Posts Tagged ‘Washington D.C’

By Steve Lendman

First Amendment rights are too precious to lose. Without them, all others are at risk.

 On January 20, six independent journalists were arrested in Washington for doing their jobs – covering protests during Trump’s inauguration.
They committed no crimes, yet face possible prosecution and imprisonment. The affected journalists include documentary producer Jack Keller, independent photojournalist Shay Horse, independent journalist Matt Hopard, free lance reporter Aaron Cantu, Vocativ journalist Evan Enger, and RT America’s Alexander Rubinstein.
RT International reported the story, explaining Rubenstein was wrongfully charged with inciting a riot. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and can be fined as much as $25,000. RT’s press office blasted what happened, issuing a statement, saying:

“The arrest and subsequent felony rioting charge against our reporter, Alexander Rubinstein, simply for doing his job – covering inauguration protests in Washington DC – is an absolute outrage.”
“Such acts represent an egregious violation of journalistic freedom, and are particularly disheartening to witness in the country that positions itself as the global champion of free press.”
“RT will apply the full weight of its legal team in support of our journalist and we are confident that a thorough review by the US Attorney’s office will confirm that Alexander, who wore his press credentials at all times, was wrongfully arrested.”
Brutalizing protesters is commonplace in US cities, notably against global justice, anti-war, and Occupy Wall Street activists in recent years – flagrantly violating constitutional and international law.
On inauguration day, police made over 200 arrests. A DC National Lawyers’ Guild statement on its web site said police “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
office blasted what happened, issuing a statement, saying:

“The arrest and subsequent felony rioting charge against our reporter, Alexander Rubinstein, simply for doing his job – covering inauguration protests in Washington DC – is an absolute outrage.”
“Such acts represent an egregious violation of journalistic freedom, and are particularly disheartening to witness in the country that positions itself as the global champion of free press.”
“RT will apply the full weight of its legal team in support of our journalist and we are confident that a thorough review by the US Attorney’s office will confirm that Alexander, who wore his press credentials at all times, was wrongfully arrested.”
Brutalizing protesters is commonplace in US cities, notably against global justice, anti-war, and Occupy Wall Street activists in recent years – flagrantly violating constitutional and international law.
On inauguration day, police made over 200 arrests. A DC National Lawyers’ Guild statement on its web site said police “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
“These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity.” They reflect how police states operate.“These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity.” They reflect how police states operate.

This is a story that refuses to go away. Recall the post from earlier this month, Backlash Grows Months After the FBI’s Sham Investigation Into Hillary Clinton, in which we learned:

 Feeling the heat from congressional critics, Comey last week argued that the case was investigated by career FBI agents, “So if I blew it, they blew it, too.”

But agents say Comey tied investigators’ hands by agreeing to unheard-of ground rules and other demands by the lawyers for Clinton and her aides that limited their investigation.

 

“In my 25 years with the bureau, I never had any ground rules in my interviews,” said retired agent Dennis V. Hughes, the first chief of the FBI’s computer investigations unit.

Instead of going to prosecutors and insisting on using grand jury leverage to compel testimony and seize evidence, Comey allowed immunity for several key witnesses, including potential targets.

What’s more, Comey cut a deal to give Clinton a “voluntary” witness interview on a major holiday, and even let her ex-chief of staff sit in on the interview as a lawyer, even though she, too, was under investigation.

Agreed retired FBI agent Michael M. Biasello: “Comey has singlehandedly ruined the reputation of the organization.”

Comey made the 25 agents who worked on the case sign nondisclosure agreements. But others say morale has sunk inside the bureau.

“The director is giving the bureau a bad rap with all the gaps in the investigation,” one agent in the Washington field office said. “There’s a perception that the FBI has been politicized and let down the country.”

While the above article focused on the opinions of retired agents, today’s article zeros in on the growing frustrations of current agency employees.

The Daily Caller reports:

FBI agents say the bureau is alarmed over Director James Comey deciding not to suggest that the Justice Department prosecute Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information.

According to an interview transcript given to The Daily Caller, provided by an intermediary who spoke to two federal agents with the bureau last Friday, agents are frustrated by Comey’s leadership.

“This is a textbook case where a grand jury should have convened but was not. That is appalling,” an FBI special agent who has worked public corruption and criminal cases said of the decision. “We talk about it in the office and don’t know how Comey can keep going.”

Another special agent for the bureau that worked counter-terrorism and criminal cases said he is offended by Comey’s saying: “we” and “I’ve been an investigator.”

After graduating from law school, Comey became a law clerk to a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan and later became an associate in a law firm in the city. After becoming a U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, Comey’s career moved through the U.S. Attorney’s Office until he became Deputy Attorney General during the George W. Bush administration.

After Bush left office, Comey entered the private sector and became general counsel and Senior Vice President for Lockheed Martin, among other private sector posts. President Barack Obama appointed him to FBI director in 2013 replacing out going-director Robert Mueller.

“Comey was never an investigator or special agent. The special agents are trained investigators and they are insulted that Comey included them in ‘collective we’ statements in his testimony to imply that the SAs agreed that there was nothing there to prosecute,” the second agent said. “All the trained investigators agree that there is a lot to prosecuted but he stood in the way.”

Indeed, there were many red flags surrounding Comey from the beginning. So much so that I wrote an article in 2013 titled, So Who is James Comey, Obama’s Nominee to Head the FBI?

 In light of the latest revelations that the NSA is spying on the communications of millions of Verizon customers courtesy of information provided by the FBI, it probably makes sense to know a little more about Obama’s nominee to head that Bureau.  That man is James Comey, and he was a top Department of Justice attorney under John Ashcroft during the George W. Bush Administration (since then he has worked at Lockheed Martin and at the enormous Connecticut hedge fund Bridgewater Associates).  This guy defines the revolving door cancer ruining these United States.

Now back to The Daily Caller.

 According to Washington D.C. attorney Joe DiGenova , more FBI agents will be talking about the problems at bureau and specifically the handling of the Clinton case by Comey when Congress comes back into session and decides to force them to testify by subpoena.

DiGenova told WMAL radio’s Drive at Five last week, “People are starting to talk. They’re calling their former friends outside the bureau asking for help. We were asked to day to provide legal representation to people inside the bureau and agreed to do so and to former agents who want to come forward and talk. Comey thought this was going to go away.”

He explained, “It’s not. People inside the bureau are furious. They are embarrassed. They feel like they are being led by a hack but more than that that they think he’s a crook. They think he’s fundamentally dishonest. They have no confidence in him. The bureau inside right now is a mess.”

He added, “The most important thing of all is that the agents have decided that they are going to talk.”

Corruption in the USA has now reached the level where it starts destroying the entire fabric of society itself. This is a very dangerous moment.

Intentional misreporting of facts by ordinarily credible journalists and mainstream outlets can have far reaching human impacts — here’s my story.

“I am Sidney Blumenthal. At least that is what Vladimir Putin seems to believe.” – Kurt Eichenwald

I am Bill Moran, a former writer and editor for the DC bureau of Sputnik News. I grew up in Arizona, graduated from Georgetown Law, pushed ballot initiatives on college affordability, worked on political campaigns (even sent fundraising emails for Hillary Clinton earlier this election cycle), and am your average ambitious 29-year-old who always had a secret hope to become a print journalist.
When I received an offer to become a web writer with the outlet in February – at a time before the world had lost its collective marbles – it was a dream come true. It is something that I worked hard at, even coming in on my days off, to make sure we were putting forward as much high-quality content as possible. That work paid off: I became the weekend editor at the outlet’s DC Bureau this July.
I now face the reality that this job that I so enjoyed and I believe I was very good at is now in the past.
On Columbus Day, I made an embarrassing mistake. I noticed a series of viral tweets attributing words to Sidney Blumenthal on the Benghazi scandal. The original WikiLeaks document, to which the original article linked, was lengthy – 75 pages. I reviewed the document in a hurry, but I did not read all of them.
I was the sole staffer at the DC bureau due to the holiday. I wrote 12 stories in a 12-hour shift, assigned and edited five other stories from two writers submitting remotely, managed the front page graphics, monitored breaking news, and posted to Twitter every 10 minutes and Facebook every 20 minutes.
 I was moving too fast and I made a mistake – a mistake that I remain embarrassed about making. I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette after scheduling our social media accounts, stopped halfway through, thought “why hasn’t anybody else picked this up?” gave the document a second review, realized my error, and proceeded to delete the story.
The story was up from 3:23PM EDT to 3:42PM EDT and received 1,061 views before being removed – I’d like to apologize to weekend readers for making that mistake no matter how honest an error it was.
I am now Vladimir Putin. At least that is what Kurt Eichenwald and Newsweek pretend to believe.
“Putin and his Kremlin cronies must have been dancing with delight” – Eichenwald
Mr. Eichenwald proceeded to write a story, published at 7:45PM EDT, titled “Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I am not Sidney Blumenthal” in regards to my mistake. I have shown several law school friends Eichenwald’s article – I never saw people laugh so hysterically while frowning at the same time.
In his article, Eichenwald suggests that this is “even more proof” of a Russian cyberwar by a “Russian government-controlled” (not true, only funded) outlet that has altered (a point he repeats several times) WikiLeaks documents before passing along the information to Donald Trump and that his anonymous intelligence source says that this all “require[d] high-level review” and that thinking anything else happened is “absurd.”
The problem is that Mr. Eichenwald, Newsweek’s editorial staff, and the publication’s general counsel know that this narrative is grossly in error. On Tuesday, I contacted Eichenwald and Newsweek’s editors informing them of substantive errors in their article and the true story – I also contacted Eichenwald by Twitter, explaining the details very calmly, for which he blocked my account. On Wednesday, I was fired. A colleague of mine pushed back on Eichenwald for blocking me and failing to change his article.
In response, Mr. Eichenwald sent me a message questioning once again what happened. I explained it, once again, to him. He responded back that night – “Let me give you a call this evening. We can talk through your situation (not an interview, a helping hand).”
If you are now thinking, “Dude, why didn’t you just sell out, ignore the truth, and work this for a steady gig with the chance of breaking into the mainstream media?!” – I’m still thinking that as I write this, and thought about it throughout the one hour and six minute conversation I had with him the next day.
It turns out, per an email from Mr. Eichenwald, I could have been a political reporter at New Republic in response to an email informing him of my intent to make this issue public.
“I took you at your word that the events were as you described and reached out to The New Republic on your behalf. They have a political reporter’s job open. But at this point, I can’t attest to your wisdom anymore nor do I completely trust you,” said Eichenwald in an email at 1:03PM on Monday Oct. 17.
At 1:40PM Mr. Eichenwald said, “One last friendly piece of advice: I wouldn’t waste time on the New Republic job. You’re qualified for it and these jobs disappear.”
Eichenwald then proceeded to eliminate the quid pro quo by saying, at 1:51 PM, “Wait… I dropped a word in my last email. When I say ‘I wouldn’t waste time on applying for’ – I mean do apply soon, because the job is great and it will disappear soon.”
Pardon my language, but “f— me, right?” I could have been a political reporter with The New Republic. I have a friend who is still desperately telling me to take that gig rather than have this article published.
As for the contents of the phone conversation with Mr. Eichenwald, they will not be disclosed at this time barring an attempt to attack and discredit me at which time I will be forced to divulge my notes written at the time of the conversation which represent neither Kurt Eichenwald’s best moments nor my own. Personally, I feel that the world can use less hysteria, not more.
It should be noted that Mr. Eichenwald warned me, in his most recent email, that I will be ruining my career and my life by providing this information, and I do not take that as a threat – that’s the truth.
The problem is that a new job does not convert fiction into fact. He got the story wrong. That’s really all.
Other factual errors or misrepresentations in Eichenwald’s article
First, his initial version suggested the outlet removed the article upon realizing the error. A later variant said Newsweek called us prior to the article’s removal – I never received a call. The current version says the article was removed after “Newsweek attempted to contact.” In an email, Mr. Eichenwald said that he did not lie but that he did not know where “internet contacts” go. I never received an email either – if anyone received a misaddressed email from Eichenwald, please come forward.
Second, the outlet is not “Kremlin-controlled.” I don’t talk to Vlad over my morning coffee. The outlet receives funding from the Russian government, but nobody has ever told me what to write.
Third, no documents by WikiLeaks were altered by the outlet which included a link to the article – the subject matter was simply misread based on a viral tweet. Mr. Eichenwald continues to assert that a document, not linking to WikiLeaks, was altered by a viral twitter account but upon research that post has been deleted – the national security significance of that account is something that I am not sufficiently competent on.
What do I get out of all of this?
I’ll be attacked viciously. I have written 813 articles for Sputnik, but the fact that I made a single mistake that was blown into hysteria through intentionally inaccurate reporting by Newsweek is what my name will forever be attached to in Google search queries. It’s still the truth, so that’s my wish.
It should also be noted that Sputnik, upon reviewing the situation, offered me my job back yesterday before knowing about this piece. I will not be accepting that offer, but thank them so much. I imagine I’ll be dealing with the press response on this for the next few days and then I’m going to take a nice long vacation.

In yesterday’s post, The Death of Mainstream Media, I noted:

 At the end of the day, I have concluded that my focus on Hillary as of late (vs. Trump) has as much to with my disgust for the mainstream media as anything else. To see these organs which have destroyed this country by keeping the people uninformed for decades, now rally around a sickly, corrupt, oligarch coddling politician as the empire enters the collapse stage is simply too much to stomach…

The only positive thing to happen during this election season is the death of mainstream media. With their insufferable propaganda fully exposed, there is no coming back. 

Then today, we learned the following from Gallup:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

Here’s a chart.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-2-05-51-pm

If that’s not a trend, I don’t know what is.

 Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.

Meanwhile, if there is any hope for the future, it can be found here.

 Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.

In 2001, younger Americans (55%) were more likely than older Americans (50%) to express trust and confidence in mass media. This gap emerged again in 2005 when 53% of 18- to 49-year-olds had trust and 45% of those 50 and older expressed the same sentiment. Yet in the past decade, older Americans have mostly had more confidence than younger Americans, and this year, the gap between these age groups is 12 points. And 2016 marks the first time that confidence among older Americans has dropped below 40% in polling since 2001.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-2-03-21-pm

 Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.

Just like during the last economic crisis, homeless encampments are popping up all over the nation as poverty grows at a very alarming rate.  According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million people are homeless in America right now, but that figure is increasing by the day.  And it isn’t just adults that we are talking about.  It has been reported that that the number of homeless children in this country has risen by 60 percent since the last recession, and Poverty USA says that a total of 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing at some point last year.  Yes, the stock market may have been experiencing a temporary boom for the last couple of years, but for those on the low end of the economic scale things have just continued to deteriorate.

Tonight, countless numbers of homeless people will try to make it through another chilly night in large tent cities that have been established in the heart of major cities such as Seattle, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis.  Homelessness has gotten so bad in California that the L.A. City Council has formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to officially declare a state of emergency.   And in Portland the city has extended their “homeless emergency” for yet another year, and city officials are really struggling with how to deal with the booming tent cities that have sprung up

There have always been homeless people in Portland, but last summer Michelle Cardinal noticed a change outside her office doors.

Almost overnight, it seemed, tents popped up in the park that runs like a green carpet past the offices of her national advertising business. She saw assaults, drug deals and prostitution. Every morning, she said, she cleaned human feces off the doorstep and picked up used needles.

“It started in June and by July it was full-blown. The park was mobbed,” she said. “We’ve got a problem here and the question is how we’re going to deal with it.”

But of course it isn’t just Portland that is experiencing this.  The following list of major tent cities that have become so well-known and established that they have been given names comes from Wikipedia

names comes from Wikipedia

      •  Camp Hope, Las Cruces, New Mexico [1]   

Most of the time, those that establish tent cities do not want to be discovered because local authorities have a nasty habit of shutting them down and forcing homeless people out of the area.  For example, check out what just happened in Elkhart, Indiana

A group of homeless people in Elkhart has been asked to leave the place they call home. For the last time, residents of ‘Tent City’ packed up camp.

City officials gave residents just over a month to vacate the wooded area; Wednesday being the last day to do so.

The property has been on Mayor Tim Neese’s radar since he took office in January, calling it both a safety and health hazard to its residents and nearby pedestrian traffic.

“This has been their home but you can’t live on public property,” said Mayor Tim Neese, Elkhart.

If they can’t live on “public property”, where are they supposed to go?

They certainly can’t live on somebody’s “private property”.

This is the problem – people don’t want to deal with the human feces, the needles, the crime and the other problems that homeless people often bring with them.  So the instinct is often to kick them out and send them away.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t fix the problem.  It just passes it on to someone else.

As this new economic downturn continues to accelerate, our homelessness boom is going to spiral out of control.  Pretty soon, there will be tent cities in virtually every community in America.

In fact, there are people that are living comfortable middle class lifestyles right at this moment that will end up in tents.  We saw this during the last economic crisis, and it will be even worse as this next one unfolds.

Just like last time around, the signs that the middle class is really struggling can be subtle at first, but when you learn to take note of them you will notice that they are all around you.  The following comes from an excellent article in the New York Post

Do you see grocery stores closing? Do you see other retailers, like clothing stores and department stores, going out of business?

Are there shuttered storefronts along your Main Street shopping district, where you bought a tool from the hardware store or dropped off your dry cleaning or bought fruits and vegetables?

Are you making as much money annually as you did 10 years ago?

Do you see homes in neighborhoods becoming run down as the residents either were foreclosed upon, or the owner lost his or her job so he or she can’t afford to cut the grass or paint the house?

Did that same house where the Joneses once lived now become a rental property, where new people come to live every few months?

Do you know one or two people who are looking for work? Maybe professionals, who you thought were safe in their jobs?

Don’t look down on those that are living in tents, because the truth is that many “middle class Americans” will ultimately end up joining them.

The correct response to those that are hurting is love and compassion.  We all need help at some point in our lives, and I know that I am certainly grateful to those that have given me a helping hand at various points along my journey.

Sadly, hearts are growing cold all over the nation, and the weather is only going to get colder over the months ahead.  Let us pray for health and safety for the hundreds of thousands of Americans that will be sleeping in tents and on the streets this winter.

Many of you have already read this past Sunday’s excellent and deeply disturbing article published by the New York Times regarding the shady and inappropriate activities regularly conducted by U.S. “think tanks.” If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you take the time to do so.

It’s important to acknowledge that the U.S. economy has morphed into one gigantic lawless crime scene. An environment in which crony insiders who add zero value to society parasitically feast on the country’s treasure. In the case of so-called “think tanks,” we have organizations receiving copious taxpayer subsidies for the privilege of screwing over the American public.

To understand the topic further, I present you with some excerpts from the article titled, Researchers or Corporate Allies? Think Tanks Blur the Line:

 Think tanks, which position themselves as “universities without students,” have power in government policy debates because they are seen as researchers independent of moneyed interests. But in the chase for funds, think tanks are pushing agendas important to corporate donors, at times blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists. And they are doing so while reaping the benefits of their tax-exempt status, sometimes without disclosing their connections to corporate interests.

 Thousands of pages of internal memos and confidential correspondence between Brookings and other donors — like JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank; K.K.R., the global investment firm; Microsoft, the software giant; and Hitachi, the Japanese conglomerate — show that financial support often came with assurances from Brookings that it would provide “donation benefits,” including setting up events featuring corporate executives with government officials, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

 “This is about giant corporations who figured out that by spending, hey, a few tens of millions of dollars, if they can influence outcomes here in Washington, they can make billions of dollars,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, a frequent critic of undisclosed Wall Street donations to think tanks.

 Washington has seen a proliferation of think tanks, particularly small institutions with narrow interests tied to specific industries. At the same time, the brand names of the field have experienced explosive growth. Brookings’s annual budget has doubled in the last decade, to $100 million. The American Enterprise Institute is spending at least $80 million on a new headquarters in Washington, not far from where the Center for Strategic and International Studies built a $100 million office tower.

The U.S. economy would be infinitely better if everyone in Washington D.C. blasted off to space in a rocket ship.

 The likely conclusions of some think tank reports, documents show, are discussed with donors — or even potential ones — before the research is complete. Drafts of the studies have been shared with donors whose opinions have then helped shape final reports.

 Donors have outlined how the resulting scholarship will be used as part of broader lobbying efforts. The think tanks also help donors promote their corporate brands, as Brookings does with JPMorgan Chase, whose $15.5 million contribution is the largest by a private corporation in the institution’s history.

 Despite these benefits, corporations can write off the donations as charitable contributions. Some tax experts say these arrangements may amount to improper subsidies by taxpayers if think tanks are providing specific services.

 “People think of think tanks as do-gooders, uncompromised and not bought like others in the political class,” said Bill Goodfellow, the executive director of the Center for International Policy, a Washington-based think tank. “But it’s absurd to suggest that donors don’t have influence. The danger is we in the think tank world are being corrupted in the same way as the political world. And all of us should be worried about it.”

Indeed, “think tanks” represent a key, overlooked player in the never-ending information war being waged against the American public. A war specifically designed to shape public perception in favor of policies that go against our best interests while making a handful of people extremely wealthy.

 “We strongly believe in our model of seeking solutions to some of our country’s most difficult problems,” John J. Hamre, the chief executive at C.S.I.S., said in a written reply to questions. “We gather stakeholders, vet ideas, find areas of agreement and highlight areas of disagreement.” 

Emphasis on “stakeholders,” i.e. corporate sponsors. If these think tanks are actually working in the best interests of the country, why is inequality soaring and why has the middle class been destroyed so efficiently?

 Yet researchers at think tanks are seeing corporate influence firsthand. Rachel Stohl, a senior associate at the Stimson Center in Washington, said she had been quizzed by potential donors as she tried to raise money for research on the military’s use of armed drones.

“‘Are you going to say drones are bad?’” she recalled one potential financial backer asking. “‘We are not interested in funding something that says drones are bad.’”

 The confidential Brookings spreadsheet had an unassuming title: Corporate Overviews Tracking. It listed nearly 90 corporations, from Alcoa to Wells Fargo, providing a glimpse of the vast electronic file that Brookings maintained on donors and prospects, and the benefits it might offer.

 The database, along with thousands of pages of emails, solicitations for money and memos on meetings with corporate officials, highlighted Brookings’s practice of assuring that donors would see results from their contributions.

So why exactly are taxpayers subsidizing this behavior?

 K.K.R., after starting special funds around 2010 to invest in real estate and other infrastructure projects, donated $450,000 to Brookings, some of it as the institution agreed to set up meetings for a top K.K.R. executive with community leaders in Philadelphia and Detroit, where the company was considering real estate projects. Brookings separately produced a report, published on K.K.R.’s website, promoting one of the company’s infrastructure projects in New Jersey, after the company executive suggested such a piece.

Lennar joined Brookings’s Metropolitan Leadership Council, established for the program’s top donors, in July 2010. That month, the company won approval to redevelop Hunters Point in San Francisco, turning the area into a more than 700-acre mix of housing, education and commercial development.

 Brookings would later name the project one of the three most “transformative investments in the United States.”

 The San Francisco project generated controversy from the beginning, with critics concerned about toxic waste left by the former Navy shipyard.

 Follow-up memos were more explicit: Brookings, as it sought an additional $50,000 from Lennar in 2014, said it was prepared to “use our convening power, research expertise, network connections and knowledge of innovative practices to help further drive the ultimate impact and success” of Lennar’s project and to “provide public validation of San Francisco’s efforts through national and local media coverage.”

The think tank soon delivered.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.50.56 AM

All this corporate marketing paid for with taxpayer subsidies. Good gig if you can get it.

 Hitachi has been another large donor to the metropolitan program, giving a total of $1.8 million to Brookings over the last decade, according to Brookings documents. The think tank reviewed the company’s corporate marketing and sales strategy targeting the United States, an internal memo shows. Brookings also organized public events that featured top Obama administration officials and allowed Hitachi executives to promote their products.

 When JPMorgan offered a major donation to the metropolitan program in 2011, Brookings created the Global Cities Initiative, complete with a new logo that called it a “joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase.”

 The project was premised on a common interest between the bank and the think tank. Brookings wanted to promote economic growth in cities by encouraging international trade, and JPMorgan wanted to gain new business by offering loans to companies in the same markets.

 Mr. Indyk and executives from JPMorgan said the company and the think tank simply agreed on a worthy agenda.

 “This was about growing the economy, and we are incredibly proud of the results of this initiative,” said Peter Scher, the head of the corporate responsibility program at JPMorgan. “We believe it’s had a huge impact in more than 30 cities that are involved.”

 At the same time, hundreds of pages of memos — status reports to JPMorgan, internal reports by Brookings staff to prepare for meetings with top bank executives, and formal documents soliciting more money — make clear that Brookings saw the Global Cities Initiative as a branding effort that could help JPMorgan bolster its standing in cities.

 “Bottom line: Growing metro economies is good for the nation and for JPMC; also, many U.S. cities are JPMC clients — motivation to support them and their clients,” said one Brookings document dated July 2011, as officials from the think tank met with top bank executives to discuss a planned donation that eventually totaled $15 million.

 The Global Cities Initiative, another document written by a Brookings senior fellow explained, “must mean a marriage between JPMC corporate interests” and “Brookings continued thought leadership.”

 JPMorgan, in a document dated a month before the agreement was signed, said the pending donation to Brookings “deepens/extends relationships with important client base among business and civic leaders both in the U.S. and abroad.”

 At times, Brookings officials seemed worried they were not doing enough for the bank.

This is all so gross…

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.04.19 AM

 Donations from the corporations to Brookings are tax exempt based on the premise that the think tank’s work benefits the public good, not a company’s bottom line.

 But two lawyers who specialize in nonprofit law — Miranda Perry Fleischer, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, and Clifford Perlman, a partner at a New York-based firm — said Brookings’s agreements raised questions.

 “Tax deductions are subsidies that are paid for by all taxpayers,” Ms. Fleischer said. “And the reason the subsidy is provided is that the charitable organization is supposed to be doing something for the public good, not that specifically benefits the private individual or corporation in the form of providing them goods or services.”

Apparently “the public good” now equals helping big cities and big banks. You know, those suffering the most from American neo-feudalism.

While all the above is disgusting and unacceptable, what follows is even worse. It shows how the corruption and cronyism of think tanks can directly lead to the exportation of war and death abroad.

 General Atomics, the California-based manufacturer of Predator drones, had a clear problem. Prospects for sales were falling as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wound down. The company wanted the Obama administration to change its policy to allow for sales to other countries, a lucrative proposition.

 “When the budgets are going down in the U.S., you would like to be able to export more,” Frank Pace, the president of the company’s aircraft systems group, told a Reuters reporter in late 2013 at an air show in Dubai.

How this man lives with himself, I’ll never know.

 At about that time, the industry turned to the Center for Strategic and International Studies for help, providing money that the think tank used to conduct a study on drone policy, including exports.

 C.S.I.S. set up confidential meetings at its headquarters with company representatives, inviting top officials from the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, the State Department and the office of the defense secretary, according to emails and other documents obtained by The Times through open records requests.

 As a think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies did not file a lobbying report, but the goals of the effort were clear.

In this economy, everything is a loophole, everything is a swindle.

 “Political obstacles to export,” read the agenda of one closed-door “working group” meeting organized by Mr. Brannen that included Tom Rice, a lobbyist in General Atomics’s Washington office, on the invitation lists, the emails show.

 Boeing and Lockheed Martin, drone makers that were major C.S.I.S. contributors, were also invited to attend the sessions, the emails show. The meetings and research culminated with a report released in February 2014 that reflected the industry’s priorities.

But the effort did not stop there.

 Mr. Brannen initiated meetings with Defense Department officials and congressional staff to push for the recommendations, which also included setting up a new Pentagon office to give more focus to acquisition and deployment of drones. The center also stressed the need to ease export limits at a conference it hosted at its headquarters featuring top officials from the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps.

 Mr. Brannen, who has since left C.S.I.S., declined to comment. The think tank insisted that its efforts to influence administration policy were not lobbying.

What a heaping pile of bullshit.

 One thing is clear: The result was a victory for General Atomics.

 In February 2015, almost one year after the C.S.I.S. report was issued, the State Department announced a clarification of its rules, easing final approval that month for General Atomics’s long-planned sale of unarmed Predator drones to the United Arab Emirates, the first such sale to a non-NATO nation. The think tank report was just one of many voices pushing for the change.

 A State Department spokesman said that while the government officials involved in the review had received opinions from think tanks and industry officials, “at the end of the day, this is a considered U.S. government policy.”

There you have it folks. Just another tale from the putrid and hopelessly corrupt U.S. economy.

Naturally, we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised that one of the most destructive human beings in modern American history is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Brookings Institution. Yes, you know who I’m talking about…

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.19.23 AM

Thanks for playin’ America.

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Shawn Lucas, a man who served the Democratic National Committee (DNC) with a lawsuit suggesting that the Party heavily favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary election, has suddenly died under unspecified circumstances.

The speculations regarding Lucas’ sudden death began emerging on social media in the past week.

Kenny @Kwick13

ANOTHER mysterious death of someone with info on the corrupt DNC?!!? No media coverage though🤔

  America First! @America_1st_

We should spread this! One more victim after !

A month earlier, on July 3, Lucas, who backed Sanders in the presidential run, appeared in the viral YouTube video taken by filmmaker Ricardo Villaba. In the footage Lucas serves the legal papers to the Democratic National Headquarters in a case started by Sanders campaigners.

The lawsuit, triggered before the notorious WikiLeaks revelations, charged the DNC then-chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with fraud. On July 22, a batch of some 20,000 internal DNC emails was made public, confirming the allegations that the organization had been playing into the Clinton camp’s hands.

Lucas was confirmed dead by the company for which he had worked as a process server. In an interview with investigation outlet Snopes, the firm representative said that the young man passed away on August 2, 2016.

Shortly after that the Washington DC police department told reporters that the demise had been “classified as a Death Report, pending the results of an autopsy.”According to unconfirmed media reports, the young man’s body was discovered on the floor of his bathroom by his girlfriend. Paramedics, who arrived at the scene at the time, didn’t find any signs of life.

The mysterious death of Lucas is not the first instance of its kind during this election cycle.

On July 8, Democratic staffer Seth Conrad Rich was murdered in Washington DC. The incident looks mysterious, as the perpetrators did not steal anything from victim. Following his death, social media went abuzz with the speculations that Rich was about to contact the FBI to share information about an “ongoing court case” allegedly regarding the Clintons.On August 1, 2016, Victor Thorn, a prominent author of books about the Clinton family, was found dead near his house. Police presumed he had shot himself in the head with a gun that had been found near his body. However, Thorn’s brother told in an interview with American Free Press said that he could never commit suicide.