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Member since: Wed May 5, 2004, 09:44 AM
Number of posts: 33,392

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Hillary was a Goldwater Girl, and all that goes with that.

Benghazi!! is a convenient, bipartisan diversion that like Whitewater cut off lines of investigation

The hearings were really a great success as theater of the absurd. The inconvenient facts -- that Libya and Syria serial regime change was a colossal CIA failure --can't be made to altogether "disappear", but the event can be made to seem so absurd that no "serious person" in Washington wants to pick into the topic any further. That's the purpose of these bipartisan spectacles. Clinton, who is the leading neocon in America, is now cleansed, thanks to the "opposition" Republicans.

It's a formula, or a ritual, really. The ghosts of the Clintons' (and the Bush family's) role in BCCI/Iran-Contra were also exorcised by the Republicans botched Whitewater investigation. Mismanaged Congressional hearings, sabotaged from above, also managed to whitewash the Bush CIA's role in arming both sides in the Iran-Iraq War and in creating terrorist Rightwing death squads in Central America, with the help of Rightwing Democrats, such as the Clintons. The theater of the absurd is how both wings of the spooks stay in power permanently in America.

Full-speed ahead, Hillary, damn the torpedoes and the icebergs, and the rock jetty to starboard.

We have the biggest ship, and you still have the lead, damnit, increase the throttles. Full power! Give the passengers a real thrill . . . what was that noise? Oooops.

U.S. Contemplates Confronting Russians in Syria

I Think I Won!

This is done largely through Saudi corporate acquisitions, banks and companies they control

Money buys power, policy and politicians. Hillary Clinton has come to symbolize to many the increasingly blatant capture of the corporate Democratic center by monied interests. Increasingly, in a globalized economy, the source of money in American politics is foreign. But, because there are still vestiges of laws that prohibit the direct campaign contributions to candidates, that money comes in through corporate middlemen. That, my friends, is what we will call corporate capture by proxy.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC states) have acquired or made major investments in literally hundreds of US corporations in a number of industries, including energy, entertainment, banking and financial services, and control even more by "corporate capture". That is a term that is usually associated with how companies in an industry can come to control the regulatory process of agencies originally set up to create and enforce rules of commerce. We are talking here about how nations have been taken over, economically and politically, including the U.S., and how this corruption spreads.

Corporate capture by proxy works this way. Captive companies and their executives legally make contributions to PACS that benefits both parties and major candidates. These contributions are essentially pass-through of foreign funding of federal elections, a problem recognized by the minority opinion in the notorious Citizens United decision. Justice Stevens wrote for those four justices:

The notion that Congress might lack the authority to distinguish foreigners from citizens in the regulation of electioneering would certainly have surprised the Framers, whose obsession with foreign influence derived from a fear that foreign powers and individuals had no basic investment in the well-being of the country. Citizens United, 130 S. Ct. at 945, 947, 948 n. 51 (Stevens, J., joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor, JJ., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (internal quotation marks and footnotes omitted).

Saudi Arabia has an enormous diversified portfolio of US and global companies purchased or with a substantial interest over time. It is no secret that the Saudis actively seek to mold American public opinion and policy, and that money is their most effective weapon. Among these large companies in which they have taken a major interest is Newscorp, the parent of the conservative US news outlet Fox News. The total amounts of Saudi investments in the U.S. are estimated to in excess of $750 billion. In the next four years, the State-owned Saudi oil company, Aramco, plans on global acquisitions of $80 billion, compared to the $70 billion they will invest internally. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-11/saudi-aramco-said-to-plan-spending-80-billion-overseas

During his recent visit to the US, King Salman laid out the Kingdom's U.S. investment plans. KSA also seeks US corporations as partners in joint ventures in Saudi industries and sectors. While broadly invested in the US and UK economies, the greatest part of the Saudi economy is still largely closed to foreign ownership, including the upstream oil supply that remains nationalized. U.S. companies are attracted to offers of joint-venture investment schemes and contracts in the Arab states include the largest arms manufacturers, banks, and petrochemical firms.

According to the Saudi Embassy, the corporate elite lining up to see the King were the usual suspects which have long thrived in the Middle east arms for oil trade: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ff87679e-554f-11e5-8642-453585f2cfcd.html#ixzz3ljT0pHox

The US side included representatives from GE, Chevron, JPMorgan, Boeing, Dow, Alcoa, Fluor, Halliburton, Raytheon and Lockheed, according to a banker briefed on the meetings and a Saudi official.

The king was accompanied by his son, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is spearheading the investment drive into sectors such as mining, oil and gas, health, education, retail, infrastructure and banking.

Investment opportunities highlighted by the Saudi delegation:

Mining — especially phosphate, bauxite and silica.
Energy — state energy giant Saudi Arabian Oil Company is poised to launch a five-year plan, including opportunities in refining and distribution.
Healthcare — US private sector investment is sought to help double hospital capacity.
Leisure industries — Riyadh is looking to US companies such as Disney, Universal Studios and Six Flags to build theme parks across the kingdom.
Education — the government seeks investment in technical training centres.
Banking — with opportunities for US banks to finance mortgages and small businesses. Financial services reforms are planned to increase the role of overseas banks.

The Saudis and Gulf Arabs have also diversified their investments and acquisitions of U.S. political parties and candidates. The relationship with the Bush family led to the long-time Saudi Ambassador to the US to be dubbed, "Bandar Bush." The Saudis and Gulf states have also contributed at least ten million dollars since the late 1990s to the Clinton Foundation. Millions more were donated during the time she was Secretary of State. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/foreign-governments-gave-millions-to-foundation-while-clinton-was-at-state-dept/2015/02/25/31937c1e-bc3f-11e4-8668-4e7ba8439ca6_story.html

Some corporations and institutions qualify as captures of the Saudis on account of their huge revenues or contributions from that country. The Foundation Center reports that Boeing, for instance, anted up nearly a million dollars of its own to the Clinton Foundation at a key time to facilitate a multi-billion dollar sale to the oil Kingdom: http://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/arms-sales-ok-d-by-hillary-clinton-s-state-department-raise-questions

Arms exports to Saudi Arabia totaling $8 billion were approved in FY 2010-12 — up from $4.1 billion in FY 2006-08 — including $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets delivered by a consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing, despite the State Department's documented concerns about the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family. In the years before Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, while Boeing contributed $900,000 to the foundation just two months before the deal was finalized.

(Caption: King Abdullah, Clinton meet in New York January 8, 2011. . . . Abdullah bin Abdulaziz received at his residence in New York yesterday evening U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. During the audience, King Abdullah and Secretary Clinton discussed the latest regional and international developments. The audience was attended by Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, President of General Intelligence Presidency; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Secretary General of the National Security Council . . .)


In addition to overt influence buying, until from 1985 until recently the Saudis operated a multi-billion dollar political slush fund, "al-Yamamah" ("the Dove" in Arabic) as a sort of reverse kick-back scheme through which a portion of BAE arms sales revenues to KSA was converted into an all-purpose global bribery fund. Some $43 billion in proceeds were distributed in a loosely audited arrangement as shares of oil that were extracted by Shell Oil and BP oil concessions in KSA.

At least $1 billion were paid out by Yamamah on a regular basis to an account at the now defunct Washington, DC Riggs Bank held by Saudi Ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar. These funds were channeled into a variety of projects, including support of covert operations -- including approximately $70,000 that were used by a Saudi national, Omar al-Bayoumi, who supported the Flt. 77 hijackers, al-Midhar and al-Hazmi, when they arrived in the US in early 2000. Other Riggs Bank funds held by the Saudi Embassy paid for donations to favored politicians in the UK and US. Not surprisingly, Riggs Bank also had long ties with both the Bush family, Jonathon Bush was a Director, and the Central Intelligence Agency. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB110444413126413199

Like the BCCI-network of corrupt banks with similar dark money ties, funds held by the Saudi Embassy paid for covert operations abroad, including $55 million that went to the contras during the Reagan Administration. These covert operations funded with Saudi Embassy funds out of Riggs continued until the bank was fined $25 million and shut down in 2004 for its role in these money transfers.

By Stephen Fidler

Financial Times (UK)
July 2, 2007


Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice examining BAE Systems' compliance with anti-corruption laws in its arms dealings with Saudi Arabia will find themselves scrutinizing a deal that was used, with the help of the British government, as a secret tool of Saudi foreign policy.

BAE said last week that the DoJ had launched a formal inquiry into the 20-year-old Al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

The Al-Yamamah agreement, originally signed in 1985 by the Saudi and British governments to pay for the Saudi purchase of Tornado jets, was employed to distribute Saudi oil revenues outside the country's official budget. "It was a way of Saudis paying money to Saudis," said one person involved in the deal.

The mechanism has been used to pay for more than combat aircraft. According to one account, it bought arms from Egypt for the Mujahideen fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan and paid for clandestine purchases of Russian arms to oust Libyan troops from Chad.

BAE serviced this contract and has always denied wrongdoing associated with it, arguing that its work was part of a government-to-government arrangement. If the payments were approved by the British and Saudi governments, how could it be doing anything illegal?

The arrangement, at least initially, involved a special account controlled by the Saudis, at the Bank of England. This would receive funds from the sale of Saudi oil lifted and sold by BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which took a commission. Press reports in 1996 suggested this exact arrangement changed -- but over nearly two decades, tens of billions of dollars were directed through it.

The first oil lifting under the contract was on January 31, 1986, of 1.8m to 1.9m barrels. The Saudis agreed to deliver 300,000 barrels per day for the first three years of the contract. The amount of oil delivered varied with fluctuating oil prices up to a reported maximum of 600,000 bpd in 1993, when a new and expanded contract called Al-Yamamah 2 came into force, and fell to 400,000 in 1998 after the last Tornado was delivered. At times, the kingdom replenished the account with cash -- and at other times there was a surplus that was available for distribution.

Some or all of the payments from the Bank of England account were routed through the U.K.'s Defense Export Services Organization, part of the Ministry of Defense. For this service, the MoD was paid a small commission.

U.K. media reports have alleged Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to Washington and now national security adviser to King Abdullah, received more than £1bn from BAE as part of these arrangements.

Prince Bandar has dismissed the allegations as "grotesque in their absurdity." He has said the payments came from a Saudi government account and were paid into another account belonging to the Saudi ministry of defense and aviation, to which he was a signatory.

The Guardian detailed how detailed the international financial network that spread commercial and political corruption around the world: http://www.theguardian.com/baefiles/page/0,,2095831,00.html

Over the past 20 years, the warplane programme has brought £43bn in revenue for BAE .

The deal made the career of BAE executive Dick Evans , who rose to chair the company on the strength of it.

Police later calculated that more than £6bn may have been distributed in corrupt commissions, via an array of agents and middlemen.Newly obtained documents and our own investigations have revealed details of where the money may have gone.

Millions went to Bandar, according to US sources. Up to $30m (£15m) at a time is alleged to have been paid into his dollar account at Riggs Bank in Washington.

More millions were paid by BAE into Wafic Said-linked accounts in Switzerland.

Bandar's father, Prince Sultan , was described by a British ambassador as having "a corrupt interest in all contracts".

Legal sources say BAE disguised many of the payments by making them through an anonymous offshore company, Poseidon.

Large amounts were also alleged to have been transferred in this way to Mohammed Safadi , a Lebanese politician.

He acted for Sultan's son-in-law, Prince Turki bin Nasser (biography), who controlled the Saudi air force.

At least £1bn is said to have gone down the Poseidon route. More payments were allegedly disguised in inflated bills to BAE from local subcontractors.

. . .

The cash for all these payoffs came, simply enough, from overcharging.

Accidentally released UK documents reveal that the basic price of the planes was inflated by 32%, to allow for an initial £600m in commissions.

That was only the start. Many UK sub-contractors - for jet engines, weapons and electronics - have revealed that they too were required to pay commissions.

Spare parts, maintenance, construction of local bases - every aspect of al-Yamamah is alleged to have involved corruption.

Exclusive: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest

Source: Reuters

In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department's own "Classified" stamps now identify as so-called 'foreign government information.' The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.

This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be "presumed" classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters. "It's born classified," said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House's National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

. . .

Clinton and her senior staff routinely sent foreign government information among themselves on unsecured networks several times a month, if the State Department's markings are correct. Within the 30 email threads reviewed by Reuters, Clinton herself sent at least 17 emails that contained this sort of information. In at least one case it was to a friend, Sidney Blumenthal, not in government.

The information appears to include privately shared comments by a prime minister, several foreign ministers and a foreign spy chief, unredacted bits of the emails show. Typically, Clinton and her staff first learned the information in private meetings, telephone calls or, less often, in email exchanges with the foreign officials.

Read more: http://www.aol.com/article/2015/08/21/exclusive-dozens-of-clinton-emails-were-classified-from-the-sta/21225607/

Here's the kicker, HRC received training on how to handle classified information as SOS, and proceeded to continue to use her own unsecured personal server for all Department email, nonetheless:

State Department staff, including the secretary of state, receive training on how to classify and handle sensitive information, the department has said. In March, Clinton said she was "certainly well aware" of classification requirements.

Anyone else would have been indicted by now for this.

P.S. - Did anyone else spot the part that says that Hillary sent email containing foreign gov't information to Blumenthal over her own private server? I seem to recall a couple things: 1) Blumenthal's emails to Hillary were hacked by a Romanian and released, and that's what brought public attention to this, initially; and 2), several months ago, Hillary claimed she didn't (respond to)(Correction: her spokesman used the term "solicit") Blumenthal's messages. She (her spokesman) appears to have misspoken, (or mischaracterize) again. See, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/politics/benghazi-emails-put-focus-on-hillary-clintons-encouragement-of-adviser.html?_r=0

State Dept. and CIA roles in Libyan arms/militia movements reported in Reuters, WSJ, NYT > year ago.

Here are some previous posts with those and related links:

Add one more essential but not sufficient precondition for ISIS: destabilization of Libya and Syria.
Here's a lesser-known set of facts leading to the creation of ISIS:

John Kerry was actively wooing Assad until early 2011 when the Petraeus-Clinton faction took control over MENA policy, and regime change was brought simultaneously to Syria, along with Libya and Tunisia. The project was most aggressively led on the ground by covert operators from France and Qatar, to a lesser extent involving the U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey in funding, coordination, propaganda, logistics and support. Ongoing programs run by CIA and State Dept. were ballooned, and there were a lot of meetings, but mostly we watched civil war unfold as third-force special forces units (mostly Qatari) led armed uprisings in Libya and Syria. In March 2011, President Obama signed a classified "finding" coordinating efforts with Qatar and several other countries to overthrow Qaddafi. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/30/us-libya-usa-order-idUSTRE72T6H220110330 A similar directive was signed ordering similar covert operations in Syria.

In April, 2011, Chris Stevens arrived in Eastern Libya where he took a lead role in organizing opposition militia. At the time of Stevens death on September 12, 2012, Ghadaffi had been killed the previous October after retreating to his tribal homeland in Sirte, and the Libyan army had dissolved. Opposition militia were in charge of the rest of the country and arms stocks. By that stage, there was an active pipeline set up for Islamic fighters and looted Libyan heavy arms -- along with shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles (MANPADs) -- flowing into Syria by way of Turkey. That movement of MANPADs was first confirmed in a Times of London article published two days after the attack on the US compound in Benghazi. See, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/28/1137620/-Times-of-London-Shipload-of-Looted-Missiles-From-Libya-Arrives-in-Turkey#

The death of Stevens and the spread across the region of heavy arms and Jihadist Libyan fighters armed and trained by Qataris using Saudi and Gulf money forced President Obama to reconsider the policy. CIA Director Petraeus, who was confirmed in September 2011 to succeed Leon Panetta, resisted winding down the operation. In a showdown White House meeting the following October, Petraeus was supported by Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Panetta. Obama's decision to wind down what has been referred to as "Operation Zero Footprint" came after discussions with national security advisor Tom Donilon. The rift within the Administration was first made public during Senate hearings the following February. See, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/us/politics/panetta-speaks-to-senate-panel-on-benghazi-attack.html?_r=0 Petraeus' ongoing affair with his biographer was exposed, and Secretary Clinton's resignation graciously accepted after the Inauguration. The rest, as they say, is history.
Posted by leveymg | Sat Mar 7, 2015, 12:15 PM (0 replies)


As UN Security Council Mulls ISIS Oil Sanctions, Most Funds Still Flow from Saudi and Gulf Donors

Proposed UN Sanctions Do Not Go To Most ISIS Funding from Wealthy Donors

There is broad agreement that "substantial" funds are still reaching ISIS from wealthy elites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states. As the Pentagon announced yesterday, oil exports now do not account for most of ISIS finances. ISIS is instead depending on donations, “a lot of donations,” according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Further sanctions do not threaten the primary source of finance for the so-called Islamic State (IS), reported to be in excess of $2 billion last year. On Thursday, a UN measure was proposed by Russia that would sanction the trade in oil and stolen antiquities that partially funds ISIS funders. However, according to the NYT, it does not add to the existing list of individuals named for sanctions. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/07/world/middleeast/un-prepares-resolution-to-confront-islamic-state-on-oil-and-antiquities.html?_r=0

This spares the US and NATO the difficult task of having to immediately punish most of the same Sunni states with which it has been previously cooperating in prosecuting the war in Syria. The measure discussed on Friday would, however, specifically sanction parties engaged in smuggling oil from ISIS controlled areas, paying ransom, and the sale of stolen antiquities, the latter valued at $35 million last year.

Nobody seems to want to put a finger on exactly how much cash is still flowing to ISIS from wealthy ISIS funders, and who exactly they are. But, everyone agrees that support from the Saudis and Gulf elites continues to be substantial. See, http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/whos-funding-isis-wealthy-gulf-angel-investors-officials-say-n208006

In 2014, Saudi Arabia publicly agreed to clamp down on some donations from its citizens and religious foundations. As a result, most private funding now goes through Qatar. The UN Security Council Resolution 2170 passed last August 15 named only six individual ISIS leaders for direct sanctions. The new measure does not expand that list, but calls for a committee to nominate others for violation of existing UN resolutions.

The effects of the additional sanctions on oil exports proposed would have its primary impact on crude oil smuggling in and out of Turkey. The majority of ISIS oil revenues are derived through the black market in that country. Last June, at its height, a Turkish opposition MP and other sources estimated the annual oil revenues at $800 million. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/221272-report-isis-oil-production-worth-800m-per-year

If accurate, oil sales was about 40% of the total ISIS operating budget as stated by the group. However, even at its height, petroleum accounted for only a fraction of ISIS funding. Some western estimates placed the IS annual total budget as high as $3 billion. See, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/228465-isis-puts-payments-to-poor-disabled-in-2-billion-budget; http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-news-caliphate-unveils-first-annual-budget-2bn-250m-surplus-war-chest-1481931

The $800 million figure is actually at the top end of the estimates. US sources quoted by CNN last October stated that ISIS oil income was more likely half that figure: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/06/world/meast/isis-funding/

The U.S. Treasury Department does not have hard figures that it can make public on the group's wealth but says it believes ISIS takes in millions of dollars a month.

Sources familiar with the subject say that ISIS' "burn' rate" -- how much the group spends -- is huge, including salaries, weapons and other expenses. For ISIS' oil sales, sources told CNN, the group probably makes between $1 million and $2 million per day, but probably on the lower end.

Along with everyone else, the returns on ISIS oil are probably a fraction of what they were at the height of world oil prices a year ago. Plus, the US and allies are bombing the group's oil platforms and vehicles. That has cut production and export to the point where US commanders now acknowledged that oil sales aren't the source of most ISIS funds, and that they are coming from donations, "a lot of donations":

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is no longer relying on oil as its main source of revenue to fund its terrorist activity, according to the Pentagon.

“We know that oil revenue is no longer the lead source of their income in dollars,” Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters during a press briefing on Tuesday.

ISIS’ loss of income is compounded by its losses on the battlefield as the group has “lost literally hundreds and hundreds of vehicles that they can’t replace,” Kirby said.

“They’ve got to steal whatever they want to get, and there’s a finite number.”

ISIS is instead depending on “a lot of donations” as one of the main sources of income. “They also have a significant black market program going on,” Kirby said.

That leaves a big hole in the Caliphate's budget - that gets filled by someone.

Imposition of expanded UN sanctions would entail difficulties and costs for the US, particularly with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that the Security Counsel measure is limited, and does not yet show if the world is truly serious about eradicating ISIS.


Stevens was no ordinary Ambassador - he was a career spook diplomat. The DOS and CIA overlap in
many ways as far as the execution of covert action is concerned. You are right, probably more so under Secretary Clinton than in the past. You only need to look at Steven's background -- he attended UC Berkeley, UC Hastings Law and the National War College -- to see that he is a melding of the martial and intellectual in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt or T.E. Lawrence. He has worked in every significant center of foreign policy-making and every posting in the Mideast where the US has intense covert activities and strategic relationships during the past two decades:

Stevens joined the United States Foreign Service in 1991. His early overseas assignments included: deputy principal officer and political section chief in Jerusalem; political officer in Damascus; consular/political officer in Cairo; and consular/economic officer in Riyadh. In Washington, Stevens served as Director of the Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs; Pearson Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; Iran desk officer; and staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

He had served in Libya twice previously: as the Deputy Chief of Mission (from 2007 to 2009) and as Special Representative to the National Transitional Council (from March 2011 to November 2011) during the Libyan revolution. He arrived in Tripoli in May 2012 as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.

There were actually over 50 CIA people based in the nearby compound who showed up at the airport for evacuation. That's the "Annex" group of buildings next to the 14 large storage units in the adjacent warehouses where some have speculated the CIA actually stored the missiles and other sophisticated armaments that had been seized and purchased during the previous year. So, Stevens probably thought he was reasonably safe, as help or refuge was less than 1/2 a mile away from his unfortified diplomatic compound. He was comfortable with the militant groups he worked with in Eastern Libya - after all, he had handed them independence.

Anyone know if there's a gif version of this out there?

Would make an epic animated Avatar.

Right-wing media and the origins of the Bernie "doesn't care about minorities" meme.

When Black Lives Matter (BLM) disrupted a forum of progressive Democratic candidates at NRN15 this past weekend, they might not have known that they were reinforcing a racially divisive smear started by senior Washington columnists, Byron York and Charles C.W. Cook operating in the Right-wing echo chamber.

On May 27, the two published acoustically matched opinion pieces in two of the most conservative rags in America. York, the senior partner in this smear job, specializes in hit pieces against Democrats, writes for the Moonie Times spinoff, The Washington Examiner. His column was titled, "Bernie Sanders' progressive Whitopia" http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/bernie-sanders-progressive-whitopia/article/2565077. Could a racial smear across the face of Bernie's campaign possibly have been a factor in that?

Mr. York, observed with apparent deep concern for what he portrayed as the excluded minority voices in Bernie's kick-off campaign speech in Vermont a few days before. We've heard this theme repeated many times since across the web:

The startling omission was the issue of race and policing that has roiled the political debate in recent months. Ferguson, Baltimore, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray — none were in Sanders' speech. Allegations of police brutality and black victimization were all absent. Sanders made one brief mention of African-American unemployment and at the end of his speech offered a catch-all sentence in which he envisioned an America "where every person, no matter their race, their religion, their disability or their sexual orientation realizes the full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans." But the racial issues that have dominated the news at various times in the past year were nowhere to be found.

Writing from his perch at the arch-conservative National Review, Cooke, the junior partner, amplified York, the Old Washington Hand. Cooke, obligingly filled in what he thinks is the answer about Sanders strategy of sticking to economic justice issues:

Why would he expend his energy critiquing the excesses of American policing when Barack Obama is in the White House and Hillary Clinton is busy condemning her own husband for the tough-on-crime policies he advocated when in office? Answer: He wouldn’t. His role in this game is to make Hillary more fiscally socialistic. Somewhere deep down, he knows that.


So, here we have it. The origins of the racial meme used to smear Bernie is a one-two tag team played by a couple of professional Right-wing hit men. This really isn't a grassroots thing started by aggrieved minority activists at all. It's just an old-fashioned political smear started by right-wing white men. Various others, for their own reasons, have picked up on this meme and run with it.

There will be no epiphany on the road to Damascus

It is without meaning, other than to waste lives and wreck the place.

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