Trump as Lightning Rod–Not Just for Disaffected Progressives, But For Panicked Insiders

Political agnostics who are skeptical about Big Government “solutions,” left or right, view the current hullabaloo about the Trump presidency with some detachment. What’s remarkable to us is the extremism, not just of those bitter about Clinton’s loss, but by insiders who are threatened by the possibility Trump may upset their insider skims and scams.

As an opening observation, I don’t recall bitter Nixon supporters issuing death threats to performers at John Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961–and the 1960 election was extremely close.

I also don’t recall bitter Gore supporters issuing death threats to performers at G.W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001–even though the 2000 election came down to a few hundred votes in Florida.

Trump is a lightning rod for a spectrum of people and organizations. Let’s see if we can separate the spectrum into socio-political groups.

In times of turmoil, identifying a bogeyman/woman as the cause of the turmoil is a classic mechanism for shirking responsibility and agency. This is the psychological source of witch-hunts (it’s all the witches’ fault!), scapegoating, show trials, and so on: it isn’t our fault things are falling apart, or the fault of our institutions–it’s the bogeyman/woman’s fault.

This transference/projection concentrates the blame and responsibility on The Other–a scapegoated group, or even better, one individual or a small group. Those making the accusation reckon pointing the finger at some target lets them off the hook: I am blameless, it’s all his/her fault.
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COMMON SENSE – 2017

“Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” John Adams

Thomas Paine was born in 1737 in Britain. His first thirty seven years of life were pretty much a series of failures and disappointments. Business fiascos, firings, the death of his first wife and child, a failed second marriage, and bankruptcy plagued his early life. He then met Benjamin Franklin in 1774 and was convinced to emigrate to America, arriving in Philadelphia in November 1774. He thus became the Father of the American Revolution with the publication of Common Sense, pamphlets which crystallized opinion for colonial independence in 1776.

The first pamphlet was published in Philadelphia on January 10, 1776, and signed anonymously “by an Englishman.” It became an instantaneous sensation, swiftly disseminating 100,000 copies in three months among the two and a half million residents of the 13 colonies. Over 500,000 copies were sold during the course of the American Revolution. Paine published Common Sense after the battle of Lexington and Concord, making the argument the colonists should seek complete independence from Great Britain, rather than merely fighting against unfair levels of taxation. The pamphlets stirred the masses with a fighting spirit, instilling in them the backbone to resist a powerful empire.
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Some Election Interference is More Equal Than Others – How Ukraine Meddled on Behalf of Clinton

Submitted by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

A couple of days ago, Politico published a fascinating piece describing how factions associated with the current Ukrainian government apparently interfered in the U.S. election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The findings seem pretty damning, and certainly warrant at least some conversation within the American media given the 24/7 obsession with Russia. Nevertheless, most of you have probably never heard of this saga, since when it comes to the corporate media news cycle, some election interference is more equal than others.

The article is lengthy, and can be confusing at times given all the moving parts, but I highly encourage you to read it. Ukrainian interference in the election can be traced to essentially two sources. First, there was the apparent collaboration between the Ukrainian embassy in Washington D.C. and a highly paid Ukrainian-American DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa. The second angle is far more disturbing, and involves the publicization of a so-called ledger demonstrating corruption between Paul Manafort and pro-Russian elements in Ukraine, by a parliamentarian named Serhiy Leshchenko. Bizarrely, the investigation was effectively dropped after Trump won the election, making you wonder if there was anything really there in the first place.

What follows are excerpts from the excellent piece, Ukrainian Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire:

Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.
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The Titanic Sails at Dawn: Warning Signs Point to Danger Ahead in 2017

By John Whitehead, the Rutherford Institute.

“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Despite our best efforts, we in the American police state seem to be stuck on repeat, reliving the same set of circumstances over and over and over again: egregious surveillance, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, censorship, retaliatory arrests, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, indefinite detentions, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, etc.

Unfortunately, as a nation we’ve become so desensitized to the government’s acts of violence, so accustomed to reports of government corruption, and so anesthetized to the sights and sounds of Corporate America marching in lockstep with the police state that few seem to pay heed to the warning signs blaring out the message: Danger Ahead.

Remember, the Titanic received at least four warnings from other ships about the presence of icebergs in its path, with the last warning issued an hour before disaster struck. All four warnings were ignored.

Like the Titanic, we’re plowing full steam ahead into a future riddled with hidden and not-so-hidden dangers. We too have been given ample warnings, only to have them drowned out by a carefully choreographed cacophony of political noise, cultural distractions and entertainment news—what the Romans termed “bread and circuses”—aimed at keeping the American people polarized, pacified and easily manipulated.
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Will the CIA Retaliate Against Trump?

By Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation.

In a truly remarkable bit of honesty and candor regarding the U.S. national-security establishment, new Senate minority leader Charles Schumer has accused President-elect Trump of “being really dumb.”

Was Schumer referring to Trump’s ideology, philosophy, or knowledge about economics or foreign policy?

None of the above. According to an article in The Hill, he told Rachel Maddow on her show that Trump was dumb for taking on the CIA and questioning its conclusions regarding Russia.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you…. He’s being really dumb to do this.”

Maddow then asked Schumer what he thought the intelligence community might do to Trump to get back at him.

Schumer’s response was fascinating and revealing. He responded, “I don’t know.”

So, Schumer knows that there are six ways from Sunday for the intelligence community to get back at Trump but then, a few seconds later, can’t enumerate even one of those ways? That makes no sense, unless he was a bit scared to go into the details for fear that one of those “six ways from Sunday” might be employed against him.

In any event, Schumer’s point is a good one, even if he is reluctant to clarify it. No president since John F. Kennedy has dared to take on the CIA or the rest of the national security establishment or to operate outside the bounds of permissible parameters within the paradigm of the national-security state.
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Indict Clinton For the Russian DNC Hack

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As if neo-liberal sensibilities weren’t hurt enough, it’s time to get to the bottom of the Russian hacks. The problem is no matter what direction you investigate the hacks from, it always goes back to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. They are the responsible parties for the hacks that were done.

Based on the real evidence, both the Clinton campaign and the DNC are never more than one connection away from the Ukrainian Intelligence operatives that claim their hack changed the course of world politics during the past months. How many hacks claim that laurel in 2016?

This raises questions like why is the Clinton campaign working with a foreign government to change the course of the election? This assessment comes from the Clinton campaign and their hired hands as being the real result that the DNC hack caused. It’s just that they didn’t count on the possibility of going to trial for it themselves.

If the Clinton campaign and the DNC are shown clearly to be working with a foreign country to influence the outcome of the election, should the country be sanctioned? By the end of this, the case is made that Ukraine should undergo every sanction that has been proposed for Russia. This is because their Intel services are clearly capable of and responsible for the hacking that Obama has laid at the feet of the Russian government. The hackers in question from the group KievHunta, RUH8 (Sean Townsend) should be investigated and extradited.
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Will Our Grandchildren Wonder Why We Didn’t Build a Renewable Power Grid When It Was Still Affordable?

Anyone seeking clarity on the energy picture a decade or two out is to be forgiven for finding a thoroughly confusing divide. On the one hand, we have reassuring projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that assume current production of fossil fuels will remain steady for decades to come. Coal will continue to decline as a share of total energy consumption, and renewables will rise modestly. In other words, everything’s hunky-dory, there’s nothing to worry about.

The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (64-page PDF) lays out the all-is-well, no-worries projections.

If you want to really dig deep into energy consumption, then the EIA has a treat for you: a detailed 390-page PDF report: Energy Perspectives 1949–2011 (link to 390-page PDF).

But just when you conclude fossil fuels will remain cheap and abundant until 2040 and beyond, you read this: Civilization goes over the net energy cliff in 2022, which references a 65-page PDF report that details a much different view of energy that will actually be available to us, as opposed to estimates of reserves awaiting extraction: Depletion: A determination for the world’s petroleum reserve (65-page PDF)

Here’s an excerpt:

Determining the depletion state of a resource is, however, not merely a matter of determining how much of the resource remains in the ground. A resource’s depletion state has as much to do with the efficiency with which it can be extracted and used as it has to do with the quantity of resource remaining in the ground. To define oil’s depletion state it is necessary to look at the efficiency with which crude oil can be extracted, processed, and used. Therefore it is necessary to understand why petroleum is produced, and then be able to analysis the entire production process; not just the extraction portion. The Quality Control Engineer defines this as determining “fitness for use”. To define crude oil’s depletion state we must first determine the quantity of it that is “fit for use”.
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