Friday, August 14, 2020

Clinesmith is the story much of the media wants to ignore

 A lot going on.  I recommend you check out Zach Haller's Twitter feed.  The big news today?  Catherine Herridge and Grace Segers (CBS NEWS) report:

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty as part the investigation led by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, into the origins of the FBI's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to a source close to the matter. This is the first criminal case arising from the Durham probe.  Court documents posted Friday show Clinesmith faces one count of "false statements."

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found in his December 2019 report that Clinesmith had altered a CIA email cited in the fourth application to the FISA court to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2017. 

In helping to prepare the application, Clinesmith was asked by an FBI supervisory special agent whether Page had ever been a government agency source, as Page had publicly claimed.

Clinesmith altered an email stating that Page was a government "source," adding words to make it appear that the government agency, later revealed to be the CIA, was saying that Page "was not a source," according to the Justice Department's information in the case. 

POLITICO notes, "The altered email was among the explosive findings in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review of the FBI’s handling of the surveillance warrant against Page. He also found the warrant and three renewals were riddled with errors and omissions, some of them significant."  Sonam Sheth (BUSINESS INSIDER) adds:

Horowitz's investigation determined that although the FBI was informed of Page's relationship with the CIA, an agent downplayed that relationship while putting together the October 2016 FISA warrant against him.

In September 2017, an FBI supervisory agent who was putting together the final renewal application for Page asked Clinesmith whether Page was a CIA source or not. Clinesmith said, incorrectly, that Page was "never a source," altered the CIA's email to say Page was not an agency source, and sent it to the supervisory agent. That agent used the doctored email to support the FBI's third renewal application.

Chuck Ross Tweets:

Clinesmith in a text message to another FBI lawyer after Trump's win in November 2016. "My god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff." Months later, he would fabricate information about Carter Page.

Let me especially note this:

The media is downplaying the news that a former FBI lawyer will plead guilty as part of the Durham probe because they don't want to be held accountable for their role in the Russia investigation, The Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Friday.

"The media are kind of downplaying it and acting like it's not a big deal. And that's understandable because they were implicated in this as well," said Hemingway, a Fox News contributor. "In fact, they were some of the worst offenders in perpetuating this collusion hoax on the American people. The last thing they want is for anyone to be held accountable. They're trying to make sure this story goes away as quickly as possible."

U.S. House Representative Jim Jordan Tweets:

Kevin Clinesmith: -Worked for Peter Strzok. -Deliberately doctored #FISA evidence. -Bragged about being part of the “resistance.” The Obama/Biden/Comey Cabal was out to take down President Trump. Let’s hope there’s more justice to come.

I believe that there should be.  I believe that the Obama administration -- including the former President Barack Obama himself -- participated in a criminal conspiracy to take down a president.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Friday, August 14, 2020.  Turkey continues to attack Iraq and we look at the US race for president.

Starting in the US and starting with Maya Rudolph.

As ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT notes, Maya is willing to play Senator Kamala Harris again.  As we noted yesterday, "Oh, no, not Joe Biden."

Last September, Maya played Kamala for the first time on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE>

Audience member: What if Joe Biden gets implicated in this Ukraine scandal in some way?

Senator Kamala Harris: Oh, no.  That would be terrible.  Not Joe Biden.

That got huge laughs.  It fed into a narrative.  The same way Woody Harrleson's portrayal of Joe Biden's racism ("Oh and I should point out that it was a segregated pool just to put everyone on edge for the rest of the story.") led to laughter.

Kamala was seen as ambitious.  In part because she was a first term senator and in part because she was a woman.  Barack Obama was also a first term senator and also had about three years behind him in the Senate when running for the presidential nomination.  SNL never did a bit about him being ambitious because it's considered a good quality in a man.

Kamala has done a good job in the last two days in terms of how she's projected herself.

But there's the ambition baggage already laid at Kamala's doorstep and there is the sexism.  So if those two points are factored in, any troubles on the horizon?

How about the fact that Kamala looks smarter then Joe, looks more attentive than Joe and looks more capable than Joe?

What do you do when the vp candidate outshines the top of the ticket?

How does that play out with an electorate?

And how does that play out with an electorate that's concerned about a number of issues -- including the pandemic?

Are people going to want to change horses mid-stream?

If the person looks capable, maybe.

But Joe doesn't look capable.  He's hidden himself away.  He's had one proposal and then another -- he was talking in June about an executive order needed by a president to make masks a mandate and this week he changed it to letting the governors decide and issue.  He's done nothing to lead and, yes, he is supposed to be the leader.  He's not just the presumed nominee, he's a man who spent decades in the US Senate and then went on to be vice president for two terms.  Supposedly, he's spent his entire adult life training for this moment.

And what he's shown isn't impressive at all.

Kamala's attacking Donald Trump.  Repeatedly now.  For the coronavirus.  It should be attack and move on.  The longer she repeats the attack, the more people wonder why Joe has had so little to say and when she starts talking about the early days of this pandemic?

Joe Biden and his campaign said it was safe to vote -- deaths proved that wrong.  Joe was all go out and vote for me.  It's safe.

It wasn't.  Joe's history on the pandemic is not a strong one.  

And when Kamala hits Donald Trump on this issue, it not only brings up Joe's own bad behavior, it also makes people think, "Wait, for months and months, it's been patty-cakes and now Kamala's going after Trump?"  Meaning, "Where's Joe Biden been with the hard hitting criticism?"

Kamala's strong.

Will America let her run as a v.p. candidate at full strength?  Will the Biden campaign?  These may have been some  of the concerns Sarah Palin was getting at when she offered congratulations to Kamala this week and also offered some cautions.

This will be informative, watching this play out.  And while gender will impact on how Kamala is seen and how she is received, it's also true that had Joe selected, for example, Julian Castro, many of these issues would be at play -- including Julian being portrayed as ambitious and including Julian having to struggle to avoid outshining Joe.  Barring Joe's ability to clone himself or select Dan Quayle as a running mate, any v.p. candidate would have to struggle with trying not to outshine Joe.

Eugene Puryear doesn't plan on voting for Biden-Harris.

Puryear states, "I'm going to vote for Gloria La Riva and I think everyone should."  Gloria La Riva is the US presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  He knows Gloria very well.  In 2008, for example, he was on the PSL's presidential ticket as Gloria's running mate.

Third party candidates have to deal with a number of obstacles that the duopoly candidates don't have to.  For example, GOOGLE last week refused to take you to Gloria's campaign website -- they insisted it might have "malware."  Joe Biden and Donald Trump?  Their campaign sites would never experience those warnings.  Right now, this morning, there's trouble with Gloria's campaign Twitter account -- we linked to her personal Twitter account in the previous paragraph.

It's not a level playing field and even with all the advantages that a Biden or Trump has, it's not enough for them and their supporters, they have to work to ensure that third party candidates receive little to not attention.

Joseph Kishore is the presidential candidate for the Socialist and Equality Party.  At WSWS, he notes:

With the selection of Kamala Harris to be the running mate of Joe Biden, the framework of the 2020 elections has been set. As was to be expected, the Democrats have chosen the most right-wing candidates to run the most right-wing campaign possible.

There is a certain inevitability to the choice of Harris. In July of last year, the World Socialist Web Site -- based on a survey of who would be the worst, most reactionary and at the same time most suitable choice for second spot on the Democratic Party ticket—predicted that Harris would most likely be named the vice presidential candidate if she failed to win the nomination. She had all the ruthlessness, narcissism and careerism requisite for the job, plus the ethnic background to suit the Democrats’ obsession with racial and gender identity.

Kamala Harris is a dyed-in-the wool political reactionary.

This year has seen mass demonstrations throughout the country in response to the police murder of George Floyd. As a direct result of the policies of the ruling class, nearly 170,000 people have died to date in the coronavirus pandemic, with the daily death toll now at more than 1,000. There is growing anger in workplaces over the homicidal back-to-work campaign and broad opposition among teachers to the efforts to reopen the schools. Tens of millions of people are unemployed, and they have been cut off from federal benefits and face being evicted from their homes.

In the midst of this monumental political, economic and social crisis, and against the backdrop of so much suffering, the American people are to be offered the “choice” between the fascistic Trump, the conman from New York, and a Democratic Party ticket headed by a corporate shill from Delaware and an ex-prosecutor from California. This says everything about the degraded state of American politics.

Following the announcement by Biden on Tuesday, the media leapt into action with its nauseating effusion of state propaganda. The selection of Harris has been universally proclaimed to be “historic,” a watershed moment.

In terms of her politics, there is clearly nothing “historic” about Harris. As district attorney in San Francisco (2004-2011), attorney general in California (2011-2017), and, finally, US senator (2017 to the present), Harris has compiled a track record of backing the police, locking up workers and immigrants, covering up for the banks and supporting militarism and war.

Wall Street is certainly happy with the choice. “A VP pick that big business can back,” ran a headline on the inside pages of the New York Times. As for the military, its main concern is what will happen if the aging Biden doesn’t make it through a full term. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, opposition from the Democratic Party has been focused on issues of foreign policy. Harris, who has no other agenda than her own self-promotion, will be silly putty in the hands of the military-intelligence apparatus.

The “historic” character of the Harris nomination is premised entirely on her race and gender. She would be the “first African-American vice president,” the “first Asian-American vice president” and the “first female vice president.” She already is the “first Black woman on the national ticket of the Democrats or Republicans.” Everything is about the symbolism involved in the choice of Harris, with not a word about the program of a Democratic Party administration.

As if any of this makes a bit of difference for workers, whatever their race, gender or ethnicity. As if, moreover, the world has not already had the example of Obama, not to mention Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and many others.

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee.  In the video below, one of her supporters explains why Jo is his candidate and why others aren't.

Jorgensen's campaign issued the following statement earlier this week:

GREENVILLE, S.C.; August 13, 2020—  Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has stressed that he wanted to pick a running mate who is “simpatico” with his own views, has chosen former prosecutor Sen. Kamala Harris. By choosing her, Biden, who was the architect of the 1994 crime bill, has “doubled down on his penchant for using the law against people who commit nonviolent, victimless crimes,” said Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president.

During her tenure as attorney general for California, Kamala Harris oversaw the incarceration of over 1,500 people convicted of cannabis violations.

“What Kamala Harris did in the courtroom would put her in good company with the most brutal police on the streets,” said Jorgensen. “She is guilty of prosecutorial brutality, the silent partner of police brutality.”

“Compare a typical episode of police brutality–getting slapped around and thrown in jail for a night–with being thrown in prison for ten years,” said Jorgensen. “That’s the kind of prosecutorial brutality for which Kamala Harris is notorious.”

In 1998, Daniel Larson was wrongfully charged and convicted of possession of a knife. After ten years in prison, the Innocence Project took his case and got him exonerated. Kamala Harris fought his release every step of the way. To add insult to injury, her office put the kibosh on Larson’s suit to get compensation for wrongful incarceration.

Harris also liked using her power as a D.A. to threaten parents whose kids were absent from school. From 2004-2011, she sent a letter to every San Francisco parent of public-school students, threatening to prosecute them for truancy under a law that punishes the parents if their child is more than 30 minutes late for school, 20 times.

“Kamala Harris’s idea of helping kids who don’t show up for public school is to threaten their parents with a $2,500 fine or jail time,” said Jorgensen.

“The president sets the tone for law enforcement in our country, and the vice-president is next in line,” said Jorgensen. “If we want to put an end to police brutality, the last thing we need is a champion of prosecutorial brutality one heartbeat away from the White House.

Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential nominee.  Howie's campaign issued the following statement regarding the selection of Kamala as Joe's running mate:

August 11, 2020


Howie Hawkins,
Angela Walker,

Kevin Zeese, Press Secretary, 301-996-6582,

Kamala Harris Is Another Reason To Vote Green

History of Harsh Law Enforcement and Corporatism

(August 11, 2020 – Syracuse, NY) Former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate shows Biden doubling down on his long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs. 

In a year of national uprising against police violence, Kamala Harris who spent 25 years in law enforcement is an ironic selection. Her campaign for president ended quickly as she dropped out of the race two months before the Iowa Caucus and three days before the filing deadline to be on the ballot in her home state of California, where she was behind in the polls. Part of her decline was caused by voter dismay at her reversal on Medicare For All, when she flip-flopped to a policy that subsidized private health insurance and misleadingly continued to call it Medicare for All.

While Joe Biden was the principal legislative architect of the drug war and mass incarceration from his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris’s record as a prosecutor and Attorney General was as a foot soldier in the drug war and mass incarceration. As the San Francisco  District Attorney drug-related prosecutions increased from 56 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2006. In 2019, she admitted smoking marijuana in college but while Attorney General of California from 2011-2017, Harris sent at least 1,560 people to prison over marijuana-related offenses. In 2014, a week after the New York Times called for legal marijuana, Harris laughed when asked if she supported it. Now, she supports ending federal laws against marijuana, a position not held by Biden.

While Biden sponsored mandatory sentencing, Harris defended one of the worst mandatory sentencing laws in the US, California’s ‘three strikes law’ that also applied to “minor” felonies. She campaigned against a voter initiative that would have reformed this to require serious or violent felonies for life sentences. Harris did not take a position on two ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2014 that would have reduced punishment for low-level crimes and given judges more flexibility at sentencing. Both initiatives passed without her support.

After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, police accountability was on the agenda in the California legislature. Harris refused to take a position on racial profiling by police. As Attorney General she refused to investigate highly questionable police shootings in Los Angeles 2014 and in San Francisco in 2015.

Barry Sheppard interviewed Howie for BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

Sheppard: Tell me about yourself

Hawkins: I am a 67-year-old retired Teamster living in Syracuse, New York. I became active in the 1960s as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area in movements for civil rights, peace, unions, and the environment.

After watching the Republicans and Democrats oppose or delay civil rights in 1964 and then jointly support the escalation of the Vietnam war in 1965, I committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist and ecological society.

Since participating in its first national organising meeting in August 1984, I have been active in the Green Party. I was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010, while running for New York governor as the Green Party’s candidate. I ran again in 2014 and 2018 for governor. Each time, we received enough votes to qualify the Green Party for the New York ballot for the next four years.

How is the Green Party challenging the power of fossil fuel interests? How does your ecosocialist Green New Deal differ from that being proposed by left Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)?

We want to socialize the whole energy sector, including the coal, oil and gas companies, in order to reinvest the earnings from fossil fuels used during the transition to clean energy in clean renewable, instead of more coal, oil and gas.

Our ecosocialist Green New Deal  emphasises public enterprise and planning in the energy, transportation and manufacturing sectors in order to implement a rapid transition to zero-to-negative carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.

The Green New Deal was the Green Party’s signature issue in the 2010s. The Democrats took the slogan at the end of 2018, but diluted its content. The non-binding resolution for a Green New Deal introduced into Congress by AOC eliminated key policies in the Green Party’s Green New Deal, including a ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure, a phase out of nuclear power, and deep cuts in military spending to help fund the Green New Deal. The Democrats’ Green New Deal extended the goal for zero emissions from 2030 to 2050.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has never let the House vote in the non-binding resolution, while in the Senate, all the Democrats voted “present” instead of for it, except the four Democrats who voted “no” with the Republicans. The Democrats will not enact a Green New Deal, as Biden’s pro-fossil fuels energy policies and the 2020 Democratic platform make clear.

What is the significance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) upsurge? Are we on the cusp of a new radical movement?

The significance of the BLM upsurge is that for the first time in US history, a majority of white people support a Black-led movement against systemic racism, according to public opinion polls. We may be on the cusp of a new radical movement because so many young white people are active in BLM street demonstrations in solidarity with people of color.

Whether that movement becomes a radical movement that changes the structures of power, or a reform movement that limits itself to asking the existing power structure to change some policies, remains to be seen.

Howie also discussed his campaign this week on INFORMED AMERICAN.


Meanwhile the government of Turkey continues to behave like a criminal and a bully.  Earlier this week, they killed 3 members of the Iraqi military.  They have refused to acknowledge those deaths, let alone apologize for them.   And today?  Reports of more deaths as a result of Turkey.  RUDAW's Lawk Ghafuri Tweets:

Two were killed & another wounded in another suspected Turkish airstrike in #Kurdistan region of #Iraq, according to a local official. The attack comes after #Baghdad warned that Iraqi security forces have military capabilities to face the Turkish attacks.

Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

Turkey has long been a hassle for the Iraqi government, with Turkish troops active in the country’s north, and refusing to leave despite not having permission to be there. This is growing, after a Turkish drone killed two Iraqi officers in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq is now seeking help from Arab League nations to apply diplomatic pressure and try to convince Turkey to withdraw from the country. Iraq repeatedly slams Turkey over “flagrant aggression” in the border area.

The following sites updated: