Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sandy Hook Lawsuit Against Remington Sent Back to State Court

When Connecticut’s Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling last March that Remington Arms was protected from a lawsuit by families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, Remington appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Without comment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday turned back the appeal that allows the lawsuit against Remington to proceed.

The essence of the case against Remington is this: The company is accused of violating Connecticut’s fair trade laws by deceptively marketing its Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle. The company’s ads touted the rifle’s looks and expressed its benefits in ways that the families considered deceptive. That’s important because one of the exceptions to the federal law protecting arms manufacturers from such lawsuits — the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA — is that victims are allowed to sue if a manufacturer “knowingly violated a state or federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing” of a firearm.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs claimed that Remington’s Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle — the one Adam Lanza stole from his mother Nancy (before murdering her) and used to murder 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 — was “designed as a military weapon” and “engineered to deliver maximum carnage” with great efficiency.

They argued that Remington touted the rifle’s military appearance as a marketing strategy, including an ad showing a large picture of the rifle along with the text: “Forces of opposition, Bow down. The only rifle you need to master the infinite number of extreme scenarios you’ll face in the worlds of law enforcement and personal defense.” The ad called the rifle the “ultimate military combat weapons system,” adding that “It’s tested and proven reliable in the most brutal conditions on earth, truly ambidextrous and the uncompromising choice when you demand a rifle as mission-adaptable as you are.”

Another ad touted the rifle’s masculinity: “Consider your man card reissued.”

The attorneys chimed that somehow these influenced Adam Lanza to use the Bushmaster in his killing spree — that he was “encouraged” by those ads to use it to commit his atrocity at Sandy Hook. In its ruling last March that overturned the lower court, the state’s Supreme Court obliquely agreed: “If the defendants’ marketing materials did in fact inspire or intensify the massacre, then there are no more direct victims than these plaintiffs.”

Chief Justice Richard Robinson spoke for the Connecticut court’s majority:

If the defendants did indeed seek to expand the market for their assault [sic] weapons through advertising campaigns that encouraged consumers to use the weapons not for legal purposes such as self-defense, hunting, collecting, or target practice, but to launch offensive assaults against their perceived enemies, then we are aware of nothing in the text or legislative history of PLCAA to indicate that Congress intended to shield the defendants from liability for the tragedy that resulted.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The End Of NATO?

With less than a month until the next big NATO meeting, scheduled for the first week of December, France’s Macron has jumped into public relations mode to prepare the public for some big changes on the horizon. Indeed, Macron’s major interview with the Economist on November 7th on the question of the US’s alleged wavering commitment to NATO is a stunning sign of the times.

Cutting through a lot of intentionally confusing messaging, is that France and Germany are just fine with any end to NATO because it helps justify the coming European Army – one that they want, and believe they need anyhow. It only happens to be part of the same reality that US hegemony, and its ability to finance NATO in turn, are coming to an end. In sounding more like a radical post-structuralist international relations theorist than a fiscally conservative leader of a capitalist democracy, Macron shocked the world when he stated in no uncertain terms that this period we are in marks the end of ‘Western Hegemony’.

The real facts of motives behind big changes have an odd way of ultimately making themselves known for what they are at the end of the day. Often these are cloaked in the underlying framework of the politics of the time. Revealing these in the case of France and NATO can show some top-level word salad at play: justify independence not on the basis that being controlled isn’t fair, but rather that those doing the controlling aren’t doing it well enough and don’t seem committed to it as much as they ought to be. Macron is doing this very well, and mirrors Trump’s own discursive games.

Occupiers aren’t doing their job – the End of Trilateralism
Imagine if you will a French argument against the Nazi occupation not because it placed Germany in control of France’s fate, but rather on the basis that the Wehrmacht was decreasing its troop presence in France, or conversely appeared to be wavering on the Eastern Front, and as a consequence France was worried about Germany’s commitment to the Reich. This is, in short, what Macron is arguing today regarding the US and NATO.

Imagine likewise, that the Wehrmacht said it was considering abandoning its occupation of France not because it had to move resources to the Eastern Front, but because France wasn’t giving enough to the war effort. This is the crux of Trump’s argument for public consumption.

Under any other prior historical iterations, the US’s moves to reduce its NATO commitments to Western Europe would be hailed by progressives in the Democratic Party in the US as a step in the right direction. Yet now in this exciting time, one in which the US Empire is down-sizing and adjusting itself to its real force potential, progressives in the US are making geopolitical realism into a partisan issue: since the most obvious or observable stage is happening under a nominally conservative, Republican administration, it must therefore be a Democratic Party talking point to oppose this in principle.

The matter is of course deeper than this, and the Democratic Party’s investment in the trilateralism (US + EU + Japan) of Rockefeller and Brzezinski has been at odds with the unilateralism of the neoconservatives. We will recall when President George W Bush attacked Iraq, it came not long after moves by the Iraqi government to do their oil dealings in Euros. The Europe-wide hatred for Bush’s war on Iraq seemed to the politically naïve as an expression of social-democratic pacifism, but in reality was an expression of Europe’s sovereign financial interests versus dollar hegemony. These questions really have not gone away.

When NATO came onto the stage, it was couched in terms of protecting Western Europe from the growth of the Soviet sphere of influence which the latter had won from its victory over Germany in WWII.

The idea that NATO was not a collaborative and mutual effort of freely-acting European states in defense of market freedoms and Western values, but instead more like a US led and sustained military occupation in Western Europe, in the past could be criticized as either Communist or even neo-Nazi propaganda. Against this view the entire media-academic industry was mobilized, assuring the public that all the European countries of NATO were members of their own accord and will: an outgrowth of the democratic mandate from the peoples of the member states, arrived at through fair parliamentary processes.

Macron still needs to make everyone look good
All this places Macron in an odd position. NATO is the military component of economic Atlanticism, but this transatlantic relationship experienced a major breach of trust in the years following the US market crash in 2007. This was because US based banks and government colluded to deceitfully push a significant portion of its liabilities onto the EU all the while claiming these were investments – who in turn placed an undue burden in PIIGS countries, in particular Greece. This all in turn has fueled a marked increase in Eurosceptic and ‘exit’ movements across the beleaguered EU.

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Thursday, November 07, 2019

OMNICIDE: More People Than You Think Want to Destroy Humanity

Omnicide is defined as the extinction of humans at the hands of humans.  And more people than you could imagine want humanity to become extinct and eerily enough, we now have the technology to make it possible.

With the invention of the atomic bomb, the ultimate self-destruction of humanity and our extinction became possible. Right now, the governments of the world could eliminate humanity with nuclear weapons if they choose to do so.  They could also, most likely, exterminate everyone but themselves, as they relax in their safe houses and bunkers built to withstand a nuclear apocalypse.

My own research suggests that the percentage of people who would push a doomsday button, if it were placed within finger’s reach, is fairly small, but the absolute number is unacceptably high. Even a quick Google search seems to affirm this. –OneZero.Medium

Some groups, such as the Gaia Liberation Front (GLF), an ecoterrorist group, want everyone dead. GLF says that their mission is  “the total liberation of the Earth, which can be accomplished only through the extinction of the Humans as a species.” In advocating this, they argue that “if any Humans survive, they may start the whole thing over again. Our policy is to take no chances.”

GLF contends that bioengineering is “the specific technology for doing the job right of annihilating humanity — and it’s something that could be done by just one person with the necessary expertise and access to the necessary equipment.” They continue: “…genetically engineered viruses… have the advantage of attacking only the target species. To complicate the search for a cure or a vaccine, and as insurance against the possibility that some Humans might be immune to a particular virus, several different viruses could be released (with provision being made for the release of a second-round after the generals and the politicians had come out of their shelters).”

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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Sidney Powell Again Destroys DoJ/FBI in Flynn Case — When Will William Barr End This Nonsense?

In the case against Lt. General Michael Flynn, his lawyer Sidney Powell previously filed a motion to compel (MTC) Brady material from the prosecution (here).  Because the MTC raised stunning, potentially game-changing, legal and ethical issues the prosecution requested the opportunity to file a surreptitious reply to the court; a “surreply”. (here)
Judge Sullivan directed the prosecution to file their surreply, and then granted the defense the opportunity to file a sur-surreply, a response to the prosecution’s last argument. Today Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell filed that response (full pdf below).

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Friday, November 01, 2019

Former CIA Boss Celebrates Impeachment: 'Thank God for the Deep State!'

On Wednesday, just before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a former CIA boss praised the "whistleblower" behind the impeachment push. Adopting President Donald Trump's language, former acting CIA Director John E. McLaughlin declared, "Thank God for the 'deep state.'"

CBS News's Margaret Brennan asked an incisive question about the impeachment inquiry — which Pelosi announced last month before she led the House in formalizing it on Thursday.

"Now the impeachment inquiry is underway, sparked by a complaint from someone within the intelligence community. It feeds the president’s concern — and often used term — about a 'deep state' being there to take him out," Brennan suggested.

To this, McLaughlin somewhat ironically responded, "Thank God for the 'deep state.'"

While the audience laughed, it does not seem McLaughlin was merely telling a joke. He may reject Trump's language about the deep state, but he seemed to express genuine appreciation for members of the intelligence community who really did aim to take down the president.

Responding to the question about taking Trump out, McLaughlin insisted that the people in the intelligence community "are doing their duty or responding to a higher call." He noted that many of the Trump administration staff knew about the July 25 call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, but only a former and current CIA analyst went to Democrats in Congress with the story.

"With all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it, which was the trigger that unleashed everything else," McLaughlin said. "This is the institution in the U.S. government, that with all of its flaws — and it makes mistakes — is institutionally committed to objectivity and to telling the truth … Its whole job is to speak the truth. It’s engraved in marble in the lobby."

With all due respect, the intelligence community's record is not something to brag about at the current time, with John Durham's investigation into the roots of the Trump-Russia investigation and after the release of Andrew McCarthy's important book Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Case for Indicting John Brennan

Former CIA director John Brennan calls the Justice Department’s widening probe into Spygate’s origins “bizarre.” It has no “legal basis,” he bleats.

What’s bizarre is that the expanding inquiry didn’t happen earlier. Brennan’s responsibility for criminal leaks during the Obama administration’s investigation of Trump has been obvious for at least two years. Even Trump hater Peter Strzok, the FBI liaison to John Brennan, couldn’t believe the leaks coming out of his shop. Referring to Brennan’s agents as “sisters,” Strzok said to his mistress Lisa Page, “our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive.”

The “leaking like mad” began in the thick of the 2016 campaign, as the feverishly partisan John Brennan sought to sabotage Donald Trump before Election Day. Has John Durham, the U.S. attorney assigned to the probe of the Obama administration’s spying on Trump, talked to Harry Reid about Brennan’s leaking? He should. Recall Brennan’s blatant disclosure of classified information about the investigation to the former Nevada senator in the late summer/early fall of 2016. Reid has told reporters that Brennan used him as the conduit for that leak against Trump during the campaign: “Why do you think he called me?”

In other words, Brennan knew damn well that he was criminally leaking to a fellow anti-Trump partisan. That’s enough to indict him right there. Reid, of course, was happy to broadcast the leak to the media, but even he found Brennan’s “ulterior motive” for a senatorial briefing a little odd, as he explained to David Corn and Michael Isikoff in their book Russian Roulette. Corn and Isikoff write that Reid “had concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russian operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.”

Brennan has said that the widening probe “concerns” him. It should. He is guilty as hell. The news that his subordinates are lawyering up suggests that he is perhaps hoping that one of those saps takes the fall for him. But the fact remains that he conducted the briefing with Reid in the hopes of dirtying up Trump before election day.

Durham could also nail Brennan for perjury — his most obvious whopper being his denial before Congress of knowledge of the Hillary-financed Christopher Steele dossier. Reid had told Brennan about the Steele dossier in the summer of 2016. So, too, did Steele’s old colleagues in British intelligence, whose well-publicized role in feeding Brennan information about alleged Trump–Russia ties depended at least in part on Steele’s recycled yarns. Peter Strzok, to whom Brennan gave a special CIA award, would have also alerted him to Steele’s role in Crossfire Hurricane.

The same de

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Fliers accusing Jews of being behind 9/11 attacks appear near San Francisco

Antisemitic fliers saying that Jews and Israel were behind the 9/11 attacks appeared in Northern California about 30 miles from San Francisco.

The fliers discovered last weekend in Novato, a city of about 52,000 in the North Bay area, were plastered on telephone poles, storefronts and a high school campus. They said Israelis were seen dancing on the site of the collapsed Twin Towers, that a Jewish-Israeli man made billions in insurance money and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the attacks.

At the bottom of the page it says, “Wake up USA!”

Police Chief Adam McGill urged citizens to “stand up to hate,” but told the Marin Independent Journal that the fliers are protected by the First Amendment and there would be no investigation. No group has claimed responsibility for them. […]

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Elizabeth Warren is open to the idea of conditioning aid to Israel

Last month, the progressive think tank Data for Progress released report showing that a net majority of Democratic voters are receptive to the idea of cutting aid to Israel in order to curb their human rights violations.

These statistics certainly didn’t line up with the Beltway consensus on the issue, where it’s assumed that touching the issue could amount to political suicide. When the report was published, only two presidential candidates had floated such an idea: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who said he’d block any funding that might be used to annex the West Bank, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has floated the idea of conditioning aid to impact Israel’s policies multiple times.

We can now add a third name to that list: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

On a Saturday, Warren said she was open to the idea of conditioning aid if Israel continued to expand its settlements:

Right now, Netanyahu says he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements, [but] that does not move us in the direction of a two-state solution. It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table…Everything is on the table.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Interference by Unnamed “Foreign Powers” in Canada’s Elections? The Invasion of “America’s Backyard”

Intervention of an Unnamed Foreign Power: The United States of America

There is ample of evidence of foreign interference by an “unnamed foreign power”, which has barely been mentioned in the course of the election campaign.

In Canada’s history, as well as during the mandate of the Justin Trudeau’s government, the United States of America (rather than “unnamed foreign powers”) has intervened in what is euphemistically called  “America’s Backyard”, i.e. a nation state inside America’s sphere of influence.

And I am not referring to former president Obama’s recent statement in support for Justin Trudeau.

Washington is on record of having interfered in elections  in 45 countries according to political scientist Dov H. Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.  

While Canada is not mentioned in Don H Levin’s study, the history of US interference in Canada’s internal affairs goes far beyond the process of meddling in Canadian elections.

Canadian farmers are acutely aware of how the Trump administration in 2017 imposed without real negotiation, a complete overhaul of trade and investment relations leading to the formation of the so-call United States, Mexico, Canada USMCA trade agreement which is intended to replace NAFTA.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Elijah Cummings Murdered

UNITED States of America   -   It can be reported that the death of Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is under U.S. Military Court for the District of Columbia investigation and the evidence points directly to the fact that Cummings was murdered, a victim of medical poisoning while at a local Washington D.C. area hospital.

We can now divulge that Cummings actually came into possession of the noted Democratic National Committee server that showed direct correspondence between CIA stooge Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Bush Crime Family bag lady Victoria Nuland.

The communications dealt with a Turkish arms deal that was being negotiated through the noted American-Turkish Council in Istanbul with British Serco defense contractor being the middle man.

The communications and the negotiations were being done through the infamous Benghazi, Libya unregistered CIA diplomatic outpost with members of British Intelligence present.

The communications also dealt with the fact that the Ambassador to the unregistered outpost, Christopher Stevens, was opposed to this Turkish arms deal because he felt that it was illegal and a money laundry to benefit the Clinton Foundation and corrupt elements tied to the nation of Ukraine.

Stevens had also secured possession of Osama bin Laden aka 9/11 patsy and CIA employee Tim Osman actual death certificate that recorded bin Laden’s death in a CIA hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota in December of 2001.

Stevens was about to go public before Hillary and Tony Blair hired British Intelligence and British Petroleum (BP) financed ISIS terrorists to assassinate Stevens as to shut Stevens up.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wake-Up Call On The Syrian Border: Time To End Washington’s Feckless Regime Change Policy and NATO, Too

Syria has been turned into the most wretched of neighborhoods on the planet by Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists. From its pre-2011 population of 23 million, more than 6.7 million have fled to countries such as Lebanon (1 million), Jordan (700,000), Turkey (3.6 million), Europe and elsewhere.

At the same time, more than 6.5 million Syrians are internal refugees, driven from their homes and towns by a so-called "civil" war that wouldn’t have lasted more than a few months save for the billions of arms, training and walking around money that Washington and its Persian Gulf allies have supplied to the violent opposition.

Owing to these billions of aid to armed insurrection, however, the Syrian economy has been turned to shambles and its ancient cities and towns have been reduced to steaming piles of rubble. Disease, malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water and medical supplies and treatments stalk the land.

And Washington’s objective was exactly what?

Well, to remove from power the Assad family regime that had ruled Syria since 1978 with reasonable economic stewardship and a mildly authoritarian writ that was slightly better than par for the course by Middle East standards, and not because the Assads posed any threat to America’s homeland security whatsoever.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Crises in Iraq and Haiti expose the failure of militarized neoliberalism

This season could be called the Autumn of Discontent, as people from the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean have been rising up against corrupt neoliberal governments. Two of the countries in crisis, Haiti and Iraq, are on opposite ends of the earth but have something important in common. Not only are they reeling from protests against government corruption and austerity programs, like Ecuador and Algeria, but in both Haiti and Iraq, their corrupt neoliberal governments were imposed on them by the use of U.S. military force.

In 2003 and 2004 respectively, U.S. forces illegally invaded Iraq and Haiti, removed their internationally recognized governments from power and replaced them with U.S.-backed regimes. Both countries have since been governed in line with the dominant neoliberal ideology that the U.S. and its allies have imposed on most of the world since the 1980s. The protests and savage repression in Iraq and Haiti today are only the latest evidence of the utter failure of neoliberalism and the extraordinary human cost of U.S. efforts to impose it by military force on countries that resist.

In the first week of October, more than 100 people were killed and 6,000 wounded in Baghdad, Nasiriyah and other Iraqi cities, as the Iraqi Army and police fired into large demonstrations. Young Iraqis have risen up against government corruption, unemployment and poverty that leaves them with dismal prospects, even as record oil production fills the pockets of the ruling elite in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Meanwhile, at least 17 people have been killed in the Haitian government’s repression of protests calling for the resignation of U.S.-backed President Juvenal Moise. Public anger has boiled over into the streets as Moise faces credible charges of embezzlement and corruption. His government has utterly failed to improve the lives of most Haitians. Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, with a per capita GDP of only $870 per year and 60% of the population living below a poverty line of $2.41 per day.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Another Russiagate Flop: Senate Finance Committee Calls NRA a Russian Asset

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee released a report in September, claiming the National Rifle Association (NRA) acted as a "foreign asset" for Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election. The 77-page minority report released by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) focuses on a 2015 NRA delegation to Russia, and the relationship between the NRA and Russian nationals, Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin. The report capitalizes on the anti-Russia attitude that is so prevalent today in US politics and seems like nothing more than an attempt to smear and embarrass the NRA.

Maria Butina is the founder of the Russian gun rights organization Right to Bear Arms. She is currently serving an 18-month sentence for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). FARA requires "persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal."

While the media has portrayed Butina as a spy, in reality, Butina is an ambitious gun rights activist who was caught up in the Russia hysteria of post-2016 election America. FARA was created to keep track of foreign lobbyists and has nothing to do with spies. Butina plead guilty to the charge to keep her sentence shorter.

Alexander Torshin is a former Russian politician, a gun rights enthusiast, and a friend of Butina since 2012. Torshin met Butina while he was serving as a senator in the Duma (a Russian legislative body). After the two met, Torshin tweeted, "We will start organizing our own Russian NRA." Torshin brought Butina and her organization to the Duma and discussed the possibility of loosening gun restrictions in Russia through legislation. In January 2015, Torshin finished his service as a Senator and was appointed deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia.

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t

The unnamed person at the center of this story sure didn’t sound like a whistleblower. Our intelligence community wouldn’t wipe its ass with a real whistleblower.

Americans who’ve blown the whistle over serious offenses by the federal government either spend the rest of their lives overseas, like Edward Snowden, end up in jail, like Chelsea Manning, get arrested and ruined financially, like former NSA official Thomas Drake, have their homes raided by FBI like disabled NSA vet William Binney, or get charged with espionage like ex-CIA exposer-of-torture John Kiriakou. It’s an insult to all of these people, and the suffering they’ve weathered, to frame the ballcarrier in the Beltway’s latest partisan power contest as a whistleblower.

Drake, who was the first to expose the NSA’s secret surveillance program, seems to have fared better than most. He ended up working in an Apple Store, where he ran into Eric Holder, who was shopping for an iPhone.

I’ve met a lot of whistleblowers, in both the public and private sector. Many end up broke, living in hotels, defamed, (often) divorced, and lucky if they have any kind of job. One I knew got turned down for a waitressing job because her previous employer wouldn’t vouch for her. She had little kids.

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Friday, October 04, 2019

CrowdStrike and the Impeachment Frenzy

In his telephone conversation with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump requested Ukraine’s help in getting “to the bottom of” the Russian collusion narrative and the role of CrowdStrike, a private computer security company, in propagating that story. Lost in the volcanic eruption of faux outrage and condemnation aimed at the president by the Democrats and their wholly owned media subsidiary, this reference to CrowdStrike indicates that the Justice Department’s investigation of the counterintelligence operation against candidate and president-elect Trump may be hot on the trail of exposing what could well be a seminal lie that the Democratic National Committee’s computer server was hacked by Russian operatives. To understand why, consider the following:

On June 12, 2016, WikiLeaks announced that it would soon release stolen computer files that pertained to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Two days later, CrowdStrike, which was working for the DNC, announced that it had detected Russian malware on the DNC’s computer server. The next day, a self-described Romanian hacker, Guccifer 2.0, claimed he was a WikiLeaks source and had hacked the DNC’s server. He then posted online DNC computer files that contained metadata that indicated Russian involvement in the hack.

On July 22, 2016, just days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks published approximately 20,000 DNC emails.

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