Humint Events Online

Friday, January 01, 2100

Blog Overview (Permanent Top Post)

This blog explores politics from a liberal/left perspective but also deals heavily with conspiracy theories and various unusual topics. Although I started this blog to research 9/11, my most pressing issue of concern now is anthropogenic climate change.

If you have doubts about the science of climate change, this website is a very useful resource to get educated.

I'm happy to have people comment and contribute ideas here. I don't censor comments except in rare cases where there is abuse or private information. Google/Blogger does sometimes censor comments for reasons I don't understand and I have no control over. Lately, I am not able to even find comments that Google/Blogger has blocked. Sorry about that.

I post kind of irregularly in recent years but I try to keep this site active. Feel free to use the search engine on the side for older content. You can read about the history of this blog here.

I rarely ever check my email for this blog (see sidebar for my address). If you need to contact me, the best bet is to leave a comment. If you need to email me, let me know in a comment that you've emailed me.

Thank you for reading.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Lucky 7

Lucky or unlucky? Sure is a funny "collapse".

 Also check out my WTC7 focused blog.
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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Something Broke in America Last Week

David Rothkopf:
Something broke in America this week. We have been spiraling downward since Trump's election, but this week, we crossed a line. The President and his men began asserting that they were above the law--and effectively no one in our system did anything to stop them. 
The Attorney General sneered at the Congress and placed himself imperiously above its questions. He continued to arrogate onto himself what portions of the Mueller Report--paid for by the people, essentially in its totality to the Congress to do its duty--we would see. He asserted again that he was the final arbiter of whether obstruction of justice by the president had taken place. He even went so far as to imply that law enforcement authorities carrying out their duty to protect America were somehow "spying", perhaps illicitly... on the Trump campaign. (Ignoring that the reasons for the investigation in question were not only sound...but the core reason...that Russia had sought to aid the Trump campaign in the election had been proven again by Mueller.) 
At the same time, the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the IRS determined to violate a law that required in no uncertain terms for them to provide the president's tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee. 
At the same time a purge at the Department of Homeland Security took place and it became quickly clear it was because the president and his team were frustrated that officials would not act in violation of the law. 
We learned that the White House promised pardons... to those who break the law, encouraging a crime and abetting it. 
We learned that they considered an egregious abuse of power that would involve releasing illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities controlled by Democrats. 
We saw the president complain that our military would not rough up immigrants. 
We saw him continue the charade of an emergency at our southern border which was an excuse for him illegally divert government resources to an unnecessary, racist, vanity project. 
The president repeatedly called law enforcement officers who investigated him traitors, guilty of treason--a crime that carries with it the death penalty. 
We discovered that the president considered appointing his grossly unqualified daughter to be head of the World Bank. 
It is the stuff of the world's most dysfunctional governments. 
But rather than generating a response from within our system commensurate with the threat, nothing occurred. The GOP leaders in the Senate circled round the president and supported his abuses. In so doing, they sent a message that they would never challenge him much less convict him of the myriad crimes he has committed. 
The checks and balances our system was built upon are gone. Worse, the courts are being packed with Trump cronies--often unqualified. 
Agencies are being left to appointed caretakers some outside the normal chain of succession, many unconfirmed for their current posts by the Senate. 
Political opponents tip-toed around these crimes daring not to appear "too extreme." 
This is how democracies die. The rule of law is slowly strangled. The unthinkable becomes commonplace. The illegal becomes accepted--from violations of the emoluments clause to self-dealing to Federal election law crimes to serial sexual abuse. What once was black and white blurs into grey. Right and wrong, old principles, enduring values, fade from memory. 
Authoritarians arrive in our midst not in tanks but in bad suits and worse haircuts. 
I have long thought our system was better than this--more resilient. 
But candidly, I'm no longer sure. I remain hopeful...hopeful that the next election cycle can redress this manifold wrongs. But it will not be easy. It will be too close. 
Trump may be with us for six more yrs. Why? Because we allowed ourselves to become inured to the unthinkable. We are dying the death of a thousand cuts. 
Right now, this week, the president and his band of thugs are winning. They have become unabashed in their attacks on the law. They are daring someone to enforce it. But what if...what if the courts rule against them but they ignore it? What if the Treasury Secretary has violated a law and no one arrests him. What if the president steals and canoodles with enemies and he goes unpunished? 
Their crimes will only grow more egregious and their ways will only grow more ingrained in our system. Their violations will in fact become the system itself. 
Corruption will be the norm-greater corruption, to be sure, since it it was corruption that got us here in the first place. Our only hope is recognizing the seriousness of our situation. 
This is not politics as usual. This is not an erosion of what was. 
This is a full blown crisis, the greatest American politics has faced in half a century...perhaps much longer. It is not a time for equivocation. It is not a time for patience. It is time for those who seek to protect the rule of law to step up to protect it or the chance may not soon again return.

And Congress is out of session for two weeks, and will do nothing... so all this will be old news when they come back.

It's too fucking much.

I'll be damned if I let this country descend into pure authoritarianism. We need to fight this regime with everything we have.
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Saturday, April 06, 2019

Russian Troops Land in Venezuela

Not good.

What is our Russian asset POTUS doing? Not much.
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Trump Is Losing His Mind More Rapidly-- Serious Senility This Past Week

In the past week:

Trump talked about border walls that have multiple big doors and then complained about the doors not being installed and then said the doors are too expensive and heavy to install (because of "hydraulics") and they cost more than the land on the other side and maybe we should give the land to the people on the other side...

Trump complained harshly about a "Judge Flores" for an immigration ruling, not understanding "Flores" was actually the case name and named after a teen migrant named Jenny Flores.

Trump said wind turbine noise causes cancer.

"During an Oval Office event with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump either lied or got confused about where his father was born, admitted that closing the border with Mexico will be economically harmful to the US (but threatened to do it anyway), pushed a baseless conspiracy theory, and repeatedly struggled to say the word “origins.”"

Instead of "origins", he kept saying "ORANGES".

All this is on top of the usual unhinged claims and baseless lies he makes every day.

How much more can the country take of this?
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Trump Says People Seeking Asylum in the US Are "Animals"

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Media Is Ever Happy to Be Gaslit by Republicans

Josh Marshall:
... I’ve marvelled at how ingenuous and pliable so many media voices have been in the face of spin that was entirely predictable. The Times has been among the most credulous, more or less taking at face value the Barr/Trump claim of blanket exoneration. Interestingly, Roll Call has been among the most cautious and focused. But most of the mainstream outlets have taken the Barr letter almost entirely at face value, a decision that seemed ill-considered yesterday and even more so today.

The Russia scandal isn’t a story in isolation. It’s part of a larger story about the rise of plutocratic corruption and right wing authoritarianism in the US, something Donald Trump has both embodied and catalyzed. In that sense it’s not separate from the rest of Trump’s scandals or, contrary to the claims of many, the range of right wing policies he and his Republican Party have advanced. With that said, I don’t think even this story – Trump’s relationship with Russia, the 2016 campaign and his efforts to obstruct and coverup – are really close to over.
On the obstruction question, what we have is a unilateral and unexplained decision on the part of an Attorney General recently appointed on the basis of a memo in which he argued that it was essentially impossible, as a matter of law and the constitution, for the President to obstruct justice. In other words, he’s already told us that he doesn’t think there’s any set of facts that could amount to obstruction or, more specifically, that there’s no way that the President could do so by the corrupt use of his legitimate executive powers.
His judgement tells us nothing as a substantive matter and asks us all collectively to pretend we didn’t see what we all saw happen before our eyes. As I wrote when Barr was nominated, he’s a partisan with a record of putting his hands on the scales for the President he serves. I said I thought he would do everything he could – that’s why he was appointed – to protect Trump short of destroying his reputation in Republican DC or breaking the law. This all fits that prediction to a T.
On the question of collusion or coordination, again, Barr’s gloss on the report similarly asks us to believe that none of us saw what we saw with our own eyes – numerous instances of covert communication, offers of assistance, back channels, business deals being secretly negotiated while the President aggressively pushed the Russian line, a campaign manager handing over campaign data to a Russian intelligence asset and planning peace deals and sanctions relief that was Russia’s top foreign policy goal.
The quote from the report says the investigation did not “establish” conspiracy or coordination. I think we need to take this at face value – they did not find sufficient evidence to prove that a crime had occurred. Was there no evidence? Did they not believe it could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt? Were they unable to gain the cooperation of key players?
As I said yesterday, these are questions the report likely answers. Perhaps when we see the report it will turn out that the story is quite different than we thought. But I tend to doubt it. Everything I see here tells me that the Barr letter looked its best on day one and will look worse on every succeeding day.

Will Wilkinson:
The crescendo of furious gaslighting following Barr's propaganda summary suggests a plan was place to exploit the gap between the submission of the report and public revelation of what's in it to delegitimize Mueller's actual findings and the ongoing investigations.
Trump cronies are incoherently claiming BOTH (a) that the report exonerates him AND (b) the investigation was so ethically compromised and politically biased nothing that came of it can be taken seriously and shouldn't be made public. Obviously can't be both.
Trump's "one weird trick" is the shameless public delegitimization of anyone aligned against his interests. Once again, we're seeing he's the GOAT at this evil art. It's what's made him the Houdini of industrial-scale white-collar theft.
Our idiot media still isn't capable of understanding how to not be co-opted by Trump's reality-bending propaganda machine, and continues to get played like a burgled Stradivarius.
Barr's cover-up gambit means Mueller will certainly be called to testify under oath in the House. That's why we're getting the full-on blitz to mischaracterize his findings: to lock the media and public into a favorable narrative nowhere in evidence, before he actually speaks.
The Trump machine's rush to assert an adamantly conclusive interpretation of the investigation on nothing but a crony appointee's spin on it, and then using this to discredit the larger attempt to uphold the rule of law and separation of powers is completely poisonous.
The media's atrocious gullibility, which is letting this happen without serious resistance, is even more scandalous than the credulity that herded public opinion behind the invasion of Iraq. Because we already *know* this administration does nothing but lie.
This Trump campaign memo seeking to de-platform Democrats constitutionally duty-bound to check executive abuses of power, on the basis of claims consistent with Barr's gloss on Mueller's report, gives away the aim of the game: no rule of law, no oversight.
The Trump machine is making a lot of political hay with necessary legal distinctions. Barr says Mueller didn't establish conspiracy or coordination b/w the campaign &"the Russian government," which doesn't imply there wasn't plenty with Russians hard to pin as agents of Putin. He says Mueller didn't establish that any Trump associate or U.S. citizen "knowingly coordinated" with the IRA to influence the election. Which doesn't imply that Stone (not part of the campaign) didn't coordinate with anonymous agents of the IRA, or with Assange (not American.)
Barr says Mueller supplies evidence of obstruction, then uses the fact that he doesn't establish conspiracy to a certain legal standard (which doesn't at all rule it out, in fact) to argue in a shady way that there was nothing to obstruct, so he let's Trump off scot-free.
The Trump admin/campaign then uses it's own opportunistic judgment as a fixed fact to leverage an attack on the legitimacy of Dem oversight officials in Congress. But Congress's constitutional oversight authority is wholly independent of the executive's findings about itself. Trump has gone to pains to confuse people into accepting that the legitimacy of congressional oversight depends on a prior, narrow legal finding of criminality, which it has done everything it can to prevent.
Having done it successfully, it's attacking the separation of powers. But congressional power over the executive under the constitution is entirely political. If it decides as a body that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, that settles it. Trump's hand-picked AG (confirmed by a lapdog Senate, with a record of shielding presidents from scandal) telling us what the report says & sitting on it doesn't settle anything. But spinning it like it does to prevent congressional oversight tell us a lot.
This is far from over.  
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Monday, March 25, 2019

Republican-Led Investigation Into Republican President Apparently Clears Him

The fix is in. It's Iran-Contra all over again. William Barr will go down in history as covering up treasonous acts for 2 different Republican presidents. What a legacy.

Of course we don't know what Barr's report really says...

Of course there was "collusion" for fuck's sake.
David Corn: 
Trump Aided and Abetted Russia's Attack. 
That Was Treachery. 
Full Stop.
On Sunday afternoon Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress noting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The message also noted that Mueller could not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, but that Barr himself had decided that the evidence Mueller developed was “insufficient to establish” that Trump had obstructed justice. 
Trump proclaimed it was “complete and total exoneration.” And Trump champions popped the cork and declared case closed, nothing to see, end of story, no need for further investigation, Trump did no wrong. Well, that is fake news. Barr’s note is clear that Mueller did not uncover evidence Trump and his gang were in direct cahoots with Russia’s covert operation to interfere with the US election and boost Trump’s odds. 
But the hyper-focus on this sort of collusion—as if Trump instructed Russian hackers on how to penetrate the computer network of the Democratic National Committee—has always diverted attention from a basic and important element of the scandal that was proven long before Mueller drafted his final report: Trump and his lieutenants interacted with Russia while Putin was attacking the 2016 election and provided encouraging signals to the Kremlin as it sought to subvert American democracy. 
They aided and abetted Moscow’s attempt to cover up its assault on the United States (which aimed to help Trump win the White House). And they lied about all this. And, yes, there were instances of collusion—not on the specifics of the attack, but secret scheming between Trumpworld and Russia. None of the evidence underlying this is in dispute. No matter what Mueller report contains, a harsh verdict remains: Trump and his gang betrayed the United States in the greatest scandal in American history.

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Fascism In Full Swing

Trump campaign sends memo to television producers warning about ‘credibility’ of six Trump critics who it says spread false claims about collusion

Trump’s re-election campaign sent a memo to television producers on Monday instructing them to “employ basic journalistic standards when booking” six current or former government officials that the campaign said “made outlandish, false claims, without evidence” while on air.

The memo names:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Judiciary Committee
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez
John Brennan, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who has floated a potential bid for president

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Another Plane Crash with Initially Superficial Resemblance to Flight 93

Ethiopian airlines crash last week, killed 157 people.

This crater is very reminiscent of the flight 93 crash scene.

And the first set of photos of the crash showed little debris and mostly empty fields with scattered small debris. Annoyingly, the news articles gave no sense of the size of the crash field or what the overall debris field looked like.

But then pictures like this started appearing. These are all decidedly NOT like the flight 93 crash.

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Impeach the Motherfucker Already, Part 2

From the great Gaslit Nation podcast, every word here is gold:
Impeach Normalization GN32_Mix02_Export_Final.mp3
In this extra-long and extra-intense episode of Gaslit Nation, we discuss Paul Manafort’s sentences and Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment. We give our take on why the Mueller probe is thus far ineffective, and what it says about our justice system that a brutal career criminal like Manafort who has caused death and suffering around the world as well as threatening our own lives receives such a minimal punishment. We argue that it is in fact “worth it” to impeach Trump, the man whom Manafort served and who himself serves a transnational crime syndicate. We look back on our own decades of work studying authoritarian regimes around the world and the human toll of those regimes, and we examine the toll inaction has taken here in the US – a toll we are unwilling to abide and accept. We condemn the normalization of elite criminal impunity that has devastated our democracy, and we discuss what people can do to combat it. Because this is not about Trump, this is not about Pelosi, this is about the American people – and no matter what our officials tell you, you’re worth it.
On Impeachment:
In the Washington Post, Speaker Pelosi said:
I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.
As we have previously stated in multiple episodes, Gaslit Nation stands in favor of impeaching the motherfucker. This was previously not a controversial view, as Trump has committed a multitude of impeachable offenses, including but not limited to: violating the emoluments clause; obstruction of justice; ordering unconstitutional imprisonment of migrant families; abusing the pardon power; high crimes and misdemeanors; conspiracy against the US; and conspiracy to illegally influence the 2016 election. 
Trump has committed these crimes in plain sight and confessed to some of them, like obstruction, on television. These are not merely constitutional violations but severe threats to national security and public safety that require immediate action – investigation and indictment as well as impeachment. 
Impeachment is not a snap of the fingers producing an instant result. It is a process of hearings in which officials present evidence of crimes and deliberate in a public forum, removed from media bias. Americans these days tend to exist in information silos, but hearings, from Comey to Cohen, have brought our country together to bear witness. Hearings give the public information long withheld from them and shift expectations of accountability. We see parallels with Watergate, in which much of the republic was unconvinced of the severity of Nixon’s crimes until hearings began and they learned the full details. 
The public has the right to information and to make up its own mind. Our media is largely sponsored by dictators or dictated by sponsors. It is critical that officials present evidence to the public directly. This is not a partisan issue; it is a matter of public safety – Trump’s supporters have as much right to the truth as do Trump’s opponents. We are Americans, and we are in this together.
Pelosi, however, does not appear to see herself as in it together with us – she sees herself as above it. She sees Trump as a partisan matter, not an urgent public threat. She does not understand that we are already divided as a nation, and that truth and transparency are the salve. She is replicating the mistakes made by the Obama administration (and by the FBI and James Comey) when they withheld the truth about Trump and Russia from the American public due to their fear of seeming “divisive” or angering Mitch McConnell. 
The GOP has been hijacked by a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government. This is not a secret; we have seen the indictments and we have seen the panicked protectiveness of Trump by the GOP even when they are confronted with his most severe and obviously illegal infractions. Any possibility of bipartisan support for impeachment, for the GOP to put country before party is a myth. The Republicans created this situation: they long ago abdicated their duty through corruption and capitulation. If the GOP were to impeach Trump, they would effectively impeach themselves, since they are caught in Trump’s web of criminality. (Michael Cohen, for example, was the deputy finance chairman of the RNC.) But when Pelosi makes a bipartisan resolution that she knows is impossible the standard for following rule of law, she continues the very abdication that the GOP initiated – and in doing so, aids in their complicity.
Supporters of Pelosi believe there must be a secret message or a secret plan behind her statement, but there is very likely not. (We will be delighted if we are wrong and there is a secret plan, since we are thinking first and foremost about the welfare of the American people, but our track record of accurate assessments speaks for itself.) Some have said the point of Pelosi proclaiming Trump “not worth it” is to wound his ego – as if Trump remotely cares what Pelosi says. All Trump cares about is money, power and being immune from prosecution. Impeachment hearings actually threaten all three of these things. Attempted jibes do not. The message Pelosi conveys when she says Trump is “not worth it” is that it is not worth holding him accountable for crimes that have resulted in the loss of human life and the ongoing destruction of our nation. 
Pelosi may not have intended for this to be her message, but that is how many received it. She hurled a grenade into progressives and wounded many with her words. She may think we can vote Trump out, but she has hurt that very cause. We have heard from younger voters and voters from marginalized groups who no longer want to vote for the Democratic candidate because her flippant dismissal of impeachment as an outcome has led them to believe that the two parties are the same. They are not the same: one party is an existential threat, and one party is deeply flawed. We encourage you to support the Democratic candidate in 2020. But we demand that the Democrats confront our grim reality head on – that there may not be a 2020, that there may not be free and fair elections, and that every day is damage done. It may be a partisan game to you, Speaker Pelosi, but for the rest of us, and for this country, it is a matter of life or death. 
It is critical that the stakes are made clear. Refusal to impeach sends the message that the situation cannot possibly be that dire – it if were, the Democrats would move to impeach, right? This is the same disastrous miscalculation that gave us an unpunished cadre of criminals from Watergate, Iran-Contra, the War on Iraq, and the 2008 financial crisis – criminals who are working with the White House right now! This is not a comparative study; this is literally the same people committing crimes over and over without repercussions. We would not even been dealing with this crisis if officials had acted with conscience and conviction earlier, and brought these criminal elites to justice.
Let us be clear: we do not think that, if the House impeaches Trump, the GOP-dominated Senate will convict. We also do not think that if the Senate, by some miracle, impeaches Trump, that he will leave. Trump has made it clear he will not leave office even if the will of the people demands it in an election, and even if the will of Congress demands it in impeachment. Trump is an aspiring autocrat, and the GOP is seeking a one-party state. 
So what is the point of the House impeaching Trump? An informed public is a powerful public, and hearings are the best way of informing the people on what the White House has done. Autocrats and wannabe autocrats live by their brands, and a symbolic vote of impeachment by the House, sending the world the message that the United States still stands for the rule of law, damages the Trump brand and leaves a mark on it that Ivanka must carry with her as she continues to represent us abroad. The House must begin impeachment proceedings to help restore America's standing in the world and because it is their constitutional duty.
Impeachment sends a message about who we are as a country and what we will accept and abide. The rule of law demands action. Refusing to take action is normalizing atrocity. Lawlessness must be confronted regardless of the outcome, as a matter of principle and conscience. Fighting only the battles that you know you will win is a sure way of ensuring you lose; preemptive surrender, in a rapidly consolidating autocracy, is permanent surrender. The American people have suffered enough under Trump; they should not have to suffer due to Pelosi’s capitulation as well. We all deserve better than this.
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Kleptocrats Killing It

The Great American Heist of the Trump Presidency

Again, just mind-boggling, breath-taking, soul-crushing, criminal levels of corruption with this crew.
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33 of the Day: College Scam Edition

The University of Southern California rescinded the admissions of a half-dozen students, and several other colleges and universities pledged to take a closer look at their admissions processes as fallout continued from an admissions scandal that implicated coaches, athletic department administrators and 33 wealthy, well-connected parents who allegedly schemed to get their children admitted to prestigious colleges. A class-action lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of applicants who were denied admission to several universities affected by the scandal. It alleged that those schools failed to take adequate steps to safeguard against fraud, depriving the applicants of a fair shot. And it emerged that the gen­esis of the FBI investigation came when an investor tipped off agents to the admissions scheme after he was caught committing securities fraud.

 33 wealthy, well-connected parents-- what are the odds?
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