“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, July 09, 2017

"The Russia obsession is a sad commentary on America. We’re acting more like a scared neighbor whose democracy is too weak to withstand Russian influence than like a great power whose democracy has long been the envy of the world."

Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!


John Podesta’s Russia connection

Robert Mueller and his staff of fifteen lawyers, and counting, are sniffing around the 2016 Trump campaign looking for a Russia connection. Meanwhile, a clear Russia connection has been identified between Russia and the head of the 2016 Clinton campaign team — John Podesta.

Peter Schweizer has the details. To summarize:

In 2011, a small green-energy company, Joule Unlimited, announced Podesta’s appointment to its board. Months later, Rusnano, a Kremlin-backed investment fund founded by Vladimir Putin, pumped $35 million into Joule. Serving alongside Podesta on Joule’s board were senior Russian official Anatoly Chubais and oligarch Ruben Vardanyan, who has been appointed by Putin to a Russian economic modernization council.

Podesta owned 75,000 shares of Joule stock. When he joined the Obama White House, Podesta transferred his Joule shares to an LLC controlled by his adult children.

After leaving the White House and joining the Clinton campaign, Podesta resumed communicating with Joule and its investors. In fact, he received an invoice from his lawyers in April 2015 — a consent request for Dmitry Akhanov of Rusnano USA to join Joule’s board.

In an interview with Fox News, Podesta contended: “I was on the board of an American company that did business here and only here. The Russian company had a small investment in that company.” It’s true that Joule was based in Massachusetts, but its connection with Russia was clear. Schweizer points out:
While thanking Putin’s Rusnano, [Joule’s CEO and president] said the investment would help support “the development of our global presence” and “complements the company’s expansion plans in Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico.” Moreover, Stichting Joule [one of the three entities that made up Joule International] is itself an overseas entity. Indeed, Rusnano’s investment in Joule was in part to develop a manufacturing facility in Russia.
Tellingly, perhaps, Podesta did not disclose his presence on the board of Dutch-registered Stichting Joule when he went to work for the Obama White House, according to Schweizer.

Podesta told Fox News that Putin’s investment fund represented a “small investment” in Joule. But, says Schweizer, in 2012 the company claimed it had raised $110 million to date. Thus, the Kremlin-backed $35 million investment given to Joule after Podesta’s board appointment represented over 30 percent of Joule’s outside financing. 

Schweizer also notes that in 2016, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, where Joule board member Reuben Vardanyan formerly served as head of its investment banking division, had a $170,000 lobbying contract with the Podesta Group. The Podesta Group is owned by John Podesta’s brother, Tony Podesta.
Schweizer concludes:
In short, Clinton’s top campaign chief and a senior counselor to Obama sat on Joule’s board alongside top Russian officials as Putin’s Kremlin-backed investment fund funneled $35 million into Joule. No one looking at the Podesta fact pattern can claim to care about rooting out Russian collusion and not rigorously investigate the tangle of relationships.
As I see it, though, the election collusion issue isn’t about the past business ties of a candidate, staffer, or “satellite” and a Putin-infected enterprise. These days, such ties will often be found. 

The election collusion issue is about an exchange of promises (express or understood) — I’ll help you or your candidate in exchange for favors — or about a campaign coordinating with the Russians in harming the opposing campaign.
The Russians (we think) hacked Podesta’s emails to the detriment of the Clinton campaign. It seems clear enough that Podesta wasn’t colluding with the Russians during the campaign. (Would Podesta’s Russia connection have paved the way for Russian influence in a Clinton administration? We can only speculate.) 

But there is also no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians during the campaign. Elements within our intelligence community, along with anti-Trump media types, have spent a year looking for such evidence. From all that appears, they have come up empty.

The closest thing I’ve seen to evidence of collusion, as I understand the term, with Russia in a presidential election is President Obama’s assurance to Russia in 2012 that he would be more flexible in dealing with the Russkies after he won. This was followed by Obama’s denial in his debate with Mitt Romney that Russia posed a serious geopolitical threat and by his contracting out aspects of our Syria policy to Putin.

But even here, I’ve seen no evidence that Russia did Obama any favors in exchange for his “flexibility.” That’s actually a sad commentary on Obama. It would be more impressive if Obama had received something in return.

The Russia obsession is a sad commentary on America. We’re acting more like a scared neighbor whose democracy is too weak to withstand Russian influence than like a great power whose democracy has long been the envy of the world. 
Unless facts have been uncovered that we don’t know about — an unlikely scenario given all of the leaking surrounding the “collusion” issue — I think it’s time to conclude that “collusion” is a non-issue and “interference” is a very minor one.


  1. Bernie Sanders honeymooned in Moscow, Russia.

    Mayor de Blasio honeymooned in Castro's Havana, Cuba.

    July 9, 2017
    Be careful voting for a US politician who spent his honeymoon in Havana
    By Silvio Canto, Jr.

    1. This should disqualify both gentlemen from running for Federal Office.

      The real Russian connection is between former Secrtary of State Hillary Clinton and Pooty.


    London witnesses up to three acid attacks every week, LBC has found, saying the Metropolitan Police recorded up to 83 incidents just this year.


    John Podesta's email wasn't hacked. Asshole Podesta fell for a phishing scheme a 13 year old could have initiated.

    Podesta may be hacked off, but he was not hacked.

  4. Anyone looking for an insight into the growing disillusionment of ordinary Italians as their country is left to deal alone with a summer surge of migrants on its southern shores should contemplate the fate of Giusi Nicolini, the former mayor of Lampedusa.

    Earlier this year Nicolini won Unesco’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny peace prize for the “great humanity and constant commitment” with which she has managed a migration crisis that began in earnest during the summer of 2011, as the Arab spring turned north African societies upside down.

    A politician from the centre-left Democratic party, Nicolini also won the Olof Palme prize in 2016 and was among the Italians celebrated at a dinner with former US president Barack Obama at the White House in October.

    But as she travelled the world and courted the media, regularly appearing on Italian TV and portraying the tiny island of around 6,000 people as a safe haven for migrants, discontent simmered back on Lampedusa, closer to Tunisia than mainland Italy, where she held office. Islanders made their feelings known last month when Nicolini was resoundingly ousted from her post, coming third in municipal elections with just 908 votes.

    “It wasn’t a surprise to us that she lost,” said Salvatore Martello, a hotel owner and fisherman who won the election running independently from Italy’s main parties. “In the years she was mayor, she curated an image abroad of the island and the migrant situation, forgetting its people.”

    Among many Italians, patience is running out as repeated calls for greater assistance from the rest of Europe in dealing with the crisis are ignored. France and Austria are deploying draconian means to ensure migrants remain on Italian soil in overpopulated reception centres.

  5. Defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is considering her role in the campaign for the 2018 midterm elections, multiple sources told The Hill.

    Clinton, who has been a prominent figure in the Democratic Party for many years, having served as first lady of the United States, a senator from New York, and Secretary of State under the Obama administration, has already launched a PAC aimed at supporting Democratic candidates in next year’s elections.

    However, a close and long-term confidante told the publication that Clinton has her eye on districts in which she defeated Donald Trump, as she plots her revenge for her electoral college landslide defeat in the presidential elections.

    1. I would love to see wide opened mouth, fat assed Hillary fighting for the Democrats.

  6. If she has been gaining weight she may no longer fit in The Scooby Van.

    What happens then ?

    1. By the way donations to The Clinton Foundation have tanked.

      Nothing to sell.....

    2. Obama achievements

      First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner

      First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in

      First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States

      First President to violate the War Powers Act

      First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

      First President to defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

      First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party, a violation of the U.S. Constitution

      First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs

      First President to recommend changing our National Anthem as it portrays and promotes violence and is warlike in its theme.


    Raging street battles that marred Germany's G20 summit have sparked a political fight over how Hamburg could descend into "mob rule" and why Chancellor Angela Merkel chose a hotbed of leftist militancy as the venue.
    Germany's top-selling Bild daily was withering in its condemnation of the chaos that saw far-left and anarchist radicals torch rows of cars, loot shops and hurl rocks and bottles from burning barricades at riot police.

    "One should use with caution the words 'failure of the state'. Sadly, it applies in Hamburg," the newspaper thundered Saturday, slamming the summit as a "debacle".

    "Of course the police did all it could. But the street belonged to the mob. The feeling of general security that the state must guarantee has ceased to exist in Hamburg over the last 48 hours."

    The harsh criticism came as 20,000 police in the city where Merkel was born braced for a third day of protests against the meeting where she hosted US President Donald Trump, Russia's Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.

    Just behind the tightly-secured G20 summit venue, charred road barricades, trashed shops and stones, debris and shattered glass bore testimony to an anarchic night, when police commandoes with semi-automatic weapons detained militants who hurled rocks from rooftops.

    "The terrible message of Hamburg is: When the mob wants to rule, it will," said Bild.


    Chancellor Angela Merkel “wholeheartedly condemned” the violent riots that erupted in parts of Hamburg during the G20 summit, but praised the many peaceful protesters for “putting pressure” on world leaders.

    In a press conference on Saturday concluding the G20 summit in Hamburg, Merkel first and foremost denounced the series of riots that left more than 200 officers injured, cars burning, and businesses with smashed windows amid the meeting of world leaders.


    She was cycling home at 3am from a party at her university when she was ambushed, in a crime that shocked Germany

    The blonde, in her 20s, neatly side-steps them and walks away to safety. This time.

    It’s the end of another long evening in Freiburg, which has proudly supported German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open her country’s door to migrants from all over the globe.

    A sign on a lamp-post near the Freiburg park proclaims: ‘Refugees welcome. Bring your families.’ Meanwhile, city officials tell locals to do their bit by becoming foster parents and giving their spare bedrooms to the never-ending stream of arrivals.

    By day, the city appears a charming place. German students on bicycles whizz past the 19th-century Gothic cathedral as tourists enjoy the open-air cafes and spring flowers. Yet it has the highest crime rate in this part of Germany, and by night many women dare not walk or drive alone.

    They go to local clubs in large groups to protect themselves from being groped, or worse, by the huge numbers of foreign men settling here.

    It was in the same park that Hussein Khavari, an Afghan asylum seeker, spent much of his time drinking vodka and smoking dope. He apparently set off from near here before raping and throttling to death 19-year-old German medical student Maria Ladenburger last October.

    She was cycling home at 3am from a party at her university when she was ambushed. In a crime that shocked Germany, her body was dumped by the Driesam River, on the outskirts of the Black Forest, and discovered next morning by a jogger.

    Khavari is about to stand trial for her murder after being charged with what prosecutors say was a crime committed ‘insidiously and for sexual satisfaction’. He is being held in a top security prison.

    After his arrest, he told police he was 17, but medical age experts say Khavari lied and was 22 at the time of the murder of Maria, whom he had never met before.

    In a further twist, it has emerged he slipped into Germany in November 2015, a year when one million or more migrants arrived.

    Khavari claimed he came directly from Afghanistan and was an unaccompanied teenager fleeing the Taliban. But it has been discovered he is a dangerous adult criminal already convicted of trying to kill another young woman.

  10. A group of European 20-somethings who call themselves “Generation Identity” want to stop migrants from coming to Europe by intercepting the humanitarian ships working to rescue migrants in distress.

    Modeled after the actions leftist groups like Greenpeace have taken to obstruct whaling ships and nuclear submarines, this new form of anti-immigrant protest isn’t merely symbolic; it could have literal life-or-death consequences for people fleeing war zones, political chaos, and economic privation.

    That’s because Generation Identity wants to explicitly target humanitarian boats that race against time to save the lives of refugees. It’s only June, and already the United Nations has confirmed some 2,247 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean — a number that rises almost weekly in warm months. In 2016, 5,000 died making the voyage.

    “We are blaming those NGOS for luring people into the sea,” Martin Sellner, a founder of the Austrian branch of the movement, told me in a Skype interview. “We think those NGOs need to be stopped.” He and his colleagues believe the NGOs are, in essence, enabling the human traffickers by meeting the boats that capsize or break apart on the sea.

  11. The alt Libs are having a melt down over Ivanka sitting in on one of the G20 meetings while Trump was in another. It is normal to have a surrogate take you place in some meetings when agendas conflict.

    So who would they have preferred to sit in? Schumer? Bloomberg? After all he was nearby protesting Capitalism. Elizabeth Warren? Hillary? Mrs. Obama? Jill Stein? How about Gary "what's an Aleppo" Johnson?

    1. In Gary's defense he was high at the time and his memory wasn't working well.

  12. The North Koreans think they are racially superior to the South Koreans.

    Hoorah for the Shortys of the world. They are 2 or 3 inches shorter than the South Koreans due to malnutrition over the decades.

    The sure sign of dominance, shortness.

    1. What a truly insane situation.

    2. Bill Maher faces fresh accusations of racism after HBO star posts tweet suggesting that all nail salon staff are Korean - prompting outrage online
      The Real Time host tweeted: 'This N Korean thing is getting tense! I mean, I think it is, I'm on vaca. The ladies at my nail salon are freaking out, that's what I know

  13. Bay Area Gulag Politics Override Death of Kate Steinle:

    Kate Steinle became a talking point for many on the right, including President Trump, in the immigration debate, with her death often being used to argue against sanctuary cities.

    However, Steinle’s parents told Diaz in 2015 they were not necessarily against sanctuary cities.

    “We didn’t have a stance against sanctuary city,” Jim Steinle said in 2015, adding “We wanted to make darn sure that people understand that, because that’s kind of the hot-button issue locally.

    1. Kate Steinle’s father: We didn’t coin ‘Kate’s Law’

      BY JULIA MANCHESTER - 07/08/17 08:00 PM EDT

      Kate Steinle’s father says he doesn't want his daughter's name at the center of political controversy following passage of a prominent bill targeting undocumented immigrants.

      “I don’t know who coined ‘Kate’s Law,’” Jim Steinle told San Francisco Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz for a piece published Friday. “It certainly wasn’t us."

      The comments came in a piece titled "Leave Kate Steinle out of the immigration debate," which called for public figures to stop invoking her name in the immigration debate.

      The House passed a bill known as "Kate's Law" in June, which increases maximum penalties for undocumented immigrants who illegally enter the country multiple times after they have been deported.

      Lawmakers invoked the death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, who was fatally wounded while walking the San Francisco waterfront in 2015 by a felon who had been deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.

      Her father told the Chronicle he would support "Kate’s Law" if it would save lives, but said he would rather have his daughter’s name kept out of it.

      ...I can understand that, but NOT the insanity of "Sanctuary Cities"

      Strange Death indeed.

    2. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday condemned "unacceptable" levels of violence in Chicago in a statement released by the Justice Department.

      The strongly worded statement from the Justice Department outlines steps the agency will take in coming days to curb the violence.

      "No child in America should have to walk the streets of their neighborhood in fear of violent criminals, and yet, in Chicago, thousands of children do every day," Sessions wrote.

      "Last year, more than 4,300 Chicagoans were shot, and more than 700 were killed—the deadliest year in two decades.”
      The agency will send 24 more agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). according to the statement.

      "Under President Trump's strong leadership, we have created the Chicago Gun Strike Force and are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago," it reads.

      "Reallocating federal prosecutors and prioritizing prosecutions to reduce gun violence, and working with our law enforcement partners to stop the lawlessness.”

      Sessions goes on to praise Trump for his renewed focus on law and order.

      “I want to commend the President for his commitment to enforcing our laws and keeping our communities safe.”

      In the statement, the Justice Department renewed its fight against so-called sanctuary cities, which refuse to comply with federal immigration officials.

      "So-called 'sanctuary' policies tie the hands of law enforcement by rejecting common sense and undermining federal laws that would remove criminal, illegal aliens from the streets and remove them from this country," Sessions writes.

      "These policies are opposed by some 80 percent of the American people because they endanger us all by letting dangerous criminals stay in this country that are due to be removed.”

      The Justice Department's statement follows a tweet early Friday morning from Trump, which revealed Trump was sending "federal help" to stop the violence in Chicago.

  14. First lady Melania Trump on Friday blasted comments from MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, saying the "Morning Joe" co-hosts "don't know me."

    In an interview with InStyle magazine released Friday, Brzezinski said that "Melania’s got the worst job in the country" and was doing it for her young son.

    “I'm just telling you, Melania's got the worst job in the country and I don't think she wants do it a lot longer. I think she will do it for as long as she has to for her son, and that's it,” Brzezinski said.

    The first lady responded in a statement through her press office to multiple outlets on Saturday, criticizing the "Morning Joe" co-hosts for using her to "further their own agenda."

    “It is sad when people try to further their own agenda by commenting on me and my family, especially when they don't know me," the statement read.

  15. Jeeze Louise !

    18 years

    David, Romey, and their 13-year-old son, Sky, are the only people living on their 250-mile stretch of the Nowitna River.

    The hippy, weed-loving family have cast off society to carve out their own life, forging a world where only the three of them matter.

    Fairbanks, the nearest town, is a 200-mile snowmobile ride away, making your walk to the local Asda look pathetic in comparison to the Atchleys' epic - and dangerous - route to buy groceries.

    There are no other people to wind them up, no promotions to chase and definitely no Facebook feeds to check out in the Alaskan wilderness.

    There, the prepper family live a life with nothing to worry about... apart from marauding bears, hungry wolves, forest fires, thin ice, disease and the -65 degree temperatures.

    And every detail of their previously unseen life has now been documented by British photojournalist Ed Gold, in a series of stunning shots which are all part of an ongoing exhibition at Colchester's Firstsite gallery.

    1. Ed Gold, the photographer who brought the Atchley family's unique existence to life, kept a 90,000 word journal whilst he was in Alaska.

      He was lucky to even stumble across the Atchleys' strange, intensely private world, which they shared with him for a fascinating three weeks.

      Whilst travelling in the area, Ed overheard a conversation about a remote family deep in the wilderness.

      It took a series of five connecting flights to even reach that far off the grid, with Ed forced to repay one pilot for a particularly remote stretch by chopping firewood for two weeks in minus 40 degrees.

    2. "When Romey said one day she’d like to use the internet, David said that if she did, she’d no longer be his wife. He doesn’t want that world coming into their lives."

    3. Photos:


  16. Bill 'the grabber' O'Reilly came up with Kate's Law.

  17. What about the secret meeting held at Podestra's house between Hillary's staff and journalists. A blog as an email showing there was a secret "off the record' dinner.
    Seems to me there was election collusion between the media and the DNC. It was the media that tried to interfere with and manipulate the elections.