“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best

THE ELEPHANT BAR IS CLOSED

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Trump Ally Detained by FBI at Airport. Ted Malloch Issued Mueller Subpoena




FBI questions Ted Malloch, Trump campaign figure and Farage ally

American once touted as possible ambassador to EU tells of being detained at Boston airport and subpoenaed by Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia inquiry


American once touted as possible ambassador to EU tells of being detained at Boston airport and subpoenaed by Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia inquiry

A controversial London-based academic with close ties to Nigel Farage has been detained by the FBI upon arrival in the US and issued a subpoena to testify before Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Ted Malloch, an American touted last year as a possible candidate to serve as US ambassador to the EU, said he was interrogated by the FBI at Boston’s Logan airport on Wednesday following a flight from London and questioned about his involvement in the Trump campaign.

In a statement sent to the Guardian, Malloch, who described himself as a policy wonk and defender of Trump, said the FBI also asked him about his relationship with Roger Stone, the Republican strategist, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has resided for nearly six years.

In a detailed statement about the experience, which he described as bewildering and intimidating at times, Malloch said the federal agents who stopped him and separated him from his wife “seemed to know everything about me” and warned him that lying to the FBI was a felony. In the statement Malloch denied having any Russia contacts.

Malloch said he had agreed with the special counsel’s office that he would appear before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington DC on 13 April.

Malloch became a source of controversy in 2016 when he was floated in media reports as a possible US ambassador to the EU, following an aggressive campaign in which, according to several reports at the time, he promoted himself as a strong candidate. European officials, alarmed by the possible pick and his lack of diplomatic credentials, openly criticised Malloch, particularly after he compared the EU to the Soviet Union. 

Malloch’s campaign for the diplomatic post came to an end after a report in the Financial Times detailed several apparently misleading claims made in Malloch’s autobiography, including that he was a fellow at Wolfson and Pembroke colleges at Oxford, that he had once been called a “genius” by Margaret Thatcher, and that he was the “first” to coin the phrase “thought leadership”.

Mueller’s probe into whether or not the Trump campaign received assistance from Russia during the 2016 election campaign is examining various issues, including Donald Trump’s business empire and its possible ties to Russia.

The special counsel is also examining the 2016 release by Wikileaks of damaging emails that were stolen – allegedly by Russian hackers – from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Roger Stone, a strong champion of Trump, appeared to have some advance warning that Wikileaks had the emails before they were published, according to tweets he sent at the time.
Stone, who has known Trump since the late 1980s, acknowledged having communications with Assange through an intermediary. He later claimed the middleman was a journalist named Randy Credico, but Credico vigorously denied the allegation.

Malloch is ideologically close to Farage, the former Ukip leader who is also close to Trump and his former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Malloch has appeared on Farage’s radio show and the pair have been seen together in Brussels.
News of Malloch’s detention by the FBI and subpoena was first reported by the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars after the controversial contributor Jerome Corsi said an alarmed Malloch had called him during the FBI interview.
Malloch said in a statement on Thursday – after he was released – that his role on the Trump campaign was informal and unpaid, that he had only met with Stone on three occasions and never alone, and that he knew nothing about Wikileaks and had never visited the Ecuadorian embassy.

He said the agents confiscated his mobile phone and told him it would be taken to Washington DC for a “full assessment”.

“I was unfazed and very dubious about why they thought I knew anything,” he said. He also suggested in the statement that prosecutors could have read a not yet published book that alleged a conspiracy was underway to undermine Trump’s presidency, a book he said clearly troubled the “deep state”.

“I did … find it objectionable to treat me the way they had, as I was entering my home country, where I am a citizen,” Malloch said. “They did not need to use such tactics or intimidation. I was a US patriot and would do anything and everything to assist the government and I had no information that I believed was relevant.”

Thursday, March 29, 2018

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau will cooperate with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents on how it handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation

IG will probe FBI abuses of FISA, after Trump surveillance

The Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday that he is investigating whether the FBI overstepped its bounds when it conducted secret surveillance of a Trump campaign figure in 2016 and 2017, and whether the FBI bungled its handling of the anti-Trump “Steele dossier.”

Republicans last week revealed that the dossier played a significant role in getting the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to approve wiretaps of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz did not identify Mr. Page nor Christopher Steele, the former British spy who was paid by Democrats to assemble the salacious and unverified dossier on Donald Trump. But Mr. Horowitz left little doubt that is what he will be investigating.

“In response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” Mr. Horowitz said in a statement.
Republicans, who for months had suspicions about the FBI’s handling of the situation, said it was about time an investigation began.

But they said the inspector general’s probe doesn’t obviate the need for a special counsel as well because Mr. Horowitz is limited by law and won’t be able to fully investigate people who are no longer in government service.

That could put former FBI Director James B. Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates — each of whom signed off on the surveillance request at some point — beyond the reach of the investigation.

“I still believe we need a second special counsel to ensure the investigation is thorough and complete,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has been tracking the issue. “The American people are rightfully troubled by the information they have heard about politicization in DOJ.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called the investigation “a shame” and said Mr. Horowitz is being forced to chase a conspiracy theory.

“Any objective review of these claims should tell us what we already know — that the FBI was right, that there was sufficient evidence to continue investigating certain Trump campaign officials for their connections to the Russian government, and that the Republicans are desperate to distract from that investigation,” Mr. Nadler said.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Mr. Horowitz’s announcement.
The Steele dossier was compiled by Mr. Steele on orders from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. It accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election campaign and, for good measure, included graphic details about frolicking with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

Mr. Trump and his team have denied the claims, and most of the dossier remains unsubstantiated. Mr. Steele himself has cast doubt on some of his own findings in a court case playing out in London.

The FBI used the Steele dossier to help persuade the FISA court to approve wiretapping Mr. Page. Mr. Horowitz will investigate how instrumental the dossier was and whether the FBI should have been more suspicious of its information or more forthcoming with the court about the political antecedents.

Republicans say the FBI shielded key details from the court and that no surveillance would have been approved if the bureau had been honest. Democrats counter that the FBI gave the court enough information and argue that the surveillance would have been approved even without the Steele dossier. They also point out that the surveillance of Mr. Page didn’t begin until after he had separated from the Trump campaign.

Mr. Steele was dumped as an FBI source after the bureau discovered he was leaking to the press, Republicans say.

Mr. Graham and Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, have also asked the Justice Department to pursue a criminal case against Mr. Steele. They say his admissions in the London court case show he lied to the FBI.

Mr. Steele’s supporters describe his information as raw intelligence and say it shouldn’t be surprising if much of it is wrong.

But some of what Mr. Steele reported — contacts between former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and Russian operatives — appears to have been substantiated.

In a court filing late Tuesday, special counsel Robert Mueller, tasked with investigating accusations of collusion, said Manafort aide Rick Gates did knowingly meet a person with ties to Russian intelligence.

The documents say Mr. Gates and the unidentified individual were in touch in September and October 2016, just before the election. The contacts are “pertinent to the investigation,” prosecutors said in a court filing.

Mr. Gates has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. Mr. Manafort has maintained his own innocence.

In addition to Mr. Mueller’s probe of the Trump campaign and the inspector general’s investigation of the FBI, House Republicans are examining whether the FBI bungled its look into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret email account.

Republicans say revelations about Mr. McCabe, Mr. Comey and other FBI personnel assigned to the Clinton investigation suggest irregularities.

The FBI is cooperating with the House Republican investigation, and Director Christopher A. Wray said late Tuesday that he is doubling the number of employees working to turn over documents and making them work in two shifts a day, from 8 a.m. to midnight, to review and release material.

“I agree the current pace of production is too slow,” Mr. Wray said in a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Republican committee chairmen who are leading the House investigation.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Barack Hussein Obama, John Brenner and James Clapper's Plot to Subvert

Obama CIA use of foreign spies against the Trump campaign should be cause for alarm, no?

Washington  SPECTATOR 

What passes for the current wisdom today contains a great deal of solemn slop. Yet there are some solemnities in the current wisdom that one assumes are legitimate. For instance, it is said that today partisanship is more intense than it has been since — I suppose — the Civil War, or at least since the days of Senator Joe McCarthy. Americans on the left, the right, and those treading water in the middle cannot agree on anything. Well, I would have said this was a bit far-fetched until last week. That was when I experienced partisanship for myself.

We have been hearing for years that the existence of the CIA, the FBI, and other agencies of the intelligence community constitute a threat to our civil liberties. The alarums about tapping our telephones and otherwise snooping on us have been traditionally sounded by the left, but also — perhaps more pianissimo — by the right. Senator Rand Paul has been a peerless voice on the right sounding off for civil liberties. When he speaks out I listen. 

One of the rallying points of concern in America has been the concern for civil liberties. When the American Civil Liberties Union was founded it had its champions left, right, and center.

The excesses of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover alarmed us all, but leading the chorus were what we then called liberals and, of course, those sturdy defenders of personal liberty, the libertarians. As the years have passed they could always be relied upon to speak out in defense of freedom, sometimes neurotically, sometimes out of a sober sense of urgency.

Last week, however, I personally discovered the left’s concern for civil liberties has vanished or at least become muted by partisanship. The right’s concern for civil liberties, too, seems muted. With my colleague, George Neumayr, I reported on a vast breach of the right to privacy by fellow Americans. We reported the existence of at least one intelligence agency, and possibly others, using foreign agents to eavesdrop on Americans. They thought that by using foreigners they would not be held accountable. Then another of my colleagues, Dan Flynn, repeated the charge. The result? Silence. No one seemed to care either on the left, the right, or in the middle.

As I intimated above I assume the left’s neglect was owing to partisanship, for we were reporting on a Democratic Administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign. When candidate Trump claimed he was being “wiretapped” it turns out he was right: the Obama administration had been intercepting communications at Trump Tower by spying on Paul Manafort and Carter Page, and during the transition after Trump won through “unmasking.” But what explains the right’s neglect? It cannot be partisanship. I presume it is but another instance of the conservatives’ life-long political problem, indifference.

What we reported is this. A source with a record of proven reliability over many years overheard FBI agents venting about John Brennan, the former head of the CIA, using British intelligence agents to spy on the Trump campaign. American contractors were also used. The British used American equipment. They had an extensive spying network here in America, using the twelfth floor of a building in Crystal City, Virginia and a building in San Antonio. Moreover, Brennan was not the only one who knew about the spying. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was another, and still more senior officials in the Obama Administration were aware of it. I am told that James B. Comey and Andrew McCabe were also aware of the surveillance of Trump. 

They had tried to get FISA warrants for snooping on Trump’s associates but were turned down, though they would later get a warrant to spy on Carter Page. So Brennan turned to the British. If they wanted to keep their spying a secret they were pretty sloppy, but then they thought they could afford to be sloppy. They knew that Hillary was going to win.

As I say, spying on American citizens one would think would be opposed by all sides in America today. One would expect a consensus to exist at least on this. But it does not appear to be the case. Members of the left have uttered not a peep. Even the ACLU is quiet. Yet there is one outspoken civil libertarian left, President Trump. He can notify his Department of Justice to take action. In fact, he can even release a Tweet. It is time for all defenders of the free society to be heard. American elections are best conducted without the involvement of our intelligence agencies. Not even her majesty’s agents should be invited in.

Monday, March 26, 2018

US National Defense Begins with a Defensive Wall. It Belongs in The Pentagon Budget

Trump suggests the military might build the border wall

Trump suggests the military might build the border wall
President Trump hinted in a tweet on Sunday that the military could be tasked with building a wall on the Mexican border after a $1.3 trillion spending bill failed to include the funds he sought to erect the structure.

“Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich,” Trump wrote in a posting about the increase in military spending. “Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!”

But the 2,232-page spending plan, which Trump threatened to veto on Friday before changing his mind, came up short of providing the $25 billion the president wanted to build the wall – an oft-cited campaign pledge that also included the vow that Mexico would pay for it.

While the bill provided for $1.6 billion for wall construction, it severely limited the money to be used on shoring up parts of the existing barrier.

It also provides funds for new fencing, but prohibits a concrete barrier or construction of any of the prototypes Trump has considered.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pointed out to Trump that the budget he signed last Friday doesn’t include money for a new wall.

“I remind the president, he did campaign on the wall, and guess who he said would pay for it? How about going to Mexico and getting them to pay for it, because this budget doesn’t allow American citizens to pay for it,” the New York Democrat said on Sunday.

Railing about the bill that passed the House and Senate last week and ended up on his desk for signature Friday, Trump declared: “I will never sign another bill like this again – I’m not going to do it again.”

Trump, who has said a wall is necessary to keep drugs and illegal immigrants from flowing over the border, suggested in his remarks that he would use the military to erect the barrier as part of a “national defense” strategy.

“I want to address the situation on border security, which I call national defense. I call it stopping drugs from pouring across our border. And I call it illegal immigration. It’s all of those things,” he said at the White House signing ceremony. “But national defense is a very important two words. Because by having a strong border system, including a wall, we are in a position, militarily, that is very advantageous. ”

Trump’s nod to military involvement is significant because among the omnibus bill’s military funding is $654.6 billion to continue the global fight against terrorism.

The president has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security to build the wall.

Additional reporting by Reuven Fenton

Are we entering into a post-globalist world order?


Italian Populists Sideline Mainstream as They Vie for Premiership

By 
John Follain - Bloomberg

  • Di Maio, Salvini lead negotiations after parliament votes
  • President Mattarella due to start talks with parties April 3
After outmaneuvering establishment parties to emerge as lead negotiators in Italy’s search for a new government, the populist pair Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini seek to win enough support this week to justify their rival claims for the premiership.
Di Maio of the Five Star Movement and Salvini of the anti-migrant League, each short of a majority after the March 4 general elections, worked together to successfully sideline both Salvini’s center-right ally Silvio Berlusconi and the ruling Democratic Party in votes for parliamentary speakers.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

With President Sergio Mattarella expected to start talks with party leaders on April 3, any aspiring premier has to persuade the head of state that he commands a parliamentary majority. The pact sealed by Di Maio and Salvini, which saw Five Star win the lower house job and the center-right take the Senate on Saturday, has fueled a possible but difficult scenario which could see them rule together -- a prospect which worries investors and Italy’s European partners.
Asked whether he might govern with Salvini, Di Maio didn’t rule out the prospect. “We’ve shown we are open to everyone for the good of the country as long as the dialog remains focused on the priorities of citizens and not of politicians,” he told newspaper Corriere della Sera in an interview published Sunday. Di Maio listed tax cuts, pension reform, welfare for families and fighting youth unemployment as the main issues needing agreement.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Di Maio’s Praise

Di Maio had only praise for his fellow negotiator. “Salvini has demonstrated that he is a person who knows how to keep his word,” said Di Maio, who added he’s ready to discuss measures with other parties, and signaled he could change the ministers he proposed before the elections, while he remains the candidate for premiership.
But Di Maio stuck to his refusal to meet Berlusconi, one of several obstacles to a pact between Five Star and the center-right. Five Star has long denounced Berlusconi, who is banned from holding public office until next year because of a 2013 tax-fraud conviction, as a symbol of a corrupt ruling class.
Salvini said on Twitter Sunday that it’s the center-right coalition which should indicate the next premier. The League leader has pledged that he would only join up with Five Star with the blessing of Berlusconi, who wants a tie-up with the center-left Democratic Party. What’s more, Five Star has its base in the depressed south of Italy and wants a universal basic income, while the League is rooted in the rich, industrial north and is pushing for a flat tax.

Reconciliation

In a display of reconciliation after a row which fractured their alliance, Berlusconi walked out of his Rome residence together with Salvini on Saturday. The vote for the speakers was “a very positive solution for preserving the alliance,” said Berlusconi. “There’s also an excellent personal relationship between us, so I believe I can look forward with serenity and confidence.”
Only the previous evening however, Berlusconi’s party had described as “an act of cold hostility” the League’s failure to vote for its candidate as Senate speaker, adding that it broke the coalition’s unity and revealed “a plan for a League-Five Star government.”
The quarrelsome bloc has yet to decide whether Berlusconi, Salvini and Giorgia Meloni of the far-right Brothers of Italy party will meet Mattarella together, or separately.

— With assistance by Marco Bertacche

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Senior Crime Cartel in the DOJ and FBI is now being exposed and will be destroyed by Joe DiGenova

Trumps New Lawyer Joe DiGenova Exposes The FBI, NSA, CIA, DOJ's plot To Frame  Trump and Cover Hillary Clinton


THIS IS ONE HELL OF A VIDEO!





  • Comey is a political assassin for Obama and Clinton
  • Fusion GPS became an arm of the cabal to destroy a human being
  • Barack Obama, Clapper , Brennan, Susan Rice and others plotted to stop Trump, then Clinton did the unthinkable: She lost the election
  • The US media gleefully joined the campaign to destroy Donald Trump
  • Obama really did "wiretap" Trump
  • Admiral Rogers forced senior DOJ officials to expose what they did to violate the laws
  • Rep. Nunes will go down in history as a hero
  • There never was any justification for the appointment of the thoroughly corrupt Robert Mueller and the damage he has done to our political system

Friday, March 23, 2018

Hey Trump, Want to Really Shake up Globalism and Make a Great American Revival? Import Replacement 101



TIME MACHINE 2009

What Jane Jacobs Can Teach Us About the Economy

Late urban champion's notions about decline and imports newly resonant during this recession.



How is that economic stimulus package working for you? Think TARP was worth those billions? Perhaps our financial system is back from the brink, but just how far — or how long until we're staring down that same precipice — is not clear. Aside from healthy investment-house bonuses and the fact that General Motors still exists, most have seen little change. While our financial pundits are still scratching their heads over why our financial structure plummeted so spectacularly let alone what to do about it, many economic thinkers are turning to urban pioneer Jane Jacobs.

Who?

Most know Jane Jacobs as the ultimate champion of cities, who stood up against neighborhood demolition and saw a vibrant ballet where others saw urban squalor. But three years since her death — and a year into a downturn marked by bailouts, foreclosures and sky-high unemployment — her economic vision has come into the spotlight.

"People in economic policy and development are looking carefully at Jacobs' work," says David Boyle, an author and researcher at the New Economics Foundation, a London-based independent economic think tank. "She's been very influential, but subtly so. People aren't always aware of where the ideas come from. This is true from the right and left."

In the landmark The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs called out the folly of urban "improvement" projects that left city districts barren. (Who guessed that people liked to see their neighbors, and that vacant courtyards and hallways invited crime?) In the same way, her 1984 book, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, zeroes in on how well-intended subsidies can deplete growth and block innovation. Wealth, she argues, is not merely a matter of assets but rather the capacity to 1) engage those assets in production and 2) adapt to changing circumstances and needs.

According to Jacobs, the engine of economic life is "import-replacement." What this somewhat clunky term means is making the products you have been buying. For example, much of New England, where I live, is rich in hardwood forest. But there is no large-scale furniture manufacturing here. Aside from what a few artisans produce for a mostly upscale market, it's imported: Our tables, chairs and bed frames are made from fast-growing trees in Southeast Asia, shipped over and stained to look like oak, maple or cherry. If made here, we'd no longer be dependent on furniture from elsewhere; workers here would apply their own innovations to create their own products and techniques and we'd have more products to trade with other places.

This process, replicated over and over and on a large or small scale, invigorates the economy. Workers gain skills, capital gets invested in new equipment, trading partners emerge, consumer taste gets more sophisticated, etc.

This does not happen when a large corporation plunks a factory down in a derelict neighborhood or rural outpost. But that has been the favored approach to perk up an area's economy. The upshot is that the population becomes reliant on one industry that may not be appropriate for the setting. Supplies get shipped in from elsewhere and other wealth-producing activity languishes.

"Jacobs pointed out that to boost an area's economy, the normal plan is to bring in a branch of some big business. But then you have an industry without roots. They're not using local accountants and local printers," says Susan Witt, executive director of the E.F. Schumacher Society in Great Barrington, Mass., which, since its inception in 1980, maintained a close working relationship with Jane Jacobs. "It's through those roots that you get the economic multiplier effect of small businesses. And a branch or factory based elsewhere can leave as easily as it arrived."

Michael Shuman, research and public policy director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, says research suggests that subsidies to attract and retain development are not effective at jumpstarting economies. One unpublished study he led recently looked at the three largest economic development programs in 15 states and found that fewer than 10 percent of companies involved devoted even a small majority of expenditures to local businesses; in most cases 90 percent of the money spent went out of state.

"The economic developers I speak to no longer even try to defend these subsidy strategies," Shuman says. "They've run out of excuses except for the fact that the politicians like them. Politicians get more mileage from one big deal that brings 1,000 jobs than an entrepreneurship program that generates 10 jobs in 100 local businesses. Even when the rhetoric has shifted to the importance of local, in terms of where the money goes, it's still following an old and entirely discredited mode of economic development."

As for the stimulus bill, Shuman says it has "the worst features of economic development on steroids. If in a typical year, millions [are] spent on pork, this year more than a trillion is spent on pork." Even if the stimulus package is a success, he says, the program "could have been more successful with less money if we had followed Jane Jacobs' ideas" of local resilience through import-replacement.

She wasn't omniscient, and her modern acolytes aren't claiming that. "Where was Jane Jacobs wrong?" Shuman asked. "What she didn't anticipate was the Internet. The argument that cities were the only important economic engines is weakened considerably by Web-based businesses, which have diversified and strengthened rural economies. Another thing she didn't entirely anticipate was climate change, which makes trade as a tool of growth a little more suspect."

Cities and the Wealth of Nations came out 25 years ago. But the dynamics described are eerily familiar. Take, for instance, what Jacobs called "transactions of decline" — trade encouraged to prop up the economy. An example she uses is ongoing, entrenched military production. This appears productive, but it sucks the oxygen out of the economy. Innovation and entrepreneurship (import-replacing processes) slow down, there's less inter-city trade to spark new products and ideas, and the economy loses complexity and the ability to adapt. Entire regions become dependent on military spending; they need a war for growth to occur.

The real estate market crash followed a similar trajectory, says Sanford Ikeda, associate professor of economics at SUNY Purchase. "Look at all the incentives in the run-up to the bubble," he says. "People were encouraged to take more risk than optimal, and [many were] making money on unproductive transfers. Not only is this not productive, but it's an obstacle to growth."

One could look at the derivatives market in the same way, as all the entrepreneurial energy goes into the transactions themselves rather than productivity.

The economic downturn has prompted many to question assumptions about growth. "There is a new focus on what happens on the local level, on import-replacement businesses and what it takes to encourage them," says Schumacher's Witt. "Chambers of commerce are putting more into networking and training for small businesses. There's less talk of tax incentives. These are all Jane Jacobs concepts."

Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia, and the founder and chairman of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, says her business decisions have been informed by Jacobs' economic vision. "I took seriously the notion of 'local supplies with local labor for local consumption,'" she says. "I asked, 'What are we importing that we can make locally?' That's what builds community wealth. Instead of starting another White Dog in another location, I started a Black Cat because there was no store nearby that focused on locally made and fair-trade products."

Jane Jacobs was an advocate of decentralization; her belief that economies function on a regional, as opposed to national, level has helped spur recent interest in launching local currencies.

But her suspicion of bigness was pragmatic rather than ideological: In her view, the larger and more complex the institution or economy, the less accurate the feedback it provides. And accurate feedback is crucial for a system to self-correct. One way to look at our financial near-crash is as the result of crisscrossing feedback loops: mixed messages coming from GDP, foreign exchanges, the stock exchange, housing sales, the data from different parts of the country contradicting each other so that when policy adjusts for one area it destabilizes another like a seesaw that veers up and down but never finds equilibrium.

With so many layers in our financial system, feedback gets lost.

"A large economy is floated by so many factors," says Mary W. Rowe, who runs the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation, and for several years directed Ideas That Matter, a Toronto institute based on Jane Jacobs' work. "The more opportunity you have to see feedback, the better you can course-correct. This is what the sustainability movement is doing-tightening up feedback loops so that people are aware of [a product's] real costs, such as the environmental impacts, and true costs, of their production, consumptions and disposal."
One advantage of local, as opposed to centralized, production, is that there's more transparency, she says. Efficiency, in the sense of economies of scale, does not always promote wealth and productivity, she says. "You don't want so much control in one place. Most innovation happens on the grassroots level."
It's easy to lapse into theory with economics. But money matters get very real when people are losing their jobs. Could these ideas — import-replacement, adaptation, small feedback loops — help put people back to work? Wicks says yes: "If we start making products at home then we can start dealing with the problem of unemployment."

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Alan Dershowitz, a Man of Principle

A disciple to the law and an apostate to partisanship. Dershowitz is speaking out against the incredible damage being done to justice and American trust in our institutions.



More on FBI and DOJ Chicanery:

Plaster every detail of your personal lives, announce every fart, spread it across the internet, record it for all to be disseminated forever. What could possibly go wrong?

COOL RUNNINGS - 2012


The Media Praised or Ignored Obama’s Harvesting of Facebook Data



amnesty
Getty

The political and media establishment have whipped themselves into an almighty frenzy over allegations — yet to be confirmed — that Cambridge Analytica may have used improperly-obtained Facebook data during the 2016 election campaign, a charge they strenuously deny.

Online political advertising is now a “dark art,” according to The Guardian. “Data And The Threat to Democracy” is the blunt headline at the BBC. Facebook likes helped Trump “steal the election,” according to a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the U.S., lawmakers are calling for an investigation into Facebook, and in the U.K., the authorities are seeking a warrant to raid the offices of Cambridge Analytica.

There was no such outrage after the 2012 election, in which the Obama campaign harvested data from Facebook users at a scale that, according to a former senior Obama campaign staffer, shocked Facebook themselves. Although Obama’s data-gathering operation was widely known, the tone of establishment media coverage was casual, even celebratory. Certainly, no-one dared suggest that it constituted a “threat to democracy.”

In their cheerfully-titled report “Obama, Facebook And The Power of Friendship: The 2012 data Election,” The Guardian explained how the Obama campaign harvested data on friend networks from unwitting voters.
At the core is a single beating heart – a unified computer database that gathers and refines information on millions of committed and potential Obama voters. The database will allow staff and volunteers at all levels of the campaign – from the top strategists answering directly to Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina to the lowliest canvasser on the doorsteps of Ohio – to unlock knowledge about individual voters and use it to target personalised messages that they hope will mobilise voters where it counts most.
Every time an individual volunteers to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user’s personal information with a third party. 
Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.
“If you log in with Facebook, now the campaign has connected you with all your relationships,” a digital campaign organiser who has worked on behalf of Obama says.
Ironically, The Guardian is the sister paper of The Observer, the paper that broke the news of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of Facebook data.
As we reported earlier, the former head of Obama’s data operation, Carol Davidsen, said that the campaign was able to pull data from the “entire social graph.”

“We were actually able to ingest the entire social network of the U.S. that’s on Facebook, which is most people” said Davidsen in a talk delivered in 2015.
“Where this gets complicated is that it freaks Facebook out. So they shut off the feature.”

Republicans, explained Davidsen, failed to obtain this data, whereas the Democrats now have it forever.

“I’m a Democrat, so maybe I could argue that’s a great thing, but really it’s not, in the overall process. That wasn’t thought all the way through and now there’s a disadvantage of information that to me seems unfair.”

This is no secret – The Guardian reported on it in 2012, and Davidsen spoke about it 2015. But only in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory, which many attributed to his superior digital campaigning, has the mainstream devolved into panic over the influence of Facebook.

Davidsen recently revealed that Facebook visited the Obama campaign’s office after the 2012 election, where they admitted they allowed the campaign privileged access to their platform.

Yet despite the obvious closeness of the relationship between Facebook and Obama, the establishment media gave it little scrutiny, even when Obama was invited to speak at Facebook’s headquarters in 2011.

Far from holding Facebook and the Obama administration to account, the establishment media were fawning in their coverage of their relationship.
The Guardian endearingly referred to Obama’s tactics as harnessing the “power of friendship.” According to CNN, Obama’s team used “high-tech wizardry” and “magic tricks” to win. Obama’s own data analytics director, as noted above, thought the insurmountable imbalance between Democrat-owned data and Republican-owned data was unfair, but according to the Washington Post, Obama had simply “won the race for voter data.”

The establishment media didn’t frame Obama’s data operation as invasive or sinister. It was just “hipster tech,” in the words of Wired magazine. It was a “dream team of engineers from Facebook, Twitter and Google” who won the 2012 election, according to an Atlantic piece titled “When The Nerds Go Marching In.” Obama’s data team were the “real heroes” of the election, wrote Rolling Stone, and the former president’s “high-tech, data-driven, socially-networked campaign was one for the history books.” The Telegraph praised Obama for realizing “the potential” of social media to reach “disaffected youth.”

There was virtually no mention of the invasiveness of the Obama camapign’s data-gathering operation. Obama staffers joked openly about mass-harvesting data from the Facebook feeds of their supporters’ old college friends and ex-girlfriends. They admitted that their data harvesting was so extensive that it triggered Facebook’s security systems. Yet the media continued to cover them as genius whizz-kids who were revolutionizing political campaigning.

Compare this to the way they covered Facebook in the aftermath of Trump. It’s “fake news,” it’s “misinformation,” it’s “dark arts” and a “threat to democracy.” Trump didn’t win the election, according to the establishment media’s fantasy — he stole it with ill-gotten data.

Absent from this panicked narrative is a far simpler explanation: voters aren’t idiots who were “manipulated.” They are free-thinking individuals who made a decision — to reject the Democrats, to reject corporate  media, and to reject the establishment. But admitting you might be flawed is hard — let’s just blame Facebook instead!

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Joe DiGenova or a Rat? Who you gonna believe?



Joe diGenova: DOJ Officials 'Tried to Frame an Incoming President With False Russian Conspiracy' Tale

Former federal prosecutor, special counsel, and prominent Washington attorney Joe diGenova said the scandal at the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) involves a "brazen plot" to exonerate Hillary Clinton of felony crimes involving her mishandling of classified documents, and an ongoing "false case" to "frame" President Donald Trump with a "false Russian conspiracy that never existed."
The senior DOJ and FBI officials involved knew the Russian conspiracy story was fake, said diGenova, but they "plotted to ruin" Trump as a candidate "and then destroy him as a president."    The FBI now "has to be completely reconstructed from the ground up," he said.

DiGenova, the founding partner of diGenova & Toensing, LLP, in Washington, D.C., which litiagates cases at the federal level, made his remarks in an interview with Ginni Thomas for the Daily Caller News Foundation. (Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.)


In the Jan. 20 interview, diGenova said, “The FBI used to spy on the Russians. This time they spied on us. It’s about a brazen plot to, again, exonerate Hillary Clinton from a clear violation of the law with regard to the way she handled classified information with her private server – absolutely a crime, absolutely a felony."


Ex-FBI Director James Comey. (DOJ)
"It’s about finding out why -- as the Inspector General is doing at the Department of Justice – why [James] Comey and the senior DOJ officials conducted a fake criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton -- followed none of the regular rules, gave her every break in the book, immunized all kinds of people, allowed the destruction of evidence, no grand jury, no subpoenas, no search warrant," said diGenova. "That’s not an investigation. That’s a Potemkin Village."

DiGenova, who prosecuted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and failed presidential assassin John W. Hinckley, continued, “This is about a lavabo, a cleansing of the FBI and the upper echelons of the Department of Justice. We’re going to discover that the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, her deputy Sally Yates, the head of the National Security Division John Carlin, Bruce Ohr, and other senior DOJ officials and, regrettably, line attorneys – people who were senior career civil servants – [allegedly] violated the law, perhaps committed crimes, covered up crimes by a presidential candidate."


Ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller, now
special counsel investigating
“But more than that," he said. "They tried to frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy that never existed, and they knew it, and they plotted to ruin him as a candidate and then destroy him as a president. The FBI now has to be completely reconstructed from the ground up."

“The men and women at the Bureau are great people," said diGenova. "That’s not who we're talking about, never have been. We are talking about people like James Comey, [Andrew] McCabe, [Peter] Strzok, [Lisa] Page, [James] Baker, [Bill] Priestap – a name nobody knows, he’s the head of the counterintelligence division."


Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Democratic presidential 
candidate Hillary Clinton. (YouTube) 
DiGenova, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, further explained, “What the Bureau did was, by working with Fusion GPS and giving contractors access to highly classified information which they had no legal right to see. They needed something to create that they could give to the court, the Foreign Intelligence court, so they could get wiretaps and surveillance taps, email taps, and phone taps on the Trump people, so that if there was anything, they could find it out."

"Of course, there was nothing," he said. "There never was anything. They created false facts so they could get surveillance warrants."

"It was done not for legitimate law enforcement reasons," said diGenova, "not for national security reasons, but to create a false case against a candidate, Donald Trump, a president-elect, Donald Trump, and a president, Donald Trump.”
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