Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trump, Iran and the JCPOA - What it is and what isn't it.




There is much confusion on the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Deal.  It was negotiated by the what is called the P5 + 1.  the P5 are the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, France, Britain, Russia and China.  Germany is not a permanent member; hence it's called the +1.

The primary purpose of the Iran Deal was to get Iran to agree to give up its nuclear ambitions in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions that have had a devastating impact on Iran's economy.

The negotiating process had been going on for years, over 10 years according to some European officials.  When John Kerry became Secretary of State, negotiations intensified and spanned 20 months.

The nuts and bolts of the deal have been accurately summarized by an RT article titled The Iran nuclear deal explained.
Iran’s concessions

Under the JCPOA, Tehran gave up 98 percent of the enriched uranium it already had, and only keeps material enriched to the lowest threshold of five percent (weapons-grade uranium starts at 85 percent). Two-thirds of Iran’s enrichment centrifuges are halted, leaving only around 6,000 older models operational. Any remaining materials and facilities are to be used strictly for scientific, medical, and agricultural purposes.

Iran’s compliance is being monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The JCPOA boosts the IAEA mission in Iran from 50 to 150 experts with round-the-clock access to any nuclear-related facilities, and additionally envisions remote and satellite surveillance.

Sanctions relief

In return, Iran gets relief from a portion of economic sanctions, some of which have been in place since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

United Nations and European Union sanctions were either suspended or lifted, and no new sanctions will be introduced as long as the JCPOA is in effect.

The US, however, never agreed to permanently lift or even suspend its own sanctions against Iran. Instead, the US president periodically reviews the deal and signs a waiver that ceases their application.
Treaties are typically submitted to the US Senate for ratification which requires a 2/3 supermajority vote.  This is nearly impossible to get. Obama knew this going into JCPOA negotiations - the JCPOA was never going to be ratified as a binding treaty.

The Iran Deal was crafted as a political commitment and nothing more.

The Lawfareblog.com which analyzes legally complex issues has written on the JCPOA.

State Department Affirms That Iran Deal Is Only a Political Commitment 11/28/2015
The State Department said, in part:

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China) and the European Union. As you know, the United States has a long-standing practice of addressing sensitive problems in negotiations that culminate in political commitments.

The success of the JCPOA will depend not on whether it is legally binding or signed, but rather on the extensive verification measures we have put in place, as well as Iran’s understanding that we have the capacity to re-impose – and ramp up – our sanctions if Iran does not meet its commitments."

This is not a new development, though it is interesting to see the administration assert it so explicitly. Both Jack Goldsmith and John Bellinger (among others) made this clear when the deal was announced this summer. Jack noted that the deal was not a pure executive agreement but merely a political agreement, which “do[es] not create legally binding obligations, even if [it has] normative force in the political (or moral) context.” And, as John argued, while the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) that implemented some of the terms of the JCPOA is binding under international law, the JCPOA itself is not. Nor does the UNSCR require the U.S. to lift domestic sanctions.

While this issue is not new, it has received some heightened scrutiny in the wake of multiple Republican presidential candidates vowing to repudiate the deal if elected. Marco Rubio, for example, said this very thing in September.

There are two related issues here. First, as noted above, as a political agreement the JCPOA is not binding under international law. The second issue is whether the commitments made in the JCPOA are binding under domestic law. An article in the Atlantic flatly asserted Rubio was wrong, equating the Iran deal to congressionally authorized executive agreements such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, NAFTA, and World Trade Organization.

But the JCPOA is not such an agreement, as the State Department’s letter makes clear. It is only a political commitment. (Mike Ramsey has a fuller explanation here.) Because the President already had authority under the domestic law to waive sanctions against Iran, there was no need for him to get Congress to change the law. Thus, in implementing the JCPOA by lifting sanctions, the President is essentially telling Iran he will exercise his statutorily authorized discretion to waive the sanctions. A future President could use that same authority to tell Iran he or she is re-implementing the sanctions in the interest of national security. It would be odd to say that President Obama’s use of his statutory discretion to waive sanctions somehow legally prevented a future president from using that same discretion to re-impose sanctions. The law never changed. It still gives the president discretion to apply those sanctions against Iran.

Nor did the Iran Review Act constitute congressional authorization of the Iran deal. It merely delayed the President from waiving sanctions until Congress had a chance to review it; it did not change the underlying law.

As Jack noted, the President and his legal team carefully crafted the deal to get around congressional opposition. The President knew he did not have sufficient congressional support to amend domestic law such that the JCPOA would become legally binding on future presidents. But he also calculated that even under the Iran Review Act, Congress could not muster a supermajority to stop him from using his statutory authority to waive the sanctions. So he settled for what he could get, even though, as his State Department now admits, this is only a political commitment (and therefore does not bind future presidents).

There, you have it.  The JCPOA is NOT legally binding, it's not the law and it's only a political agreement or commitment.  The Iran Review Act can hardly be construed as an enforceable law that reinforces the JCPOA.

The JCPOA was merely a START to get Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.  Even if the agreement isn't enforceable, it constituted a damn good start to a solving a nasty problem and the world is a better place because of it.

Iran is 100% in compliance. US Intel Agencies have confirmed that Iran is in compliance. The IAEA has confirmed that Iran is in compliance.  Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said that Iran is in compliance and at the end of April, 2018, he testified before Congress that verification of compliance is 'pretty robust'.  Mattis has also said in the past that he believe the US should stick with the deal.

Why stick with the deal?  Because the alternative, shredding the deal, would indeed free up Iran to pursue nuclear weapons.  So why would any sane person pursue a policy that would encourage Iran to become nuclear armed?  It makes no freaking sense.

Ahh...BUT the neocons, Saudi Arabia and Israel want war with Iran and Syria, and of course they cannot wage such a war on their own.  They need the US.  Bear in mind that Iran is a nation of 75-80 million folks and Syria has a population of about 25 million.  Iran has done NOTHING to the US and there is no valid reason, national security or otherwise, to put the lives of 100 million folks at risk just to appease Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In a weird twist of events, Britain, France and Germany issued a statement that they intend to honor the JCPOA.  It's likely that Russia and China will join them. Nobody on the freaking planet except US neocons, Saudi Arabia and Israel want to nuke the Iran Deal.  Europe is already trading with Iran and to the tune of $25 billion a year and growing.  Because of Trump shredding the Iran Deal, Boeing will lose huge contracts to sell Iran passenger aircraft and according to Boeing, those contracts would have provided 100,000 jobs.

Nuking trade is wrong and boneheaded because trade is the mothers milk of peace and peaceful co-existence.  The rest of the world has wisely made the decision to pursue trade instead of war.  This has obviously infuriated DC and Trump is now looking like a damn isolationist fool as his schemes backfire globally and domestically.

What is Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US really demanding of Iran?  It's pretty straightforward.

They demand that Iran be DEFENSELESS against #Israel, #SaudiArabia, the US and other Sunni nations which of course is the equivalent of national suicide.

The real target of Trump, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the neocons is Iran's non-nuclear missiles program. They hate the fact that Iran has defense capabilities. Unlike the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran has never used its missiles offensively against any nation except in the Iran-Iraq War which was started when Iraq invaded Iran.

Bear in mind that the US and the Saudis goaded Saddam Hussein into fighting the Iran-Iraq War which raged for 8 long horrifying years from 1980 thru 1988 at great human, financial and economic costs. The estimated death toll is generally believed to be at least a million although some estimates put it at 500,000 to 1,200,000.

The CIA overthrew Iran's democratically elected SECULAR government led by Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. The dreaded Shah, a US puppet, was installed and he operated a police state complete with torture prisons for political opponents and murder. This in turn paved the way for the Islamic Revolution in 1978 and the installation of the theocratic ayatollahs who turned out to be just as murderous, cruel and ruthless as the Shah.

Because of the chaos of the 1978 Revolution, the US and Saudi Arabia believed that Iraq under Hussein could easily defeat Iran and collapse the regime. That never happened and the war was fought to a standstill.

Iran will NEVER consent to being defenseless. They understand what happens when a nation lacks defensive and offensive capabilities. They've been there.

The 1400 year old Sunni-Shiite rift is an ongoing religious civil war and the US has no business intervening on either side. Smart folks remain neutral in such situations.

The geopolitics of religion, empire, national sovereignty and natural resources are indeed potentially very explosive. The US has a long history of supporting the wrong folks that include world class tyrants, human rights abuser and psycho islamist theocrats in Saudi Arabia.  Israel is NOT our friend and has its own motivations that include destroying Syria and Iran.

Finally, and back to the JCPOA, I highly recommend reading another excellent legal piece from the Lawfareblog.com.  Fast forward to May 8, 2018.  It's worth reading for more details on the deal.

Trump Withdraws from the Iran Nuclear Agreement: What Comes Next

What the JCPOA is and isn't should be clear by now.  However, the issue of what is in the best interest of US national security is far from resolved given Trump's repudiation of the JCPOA.  Its not an issue of whether Trump's decision was legal; Trump was legally empowered to do what he did because the JCPOA was not a treaty or even a law or even legally binding. But why do such a thing and for what purpose?  The JCPOA, flawed as it may have been, was working  quite effectively
to neutralize the determination of a nation to pursue nuclear weapons.  It's America that will ultimately be the loser and Trump who will look like a damn fool.

America never learns that bullying doesn't work and neither do bombs and military interventions. Diplomacy and trade are always preferable to wars because folks can walk away from the negotiating table with a win-win so the world can have a chance at peace.  Trump and his freaking neocon war cabinet demands this:  You lose, I win and I will bomb the hell out of you if you refuse to capitulate to my demands.

Such arrogance will not MAGA!  Big fail President Trump!!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Open Letter to President Trump: Make the Presidency Great Again



Dear President Trump:

First, I'd like to get a few things out of the way.  You didn't win the election because of the Republican vote as there aren't enough Republicans to win a presidential election.  You won because you successfully peeled off a bigger than expected percentage of the Libertarian vote, the Hispanic vote, the Black vote, the Independent vote, the Democrat vote, the Constitutionalist vote, the anti-war vote, the Rand Paul vote, the Ron Paul vote, the female vote etc. to defeat Clinton.  In summary you were perceived as a candidate who would work to improve the economy and forge a new non-interventionist foreign policy.  You did tweet: "After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country."

Your quickie report card:

Domestic Issues: You get an A for the tax cuts, working to improve the economy, getting the US out of the TPP and the Paris Climate Accord, telling the UN to go to hell on refugees and getting a constitutionalist on SCOTUS.  You get a big fat F for signing the Omnibus Spending bill.

Civil Liberties: you get a big fat F for endorsing warantless spying; that's really weird considering that you yourself were a victim of police state spying.  Also, your Attorney General's War on Marijuana will cost you dearly. Clinton cleaned your clock with the the millennial vote and locking up kids for smoking a joint is not only stupid but costly at the ballot box.

Foreign Policy, at best you get a D and that's only because thus far your bark has been bigger than your bite. Many fear that you crossed over to the Neocon dark side, especially with making uber psycho John Bolton your National Security Advisor. However, redemption is indeed possible if you succeed in making peace with Iran and North Korea.

I'm going to layout the blueprint for you to get re-elected, restore the US as a model to be globally respected and Make the Presidency Great Again.  Well, there have been no great presidents in my lifetime (69 years).  However, I have been following politics, geopolitics and history my entire life.

If you want to Make the Presidency Great Again, it really is quite simple.  All you need to do is fanatically focus on 3 issues over and over and over.  The American people and the world at large would be exceedingly pleased as well as relieved.

PEACE, LIBERTY and PROSPERITY and we'll take them one at a time.

PEACE - End the Damn Wars

The American people are desperate for peace and are sick of the damn neocon wars. America has been at war with somebody my entire life.  The $21 trillion in debt can be traced to decades of stupid wars.  America doesn't have a foreign policy to DEFEND AMERICA.  Heck, last I checked America hadn't been invaded by a foreign power since the War of 1812 and the only reason the Brits invaded us is because America attempted to invade and steal Canada.

To be clear, America is a wholly owned subsidiary of the military industrial complex (MIC); we invade, bomb, occupy and drone nations who have done nothing to us and we do it for defense contractor profits. As long as the MIC rules America, we stand no chance to ever become Great Again. Nobody except the idiot US media is buying the crap that our wars are necessary for national security.  That's a load of equine manure!   We manufacture enemies to feed the MIC, the defense industry and its vast unaccountable powers.

Earth to the idiots in DC: The world is no longer a unipolar world where the bully US can just muscle folks into bowing before its demands. A quick reality check discloses that the world is becoming amazingly multipolar as nations are indeed strong enough to challenge us militarily, monetarily and economically.  It's the US that must learn to adapt to changing paradigms.

You have an opportunity be the President for Peace and peaceful solutions.  HINT: the road to peace and peaceful coexistence runs through trade.  Nations that voluntarily trade for their own prosperity and in their own self interest have no motivations to go to war because war destroys peace as well as economies.  It's absolutely true that if goods don't cross borders then armies surely will (I forget who coined that brilliant phrase).

LIBERTY - Civil Liberties 

Civil liberties are very important and Fedzilla has effectively nullified the 4th amendment.  Since when did America become a Nazified Police State complete with its own Gestapo?  This a a very dangerous turn that got ratcheted up during the George W. Bush era.  Obama did nothing to rollback spying powers and in fact made them even more draconian.

With or without warrants, Police State America is an abomination that eviscerates our long history of privacy and civil liberties.  The FISA Court has proven to be a freaking joke and a sham, especially after the highest ranking officials at the  FBI and DOJ were nothing more than extensions of the Hillary Clinton campaign.  If this isn't isn't illegal I don't know what is. 

If you don't advocate to reign in the vast and unconstitutional spying powers of federal government then you will lose the civil liberties voters.

Do you want to score a big hit with the young?  Then instruct your DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule I drug.  Better still, tell Congress to pass a bill to permanently remove the marijuana issue from federal control and defer the issue to the states which is the constitutional thing to do anyway.  LOL, what Dem would be stupid enough to vote NO?  This will keep pot obsessed Jeff Session's hands of the marijuana issue because he'd be forced to uphold the law as Attorney General.

Finally, our criminal justice system is atrocious and a big fail because it's delivering tyranny and police abuse instead of justice.  The Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) is another nightmare because America is locking up folks just to feed the profits of the PIC.

This is morally wrong as well as inhumane on so many levels.  The solution? Advocate for and implement a criminal justice system based on NO VICTIM, NO CRIME.

Mr. President, you have a opportunity to score BIG on civil liberties and I recommend working with Rand Paul and Thomas Massie on these issues. Right now you are viewed as an authoritarian thug and that will hurt in 2020. 

PROSPERITY - Trade is the Road to Peace 

Any economy that makes the rich richer and the poor and middle class poorer is a big fail; it's also one of the primary reasons why you squashed Clinton on economic issues.

Trade is a very tricky issue because we don't have true free trade; we have corporatist trade or fascism.  Furthermore, everybody cheats at trade.

In the absence of sound money and with the rise of corporatism, it's easy for big players to game the system. Since free trade really doesn't exist anywhere, the fascists, corporatists, oligarchs and the politicians that they buy are all masters at gaming a very rigged system. The end result of such an insane economic model will always be trade wars and greater economic inequality.

China subsidizes its steel industry and many other industries. The EU subsidizes Airbus, its agricultural industry and other industries. The US subsidizes Boeing through defense contracts. Many other industries in the US are subsidized. And on and on.

There are other ways to game the system besides subsidies. Currency manipulation is popular for China; by pegging the Yuan low and refusing to allow it to float, Chinese exports become a whole lot cheaper in foreign markets. That of course is a huge competitive advantage.

American companies who heavily export absolutely hate a strong dollar because it hurts their export trade by making US produced goods more expensive. Also, the VAT or Valued Added Tax is notorious for protectionism; it crushes US imports. What the VAT nations do is rebate the VAT to their own companies that export. Conversely, they add a VAT (the equivalent of a tariff) on imports. VAT nations have competitive advantages whether they import and export.

OKAY, trade is a complicated issue.  Still, we must minimize trade wars by pursuing fair trade and that includes ending ALL subsidies and recognizing that some nations, especially VAT nations and nations that heavily subsidize their own pet industries, do cheat. 

Peaceful and voluntary trade is the lifeblood of civilization and it eradicates or at least minimizes the need for wars.

There, I've laid it all out for you Mr. President.  This is the best advice you will ever get and it's free.  I am one of those Americans who is NOT a Republican but who took a chance an voted for you.  Because of folks like me, you are sitting in the White House as president. Yeah, I'm disappointed with you but only you can turn it around.  You owe it to the American people to deliver what you promised us.

In summary:

1. Ditch the freaking neocons and pursue peace and peaceful solutions to problems.
2. Pursue the restoration of civil liberties and advocate for criminal justice reform.
3. Work to create free and fair trade where everybody benefits.

One final piece of advice on immigration:  Forget about the wall but do end chain migration, the visa lottery, all entitlements and welfare for immigrants and birthright citizenship.  As for the DACA folks, legalize them if they are decent hardworking folks but deport the criminals and welfare dependent.  Most Americans are NOT anti-immigrant but they definitely object to invasions that grow the Democratic Party by importing entitlement dependent socialists, welfare moochers and criminals. 

Sound immigration policies will definitely MAGA.  If we import the 3rd world, we will become the 3rd world.  It really is that simple.

President Trump, you can only MAGA by making the Presidency Great Again and that includes listening to the American people.





  

Friday, March 2, 2018

On China, Trade and Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs



On March 1, 2018 the Trump Administration announced steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, here.  The DOW dropped over 400 points.  Trump was immediately accused of protectionism and abandoning free markets.

Really?  Is there even such a thing as a truly free market in a global economy controlled by globalists, corporatism, fascism, oligarchy and statism? 

If you really want to talk protectionism, you first need to understand the pampered businesses that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers.   The US has many corporate welfare queens as do other nations.  The US sugar barons are so protected that they have been granted a monopoly.  The end result is that the US candy industry has outsourced itself to foreign nations where the free market price of sugar keeps them globally competitive; the US has lost thousands of candy making jobs.

For years, the US aircraft giant Boeing and European Airbus have been at each others throats with each alleging political favoritism.  Boeing claims that Airbus is heavily subsidized by the EU which it is.  However, Airbus claims that Boeing is heavily subsidized via the US defense industry which it is.

The Chinese government heavily subsidizes many industries, including steel and aluminum.

Report finds Chinese steel heavily subsidized
China makes half the world’s steel with the help of heavy government subsidies and other unfair advantages, a new report found.
Lessons From The Aluminum Industry: The Hidden Cost Of China's Cheap Solar
In 2000, China produced only about 11% of the world’s primary aluminum. Now, it produces more than half. This historically unprecedented expansion of production capacity resulted from government policies rather than process improvements or lower input costs. In fact, of the 50 highest-cost aluminum smelters in the world, 37 are located in China.

China’s government has been subsidizing aluminum smelters through direct grants, interest free loans and other “incentive” mechanisms. Absent this massive support scheme, a significant number of the smelters in China would have been forced to declare bankruptcy. Ironically, Chinese smelters often have above average operating costs compared to smelters located outside of China, primarily because of high energy costs. 
President Trump campaigned on FREE TRADE so long as it was fair trade.  It's certainly NOT free trade when a nation subsidizes its own domestic manufacturing to gain a competitive advantage.  China has been gaming the system of trade for decades.  Not only does China heavily subsidize a lot of its industries, it also manipulates its currency, the yuan.  Keeping your currency low and undervalued makes a nation's exports a whole lot cheaper in foreign import markets.  Conversely, a strong currency raises the price of goods. 

Therefore, China has largely grown its economy through currency manipulation and subsidies.  LOL, this is what passes for free trade these days.  It's a freaking joke.

Obviously, true free markets devoid of currency manipulation and corporate subsidies would not only solve trade problems, it would also function as a critical path to free markets.

So why is everybody screaming that Trump is a protectionist when it's perfectly OKAY and acceptable for other nations, OUR ECONOMIC COMPETITORS, to do it?   The US economy, American workers and American businesses have been severely hurt by protectionism and subsidies.

I applaud what Trump did and not because I approve of tariffs but because just maybe it's a step in the right direction to achieve truly free markets.  Yeah, it's a nasty tit for tat game but the goal of businesses competing in NON SUBSIDIZED and NON MANIPULATED markets is a worthy endgame. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The FBI, Big Pharm and the Issue of Lunatics on the Loose Who Commit Mass Murder



The horrifying 2/14/2018 Florida school shooting has raised a ton of questions on the issue of FBI incompetence.   Moreover, the Keystone cops look like effective and competent law enforcement compared to the FBI.  The FBI had received at least one, if not several credible tips, that Nicholas Cruz was dangerous and expressed a desire to murder students at a school.  A school shooting appears to to have been his goal.

Not only did the FBI drop the ball on checking out Cruz to ascertain if he was indeed a threat, the FBI has dropped the ball on many investigations.  In 2001, flight schools were reporting to the FBI that Muslim students only wanted to know how to make a plane takeoff but NOT learn how to land it.  Well, DUH, that's definitely a big red flag.  Being a monstrous bureaucracy, field agents had to filter these incidents up the chain of command in DC where the decision was made to DO NOTHING.  That in itself should alarm any sane person. Many field agents were furious and believed that 911 could possibly have been avoided had high ranking FBI officials in DC not ordered field agents to BACK OFF and NOT follow up with an investigation.

Joe DiGenova, a former US Attorney, is a routine guest on the Tucker Carlson show.  DiGenova knows the FBI and how it operates quite well.  He praises the field agents whom he views as mostly hardworking and competent but he had nothing but contempt for the FBI Directors and its high ranking officials who occupy the 7th floor of FBI HQ in DC.  These power players put politics above everything, even national security, something that was proven to be clearly evident in the FBI and DOJ scandals involving high ranking Clinton loyalists actually working inside the FBI and DOJ to spy on Trump and do it with a 'dossier' that Hillary Clinton paid for.  Even the creepy James Comey called the dossier 'salacious and unverified' but used it anyway.

As light is finally being shed on FBI incompetence, we are finally learning a whole lot more about what was once perceived and respected as the most honorable and competent law enforcement agency in the world.  These days the FBI is barely even a parody of its former glorified self.

On the horrifying tragedy that occurred in Florida on 2/14/2018, there were indeed a ton of red flags including the fact that the police had been called to the shooters house 39 times.  Those who knew him in school either didn't like him or were afraid of him   More, alarming the FBI had been notified that Nicholas Cruz was dangerous; yet the FBI did NOTHING.

FBI admits it didn’t investigate tip on alleged school shooter last month
The FBI was warned last month that Nikolas Cruz was an armed psycho who might shoot up a school — but it didn’t bother investigating, the agency admitted Friday. 
“A person close to” Cruz called the agency’s tipline on Jan. 5 and reported the 19-year-old had a “desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts” and there was “potential of him conducting a school shooting,” the FBI said in a statement.  
But the agency said it failed to pass on any of that information to its Miami field office, even thought its own protocols say he “should have been assessed as a potential threat to life.”
 Florida Governor Rick Scott was so upset that he demanded the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray, here.

I'm increasingly convinced that the government simply allows lunatics to remain on the loose and buy guns in the hope that they will commit mass murder with firearms. The FBI isn't incompetent, it's got an agenda and that agenda is to allow known nutjobs to terrorize and murder Americans. The end game is to get Americans to BEG the government to forcibly seize all privately owned firearms.

Besides knowing about the Florida School Shooter and the potential danger, the FBI also knew about and botched other investigations involving mass shootings, terrorism and slaughter.  Mass shootings and/or domestic terrorism tends to be either very disturbed Americans (possibly under the influence of Big Pharm and psychoactive drugs) or Muslims with a jihadist mission.

The Ft. Hood massacre shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, had been communicating with terror groups and the FBI and US military knew it. Hasan murdered 13 and wounded dozens.

The FBI botched the background checks on Dylan Roof and approved his purchase of firearms. Roof used those weapons to shoot up a black church and murder 9.

The FBI knew that Omar Mateen, the Muslim who murdered 49 at the Pulse ightclub in Orlando, had pledged allegiance to ISIS. He was allowed to purchase firearms despite known Islamist and terrorist ties.

The FBI knew that the Tsarnaev brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombing (3 dead, many lost limbs) were Islamist sympathizers. In fact, Russia even warned the US that they were terrorists.

 The San Bernandino shooters who murdered 14 and wounded 22, were also known Islamist sympathizers. There were plenty of red flags on that jihadist married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. They traveled to Saudi Arabia, attended a radical mosque in CA and when the neighbors complained about strange thing going on at their residence, nobody did anything.   In fact, many neighbors were afraid to do anything for fear of being accused of being anti-Muslim.  US intel agencies and the FBI failed to even bother to checkout what these 2 were up to.   The warning signs were there.

Then there is the issue of Big Pharm and the very real possibility that psychoactive drugs are indeed responsible for churning folks into homicidal maniacs.  The follow article documents numerous accounts of mass murder while under the influence of legal psychoactive drugs.

MEDIA IGNORING 1 CRUCIAL FACTOR IN FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING

Fact: A disturbing number of perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on – or just recently coming off of – psychiatric medications. A few of the most high-profile examples, out of many others, include:

Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox – like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999 during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves. Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox – that’s one in 25 – developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.

Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, California, in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.

Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Oregon, and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.

In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Illinois, killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.

In Paducah, Kentucky, in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.
In 2005, 16-year-old Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.

In another famous case, 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Kentucky, killing nine. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.

Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danysh’s description of own his mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: “I didn’t realize I did it until after it was done,” Danysh said. “This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.”

John Hinckley, age 25, took four Valium two hours before shooting and almost killing President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the assassination attempt, Hinckley also wounded press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and policeman Thomas Delahanty.
What we need is a thorough investigation into incidents of mass murder.  How frequently do they occur when individuals are NOT on antidepressants, psychoactive-psychotropic drugs or other drugs to control anxiety?  Then compare these incidents with the documented cases of mass murder when it was known that the killer was indeed under the influence of legally prescribed drugs.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of a psychoactive-psychotropic drug is:

A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is a chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness or behavior.

That's pretty serious stuff.  Then there is the issue that Americans expect a pharmaceutical or a pill to solve all their issues and problems because they lack the ability to cope with life's routine problems.  Americans have been taught that they must be happy all the time, otherwise they are mentally ill and require treatment.  The simple truth is that humans do evolve through pain, unpleasantness and NOT always getting their way.  That's just how life rolls and it's called growing up.

America is increasingly becoming One Nation Under Big Pharm and it's becoming clearly evident that there are indeed credible links between mass murders and LEGALLY prescribed drugs.  Illegal drugs such as marijuana and other do not seem to be a factor in churning a human being into a mass murderer.

The bottom line:  most mass murderers seem to be religious nuts or folks under the influence of Big Pharm.

The hysteria over the Florida school shooting is understandable.  After all, children were mowed down in cold blood in a place that was deemed safe - their school.  It's hard to imagine a worse pain than burying your children and loved ones who died in an act of violence that makes no sense. Consequently, there are now screams for more rigid gun control and even calls for abolishing the 2nd amendment and forcibly confiscating all firearms. 

Disarming law abiding American citizens won't solve the problem of mass murderers, whether they are religious fanatics or mentally ill and disturbed for whatever reason(s) . In fact, it will only make innocent folks more vulnerable and defenseless.

Before we respond emotionally to a painful tragedy, shouldn't we first investigate and find out why these horrors happen?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Fedzilla, the Administrative Swamp that is Sucking the Life and Wealth Out of America



This post is a very informative Forbes.com article that discloses the size and scope of the massive federal bureaucracy.   Forbes compiled the information from a far larger and much more detailed report of OpenTheBooks.com.    I've added highlights.  The Swamp is eating us alive!  While politicians on both sides of the isle talk about 'Draining the Swamp', nobody is serious about doing it.  It's all part of the fraud perpetrated upon American taxpayers and voters.   As government grows itself at all level, we are eventually confronted with the real possibility that the number of government workers who vote for a living surpasses the number of folks who work for a living. 

The Administrative State -- Size, Scope And Resistance Of The Swamp

"“It’s hard, when you’re up to your armpits in alligators, to remember you came here to drain the swamp.” – President Ronald Reagan (1983)

“What we have to do is drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.” – Rep. Nancy Pelosi (2006)

The Republican Congress and president argue it’s time to “drain the swamp” and cut spending. It’s not a new fight, but here’s why it’s so difficult: Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp, A Study of the Administrative State describes the size, scope, and power of the federal bureaucracy.

Today’s federal bureaucrats are paid $1.1 million a minute, $66 million an hour, and over $524 million a day – and that’s just the cash compensation cost. Taxpayers also pay for lucrative perks like weeks of paid time-off, performance bonuses and padded retirement pensions.

Using our interactive mapping tool, quickly review the 2 million federal employee salaries and bonuses by ZIP code across America. Just click a pin and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map. See your local piece of the swamp: how much are the federal employees in your backyard earning? Which agency employs them, and what is their job title?

Here are a few of our key findings:

1. $136 Billion in Cash Compensation – The federal government disclosed 1.97 million employees across 122 independent agencies and departments. In FY2016, these 2 million workers received $136 billion in compensation. If we could factor in another 2 million undisclosed employees – at the Department of Defense and on active military and other agencies – the cost would be much higher.

2. $22.6 Billion in Time Off and Benefits – After just three years of public service, federal employees receive ten federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. That is eight and a half weeks of paid time off (43 days per year). That benefit costs taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.

3. $1.5 Billion to Bonuses – The federal government awarded 330,713 bonuses for $351 million (FY2016). However, the federal union agreement bars the disclosure of the $1.1 billion in performance bonuses. So, who received how much? It’s time to open the books on the billion-dollar performance bonuses. The largest federal bonus last year ($141,525) didn’t go to a rocket scientist or a doctor researching a cancer cure; it went to Bart Ferrell, a Human Resources Manager in charge of processing payroll at the Presidio Trust. Ferrell’s total pay last year exceeded $300,000.

4.A Six-Figure Minimum Wage? In 78 large agencies, the average employee made more than $100,00. We found 30,000 bureaucrats out-earning every governor of the 50 states with salaries exceeding $190,000. The number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has skyrocketed by 165 percent during the past six years. 'Diet and Nutrition' employees can make up to $207,060; 'Food Services' workers in the prisons system can bring in $136,622; and 'Laundry Operations' employees at the VA can make $101,694. Even ‘photography’ is lucrative, averaging more than $80,000 with top pay reaching $157,971

5.The Administrative State’s Legal Team – We found more than 35,000 lawyers in the federal government, but fewer than 12,000 of them pursue crime and criminals at the Department of Justice. The rest are essentially regulators, sprawled across 94 departments and agencies. These lawyers are pricey, costing taxpayers $4.8 billion. On average, each federal lawyer earned a salary of $136,006 – and including benefits – cost the American taxpayer $175,000 apiece.

6.The Administrative State’s Department of Self-Promotion – In FY2016, 70 departments spent $368 million on more than 3,600 in-house public affairs and marketing employees. On average, these employees made $101,827 each. The Department of Agriculture employed the most public affairs employees with a total of 544. The U.S. Postal Service paid James Cochrane, the chief marketing and sales officer, $250,335. Our investigation revealed another $2 billion spent on contracts with outside public relations firms over an eight-year period.

7.The Reason Behind Waiting Lines for Veterans – The Department of Veterans Affairs employs one-fifth of the entire disclosed federal workforce for a total payroll cost of $30 billion, which is more than the entire budget of 16 state governments. Still, sick veterans wait to see a doctor because 92 percent of workers on their payroll aren’t doctors. Over the past five years, the VA added 60,000 new positions to payroll, but less than one in ten were doctors. The bloat at the VA is stunning. For example, the VA employed 171 interior designers costing $50 million over the past four years. The VA facility in Palo Alto, California, employed the most interior designers – nine in total. Palo Alto is the same facility that spent $700,000 on sculptures for blind veterans in 2016.

There are many more examples and more remains hidden.

For example, the largest swamp of opacity is the $125 billion in annual federal pension payout. Current law prohibits disclosure, but taxpayers deserve to see all the details. We worked with Congressman Ron DeSantis (FL-6) on the Taxpayer Funded Pension Disclosure Act of 2017 that would open the books on retirement annuities. Wouldn’t you like to know the pension amount of retired IRS boss Lois Lerner?

President Reagan rightly described how difficult it is to rein in the administrative state. We agree and taxpayers are right to be concerned about high salaries, lucrative benefit packages, excessive bonuses and cushy retirement pensions.

What’s in your backyard? Search the federal bureaucracy by ZIP code and then call your member of Congress. Ask what they’ve done to squeeze out waste and bloat within the federal payroll.

Adam Andrzejewski is the CEO and Founder of OpenTheBooks.com – one of the largest private databases of government spending in the world. Download our full report, Mapping The Swamp, A Study of the Administrative State (FY2016), here.

When referencing this piece, please use the following citation: 'Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, as published at Forbes.' Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski)"

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Crooked Lawyers - FBI & DOJ Officials Lying to FISA Court - James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Rod Rosenstein



Governments achieve credibility and survive based on the TRUST and approval of the people.  When that trust is shattered, government institutions are jeopardized when We the People learn of public corruption, abuse of power and outright lawlessness. It's bad enough when corruption occurs at lower level government institutions but when it occurs at the highest levels, government power needs to be directly challenged by We the People and the criminals need to be prosecuted breaking the law.  Right now the most corrupt institutions in the federal government (besides the scandal ridden DOD-Pentagon that has lost TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars) are the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In a blatant and illegal attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, high ranking DOJ and FBI officials engaged in egregious crimes that included perjury and falsifying legal documents to secure FISA warrants on their political enemies, namely Donald Trump, the Trump Campaign, Trump's associates and the Trump Transition Team.   Some of the perjury occurred BEFORE the November 8, 2016 election but some occurred AFTER the historic election.

As the perjury of high ranking DOJ and FBI officials is becoming glaringly apparent despite nonstop media efforts to squash the story and ignore this criminal assault on our Constitution and institutions of justice and law enforcement (DOJ and FBI), it's important to put into context the facts surrounding one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

Hillary Clinton was expected to easily win the 2016 election; it never dawned on anybody that she could lose. Therefore, protecting Clinton from criminal investigations and prosecution was the highest priority of the Obama Administration and his DOJ and FBI.  When Trump unexpectedly won the election, panic set in as Obama and his highest ranking officials scrambled to shield themselves from what they knew would be justifiable accusations that screamed COVER-UP, perjury, dereliction of duty, political witch hunts and even criminal activity.  To exonerate themselves and avoid criminal exposure, they concocted elaborate schemes to set up Trump and his associates as Russian agents.  However, the schemes and scams started before Trump even won the election but they were accelerated after his victory over Clinton.

Once it was clear that Trump would be the Republican nominee, the War on Trump commenced.  Forbes.com did a long and informative timeline, here, that includes:
Summer of 2016. Comey’s first attempt to get FISA Warrant against Trump campaign official is denied. Comey sought a FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page – again, under the theory that he could be an agent of a foreign government. 
September/October 2016. DOJ Official Bruce Ohr’s wife goes to work for Fusion GPS (the firm that was the conduit between the Hillary Campaign and dossier author ex-British spy Christopher Steele).  Ohr later funnels information from his wife to the FBI.

October of 2016. Second Comey FISA request relying on the Steele Dossier – FISA Warrant Issued to spy on Carter Page. Andrew McCabe, in time, makes it clear that without the dossier, there would have been no FISA warrant.

The dossier has never been verified – to this day. Comey told Trump in January of 2017 that the dossier was “unverified.”

Yet, Comey represented to the FISA Court that the dossier was credible – in part, by citing a Yahoo news story on the matter. However, Comey knew that that story was planted by the dossier author Christopher Steele. In other words, it was not an independent verification of the dossier.

All in all, Comey swore under oath that the Court should consider the dossier credible evidence so that the FBI could spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page – even though Page had already left the campaign. Given that it was known that Page already left the campaign, it could well be that Carter Page was the fall guy excuse to begin domestic spying on others.

Without question, Comey misled the FISA Court by submitting and vouching for the unverified dossier and pushing the Yahoo News story. Those were not the only questionable acts, misrepresentations nor omissions of Comey.

The FBI and DOJ, at the time they made the original FISA application, also were aware of the following - ALL OF WHICH WAS HIDDEN FROM THE FISA COURT:

a) Hillary’s campaign and the DNC paid for the dossier - a fact which, if known, would give rise to judicial questions of potential evidentiary bias.

b) Christopher Steele tells a DOJ official Bruce Ohr that Steele was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." Another fact that, if known, would give rise to judicial questions of potential evidentiary bias.....

October 2016. Comey announces the reopening of email review and then, before the election, clears Hillary again.....

November 2016, Hillary campaign immediately blames Russian interference and that narrative is maintained for months.

December of 2016. Obama Administration begins process to relax rules on sharing intelligence about Americans. The rules previously provided that if an American was speaking to a foreigner who was being surveilled, the American’s name would be masked in the intelligence documents. Obama made it easier to share the actual names – which so happened to be Trump transition officials trying to do their job

Three times thereafter, the FBI and the DOJ reapplied for a FISA warrant and never apprised the Court of their prior misrepresentations and/or omissions. The existing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who currently oversees the Mueller investigation, was one of the officials who made a FISA warrant reapplication. It has also been said that Rosenstein, on January 10, threatened House Members with legal proceedings if they continue to push oversight of this matter.
It's clear that Hillary Clinton pals within the Obama Administration illegally implemented it's War on Trump shortly after it was clear that he would win the nomination.  What is even more remarkable is that while Comey himself called the dossier 'salacious and unverified', he used it anyway to secure a FISA warrant on Carter Page.  Page is a former US Navel Academy graduate who honorably served 5 years in the US Navy; he also worked for Merill Lynch for a number of years in its energy sector.  For more on Carter Page, I've documented his history and the fact that he was nothing more than an investment banker guy who wanted to do energy deals.

Who is Carter Page, The Nothing Burger Man Who is Front and Center of Fisa Gate?

Back to the FBI and DOJ discussion on securing FISA warrants - The above disturbing facts not withstanding, there is a blockbuster report from The Hill and written by investigative journalist SHARYL ATTKISSON  on the Woods Procedures.  BEFORE 911, there were serious concerns that the 1978 FISA law was being violated and abused by the 2 agencies most involved in securing FISA warrants - the FBI and DOJ.  The Hill reports: "Woods Procedures were named for Michael Woods, the FBI official who drafted the rules as head of the Office of General Counsel’s National Security Law Unit. They were instituted in April 2001 to “ensure accuracy with regard to … the facts supporting probable cause” after recurring instances, presumably inadvertent, in which the FBI had presented inaccurate information to the FISA court."

Not only was the FBI highly concerned about unsubstantiated and unverified information being used to illegally secure FISA warrants, the FBI actually went so far as to change how it operates in securing such warrants.  Here's the real blockbuster scandal and it's a smoking gun that hardly anybody is talking about.

Prior to Woods Procedures, “[i]ncorrect information was repeated in subsequent and related FISA packages,” the FBI told Congress in August 2003. “By signing and swearing to the declaration, the headquarters agent is attesting to knowledge of what is contained in the declaration.”

It’s incredible to think of how many FBI and Justice Department officials would have touched the multiple applications to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page — allegedly granted, at least in part, on the basis of unverified and thus prohibited information — if normal procedures were followed.

The FBI’s complex, multi-layered review is designed for the very purpose of preventing unverified information from ever reaching the court. It starts with the FBI field offices.

According to former FBI agent Asha Rangappa, who wrote of the process last year in JustSecurity.org, the completed FISA application requires approval through the FBI chain of command “including a Supervisor, the Chief Division Counsel (the highest lawyer within that FBI field office), and finally, the Special Agent in Charge of the field office, before making its way to FBI Headquarters to get approval by (at least) the Unit-level Supervisor there.”

At FBI headquarters, an “action memorandum” is prepared
with additional facts culled by analytical personnel assigned to espionage allegations involving certain foreign powers.

Next, it goes to the Justice Department “where attorneys from the National Security Division comb through the application to verify all the assertions made in it,” wrote Rangappa. “DOJ verifies the accuracy of every fact stated in the application. If anything looks unsubstantiated, the application is sent back to the FBI to provide additional evidentiary support – this game of bureaucratic chutes and ladders continues until DOJ is satisfied that the facts in the FISA application can both be corroborated and meet the legal standards for the court. After getting sign-off from a senior DOJ official (finally!).”
There’s more

But there are even more reviews and processes regarding government applications for wiretaps designed to make sure inaccurate or unverified information isn’t used.

In November 2002, the FBI implemented a special FISA Unit with a unit chief and six staffers, and installed an automated tracking system that connects field offices, headquarters, the National Security Law Branch and the Office of Intelligence, allowing participants to track the process during each stage. 
Considering that the FBI itself recognized its own FISA abuses even BEFORE 911 and rewrote the rules governing  how evidence is secured and validated for FISA warrants and presentation to the FISA court, it's clear that substantial oversight and monitoring procedures were put into place for the express purpose of preventing FISA abuse by both the FBI and DOJ.

Furthermore it's clear that government attorneys and officials who ignore the rules are criminals who are literally breaking the law, especially laws and rules expressly written to avoid surveillance abuse.

The reckless Obama Administration and its DOJ and FBI officials and lawyers were so arrogant that they viewed themselves as ABOVE THE LAW.  Who is responsible for signing off on FISA warrants with the knowledge that the evidence was unsubstantiated, unverified and possibly even false?  SHARYL ATTKISSON exposes the criminals:

Yet Comey allegedly signed three of the FISA applications on behalf of the FBI. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reportedly signed one and former Attorney General Sally Yates, then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein each reportedly signed one or more.
Don't miss Attkisson's full report.

Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures?

If the criminals who perpetrated such a colossal fraud upon the American public to promote their own personal politican agendas are NOT criminally prosecuted and themselves brought to justice, then there can never be any justice in America.  The FBI and DOJ will forever be tainted as corrupt and beyond redemption.

Americans can thank President Obama, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Rod Rosenstein, Dana Boente and many more collaborators into churning America and its criminal justice system into something more reminiscent of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and other totalitarian regimes.

To allow such folks, folks who held HIGH level positions in the DOJ and FBI, to get a pass on their crimes is a CRIME.  These folks were all lawyers who fully understood the law and they also fully understood that they were breaking the law on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. These high ranking DOJ and FBI lawyers made the decision to ignore the law to promote their own political agenda by implicating the innocent in the most outrageous of diabolical of schemes and scams.

If this is what passes for truth, justice and accountability in America, we are indeed doomed.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Who is Carter Page, The Nothing Burger Man Who is Front and Center of Fisa Gate?



The name 'Carter Page' is smoking hot because he apparently is being portrayed as a Russian agent, a Russian spy, a traitor and the man who is alleged to have interjected himself and Russian interests into the Trump campaign.   Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact it's all a big fat nothing burger of a lie perpetrated by the enemies of President Trump.

Background information on Carter Page: Born in 1971, Page was raised in Poughkeepsie, NY.  He graduated from the US Navel Academy in 1993 in the top 10% of his class. He honorably served 5 years in the US Navy, earned a masters degree from Georgetown University in National Security Studies.  He also earned an MBA from NYU and a PHD from the University of London.

His business career kicked off in in 2000 when he began working for Merrill Lynch in London and he specialized in energy.  He was also a VP of a Merrill Lynch Moscow office, as well as Chief Operating Officer of Merrill Lynch's energy and power department in NY. His business career focused exclusively on energy and in that capacity he worked on energy deals with Russia and other nations.  There is nothing unusual about his career path trajectory.  Energy is a big business and all investment banking houses have energy interests and divisions.

Carter Page was an obscure nobody who just happened to work on energy deals, and certainly not a man whose name and work would alarm anybody.  In 2008, he left Merrill Lynch to form his own company, Global Energy Capital, a one man operation that never took off.  Throughout his energy based investment banking career, Page was critical of US foreign policy, and specifically its attitude toward Russia as it relates to very punishing sanctions.  

Enter:  POTUS aspirant Donald Trump who was not an internationally travelled man with serious connections to the rest of the world; in fact, Trump knew very little about how the rest of the world operates.  Therefore, he sought the counsel of folks who had been 'around the block' so to speak and on a variety of issues. Energy is always a top issue and Russia is a major energy player.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner did an excellent analysis of Page and wrote:
There were reasons for the FBI to notice Page. Described as an "energy executive," he lived for a time in Russia, was always trying to drum up business, often in Russia, and his name popped up in a case against three Russians who in 2013 were posing as businessmen and trying to recruit Americans to become Russian agents. The Russians apparently wanted to enlist Page, who in the end was not accused of any wrongdoing and has denied any contacts with the Russians beyond ordinary business communications. For their part, the Russians came to view Page as something less than a prize; one of them was captured on a wiretap calling him an "idiot." 
So Page was no Russian agent, nor did he ever appear to be in danger of becoming a Russian agent. Nevertheless, the case put Page on the FBI's Russia radar screen..... 
Hill investigators have been baffled by the FBI's apparent treatment of the "idiot" Page as a central player in the Trump-Russia affair, instead of an eccentric presence on the periphery with no connection to Trump, or even people close to Trump. 
Or maybe they targeted Page for wiretapping because they could. Page had pre-existing contacts with Russian agents, handily outlined in a fairly recent court case. He was beyond question in Moscow in July. And the dossier said the Russians offered Page a corrupt bargain to end U.S. sanctions in exchange for millions of dollars. (One question not often asked: How was Page, not elected to anything and not even on anyone's staff, supposed to end U.S. sanctions?)" 
York's article: Byron York: As memo fight rages, critics ask: All this over Carter Page?

York's fact filled article goes on to explain and document a lot, including Harry Reid intervening and attempting to a make big case out of this nothing burger, as well as even questioning the basis for the FBI's obsession with Carter Page who is more of an FBI victim than a big player in the energy business.  Morever, despite false allegations that Page was an integral part of the Trump Campaign, it's been documented that Page never even met Trump, here.   He was a low level volunteer and certainly not someone who was valued as knowledgeable contributor to policy and campaign decisions.

The bottom line is that Page was never more than a guy who wanted to do energy deals and viewed sanctions as a powerful deterrent.  Hence, both Page and the Russians wanted sanctions relief.  Also, it should be noted that according to York's article, neither Trump nor his closest associates ever had much of anything to do with Page. He was just a guy who had extensive experience with Russia and energy.

The real smoking gun that the Democrats, FBI and other Trump haters are making is that Page, an incredibly minor play in energy, was so powerful that he would induce Trump to nullify sanctions against Russia IF TRUMP WERE ELECTED.  Like everything else in the DOJ-FBI-Democrat witch hunt against Trump, there is ZERO evidence.  Just because Page and Russia wanted sanctions relief doesn't in any way imply that it will happen. I personally view sanctions as morally reprehensible because they tend to kill innocent civilians.  Madeleine Albright publicly delighted in bragging about the fact that US sanctions against Iraq resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi babies and children. US Cuban sanctions severely hurt the Cuban people and denied them vital medicines.  Sanctions have never beene anything but cruel humanitarian horrors.

Lobbying to achieve sanctions relief is nothing new; in fact it's very common.

Dem Super-Lobbyist Podesta Got $170K To End US Sanctions On Russian Bank Tony and John Podesta were high paid lobbyists and John Podesta was Chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Exxon lobbies US government on Iran sanctions  "According to Bloomberg, the Texas-based oil company has hired a lobbying firm founded by former Republican Senator Don Nickles to press the US government on lifting sanctions against Tehran.  Western companies are eager to work on Iranian fields because they are among the largest and cheapest to develop, it quoted one economist as saying."

Tragedy in South Sudan — and $2.1 million for Washington lobbyists  "In fact, South Sudan was a relatively small player among a boatload of troubled nations that together have inked more than $168 million worth of US lobbying and PR contracts since 2010."

Lobbying is a big business in America and money is used to bribe politicians.  Foreign lobbying is largely regulated by FARA or Foreign Agents Registration Act which is a complicated law requiring lawyers and lots of paperwork. Since the world doesn't operate on free market principles and people and businesses are not free to conduct business because it's controlled by bureaucrats and protectionist laws, businesses are forced to enter the murky world of lobbying just to gain access to government officials if they want to do business.

The lobbying industry operates largely in secret but that's because lobbying laws are complicated and politicians and lobbyists prefer that the public NOT know about how politicians are bought and paid for by special interests and their lobbyists. Pathetically, FARA is a 1938 bill and some in Congress want to rewrite lobbying laws but not in the interest of greater transparency and accountability but to shield and protect Congress Critters.  Congressional bills that focus on sunlight, openness and transparency are practically non existent.  FisaGate, the Mueller Inquisition and Carter Page are indeed bringing the issue to the attention of the public and Congress is considering rewriting laws on foreign lobbying.

House Panel to Consider Stronger Foreign Lobbying Rules, Some lobbyists caution against unintended consequences of bipartisan bill 

Back to Carter Page.  He's just a guy whose lifelong business experience of investment banking and energy managed to get him in the cross hairs of politics, a presidential campaign, the FBI, the DOJ and all the sleaze associated with the fake Christopher Steele dossier that was used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on him, the Trump campaign, Trump associates and the Trump Transition Team.

How bad is Russiaphobia in the US?  It's so dangerously deranged that anybody who has contacts with a Russian may be considered a Russian agent or spy and subject to criminal prosecution.

You Are Forbidden to Talk With Russians!
Paul Manafort chaired Trump’s campaign. The poor guy just did not realize that he couldn’t even exchange pleasantries with anybody Russian. If you are not anti-Russian, then you must be pro-Russian. That’s how the nitwits in the U.S. intelligence agencies think. And if you’re pro-Russian, then you must be in their pockets or a spy or a dupe. You don’t deserve to be making U.S. policy, which must remain anti-Russian until America manages to break up Russia and take it over.

You see, American citizens do not have the freedom to talk with Russians. The people they talk to may be spies, after all.
America is the land of the perpetually paranoid.  This is the kind of thing that happens in police states with secret courts and laws so open to interpretation that everybody is a criminal.

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