Saturday, December 31, 2016

Despicable Dereliction of Duty: California legalizes child prostitution

Travis Allen, 43, is that rare Republican in the California legislature. He represents the 72nd Assembly District in coastal Orange County.

In an article for the Washington Examiner on Dec. 29, 2016, titled “California Democrats legalize child prostitution,” Mr. Allen sounds the warning that beginning on January 1, 2017, “prostitution by minors will be legal in California”:
“SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.

This terribly destructive legislation was written and passed by the progressive Democrats who control California’s state government with a two-thirds ‘supermajority.’ To their credit, they are sincere in their belief that decriminalizing underage prostitution is good public policy that will help victims of sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the reality is that the legalization of underage prostitution suffers from the fatal defect endemic to progressive-left policymaking: it ignores experience, common sense and most of all human nature — especially its darker side.
The unintended but predictable consequence of how the real villains — pimps and other traffickers in human misery — will respond to this new law isn’t difficult to foresee. 

Pimping and pandering will still be against the law whether it involves running adult women or young girls. But legalizing child prostitution will only incentivize the increased exploitation of underage girls. Immunity from arrest means law enforcement can’t interfere with minors engaging in prostitution — which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps. Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit.

As Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, a national leader on human trafficking issues, told the media, “It just opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.” Another prosecutor insightfully observed that if traffickers wrote legislation to protect themselves, it would read like SB 1322.

Minors involved in prostitution are clearly victims, and allowing our law enforcement officers to pick these minors up and get them away from their pimps and into custody is a dramatically better solution than making it legal for them to sell themselves for sex. That only deepens their victimization and renders law enforcement powerless to stop the cycle of abuse. SB 1322 is not simply misguided — its consequences are immoral.”

SB 1322: Commercial Sex Acts – Minors, approved by Governor Jerry Brown on Sept. 26, 2016, amends Sections 647 and 653.22 of the Penal Code to render existing law that makes it a crime to solicit or engage in any act of prostitution “inapplicable to a child under 18 years of age”.

Assemblyman Travis Allen further warns that SB 1322 is “only the tip of the liberal iceberg” because the new year “will see the Golden State subjected to wave after wave of laws taking effect that are well-intentioned but disastrous embodiments of progressive utopianism.” Examples include:
  1. A new Democratic-authored law that “throws open the door to even greater government dependency on the part of the poor by rolling back” a law barring increased payments to women who have more children while still on welfare. “Henceforth, no matter how many children someone has while on welfare, the state government will ratchet up payments with each child, with no limit.”
  2. Increase in minimum wage to $10/hour, which is proven to increase unemployment of young people — those who are the least skilled and most in need of entry-level jobs.
  3. Another Democratic-sponsored bill enables an estimated 50,000 felons to vote in the next state election, many from their jail cells.
  4. A bill that makes it illegal to lend your shotgun if you go hunting with a buddy.
  5. A bill that forbids state employees from traveling on business to states that prohibit transgender bathrooms.
H/t Longknife 21


Matt Tiabbi: Something About This Russia Story Stinks

Nearly a decade and a half after the Iraq-WMD faceplant, the American press is again asked to co-sign a dubious intelligence assessment

The Obama administration announced this week that nearly three dozen Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
In an extraordinary development Thursday, the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia. Thirty-five Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. President Obama issued a terse statement seeming to blame Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails.

"These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government," he wrote.

Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting "the children of American diplomats" to "visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin," as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you'll find.

This dramatic story puts the news media in a jackpot. Absent independent verification, reporters will have to rely upon the secret assessments of intelligence agencies to cover the story at all.

Many reporters I know are quietly freaking out about having to go through that again. We all remember the WMD fiasco.

"It's déjà vu all over again" is how one friend put it.

You can see awkwardness reflected in the headlines that flew around the Internet Thursday. Some news agencies seemed split on whether to unequivocally declare that Russian hacking took place, or whether to hedge bets and put it all on the government to make that declaration, using "Obama says" formulations.

The New York Times was more aggressive, writing flatly, "Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking." It backed up its story with a link to a joint FBI/Homeland Security report that details how Russian civilian and military intelligence services (termed "RIS" in the report) twice breached the defenses of "a U.S. political party," presumably the Democrats.

This report is long on jargon but short on specifics. More than half of it is just a list of suggestions for preventive measures.

At one point we learn that the code name the U.S. intelligence community has given to Russian cyber shenanigans is GRIZZLY STEPPE, a sexy enough detail.

But we don't learn much at all about what led our government to determine a) that these hacks were directed by the Russian government, or b) they were undertaken with the aim of influencing the election, and in particular to help elect Donald Trump.

The problem with this story is that, like the Iraq-WMD mess, it takes place in the middle of a highly politicized environment during which the motives of all the relevant actors are suspect. Nothing quite adds up.

If the American security agencies had smoking-gun evidence that the Russians had an organized campaign to derail the U.S. presidential election and deliver the White House to Trump, then expelling a few dozen diplomats after the election seems like an oddly weak and ill-timed response. Voices in both parties are saying this now.

"Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin," President Obama said in a December 16th news conference while discussing Russian hacking allegations. The Asahi Shimbun/Getty
Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham noted the "small price" Russia paid for its "brazen attack." The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, said Thursday that taken alone, the Obama response is "insufficient" as a response to "attacks on the United States by a foreign power."

The "small price" is an eyebrow-raiser. Also, like the WMD story, there's an element of salesmanship the government is using to push the hacking narrative that should make reporters nervous. Take this line in Obama's statement about mistreatment of American diplomats in Moscow:

"Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year."

This appears to refer to an incident this summer in which an American diplomat was beaten outside the diplomatic compound in Moscow. That followed a 2013 case in which a U.S. diplomat named Ryan Fogle was arrested in similar fashion.

Fogle was unequivocally described as a CIA agent in many Russian reports. Photos of Fogle's shpionsky rekvisit, or spy kit – including wigs and a city map that were allegedly on his person – became the source of many jokes in the Russian press and social media. Similar to this hacking story here in the states, ordinary Russians seemed split on what to believe.

If the Russians messed with an election, that's enough on its own to warrant a massive response – miles worse than heavy-handed responses to ordinary spying episodes. Obama mentioning these humdrum tradecraft skirmishes feels like he's throwing something in to bolster an otherwise thin case.

Adding to the problem is that in the last months of the campaign, and also in the time since the election, we've seen an epidemic of factually loose, clearly politically motivated reporting about Russia. Democrat-leaning pundits have been unnervingly quick to use phrases like "Russia hacked the election."

This has led to widespread confusion among news audiences over whether the Russians hacked the DNC emails (a story that has at least been backed by some evidence, even if it hasn't always been great evidence), or whether Russians hacked vote tallies in critical states (a far more outlandish tale backed by no credible evidence).

As noted in The Intercept and other outlets, an Economist/YouGov poll conducted this month shows that 50 percent of all Clinton voters believe the Russians hacked vote tallies.

This number is nearly as disturbing as the 62 percent of Trump voters who believe the preposterous, un-sourced Trump/Alex Jones contention that "millions" of undocumented immigrants voted in the election.

A December 19th anti-Trump protest in Pennsylvania. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Then there was the episode in which the Washington Post ran that breathless story about Russians aiding the spread of "fake news." That irresponsible story turned out to have been largely based on one highly dubious source called "PropOrNot" that identified 200 different American alternative media organizations as "useful idiots" of the Russian state.

The Post eventually distanced itself from the story, saying it "does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot's findings." This was a very strange thing to say in a statement that isn't an outright retraction. The idea that it's OK to publish an allegation when you yourself are not confident in what your source is saying is a major departure from what was previously thought to be the norm in a paper like the Post.

There have been other excesses. An interview with Julian Assange by an Italian newspaper has been bastardized in Western re-writes, with papers like The Guardian crediting Assange with "praise" of Trump and seemingly flattering comments about Russia that are not supported by the actual text. (The Guardian has now "amended" a number of the passages in the report in question).

And reports by some Democrat-friendly reporters – like Kurt Eichenwald, who has birthed some real head-scratchers this year, including what he admitted was a baseless claim that Trump spent time in an institution in 1990 – have attempted to argue that Trump surrogates may have been liaising with the Russians because they either visited Russia or appeared on the RT network. Similar reporting about Russian scheming has been based entirely on unnamed security sources.

Now we have this sanctions story, which presents a new conundrum. It appears that a large segment of the press is biting hard on the core allegations of electoral interference emanating from the Obama administration.

Did the Russians do it? Very possibly, in which case it should be reported to the max. But the press right now is flying blind. Plowing ahead with credulous accounts is problematic because so many different feasible scenarios are in play.

On one end of the spectrum, America could have just been the victim of a virtual coup d'etat engineered by a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, which would be among the most serious things to ever happen to our democracy.

But this could also just be a cynical ass-covering campaign, by a Democratic Party that has seemed keen to deflect attention from its own electoral failures.

The outgoing Democrats could just be using an over-interpreted intelligence "assessment" to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration and force Trump into an embarrassing political situation: Does he ease up on Russia and look like a patsy, or escalate even further with a nuclear-armed power?

It could also be something in between. Perhaps the FSB didn't commission the hack, but merely enabled it somehow. Or maybe the Russians did hack the DNC, but the WikiLeaks material actually came from someone else? There is even a published report to that effect, with a former British ambassador as a source, not that it's any more believable than anything else here.

We just don't know, which is the problem.

We ought to have learned from the Judith Miller episode. Not only do governments lie, they won't hesitate to burn news agencies. In a desperate moment, they'll use any sucker they can find to get a point across.

I have no problem believing that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the American election. He's gangster-spook-scum of the lowest order and capable of anything. And Donald Trump, too, was swine enough during the campaign to publicly hope the Russians would disclose Hillary Clinton's emails. So a lot of this is very believable.

But we've been burned before in stories like this, to disastrous effect. Which makes it surprising we're not trying harder to avoid getting fooled again.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Robert Steele: The DHS-FBI Report Against the Russians is Absolute Crap — Our Own Traitors, Not the Russians, Are the Real Enemy


David Robert Steele
Robert David STEELE Vivas
UPDATE 1: John McAfee: ‘I Can Guarantee You, It Was Not the Russians’

The neo-fascist, neo-conservative coup against Donald Trump, the accidental president, continues. General Wesley Clark clearly articulated the success of the first coup. Others have articulated how the Deep State controls not just the US Government, but the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the parent of Gladio false flag terrorism (which just assassinated the NATO Chief Auditor and probably the Russian Ambassador in Turkey as well), and Germany, where Angela Merkel is planning a European army and a European war against Russia rooted in illegal immigration she has encouraged and false flag attacks in which she is complicit.

Vladimir Putin is to be saluted for not expelling US officers — most known to Russia, CIA’s dirty little secret is that it does not have a deep bench and will lie to the President about this — when Donald Trump takes power, among his priorities must be the cleansing of the FBI (cleaning out the pedophile, Zionist, Opus Dei, and Wall Street “protectors”) rapidly followed by a tripling of the FBI budget and a redirection on the 500 traitors — I have started a list — who actively betray the public interest on behalf of foreign powers.
Israel and Saudi Arabia, not Russia, are the most culpable sponsors of treason within the US Government. NSA and CIA are the absolute top culprits responsible for spying on — and blackmailing — US politicians including President Barack Obama who has been under constant electronic surveillance since he was a junior Senator. NSA and CIA — and through NSA the Israelis and through CIA the Saudis — have every intimate moment Barack Obama has ever had, on tape and ready for release. Similarly, many Senators and Congressman are “on tape” and being “handled” by the Deep State.

Below are a few facts and links that give the lie to the Clinton-Brennan-Obama narrative.

Were I not so committed to Truth & Reconciliation and moving on, I would call for the impeachment of Barack Obama, John Kerry, Jim Clapper, and John Brennan specifically, for high crimes and misdemeanors in fomenting war with Russia on the basis of lies. I am reminded of Dick Cheney’s 935 now-documented lies that led us to multiple elective wars and occupations in which Saudi Arabia funded our traitors and the tax-payer paid $5 trillion to create a swath of destruction from Afghanistan to Niger.

Here is the DHS-FBI report: DHS-FBI Crap Report on Russian Cyber

FACT: In no way does this unprofessional “high school level” report demonstrate that the Russians “hacked” anything, least of all the DNC (that was NSA hacking-leaking and insider leaking) and Podesta (that was a singleton phishing expedition by someone who does not speak Russian, we know this from their Yandex account set-up). As I note in the below proposed press release delivered to Jim Clapper via email — his last opportunity to grasp what little is left of his integrity — there is a difference between hacking, leaking, and manipulating. My summary for Jim Clapper is still the best summary of what actually happened, the other three links are the best technical denunciation of the lies from DHS-CIA-FBI, my own early summary with structured links, and a final link to all posts at this blog focused on the false narrative against the Russians.

FACT: NSA and CIA spy on US politicians to a degree that no foreign service could ever match. They do this with impunity. No one seems to have the balls to make this an issue. This is the story of our time, along with the pathological ineptitude of the US secret intelligence world, that collects everything digital, ignores everything known by humans that is not digital, and consequently knows nothing of value to the President, the Cabinet, Congress, or our military commanders — one them, Tony Zinni, is on record as saying he received, “at best” 4% of what he needed to know from US secret sources and methods.

Robert Steele: Is Blaming the Russians a Desperate Attempt to Cover Up US Intelligence Community Routine Spying on US Politicians Including the President?
Robert Steele: Fake News as Treason — An Indictment of CIA, NSA & Everyone Else…Russians Did Not Hack Election, This is a Coup in Progress…
Graphic: Tony Zinni on 4% “At Best”
Tony Zinni: Background & Confirmation of the 4% “At Best” Quote on Secret versus Open Sources
Intelligence for the President–and Everyone Else
On Defense Intelligence: Seven Strikes

FACT: The Russians have certainly done their share of cyber-snooping but in no way does this translate into “hacking” the US election — Clinton did the voting machines until DHS and others closed down that options, one reason Donald Trump won “accidentally,” and the Israelis did vastly more than the Russians in their camapign of cyber snooping, Google search manipulation, Facebook censorship, and fake news including very active slander against Donald Trump. The Israeli — and Saudi — and German — day of reckoning is coming. I pray that is rooted in Truth & Reconciliation — my version is “everyone gets the truth, no one goes to jail. From an objective point of view, there is no comparison between Russian (or Chinese, French, and German) cyber-snooping against the USA — at the high-school level — and Israeli cyber-control. The Israelis “own” not just NSA, but DHS and most law enforcement communications and computing networks across the USA.

Graphic: How Hillary Clinton Stole the Democratic Nomination from Bernie Sanders — and Did Not Legally Win the Popular Vote
Mongoose: Hillary Clinton Electoral Fraud Confirmed by Stanford University — Bernie Sanders Won…
FadedRose: Uncounted Votes – How Clinton Stole California with the Active Complicity of Bernie Sanders?
Worth a Look: Black Box Voting — Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century
4th Media: Wayne Madsen – US Counterintelligence Locked Down to Protect Zionist Penetrations?
Berto Jongman: Zionist Mole in White House, Lewinsky Audio Tapes by Mossad Used to Blackmail Clinton –Tie in USS Liberty, Zionist Role in JFK, Saudis on 9/11
CounterPunch: An End to AIPAC, An End to Zionist Subversion of US Government and US Policy?
Gareth Porter: Obama’s False Narrative on Iran — Zionists — and Sunni Dictators “Own” the White House and the Black House
Jim Dean: Zionist Penetration of US Academia — Boycott by ASA, Counter-Attack, Need for Religious Counterintelligence Most Urgent
Owl: Saudi Terrorists and Zionist Terrorists — From Same Jewish Roots?
Penguin: NSA = Zionists Ubber Alles
Penguin: It’s Official – NSA Puts Zionist Israel Ahead of USA, Compromises Official US Government Communications in Favor of Zion
Jon Rappoport: NSA as Front for Two Israeli Companies, Narus and Verint, Specializing in Mass Surveillance & Getting Zionist Copy of Everything
Review: Robert Maxwell, Israel’s Superspy–The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul

FACT: The US secret intelligence world is the foundation for the Deep State that rescued fascism after WWII — not only exfiltrating the top Nazis and their treasures but then turning around and using the Black Lily Fund (the gold captured in the Philippines, China is about to get the other 150 stashes, we only got 25) to restore fascist politicians in Germany, Italy, and Japan, while funding dictators across Africa and Asia — e.g. Indonesia — willing to pay lip service to anti-communism. The secret world — largely the rogue elements of the CIA and FBI — is also the facilitator for Deep State movement of drugs, guns, cash, and children — the latter into pedophilia/snuff pipelines — using conscripted military assets on a “no questions asked basis.” The degree of depravity within the rogue elements of the US secret world cannot be over-stated. Combined with torture and drone assassination, the latter with a 98% collateral damage or death of innocents rate, as well as the “gold war” against Russia, and there is every reason for President-Elect Trump to consider a deep deep cleansing of the US secret world with what we in the Latino world call “con significancia” — with significance. It will hurt. Leaving this cesspool of depraved amoral assholes intact will hurt more. Donald Trump’s toughest opponents will be the Republican Party leadership — they are heavily invested in war as a business model, they are “controlled” by the Deep State, and they are delusional in not understanding that the next big leak is going to bury them by name.

Review: Gold Warriors–America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold
Berto Jongman: Gold War – China Takes Philippines
Review (Guest): The Devil’s Chessboard – Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government
Review (Guest): The American Deep State – Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on US Democracy
Review (Guest): Pay Any Price – Greed, Power, and Endless War
Fletcher Prouty: How CIA Really Works
Fletcher Prouty: The Secret TeamThe CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World
Danny Sheehan with Gary Null: Four Interviews – New Reflections on The Deep State, Money, Nazis, and Murder
Mike Lofgren: Anatomy of the Deep State
Mike Lofgren: Inside the US Deep State — How Elites Control Politicians and Bureaucrats — Openly
Mike Lofgren: War as a Business Model
Robert Steele: The Two-Party Tyranny and Faux Intelligence as Enablers of the Deep State
Yoda: Deep State – Satanic State – Pedophilia State

FACT: 80-90% of what we need to know in the way of intelligence (decision-support) can and should be derived from open source and methods. The secret world calls Open Source Intelligence (and me, its founder) “open sores.” They are absolutely terrified that President-Elect Trump will focus on the one thing that Jim Woolsey and I agree on: 75% of the secret world is worthless, it’s budget could and should be cut to $25B (Woolsey’s number) to $30B (my number). An Open Source Agency (OSA) at $3B a year will not only provide the President and the Cabinet with what they need to know across 150 topics now ignored by the secret world, but will do so in tailored support to strategy, policy, operations, and acquisition, distinctions not understood by the existing “one size fits” all secret intelligence world. Intelligence reform can be job and revenue neutral across all political boundaries; it merits comment that migrating from an over-emphasis on technical collection that is not processed to a global open source and overt human collection emphasis where processing is multinational and multilingual, will create thousands of jobs for normal people — the only losers will be the beltway bandits over-charging by 50%.

Reflections: Philosophy of Intelligence
2017 Robert Steele: OSINT Done Right
Robert Steele: Open Source (Technologies) Agency
Former CIA Spy Has A Christmas Message For Trump
Robert Steele: Reinventing the US Army Part I – An American Grand Strategy
Fixing Intelligence II: Seven Precepts (PORTAL)

FACT: The era of secrecy enabling the few to profit from war and waste is over. The Internet is in its infancy — Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube are all censoring alternative views while the mainstream media continues to pump out “fake news” — what Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman so famously called “manfacturing consent,” our schools are “weapons of mass instruction,” but the tide has  turned. Unlike WWI and WWII, both wars started by bankers who funded both sides of each war and used lies to turn incidents into war, the public is smarter now. The public now understands that both the CIA and the NYT are shit — they cannot be relied upon to tell the truth because no one has been holding them accountable for telling the truth. Donald Trump may not rise to the occasion, but Mike Flynn, his National Security Advisor, is acutely aware of the mediocrity of both secret intelligence and the media as now owned by Wall Street, and also acutely aware that a Trump Channel and an Open Source Agency could change everything for the better. The revolution has begin. I pray it is non-violent.

Robert Steele: Throw Press Out of White House — Create the Presidential Grand Strategy, Public Communications, & Open Source Intelligence Center (Trump Channel) UPDATE 1: Schumer Channel Created!

Like Hillary, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel also used private email account for government business

Since narcissists hold themselves as superior to others, a defining attribute of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder is their “rules don’t apply to me” grandiosity. Thus, grandiose Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton flout the law by unlawfully using an unsecured private email server to conduct her secretary-of-state government business, thereby endangering national security.

Thanks to the dogged work of Better Government Association, the citizens watchdog group that seeks to shine “a light on government in Illinois” and hold “public officials accountable,” we now know that Chicago mayor and Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is another Hillary in that he also uses a private email server to conduct city business.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Better Government Association (BGA) reports on Dec. 21, 2016 that although Emanuel claimed from the start of his tenure at City Hall in 2011 that his leadership would be among the most transparent in the nation, accessing public records at City Hall—especially those pertaining directly to the mayor himself—has often been met with delays, obfuscation or court battles.

But as a result of BGA’s more than a year of investigation and hard-fought litigation — comprised of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuits — the City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel eventually agreed to release all of Emanuel’s private emails related to city business—subject to any applicable legal exemptions—as well as institute a new policy that will ban city employees and officials from using their private email accounts to conduct city business.

The Chicago Tribune had also separately filed lawsuits that, together with BGA’s lawsuits, resulted in rulings by two Cook County judges that public officials’ emails are not outside the scope of FOIA simply because they are on a private account.

BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw said:
“It’s unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to produce the transparency we all deserve. But that said, this is a major step forward in the fight for transparency at City Hall. Use of private email accounts that hide the transaction of public business threatens to render meaningless the open records laws that allow citizens to hold their government accountable. The new city policy requiring public business to be conducted where it’s subject to public scrutiny is a sea change in transparency and consequently in good government.”
To settle a lawsuit filed by BGA in the fall of 2015, Emanuel was forced to release about 2,700 pages of emails from his personal accounts.

As described by BGA, those emails show him routinely using his personal email accounts to conduct city business, including:
  • Conversing with city employees and key community members.
  • Receiving updates on crime.
  • Chatting cattily with powerbrokers.
  • Monitoring his press coverage.
  • Soaking in flattery from aides — another defining attribute of narcissists.
  • Giving special access to select journalists and those with political power and influence.
One email in particular shows Emanuel bragging about trimming the city budget by eliminating retiree health care. So much for the Democrats’ portrayal of themselves as “bleeding hearts” who care about and fight for people.

Reporting for Gateway Pundit on Dec. 22, 2016, Andrew Marcus has reproduced the damning email exchange between Emanuel and his friend, Henry J. Feinberg.

Note: Henry J. Feinberg, 64, is the Director of Mattersight Corporation, formerly known as eLoyalty — a publicly-traded company that provides “behavioral routing software” for call centers. Its address is 200 W. Madison St., Suite 3100, Chicago, Illinois 60606.

On Oct. 17, 2015, at 2:52 PM, Henry J. Feinberg wrote an email to Rahm Emanuel about city budget cuts, with the subject, “The Shock and Awe Budget Address Rahm Should Have Given”. Feinberg wrote:
“Since when did Rahm Emanuel let a judicial ruling get in his way and not find a creative work around solution
Heart’ J. Feinberg
Chicago, IL 60614”
Below is the email Emanuel wrote in response to Feinberg:
Rahm Emanuel <>
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2015 7:53:51 PM
Recipient: Henry J. Feinberg
Subject: Re: The Shock and Awe Budget Address Rahm Should Have Given
Never which is why I eliminated retiree health care. Only elected official to eliminate not cut or reform a benefit. Thank you very much. A 175 million saving!
Sent from my iPhone
Despite Emanuel’s release of hundreds of his emails, there remain several problems:
  1. We don’t really know if Emanuel has released all pertinent emails because the court left it to Emanuel — via his attorney Michael Forde — to determine which emails were strictly private in nature vs. those that were government-related and therefore should be made public. BGA, however, retains the legal right to re-open its lawsuit if it later believes that the Emanuel administration had misrepresented its determination of what emails on the mayor’s accounts were public in nature.
  2. Many of Emanuel’s emails which were released included large sections of redactions, which appeared to black out email addresses, talking points and responses from the mayor to queries. BGA is in the process of determining whether these redactions were proper and will address any that are not.
  3. Prior to the filing of the BGA and Tribune lawsuits, Emanuel’s personal email accounts were programmed to auto-delete files after 90 days, which means that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of his emails had been erased before his attorney Michael Forde scrutinized them to determine which ones to release to the public.
In other words, we don’t really know what was in Rahm Emanuel’s private email account.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

To Go the Way of the Great Auk: the Clintons and the Media

John Steppling — Counter-Punch Dec 23, 2016

Plantagenet, I will; and like thee, Nero,
 Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn.
Shakespeare, Henry VI
A number of writers and critics have noted the astounding smugness and outsized indignation of white liberals during this election season. The Clinton supporters, basically. And I think it is useful to examine the relationship between the media and the Clintons. For no political mafia has ever penetrated Hollywood and NY media to the extent the Clintons have. Shows such as Madame Secretary and House of Cards could well have been scripted by the Clinton inner circle. Hell, by Bill himself. And outlets like Huffington Post and MSNBC and CNN operate as the press outlets for the DNC.
But the real nadir of media capitulation and bad faith was the response to the brutal murder of the Russian diplomat Andrei Karlov in Istanbul, on video, at an art opening. The western press spun this as a freedom fighter attacking the brutal Russian empire and defending Allepo. Almost nothing was said about the family of the slain Russian, or about terrorism. I guess terrorism doesn’t exist if its directed at the enemy du jour. The celebrations on the streets of Aleppo seemed to have been erased by western TV and print editors, too. And all of this is in line, of course, with Hillary Clinton’s (and her advisors) pathological and obsessive hatred of Putin. And with the Clinton imprint on mainstream media.
So, back to those white liberals. Every single person (save one) that I once knew in theatre and in Hollywood, are liberal and none of them really do much in the way of research or political reading. All of them are arch Democrats. And never before, I don’t think ever, has an election so starkly revealed the stratification of classes and sub classes, even, in the U.S. I have found a just amazing, almost surreal level of wilful and intentional blindness on the part of liberal america to the crimes of the Clintons, and to the basic corruption of the Democratic Party. One can say over and over and over and over and over that Clinton orchestrated a neo nazi fascist coup in Ukraine, a fascist junta in Honduras and an illegal assassination of a foreign leader in Libya. You can say this again and again and I guarantee you will get no response. The stunning silence of white liberal America to the crimes of the Clintons stands as the most profound element in the entire scenario of this election.
The propaganda against Russia, culminating in the truly grotesque coverage of Karlov’s murder, has been pitched at levels that I’ve personally never seen or heard before. And then there is a strange sort of cognitive dissonance regarding the *fake news* issue, launched, of course, by Obama. And this was the lame duck Obama, a figure that actually the public has not seen before, or seen very little. The urbane repressed buttoned down lawyer is being gradually peeled back and an oddly callused cruel figure emerges. A borderline sadist even. And while we know for certain that Hillary is a sadist, I think Obama is at least her equal. But of late Obama has exhibited a curious if not unsettling lack of proportion between his comments and his relaxed manner and style. It is the relaxation, one must say, of a sociopath. I don’t say this glibly. But during the fake news remarks I felt as if this must have been how detectives felt interviewing Ted Bundy. All smiles, winks, and good natured charm. But he was discussing a new open war on dissent. Obama initiated drone assassination and discussed it in the same tone as he discussed his vacations. In fact he joked about drone killing at the Correspondent’s Dinner a couple years back. There is, in this lame duck version of Obama, the sense of letting his character armoring slip just a little. And it reveals just another layer of armoring. There is such an empty core to this man that I think he made the perfect chameleon. He was the black Max Headroom. I am reminded of the Book of Job…Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue.
That the economy is now a disaster cannot be hidden. In fact, 90% of Obama’s new jobs were part time. Women were hardest hit during his eight years.Traditional fields for women workers in medicine and education were the biggest losers. Full time employment, the traditional 9 to 5 secure fixed job is all but extinct. There are fewer of those jobs today than during the great depression. But this is not anything that really affects the haute bourgeoisie, the affluent white liberals from Connecticut, Long Island, or Westchester County, or Bel Air, the Pacific Palisades, or Westwood. Or Menlo Park and Mill Valley. The educated classes. They don’t work day gigs. They don’t punch time clocks. They inherit and their family helps find them managerial positions or something akin. These are the people disproportionately visible in media. They don’t live paycheck to paycheck. And this is the point. The stratification of classes. And the markers for these class divides are becoming more fixed. If you use public transportation, for example, you are part of the lumpen masses these days. Nobody rides a bus to work at NBC or SONY pictures or Time Warner. Except maybe the kitchen staff.
Now, Trump is obviously, if we can judge from the last six months, a very thin skinned and rather terrified man. The son of a slum lord and a man who constantly seeks attention, and who wanted to be the biggest swinging dick in the house…well, once the Casino, now the White House. But he knows he’s not. And that can be a very dangerous personality flaw for someone with power. Trump’s eldest sons, Don Jr and Eric are perhaps the greatest indictment against Trump. I keep finding myself thinking of Roger Ballen’s famed photos of the Plattland farmers in South Africa; in particular Dressie & Cassie, the unfortunate twin brothers of the Transvaal. Don Jr and might well think, ‘there but for fortune’. But I digress.
The protests in the street, the agitation around counting ballots, and the open charges of treason — this is the stuff of a Capra movie on acid. It’s a strange dystopic vision. (And as ridiculous in its way as the catered sit in for gun control earlier this year, also courtesy of the Democratic Party leadership). And all in service of somehow getting Hillary Clinton elected. As, I guess, these people feel was ordained by a higher power, and hence their sense of the world coming apart at the seams. Why has god forsaken them, one can almost hear such screams in the night. Honestly, the degradation of electoral politics has hit bottom. It has to be clear, to even the most indoctrinated, that the voting system is broken. The problem is, for all the Diebald troubles and hacking claims and the electoral college; the real problem is simply basic inequality. Period. There are a fair number of people with relative wealth and there are a shit load of people with nothing. People who have no savings, and who live week to week, even with a family. People who pay rent, use food stamps if they can get them, and who if they get sick, stay sick. Or die. People who, if their children get seriously ill, will borrow themselves into lifetime debt to save their child. A debt they cant hope to ever crawl out from under. People who count pennies to buy their Copenhagen or Skoal — and weigh that against another tin of coffee. This is the America who didn’t vote. They didn’t because they are busy surviving. And the average liberal heaps scorn on these people as apathetic or selfish or whatever. The truth is, the average professional class white liberal has no fucking idea what poverty feels like. None. And the poor know what the affluent liberal does not. And that is that Hillary doesnt give anymore of a shit about them than the Donald.
The obvious take away from this has been touched on by several writers; Diana Johnstone wrote
“The entire Western establishment, roughly composed of neoconservative ideologues, liberal interventionists, financial powers, NATO, mainstream media and politicians in both the United States and Western Europe, committed to remaking the Middle East to suit Israel and Saudi Arabia and to shattering impertinent Russia, have been thrown into an hysterical panic at the prospect of their joint globalization project being sabotaged by in ignorant intruder.”
and Jonathan Cook noted…
“Much more significantly, the systematic deceptions perpetrated by corporate media for many decades have left swaths of western publics distrustful and cynical. Social media has only added to widespread alienation because it has made it easier to expose to readers these mainstream deceptions. Trump, like Brexit, is a symptom of the growing disorientation and estrangement felt by western electorates.
But the claim of “fake news” does usefully offer western security agencies, establishment politicians and the corporate media a powerful weapon to silence their critics. After all, these critics have no platform other than independent websites and social media. Shut down the sites and you shut up your opponents.”
And Andre Damon summed it up best, however…
“There is not an ounce of democratic content in the positions of either faction of the state and intelligence apparatus and nothing to choose from between the arch-reactionary Trump and the veteran warmonger Clinton. However the disputes are resolved, the result will be a massive escalation of war abroad and the attack on the working class within the United States.”
Indeed. And again, the leaked emails were real, the content was real, just as were those strange connections between Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Clintons have long had close ties with the royal family and never once have either of them made mention of the gross human rights violations of the monarchy. Obama, too, has said nothing critical of the Saudis. These politicians all answer to the same people and places. (read Hillary’s speeches to her Wall Street backers!).
Now a recent poll indicated, interestingly, that almost 70% of Americans didn’t buy the Russia hacking claims. And half of America doesnt trust either party. And why should they? The new star of the DNC appears to be Keith Ellison of whome Bruce Dixon wrote… “Ellison is black. He’s the first Muslim elected to Congress, he’s smart enough and telegenic. He votes infallibly to support the apartheid regime in Israel, and he says if it were up to him there’d have been a no-fly zone (and possible shooting war with the Russians) a long time ago.” In other words, Ellison is another pro-interventionist, a friend of foreign war profiteers, and a man who has done everything in his power not to offend anyone. You don’t get to the top tier of the DNC without following the script.
The anger of the bourgeoisie then is about something else. Its not really policy, its about their own entitlement. Its about their sense of affront and insult. This is what I keep seeing and reading. They are insulted and hurt. I’ve never seen such hostility and anger on social media. Never. I see a constant stream of insults directed at Trump. I see his wife insulted, and his children. And while it is easy enough to hate and even fear aspects of Trump (and his taste and vulgarity) the real anger seems directed even more acutely at anyone who disagrees with their demand for the coronation of Clinton. The underclass in the U.S. has been brutalized by an increasingly militarized domestic police apparatus, and by a nakedly racist judicial system. They have seen whatever small safety net they once had be reduced to almost nothing. And they are right to fear Trump’s appointments. Just as they would have been right to fear Clinton’s. This is now an institutional machine of control and domination, and in many ways it is running on auto pilot now. The stand off at Standing Rock was representative of the ruling elite’s strategy. If it becomes a big enough nuisance, then just adjust course and get what is wanted another way. The resistance at Standing Rock was important, however. Perhaps mostly symbolically, but important nonetheless. For it demonstrated a level of awakening for many. Anytime the underlcass organizes, they achieve victories. And this is because the great giant is actually very weak.
Trump’s appointments are actually pretty predictable. No president in fifty years has not chosen from the banking elite, and the upper echelon of the military, and over the last twenty or so years from the corporate CEO class. And since Bill Clinton the very worst millionaires that can be found were put in positions of influence, and certainly since Bush/Cheney the neo-con group has retained considerable power. There is an inexorable drive toward purely authoritarian policing of what is now viewed as a disposable population. It is happening regardless of who is elected. There are no jobs and there won’t be any jobs. There is an environmental crisis and pollution crisis, and none of that would have been made any better under Clinton. One cannot keep hawking military hardware, fighter jets, and battleships and be at all green. The desire for this ruling cabal is global hegemony. That is the delusional dream of the U.S. ruling political class of both parties. Hence the over 4 billion dollars a DAY spent on defence. The U.S. leads the world in weapons sales. We sell to Saudi Arabia first so they can destroy the poor and helpless nation of Yemen. And in fact, the U.S. sent advisors directly to Riyadh to help coordinate the vicious bombing of that small country that left a half million children starving (liberals compassion is more concerned with public restroom choices). The U.S. helps sell to ISIS, too. And to Israel. There is nobody we won’t sell to in fact. Business is business and war is the biggest business in the world. So all the chatter about the Paris climate talks, and all the health care cut backs that are coming, and the intensification of this war on free speech — all of that was in the cards either way. The attacks on minorities, women, the LGBT community is coming under Trump — it was going to come, but in another fashion, under Clinton. AGAIN THEY BEHEAD GAY PEOPLE IN SAUDI ARABIA. And Clinton is basically underwritten by the House of Saud. Women have suffered hugely in places like Haiti and Honduras and Libya and Ukraine from Secretary of State Clinton’s policies. And nothing is going to help climate change except a radical and total change in living. And the death of Capitalism, frankly.
The authority structure is afraid. They are afraid of China and Russia and they are even more afraid of the unhappy and now more and more desperate American working class. And the poor. The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world. And its growing. And it is reaching a kind of maximum limit. It is a gulag of made up of the poor, primarily black and brown, and it is a place to which the rich are never invited. How many people exactly can the system keep in containers? We may well find out. Jeff Sessions will want as many as possible, thats for sure. Trump is an ignorant man and no doubt it is dawning on him just how over his head he is now, and since I actually believe he began this with no desire to really win, he is probably in a state of near panic right now. His advisors, people like Steve Bannon, sense their own lack of ability to run a country, too, I would guess. Recent photos of Bannon reveal that deer caught in the headlights look.
The thing that will become the signature of Trumps first 100 days is going to happen at the nuts and bolts level. I suspect things, daily bureaucratic things are going to grind to a halt. This is the 100 days of incompetence in the most basic operations of government. Trump will escalate his twitter output, though, and perhaps the eventual Trump library will all be tweets. And built in Vegas.
What comes from all this depends on people deciding to emulate the small symbolic victory of Standing Rock. It does not come from an entitled elite petulantly demanding their war loving sociopath replace the other parties vulgarian and authoritarian clown. This is 21st century post modern fascism. Its only which style code you feel best with. Reject this binary world view. Reject any candidate who endorses U.S. Imperialism and 800 plus military bases throughout the world. Stop all U.S. intervention and stop believing the manufactured narratives on Syria, about Russia, about Castro, and about China. Most everything MSNBC tells you can be turned on its head…and it will be closer to the actual truth. The U.S. is far more guilty of everything it charges other countries with doing. As such Samantha Power deserves a special seat in hell. The U.S. commits more war crimes, more human rights violations, more interference in the affairs and elections of other countries, than anyone else. And we prosecute dissent more ruthlessly, and are the least transparent of any country in the world save maybe Uzbekistan. We have intelligence agencies fighting proxy wars with other of our intelligence agencies. The U.S. is now a massive societal dinosaur. To go the way of the Great Auk or Woolly Mammoth might not be such a bad thing for the planet.
John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwriting. Plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. Taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. A collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays was published in 1999, and his book on aesthetics, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest was published this year by Mimesis International.