigations to close with no charges being filed. The grand jury is the investigative tool that prosecutors use to determine whether charges are warranted – and sometimes the answer is no.

In the past weeks, there have been a number of startling and significant developments in the Russia probe. News that the special counsel is using a grand jury is not one of them.


Former CIA operatives on Russian detail for years believe collusion is a real possibility.

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 03 August 2017 00:32.

Rob Goldstone, left, shown in contact with Trump prior to his son’s meeting with Goldstone that promised high level Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion.

New York Times, Op-Ed Contributors JOHN SIPHER and STEVE HALL, August 2, 2017:


Did the Trump campaign collude with Russian agents trying to manipulate the course of the 2016 election? Some analysts have argued that the media has made too much of the collusion narrative; that Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Kremlin-linked Russians last year was probably innocent (if ill-advised); or that Russian operatives probably meant for the meeting to be discovered because they were not trying to recruit Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump as agents, but mainly trying to undermine the American political system.

We disagree with these arguments. We like to think of ourselves as fair-minded and knowledgeable, having between us many years of experience with the C.I.A. dealing with Russian intelligence services. It is our view not only that the Russian government was running some sort of intelligence operation involving the Trump campaign, but also that it is impossible to rule out the possibility of collusion between the two.

The original plan drawn up by the Russian intelligence services was probably multilayered. They could have begun an operation intended to disrupt the presidential campaign, as well as an effort to recruit insiders to help them over time — the two are not mutually exclusive. It is the nature of Russian covert actions (or as the Russians would call them, “active measures”) to adapt over time, providing opportunities for other actions that extend beyond the original intent.

It is entirely plausible, for example, that the original Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers was an effort simply to collect intelligence and get an idea of the plans of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate. Once derogatory information emerged from that operation, the Russians might then have seen an opportunity for a campaign to influence or disrupt the election. When Donald Trump Jr. responded “I love it” to proffers from a Kremlin-linked intermediary to provide derogatory information obtained by Russia on Hillary Clinton, the Russians might well have thought that they had found an inside source, an ally, a potential agent of influence on the election.

The goal of the Russian spy game is to nudge a person to step over the line into an increasingly conspiratorial relationship. First, for a Russian intelligence recruitment operation to work, they would have had some sense that Donald Trump Jr. was a promising target. Next, as the Russians often do, they made a “soft” approach, setting the bait for their target via the June email sent by Rob Goldstone, a British publicist, on behalf of a Russian pop star, Emin Agalarov.

They then employed a cover story — adoptions — to make it believable to the outside world that there was nothing amiss with the proposed meetings. They bolstered this idea by using cutouts, nonofficial Russians, for the actual meeting, enabling the Trump team to claim — truthfully — that there were no Russian government employees at the meeting and that it was just former business contacts of the Trump empire who were present.

When the Trump associates failed to do the right thing by informing the F.B.I., the Russians probably understood that they could take the next step toward a more conspiratorial relationship. They knew what bait to use and had a plan to reel in the fish once it bit.

While we don’t know for sure whether the email solicitation was part of an intelligence ploy, there are some clues. A month after the June meeting at Trump Tower, WikiLeaks, a veritable Russian front, released a dump of stolen D.N.C. emails. The candidate and campaign surrogates increasingly mouthed talking points that seemed taken directly from Russian propaganda outlets, such as that there had been a terrorist attack on a Turkish military base, when no such attack had occurred. Also, at this time United States intelligence reportedly received indications from European intelligence counterparts about odd meetings between Russians and Trump campaign representatives overseas.

Of course, to determine whether collusion occurred, we would have to know whether the Trump campaign continued to meet with Russian representatives subsequent to the June meeting. The early “courting” stage is almost always somewhat open and discoverable. Only after the Russian intelligence officer develops a level of control can the relationship be moved out of the public eye. John Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., recently testified, “Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late.”

Even intelligence professionals who respect one another and who understand the Russians can and often do disagree. On the Trump collusion question, the difference of opinion comes down to this: Would the Russians use someone like Mr. Goldstone to approach the Trump campaign? Our friend and former colleague Daniel Hoffman argued in this paper that this is unlikely — that the Russians would have relied on trained agents. We respectfully disagree. We believe that the Russians might well have used Mr. Goldstone. We also believe the Russians would have seen very little downside to trying to recruit someone on the Trump team — a big fish. If the fish bit and they were able to reel it in, the email from Mr. Goldstone could remain hidden and, since it was from an acquaintance, would be deniable if found. (Exactly what the Trump team is doing now.)

If the fish didn’t take the bait, the Russians would always have had the option to weaponize the information later to embarrass the Trump team. In addition, if the Russians’ first objective was chaos and disruption, the best way to accomplish that would have been to have someone on the inside helping. It is unlikely that the Russians would not use all the traditional espionage tools available to them.

However, perhaps the most telling piece of information may be the most obvious. Donald Trump himself made numerous statements in support of Russia, Russian intelligence and WikiLeaks during the campaign. At the same time, Mr. Trump and his team have gone out of their way to hide contacts with Russians and lied to the public about it. Likewise, Mr. Trump has attacked those people and institutions that could get to the bottom of the affair. He fired his F.B.I. director James Comey, criticized and bullied his attorney general and deputy attorney general, denigrated the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., and assails the news media, labeling anything he dislikes “fake news.” Innocent people don’t tend to behave this way.

The overall Russian intent is clear: disruption of the United States political system and society, a goal that in the Russian view was best served by a Trump presidency. What remains to be determined is whether the Russians also attempted to suborn members of the Trump team in an effort to gain their cooperation. This is why the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is so important. It is why the F.B.I. counterintelligence investigation, also quietly progressing in the background, is critical. Because while a Russian disruption operation is certainly plausible, it is not inconsistent with a much darker Russian goal: gaining an insider ally at the highest levels of the United States government.

In short, and regrettably, collusion is not off the table.

John Sipher (@john_sipher), a former chief of station for the C.I.A., worked for over 27 years in Russia, Europe and Asia and now writes for The Cipher Brief and works for CrossLead, a consulting company. Steve Hall (@StevenLHall1) is a former C.I.A. chief of Russian operations and a CNN national security analyst.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.


Tanstaafl’s latest theoretical fail

Posted by DanielS on Sunday, 30 July 2017 21:00.

In Tanstaafl’s latest theoretical fail:

The White Race and its Discontents:

He proffers:

1) “A civilization and its culture are racial constructs – the bottom up, grass-roots instincts of the masses largely modulated and moderated by the elite.”

This is a desperate and lame attempt to ignore the better understanding of social consructionism that I have had to explain time and again, because right wingers cannot adjust to the fact that they are reacting to a misrepresentation of the term.

They refuse to deploy the exercise of trying the word “mere” before “social construct” and observing that if you need that word, then it is Cartesian and not a concept that you would apply to something substantive like race.

The White race as a social construct - not merely, but substantively - already IS from the ground up and that, as a social construct, is a MUCH better way to look at it than the way that Tanstaafl says is THE way to look at the matter, i.e., that “civilization and culture are racial constructs” - that doesn’t even make logical sense (coming from a man who accused me of having poor logic): If he is emphasizing, as he does, the causal and deterministic aspect of our inheritance then why call it a “racial construct”?  ..call it a byproduct, perhaps..

But he won’t go with a proper understanding of social constructionism because he is beholden to his reactionary audience.

It is better to allow for our individual agency and contributions by talking in terms of social construct - it emphasizes our social responsibility, interdependence, degree of independence and most importantly, our people as central outlook and framework, not our subhuman nature.

Tanstaafl does not do this because he continually tries to suck Hitler to life again, desperately trying to make his subhuman ideology relevant again.

Social constructionism, properly understood, not only begins with the proper outlook, from our people, but does so in such a way that already begins with instinct and unconscious doings - we talk in terms of the agentive capacity to attribute how things count when they are on the more causative side of the spectrum. But they are never, mere constructs.

2) To illustrate how it is that Tanstaafl can’t get over his wish to try to redeem Hitler and make him relevant again: in the context of Trump’s speech in Poland, Tan tries the old, “they’re going to call you a Nazi anyway.”

No they aren’t - especially not if you apply agency as a social constructionist. It’s easier as a Pole, perhaps, to say I/we had nothing to do with Nazism; but it is not that hard for subsequent generations of Germans to reject the attribution of Nazism either.

3) In another example of how he wants to apply natural causality and tie our hands to passivity in regard to how the Jews say things count, Tan cites the infamous Susan Sontag quote - “White people are the cancer of the earth”  - in its full context; relishing the opportunity to attack one of my most cherished observations on behalf of our European people - i.e. that the Hippies were about midtdasein, Being amidst our people for White males as opposed to say, the endless war mongering of Hitler or the corporations and their draft into Vietnam - by saying that Sontag was endorsing the “freak-out” in order to promote sheer insubordination to older generations.

Well, that is how (((Sontag))) might try to say the hippies counted, that is NOT how we should say they counted. For us the rebellion of midtdasein against sheer war mongering could not have been a more relevant and authentic motive.


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