Thursday 17th of October 2019

happy with himself for turning the world into a rotten pumpkin with the best hypocritical wand in his tool box...

the rotten pumpkin fairy
In an unprecedented move, the Trump administration, under VP Pence, is making an all-out effort to have the UN expel Venezuela's ambassador to the UN

GREG WILPERT: The Trump administration is pushing the UN to recognize the representative of self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate ambassador to the United Nations. Venezuela’s current ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada, informed the public last week that in order to achieve its goal of expelling him, the Trump administration froze the bank accounts of the Venezuelan mission to the UN. According to Moncada, this move prevents Venezuela from paying its employees at the UN mission and represents a clear violation of US obligations towards the UN that it agreed to when New York City was designated as its headquarters.Shortly before Moncada’s denunciation of the freezing of Venezuelan UN accounts, a special UN Security Council meeting took place to discuss the situation in Venezuela. Following reports from various analysts, the first country representative tospeak was US vice-president Mike Pence:

MIKE PENCE: “But now that nations across this hemisphere have spoken, the time has come for the United Nations to recognize interim President Juan Guaidó as the legitimate President of Venezuela and seat his representative in this body. This body should revoke the credentials of Venezuela’s representative to the United Nations, recognize interim President Juan Guaidó and seat the representative of the free Venezuelan Government in this body without delay. With all due respect, Ambassador Moncada should not be at this meeting. He should return to Venezuela and tell Nicolás Maduro that his time is up. It is time for him to go.

GREG WILPERT: Shortly after Pence, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Ambassador Nebenzia, addressed they hypocrisy of US economic sanctions its alleged concern for the suffering of the Venezuelan people:

AMB NEBENZIA: We categorically reject the methods of the United States with regard to Venezuela. With one hand, by continually imposing new sanctions and restrictions that prevent the country from developing normally, it is keeping Venezuela in a choke hold, when international assistance to States that need it should be designed to establish a situation that enables a State to take care of its own citizens. And with the other hand it is picking Venezuelans’ pockets, expropriating Venezuelan assets in Western banks. Just since the beginning of this year the United States has taken more than $30 billion from Venezuela, asserting that now only self-proclaimed President Guaidó can use that money. The overall damage that United States actions have done to the Venezuelan economy since 2013 amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars. And despite all of that it keeps calling more loudly than anyone for help for the people of Venezuela.

GREG WILPERT: China’s ambassador Ma Zhaoxu expressed a similar viewpoint:

AMB MA ZHAOXU: China opposes any interference by external forces in Venezuela’s internal affairs; military intervention in Venezuela; and the use of the so-called humanitarian issue to achieve political aims. History has shown repeatedly that unilateral sanctions only further complicate situations and affect people’s daily lives. They do not help resolve problems or bring peace to a country. On the one hand, we hear fine words about caring about the well-being of Venezuelans, while, on the other, we see increasingly tighter sanctions on the country. These two things are not consistent, and the underlying motive is dubious.

GREG WILPERT: Finally, Venezuela’s ambassador the UN, Samuel Moncada was able to respond to the many allegations Vice-President Pence had launched against the government of Venezuela.One of the issues Moncada referred to was Pence’s allegation that just a day earlier the Organization of American State’s members accepted the representative of the self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó – Gustavo Tarre – as Venezuela’s new representative to the OAS.

AMB MONCADA: To begin, we must respond to the host of falsehoods spoken here by the Vice-President of the United States while we are supposed to be discussing the humanitarian situation. I must clarify matters before the international community, the people of Venezuela and the media. He lied in saying that yesterday the region as a whole rejected the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela at the Organization of American States. That is false. He is misinformed. It is a problem with his lawyers. Yesterday, in its eagerness to promote a coup d’état in Venezuela and impose a puppet Government to serve the interests of the United States to enable it to pillage our homeland, they sacrificed the founding Charter of that organization, which is the equivalent of the Charter of the United Nations. They distorted the law to the extent that what was approved was not the expulsion of the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela but the inclusion of a representative of the National Assembly. What they did there yesterday is a legal absurdity, since the Organization of American States, like the United Nations, is an organization of States, not of assemblies. The only State present in that organization is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Therefore, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was not expelled from that organization.

GREG WILPERT: Indeed, the OAS resolution of April 9th clearly stated that the OAS permanent council would accept “the appointment of Mr. Gustavo Tarre as the National Assembly’s designated permanent representative, pending new elections and the appointment of a democratically elected government.” In other words, by a narrow majority, the OAS permanent council created a new type of representative, designated by Venezuela’s legislature as a temporary representative to the OAS. Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, however, already announced, two years ago, that will permanently leave the OAS by the end of April of this year.

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pompeo thinks of war as going to the toilet...

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that the Trump administration would not rule out going to war with Iran even though there is no explicit authorization from Congress to do so. Pompeo said this in the context of being asked whether the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) could be used to attack Iran on the basis that Iran supported the 9/11 attacks and is connected to Al Qaeda, which carried out the 9/11 attack.

“Do you believe that the 2001 authorization to go to war with those who attacked us on 9/11 applies to Iran or Iran's Revolutionary Guard?” Senator Rand Paul asked Pompeo on April 11 during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

“I'd prefer to just leave that to lawyers,” Pompeo said, dodging the question.

“So you're unwilling to state unequivocally that you, that the resolution in 2001 to have retribution and stop people who attacked us, that Iran had something to do with the attacks on 9/11?” Rand asked.

“The factual question with respect to Iran's connections to Al Qaeda is very real,” Pompeo said. “They have hosted Al Qaeda, they permitted Al Qaeda to transit their country. There's no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Al Qaeda.”

Then on Monday, April 15, the Trump administration's decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization went into effect.

“Iran is not a sponsor of terrorism,” Colonel Larry Wilkerson told The Real News Network's Greg Wilpert. “So to say that Iran sponsors terrorism of any sort, let alone Al Qaeda, is just preposterous. The greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the region and indeed in the world is Saudi Arabia—our ally.”

In a previous interview with The Real News, Wilkerson criticized Pompeo’s initial declaration that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was a “foreign terrorist organization” and called the Secretary of State “a fool.”

Wilkerson observed that the elements in this possible lead-up to war—from a president who does not seem to know the inner workings of his own administration’s military strategy to the involvement of hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton—recall the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under President George W. Bush, where nonexistent Al Qaeda connections were used as justification for war.

“We're operating in a way that's inimical to, injurious to, U.S. national security interests,” Wilkerson said. “To watch this as an academic and to watch it even more so, more profoundly, as a military professional is really jarring. This is truly stupid.”

Wilpert observed that “given that all of this groundwork ... being laid with the terrorism mission for Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the claim of connections between Iran and Al Qaeda,” the U.S. was likely preparing for an attack on Iran, which would fall conveniently in the months leading up to the 2020 election.

“President Trump wants the tension, the pressure on Iran to bring Iran back to the negotiating table so he can claim—just prior to the 2020 elections—that he's done the impossible: He's brought Iran back to the table and we're negotiating again, and that the deal he will produce will be much better than the deal President Obama produced,” Wilkerson said. “I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that that's the case and that at the end of the day none of this happens—that we won't go to war.”


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he may be a shit president, no he did not collude...

The long-awaited report by former FBI Director Robert Mueller took nearly two years to complete, cost over $25 million, led to 34 indictments and five convictions, and gave President Trump's opponents ammunition to accuse him of being a Russian pawn.

The two volume report is divided into sections, including a summary of the investigation, Russia's alleged 'active measures' and 'hacking and dumping' meddling campaign, discussion of alleged "Russian government links to and contacts with the Trump campaign", "prosecution and declination decisions," and a 200+ page portion on possible obstruction of justice by the president and his associates.

Conclusion: No Collusion…

Arguably the single most important blurb in the report can be found on page 5, and reads as follows: 

"Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

The report specified at the outset that because the term "collusion" is "not a specific offense or theory of liability" which could be found under the US criminal code, investigators conducted the probe using the concept of "conspiracy as defined in federal law," i.e. an agreement by two or more people to commit a crime or accomplish a legal end through illegal actions.


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Proof of Russia interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections? ZERO.


The rest is just hearsay, innuendoes and vague conjectures, and now the big one: JULIAN ASSANGE... My guess is that strangely enough, despite some bravado from Trump and Hillary Clinton, they both know that their future is tied up in silencing Julian by whatever means. We shall see what Julian has kept in store for a rainy day... And this storage of information would not be in the Wikileaks vaults... 


See: the end of his exceptionalism?...


Meanwhile at The Guardian, frothing at the mouth, with bitterness and shitting disappointment:


Finally we have heard from Robert Mueller himself. For two years, in the face of immense presidential pressure and outright attempts to have him fired, the special counsel and his team quietly pursued their mammoth inquiry. He remained silent too as the Trump administration falsely claimed his 400-plus page report as a vindication. Now it is – to a large degree – in the public domain. But this is not the last word.

Its length, and the complexity of matters with which it deals, means that it will take time to fully digest the document and understand its ramifications. The politicians and journalists frenziedly combing through it in Washington have already found plenty of meat. The bar had been set high by the shocking facts that had already emerged about Russia’s role in the 2016 election and the actions of Donald Trump and his campaign. There is no single new killer fact which transforms the picture and is likely to sway a dedicated Trump supporter. But the report is nonetheless damning, and a vital and necessary addition to the body of evidence already amassed. Mr Mueller’s role allowed him to access evidence and press individuals as the media cannot. The report’s status as a formal, official record of events is also crucial, even if it will inevitably be assailed as partisan.

It details the “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference. It lays out the multiple links between the campaign and those with ties to the Russian state, reminds us that it “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”, and was at times receptive to Russian offers of help, even if conspiracy or coordination could not be established. It lists 11 possible instances of obstruction. It states that there was evidence which precluded the investigators from conclusively determining that the president did not commit a crime. Attempts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful “largely because persons surrounding the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests”.


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What's next? It's like a game of soccer. The Democrat team is doing a lot of work by passing the ball, back and forth for two years, but is unable to find a shot at goal. The Trump team gets the ball and scores from centre field as the goalkeeper of the Democrats has gone on vacation. The referee blows the whistle:

Democrats and their rabid media promoters: NIL. Trump-the-delinquent: ONE... 



And the NYP, the New York Murdoch paper does let people know: 


Mueller completely dropped the ball with obstruction punt


The most remarkable thing about special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report is how blithely the prosecutor reversed the burden of proof on the issue of obstruction.

To be sure, President Trump’s conduct outlined on this score isn’t flattering, to put it mildly. For example, the special counsel’s evidence includes indications that the president attempted to induce White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel (in June 2017), and then (in January 2018) to deny that the president had made the request.

Mueller’s report further suggests that the president dangled pardons. He made ingratiating comments about Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen when they appeared to be fighting the cases against them (and presumably fighting the prosecutor’s efforts to get them to cooperate) but then turned on Flynn and Cohen when they decided to plead guilty and provide testimony for Mueller.

On the other hand, there is evidence that cuts sharply against obstruction. The president could have shut down the investigation at any time, but he didn’t. He could have asserted executive privilege to deny the special counsel access to key White House witnesses, such as McGahn. To the contrary, numerous witnesses were made available voluntarily (there was no need to try to subpoena them to the grand jury), and well over a million documents were disclosed, including voluminous notes of meetings between the president and his White House counsel.

Most important, the special counsel found that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that the president’s frustration wasn’t over fear of guilt — the typical motivation for obstruction — but that the investigation was undermining his ability to govern the country. The existence of such a motive is a strong counter to evidence of a corrupt intent, critical because corrupt intent must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in an obstruction case.


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why he is still the best...


a really bad thing for a journalist to think

Glenn Greenwald talks to Tucker Carlson followed the release of the Mueller report. Greenwald said the media "went so far off the rails" and just flushed down their whole narrative of the past three years and shifted focus to obstruction. Greenwald lamented that the media is conflating collusion and obstruction to claim "they were right along."

"This is one of the problems that I think let the media just to go so far off the rails is that, especially those two cable networks, but also even newspapers, pretty much prohibited dissent from ever being heard so they constantly fed each other these conspiracy theories and told each other they were on the right track they advanced it further. And never really had to confront anybody who questioned or challenged them in any way," Greenwald said on Thursday's broadcast of 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

"I've spent the last two years debating everyone I can find who had different views than I had on this whole saga because I wanted to make certain that the things I were saying were scrutinized and subjected to critical rigor," the journalist said. "And that's exactly what they avoided and that's exactly the reason why they went so far off the rails."

"If you listen to the media discourse, outside of a few circles, they've just put collusion and conspiracy and all of those conspiracy theories they've spent the last three years endorsing, just flushed it down the toilet like they don't event exist and just seamlessly shifted to obstruction. And then they're conflating them to claim essentially that they were right all along. And that is really the alarming thing," Greenwald said of the lack of contrition from the media.

"I think that in a lot of ways Donald Trump broke the brains of a lot of people, particularly people in the media who believe that telling lies, inventing conspiracy theories, being journalistically reckless, it's all justified to stop this unparalleled menace," he said. "And that's a good thing for an activist to think and a really bad thing for a journalist to think.


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Meanwhile the gutter press (Murdoch's New York Post) is gloating for good reasons. Gus has to say that "we" had been on the same page for a long time on this saga (bugger — we hate Murdoch, don't we?):



The prestige press has some explaining to do — for subjecting the nation to a long, cruel ordeal named “collusion” and “obstruction.” Almost two years and millions of column inches later, special counsel Robert Mueller has revealed the theory that President Trump and his campaign conspired with Russia has been just that.

All that remains of collusion and obstruction is the media’s shattered credibility.

The errant reporters and pundits — the ones who peddled the most outrageous falsehoods — want nothing more than to move on. But not so fast: There has to be some accountability for the biggest foul-ups.

Here are the 10 worst, drawn from among many more:

10. CNN bungles Comey testimony

It took four bylines — including those of CNN stars Jake Tapper and Gloria Borger — to completely botch the most important aspect of former FBI Director James Comey’s June 2017 congressional testimony. Comey, per CNN, would dispute Trump’s claim that Comey told him that he (the president) isn’t under investigation. Oops! Turns out Comey didn’t, in fact, dispute Trump’s position, and Tapper & Co. had to run a correction walking back their big scoop.

9. Times columnist shares fervid dreams

New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s column of Dec. 2, 2018, was silly even by his standards. “Members of Trump’s team were extremely interested in and eager to accept any assistance that the Russians could provide,” wrote Blow. “That is clear.” Actually, it isn’t clear. Mueller’s investigators “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” said the report. Expect Blow to fail upward.

8. Washington Post ‘fact checker’ needs a fact check

“All the Known Times the Trump Campaign Met With Russians” read the headline on a 2017 Fact Checker feature in The Washington Post. But by fact-checking, the paper really means judging various claims against liberal orthodoxies. Case in point: The claim in question was Trump’s protest that “Russia” is “fake news to try to make up for the loss of the Democrats.” The Washington Post judged that to be “false.” The Mueller report suggests otherwise.

7. The MSNBC spy who should stay in the cold

No senior US official has done more damage to the credibility of the intelligence community than John Brennan. For months leading to the Mueller report, the former CIA director offered a steady stream of collusion drivel on MSNBC. Last month, Brennan confidently predicted that “Friday [March 8] is the day the grand-jury indictments come down” against Trump associates and family members over “criminal conspiracy involving the Russians and US persons.” Nope.

6. The Guardian concocts a collusion meeting

Among foreign outlets, none covered itself in as much shame as The Guardian. The British paper in November 2018 published a story — bylined to superstar writer Luke Harding and two others, one of whom later mysteriously disappeared from the paper’s Web site — about secret talks between one Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange that took place at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The sourcing was flimsy, to put it generously, and sure enough, as Glenn Greenwald notes at The Intercept, “Nothing in the [Mueller] report even hints, let alone states, that [Manafort] ever visited Julian Assange.”

5. WaPo columnist’s false, undying Ukraine narrative

“The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes” ahead of the Republican National Convention “to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.” So reported The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin. Soon the story — of craven Trump campaign officials beholden to Moscow and determined to backstab Kiev — took on a life of its own. But it was false. As Mueller’s report notes, the change to an amendment to the GOP platform wasn’t “undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia.” (Side note: Trump authorized arms sales to Ukraine, something his predecessor refused to do.)

4. The Atlantic accuses Jeff Sessions!

In June 2017, the combustible young reporter Julia Ioffe wrote an article for The Atlantic, running to several thousand words, that cast doubt on former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ claim that he didn’t meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak as a Trump surrogate but rather as a matter of routine in his role at the time as a US senator. The Sessions-Kislyak meeting, Ioffe suggested, amounted to yet more shady Russian influence on the Trump camp. Chalk Ioffe’s reportorial credibility as another casualty of the Mueller report, which noted that the meeting in question didn’t “include any more than a passing mention of the presidential campaign.”

3. David Corn’s dossier debacle

It was the document that set off the whole shebang. In October 2016, days before the election, David Corn of Mother Jones wrote of an unnamed “former senior intelligence officer for a Western country,” Christopher Steele (unnamed at the time), who claimed that the Russians had dirt on Trump they could use to blackmail him. Thus were born the infamous “Steele dossier” and endless late-night jokes about a Trump “pee-pee” tape. But the Mueller report barely touches on the dossier — and confirms none of its outlandish claims.

2. McClatchy catches Michael Cohen in Prague

Speaking of the dossier, remember when McClatchy’s Greg Gordon and Peter Stonereported that Mueller had evidence that Trump consigliere Michael Cohen had “secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign,” supposedly to meet his dastardly Russian handlers? If this one easily verifiable claim could be verified, the McClatchy reporters said (and perhaps secretly hoped), so could the rest of the dossier! Here’s Mueller’s report on that matter: “Cohen had never traveled to Prague.” What’s Czech for “egg on your face”?

1. Buzzfeed knows who told Cohen to lie

Which brings us to the top foul-up of the whole sordid saga. That would be BuzzFeed’s report, by Jason Lepold and Anthony Cormier, in January claiming that Trump had directed Cohen to lie to Congress about talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Well, here’s the Mueller report on that count: “The president did not direct [Cohen] to provide false testimony. Cohen also said he did not tell the president about his planned testimony.” Ouch.

So surely BuzzFeed has now offered a straightforward correction and apology, right? Think again. Instead, Editor in Chief Ben Smith published a convoluted self-defense, only begrudgingly admitting that “Mueller has the last word.”

Toobin has a ‘Blonde’ moment

A  dishonorable mention surely goes to New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who instantly pivoted from Thursday’s obsession — collusion — to today’s — obstruction of justice.

Toobin just knew President Trump was guilty of obstruction. Why? Well, because he’d long displayed frustration with the collusion probe, per his attorney general, William Barr.

“Happy people don’t obstruct justice,” Toobin tweeted. “Trump’s frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence.”

That line, of course, instantly recalled a similar effusion of legal wit and wisdom — from Elle Woods, the protagonist portrayed by actress Reese Witherspoon in the movie “Legally Blonde.”

“Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands,” Woods at one point in the movie says in defense of her client.

Other Twitter users, however, drew darker parallels. @NeonTaster tweeted at Toobin: “ ‘Your angry proclamations of innocence are themselves evidence of guilt.’ Are you analyzing the Mueller report or the trial of Josef K.” from Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”?

The lesson for readers: Don’t expect the collusion and obstruction obsessives to rethink the ideological mono-thought and unprofessionalism that brought their outlets to this nadir.

Sohrab ­Ahmari is The Post’s op-ed editor.


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linked to US transnational oil and weapons interests...

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank linked to US transnational oil and weapons interests, held a secret round table in Washington about "Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela", that is, to evaluate the possible use of military force against Venezuela.

The American alternative information website Grayzone revealed that some 40 people - including officials from the State Department, National Intelligence and the National Security Council - participated in the meeting, which also included representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and high-level officials from the Colombian and Brazilian embassies in the United States [1].

The US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, was represented by his friend Roger Noriega - author of the Helms-Burton law extending the US commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.

Also attending were organizers behind the migration of Venezuelans from the country as well as the orchestrated attempt by the self-proclaimed "interim president" of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, to introduce alleged "humanitarian aid" into Venezuela from Colombia and Brazil.

Another participant was Admiral Kurt Tidd, former head of the US Southern Command (SouthCom), whose secret note to the Trump administration [2] was revealed on our website before the assassination attempt against Venezuela’s constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro.

Artemis Pittas


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the empire rots from the blocked sewers at the top...

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the US’s optimism and vision mirrored that of Rome and is echoed in the inscription on the Statue of Liberty: 

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

In contrast, recent political leadership in the US has been dominated by fear of the future. Growing inequality in the West along with job insecurity, wage stagnation, low growth and disruptive technology have fuelled this fear. The response has been a vision of a “walled city”: let’s make America great again by building a wall. 

In doing so, Donald Trump’s Washington and even Matteo Salvini’s Rome have departed significantly from the Roman legacy they have inherited. The fear of neighbouring people, like those from Livy’s History, has grown so intense that Washington’s aspiration for future greatness is geared towards protectionism and insulation. This approach is far from Ancient Rome’s optimism and openness.


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One thing for sure, would the US empire not intervene in other countries' business, it's most likely that THERE WOULD BE FAR LESS "REFUGEES" — economic or otherwise (mostly war refugees). 


The US empire wants the entire planet be part of the CAPITALIST system, which for what capitalism is worth, will be the death of the planet — because of its unfortunate "necessity" for GROWTH.


In regard to Italy, it has become the major US bitch in Europe. See: