The Conspiracy of the Golden Shower 1

In the beginning of the conspiracy was the dossier.

Yes, it was a conspiracy, and yes, it did begin with the dossier. Then came the tossing about of the dossier. A transparently fictitious and in places childishly silly dossier.

Mark Steyn keeps his eye on the dossier. Here is the greater part of his summing-up of the Clinton anti-Trump campaign:

It started in April 2016, when it became clear that Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. The Hillary campaign and the DNC gave millions of dollars to Marc Elias, a Clinton lawyer, who in turn hired Fusion GPS, who in turn hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Why use Mr Elias as a cutout? Because Hillary and the DNC could then itemize the expense as “legal services” rather than list payments to Mr Steele, which would be in breach of federal law.

Mr Steele used to be head of “the Russia house”, to go all John le Carré on you. So he asked his contacts in Moscow to come up with some stuff on Trump, and they responded with some pretty thinnish material that Steele managed to stretch out to a total of about 33 pages. … The most “salacious” (in James Comey’s word) assertion of the dossier is that Trump likes getting urinated on by Russian hookers.

That was the “golden shower”.

Having met him, I regard this as most unlikely: He is a germaphobe who resents having to do all the unhygienic gladhanding required in American politics. I find it easier to imagine almost any other Republican bigshot enjoying the erotic frisson of micturition, if only from Chuck Schumer. But judge for yourself: You can read the dossier here.

At which point things took a strange and disturbing turn. Steele’s dossier was passed along to the FBI. It seems a reasonable inference, to put it as blandly as possible, that the dossier was used to justify the opening of what the Feds call an “FI” (Full Investigation), which in turn was used to justify a FISA order permitting the FBI to put Trump’s associates under surveillance. Indeed, it seems a reasonable inference that the dossier was created and supplied to friendly forces within the bureau in order to provide a pretext for an FI, without which surveillance of the Trump campaign would not be possible.

Persons in the FBI were corrupted by the Obama administration. The Obama administration consisted largely of a gang of far-left anti-Americans. Corrupted leaders of the the FBI used the force to serve far-left anti-American ends. Only in dictatorships are there police forces whose main business is persecuting the people in the interests of the dictator.

In October 2016, things took a stranger and more disturbing turn. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the Bureau to pay him to continue his work”. In other words, the permanent bureaucracy and the ruling party were collaborating to get the goods on their political opponent, by illegally paying a foreign spy to interfere with the election.

Why would the most lavishly funded investigative agency on the planet need the services of a British subject and his modest consulting firm?

Not just for plausible deniability but also for plausible reliability: Hey, investigating Trump would never have occurred to us, but the former head of the Russia desk at MI6 thought we ought to know about this…

A month later, Trump … won the election. And within twenty-four hours [Clinton campaign manager Robby] Mook and [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta had begun “engineering the case” that the election “wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up”. On November 18th, Andrew Wood, formerly British Ambassador in Moscow, and John McCain, the Senator from Arizona and fierce Never Trumper, met at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia. Sir Andrew told Senator McCain about the dossier and said he’d known Steele when they were both on Her Majesty’s service in Russia and that he was a splendid chap, very sound and awfully decent.

So Sir Andrew Wood got the dossier into [Republican] John McCain’s hands, and John McCain gave it to James Comey, head of the FBI:

One month after the election, on December 9th, McCain met with FBI Director Comey and handed over the dossier. It is not known if Comey replied, “Oh, this old thing? As a matter of fact, we used it as a pretext to get surveillance warrants on Trump …’

Do you sense the ground shifting here? At some point someone somewhere might well have genuinely believed they were asking Christopher Steele to find something on Trump that Hillary could use to destroy him in the media and win the election. Mr Steele failed to deliver. …

But there was enough of a pseudo-dossier, by the debased standards of the bloated US “intelligence community”, to be used as a pretext to get the rubber-stamp FISA court to approve 24/7 surveillance of everyone around Trump – and maybe that would turn up something to destroy him.

But, again, it didn’t. Every sentient creature knows that – because everyone understands that if they’d found anything they’d have leaked it.

So once again the worthless dossier was pressed into service, this time to bolster the case that the Russians had stolen the election from Hillary. During the stupid and anachronistic two-and-a-half-month electoral “transition”, the outgoing Administration worked round the clock to de-legitimize and cripple their successors. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, a dismal and deeply compromised individual, told Jim Comey to set up a meeting with Trump and present him with the dossier. Which he did. Supposedly, Comey felt that he needed to disclose to the President the existence of a report of his supposed sexual predilections … It is yet another reasonable inference that the only purpose of this meeting was to enable the leaking of the meeting – and thereby damage the incoming President: The briefing was arranged as cover for the leak thereof.

All this from one dodgy dossier compiled by an MI6 agent with deep ties to FSB operatives in Russia. 

Has any one foreigner so interfered in a US election as Christopher Steele? Hillary and her chums needed Steele for oppo research. The Deep State needed Steele as a cover for wiretapping the Trump team. The Never Trumpers needed Steele to mire the incoming President and hobble him from the get-go. And the outgoing Administration needed Steele to bolster their narrative that Trump and the Russians had colluded to steal the election.

In fact, Trump seems to have fewer “ties” to Russia than almost any other multinational businessman of comparable wealth, and certainly fewer ties than the corrupt Clintons.

Many things can be deduced from this scandal: Robert Mueller should retire, preferably somewhere far, far away. James Comey should be charged, convicted and jailed. So should senior figures in the Clinton campaign.

And those large sections of the “intelligence community” that have gone rogue and spend more time subverting their own government than any foreign enemies need to be overhauled from top to toe, or, more likely, put out of business entirely. …

Everyone [involved in the dossier story] was colluding with the Russians except Trump – Hillary, the DNC, Democrat lawyers, the FBI, all frantically pointing fingers at the only non-colluding guy in the room.

No man anywhere has ever been less in need of a “golden shower” than Donald J Trump. He is surrounded on all sides by powerful forces leaking on him incessantly.

*

At PowerLine, Scott Johnson provides a former FBI Special Agent’s view of the dossier story.

Why was the “dossier” ultimately so important for the anti-Trump conspiracy (if you think of a better way of putting it, let me know)? The reason, I think, is that the use of standard political smears against Trump had proven ineffective. Therefore it became necessary to take it all a step further and to attempt to make some superficially credible allegations of action against the national interest …

We know that that effort began some time in the late Spring or early Summer of 2016 because an application was made to the FISC in June/July. That application mentioned Trump by name – and was rejected. Why FISA? Because a Title III “wiretap” would have required an actual investigation based on a violation of a real US criminal law and a quite high and specific standard in the application for a court order.

Why, you might ask, was that application even made? Why not rely on the flow of info coming from NSA, which notoriously scoops up virtually all electronic communications? The answer is that Trump and all those close to him were US Persons (USPERs). The NSA targets foreign powers and individuals. If those foreign powers and individuals of concern are in contact with USPERs and, in the judgment of NSA, US counterintelligence (basically, FBI) should know about those USPERs, then NSA informs the FBI.

In my own career, outside FBI headquarters, I only saw a handful of NSA referrals of that sort. They were mostly general in nature. They could perhaps be used to initiate a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) to gain a bit more insight into the nature of the relationship between the USPER and the foreign power or individual — if we judged that advisable based on our own knowledge and experience — meaning that typically the NSA info would not rise to the level needed in order to say that there was “reason to believe” (i.e., for practical purposes, probable cause) that the USPER was an actual agent of a foreign power. That means: no Full Investigation (FI), therefore no FISA.

But in the anti-Trump conspiracy that’s exactly what was needed: FISA coverage, “wiretaps”. … They needed FISA and they needed it NOW. They …  really wanted … to get  conversations between Trump and his associates here in the US – all USPERs – not international conversations (those were either lacking or harmless).

Yes, NSA probably scoops up internal US communications of USPERs, too, but to use it without a FI and without a FISA order would be illegal. Therefore, the “dossier”. 

For the conspirators the significance of the “dossier” was that it provided supposed “reason to believe” that Trump or those close to him were “agents of a foreign power”, subject to blackmail or pressure by a foreign power, already cooperating with a foreign power. The ability to claim that most of this “information” was coming via friendly foreign intel services with contacts in Russia added a bit of verisimilitude.

A “dossier” that could provide that sort of “reason to believe” would justify a FI and then FISA coverage. And therefore access to Trump campaign related communications …

NB: Although they were claiming Trump collusion with Russia, what they were really targeting was campaign communications. By claiming that key people were foreign agents they could collect ALL their domestic communications with anybody.

This is why I believe that the dossier took on added importance after the initial denial of a FISA order. We know, or think we do, that the FBI wanted Steele to do additional research. The focus of that research, however, would have to be to establish “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power”. Only that would get them the FISA coverage they wanted. Lacking those, FISA was the quick route, but it required “reason to believe” that Trump or persons close to his campaign were “agents of a foreign power”. Voila the “dossier” as it apparently featured in the successful FISA application in October, the height of the campaign. And then it came to be used in the attempt to nullify the election (the attempted “coup”?).

Despite all this, the left-slanted, Hillary-protecting mainstream media, and every spokesperson for the Democratic Party, continue now, day after day, to insist that Donald Trump, as presidential candidate, colluded with the Russian government to affect the 2016 election!

The morbid Democratic Party 5

Left-leaning Time, taking a view from the left – so a softer one than would a cold observer from Mars – diagnoses causes of morbidity in the Democratic Party. And prescribes no cure. 

In its habitual irritating style, packing in irrelevant detail, it narrates and asserts:

Like virtually all Democrats, Tim Ryan is no fan of Donald Trump. But as he [Tim Ryan] speeds through his northeastern Ohio district in a silver Chevy Suburban, the eight-term Congressman sounds almost as frustrated with his own party. Popping fistfuls of almonds in the backseat, Ryan gripes about its fixation on divisive issues and its “demonization” of business owners. Ryan, 44, was briefly considered for the role of Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year. Now he sounds ready to brawl with his political kin. “We’re going to have a fight,” Ryan says. “There’s no question about it.”

That fight has already begun, though you’d be forgiven for missing it. On the surface, the Democratic Party has been united and energized by its shared disgust for Trump. But dig an inch deeper and it’s clear that the party is divided, split on issues including free trade, health care, foreign affairs and Wall Street. They even disagree over the political wisdom of doing deals with Trump.

Every party cast out of power endures a period of soul-searching. But the Democrats’ dilemma was unimaginable even a year ago, when Clinton seemed to be coasting toward the White House and demographic change fueled dreams of a permanent national majority. Now, eight months into the Trump presidency, the party looks to face its toughest odds since Ronald Reagan won 49 states in 1984.

The Democrats are in their deepest congressional rut since the class of 1946 was elected, and hold the fewest governors’ mansions–15–since 1922. Of the 98 partisan legislatures in the U.S., Republicans control 67. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Democrats lost 970 seats in state legislatures, leaving the party’s bench almost bare. The median age of their congressional leadership is 67, and many of the obvious early presidential front runners will be in their 70s by the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, there’s still no sign the Democrats have learned the lessons of the last one. “I’ve tried to learn from my own mistakes. There are plenty,” Clinton writes in her campaign memoir What Happened. The book, released on Sept. 12, casts blame on Russia, the FBI and the candidate herself, but never quite finds a satisfying answer to the titular question. Even if it did, these days the party seems to prize ideological purity over Clintonian pragmatism. “There is no confusion about what we Democrats are against. The only disagreement,” says strategist Neil Sroka, “is what we’re for.”

Which leaves the party confronting a puzzle. The momentum may be on the left, but picking up the 24 seats required to retake the House, and the three states needed for control of the Senate, will mean luring back blue collar workers in places like Ryan’s Mahoning Valley district, where the steel plants are shells of their former selves, small businesses are boarded up and payday lenders seem to be on every corner. This used to be a Democratic stronghold, but Trump won three of the five counties in Ryan’s district. If Democrats don’t refine their pitch to alienated white voters, Trump could win re-election with ease. “The resistance can only be part of it,” Ryan says. “We have to be on the offense too.”

It’s not clear who has the influence or inclination to spearhead that shift. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi are seasoned dealmakers who can raise Brink’s trucks full of cash. Their Sept. 6 pact with Trump, which pushed back a pair of fiscal showdowns and delivered hurricane relief money to storm-stricken southeastern Texas, was hailed as a fleecing by the Democrats. After a dinner of Chinese food in the Blue Room of the White House a week later, the pair said they had reached a tentative agreement with Trump to sidestep the Justice Department’s rollback of an Obama-era program that helped young immigrants who were in the country illegally. But among the grassroots, any agreement with the President is viewed as cause for suspicion. When Schumer dared to back a handful of Trump’s Cabinet picks earlier this year, activists protested outside his Brooklyn apartment, hoisting signs with slogans like Grow a spine, Chuck. In her San Francisco district on Sept. 18, Pelosi was shouted down by activists who were angry that her proposed immigration deal with Trump did not cover more people.

For all these challenges, the party’s time in the wilderness could prove to be an opportunity. … But before the party comes together, first it has to banish the furies that threaten to tear it apart.

The counterpoint to Ryan’s call for moderation could be found onstage in August in a Hyatt ballroom in Atlanta. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate, had come to deliver a battle cry to 1,000 grassroots activists. “The Democratic Party isn’t going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill,” she said in not-at-all-veiled criticism of President Bill Clinton’s mid-’90s strategy to peel off Republican votes. “We are not a wing of today’s Democratic Party,” Warren declared to her fellow liberals. “We are the heart and soul of today’s Democratic Party.”

Warren is clearly thinking of running for President in 2020. If she does, a crowd will be waiting to cheer her on: a year ago, under pressure from supporters of insurgent Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democrats adopted the most progressive platform in their history, which called for free college for families earning $125,000 or less and Medicare options for Americans as young as 55. This march to the left has become a sprint since Clinton’s defeat.

Groups that support abortion rights have stopped offering polite silence to Democrats who disagree. Others are demanding jail time for bank executives. Small-dollar donors are goading progressive groups to advance liberal policies and challenge lawmakers who balk. A group of prominent liberal Democrats, including some 2020 hopefuls, are pushing a national single-payer health care plan – even though its strongest backers acknowledge that it has zero chance of becoming law in this Republican-controlled Congress. Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois threatened on Sept. 8 that Democrats may shut down the government in December if Congress doesn’t provide a pathway for undocumented immigrants to become citizens. “Running on progressive values,” strategist Adam Green told a candidates’ training session in Washington this summer, “is how Democrats will win.” …

Efforts to mend the rifts of the 2016 election have fallen flat. Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched a national tour with Sanders and newly minted party chairman Tom Perez, who was elected in February. Things didn’t go well. When Sanders thanked Perez at rallies, his so-called Bernie bros heckled the new chairman. The attempt at unity was a footnote within a month. “The current model and the current strategy of the Democratic Party is an absolute failure,” declared Sanders, who plans to seek a third term in the Senate next year as an independent.

Activists aligned with Sanders are working to mount primary challenges against centrist Democrats. Our Revolution, a group that rose from the ashes of Sanders’ presidential campaign, led a protest in August outside the DNC, demanding a more liberal platform. Party staffers tried handing out snacks and bottles of water, but the hospitality did little to defuse the tension. “They tried to seduce us with doughnuts,” said former Ohio state senator Nina Turner, a protest organizer.

Some of the grievances hinge on strategy as much as substance. Kamala Harris, the popular junior Senator from California, backs Sanders’ health plan and won an endorsement from Warren during her election last year. But as California’s former top cop, Harris declined to prosecute bankers, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, for their role in the 2008 financial crisis. She also spent part of her summer raising cash in the tony precincts of the Hamptons. As a result, Sanders allies say she’s a Wall Street shill. “Follow the money,” says Nomiki Konst, a Sanders supporter who serves on the DNC panel tasked with forging postelection unity.

No one waits on the horizon to broker a peace. The DNC has been hollowed out, first by Obama’s neglect and then by a Clinton campaign that raided its talent. Now it is trying to play catch-up, sending $10,000 a month to each state party to help add bodies and channel activists’ energy into permanent organizations. But the party is still $3.5 million in the red, and Republicans are outraising it by a margin of roughly 2 to 1. Meanwhile, Perez is serving as a visiting fellow at Brown University, where he teaches a course called Governance and Leadership in Challenging Times.

Schumer says the party lost the White House in 2016 because it had a “namby-pamby” message on the economy. He’s not risking that again, working with members from both chambers on an aggressive, worker-focused message. The blueprint, dubbed “A Better Deal”, has Warren’s fingerprints all over it, calling for a national $15-per-hour minimum wage and cheaper drugs, colleges and child care. “The focus starts on economic issues,” Schumer said. “That’s where the American people are hurting.” …

Governing in Washington these days is “the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done,” complains Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat. “Most of my life, there was about 20% on the right fringe and the left fringe, but 60% in the middle, where common sense would prevail. Now I’m thinking 40% on each fringe.”

Part of the problem is that red states are getting redder, while blue states are growing ever more blue. Consider West Virginia, where Manchin is still popular from his days as governor. When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, he carried 42 of the state’s 55 counties. That number climbed to 43 four years later. But by 2000, West Virginia residents were sour on Democratic trade policies that many saw as costing them coal and steel jobs. Al Gore won 13 counties that year, and John Kerry took just nine in 2004. It’s little wonder that during Manchin’s first campaign for Senate, in 2010, he cut an ad that showed him firing a rifle at an Obama-backed environmental bill. Obama would go on to lose all 55 counties in 2012–a feat Hillary Clinton repeated.

Democrats still outnumber Republicans in West Virginia by 12 percentage points [according to heavily Democrat-weighted polls -ed].  These Democrats, however, don’t want to hear about NFL players protesting during the national anthem or the latest in the ongoing investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow. They care far less about Black Lives Matter than keeping their checking accounts in the black. Add in the 21% of West Virginians who say they don’t identify with either party, and it’s a dangerous proposition for candidates like Manchin to parrot talking points from MSNBC. It’s not that he’s a squish on cultural issues; it’s that he’d rather talk about lifting the economy in his state, where 18% live in poverty.

The Democrats’ focus on identity politics is one reason Manchin suggested, half-heartedly, that he doesn’t care if he wins another term next year. “The Washington Democrats’ mentality has been more urban,” he says. “They forgot about rural America and rural states. They don’t want you to tell them about their bathrooms or their bedrooms or all this other stuff we’re trying to control.”

Some say another problem is Pelosi. The first female House speaker and a legendary vote wrangler, she was widely, if wrongly, blamed for a series of special-election defeats in the spring, even though Democrats fared far better than usual in places like Kansas and Georgia. A special election in June became less about the candidates than about the specter of Pelosi, whom Republicans cast as a puppet mistress for the Democratic nominee. … [Tim] Ryan’s long-shot bid to replace her as House Democratic leader won [only] 63 votes last year.

Part of Ryan’s pitch has been to put away the pitchforks and modulate the tone. “We cannot be a party that is hostile to business. We need those businesspeople to hire our people, who just want a shot,” Ryan fumes. “We can be business-friendly and still be progressive.” And while it puts him at odds with some peers, such arguments have also won him some unlikely fans. “The smart guys in the Democratic Party, they understand what’s going on. [Ohio Democratic Senator] Sherrod Brown gets this. Tim Ryan gets this.” Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon told 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose in an interview that aired on Sept. 10. “The only question before us: Is it going to be a left-wing populism or a right-wing populism?” …

One only needs to look at the shuttered mom-and-pop businesses dotting Ryan’s district to see why voters were inclined to listen to Trump’s promises. Which is why Ryan is pushing plans to bring high-speed Internet to the farming communities and to recruit tech giants to the cheap real estate in local cities and towns.

On a Friday in late July, Ryan was padding through the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s annual Italian festival in Youngstown. Simmering red sauce was heaped on polenta, and elephant ears layered with powdered sugar were matched with mostaccioli showered with ground Parmesan from plastic tubes. It was a throwback to a time when church socials defined communities. “These are my peeps,” Ryan says to no one in particular as voters swarm him. …

If Ryan has bigger ambitions to lead, he is not alone. A shadow campaign for the 2020 nomination is quietly taking shape in early-nominating states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Some of the most interesting names are unfamiliar ones. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., visited Iowa in early September to check in. Jason Kander, the former Missouri secretary of state who is viewed as a rising party star, recruited a Sanders aide to stake out territory in Iowa and has announced plans to open offices for his voting-rights group in five states. …

“We have the next generation of Democratic leaders. We need to lift them up in the public eye,” says Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, a group dedicated to electing women who support abortion rights. “This is not a party of one leader. It’s just not.”

Back in Youngstown, you can see the wheels spinning in Ryan’s head. He sees a role for a Midwesterner who can connect with the working-class voters who took comfort in Trump’s rage. Indeed, he thinks the Democrats’ future depends on it. “We can get the party back on track,” Ryan says as his SUV rolls away from a meeting with Ohio union chiefs. “Someone’s going to figure this out. Someone needs to.”

Now to take a view – not from disinterested Mars but – from the conservative Right.

What we see is a party riven by irreconcilable contradictions.

Its leaders are not just old but out of touch with the rising generation of “progressives”. Who will represent the women in pink pussy hats who cheer Hamas-supporting Linda Sarsour more enthusiastically than they did Hillary Clinton? The thousands of possible voters of all colors and ethnicities who march with Black Lives Matter and call for the killing of cops? The black students who are demanding black-only living quarters and graduation ceremonies in their colleges? And those – mostly white – who appear in black clothes and hoods and masks to set fires and smash windows and clobber Trump supporters in the name of “anti-fascism”?  The opponents of free speech?  The loud decriers – black brown and white – of “white privilege”? The SJWs – social justice warriors – who want guaranteed free everything from housing and meals to surgery and university, from condoms and marijuana to Teslas and abortions?

How will the lions of feminism lie down with the lambs of the burkha?

How will the Muslims who hate the Jews even more than they hate everyone else reconcile with Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Bernie Sanders?

How will those rising “progressives” who want free stuff but hate whitey, accept the leadership of the only one offering it: Bernie? Whether as Democrat or Independent, would he be voted for by the free-goodies multitude who remain uncontaminated by knowledge of economics  – as an old white man?

How will the Congressional Party thrive when its House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, has declined all the way into her rapidly advancing senile dementia?

What store of riches will it plunder when it has taxed the rich into poverty?

How will it light, cool, warm, transport the people and keep their iPhones active on wind-power?

How will it use, and to what end, a House, a Senate, a White House, or any seat of government if it concedes to its strengthening lobby for the abolition of national borders?

How will it survive long enough to say “I told you so” when breathing driving manufacturing humans and flatulent cows heat up the planet to an unbearable extra degree or two in a hundred years’ time, if it allows Iran to become a nuclear power in a mere ten years or so?

Speed on, Tim Ryan, in your silver Chevy Suburban, popping fistfuls of almonds, to your Italian festivals; pad through basilicas; heap simmering red sauce on polenta, match elephant ears layered with powdered sugar with mostaccioli showered with ground Parmesan from plastic tubes!

Way to go – to political oblivion?

The Russian hacking that never happened 3

The Nation weekly journal is generally on the side of the Others: the Democrats, the socialists, the statists, the Islam-promoters, the politically correct, the “social justice warriors”.

So if THEY say that there was no Russian hacking of the DNC during the 2016 election year and can prove it – which it seems they can and have – then the conspiracy to spin a “narrative” that presidential candidate Donald Trump plotted with “the Russians” to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, is over.

We quote the meaty parts of the article by Patrick Lawrence at The Nation:

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised — a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept — as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate”.  This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year — not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak — a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. …

 

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. …

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any. …

Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. … [but] “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said …

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. … Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known — they were published last September — and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege’, meaning a key.” …

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate — the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second — half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between — but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads — conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like — degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting.“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use. …

VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

  • On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
  • On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
  • On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
  • On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.

It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent”.

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment [ICA], the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers — an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. … The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

How has the Democratic Part reacted to the revelation, in a usually supportive magazine, that they have been proved to have lied?

Flat denial, and accusation that the revelation is itself  a “conspiracy  theory”:

[The Nation’s] Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.” 

We await with keen interest – animated we confess by more than a little Schadenfreude – the reaction of: the Mainstream Media, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Robert Mueller, James Comey, Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.o, Vladimir Putin, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

A sad little Democratic rally 7

So having pondered their failure for nearly 9 months after losing the White House, and finding themselves with very little power anywhere, power-hungry Democratic leaders have, it would seem, tentatively arrived at the thought that perhaps the continual bashing of President Trump and those who voted for him is not working well for them.

Is the party coming back from that legendary Land of Free Stuff, far over the left horizon?

It held a rally yesterday (July 24, 2015) to announce a re-launch of something, and a newish slogan to decorate it: “A Better Deal”.

Better than what? Better than FDR’s New Deal?

The announcement of the rally attracted about 100 enthusiasts. The slogan has yet to excite the tens of thousands who line up before daybreak to attend a Trump rally in the late afternoon.

But the “better deal” they propose must be carrying them a little way back from the far left, because voices from the far left deride them for it.

Tom Worstall writes at Forbes:

For once in my life I find I agree with the Bernie Bros and other sniping at the Democratic Party from the left – this “A Better Deal” program from Schumer, Pelosi et al is pretty weak beer, little more than a listing of three things which would be quite nice to have. And that’s the problem really, they’d be quite nice but they’re not inspiring, they don’t address the roots of any problems at all, in fact only tinker at the margins. Above all, none of them are the sort of thing to get the juices running nor – much more to the point – the sort of thing to get the election time volunteers out there and hyped up.

What are the three things?

Seriously? We’ll shout at the pharma companies a bit more, here’s a tax credit for apprenticeships and we’ll really look darn hard at the Amazon, Whole Foods merger type of thing?

That’s it? That’s supposed to get half the country marching against patriarchal capitalism?

Doesn’t really even qualify as beer does it, very weak tea might be a better description. But this is the one they’re running with:

“Too many Americans don’t know what we stand for,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told a sweat-soaked crowd of about 100 at a park here off Main Street. “Not after today [will that be the case].”

Such is the battle cry of a party in the wilderness  

The writer goes on to suggest more exciting policy ideas for the Democrats, while denying that he himself is actually for them.

I’m still waiting to hear the “bold solutions” that Democrats promise. I can think of one possibility: Why not propose some version of truly universal single-payer health care?

I can think of a set of policies which would mobilize the base rather more. I wouldn’t say that I actually recommend any of these policies, my solutions to things tend not to be acceptable in Democrat circles. But yes, why not call for single payer (no, really, I don’t think it’s a good policy but as a rallying call however), $20 an hour minimum wage at some future date and a $3 trillion infrastructure program? No one is particularly listening to how these sorts of plans will be implemented nor paid for, the aim at present is to simply get that excitement at the world that could be raging. Seriously, the promise of a chicken in every pot would be more inspiring that “A Better Deal” so far.

Political excitement, which is what the Democrats are trying to engender, is created by the dreams of what could be, not the sort of marginal management issues proposed in “A Better Deal”.

But didn’t a vital section of the electorate demonstrate decisively last November that it is not easily taken in by promises of the impossible?

Posted under Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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Going down 3

The Democrats with their Leftist agenda have just been massively defeated in the 2016 elections.

Their remedy? Move further left. Or in their words, “be more progressive”.

Way to go, Democrats!

To look in on the Democratic Party in its death throes, watch this short video in which Cenk Uyger of “The Young Turks” pushes hard for the “real progressive”, Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, to be the new DNC leader.

To read about Ellison’s incendiary opinions and present connections to terrorist-sponsoring organizations, go here.