IG Report Contradicts Itself

The Inspector General released a report on the findings of an examination into the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia “collusion”. The report is over 400 pages long and I will admit that in this case I have no plans to read the whole thing. Just what I have seen thus far tells me what I need to know.

This report states that the beginning of this investigation was not biased. This is one key point to pay attention to. The stress is being placed on the beginning of the investigation. It actually does not state that the investigation was not biased, only that the beginning was not biased.

No matter what, this alone contradicts the findings of the report. If only one candidate in an election is being investigated, that is the definition of bias. Throughout Russiagate, I have written many times that what illustrates clear bias is the fact that Clinton was not investigated regarding Russia. Keep in mind that Clinton signed off on Uranium One, where Russia gained processing rights to 20% of uranium mined in the US. In addition, Bill Clinton gave a speech in Russia, promoting investments in Uranium One, for which he was paid $500,000. This occurred while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, yet was never included in the Russia “investigation”. In addition, Robert Mueller signed off on the intelligence regarding Uranium One. Later on, Uranium One resulted in widespread charges of bribery, coercion and corruption, along with unaccounted for uranium shipments. All those charges were for events which took place right here in the US. So, Clinton was never investigated regarding Uranium One and Mueller went on to be named special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election.

Serious performance failures. The report goes on to state that there were “serious performance failures” conducted in the course of the examination. This is basically the same as Comey’s statement where he talked for 14 minutes detailing all the things Hillary Clinton did wrong, even criminally so, with her private email server which placed national security at risk. Then talking for one minute exonerating her by saying he found no intent. Kind of like saying, “She knew she was breaking the law and had the entire State Department to advise her but she didn’t mean to do it.”

Legality versus ethics. What this report attempts to do is state that the FBI did not break the law. It does not actually prove in any way that there was no bias. Even regarding the law, the report details that one FBI lawyer claimed that Carter Page was not a CIA asset, while Page was indeed a CIA asset during the time he was being investigated. That FBI lawyer may well be charged with a federal crime as a result. The US federal attorney in Connecticut is currently looking into that possibility. In addition, relevant information was omitted and some information was not corroborated during the repeated applications for FISA warrants. There was one person who was not being investigated at all, yet was monitored by the FBI during the investigation.

Major changes. Christopher Wray, FBI Director, has said that the report will result in over 40 changes being made to procedures. I accept the fact that changes in procedure happen all the time for many reasons. However, one has to question why it takes such a public and high level examination to force changes in procedures for one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, a massive percentage of an organization which is comprised of legal professionals. I have my suspicions that if these changes were applied retroactively, the entire Russia investigation would be declared invalid. I also have to question how many other investigations these processes have affected over how long. Yet in those less visible cases no changes were made because the processes did not gain widespread public attention.

Ultimately, the claims that there was no bias in the entire process fall flat. Anyone who has a sense of justice or respect of legality understands this.

I know some people are going to claim that in some way I support Trump. There is absolutely no truth in this and is highly evidenced in past articles I have written. I have written a multiple part series on why universal healthcare is the best system. I have written articles raging against racism. I detailed how immigrants benefit the economy on more than one occasion, even running numbers on the subject to back up my statements. I am an avid defender of Venezuela. Have demonstrated clearly that the economy is not doing well and a crash is coming soon. Called the claim of low unemployment into question using facts and published numbers which detail just how false those numbers are.

One does not have to support Trump to still support actual justice. One does not have to have TDS to call him out on lies, lies which are too frequently echoed in neoliberal media as fact. One does not have to support Trump to oppose an impeachment process which sets a precedent which is literally more dangerous than Trump himself. One does not have to be a Russian asset to realize that the intelligence agencies have demonstrated an absolute bias and have gone absolutely rogue in their duties, loyal only to their own agenda.

This is not justice. This is not legality. This is not democracy. This is not right. This is not anything close to what this nation is supposed to be about. Right now, what we need to be aware of is not the danger Trump poses but the much greater dangers posed by the “resistance”. We have seen the rise of censorship and return of McCarthyism. We have seen the “resistance” oppose recall of the military while silent on increased militarization. We have seen the military budget explode beyond all belief. We have watched evidence fabricated or told something was evidence as millions claim to see something which is not there in extended mass schizophrenic episodes. We are seeing huge numbers of people denying the risk or even cheering on the risk of war with nuclear powers.

I hate Trump but even more I hate what this country has become and am terrified of what it is becoming.

Gabbard Would Outperform Sanders In Debate With Trump

Tulsi Gabbard would have a considerable edge in debate against Trump which Sanders would not have. The ONLY exception would be voters rabidly pro-Sanders or ANYONE-but-Trump. For all other voters, in debate with Trump, Sanders would struggle with certain topics which most Americans find highly important.

Russiagate and Sanders. The first example of this came this week. Hillary Clinton went on a talk show and tied Sanders to the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, most of us have little interest in what Clinton has to say on any subject, so this should be a non-issue. However, it was picked up by the Russiagate media and talked about widely.

Now the biggest problem with this subject is the fact that Sanders has not opposed Russiagate. He has propagated it. He has stated publicly that Russia helped his campaign in 2016 without his knowledge. He has previously accused his own supporters in 2016 of being influenced by Russian propaganda if they did so much as question Hillary Clinton.

What this means is that Sanders has bound his own hands regarding Russiagate. So far the media on this subject has gone easy on Sanders. You may think not but trust me, it will absolutely get worse. Sanders has not faced any accusations regarding Russiagate in DNC debates. Trump will absolutely bring up the subject, even if only in an attempt to deflect accusations against him by the media. This will place Sanders on the defensive because the questions will come not only from Trump but also neoliberal AND conservative media. Trump has denied any political ties to Russia and can point to how hawkish he has been against Russia. Sanders has no effective defense, since he has promoted the Russiagate narrative and claims that Russia helped him in 2016.

Russiagate and Gabbard. Gabbard would not have this problem. She makes her foreign policy stance very clear. She will work toward diplomacy and easing tensions with other countries, including Russia. The risk of maintaining those tensions is too great to allow them to increase further. Aside from wild-eyed schizophrenic talking heads who see Russians in their closets and refrigerators, there has been no accusation of Gabbard having any ties to Russia and those claims cannot be in any way quantified rationally. I’m sure Rachel Maddow will try, though.

Election integrity. Another issue on which Gabbard has the upper hand is her defense of election integrity. It has been absolutely proven that the DNC committed election fraud in 2016, with Hillary Clinton at the helm. Trump will absolutely bring that subject up. Sanders will have no defense on the subject at all. Not only did he campaign for Clinton in 2016 but he has been completely silent regarding election fraud in the primary up to this very day.

Gabbard, on the other hand, stepped down from the DNC vice chair position to protest election fraud, did NOT campaign for Clinton, has been publicly critical regarding the DNC and openly opposed Clinton only weeks ago. She also has announced that she will not be running for her Congressional seat again, so the DNC holds absolutely no power over her political future, as far as we know at this time.

Foreign policy. On foreign policy, Trump would likely not even challenge Gabbard. While he has failed at his campaign promises of ending wars and easing tensions with allegedly hostile leaders, he can point to efforts he has made. Gabbard also shows she will meet with those leaders and states the absolute goal of ending wars. Trump can absolutely challenge Sanders on foreign policy because Sanders has only offered platitudes on foreign policy. He has not offered any specific policies, goals or methods for his foreign policies.

Healthcare. Trump’s healthcare policies have been an absolute tragedy, leaving millions without medical insurance coverage of any kind while insurance and medical costs have continued to rise drastically. The one thing he can point to is that he eliminated mandatory private coverage and the penalty for not being insured. He will use the last part as a weapon against both Sanders and Gabbard, who both support universal healthcare.

With Gabbard, she openly states she supports universal healthcare with no private insurance involved for basic care. She does support the availability of supplemental care through private insurance, which is consistent with most countries that have universal healthcare. Much of her proposed healthcare plan would be paid for by reducing military spending. That reduction would be constant, not affected by stock market performance.

With Sanders, his plan also has the same components. However, he has been less prone to discuss the supplemental insurance aspect, which can be construed as an attempt to hide that fact. His plan is largely financed through a tax on stock market trades. Problem is, the amount available would decline if and when the stock market declines. Which the stock market is poised to do precipitously. He states he would decrease defense spending but without a plan in place for reducing conflicts, that would be difficult to justify and accomplish.

Debate style. One has to look at debate styles and behavior. On his own, Trump goes on tangents, we all know this. However, if you recall the RNC debates in 2016, he tends to remain rather composed and on the offensive at all times.

Sanders can be put on the defensive easily. He does try and keep a strong focus on the issues but can become visibly shaken. Trump has the tendency to change subjects and use more personal attacks, which tends to put Sanders on the defensive and he is rather consistent about it. When faced with subjects for which he actually has to defend himself, he stutters a lot.

Gabbard is a lot harder to shake. She can go on the offensive very easily. She goes into debate well prepared regarding her opponent. That is, in addition to being well versed on the issues. On top of that, she thinks on her feet and can transition without blinking an eye. She can face an aggressive opponent down with a smile on her face, never show fear and not stutter a single time.

Between Sanders and Gabbard in debate against Trump or any aggressive opponent, I would definitely say Gabbard would fare much better. Sanders fosters the image of the grandfather figure focused on domestic policy. Gabbard projects the image of a warrior, ready to fight the Establishment while working to ease international tensions. In a world currently at war, with raging international tensions, highly aggressive characters and forces in our political parties and a blatantly dishonest, adversarial corporate media, at this time the warrior/diplomat is what this country sorely needs and the one who will fare far better in debate in this environment.

Don’t Be Impressed By Black Friday Sales Numbers

The media has been making a huge deal out of the large consumer spending numbers on Black Friday this year, touted as the most ever spent on Black Friday and a considerable increase over last year.

However, all of this is being viewed through a laser-focused lens. Absolute tunnel vision is in effect, giving a distorted image of the truth. There is a lot more which has to be taken into consideration than the numbers of a single day or weekend.

Timing is everything. The first thing to take into consideration is when Black Friday occurs during a given year. This year it occurred on 11/29/19. What does that mean? It means that 12/1 occurred on a weekend. The result is that Social Security, government and many other paychecks typically paid on the 1st of the month were deposited instead on.. Black Friday. If you have ever been shopping, especially grocery shopping, you know that the first weekend of the month is generally much busier than other weekends because of those consumers forced to live paycheck to paycheck. The last time that Black Friday and December 1st occurred on the same weekend was in 2013. (7 year cycle.) Guess what the media was reporting at the time? They reported how consumer sales had increased over the previous year for Black Friday. Not to the same degree, of course. We were allegedly coming out of the Great Recession and one has to take inflation into account, which affects absolute numbers AND percentages reported.

Changing shopping habits. Another thing to take into consideration is that remote orders for store pickup increased considerably this year. While part of this is technology-driven, it also indicates consumers are planning their purchases in advance. They know what they are going to buy and that is what they order. This has the effect of reducing impulse purchases made while shoppers wander through stores and buy more than they originally planned. If shoppers only buy what they have planned for, this indicates that spending will most likely taper off very quickly before mid-December, which will negate the gains reported right now.

A wider view. When we take all the above into account, the obvious becomes clear. We cannot look at a single day or weekend to judge consumer spending or confidence. Instead, we have to take a wider view and look at consumer spending both before and after Black Friday weekend. Not meaning an isolated view of one week before and after but at least 1 month before and after. This gives us a much more accurate view. Obviously we cannot really predict what the coming month will bring but we can look back at previous months. In October, retail sales increased by 0.3%. Statistically this is negligible to begin with. However, go back one more month and we find that sales in September had declined by 0.3%, which brings even the October increase to a flat even number.

Consumer sales do not equal consumer spending. Something else to look at is how these sales are funded. Consumer credit spending has increased and that is likely how much of the current spending was funded. Many consumers are still paying credit card debt from 2018. This is debt spending, which is not truly consumer spending. Rather than indicating consumer confidence or any improvement in the economy, it tends to indicate the reverse, that consumers are not in the position to spend actual income at this time. Even if they have the liquid assets to spend, they are not willing to part with those assets, which demonstrates a lack of confidence in the ability to recuperate those assets in the near future.

The Trump irony. It is extremely ironic that the neoliberal media is reporting how well sales are doing, which amounts to a claim that the economy is doing extremely well. In effect, they are stating that Trump is having a positive effect on the economy. This, even as they make concurrent claims that he is destroying the economy and the country. The numbers they are reporting literally increase support for Trump, even as the neoliberal media is pushing for his impeachment. Meanwhile the same corporate media on both sides report falsified employment numbers and simply do not report comprehensive numbers of layoffs and retail or manufacturing closures which have taken place this year. What they are doing is trying to play both sides in an attempt to force the illusion that capitalism is successful while trying to bring down the most capitalistic president to ever hold US office.

The rebound effect. Consumer debt is already at a level higher than any time in history, while labor income is the lowest it has been in decades in terms of real wages. Now consumers appear to be taking on new debt. If jobs which offer living wages are not created in mass numbers in the very near future, meaning the next few months, as debts come due we will see consumer spending plummet drastically as consumers are forced to reduce immediate spending to pay the debts. This will cause more layoffs in an increasing spiral downward for the economy. This is likely to concur with the end of the Federal Reserve bailout of unstable banks, resulting in the perfect storm for an economic crash the likes of which few people have imagined.