Friday, October 9, 2020

Two pieces by Ray McGovern

 Ray McGovern has two strong pieces this week.  From his column at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE:

Former FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress last Wednesday that he did not remember much about what was going on when the FBI deceived the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court into approving four warrants for surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Few outsiders are aware that those warrants covered not only Page but also anyone Page was in contact with as well as anyone Page’s contacts were in contact with – under the so-called two-hop surveillance procedure. In other words, the warrants extend coverage two hops from the target – that is, anyone Page talks to and anyone they, in turn, talk to.

At the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsay Graham reviewed the facts (most of them confirmed by the Department of Justice inspector general) showing that none of the four FISA warrants were warranted.

Graham gave a chronological rundown of the evidence that Comey and his “folks” either knew, or should have known, that by signing fraudulent FISA warrant applications they were perpetrating a fraud on the court.

The “evidence” used by Comey and his “folks” to “justify” warrants included Page’s contacts with Russian officials (CIA had already told the FBI those contacts had been approved) and the phony as a three-dollar bill “Steele dossier” paid for by the Democrats.


But let’s not hop over the implications of two-hop surveillance, which apparently remains in effect today. Few understand the significance of what is known in the trade as “two-hop” coverage. According to a former NSA technical director, Bill Binney, when President Barack Obama approved the current version of “two hops,” the NSA was ecstatic – and it is easy to see why.

Let’s say Page was in touch with Donald Trump (as candidate or president); Trump’s communications could then be surveilled, as well. Or, let’s say Page was in touch with Google. That would enable NSA to cover pretty much the entire world. A thorough read of the transcript of Wednesday’s hearing, particularly the Q-and-A, shows that this crucial two-hop dimension never came up – or that those aware of it, were too afraid to mention it. It was as if Page were the only one being surveilled.

Mr. Comey has gone from public menace to public embarrassment -- and yet you get the sense that Mr. Comey does not realize just how embarrassing he has become.  He is apparently still reading his praise from the 'resistance' -- praise that even they stopped offering some time ago.


This is from Mr. McGovern's latest at CONSORTIUM NEWS:


If they looked beyond the Times, they might have learned that exactly five months ago, on May 7, 2020, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff was forced to release sworn testimony by former FBI official Shawn Henry, head of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, that there is no technical evidence that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks were hacked — by Russia, or by anyone else.

Adding insult to injury, Schiff was able to hide Henry’s testimony from Dec. 5, 2017, until May 7, 2020.  Quick! Someone tell the Times that another five-month delay on top of that is not on.

If you didn’t know that the evidence-impoverished charge that the Russians hacked the DNC emails had fallen apart, recall that then-FBI Director James Comey deferred to CrowdStrike to do the forensics on the so-called “Russian hack” of the DNC.

There are no forensics.  CrowdStrike did not even provide the FBI with a finished report.

Moreover, if you reconstruct the events at the end of July 2016 and notice how Clinton and the Democrats poured blame on Trump and the Russians with the support of the intelligence community, especially the FBI and CIA — not to mention the full throated support of the Establishment media — you wouldn’t need a report from Russian intelligence to figure out who might be behind Russiagate, and why.


Repeating again, Ray McGovern was one of the earliest and strongest voices against Russia-gate.  He does not get the credit for that -- credit he deserves and credit he has earned.


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

 Thursday, November 8, 2020.  The Democratic and Republican Party debate . . . 

Last night, a limited pretense of a debate took place.  It was called the vice presidential debate but it only included two people running for that office.  For example, voters in every state can vote for Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party candidate.  She's on the ballot in all fifty states.  But her running mate Spike Cohen wasn't invited to the debates.  Howie Hawkins has ballot access in enough states that, should people vote for him, he could be president.  But his running mate on the Green Party ticket, Angela Walker, was not invited to the debate.  Sunil Freeman is Gloria La Riva's running mate on the Party for Socialism and Liberation are on the ballot in 15 states.  Residents of 15 states can vote for them?  Shouldn't they have been on the stage last night.

Count every vote.  Your vote matters.  Blah-blah-blah bulls**t.  If your vote matters then the media needs to cover all the campaigns, then all candidates needs to be on stage.  You want to set a qualification?  Fine.  Figure out how many states you think a candidate should be on the ballot.  Make that the only criteria.  Polling?  Polling reflects media coverage -- it always does.  So don't use that nonsense.  The criteria should be, my opinion, does the candidate have enough ballot access to win.  If they do, my opinion, they should be on the stage.

If someone wants to argue for an even looser criteria, I'll gladly support that.  But I think, bare minimum, if you are on the ballot in enough states to win, then you deserve a spot on stage.

Why doesn't that happen?  Because the networks allow the Democrats and the Republicans to control the debate, they let them determine who will be on stage and who will be moderating.  We need an independent commission -- not a bipartisan one -- to be over the debates.  The commission should be the one to determine who is on stage, who is the moderator, etc.  

Susan Page (USA TODAY) lied at the start of her moderation of the debate last night.  She said the commission was non-partisan.  That's a lie.

I like Susan.  She was being trashed as a moderator ahead of the debate by a few idiots on the left over some event she attended.  Susan is a social person.  But Susan is a left-leaning person.  I don't say that as an insult.  I'm all the way to the left.  But I say it because some of the so-called 'resistance' tried to trash her because of a social event.  Now they could have said, "I have concerns because she . . ."  They didn't.  They said that she wouldn't be fair because of that.

Susan leans left.  With that factored in, Susan also tries to be fair.  

I don't like calling her out for the "non-partisan" nonsense -- flat out wrong -- but I'll call her out when she's wrong (and did so in the past when she'd fill in for Diane Rehm on THE DIANE REHM SHOW).

Let's stop pretending we have free and fair elections in the United States when we won't even be fair about who gets included in the debates.  And let's stop calling an event that leaves many voters disenfranchised because they're candidates are not on stage, let's stop calling that a "vice presidential debate" or a "presidential debate."  It's a Democrat and Republican debate.  That's all it is.  It's very limited regardless of who is on stage but when you have a do-nothing, say-nothing candidate like Joe Biden who cannot answer any question -- whether it's about how much money Hunter Biden was paid by a Russian oligarch or whether it's does he agree with his running mate on the issue of court packing (expanding the number of Justices on the Supreme Court beyond nine)? -- it's especially limited.

Howie Hawkins  Tweeted the following at the end of September:

Biden says: "The Green New Deal is not my plan" That's right Joe. It's my plan. #debates

Howie Tweeted this last night:

 In 2010, I was the 1st candidate in the US to run on a Green New Deal.

Today we have made it mainstream, supported by the US majority. Our plan incorporates an Economic Bill of Rights that the Dems won't touch, & the GOP hates that we can afford it:

Imagine if, in 2012, the American people could have seen, on all the networks (as the debates are carried by PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, TELEMUNDO and many other stations -- TV and radio -- across the country)  could have had a candidate onstage at the 'presidential debate' (the Democrat and Republican debate) discussing the Green New Deal.

Or Medicare For All.  We owe the nurses of this country so much.  They have led on Medicare For All.  They have talked that issue, they have raised that issue.  Many other activists have helped popularize it and they deserve credit too but it really is the nurses of America who have led on it and popularized it.

What has the Democratic Party done on it?  Nothing.

Despite claiming to be for it -- in a form that got increasing watered down in her campaign for the nomination of the Democratic Party -- Kamala doesn't support it now because Joe is against it.  Bernie Sanders supported it.

Why didn't Jane Fonda support Bernie?  We've raised the issue, Ava and I, in "Media: The Jane Fonda Horror Show" about her bad 'book' which is so bad that it's actually bad for the environment (regular paper is biodegradable -- glossy pages like her book has -- every page is coated -- not).  We noted this:

Or does she just really not care about the issues she claims to be vested in?  At one point in the book, she insists that you can enrich your stock portfolio by stepping away from fossil fuel investments.  We hope that's true.  We remember when Tom Hayden hijacked a good portion of her fortune during the divorce settlement and how he did so by blackmailing her with the threat that he'd go public with what 'activist' Jane Fonda actually had in her stock portfolio.  


But is the whole thing just a pretense?


We ask for good reason.  Bernie Sanders is the politician who ran on the platform she believes in.  And she supported him . . . on March 20, 2020.  Up until then, she'd supported a number of others running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  We see nothing wrong with her support of Elizabeth Warren and even can look the other way on Kamala Harris since Harris is 'local' (California).  But we have a hard time justifying the other candidates she supported -- including Amy Klobuchar.  Amy had no climate plan, didn't support Medicare For All and had that troubling past as a prosecutor who wrongly imprisoned people of color -- including children of color.


Despite Bernie standing for everything she claims to believe in, she didn't endorse Bernie until March 20th, when he was the only candidate left in the race who wasn't Joe Biden.


Despite her claims to want to end climate change, her book is filled with the same people who organized the attack on Michael Moore recently.  Of the two, we like Jane better (we really do like Jane and take no pleasure in writing this piece).  But our dislike for Michael Moore does not mean that we justify the climate lobby attacking him.  Between the film Moore produced and the book Jane's promoting?  Only one of them will make any real difference -- and it's not going to be Jane's book.

She supported multiple candidates -- including the hideous billionaire Tom Steyer who stood for nothing.  He's a fake ass on the issue of climate change, a 'green washer' of great pretense.  

There were real issues and, let's be honest, Jane doesn't have a lot of years left.  She wrote a fake ass book about the superficial thoughts of celebrities, superficial thoughts briefly expressed at Fire Drill Fridays (which she wanted to be used to educate but backed off when people told her that that sort of thing should be left to a separate teach-in).  I don't know when Jane plans to stand up.  But to wait until March 20th to stand up and support Bernie Sanders was craven and cowardly.

I don't like Bernie Sanders.  I've never liked Bernie.  He was a nightmare as the Chair of the Senate's Veterans Affairs Committee.  The morning the country learns that the VA has been hiding truths from the American people, covering up the mistreatment of veterans, Bernie opens a Veterans Affairs hearing explaining he doesn't want to talk about that scandal, he's going to focus on holistic healing.

That was b.s.  and I guess Bernie more than earned his initials.

Bernie clearly is not a great candidate.  A great candidate has self-respect and supports those who have backed his campaign.  Bernie just tries to whore them.

But screw Bernie.  The individual wasn't important in 2020, the support behind his proposals were.  I supported Bernie's campaign in 2020 because it was addressing the real issues -- Medicare For All and the need to seriously address climate change.

I don't care for Bernie but I did respect the enthusiasm voters had for him and I did respect their drive which would hold a President Bernie Sanders accountable.  

Jane waited until Bernie was the only candidate standing.  I guess that showed some courage.  I just know that her supposed beliefs were not reflected in her choices previous to Berne (with the exception of Elizabeth Warren -- Elizabeth would have been a strong president as well).

Bernie was never my first choice.  Honestly, Beto or Julian were my first choices.  With Beto, that was especially based on his work on and statements about Iraq going back to the many public hearings I attended when he was in the House.  (And we covered those here.)  The media didn't want Beto.  They turned on him.  During his campaign in 2019, he would make basic, factual statements about Iraq and, for example, Joe Biden's friend employed by THE WASHINGTON POST as a 'fact checker' would attack him in print as a liar.  And when Joe lied (as he does several times a day)?  Joe's friend at THE POST would find a way to minimize and excuse it and allow 'facts' to be claims presented by Joe's campaign.

There is so much lying going on.  You're hearing, "If Trump wins re-election, they will strip away Obamacare's provision that allows pre-existing conditions to be covered!!!!"  If you care about that the answer is Medicare For All.  If you care about it.  Want to be sure everyone with pre-existing coverage gets covered?  Medicare For All.

The debate?

I told someone Kamala would win and I'd bet them on it.  Despite being an elected Democrat (or maybe because of it) and despite knowing Kamala Harris, he didn't take my bet.

He should have.  Because I was wrong.  

The minute the debate (18:56 in the CNBC video below), I knew she was in trouble. 

She was lost in many debates during the primary and that was because there were multiple people on stage.  When Tulsi Gabbard hit her out of left field, Kamala was clearly surprised and dazed.  She shaped a reply (not a good one) in one-on-one interviews after the debate.

But Kamala is a wonder in court.  I've seen her before.  I've found her rousing in court.  Even when I didn't agree with the argument she was making to the court, I found her rousing and inspiring.

We didn't see that last night.  We saw weakness.  And that's the format.  She was seated.  Kamala standing and making an argument is a strong presence.  A sit down debate, she came off weak.

Her speaking voice was tremulous.  And that's fine.  I use that, Jane taught me it.  Make your statement a public performance, come off nervous to be hear, state what's needed and let your conviction make you come off stronger.  It's a wonderful technique.  But Kamala never got to the summation part that she would have and frequently did when she was delivering a closing statement in court.

She's hampered in many ways.  She has to underplay so as not to show up the top of the ticket.  She's a woman and there are 800 million things that she's being told to do from what she wears to how her hair is, and that's before the advisors want to talk to her about arguments to make.  

I understand the problems she had to address and I'm sympathetic.

But she should have broken free in the debate.  Especially considering Joe's health which could mean he doesn't complete his first term if elected.

Kamala didn't humiliate herself by any means.  She delivered an acceptable performance.  But she was capable of so much more.

And I gladly would have paid if my friend in Congress had taken the bet with me because I don't believe Kamala won.

Now above, I'm talking about her performance and presentation.  I'm not fact checking her and certainly, I'm far to the left of Kamala.  But her performance and presentation was good.  It should have been great.  She has the ability and power to be great.

If you need me to fact check her or respond to her opinions, e-mail and if it's a real concern I'll do so in the next snapshot.  I've tried to be very fair to Kamala.  I really don't like her.  Willie Brown has told me for the last two years that I'm not fair to her.  I've worked to be fair to her and to acknowledge her good qualities.  

So I'm going to ignore doing any form of fact check with one exception.

This is nonsense and ignorance.  "We now know because of great investigative journalism."  She said that of Donald Trump's tax returns.  This was not investigative journalism.  This was check-book journalism and possibly after the election so-called journalistic watchdogs and media critics will call it out.  But this was not investigative journalism. Kamala's statement bothered me more than anything else she said because it appears that, despite being a smart, well educated person, she doesn't grasp what investigative journalism is.  Investigative journalism is uncovering the VA's wait lists -- the hidden ones that denied access to so many veterans.  Investigative journalism is uncovering something unknown to the people.  Donald Trump's tax returns exist.  There have been efforts in court to get them.  This was not investigative journalism -- this was check-book journalism and two friends at THE NEW YORK TIMES have not only told me that, they have repeated how outraged they are that 'the paper of record,' resorted to that.

Joe is for fracking, I've called that out.  I'm not voting for him.  So the claim that Joe believes in science or this or that by Kamala?  Don't believe it.  Again, we go through her comments if enough people want to but I'm just not interested.  We've covered the nonsense of Russia-gate from the beginning.  (And the Iran deal was always a nightmare and, in real time, we noted here that I was being asked to promote it and had refused.)

I'm also not interested in going over Mike Pence whose name I sadly learned last night.  I'd made it through the entire term not knowing his name -- "Mike whatever" or "Mike Pompeo -- wait, that's the Secretary of State, whatever his name it."  Except for noting his wife's visit to Iraq (and applauding her for that), we've been able to ignore Pence.

He was calm -- as was Kamala.  He gave a strong presentation.  I'm talking performance, not positions.  

I call the debate a tie.  A different format, and people letting Kamala be Kamala, would have allowed her to knock it out the park.  She has that ability, I've seen her do it in court.  But the format did not allow her to shine as she can and I'm sure 800 million "remember you need to . . ." from various handlers also harmed her performance.  

At this point in the campaign, Kamala should just be Kamala.  In every future speech, just tap into who she is and let it fly.  If the Biden campaign wants to win, it's going to be Kamala carrying across the finish line.  There is no enthusiasm for Joe.  Certainly not among the young.  We're speaking via zoom to college groups across the country.  I hear repeatedly, "I'm not voting for Trump but I'm not voting."  Kamala is the only thing that will bring any enthusiasm to the campaign in these final weeks -- and she can do it.  

I do understand -- and have spoken to friends with Joe's campaign -- the concern that Kamala shining will make him look less.  Well too bad.  He's now had weeks to build up himself and he's failed to do it.  To generate enthusiasm now, that's got to come from Kamala and people need to let her be who she really is and she will shine.

Angela Walker is the VP candidate on the Green Party ticket.  Below she presents her response to last night's debate.

Wars were not a serious topic.  Iraq came up in passing.  War was not a serious issue in the debate.  I guess when Joe Biden's the candidate -- pro-war Joe, destroyer of Iraq, Joe -- you have to ignore it.  Just like you ignore issues of assault and harassment -- when the heads of both tickets are credibly accused.

Who is Anthony Brian Logan?  I'm not familiar with him before this morning, sorry.  I'm not a YOUTUBE expert by any means.  But a conservative sent an e-mail to the public account saying that we don't offer a conservative response here.  We don't.  This is a site for the left.  But I have no problem including Anthony Brian Logan's political commentary -- it's from the right.  Inclusion does not mean agreement.  

My big thing on this video that he's commenting on would be?  Sit down, Michelle.  I'd say that about Laura Bush and pretty much every First Lady of my generation except for Rosalyn Carter and Hillary Clinton.  They did things as First Lady.  Not b.s. nonsense -- grow a garden!, beautify the country (while we drop napalm on Vietnam, Lady Bird?), let's move, let's read, let's try to humanize me and pretend I'm a caring person.

Hillary worked on healthcare as First Lady.  Great job?  No.  But she tackled it.  When she ran for the nomination of the Democratic Party in 2008, there were some who derided her, "She was just a First Lady."  She wasn't but fine if that's your opinion.

Michelle has done even less.  And for her to interject herself is just nonsense.  She was not a First Lady who did anything of value.  They tried to make her a super model and that didn't work.  Then they tried to find 'feminine' topics for her.  About the only thing that didn't fall under 'girl biz'?  Her efforts to get the Olympics held in Chicago.  If you've forgotten, she failed at that (even after enlisting Oprah to help with the effort).  

I don't really understand her standing in this debate.  A former First Lady who did nothing.  Again, First Lady Carter, First Lady Clinton, they were political.  Hillary's made some remarks praising Joe (but largely just condemning Donald Trump) and whether I agree or disagree, I don't wonder: Why is she speaking?  

Why is Michelle speaking?

Because Joe's not closing the deal.  Michelle is a heavy weight in terms of admiration by some Americans.  So they're letting her take a hit -- the same way Bully Boy Bush's administration let Colin Powell take a hit by lying to the UN -- in the hopes that maybe this will help pull Joe over the line.

If our voting system today was you voted because somebody called you on the phone and asked you who you wanted to vote for?  Joe would win the election.

But polling isn't voting.  And I'm telling you right now that a number of young Americans are still not rushing to vote for Joe Biden.   They'll say he'd be better than Trump but he's not reached a number of them.  Does he have enough support as it is?  I don't know.  But, again, I'm hearing things like, "I got polled and I said Joe would be my choice.  But I probably won't vote."  

Spike Cohen is Jo Jorgensen's running mate.  I searched YOUTUBE and their campaign site and see no response to the debate so I'm not including them.  If he has a response to the debate, we'll certainly note it tomorrow.  He did offer one Tweet and we'll note that:

Things that were not mentioned in the #VPDebates2020 • Ending Qualified Immunity • Ending the War on Drugs • Bringing our troops home • The CDC’s failure to allow COVID-19 testing for months Americans are sick and tired of political posturing. We need real solutions now.

The following sites updated: