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The ongoing war against Donald Trump

The war to delegitimize President Donald Trump continues on every front.

Eric Zuesse

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Published with the permission of the author. First appeared on strategic-culture.org.

The Obama-Clinton (and Democratic Party newsmedia) war against Donald Trump — a war to delegitimize him as the U.S. President, and to soften the country up for installing instead a President as rabidly hostile toward Russia as Hillary Clinton would have been — continues on every front.

The New York Times headlined on Inauguration Day, Friday the 20th of January, «Donald Trump’s Inauguration Becomes a Time to Protest and Plan». That news-report said:

The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Thursday that it had filed its first legal action against Mr. Trump, a Freedom of Information Act request for documents about his potential conflicts of interest, and it released a seven-point plan to challenge every aspect of the incoming president’s agenda.

«It’s a first shot across the bow to underscore the fact that no one, not even the president, is above the law, and that there are serious concerns about the president’s disregard for existing laws and statutes,» said Anthony Romero, the executive director of the organization, which is adding 100 staff members — a 10 percent increase — in anticipation of taking legal action against Mr. Trump. »We need to go on offense from the very beginning, and we will litigate everything that we possibly can, we will try to deny them momentum, we’ll try to rob them of time and bandwidth».

The libertarian-liberal ACLU is financed mainly by Democratic Party aristocrats such as the hedge-fund gambler (euphemistically called ‘investor’) David Gelbaum ($19 million donated annually to ACLU until George W. Bush’s economic crash hit him hard in 2009 and forced him to stop), David Trone ($15 million in 2015), and George Soros (now in the fourth year of a $50 million total donation). Also, some Republican families such as the Kochs and the Waltons were mentioned, although that poorly written Washington Post article merely suggested, but failed to make clear whether those families had donated anything to ACLU.

Furthermore, the libertarian neoconservative (otherwise known as neoliberal neoconservative, or as imperialistic libertarian, or, more simply, as «war-mongering») Democrat Soros’s Center for Media & Democracy has exposed the fact that almost all of the libertarian Republican Kochs’ donations on criminal justice are actually to weaken laws against CEO and other white-collar crimes — so as to benefit the aristocracy, at the public’s expense.

Furthermore, one of the much-pumped Koch ‘charitable’ involvements that helps poor ex-convicts, had actually received from the Kochs only a donation «in the six figures» — pocket-change, cheap lipstick on their enormous financial pig.

Soros himself, moreover, does far more to stir war against Russia than to ‘do good’ inside America or anywhere else; and so, for all aristocrats, ‘non-profits’ (such as ACLU) are likelier propaganda-vehicles to put a kindly face upon their unlimited greed (and partisan political campaigns), than they are actual agencies for the public’s good.

Of course, the millions of small donors (who don’t own any ‘charities’) take no tax-deductions for their far more sincerely intended sacrifices of their personal donations; and all tax-deductions for ‘charitable donations’ are less of an actual generosity than they are a political scam on the rest of society, by the wealthiest Americans, to receive both good PR and lowered taxes, while the lower 90% become yet poorer than they were before, with no tax-deduction for their authentic generosity, and so those non-rich individuals end up being the people who pay the tab for it all, in taxes, low wages, and crumbling infrastructure.

It’s a vast societal scam worldwide, by the top 0.1% actually, against the bottom 99.9%, in order that (for example) «Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world», and yet it somehow won’t be considered to be unearned wealth, theft (however subtly) by the richest few, from the less-fortunate half of the population. (No? Eight men are as worthy as are the 3.75 billion who constitute the world’s poorer half? Those eight earned as much as those 3.75 billion? Or do they simply take as much?) (What actually stands behind, and sustains, any such enormous concentration of wealth, is power, which is composed of deceit and violence — deceit if a ‘democracy’, violence if a dictatorship. It’s theft, either way. That’s just a fact. But, of course, myths, from the aristocracy, constantly deny it.)

So: who are Gelbaum and Trone? David Gelbaum ‘earned’ his fortune in high-frequency trading, using algorithms to identify moment-to-moment stock trends, at Princeton Newport Partners. David Trone is a strong believer in the fascist principle that money is speech, so that billionaires have thousands of times more ‘free speech’ ‘rights’ than normal people do, and this favoritism for the super-rich fits the Republican Supreme Court’s rulings that political campaigns should be one-dollar-one-vote instead of one-person-one-vote — or that no one’s political spending should be limited, a principle the ACLU has backed strongly.

Trone’s own personal political contest, to become the Democratic candidate to replace the retiring Democrat Chris van Hollen in the U.S. House, spent more money, $393 per vote, than anyone in U.S. history had spent, and it was all his own money — and yet he was so lousy that he didn’t win the nomination anyway. Like most mega-donors, these ‘philanthropists’ join with others of like mind, to control their government (both political Parties), for their collective class benefits, the super-rich class against everybody else — but not against their ‘philanthropies’, their own tax-advantaged PR organizations. And yet some of them can’t win a Congressional nomination even paying $393 per vote; so, all that remains to them for swaying the government, is to use the propaganda-cover of «ACLU,» or some other ‘idealistic’ ‘charity’, to front their ‘philanthropy’.

America’s aristocracy just don’t like Trump, and they overwhelmingly — even Republican ones — preferred Hillary Clinton to become President. In the final tally for the 2016 Presidential election, Trump’s campaign spent $340 million for 62.98 million votes, and Hillary’s campaign spent $581 million for 65.84 million votes. Trump spent $5.39 per vote, while Hillary spent $8.82 per vote (much of Hillary’s being wasted in states like California where she clobbered Trump by 60% or more, whereas Trump focused only on the states that were toss-ups, which latter states decided the contest).

In America’s Electoral College, winning a given state by 1 vote is the same as winning it by 100% — it’s «winner take all». Yes, like throughout Hillary’s entire career, she was plain stupid, notwithstanding that she was articulate. Of course, both of the candidates were liars, but neither of them was nearly as skillful at that craft, as was Barack Obama, a supreme master of deceit.

Excluding $66 million which Trump himself had paid for his campaign (Hillary spent nothing on hers), his campaign received a mere $274 million from donors — less than half of the $581 million that Hillary’s donors gave to hers. (As regards the average size of the donations that any candidate has received, the American system is set up so that no such figure can be calculated, and the only sources on the matter come from the campaigns themselves and cannot be verified from any reliable source.) In any case: Clinton was overwhelmingly (by more than two-to-one) favored above Trump by America’s aristocracy.

Consequently, whereas the U.S. aristocracy were willing to finance George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and (in 2016) Hillary Clinton, into the White House, they provided far fewer funds to their fellow-aristocrat Donald Trump, who wants to end the Cold War on the U.S. side now — 25 years after George Herbert Walker Bush and all of his successor-Presidents until Trump had consistently refused to end the Cold War, even though it ended on the Soviet side in 1991, when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance all ended, even while America’s anti-Russia NATO military alliance continues to this day. Ending that war by the U.S. side would mean steep declines in some of the aristocracy’s major investments: they therefore resist it implacably.

Trump is offering, to his fellow-aristocrats, a deal, and we’ll soon know whether enough of them accept it, for him to be allowed to serve out his term: generous opportunities to scam the American public, in some ways even more than Obama and Bush did. So far, it seems that America’s aristocrats simply will not accept anything less than the precise type of scam that GHW Bush instituted and laid the groundwork for: rule of, by, and for, America’s military-industrial complex (themselves), focused specifically upon conquering Russia (mainly because that’s not only the most resource-rich target, but also because it’s the only ‘enemy’ that to ‘compete’ against with new weaponry would keep their own mega-arms firms soaring).

Trump has given these people a national-security team that is rabid to conquer Iran; but, apparently, even this aggressive intent is not sufficient to win their support. Nothing but conquering Russia will suffice, for them; so, they are now pressing forward with their scheme to portray Trump as being ‘Putin’s puppet’.

They have thus thrown down the gauntlet, and they stand a reasonably good likelihood of being able soon to replace him with his current Vice President, Mike Pence, who has no such rebellious tendency. Perhaps the Republican establishment would have gone all-in for Hillary Clinton (and Trump wouldn’t even have gotten that $274 million) unless Trump offered them a Vice Presidential candidate, a back-up, whom they approved of (such as Pence); but Trump’s having made this concession to them could end up as his un-doing. What more concessions could he offer them than he has already done by his rabidly anti-Iranian Cabinet-appointments? Only time will tell, and it could tell soon.

So, now comes the moment when the answer — whether Trump rules his aristocracy, or his aristocracy rules Trump — will likely soon become clear.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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