McCain: “The New World Order Is Under Enormous Strain”

It was a bumper day for John McCain when on Friday Donald Trump’s Republican nemesis gloated as Trump’s “art of the deal” collapsed in the last minute, after the President and Ryan-led effort to repeal Obamacare suffered what appears to be a terminal setback. In the wake of Trump’s misfortune, McCain renewed his calls on Friday for a return to a legacy neocon status quo, when speaking at the Brussels forum, said that the world “cries out for American and European leadership” through the EU and Nato, and said that the EU and the US needed to develop “more cooperation, more connectivity”.

In a “new world order under enormous strain” and in “the titanic struggle with forces of radicalism … we can’t stand by and lament, we’ve got to be involved,” said McCain who is now chairman of the armed services committee in the US Senate, quoted by the EU Observer. “I trust the EU,” he said, defending an opposite view from that of US president Donald Trump, who said in January that the UK “was so smart in getting out” of the EU and that Nato was “obsolete”. He said that the EU was “one of the most important alliances” for the US and that the EU and Nato were “the best two sums in history”, which have maintained peace for the last 70 years.

Further attacking Trump’s global worldview, McCan said that “we need to rely on Nato and have a Nato that adjusts to new challenges.” He noted that “the EU has too many bureaucrats, not much bureaucracy,” but added that “it’s not the only place on earth with that problem.” He said that he was “still wondering what the overall effect of Brexit will be” and that he did not know “if this is the beginning of a serious problem for the EU”. McCain did not disagree, however, with Trump’s demand that European countries increase their defense spending for Nato.

McCain also revealed he hasn’t met the President Donald Trump in person since he took office, and he urged Trump to reach out to his opponents—Democratic and otherwise—ala Ronald Reagan if he wants to repeal Obamacare. “Do some outreach. Get to know some of these Democratic leaders,” he said. “You can find common ground.” McCain said he’d met Trump “some years ago” when he was a businessman, but had not met him since. McCain said he did speak “almost daily” to National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however.

“He doesn’t seem to be that upset that he’s not talking to him,” said German Marshall Fund’s Derek Chollet, a former Obama Pentagon official. “He’s trying to run U.S. defense policy through Mattis and effectively ignore Trump.”

That said, McCain also said it was “too early” to pass judgment on his presidency, although his series of critical comments in recent weeks have demonstrated his growing skepticism about the Trump administration.

Furthermore, while McCain said he was “very pleased” by Trump’s picks for his national security team – despite suggesting that they were being bypassed by more ideological and less competent people – he took the opportunity to attack Trump’s decisionmaking, saying “the question is: who does the president listen to, who drives the tweets at 6 in morning?”, he said.Asked whether he thought that “Russia owns a significant part of the White House,” he said: “I don’t worry about that.”

The unspoken suggestion: Russia.

What worries McCain, he said, was “the Russian role in our elections”, even if he admitted that he has seen “no evidence they succeeded” in affecting the outcome of last year’s US vote. Noting that Russia was now trying to influence elections in France and in Germany, he said that if it succeeded it would be “a death warrant for democracy”.

“It’s an act of destruction that is certainly more lethal than dropping some bombs,” he insisted. McCain, a Russia hawk, said that Putin wanted to restore the Russian empire: “He wants the Baltics, he has taken Crimea, he’s been in Ukraine.”

 

“These are KBG thugs, my friends,” he said, referring to the former Russian spy service for which Putin used to work. He added that the US needed to “respond accordingly”. He said however that there was “nothing wrong” if Trump met Putin.

“I’m not against meeting,” he said, reminding the Brussels forum that US presidents met Soviet leaders during the Cold War. But he added that “the best way to go to a meeting is with a strong hand” and that was not the case for the US right now.

Pepe Escobar: Daesh, Creature Of The West

Authored Op-Ed by Pepe Escobar via SputnikNews.com,

James Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Emerging Threats at NATO – now that’s a lovely title – recently gave a talk at a private club in London on the Islamic State/Daesh. Shea, as many will remember, made his name as NATO’s spokesman during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

After his talk Shea engaged in a debate with a source I very much treasure. The source later gave me the lowdown. 

According to Saudi intelligence, Daesh was invented by the US government – in Camp Bacca, near the Kuwait border, as many will remember — to essentially finish off the Shiite-majority Nouri al-Maliki government in Baghdad.

It didn’t happen this way, of course. Then, years later, in the summer of 2014, Daesh routed the Iraqi Army on its way to conquer Mosul. The Iraqi Army fled. Daesh operatives then annexed ultra-modern weapons that took US instructors from six to twelve months to train the Iraqis in and…surprise! Daesh incorporated the weapons in their arsenals in 24 hours.

In the end, Shea frankly admitted to the source that Gen David Petraeus, conductor of the much-lauded 2007 surge, had trained these Sunnis now part of Daesh in Anbar province in Iraq.

Saudi intelligence still maintains that these Iraqi Sunnis were not US-trained – as Shea confirmed – because the Shiites in power in Baghdad didn’t allow it. Not true. The fact is the Daesh core – most of them former commanders and soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army — is indeed a US-trained militia.

True to form, at the end of the debate, Shea went on to blame Russia for absolutely everything that’s happening today – including Daesh terror. 

Mr. Sykes and Monsieur Picot, you’re dead

Now let’s go back to the proclamation of the Daesh Caliphate in June 29, 2014. That was choreographed as a symbolic abolition of the Sykes-Picot border that split the Middle East a century ago. At the same time, abandoning the option of a military push to take Baghdad, Daesh chose to regionalize and internationalize the fight, creating their own transnational state and denouncing regional states as “impostors”. All that coupled with the amp up of any chaos strategy capable of horrifying Western public opinion. 

For large swathes of a Sunni Arab audience, this was powerful stuff. Daesh was proclaiming themselves, in a warped manner, as the sole real heir of the different Arab Springs; the only totally autonomous regional movement, depending exclusively on its own local base, made up of numerous Bedouin tribes.

But how did we get here?

Let’s go back once again – now to Iraq in the 1990s, during the Clinton era. The strategic logic at the time spelled out an instrumentalization of UN resolutions — with Washington de facto controlling Iraq’s oil, manipulating the price as a means of pressure over trade competitors much more dependent on Iraqi oil such as China, Japan and selected European nations.

9/11 turned this state of affairs upside down – leading to the 2003 neocon ideological stupidity and subsequent amateurism managing an occupation in total ignorance of history and the ultra-complex dynamics between the Iraqi state and society. Saddam Hussein was the de facto last avatar of a political arrangement invented by imperial Britain in 1920. With the invasion and occupation, the Iraq state collapsed. And the Cheney regime had no clue what to do with it.

There was no Sunni alternative. So Plan B, under major pressure by Shiites and Kurds, was to give voice to the majority. The problem is political parties ended up being religious and ethnic parties. The partition of power, Lebanese-style — Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds – turned out to be a dysfunctional nightmare. 

Between 2005 and 2008, this American attempt to rebuild the Iraqi state yielded a horrendous confessional civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. The Sunnis lost. And that largely explains the subsequent success of Daesh in creating a “Sunniland”.

The US occupation-Arab Spring love affair

Now let’s turn to the Syrian version of the Arab Spring in February/March 2011. Initial protests against Assad’s iron rule were peaceful – multi-communitarian and multi-confessional. But soon anti-Alawite rancor started to radicalize a significant part of the Sunni majority.

As historian Pierre-Jean Luizard, a specialist in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon at the French CNRS reminds us, Syria was the favorite land of Hanbalism – a most conservative branch of Sunni Islam that highly influenced the emergence of Wahhabism in the Arabian Peninsula. That implies a virulent anti-Shiism. Thus the emergence among the Syrian armed opposition of multiple Salafi-jihadi groups, most of all Jabhat al-Nusra – a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria. 

Meanwhile, Assad fine-tuned a message to the West and his own Sunni bourgeoisie oscillating between allegiance and dissidence; it’s me, or chaos. Chaos ensued, anyway; horrendous structural violence, all-around institutional decrepitude, total territorial fragmentation. 

So it’s fair to argue that both US occupation and the Syrian Arab Spring ended up producing the same result. With some differences; in Iraq, Daesh enjoys the (silent) support of a majority of Sunni Arabs. In Syria, Sunnis are divided; Daesh may rule the desert — Bedouin culture, but it’s Jabhat al-Nusra that captured significant Sunni support in big urban centers such as Aleppo. In Iraq, the borders between the three large communities – Sunni, Shiite, Kurd – are more or less frozen. In Syria, it’s a never-ending jigsaw puzzle.

What happens next is a mystery. The de facto independence of Iraq Kurdistan may solidify. The Baghdad government may increasingly represent only Shiites. Yet it’s hard to see Daesh consolidating its control of Sunni Iraq – not with the ongoing Battle of Mosul.

Blowback rules the wilderness of mirrors

It’s easy to dismiss Daesh as the apex of barbarian cultural idiosyncrasies. Even wallowing in gruesomeness, Daesh has been able to project a universalist dimension beyond its Sunni Arab Middle Eastern base. It’s like the clash of civilizations playing in a wilderness of mirrors. Daesh amplifies the clash not between East and West, or the Arab world and the Atlanticist hegemon, but mostly between a certain (warped) conception of Islam and assorted infidels. Daesh “welcomes” everyone, even Catholic Europeans while persecuting Arab infidels and bad Muslims.

It’s no wonder the Caliphate — a concrete utopia on the ground – finds an echo among young lone wolves living in the West. Because Daesh insists on the colonial Franco-British – and then neocolonial American — history of Muslims being trampled upon by a dominating, infidel West, they manage to channel a diffuse sentiment of injustice among the young.

Everyone – US, France, Britain, Russia, Iran — is now at war with Daesh (Turkey only half-heartedly, as well as the House of Saud and the GCC petrodollar gang; for them this not a priority.)

But this is a war without a serious political long-term perspective. No one is discussing the place for Sunni Arabs in an Iraq dominated by the Shiite majority; how to put the Syrian state back together; or whether private donors to Daesh from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates will simply disappear.

The encirclement of Raqqa and the re-conquest of Mosul will mean absolutely nothing if the causes of Daesh’s initial success are not addressed. It starts with the West’s mission civilisatrice as the cover story for unbounded colonial domination, and it straddles the methodical, inexorable, slow motion American destruction of Iraq. Blowback will continue to reign over the wilderness of mirrors; an attack near the British Parliament by a knife-carrying lone wolf “soldier answering “its call” killing four people mirrored by US jets bombing a school near Raqqa killing thirty-three civilians.

Petraeus may have trained them in the deserts of Al-Anbar. But most of all that rough beast, slouching towards Camp Bacca to be born, bore the touch of a Western mind.

Trump Obamacare Repeal Blew Up Bigly Because of a House Divided Against Itself

The following article by David Haggith is from The Great Recession Blog:

By Enola Gay Tail Gunner S/Sgt. George R. (Bob) Caron (SElephant at zh.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Trump’s really big supporters openly grieved that the explosion of his emphatically promised Obamacare replacement bodes poorly for all of Trump’s plans. Fox’s Sean Hannity and Lou Dobb’s regaled the Republican party for failing to take the reins and lead now that the party finally has the chance to prove it can do what it has promised. Hannity stated that numerous high authorities told him this marks the end of any Obamacare repeal for 2017.

This first attempt by Trump and his party to see if they can accomplish anything together was by everyone’s account (except Trump’s) a dismal failure. Even Paul Ryan, who drafted the plan that Trump endorsed, admitted the enormity of failure quite honestly. The least I can say for him (not being one who likes him in the slightest) is that he owned it.

Ryan picked up the argument leveled against Republicans by Democrats when they were running congress, which said that it is easy to be an opposition party and simply stand against everything, but quite a different matter to be creative and actually govern. Democrats long argued that Republicans really have no plan to replace Obamacare that could possibly succeed — that they were all talk — and Republicans just proved them right. Since Republicans kept Democrats completely out of the discussion, it’s fair to say Republicans failed entirely on their own.

Ryan failed embarrassingly, and I question whether his leadership will survive this failure, except for the fact that the faction most responsible for the failure (outside of Ryan himself) is the one that would likely seek his blood if Ryan had succeeded. Nevertheless, they cannot stand him and would probably join any other faction that now wants to bring him down.

Trump failed bigly, too, because the truth is that he swore over and over to his supporters that he would get a “great” replacement through congress as one of his first orders of business. Granted he did not say he would succeed right away, but only that he would make it his first order of business. It is, however, now questionable that he will ever get a replacement through, much less a great one. He has three more years to try again, but a total failure within your own party to get your first order of business done, especially when it is something the entire Republican party has said it will do over and over for years and when you are in your honeymoon period, is no small failure.

Ryan has manned up to that. The party needs to also. Trump blamed it on Democrats, but that actually is deplorable, because Trump knew every time he made the promise that he didn’t have a ghost of a chance at getting Democrat support, given how much he attacked them over the plan. How could he not know that unless he is delusional? The last group in the world that would help him repeal Obamacare would be Democrats. So, if the repeal’s failure is their fault, give that they were never even included in the discussion, the failure to realize the obvious — that they would never support him — was his own.

Republicans could learn from this and do better, but it remains to be seen whether they are able and willing to learn. That requires humility, which is always scarce in congress. In the meantime, the failure to deliver Trump’s big promise of “immediate Obamacare repeal” is a death knell to the Trump Rally, and the clock is ticking against all of Trump’s plans.

(It doesn’t guarantee that the stock market will immediately crash, though it easily could; but its rally days are over. My prediction last year was that the rally would end as soon as Trump and congress had to actually work together. That is when investors would be forced to grasp reality and see that nothing Trump has promised is anywhere near as likely to come to pass as they believe. That is when I expected they will start to let go of their Tumphoria. Candidate promises are easily made. Legislation is not, and congress has never been more divided. Neither has that congressional subset called Republicans.

 

A house divided against itself

 

Here is how it all came down.

The proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) died because the House Republican Conference (the official name for the entire Republican caucus in the House of Representatives) is divided into factions that aligned in three groups.  When the center group — the largest group of Republicans who solidly backed Paul Ryan’s bill — tried to move further right to appease the most conservative group, it lost votes from the group that is furthest left (more centrist with respect to American politics overall). There are nowhere near enough votes in the center group of Republicans to beat Democratic opposition, and compromise toward one faction lost the other; so no House majority could be built.

It is hard to say exactly who was in each group because no vote was taken to put members on record, but this appears to be generally how things fell apart:

1) By far the largest group would have consisted of the house’s largest conservative faction (172 members), known as the Republican Study Committee, probably joined by members of the House Republican Conference who do not identify with any particular faction. I’m talking here about the group that solidly supported President Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on the AHCA as originally drafted.

The Republican Study Committee — formed in 1973 to keep an eye on the party’s moderate leadership during the Nixon-Ford years — is the House’s oldest active faction. It has allied itself over the years with the National Rifle Association, the Heritage Foundation, Focus on the Family, the religious right, Concerned Women for America, the conservative magazine National Review.  One might now categorize it as representing the center of the House Republican Conference (though the truest middle consists people who don’t belong to any faction).

This caucus, as the House Republican Conference’s mainstay faction, has included such Republican luminaries as Vice President Dan Quayle, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and current Vice President Mike Pence. House Speaker John Boehner was not a member of the group.

2) The smallest, rewest, and most conservative faction of the House Republican Conference, called the “Freedom Caucus,” was established in 2015 to battle then Speaker John Boehner, particularly to fight his approval of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). These members of congress can be seen as the present rabble rousers because this is the faction that was willing to shut down the government in the original fight against Obamacare. Naturally, this group remains set toward making sure Obamacare is completely repealed and is willing to shut down government again, including apparently the leader of the House and the President just to make sure Obamacare is fully repealed. Not compromising on abolishing Obamacare was more important to them than whether or not Trump succeeds by getting off to a strong start.

The Freedom Caucus is tough enough that it forced John Boehner to remove his butt from the speaker’s cushion, which led to his exiting congress altogether, so Paul Ryan knows full well they could accomplish that again. This battle-hardened caucus embraces the tea party folks, but it is not the Tea Party Caucus, which is now nearly inactive because the official Tea Party Caucus was largely rejected by citizens in the tea party movement (including members of congress, such as Marco Rubio, who were elected by those citizens). It was rejected because the tea party movement saw the Tea Party Caucus as a Republican attempt to hijack a grass-roots movement. By nature, those who identify themselves as part of the tea party movement do not want to see their movement institutionalized or co-opted by the establishment.

The Freedom Caucus currently has thirty-one members. The group that initially opposed the ACHA certainly included this faction and likely some of the Republicans’ more libertarian faction, formed by Representative Ron Paul, called the Liberty Caucus. These two factions overlap in membership. Michelle Bachman, for example, was a founder of the Tea Party Caucus (now largely subsumed by the Freedom Caucus) and a member of the Liberty Caucus.

3) A larger faction of the House Republican Conference consists of about fifty people, who are the left-most Republicans in the House of Representatives (meaning only that they are moderates since no one in the Republican party is a leftist). This group was established in 1994 as the “Tuesday Group” when Republicans took control of the House under the more conservative leadership of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich rallied Republicans around his Contract with America. The Tuesday Group formed to resist Gingrich’s more conservative positioning of the Republican party.

The actual battle went like this: Unquestionably, those aligned with the Freedom Caucus felt the original AHCA bill, as proposed by Paul Ryan, did not go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Therefore, the group of Republicans who were with Trump and Ryan modified the bill to strip out more of Obamacare by taking down some of its Medicaid provisions and other benefits in order go gain some of the more conservative votes. That resulted in those aligned with the Tuesday Group (the most moderate Republicans) feeling the bill now went further right than they could tolerate. As a result, the Republicans lost some moderate votes when they compromised to pick up more conservative votes, and they never gained all of the conservative votes. So, they could not find a majority that could agree on any bill, and they had already thumbed their noses at Democrats completely, so they certainly wouldn’t get any help there.

 

Why Trump faces big-league troubles in enacting any of his stimulus plans

 

As Lincoln said in quoting Jesus Christ, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Lincoln was talking about government. Jesus was talking about the devil. Beg me to describe the difference.)

One major accusation Democrats made against Republicans when Republicans ran an opposition government against Obama was that it is easy to simply be against everything. It is quite another job to govern — to have a clear vision, a good vision that will actually do something for America, and then to unite behind it. Anybody can oppose things without an idea in his or her head as to what will actually work to do some good.

Now that he’s been knocked around by his own party, Paul Ryan co-opted the argument as his own: (See his comments at the start and then at the 6:30 time maker and especially 8:12 marker.)

 

 

 

 

And this is exactly why Trump is going to have a hard time getting his legislation passed. Republicans could somewhat unite in opposing anything Democrats came up with because even enemies are known to unite around a common foe. However, the formation of the Freedom Caucus and its overthrow of John Boehner proves even that kind of unity is never complete and hard to achieve. Coming up with great ideas, which Trump entrusted to Ryan, and then uniting around something you can support, though not fully, is harder still.

As the new opposition government, Democrats are solidly united against Trump, and the Republican party is too divided to create a large enough majority to overcome the Democrats. It has become increasingly divided since the tea-party movement began, so that will not easily change. It could change now that all Republicans should be able to see that, if they don’t unite around something, they will get nothing at all; but will it?

The Freedom Caucus has not exactly shown itself to be a group that is amendable to softening its positions toward the party’s center, and the Tuesday Group, which might soften toward the party’s center, will never go as far right on anything as the Freedom Caucus demands. That said, other issues may be less polarizing than Obamacare, given that the Freedom Caucus largely formed around the intention of defeating Obamacare during the Boehner years.

It took only took a matter of days for plan number one to fall embarrassingly flat on its face. That’s a bitter reality for both Trump and Ryan because promises to repeal and replace Obamacare or just abolish it entirely were the biggest and most frequent pledges heard from all Republicans. So, if they can’t get together on that …

Trump also blinked on his get-tough negotiations with his own party. He said he was going to force a vote so that Republicans who voted against this repeal and replacement of parts of Obamacare would be held accountable on election day. He reneged and backed Ryan’s desire to simply pull the vote so that no one is held accountable and no one can see by what margin it actually failed. (Perhaps the failure was bigger than we know.)

As a result, no one had to go on record as being the reason hope of an Obamacare repeal in 2017 failed. As Ryan announced in the video above, Obamacare now stands as the law of the land for the foreseeable future because Republicans could not find any plan around which they could form a congressional majority. (In other words, he will not approve another go at it in this session of congress because the votes are not there, nor is the hope of compromise; and any future party leader is going to be hesitant to take this battle on, seeing how Ryan got clobbered.)

Due to a small faction demanding everything, no Republican got anything they could take back to their voters. Even strong supporters of President Trump like Lou Hobbs and Sean Hannity see this as a massive failure of the Republican House to accomplish anything:

 

 

 

 

As Hannity said to all congressional Republicans in the video above just before the bill’s final hour,

 

It’s time for you to give the American people a bill that you have now promised them for almost eight years. I would argue tonight, Failure is not an option for the president of the United States and his first piece of legislation. If you don’t succeed, you will have nobody to blame but yourselves…. And here’s my message to you people in congress: For the love of God, after eight years, can you please do your job? Can you please find a way to work together? Can you please find a way to serve your country, not yourselves, not your re-election?

 

They just couldn’t do it. They could not succeed even in the slightest compromise even with the promise that this was only phase one and more of their wishes would come later. Republicans now have all the reins of power, and they still accomplished nothing!

 

What it all means for the Trump Rally

 

This total fiasco — which was huge, really huge — demonstrates why I’ve said all along that Trump’s road to getting his plans enacted through congress, even with Republicans in control of both houses, is far from being the likelihood that has been priced into the stock market by the Trump Rally.

While the AHCA defeat is not the end of the game for Trump’s plans, it shows exactly why I’ve said the Trump Rally is a clear case of irrational exuberance on the scale that precedes a major crash (said when writing about the stock market’s response to Trump’s stimulus plans back in December):

 

Is the stock market irrational in its exuberance for shifting so much just because of Trump’s pledges, which are far, far from becoming reality? I think so. I haven’t even talked about Democrat resistance to Trump’s plans, and he’s already got resistance from the Republican leader of the senate…. That doesn’t mean the market won’t keep going up. Who knows what the maximum height or duration of irrational exuberance is (because who knows how crazy people can get); but I am certain of this much: the higher the stock market rockets upward on such irrationality, the harder it falls into the chasm of ever-growing debt from which it has been constructed…. There is nothing you’re going to do that can stop the markets (in stocks and bonds) from having their hangover when the bubbly stuff is over and irrational exuberance suddenly looks like delirium. Our greatest economic crashes have always happened when least expected. (“Irrational Exuberance in US Stock Market Grasps at 20K for Dow“)

 

This past week proves the stock market was irrationally premature in rising to Trump’s stimulus talk. Trump has no possibility of any support from Democrats, who hate his guts on just about everything he stands for, and we have now seen proof that he has no majority support he can count on in his own party.

This is one major reason I have refused to join those who believe things will and are now turning around economically because of Trump’s election, even though it has probably cost me readers (given that my audience is largely anti-establishment). For Trump’s plans to become reality, he has to build consensus around a plan that can save the economy, and he is far from either consensus or a plan that can save the economy from its fundamental flaws. The best his plan would do — if he could get it enacted — is pump it higher for a little longer. You can accomplish a little bit in the US by executive decree, but not much. Maybe Republicans will now join around a tax plan, but time is not on their side.

So, my prediction remains that the economy, including the stock market, goes down this year for the numerous reasons I’ve given beyond the solitary reason that has just played out above. He hasn’t even started squaring off with the Democrat’s opposition. This one went down just from the opposition within his own party!

It’s time to wake up and smell the ammonia!

Colonel Shaffer: “I Believe This is Much Worse Than Watergate”

The noose is tightening Obamafags. While you occupy yourselves by injecting heroin into your scrawny arms at one of your Antifa meetups, AG Sessions is preparing the groundwork to end the legacy of King Obama — sending him barreling towards a scandal far greater than anything Nixon ever did — crushing and poleaxing any hopes of rejuvenating the broken status of the democratic party.

Here’s Tony Shaffer, former senior intelligence officer at the CIA, saying that the wiretapping scandal against Trump is ‘orders of magnitude’ worse than Watergate — alluding to Bob Woodward’s comments made earlier this week describing the offenses as being ‘felony level’ crimes that might wreak havoc throughout the former Obama administration.

“This incidental, it’s accidental on purpose.’

The unmasking of Trump and his cohorts means they specifically targeted him and his team. The political appointees at the CIA, aka black hats, aren’t laughing anymore.

Meanwhile, continue to bask in your Obamacare victory. I’m certain the people will appreciate it going forward — as it cascades and cracks asunder amidst financial failure in the near term.

Content originally generated at iBankCoin.com

How The Surveillance Program Works, And Who Can Order It: Former Intel Chair Explains

As the Russians-hacked-the-DNC narrative collapses, and evidence-less accusations of Trump-Putin relations fade fast, the circle of possible culprits behind the one crime that we know for sure that happenedthe leaking of unmasked American’s names in intelligence interceptsis narrowing hour by hour.

Former House intel chair Pete Hoekstra tells Fox Business, who could have ordered the wiretapping of Trump campaign and authorized the unmasking of Americans’ names in the intercepts.

Hoekstra goes on to tell The Wall Street Journal,

“When I was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, I was routinely involved in briefings as a member of the “Gang of Eight”—both parties’ leaders in the House and Senate and on the intelligence committees. I cannot recall how many times I asked to see raw intelligence reporting and was refused because that stuff is just not made available to policy makers.

 

But according to Mr. Nunes, such information made its way to the Obama White House before Inauguration Day. Few if any people working in the White House would ever need to see raw intelligence. Like intelligence committee members, they are typically consumers of intelligence products, not raw intelligence.

 

The raw transcripts of masked persons – or unmasked persons, or U.S. persons who can be easily identified – making their way to the White House is very likely unprecedented. One can only imagine who, at that point, might be reading these reports. Valerie Jarrett? Susan Rice? Ben Rhodes? The president himself? We don’t know, and the people who do aren’t talking at the moment.”

The point here, as The Washington Examinder writes, assuming again that Nunes spoke truthfully in his presser, is that this could potentially become a huge story. This despite the extremely negative reaction that Nunes got from journalists on Twitter.

If documents containing the unmasked names of Trump transition members were shared throughout the government, it would really be worrisome, as Nunes said it was. Intelligence agencies are generally supposed to avoid collecting information about Americans to the extent possible. Incidental collection happens, of course, because sometimes Americans talk to people under surveillance. But to share what is incidentally collected, on purpose, seems extraordinary, especially in this case, given Nunes’ claims that the disclosures have little or no intelligence value, and that the information involved apparently has nothing to do with Russia or the Trump team’s nefarious ties thereto.

Even if what Trump said in the first place about having his wires tapped is only about 5 percent true (which is to say, it is completely false, but vaguely based on something factual), the story that Nunes outlined has real potential to be a big thing that blows up in the face of at least a few Obama administration officials. Assuming, of course, that Nunes represented the facts accurately.