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The AP Leak and Hillary’s Victory Night

AP’s announcement of Hillary Clinton’s victory on the eve of the California primary contradicts the whole essence of democracy.

Kevin Henderson

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On June 6th, 2016,  a modern political heist was viewed by thousands of Americans on the Internet in real time.

The moment I saw the AP’s “breaking story”, via a Zero Hedge post, I had a sinking feeling in my heart, the kind I get watching burning skyscrapers crumble into their footprints. A crime of the political season was taking place. In a few minutes, the MSN spin machine would wash the dirt away and declare the crime “official.” I wrote the following notes the night of June 7th, unable to find the Californian primary results that were supposed to matter. California is, of course the primary where, years ago, Bobby Kennedy pulled off a surprising win and was then shot to death. California has had special primary baggage ever since (indeed, Clinton made a strange reference to Kennedy in a previous campaign), and was perhaps the perfect place for the DNC and willing assistants at AP and other media allies to pull a full blown heist in under twenty minutes.

Whoever did this timed the act to make California’s vote moot before the day of the primary. According to the newswires, this was an astonishing success.

The first post that appeared from AP was around 8pm on June 6th, the night before  the primaries. AP’s article was then shared on Zero Hedge. The full  AP “story” has apparently disappeared down a Memory Hole, but you can read it here.

This article was brazen propaganda, and something new:  A declaration of fait accompli victory the night before a single June 7th primary vote was cast.

The AP story is peculiar.  The theme is past tense and capital-H Historic — the final confirmation of the first woman presidential nominee ever. It reads like it was written by the Clinton campaign itself, or a DNC lackey; it certainly does not read like the product of a neutral news organization:

“Campaigning as the loyal successor to the nation’s first black president, Clinton held off a surprisingly strong challenge from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He mobilized millions with a fervently liberal message and his insurgent candidacy revealed a deep level of national frustration with politics-as-usual, even among Democrats who have controlled the White House since 2009.” Keep in mind this is a day before the CA primary.

According to AP, this pre-primary “victory story” was based entirely on anonymous interviews with some or many “Super Delegates”, all of whom apparently whispered their secrets to loyal AP operatives.

I knew that within the seconds the AP meme would spread to CNN, Fox News, ABC/NBC/CBS, the New York Times, and Washington Post, as indeed it did. Within an hour it was everywhere.

This was a new variety of sleazy campaign tricks for a political candidate, and a propaganda coup for the AP.  Why not just leak a proclamation of something, let the wires pick it up, and then, voilá, declare victory the night before?

Late night on the 6th, The New York Times, Politico, Huffington Post and various other Clinton supporters, many with established financial and PR interests in the investment (I mean candidate) were smugly proclaiming victory. Very interestingly, the talking points raised in the AP “story”, and similar prose in the New York Times and Politico, re-appeared, in very similar language, in Hillary’s “Acceptance Speech” the next night.  The agitprop wasn’t subtle: This is the First Woman President; this is Historic; Sanders had done a good job “mobilizing millions”; that, hey, it was tough for those tough but loveable Bernie-Bots to lose; but the Democrats must forget the differences between Sanders and Clinton and “Come Together, Right Now”. (Incredibly, a HuffPo editorial brought a deceased John Lennon into this fiasco.)

The next afternoon, Hillary’s campaign declared “History Made” on her Twitter feed, and prepared to present the speech. She’d won New Jersey, you see. Not a single vote from California had been counted.

Hilary Clinton’s “Victory Speech” the evening of June 7th was quite a performance: planned, big-time, with the usual ugly color scheme typical of whitehouse.gov presentations.

There was a pre-game, so to speak, for a few minutes.

There was no way to tell how many people were in the mid-sized auditorium, but at least half seemed to be stacked up behind the podium. A young woman sang The Star Spangled Banner, as though this were Inauguration Day, seven months in advance. The people behind the podium began to wave little American flags – doubtlessly dispensed by a patriotic gnome backstage. The lights dimmed – this was show business after all. Over loudspeakers come the voices of unknown supporters, interspersed with “classic” quotations from that great successor of all humanitarians, Hillary Clinton.

The lights came up and The Great Leader beamed in what appeared to be a joyous emotional orgasm, but Hillary’s eyes were peculiar. Behind the smiles I heard the voice of a woman who, upon learning that Gaddafi had been ritually murdered, happily exclaimed “We came, we saw, he died”.

Her demeanor displayed a forgone conclusion:  Hillary Clinton is already the President!

Then there was a bit of a letdown – Hillary started to speak and the microphone was off.  A sound person attempted to find a fader on a mixing board. Then there was a scream of feedback, but Hillary didn’t even wince. She knew. This was her moment. The sound stayed bad for the entire thing; the engineer couldn’t balance the levels. With all of their Clinton Cash, between the chintzy flags and bad sound (not to mention previous choice of IT professionals for private servers) this was a typically cheap public Clinton production: Hot dogs, not caviar, for the troops.

I can’t report on the Speech, because I record sounds myself, and there are some voices that really grate on you. When Hillary gets that self-righteous bullhorn going, we must follow Dante and abandon the wife of the boy from Hope. However, one can observe the aesthetics of the thing. The narcissism of our current Great Leader is well documented, but Hillary is something else. She took credit for many vague successes and appropriated the triumphant struggles of everything from feminism to the civil rights movement. And she promised her followers, without a hint of $300,000 G-Sachs irony, hey, we’re really gonna go after those big banks. Best of all, Hillary talked “street”: “I’ve got your back,” she thundered. With enough drinks in them, the audience, along with Beltway cronies getting tanked right now, might actually believe this.

Reflecting on the above, I wonder if Trump even has a chance. He’s got a million topics to grill Hillary over (Iraq, an FBI indictment, Benghazi, Libya, Syria, targeting victims of her husband’s sexual harassment, etc.). Every American should read Roger Morris’ “Partners in Power” (1996) and learn about dozens more. “Crooked Hillary” is no mere libel — there are public records of too many things.

But in spite of Trump’s talent for hard debate and asking politically incorrect questions, I wonder if Trump is a mere amateur compared to this Clinton Cosa Nostra. The Clintons not only have their cash, via the Clinton Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Soros, and other banks and philanthropists, but they also have the willing support and love of all the media who participated in the heist last night – from the BBC/ABC/NBC/CBS, to Politico and the Huffington Post, etc. The Clintons have powerful friends who will control the echo chamber.

For millions of Americans of all shades of political grey, and for the democratic process in this country, the Clintons and AP showed complete contempt.

It’s interesting to speculate on some Clinton protegés who might end up with high ranks in a Hillary Clinton administration.

This week, Victoria Nuland was speaking to some Senators about some kind of alternate world in which the evil Russians are winning the propaganda wars over issues like “U.S. Assets in Ukraine.”

To the average American, such topics make little sense. The average American is concerned with obtaining or keeping a decent job, or receiving another paycheck of any kind. Many worry about the next couch to crash on. Russia is far away and generally not considered important business, certainly not to anyone with a life who’s trying to survive.

Victoria Nuland, political mastermind that she is, was actually telling the Senators what a shame it is that Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, et al, cannot compete with Russia Today (RT).  Nuland was among the masterminds who helped engineer the tragic civil wars/coups in Libya and the Ukraine.

[Off topic: If I could address the Congress on behalf of millions of American viewers: perhaps it’s not that RT is the perfect propaganda machine; perhaps instead RT is a) aesthetically more interesting than CNN, b) insults the viewer’s intelligence way, way less than CNN.]

State department types, along with the CIA and other Responsibility to Protect-ors,  are encouraging NATO allies to conduct “war games” and stir up anti-Russian sentiment in the likes of Latvia, while installing missiles right up to the Russian border. Provoking the Russian Bear seems insane and pathetic to most people, and I wonder if anyone outside a drunk tank inside the Beltway takes it seriously.

(Paul Craig Roberts has described this crazy rhetoric here).

Neo-liberal neo-cons like Victoria Nuland are the folks who may well get the keys to the castle in a Hillary presidency. Not only do neo-cons behave irresponsibly;  they are often arrogant and ignorant, a particularly bad combo in foreign affairs with a nuclear state like Russia which is armed to the teeth. Consequences, to the neo-cons,  are for the little people. As Nuland said, “f*ck the EU!”

There were still no California results on midnight of the 7th. The DNC, one assumes, had all night to process and perhaps fix any, ahem, “unfortunate” outcomes. They did such a great job suppressing voters in Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, and New York, the DNC certainly can’t call itself unskilled in this line of work. Indeed, later news stories reported this to have been the case in California.

So-called left-liberals made a real stink over voter suppression when the Bush-era Republicans did it.

I hope the Sanders campaign will continue their difficult and noble struggle. Unfortunately, Sanders supporters will face the cops in DNC-run Philly, along with probable armies of paid provocateurs.  Still, despite the help of generous friends like the AP, the Clinton campaign in 2016 will be no cakewalk. There are too many scandals; we are living in strange and interesting times.  Finally, I don’t see Hillary’s support numbers planting flags on Mount Everest any time soon. The Clintons had to pull off this 24 hour California fiasco to silence a 74 year old Socialist Senator from Vermont, who fills real venues with really impassioned supporters, most of whom actually believe in something more than power, money, and the Clinton’s patron saint, Machiavelli.

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It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

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Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

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Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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One more step toward COMPLETE de-dollarization

Over the past several months, sitting here in Moscow, it has become increasingly obvious that while the US Dollar is unquestionably the world’s leading and liquid reserve currency, it comes with an ever increasing high price (of sovereignty and FX) if you are not the USA.

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I have opined and written about the trend towards de-dollarization before, but with the latest US –Turkish spat it has hit the wallets, mattresses and markets of a number of countries, be they aligned with Washington or not. One thing they all have in common was that in this recent era of low cost available money, many happily fed at the US dollar trough.

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This serves as a further albeit loud example to many nations for the need to diversify to an extent away from the greenback, or risk being caught up in its volatile, sudden and unpredictably risky increasingly politicized directions.

The Dollar and the geopolitical winds from Washington are today as never before openly being used as policy, which can be called the “carrot and stick”, a distinctly Pavlovian approach. Sadly, few if any can make out where or what the carrot is in this recent US worldview branding.

Tariffs, sanctions, pressured exchange rates, the Federal Reserve loosening or tightening, trade agreements and laws ignored or simply trashed… there is a lot going on which seems to democratically affect America’s allies as well as those on Washington’s politically popular and dramatic “poo-poo” list.

Just now from a press conference in Turkey, I watched Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov say that through the actions shown by the US, the role of the US dollar as a secure global reserve currency for free trade will diminish as more countries switch to national currencies for international trade.

He clearly spoke for many nations when he said; “It will make more and more countries that are not even affected by US sanctions go away from the dollar and rely on more reliable, contractual partners in terms of currency use.” Putting the situation in a nutshell he went on to say “I have already said this about sanctions: they are illegal, they undermine all principles of global trade and principles approved by UN decisions, under which unilateral measures of economic duress are unlawful.”

Turkey, a long-standing NATO ally and a key line of western defense during the long cold war years fully agreed with his Russian counterpart. The Turkish foreign minister Mr. Cavosoglu openly warned that US sanctions or trade embargoes can and are being unilaterally imposed against any country at any time if they do not toe DC’s political line.

He said at the same press conference; “Today, sanctions are imposed on Turkey, and tomorrow they can be used against any other European state. If the United States wants to maintain respect in the international arena, then it is necessary for it to be respectful of the interests of other countries.”

What is happening in Turkey is symptomatic of the developed and emerging markets globally. When trillions of dollars of newly issued lucre was up for grabs, thanks to several developed country central banks, it was comparatively easy for governments and companies just like Turkey’s to borrow funds denominated in dollars and not their national currencies.

Turkey has relied on foreign-currency debt more than most EM’s. Corporate, financial and other debt denominated mostly in dollars, approximates close to 70% of it’s economy. Therefore as the Turkish lira plunges, it is very costly for those companies to repay their dollar-denominated loans, and even now it is patently clear many will not.

The concern rattling around the underbelly of the global markets is what can be reasonably expected for assets and economies that were inflated by cheap debt, the United States included. All this points not so much to a banking crisis as has happened eight years ago, but a systemic financial market crisis.

This is a new one, and I doubt if any QE, QT, NIRPs, or ZIRPs will make much of a difference, despite the rocket-high equity markets the US has been displaying.

One financial trader I spoke to, whom I have known since the early 1980’s (and I thought him ancient then) muttered to me “we’re gettin’ into the ecstasy stage, nothing but the high matters, everything else including the VIX is seen as boring denial, and not the warning tool it is. Better start loading up on gold.”

Meanwhile, de-dollarization is ongoing in Russia and is carefully studied by a host of countries, especially as the Russian government has not yet finished selling off US debt; it still has just a few billion to go. The Russian Finance Minister A. Siluanov said this past Sunday that Russia would continue decreasing holdings of Treasuries in response to sanctions.

The finance minister went on to say that, Russia is also considering distancing itself from using the US dollar for international trade, calling it an unreliable, conditional and hence risky tool for payments.

Between March and May this year, Russia’s US debt holdings were sold down by $81 billion, which is 84% of its total US debt holdings, and while I don’t know the current figure it is certain to be even less.

The latest round of tightening sanctions screws against Russia were imposed by the State Department under a chemical and biological warfare law and should be going into effect on August 22. This in spite of the fact that no proof was ever shown, not under any established national or international law, or with any of several global biochemical conventions, not even in the ever entertaining court of public opinion.

Whatever Russia may continue to do in its relationship with US debt or the dollar, the fact of the matter is that Russia is not a heavyweight in this particular financial arena, and the direct effects of Russia’s responses are negligible. However, the indirect effects are huge as they reflect what many countries (allied or unallied with the US) see as Washington’s overbearing and more than slightly unipolar trade and geopolitical advantage quests, be they Mexico, Canada, the EU, or anyone else on any hemisphere of this globe.

Some of the potential indirect effects over time may be a similar sell-off or even gradual reduction of US debt exposure from China or any one of several dozens of countries deciding to reduce their exposure to US debt by reducing their purchases and waiting for existing Treasuries to mature. In either case, the trend is there and is not going away anytime soon.

When Russia clears its books of US dollarized debt, then who will be next in actively diversifying their US debt risk? Then what might be the fate of the US Dollar, and what value then will be the international infusions to finance America’s continually growing debt, or fuel the funds needed for further market growth? Value and the energy of money has no politics, it ultimately trends towards areas where there is a secure business dynamic. That being said, looks like we are now and will be living through the most interesting of disruptive times.

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