Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #829 Fireside Chat about Eddie the Friendly Spook and the Ukraine Crisis

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 12/19/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #827.  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748.)

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Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Edward Snow­den, unplugged

Intro­duc­tion: Two recent polit­i­cal devel­op­ments serve as book­ends with which to illus­trate our view that the Snowden/Wikileaks “op” and the Ukraine “op” are part of the same gam­bit.

A con­tro­ver­sy ensued when it emerged that House major­i­ty whip Steve Scalise had attend­ed a meet­ing of David Duke’s Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty Orga­ni­za­tion.

The new­ly-seat­ed GOP-dom­i­nat­ed con­gress which Scalise will help to guide began attack­ing Social Secu­ri­ty on its very  first day. Specif­i­cal­ly, the GOP began attack­ing the Social Secu­ri­ty dis­abil­i­ty pro­gram.

These devel­op­ments serve as a point of entry into our dis­cus­sion. (Our cov­er­age of “the Adven­tures of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” is mas­sive and must be accessed to appre­ci­ate and under­stand this admit­ted­ly long and com­pli­cat­ed analy­sis. We sug­gest using the search func­tion on this web­site to con­duct rel­e­vant key­word search­es, in addi­tion to pur­su­ing some of the links includ­ed in this descrip­tion.)

Part of the analy­sis notes that the super­fi­cial appear­ance of the Snowden/WikiLeaks “op” does­n’t make sense, if one takes the time to scru­ti­nize the affair care­ful­ly.

Snow­den is a strong advo­cate of elim­i­nat­ing Social Secu­ri­ty.

The fas­cist OUN/B heirs in Ukraine are pur­su­ing a pro­gram of “Von Clause­witz­ian eco­nom­ics” by elim­i­nat­ing the pen­sions and enti­tle­ments of peo­ple in East­ern Ukraine, not unlike what the Repub­li­cans are mov­ing to do to elder­ly, dis­abled in this coun­try.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • High­light­ing some of the many, fun­da­men­tal dis­con­ti­nu­ities that char­ac­ter­ize the Snowden/WikiLeaks “op.”
  • Not­ing the oper­a­tional con­ti­nu­ity between Wik­iLeaks and the Snow­den “op.”
  • High­light­ing the links between David Duke and ele­ments of the Snowden/WikiLeaks “op” includ­ing: Carl Lund­strom, financier of the Pirate Bay web­site which host­ed Wik­iLeaks; Joran Jer­mas, the key Assange aid who arranged for Wik­iLeaks to oper­ate through Pirate Bay; Ron Paul, Snow­den’s Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice and a polit­i­cal idol of Julian Assange.
  • Glenn Green­wald’s finan­cial angel Pierre Omid­yar and his role in financ­ing the Maid­an coup.
  • Green­wald’s work as a Nazi-fel­low trav­el­er, rep­re­sent­ing Nazi killers pro-bono and run­ning legal inter­fer­ence for the lead­er­less resis­tance strat­e­gy.
  • The fact that the Snowden/WikiLeaks “op” was viewed by 70% of Amer­i­cans under the age of 34 as a hero­ic act. This appears to have con­tributed sub­stan­tial­ly to the low vot­er turnout that brought the GOP-dom­i­nat­ed 114th Con­gress to pow­er.
  • The fact that the fun­da­men­tals of Snow­den’s so-called dis­clo­sures have been on the pub­lic record for years.
  • The strong affin­i­ty of the Ron Paul-linked Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute and Lew Rock­well (who edit­ed Ron Paul’s racist newslet­ters) and the Haps­burg dynasty.
  • Review of the links between the Haps­burgs (Otto von Hab­s­burg in par­tic­u­lar) and the OUN/B milieu of Yaroslav Stet­sko.
  • Links between the Swedish fas­cist milieu to which Carl Lund­strom belongs and the inter­na­tion­al neo-Nazi con­tin­gent fight­ing in Ukraine.
  • The fact that Snow­den is a trained spy.

1a. A con­tro­ver­sy arose from the news that house major­i­ty whip Steve Scalise attend­ed a meet­ing of David Duke’s EURO orga­ni­za­tion.

“White Suprema­cist Ban­ners, Racist Talks at Lat­er Events of Group Steve Scalise Pre­vi­ously Addressed, Civ­il Rights Group Says” by Mark Schleif­stein; The Times-Picayune; 12/30/2014.

Ban­ners pro­claim­ing “White Pow­er” and “White Pride World­wide” plas­tered the walls, and speak­ers gave racist speech­es at lat­er con­fer­ences in Ken­ner of a white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise says he had addressed in Metairie in 2002, an inves­ti­ga­tor with the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter civ­il rights group said Tues­day.

The law cen­ter didn’t have an inves­ti­ga­tor at the 2002 con­fer­ence of the Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion at which Scalise has acknowl­edged that he spoke. But Hei­di Beirich, direc­tor of the center’s “Intel­li­gence Project,” said EURO events she attend­ed in 2004 and 2005 in Ken­ner left no doubt about the group’s racist agen­da.

“The con­fer­ences were a full day of peo­ple giv­ing speech­es rep­re­sent­ing the worst in racism or anti-Semi­tism,” said Beirich.

For­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke found­ed EURO, a con­nec­tion the law cen­ter said should have made it clear the group’s racist agen­da. The nature of the events EURO put togeth­er left no doutb, Beirich said.

At one of the con­fer­ences she attend­ed in Ken­ner, a fea­tured speak­er “spoke about how evil Mus­lims are,” Beirich said. “He described a Mus­lim woman as a ‘hag in a bag.’”

Oth­er speak­ers at the 2004 and 2005 con­fer­ences gave talks deny­ing that World War II’s Holo­caust — the exter­mi­na­tion by Nazis of mil­lions of Jews and oth­ers in con­cen­tra­tion camps and mas­sacres — actu­ally occurred. Oth­er speak­ers told audi­ences that Jews and non-whites were tak­ing con­trol of the Unit­ed States.

“It was almost held like an aca­d­e­mic con­fer­ence, but the top­ics were so hor­rific that it’s shock­ing,” Beirich said.

Beirich said she did not attend the May 2002 con­fer­ence at which Scalise spoke and has no infor­ma­tion on what talks were giv­en or whether sim­i­lar ban­ners were used.

The Mont­gomery, Ala.-based cen­ter on Tues­day called on Scalise to step downas house major­ity whip because of his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 2002 con­fer­ence, and ques­tioned Scalise’s insis­tence that he did not know EURO was a white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion.

In a Tues­day state­ment, Scalise said his deci­sion to appear at the con­fer­ence to talk about state tax­a­tion issues was a mis­take.

“One of the many groups that I spoke to regard­ing this crit­i­cal leg­is­la­tion was a group whose views I whole­heart­edly con­demn,” Scalise said in a state­ment. “It was a mis­take I regret, and I emphat­i­cally oppose the divi­sive racial and reli­gious views groups like these hold.”

But offi­cials with the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter argue that it would be dif­fi­cult for Scalise not to know the kind of group he was address­ing, espe­cially since The Gam­bit report­ed ahead of the 2002 con­fer­ence on an announce­ment by the Iowa Cubs minor league base­ball team that they were can­celling their stay at the Metairie hotel where the EURO con­fer­ence was being held. The Gam­bit also report­ed on a state­ment by the hotel, then called the Best West­ern Land­mark, say­ing it did not sup­port the con­fer­ence but was con­trac­tu­ally oblig­ated to host it.

The Gambit’s arti­clesaid EURO offi­cials decid­ed to close the con­fer­ence to the pub­lic and require those attend­ing to be EURO mem­bers or local orga­niz­ers and pay a fee after the hotel con­tro­versy sparked rumors that pro­test­ers might show up.

“I think it is sim­ply not cred­i­ble that Steve Scalise, a Louisiana-based politi­cian with nation­al aspi­ra­tions, could not have known at that time who David Duke was and what EURO was,” said Mark Potok, a senior fel­low at the law cen­ter and edi­tor of its Intel­li­gence Report inves­tiga­tive jour­nal.

“There was an immense amount of pub­lic­ity, and espe­cially in Louisiana. David Duke then and today was the most noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist in the Unit­ed States of Amer­ica,” he said.

Potok also was crit­i­cal of the Repub­li­can Par­ty for back­ing Scalise to remain as Major­ity Whip when Con­gress re-con­venes on Jan. 6.

“The Repub­li­can Par­ty has made a lot of noise recent­ly about reach­ing out to minori­ties in this coun­try,” he said. “It’s very hard to under­stand how the par­ty is going to do that when it turns out that one of their most impor­tant lead­ers has been giv­ing speech­es to an open­ly white suprema­cist group.”

...

1b. Duke has net­worked with oth­er politi­cians and has threat­ened to “name names.” He might well have named names of the Snow­denista milieu, who are joined at the hip with Duke.

“David Duke Threat­ens to ‘Name Names’ ” by Alexan­dra Jaffe; CNN; 1/3/2015.

Rep. Steve Scalise may have attend­ed a gath­er­ing of a white suprema­cist group, David Duke, the for­mer Klu Klux Klan leader who found­ed the group said on CNN Sat­ur­day.

“I’ve got con­flict­ing reports,” Duke told CNN’s Michael Smer­con­ish. “One per­son said that he was a no-show, that he was sched­uled to come — one per­son said that he did come. I just don’t know what the truth is.”

Duke added that “it seems that Mr. Scalise thinks he may have. That’s why he’s — he’s cov­er­ing him­self.”

Duke was in Rus­sia at the time of the 2002 con­fer­ence of the Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion, con­sid­ered by many civ­il rights groups to be a hate group. The event in ques­tion has drawn intense scruti­ny after a local Louisiana polit­i­cal blog­ger uncov­ered com­ments on an online forum sug­gest­ing Scalise spoke there in 2002.

The con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing Scalise’s appear­ance has sparked calls for the Louisiana Repub­li­can to resign from his House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship posi­tion and cre­at­ed unwant­ed headaches for the GOP as they pre­pare to take over full con­trol of Con­gress next week.

While he said he remains murky on the actu­al details of who spoke at the event thir­teen years ago, Duke threat­ened to “name names” of law­mak­ers with whom he’s “had rela­tion­ships” if they con­tin­ue to attack Scalise. . . .

2a. In keep­ing with the views of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook Snow­den, the GOP began attack­ing Social Secu­ri­ty and its dis­abil­i­ty pro­gram.

“New GOP Con­gress Fires Shot At Social Secu­rity On Day One” by Dylan Scott; Talk­ing Points Memo DC; 1/6/2015.

With a lit­tle-noticed pro­posal, Repub­li­cans took aim at Social Secu­rity on the very first day of the 114th Con­gress.

The incom­ing GOP major­ity approved late Tues­day a new rule that experts say could pro­voke an unprece­dented cri­sis that con­ser­v­a­tives could use as lever­age in upcom­ing debates over enti­tle­ment reform.

The large­ly over­looked change puts a new restric­tion on the rou­tine trans­fer of tax rev­enues between the tra­di­tional Social Secu­rity retire­ment trust fund and the Social Secu­rity dis­abil­ity pro­gram. The trans­fers, known as real­lo­ca­tion, had his­tor­i­cally been rou­tine; the lib­eral Cen­ter for Bud­get and Pol­icy Pri­or­i­ties saidTues­day that they had been made 11 times. The CBPP added that the dis­abil­ity insur­ance pro­gram “isn’t bro­ken,” but the pro­gram has been strained by demo­graphic trends that the real­lo­ca­tions are intend­ed to address.

The House GOP’s rule change would still allow for a real­lo­ca­tion from the retire­ment fund to shore up the dis­abil­ity fund — but only if an accom­pa­ny­ing pro­posal “improves the over­all finan­cial health of the com­bined Social Secu­rity Trust Funds,” per the rule, expect­ed to be passed on Tues­day. While that lan­guage is vague, experts say it would like­ly mean any real­lo­ca­tion would have to be bal­anced by new rev­enues or ben­e­fit cuts.

House Democ­rats are sound­ing the alarm. In a memo cir­cu­lated to their allies Tues­day, Demo­c­ra­tic staffers said that that would mean “either new rev­enues or ben­e­fit cuts for cur­rent or future ben­e­fi­cia­ries.” New rev­enues are high­ly unlike­ly to be approved by the deeply tax-averse Repub­li­can-led Con­gress, leav­ing ben­e­fit cuts as the obvi­ous alter­na­tive.

The Social Secu­rity and Medicare Boards of Trustees esti­mated last year that the dis­abil­ity insur­ance pro­gram would run short of mon­ey to pay all ben­e­fits some time in late 2016. With­out a new real­lo­ca­tion, dis­abil­ity insur­ance ben­e­fi­cia­ries could face up to 20 per­cent cuts in their Social Secu­rity pay­ments in late 2016 — a chit that would be of use to Repub­li­cans push­ing for con­ser­v­a­tive enti­tle­ment reforms.

“The rule change would pro­hibit a sim­ple real­lo­ca­tion! It will require more sig­nif­i­cant and com­plex changes to Social Secu­rity,” Social Secu­rity Works, an advo­cacy group, said in a state­ment Tues­day. “In oth­er words, the Repub­li­can rule will allow Social Secu­rity to be held hostage.”

Pol­icy wonks who fol­low Social Secu­rity saw the GOP rule change as a play for lever­age.

“Everybody’s been talk­ing about enti­tle­ment reform. Mr. Boehn­er and Pres­i­dent Oba­ma were pret­ty close to com­ing up with some kind of grand bar­gain, which ulti­mately fell apart,” Tom Hunger­ford, senior econ­o­mist at the lib­eral Eco­nomic Pol­icy Insti­tute, told TPM. “Maybe this could be used as a hostage to try to get back to some­thing like that.”

For their part, con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans were fair­ly trans­par­ent about their think­ing. Rep. Tom Reed (R‑NY), who has been out­spo­ken on the dis­abil­ity pro­gram, co-spon­sored the rule amend­ment. The dis­abil­ity pro­gram has been a favored tar­get for the GOP; mem­bers were warn­ing last month that the pro­gram could be vul­ner­a­ble to fraud.

“My inten­tion by doing this is to force us to look for a long term solu­tion for SSDI rather than raid­ing Social Secu­rity to bail out a fail­ing fed­eral pro­gram,” Reed said in a state­ment. “Retired tax­pay­ers who have paid into the sys­tem for years deserve no less.”

Lib­eral ana­lysts counter, how­ever, that the retire­ment fund, which pays out $672.1 bil­lion in ben­e­fits per year ver­sus $140.1 bil­lion for the dis­abil­ity fund, is more than healthy enough to allow for a real­lo­ca­tion, as has his­tor­i­cally been done. CBPP’s Kathy Ruff­ing wrote that, if a trans­fer was made before the 2016 dead­line, both funds would be sol­vent until 2033.

...

2b. More about the GOP’s assault on Social Secu­ri­ty, a pol­i­cy whole­heart­ed­ly endorsed by Snow­den:

“Inside The GOP’s Long Game To Ignite A New Bat­tle Over Social Secu­ri­ty” by Dylan Scott; TPM DC; 1/9/2015. 

Repub­li­cans are seiz­ing a once-every-20-years oppor­tu­nity to force a cri­sis in the Social Secu­rity dis­abil­ity pro­gram and use it as lever­age to push through reforms, a long game that they have been qui­etly lay­ing ground­work for since tak­ing con­trol of the House in 2010.

In less than two years, the Social Social dis­abil­ity insur­ance pro­gram will start being unable to pay its full ben­e­fits and House Repub­li­cans saidthis week that they aren’t going to sim­ply give it more rev­enue from the retire­ment side, as has been done his­tor­i­cally. It’s the lat­est episode in a pro­tracted cam­paign over the dis­abil­ity pro­gram — and it rais­es the ques­tion of what exact­ly Repub­li­cans plan to do now.

The last time this hap­pened was 1994, and lib­eral ana­lysts say that anoth­er sim­ple real­lo­ca­tion between the dis­abil­ity and retire­ment funds, as has been done 11 times in the past, would keep both funds sol­vent until 2033. That meant that con­ser­v­a­tives had to act now if they want­ed to squeeze the cri­sis for all it’s worth. For the last few years, they’ve been high­light­ing instances of fraud and oth­er prob­lems with the pro­gram, set­ting the stage for the big move this week.

Democ­rats are sound­ing the alarm, warn­ing that Repub­li­cans have tak­en a “hostage” and will lever­age it to pur­sue broad changes to Social Secu­rity as a whole. With mem­o­ries still fresh of their failed effort to pri­va­tize Social Secu­rity in 2005, con­ser­v­a­tives wonks are less sure that the new GOP Con­gress would have the polit­i­cal will to do that, though they wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily mind if it did.

“I wasn’t sure that they were going to be will­ing to take it up. I’m heart­ened that the rule was put in place. It forces us to start hav­ing a debate on this issue today,” said Jason Ficht­ner, senior research fel­low at George Mason University’s Mer­ca­tus Cen­ter who has been called by House Repub­li­cans to tes­tify on Social Secu­rity. “What I sus­pect is this allows for a con­ver­sa­tion not just on (dis­abil­ity), but the whole sys­tem com­bined. But the hur­dle of dis­abil­ity insur­ance is high enough. You start adding in try­ing to retire­ment reform at the same time, that just makes it a high­er hur­dle. I’m not sure there’s the polit­i­cal will or the pub­lic will to tack­le both sys­tems at the same time right now.”

The hostage in this metaphor is the dis­abil­ity insur­ance pro­gram and a late 2016 dead­line, at which point it won’t be able to pay its full ben­e­fits to its 11 mil­lion ben­e­fi­cia­ries. The new Repub­li­can House has approved a rule that says Con­gress can’t just trans­fer tax rev­enue from the Social Secu­rity retire­ment fund, as it has been done rou­tinely in the past, to cov­er the loom­ing short­fall. If noth­ing is done, ben­e­fi­cia­ries would face an esti­mated 20 per­cent cut.

Most mem­bers on both sides pre­sum­ably wouldn’t want to see that hap­pen, espe­cially dur­ing a crit­i­cal elec­tion cycle, giv­ing Repub­li­cans pow­er­ful lever­age to bring Democ­rats to the nego­ti­at­ing table. One of the co-spon­sors of the rule change, Rep. Tom Reed (R‑NY), saidthat his inten­tion was to “force us to look for a long-term solu­tion” to the dis­abil­ity pro­gram.

But the rule itself says it will allow a rev­enue trans­fer if the “over­all health” of Social Secu­rity, encom­pass­ing both the retire­ment and dis­abil­ity pro­grams, is improved. That’s what Democ­rats are warn­ing about, but some con­ser­v­a­tive ana­lysts who have con­sulted with House staffers are also hop­ing that the GOP uses the threat of ben­e­fits cuts to go big.

“It’s encour­ag­ing that the rule actu­ally says we could do real­lo­ca­tion if it’s accom­pa­nied by improve­ments in over­all Social Secu­rity sol­vency. Our pref­er­ence has always been that the deple­tion of the DI trust fund become the impe­tus for com­pre­hen­sive Social Secu­rity reform,” Ed Loren­zen, senior advi­sor to the Com­mit­tee for a Respon­si­ble Fed­eral Bud­get, told TPM. “For the most part, the prob­lems fac­ing DI are real­ly just a symp­tom of the larg­er prob­lems for Social Secu­rity as a whole.”

Staff for the House’s big play­ers on Social Secu­rity — Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan (R‑WI) and Social Secu­rity Sub­com­mit­tee Chair Sam John­son (R‑TX), who co-spon­sored the new rule with Reed — weren’t ready to reveal their plans for what comes next. But asked if their pro­pos­als would address just the dis­abil­ity insur­ance fund or Social Secu­rity in its entire­ty, an aide to Reed told TPM: “Just DI for the moment.”

Those on the right weren’t sur­prised that the new GOP Con­gress took an aggres­sive stance on Social Security’s dis­abil­ity pro­gram on its very first day. “Over the last year, it start­ed becom­ing clear that there’d be a lot of resis­tance to (a clean real­lo­ca­tion) and a desire to have real­lo­ca­tion tied to some reforms,” Loren­zen said. “We were sort of antic­i­pat­ing that this would hap­pen.”

...

The hostage in this metaphor is the dis­abil­ity insur­ance pro­gram and a late 2016 dead­line, at which point it won’t be able to pay its full ben­e­fits to its 11 mil­lion ben­e­fi­cia­ries. The new Repub­li­can House has approved a rule that says Con­gress can’t just trans­fer tax rev­enue from the Social Secu­rity retire­ment fund, as it has been done rou­tinely in the past, to cov­er the loom­ing short­fall. If noth­ing is done, ben­e­fi­cia­ries would face an esti­mated 20 per­cent cut.

Most mem­bers on both sides pre­sum­ably wouldn’t want to see that hap­pen, espe­cially dur­ing a crit­i­cal elec­tion cycle, giv­ing Repub­li­cans pow­er­ful lever­age to bring Democ­rats to the nego­ti­at­ing table. One of the co-spon­sors of the rule change, Rep. Tom Reed (R‑NY), saidthat his inten­tion was to “force us to look for a long-term solu­tion” to the dis­abil­ity pro­gram.
...

3a. The fas­cist Swe­den Democ­rats have become the third largest par­ty in Swe­den. Financed, in part, by Carl Lund­strom, the Swe­den Dem­crats are dri­ving the nation­al agen­da in impor­tant respects. Despite their offi­cial procla­ma­tion to the effect that the par­ty had aban­doned fas­cism, it retains its polit­i­cal char­ac­ter, tout­ing the “anti-immi­grant” sen­ti­ment as the main plank in its polit­i­cal plat­form.

Lund­strom is also the pri­ma­ry finan­cial backer of the Pirate Bay site, through which Wik­iLeaks oper­at­ed. The Snow­den “op” is an exten­sion of Wik­iLeaks.

As dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 725, 732, Lund­strom financed a Scan­di­na­vian speak­ing tour for David Duke.

“Rightwing Pop­ulists in Europe Make Mis­chief” [Edi­to­r­i­al]; The Finan­cial Times; 12/08/2014; p. 10.

. . . . How­eve the pri­or­i­ty now must be to expose the Swe­den Democ­rats as a par­ty with a reck­less approach and an array of intol­er­ant, social­ly divi­sive poli­cies whol­ly out of keep­ing with Swedish polit­i­cal cul­ture. . . .

. . . The Swe­den Democ­rats aban­doned [superficially–D.E.] their neo-Nazi doc­trines more than 10 years ago, mak­ing it inac­cu­rate to label them a far-right par­ty , but most Swedes cor­rect­ly regard the par­ty’s aggres­sive line on immi­gra­tion as unpalat­able. . . .

3b. Pirate Bay sug­ar dad­dy Lund­strom has dis­cussed his polit­i­cal sym­pa­thies. [The excerpt below is from Google trans­la­tions. The Swedish sen­tence is fol­lowed by the Eng­lish trans­la­tion.]

“The Goal: Take over all Pira­cy” by Peter Karls­son; realtid.se; 3/10/2006.

. . . Lund­ström har inte gjort någon hem­lighet av sina sym­pa­ti­er för främ­lings­fientli­ga grup­per, och för­ra året fanns hans namn med på kun­dreg­istret hos det nazis­tiska bok­för­laget Nordiska För­laget. Lund­strom has made no secret of his sym­pa­thy for the xeno­pho­bic groups, and last year was his name with the cus­tomer code of the Nazi pub­lish­ing house Nordic Pub­lish­ers.

– Jag stöder dem genom att köpa böck­er och musik. - I sup­port them by buy­ing books and music. Ni i media vill bara spri­da mis­sak­t­ning om oli­ka per­son­er. You in the media just want to spread con­tempt for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Ni i media är fyll­da av hat till Pirate Bay, avs­lu­tar en myck­et upprörd Carl Lund­ström. You in the media is full of hatred to the Pirate Bay, fin­ish­ing a very upset Carl Lund­ström.

Nordiska För­laget säl­jer vit makt musik och böck­er som hyl­lar rasis­tiska våld­shan­dlin­gar. Nordic pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny sells white pow­er music and books that cel­e­brates the racist vio­lence. För­laget stöder nazis­ter­nas demon­stra­tion i Salem och bjöd in Ku Klux Klan ledaren till en före­drag­turné i Sverige. Pub­lish­er sup­ports the Nazi demon­stra­tion in Salem and invit­ed the Ku Klux Klan leader [David Duke–D.E.] for a lec­ture tour in Swe­den. . . .

4. In that same con­text, it is worth not­ing that the qua­si-pop­ulist ide­o­log­i­cal rhetoric sur­round­ing Pirate Bay dove­tails nice­ly with the sort of “fas­cist pop­ulism” mar­ket­ed by the polit­i­cal par­ties financed by Lund­strom.

Again, Lund­strom is part and par­cel to the Snowden/WikiLeaks “op.”

“The Pirate Bay tri­al Is the Col­li­sion of ‘Can I?’ and ‘Should I?’ Cul­tures” by Andrew Brown; The Guardian; 2/26/2009.

. . . The mon­ey man, Carl Lund­ström, on whose servers The Pirate Bay [and WikiLeaks–D.E.] was housed, is straight out of the crime nov­els of Stieg Lars­son. He inher­it­ed a for­tune built on crisp­bread, and has a long his­to­ry of involve­ment with extreme rightwing pol­i­tics. In the 1980s, he was a mem­ber of “Keep Swe­den Swedish”, an anti-immi­grant fringe group; he has finan­cial­ly backed the Swe­den Democ­rats, a would-be pop­ulist and anti-immi­grant par­ty; and only this month the man­ag­ing direc­tor of one of his com­pa­nies was charged with a rob­bery in a small west-coast town, part of a feud with­in a neo-Nazi group. Lund­ström told the Metro news­paper (http://bit.ly/metro) after he sacked the man that he had known he was a par­ty mem­ber, but not that he had gone to col­lect anoth­er mem­ber’s com­put­er with a sub­ma­chine gun.

Got­tfrid Svartholm Varg and Fred­erik Neij, the nerds who run The Pirate Bay itself, have also been accused by the pros­e­cu­tor of tax eva­sion, but deny that they were mak­ing any mon­ey from their busi­ness. Their atti­tude of sneer­ing enti­tle­ment towards the gov­ern­ment is all of a piece with their atti­tude towards the big con­tent com­pa­nies. . . .

. . . I know that a lit­tle bit of the rhetoric around The Pirate Bay sounds left­wing – the idea that it is wrong for “inter­na­tion­al cap­i­tal” to push Swe­den around – but that’s just pop­ulist, and could be found in the rhetoric of the kind of par­ties that Carl Lund­ström has sup­port­ed too.

The over­whelm­ing impres­sion is of a clash between two rightwing views, one that says it is all right to steal from the state, and one which says it is sin­ful to steal from cor­po­ra­tions. . . .

5. More about Lund­strom’s financ­ing of the Swe­den Democ­rats. We will dis­cuss the anti-Mus­lim/an­ti-immi­grant ral­ly­ing cry of the Swe­den Democ­rats and oth­er neo-fas­cist par­ties such as the French Nation­al Front when we dis­cuss the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the recent car­nage in France.

“Pirate Bay’s neo-Nazi Sug­ar Dad­dy” by Andrew Orlos­ki; The Reg­is­ter [UK]; 2/26/2009.

 . . . . Lund­ström was linked to a gang of skin­heads that attacked Latin Amer­i­can tourists in Stock­holm in the mid-1980s. [Expo.se report (Swe) — 2005]. Over the years, Lund­ström has switched his sup­port from Keep Swe­den Swedish to the far-right head­bangers par­ty New Democ­ra­cy — but was thrown out for being too right wing. He’s cur­rent­ly bankrolling 100 can­di­dates for the Swedish equiv­a­lent of the BNP.  [The par­ty is the Swe­den Democrats–D.E.]. . .

6a. Young peo­ple seem to have been par­tic­u­lar­ly affect­ed by Snow­den’s actions. Snow­den being regard­ed as a hero is tru­ly grotesque, though under­stand­able, giv­en the insuf­fi­cient nature of the media cov­er­age.

It is a safe bet that the result­ing alien­ation of the young, ide­al­is­tic vot­ers who ral­lied to Oba­ma in 2008 con­tributed to the low vot­er turnout in the 2014 off-year elec­tions. That low vot­er turnout, in turn, con­tributed to the elec­tion of the pro-Duke, anti-Social Secu­ri­ty GOP. They are part and par­cel to the polit­i­cal forces to which Eddie the Friend­ly Spook belongs.

“Snow­den among Nom­i­nees for a Euro­pean Human Rights Prize” by Dan Bilef­sky; The New York Times; 9/18/2013.

. . . . In an online New York Times opin­ion arti­cle on Sun­day, Peter Lud­low, a pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy at North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty, wrote that Mr. Snow­den had exposed a gap between mem­bers of the younger “Wik­iLeaks gen­er­a­tion,” who regard him as a role mod­el, and old­er com­men­ta­tors in the tra­di­tion­al news media, who believe he needs to be brought to jus­tice. Mr. Lud­low cit­ed a recent poll show­ing that 70 per­cent of Amer­i­cans ages 18 to 34 believed that Mr. Snow­den “did a good thing.” . . . . .

6b. Snow­den’s “dis­clo­sures” are not new, nor is the vac­u­um-clean­ing of elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions by NSA/GCHQ unusu­al in the world of glob­al elec­tron­ic espi­onage.

[Notice when this was published–9/6/2001.–D.E.] . . . The Unit­ed States-led spy­ing sys­tem known as Ech­e­lon can mon­i­tor vir­tu­al­ly every com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the world — by e‑mail, phone or fax — that bounces off a satel­lite, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment was told. But in report­ing on a year­long study of the sys­tem that was prompt­ed by con­cern that Amer­i­can com­pa­nies were using data from the sys­tem to gain a com­pet­i­tive edge, Ger­hard Schmid, a Ger­man mem­ber of the Par­lia­ment, said that many Euro­pean coun­tries had sim­i­lar abil­i­ties . . .

7. Exem­pli­fy­ing the mar­row-deep hypocrisy of Cit­i­zen Green­wald, we exam­ine his defense of of Nazi mur­der­er Matthew Hale. Notice that Green­wald did­n’t give a fly­ing F* about the inter­net pri­va­cy of Judge Lefkow and her fam­i­ly.
THIS is the real Glenn Green­wald, whom we strong­ly sus­pect is a BND oper­a­tive.
  • Con­vict­ed of solic­i­ta­tion of the mur­der of Judge Joan Lefkow, whose hus­band and moth­er were mur­dered in her home a few weeks after Cobb exer­cised what Green­wald would char­ac­ter­ize of his right of free speech on the inter­net, Green­wald’s client Hale char­ac­ter­ized his orga­ni­za­tion as being at war with Judge Lefkow. (See text excerpt in linked post.)
  • Cobb post­ed Lefkow’s name and address on the inter­net. Her moth­er and hus­band were mur­dered a few weeks lat­er. Cobb was overt­ly, explic­it­ly pleased by that fact” . . . What was I feel­ing? Emo­tions are not yet ille­gal. I was just fine with it. I think it was well done.”[1] (See text excerpt in linked post.)
  • Cob­b’s actions epit­o­mize the “lead­er­less resis­tance strat­e­gy,” for which Green­wald ran legal inter­fer­ence in his law prac­tice.
  • Green­wald’s client Hale was taped by an under­cov­er FBI infor­mant who pro­vid­ed; ”  . . . . an email from Hale solic­it­ing Lefkow’s home address, and a tape record­ing of a dis­cus­sion between the two about Lefkow’s mur­der. On the tape, Evola said, “We going to exter­mi­nate the rat?” Hale replied, “Well, what­ev­er you want to do basi­cal­ly.” Evola said, “The Jew rat.” Hale then said: “You know, my posi­tion has always been that I, you know, I’m going to fight with­in the law… but that infor­ma­tion has been pro­vid­ed. [by Cobb]… If you wish to do any­thing your­self, you can.” Evola replied, “Con­sid­er it done,” and Hale respond­ed, “Good.” . . . . (See text excerpt in linked post.)
  • Green­wald’s com­ments on the case are very, very reveal­ing. “. . . . . Attor­ney Glenn Green­wald, rep­re­sent­ing Hale, says he believes the charge against Hale stems from what he calls a mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Hale’s state­ment that “we are in a state of war with Judge Lefkow.” Green­wald says: “They are prob­a­bly try­ing to take things he said along the lines of polit­i­cal advo­ca­cy and turn it into a crime. The FBI may have inter­pret­ed this pro­tect­ed speech as a threat against a fed­er­al judge, but it’s prob­a­bly noth­ing more than some heat­ed rhetoric.” Dur­ing Hale’s incar­cer­a­tion, spe­cial admin­is­tra­tive mea­sures will be imposed to reduce his abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate with his fol­low­ers. . . .” (See text excerpt in linked post.)

8. Pierre Omid­yar–Glenn Greenwald’s finan­cial angel–helped finance the Ukrain­ian coup, along with AID. The lat­ter is a fre­quent cov­er for U.S. intel­li­gence activ­i­ties.We note that Oleh Rybachukthe recip­i­ent of Omidyar’s funds, was the right-hand man for Vik­tor Yuschenko in the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion.

“Pierre Omid­yar Co-fund­ed Ukraine Rev­o­lu­tion Groups with US gov­ern­ment, Doc­u­ments Show” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 2/28/2014.

On Feb­ru­ary 28, 2014 Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at nation­al secu­rity blog “The Inter­cept,” was already dig­ging for the truth. Mar­cy Wheel­er, who is the new site’s “senior pol­icy ana­lyst,” spec­u­lated that the Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion was like­ly a “coup” engi­neered by “deep forces” on behalf of “Pax Amer­i­cana”:

“There’s quite a bit of evi­dence of coup-ness. Q is how many lev­els deep inter­fer­ence from both sides is.”

These are seri­ous claims. So seri­ous that I decid­ed to inves­ti­gate them. And what I found was shock­ing. Wheel­er is part­ly cor­rect. Pan­do has con­firmed that the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment – in the form of the US Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (USAID) – played a major role in fund­ing oppo­si­tion groups pri­or to the rev­o­lu­tion. More­over, a large per­cent­age of the rest of the fund­ing to those same groups came from a US bil­lion­aire who has pre­vi­ously worked close­ly with US gov­ern­ment agen­cies to fur­ther his own busi­ness inter­ests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evi­dence shows that US invest­ment was a force mul­ti­plier for many of the groups involved in over­throw­ing Yanukovych. But that’s not the shock­ing part. What’s shock­ing is the name of the bil­lion­aire who co-invest­ed with the US gov­ern­ment (or as Wheel­er put it: the “dark force” act­ing on behalf of “Pax Amer­i­cana”). Step out of the shad­ows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omid­yar. Yes, in the annals of inde­pen­dent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: Accord­ing to finan­cial dis­clo­sures and reports seen by Pan­do, the founder and pub­lisher of Glenn Greenwald’s gov­ern­ment-bash­ing blog,“The Inter­cept,” co-invest­ed with the US gov­ern­ment to help fund regime change in Ukraine. * * * * When the rev­o­lu­tion came to Ukraine, neo-fas­cists played a front-cen­ter role in over­throw­ing the country’s pres­i­dent. But the real polit­i­cal pow­er rests with Ukraine’s pro-west­ern neolib­er­als. Polit­i­cal fig­ures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Depart­mentDC neo­consEU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Vik­tor Yushchenko. Last Decem­ber, the Finan­cial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Cit­i­zen” NGO cam­paign “played a big role in get­ting the protest up and run­ning.” New Cit­i­zen, along with the rest of Rybachuk’s inter­lock­ing net­work of west­ern-backed NGOs and cam­paigns— “Cen­ter UA” (also spelled “Cen­tre UA”), “Ches­no,” and “Stop Cen­sor­ship” to name a few — grew their pow­er by tar­get­ing pro-Yanukovych politi­cians with a well-coor­di­nat­ed anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign that built its strength in Ukraine’s regions, before mass­ing in Kiev last autumn. The efforts of the NGOs were so suc­cess­ful that the Ukraine gov­ern­ment was accused of employ­ing dirty tricks to shut them down. In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, the groups were the sub­ject of a mas­sive mon­ey laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tion by the eco­nom­ics divi­sion of Ukraine’s Inte­rior Min­istry in what many denounced as a polit­i­cally moti­vated move. For­tu­nately the groups had the strength – which is to say, mon­ey – to sur­vive those attacks and con­tinue push­ing for regime change in Ukraine. The source of that mon­ey? Accord­ing to the Kyiv Post, Pier­rie Omidyar’s Omid­yar Net­work (part of the Omid­yar Group which owns First Look Media and the Inter­cept) pro­vided 36% of “Cen­ter UA”’s $500,000 bud­get in 2012— near­ly $200,000. USAID pro­vided 54% of “Cen­ter UA”’s bud­get for 2012. Oth­er fun­ders includ­ed the US gov­ern­ment-backed Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy. In 2011, Omid­yar Net­work gave $335,000 to “New Cit­i­zen,” one of the anti-Yanukovych “projects” man­aged through the Rybachuk-chaired NGO “Cen­ter UA.” At the time, Omid­yar Net­work boast­ed that its invest­ment in “New Cit­i­zen” would help “shape pub­lic pol­icy” in Ukraine:

“Using tech­nol­ogy and media, New Cit­i­zen coor­di­nates the efforts of con­cerned mem­bers of soci­ety, rein­forc­ing their abil­ity to shape pub­lic pol­icy. “… With sup­port from Omid­yar Net­work, New Cit­i­zen will strength­en its advo­cacy efforts in order to dri­ve greater trans­parency and engage cit­i­zens on issues of impor­tance to them.”

In March 2012, Rybachuk — the oper­a­tor behind the 2004 Orange Rev­o­lu­tion scenes, the Ana­toly Chubais of Ukraine — boast­ed that he was prepar­ing a new Orange Rev­o­lu­tion:

“Peo­ple are not afraid. We now have 150 NGOs in all the major cities in our ‘clean up Par­lia­ment cam­paign’ to elect and find bet­ter parliamentarians….The Orange Rev­o­lu­tion was a mir­a­cle, a mas­sive peace­ful protest that worked. We want to do that again and we think we will.

Detailed finan­cial records reviewed by Pan­do (and embed­ded below) also show Omid­yar Net­work cov­ered costs for the expan­sion of Rybachuk’s anti-Yanukovych cam­paign, “Ches­no” (“Hon­estly”), into region­al cities includ­ing Polta­va, Vin­nyt­sia, Zhy­to­myr, Ternopil, Sumy, and else­where, most­ly in the Ukrain­ian-speak­ing west and cen­ter. * * * * To under­stand what it means for Omid­yar to fund Oleh Rybachuk, some brief his­tory is nec­es­sary. Rybachuk’s back­ground fol­lows a famil­iar pat­tern in post-Sovi­et oppor­tunism: From well-con­nect­ed KGB intel­li­gence ties, to post-Sovi­et neolib­eral net­worker. In the Sovi­et era, Rybachuk stud­ied in a mil­i­tary lan­guages pro­gram half of whose grad­u­ates went on to work for the KGB. Rybachuk’s murky over­seas post­ing in India in the late Sovi­et era fur­ther strength­ens many sus­pi­cions about his Sovi­et intel­li­gence ties; what­ever the case, by Rybachuk’s own account, his close ties to top intel­li­gence fig­ures in the Ukrain­ian SBU served him well dur­ing the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion of 2004, when the SBU passed along secret infor­ma­tion about vote fraud and assas­si­na­tion plots.

In 1992, after the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union, Rybachuk moved to the new­ly-formed Ukraine Cen­tral Bank, head­ing the for­eign rela­tions depart­ment under Cen­tral Bank chief and future Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Vik­tor Yushchenko. In his cen­tral bank post, Rybachuk estab­lished close friend­ly ties with west­ern gov­ern­ment and finan­cial aid insti­tu­tions, as well as pro­to-Omid­yar fig­ures like George Soros, who fund­ed many of the NGOs involved in “col­or rev­o­lu­tions” includ­ing small dona­tions to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omid­yar backed. (Like Omid­yar Net­work does today, Soros’ char­ity arms—Open Soci­ety and Renais­sance Foundation—publicly preached trans­parency and good gov­ern­ment in places like Rus­sia dur­ing the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ finan­cial arm spec­u­lated on Russ­ian debt and par­tic­i­pated in scan­dal-plagued auc­tions of state assets.) In ear­ly 2005, Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Yushchenko became Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, and he appoint­ed Rybachuk deputy prime min­is­ter in charge of inte­grat­ing Ukraine into the EU, NATO, and oth­er west­ern insti­tu­tions. Rybachuk also pushed for the mass-pri­va­ti­za­tion of Ukraine’s remain­ing state hold­ings. Over the next sev­eral years, Rybachuk was shift­ed around Pres­i­dent Yushchenko’s embat­tled admin­is­tra­tion, torn by inter­nal divi­sions. In 2010, Yushchenko lost the pres­i­dency to recent­ly-over­thrown Vik­tor Yanukovych, and a year lat­er, Rybachuk was on Omidyar’s and USAID’s pay­roll, prepar­ing for the next Orange Rev­o­lu­tion. As Rybachuk told the Finan­cial Times two years ago:

“We want to do [the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion] again and we think we will.”

Some of Omidyar’s funds were specif­i­cally ear­marked for cov­er­ing the costs of set­ting up Rybachuk’s “clean up par­lia­ment” NGOs in Ukraine’s region­al cen­ters. Short­ly after the Euro­maidan demon­stra­tions erupt­ed last Novem­ber, Ukraine’s Inte­rior Min­istry opened up a mon­ey laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into Rybachuk’s NGOs, drag­ging Omidyar’s name into the high-stakes polit­i­cal strug­gle. Accord­ing to a Kyiv Post arti­cle on Feb­ru­ary 10 titled, “Rybachuk: Democ­ra­cy-pro­mot­ing non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion faces ‘ridicu­lous’ inves­ti­ga­tion”:

“Police are inves­ti­gat­ing Cen­ter UA, a pub­lic-sec­tor watch­dog fund­ed by West­ern donors, on sus­pi­cion of mon­ey laun­der­ing, the group said. The group’s leader, Oleh Rybachuk, said it appears that author­i­ties, with the probe, are try­ing to warn oth­er non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions that seek to pro­mote democ­racy, trans­parency, free speech and human rights in Ukraine. “Accord­ing to Cen­ter UA, the Kyiv eco­nomic crimes unit of the Inte­rior Min­istry start­ed the inves­ti­ga­tion on Dec. 11. Recent­ly, how­ever, inves­ti­ga­tors stepped up their efforts, ques­tion­ing some 200 wit­nesses. “… Cen­ter UA received more than $500,000 in 2012, accord­ing to its annu­al report for that year, 54 per­cent of which came from Pact Inc., a project fund­ed by the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment. Near­ly 36 per­cent came from Omid­yar Net­work, a foun­da­tion estab­lished by eBay founder Pierre Omid­yar and his wife. Oth­er donors include the Inter­na­tional Renais­sance Foun­da­tion, whose key fun­der is bil­lion­aire George Soros, and Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy, fund­ed large­ly by the U.S. Con­gress.”

* * * * What all this adds up to is a jour­nal­is­tic con­flict-of-inter­est of the worst kind: Omid­yar work­ing hand-in-glove with US for­eign pol­icy agen­cies to inter­fere in for­eign gov­ern­ments, co-financ­ing regime change with well-known arms of the Amer­i­can empire — while at the same time hir­ing a grow­ing team of soi-dis­ant ”inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists” which vows to inves­ti­gate the behav­ior of the US gov­ern­ment at home and over­seas, and boasts of its unique­ly “adver­sar­ial” rela­tion­ship towards these  gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions. As First Look staffer Jere­my Scahill told the Dai­ly Beast

We had a long dis­cus­sion about this inter­nally; about what our posi­tion would be if the White House asked us to not pub­lish some­thing…. With us, because we want to be adver­sar­ial, they won’t know what bat phone to call. They know who to call at The Times, they know who to call at The Post. With us, who are they going to call? Pierre? Glenn?

Of the many prob­lems that pos­es, none is more seri­ous than the fact that Omid­yar now has the only two peo­ple with exclu­sive access to the com­plete Snow­den NSA cache, Glenn Green­wald and Lau­ra Poitras. Some­how, the same bil­lion­aire who co-financed the “coup” in Ukraine with USAID, also has exclu­sive access to the NSA secrets—and very few in the inde­pen­dent media dare voice a skep­ti­cal word about it. In the larg­er sense, this is a prob­lem of 21st cen­tury Amer­i­can inequal­ity, of life in a bil­lion­aire-dom­i­nat­ed era. It is a prob­lem we all have to con­tend with—PandoDaily’s 18-plus investors include a gag­gle of Sil­i­con Val­ley bil­lion­aires like Marc Andreessen (who serves on the board of eBay, chaired by Pierre Omid­yar) and Peter Thiel (whose pol­i­tics I’ve inves­ti­gated, and described as repug­nant.) But what is more imme­di­ately alarm­ing is what makes Omid­yar dif­fer­ent. Unlike oth­er bil­lion­aires, Omid­yar has gar­nered noth­ing but uncrit­i­cal, fawn­ing press cov­er­age, par­tic­u­larly from those he has hired. By acquir­ing a “dream team” of what remains of inde­pen­dent media — Green­wald, Jere­my Scahill, Wheel­er, my for­mer part­ner Matt Taib­bi — not to men­tion press “crit­ics” like Jay Rosen — he buys both silence and fawn­ing press. Both are incred­i­bly use­ful: Silence, an absence of jour­nal­is­tic curios­ity about Omidyar’s activ­i­ties over­seas and at home, has been pur­chased for the price of what­ever his cur­rent all-star indie cast cur­rently costs him. As an added bonus, that same invest­ment buys silence from expo­nen­tially larg­er num­bers of des­per­ately under­paid inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists hop­ing to some­day be on his pay­roll, and the under­funded media watch­dogs that sur­vive on Omid­yar Net­work grants. And it also buys laugh­able fluff from the likes of Scahill who also boast­ed to the Dai­ly Beast of his boss’ close involve­ment in the day to day run­ning of First Look.

“[Omid­yar] strikes me as always sort of polit­i­cal, but I think that the NSA sto­ry and the expand­ing wars put pol­i­tics for him into a much more promi­nent place in his exis­tence. This is not a side project that he is doing. Pierre writes more on our inter­nal mes­sag­ing than any­one else. And he is not micro­manag­ing. This guy has a vision. And his vision is to con­front what he sees as an assault on the pri­vacy of Amer­i­cans.”

Now Wheel­er has her answer — that, yes, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary groups were part-fund­ed by Uncle Sam, but also by her boss — one assumes awk­ward fol­low up ques­tions will be asked on that First Look inter­nal mes­sag­ing sys­tem. Whether Wheel­er, Scahill and their col­leagues go on to share their con­cerns pub­licly will speak vol­umes about First Look’s much-trum­pet­ed inde­pen­dence, both from Omidyar’s oth­er busi­ness inter­ests and from Omidyar’s co-investors in Ukraine: the US gov­ern­ment.

9. It turns out one of the key fig­ures in the Poroshenko admin­is­tra­tion, who was also heav­ily backed by Pierre Omidyar’s pro-Maid­an out­fits, was the per­son in charge of push­ing the lus­tra­tion laws. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the fact that Svit­lana Zalis­chuk, the recip­i­ent of Omid­yar’s fund­ing, was a key play­er in coor­di­nat­ing the activ­i­ties of the so-called “respectable,” “mod­er­ate” pro-EU polit­i­cal cadre with the overt­ly fas­cist par­ties such as Svo­bo­da and the Rad­i­cal Par­ty.

“Omid­yar-Fund­ed Can­di­date Takes Seat in New Ukraine Par­lia­ment” by Mark AmesPan­do Dai­ly; 10/30/2014.

Ukraine just held its first post-rev­o­lu­tion par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, and amid all of the oli­garchs, EU enthu­si­asts, neo-Nazisnepo­tism babies, and death squad com­man­ders, there is one new­ly-elect­ed parliamentarian’s name that stands out for her con­nec­tion to Sil­i­con Val­ley: Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk, from the bil­lion­aire president’s Poroshenko Bloc par­ty.

Zal­ishchuk was giv­en a choice spot on the president’s par­ty list, at num­ber 18, ensur­ing her a seat in the new Rada. And she owes her rise to pow­er to anoth­er oli­garch besides Ukraine’s pres­i­dent — Pierre Omid­yar, whose fund­ing with USAID helped top­ple the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment. Zalishchuk’s pro-Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion out­fits were direct­ly fund­ed by Omid­yar.

Ear­lier this year, Pan­do exposed how eBay bil­lion­aire and Inter­cept pub­lisher Pierre Omid­yar co-fund­ed with USAID Zalishchuk’s web of non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions — New Cit­i­zenChes­noCen­ter UAAccord­ing to the Finan­cial Times, New Cit­i­zen, which received hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars from Omid­yar, “played a big role in get­ting the [Maid­an] protest up and run­ning” in Novem­ber 2013. Omid­yar Network’s web­site fea­tures Zalishchuk’s pho­to­graph on its page describ­ing its invest­ment in New Cit­i­zen. Zal­ishchuk was brought into the NGOs by her long­time men­tor, Oleh Rybachuk, a for­mer deputy prime min­ster who led the last failed effort to inte­grate Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

Zalishchuk’s pho­tos also grace the Poroshenko Bloc’s web­site and twit­ter feed, as she emerged as one of the pres­i­den­tial party’s lead­ing spokesper­sons. The Poroshenko Bloc is named after Ukraine’s pro-West­ern pres­i­dent, Petro Poroshenko, a bil­lion­aire with a lock on Ukraine’s con­fec­tionary indus­try, as well as own­ing a nation­al TV sta­tion and oth­er prized assets. He came to pow­er this year thanks to the rev­o­lu­tion orig­i­nally orga­nized by Zalishchuk’s Omid­yar-fund­ed NGOs, and has reward­ed her with a seat in the Rada.

The president’s par­ty tasked Zalushchik with pub­licly sell­ing the high­ly con­tro­ver­sial new “lus­tra­tion law” — essen­tially a legal­ized witch-hunt law first pro­posed by the neo-fas­cist Svo­boda Par­ty ear­lier this year, and sub­se­quently denounced by Ukraine’s pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral and by Human Rights Watch, which described a draft of the law as “arbi­trary and over­ly broad and fail(s) to respect human rights prin­ci­ples,” warn­ing it “may set the stage for unlaw­ful mass arbi­trary polit­i­cal exclu­sion.”

The lus­tra­tion law was passed under a wave of neo-Nazi vio­lence, in which mem­bers of par­lia­ment and oth­ers set to be tar­geted for purges were forcibly thrown into trash dumps.

Zal­ishchuk, how­ever, praised the lus­tra­tion law, claim­ing that the legal­ized purges would “give Ukraine a chance at a new life.”

Short­ly before the elec­tions, on Octo­ber 17, Zal­ishchuk used her Omid­yar-fund­ed out­fit, “Ches­no,”to orga­nize a round­table with lead­ers of pro-EU and neo-fas­cist par­ties. It was called “Par­lia­ment for Reform”and it brought togeth­er lead­ers from eight par­ties,includ­ing Zalishchuk’s “Poroshenko Bloc” (she served as both NGO orga­nizer and as pro-Poroshenko par­ty can­di­date), the prime minister’s “People’s Par­ty” and lead­ers from two unabashed­ly neo-Nazi par­ties: Svo­boda, and the Rad­i­cal Par­ty of Oleh Lyashko, who was denounced by Amnesty Inter­na­tional for post­ing YouTube videos of him­self inter­ro­gat­ing naked and hood­ed pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist pris­on­ers. Lyashko’s cam­paign posters fea­tured him impal­ing a car­i­ca­tured Jew­ish oli­garch on a Ukrain­ian tri­dent.

Mean­while, Zalishchuk’s boss, Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, has led a bloody war against pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try that left at least 3700 dead in a half year of fight­ing. Human Rights Watch recent­ly accused Poroshenko’s forces of “indis­crim­i­nate” use of clus­ter bombs in heav­ily pop­u­lated areas, that “may amount to war crimes.” Poroshenko’s forces include neo-Nazi death squads like the noto­ri­ous Azov bat­tal­ion.

Last month, Poroshenko fur­ther cement­ed his ties to the extreme right by hail­ing Ukraine’s wartime Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, the vio­lently anti-Semit­ic UPA, as “heroes.” The fas­cist UPA par­tic­i­pated in the Holo­caust, and were respon­si­ble for killing tens of thou­sands of Jews and eth­nic Poles in their bid to cre­ate an eth­ni­cally pure Ukraine. Many UPA mem­bers filled the ranks of the Nazi SS “Gali­cia” Divi­sion. The neo-Nazi Right Sek­tor, which spear­headed the vio­lent lat­er stages of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion, sees itself as the UPA’s con­tem­po­rary suc­ces­sors; Right Sektor’s leader, Dmit­ry Yarosh, believes that any “eth­nic minor­ity that pre­vents us from being mas­ters in our own land” is an “ene­my.” Yarosh was just elect­ed to the new par­lia­ment.

This week, Omid­yar Network’s “invest­ment lead” for Ukraine, Stephen King, accept­ed an award for Omid­yar Network’s role in a major new USAID-backed project, Glob­al Impact Invest­ing Net­work. . . .

10. Lew Rockwell–the edi­tor of Ron Paul’s racist newslet­ters, and deeply involved with the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute, man­i­fest an unqual­i­fied admi­ra­tion for the Hab­surg dynasty. Otto von Hab­s­burg, eulo­gized by Rock­well, worked close­ly with Yaroslav Stet­sko in the gen­e­sis of the Euro­pean Free­dom Coun­cil.

Stet­sko, of course, was Stephan Ban­der­a’s admin­is­tra­tor of the Nazi satel­lite state in Ukraine dur­ing World War II, and the over­seer of the Nazi-style exter­mi­na­tion pro­grams there.

“Otto von Hab­s­burg, RIP” by Llewellyn H. Rockwell,Jr.; LewRockwell.com; 7/4/2011.

The clas­si­cal lib­er­al schol­ar, who should have been emper­or of Aus­tria-Hun­gary, has died at 98. . . . It was an hon­or for the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute, though con­tro­ver­sial in the Belt­way, to wel­come him to Auburn in 1999 as the first recip­i­ent of the Schlar­baum Prize. . . .

11a. Excerpt­ing some of Snowden’s 2009 online musings–crafted dur­ing the same time peri­od in which he decid­ed to leak NSA documents–gives us insight into his true nature. We’ve men­tioned Snowden’s embrace of the gold stan­dard, belief that we should elim­i­nate Social Secu­rity and deep affin­ity for Ron Paul. Per­haps exam­in­ing his actu­al pro­nounce­ments will prove edu­ca­tion­al.

EXAMPLE:  . . . Snow­den wrote that the elder­ly ‘wouldn’t be fuck­ing help­less if you weren’t send­ing them fuck­ing checks to sit on their ass and lay in hos­pi­tals all day.’ Yeah, if ONLY those 75 and 80-year-olds lying in hos­pi­tal beds would get up and find jobs like every­body else, right Eddie? Snow­den is a nasty lit­tle fas­cist and peo­ple should care­fully con­sider the rest of his behav­ior in the con­text of his ide­o­log­i­cal pro­nounce­ments.

“Would You Feel Dif­fer­ently About Snow­den, Green­wald, and Assange If You Knew What They Real­ly Thought?” by Sean Wilentz; The New Repub­lic; 1/19/2014.

[Snow­den is post­ing under the moniker “The True­HOOHA”] At the time the stim­u­lus bill was being debat­ed, Snow­den also con­demned Obama’s eco­nomic poli­cies as part of a delib­er­ate scheme “to deval­ue the cur­rency absolute­ly as fast as the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble.” (He favored Ron Paul’s call for the Unit­ed States to return to the gold stan­dard.) The social dis­lo­ca­tions of the finan­cial col­lapse both­ered him not at all. “Almost every­one was self-employed pri­or to 1900,” he assert­ed. “Why is 12% employ­ment [sic] so ter­ri­fy­ing?”In anoth­er chat-room exchange, Snow­den debat­ed the mer­its of Social Secu­ri­ty:

<TheTrue­HOOHA> save mon­ey? cut this social secu­rity bull­shit

<User 11> haha­hayes

<User 18> Yeah! Fuck old peo­ple!

<User 11> social secu­rity is bull­shit

<User 11> let’s just toss old peo­ple out in the street

<User 18> Old peo­ple could move in with [User11].

<User 11> NOOO

<User 11> they smell fun­ny

<TheTrue­HOOHA> Some­how, our soci­ety man­aged to make it hun­dreds of years with­out social secu­rity just fine . . . .

<TheTrue­HOOHA> Mag­i­cally the world changed after the new deal, and old peo­ple became made of glass.

Lat­er in the same ses­sion, Snow­den wrote that the elder­ly “wouldn’t be fuck­ing help­less if you weren’t send­ing them fuck­ing checks to sit on their ass and lay in hos­pi­tals all day.”

11b. Over a month ago, Kiev began imple­ment­ing a new strat­egy in the civ­il war: cut off East Ukraine’s pen­sions and social ser­vices entire­ly:

“Cash Cut to Ukraine Rebel Areas in Risky Strat­egy” by Peter Leonard and Balint Szlanko; AP Big Sto­ry; 11/25/2014.

For hours, small crowds in Donet­sk hud­dle hope­fully in the cold around cash machines that nev­er get filled, as artillery rum­bles in the dis­tance.

Mon­ey is run­ning short in the rebel heart­land since the gov­ern­ment announced this month that it will sus­pend bank­ing ser­vices as it piles on the pres­sure. Almost all ATMs have stopped work­ing and the remain­der are expect­ed to stop oper­at­ing over the next two weeks.

The move is part of Ukraine’s plan to suf­fo­cate its sep­a­ratist foe, now that its cost­ly mil­i­tary cam­paign has foundered. Author­i­ties say they are also with­draw­ing all state ser­vices from rebel areas, although hos­pi­tal and school work­ers in the rebel strong­hold of Donet­sk say it has been a while since they last saw fund­ing any­how.

Yet if the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko hopes to turn peo­ple in east­ern Ukraine against the sep­a­ratist lead­er­ship, evi­dence on the ground sug­gests the strat­egy may only be hard­en­ing their resolve.

“What Poroshenko is say­ing to us is: ‘You are no longer Ukraini­ans. You won’t get pen­sions, you won’t get social pay­ments. When you croak, then we’ll stop this war against you,’” said Donet­sk retiree Geor­gy Sharov. “But I don’t want to go to Ukraine and beg for their mer­cy.”

The lines have typ­i­cally formed in front of cash machines belong­ing to state sav­ings bank Oshchad­bank, which han­dles pen­sions and social sup­port pay­ments.

“Even they don’t always have mon­ey,” said Donet­sk res­i­dent Sergei Smo­tovsky, stand­ing out­side a branch of the bank. “The worst thing is that not only can you not get social pay­ments. You can’t even with­draw mon­ey that you earned, your salary.”

Even though cash machines don’t work, account-hold­ers wait from ear­ly morn­ing until lunchtime in the hope that bank work­ers will top them up, but the doors to the banks often remain firm­ly shut.

Despite the unremit­ting fight­ing tak­ing place across Donet­sk and Luhan­sk, the two regions affect­ed by the armed sep­a­ratist con­flict, large super­mar­kets are still rea­son­ably stocked.

Sup­plies come from oth­er parts of Ukraine and cus­tomers often use bank cards to pay for shop­ping. Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment is now about to block bank cards, cut­ting off anoth­er means of sus­te­nance.

Hard-pressed recip­i­ents of state ben­e­fits have for months turned expec­tantly to the rebel gov­ern­ment for cash. Crowds of pen­sion­ers and sin­gle moth­ers assem­ble dai­ly before the sep­a­ratist head­quar­ters. When any­body in the crowd becomes espe­cially vocal, one of the gun­men guard­ing the build­ing rush­es to bun­dle them away, accus­ing them of being “provo­ca­teurs.”

The brunt of the rage, how­ever, is still direct­ed at the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment.

“Ukraine says Donet­sk is Ukrain­ian ter­ri­tory, and yet they came here with tanks and weapons instead of pay­ing pen­sions prop­erly,” said Donet­sk retiree Ana­toly Vis­ly. “I am a dis­abled vet­eran and I haven’t received my pen­sion for three months.”

Many pen­sion­ers have re-reg­is­tered in towns out­side rebel zones, mean­ing pay­ments have still accrued to their accounts. The chal­lenge for those peo­ple will now become mak­ing the month­ly trip to banks in gov­ern­ment-con­trolled areas, which can be cost­ly and dif­fi­cult, espe­cially for the most infirm.

Prospects for the rebels to set up a wel­fare sys­tem any time soon are bleak.

Anna Kharzhevskaya, an offi­cial with the rebel social affairs and labor min­istry, said sep­a­ratist author­i­ties have only a crude notion of how many peo­ple are eli­gi­ble for social pay­ments.

Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment has been block­ing access to state records and is try­ing to spir­it away hard copies of data­bases still in rebel-held areas, Kharzhevskaya said.

Sep­a­ratist author­i­ties say mili­ti­a­men are under instruc­tions to stop any unsanc­tioned removals of gov­ern­ment records by Ukrain­ian author­i­ties.

With­out a prop­erly func­tion­ing tax sys­tem in place, there is no imme­di­ately obvi­ous and trans­par­ent way for mon­ey to be raised. As a result, Kharzhevskaya said she could not esti­mate when her depart­ment would begin pay­ing reg­u­lar pen­sions.

...

11c. Note that, accord­ing to the arti­cle below, the cut off pen­sioner accounts are report­edly still accru­ing val­ue. Pen­sion­ers just won’t be able to access those accounts unless they can leave the rebel-con­trolled regions or the war ends.

“Retirees Starve in Rebel-Held East­ern Ukraine” by Tatyana Gory­a­chova and Hal Fos­ter; USA Today; 12/25/2014.

Retirees in Donet­sk, the largest city in east­ern Ukraine held by pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists, are dying of hunger because their pen­sions have been cut off by the nation­al gov­ern­ment, rebel offi­cials and res­i­dents say.

Though Ukraine has not pub­licly dis­cussed star­va­tion deaths, it acknowl­edges there is a human­i­tar­ian cri­sis in the east­ern region because of the con­flict and blames the sep­a­ratists and Rus­sia for sup­port­ing the rebels.

The gov­ern­ment cut off pen­sions this month to peo­ple in all areas of east­ern Ukraine con­trolled by sep­a­ratists to under­cut sup­port for pro-Russ­ian rebels.

The num­ber of star­va­tion deaths in Donet­sk is hard to pin down, large­ly because the con­flict between Ukraine and sep­a­ratist forces has crip­pled gov­ern­ment func­tions in the east, includ­ing med­ical and coro­ners’ offices that record caus­es of deaths.

The siege of the city that began in August has led to 40% of the city’s 1 mil­lion peo­ple flee­ing.

Dmit­ry Pono­marenko, pas­tor of the City of Light Protes­tant church, said he believes the star­va­tion toll is in the hun­dreds, per­haps thou­sands. His assess­ment is based large­ly on accounts from parish­ioners and 300 seniors who come to his church dai­ly for a free meal. In one month, they report­ed more than 100 star­va­tion deaths of pen­sion­ers in Donet­sk, he said.

The Ukrain­ian Inde­pen­dent Infor­ma­tion Agency, cit­ing aid work­ers, report­ed that 22 seniors in Donet­sk, most­ly sin­gle men, died of hunger in Sep­tem­ber.

...

The aver­age Ukrain­ian pen­sion is mea­ger — $107 a month — but it can be the dif­fer­ence between life and death for many.

A num­ber of aid groups are fight­ing hunger in Donet­sk and oth­er cities in the war zone, includ­ing the Unit­ed Nations Food Pro­gram and the char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion of Rinat Akhme­tov, Ukraine’s rich­est man, who fled to Kiev when sep­a­ratists threat­ened to kill him. These efforts are spo­radic and lim­ited to a few thou­sand peo­ple at a time. They don’t come any­where near replac­ing the pen­sions.

The sep­a­ratists and Rus­sia have decried the pen­sion cut­off as inhu­mane. Kiev says rebels and crim­i­nals have tak­en much of the mon­ey it sends to the east­ern region.

The cut­off, announced Nov. 5, means pay­ments will no longer “be stolen by pro-Russ­ian ban­dits,” Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk said.

...

Donetsk’s may­or in exile, Alexan­der Lukyanchenko, who fled to Kiev in August after receiv­ing sep­a­ratist death threats, has crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment for the cut­off.

The only way for res­i­dents of neigh­bor­ing Donet­sk and Luhan­sk provinces to get their pen­sions back is to go to a city out­side the war zone to re-reg­is­ter for ben­e­fits. Many retirees lack the health or mon­ey to trav­el so far from their homes, Lukyanchenko said.

Yat­senyuk, the prime min­is­ter, said the pen­sions the gov­ern­ment with­holds are accru­ing for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries and will be paid once the east­ern region is free of sep­a­ratist con­trol.

Pono­marenko, the pas­tor, and oth­ers who help the retirees fear a lot more will suc­cumb to star­va­tion.

“We have only enough mon­ey to help a few pen­sion­ers who are able to walk to our church each day,” he said, adding that’s a small frac­tion of the retirees going hun­gry.

12. Swedish and oth­er neo-Nazis from oth­er parts of Europe are stream­ing into the Ukraine to join with the Swo­boda and Pravy Sek­tor fas­cists. The Swedish fas­cists are part of the same milieu as Carl Lund­strom, the finan­cial angel of the PRQ serv­er on which Wik­iLeaks was host­ed.

 

“Neo-Nazis Pour Into Kiev” by Michael Moyni­han; Dai­ly Beast; 2/28/2014.

In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, Fredrik Hag­berg stood at the ros­trum in Kiev’s City Hall, offer­ing fra­ter­nal and com­radely greet­ings from Swe­den to the sweaty, bruised, and exhaust­ed Ukrain­ian insur­rec­tion­ists scat­tered through­out. The place was fes­tooned with flags—some celtic cross­es, a stray Con­fed­er­ate ban­ner, a stan­dard for the polit­i­cal par­ty Svo­boda, whose mem­bers essen­tially con­trolled the building—reflecting the dubi­ous pol­i­tics of its occu­piers.

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary tourists, thrill seek­ers, and para­chute jour­nal­ists suf­fused Kiev. Sen. John McCain, actress Hay­den Panet­tiere, and French intel­lec­tual Bernard Hen­ri-Levy roused mas­sive crowds with paeans to free­dom and nation­al sov­er­eignty, while offer­ing moral sup­port to the oppo­si­tion forces led by for­mer box­ing cham­pion Vitaly Klitschko.

But Hag­berg, a square-jawed and baby-faced mem­ber of the Swedish armed forces, had a dark­er mes­sage.

“I stand before your forces of rev­o­lu­tion to tell you about what your future might be if you fail your glo­ri­ous endeav­our,” he said in flu­id-but-clipped Eng­lish. “I stand here as a Swede. How­ever where I come from is no longer Swe­den.” Hag­berg warned Ukraini­ans that a suc­cess­ful rev­o­lu­tion must chart a path that care­fully avoid­ed the evils of abor­tion and eth­nic mon­gre­liza­tion, one that harsh­ly pun­ished wel­fare abuse and reject­ed the nor­mal­iza­tion of homo­sex­u­al­ity. “Offi­cials in Swe­den like to calls us the most mod­ern coun­try in the world. I say to you, broth­ers, this is what awaits you if you choose to fol­low our exam­ple. You now have the oppor­tu­nity to choose and cre­ate your own future. Do not accept the trap of choos­ing either the West or Rus­sia.”

It’s unclear who, if any­one, invit­ed him, but Hag­berg was speak­ing as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Nordisk Ung­dom (Nordic Youth), a Swedish neo-Nazi group that cel­e­brates “a tra­di­tional ide­al of a bet­ter man, striv­ing for some­thing greater and more noble than his own per­sonal ben­e­fit; an ide­al­is­tic man who fights for Europe’s free­dom.” Vis­i­tors to the group’s Eng­lish-lan­guage web­site are met with with a Bar­bara Kruger-like adver­tise­ment beseech­ing vis­i­tors to “help us to help the rev­o­lu­tion! Sup­port a free Ukraine! Donate Now...” Because Hag­berg is try­ing to pro­voke his fel­low neo-Nazis into trav­el­ling to Kiev to help shape a new, fas­cist-friend­ly Ukraine.

Amongst the fas­cists, ultra-nation­al­ists, and racists in Europe, there has been much grip­ing that the revolt in Ukraine has been over­taken, if not con­trolled from the out­set, by “CIA/ZOG [Zion­ist Occu­pied Government]/Soros-sponsored” forces. The Euroscep­ti­cism of the continent’s far-right move­ments has pro­duced a skep­ti­cism of the uprising’s much-dis­cussed Europhile main­stream.

But Pro-Yanukovych forces and the for­mer president’s Krem­lin allies have heav­ily pro­moted an alter­na­tive narrative—one that Hag­berg and his allies hap­pily embrace—suggesting that the protest move­ment is in fact hon­ey­combed with dan­ger­ous neo-Nazis affil­i­ated with the extrem­ist Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal par­ties Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor. There­fore, West­ern sup­port­ers of the protests, like John Mccain, are agi­tat­ing on behalf of vio­lent Ukrain­ian fas­cism.

It’s a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Kremlin’s argu­ment against West­ern sup­port for Syr­ian rebel groups, which it says has amount­ed to mate­r­ial sup­port for al-Qae­da-spon­sered ter­ror­ism. And like with Syria—and the Span­ish Civ­il War before it—sympathetic Euro­pean extrem­ists are trav­el­ling to pro­vide sup­port to their ide­o­log­i­cal brethren.

“We just got boots on the ground and are dis­cussing with Svo­boda rep­re­sen­ta­tives and oth­er nation­al­ists what we can assist with,” Mag­nus Söder­man, the neo-Nazi orga­nizer of the Swedish Ukraine Vol­un­teers (Sven­ska Ukrainafriv­il­liga), told me. “Our mes­sage to them is that we will assist with what­ever; clear­ing the streets, secu­rity, mak­ing food.”

On the group’s web­site, stuffed with hack­neyed neo-Nazi pro­pa­ganda, poten­tial vol­un­teers are told that “we do not orga­nize any para­mil­i­tary force because our involve­ment is of a civ­il nature, as aid work­ers. Of course, should vio­lence break out we will make use of our right of self-defense.” (The site advis­es recruits to “improve your phys­i­cal fit­ness” before trav­el­ling to Kiev.) Ukraine, the group says, is fac­ing an exis­ten­tial threat and “we must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and the future of our white chil­dren!”

Accord­ing to the group’s new­ly con­sti­tuted Face­book page, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Swedish Ukraine Vol­un­teers recent­ly “vis­ited the par­lia­ment and estab­lished ??impor­tant con­tacts” amongst local politi­cians, pre­sum­ably those affil­i­ated with ultra-nation­al­ist par­ties Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor. The idea of for­eign vol­un­teers is “a good ini­tia­tive,” said one mem­ber of a fas­cist mes­sage board in Swe­den, “and I give my full sup­port to Mikael Skillt and oth­er par­ty com­rades who are trav­el­ling down to help our broth­ers in the east.”

Mikael Skillt is well-known in Swedish neo-Nazi cir­cles. A spokesman for the vig­i­lante group Stop the Pedophiles and a vet­eran of var­i­ous now-defunct fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions, Skillt is cur­rently affil­i­ated with the Par­ty of the Swedes (SvP), a neo-Nazi group found­ed by mem­bers of the less cam­era-friend­ly Nation­al Social­ist Front. Accord­ing to its web­site, SvP “has good con­tact with [Svo­boda] who were guests at our con­fer­ence Vision Europe just under a year ago.”

When I con­tacted Skillt he was in Moscow, on his way to agi­tat­ing in Kiev. So why does Ukraine need a fas­cist inter­na­tional brigade? “We are scan­ning the needs of the Ukraini­ans, but we will be offer­ing [them] our help in what­ever they need,” he told me. “We have mem­bers with expe­ri­ence in most fields, rang­ing from mil­i­tary to truck dri­vers to jour­nal­ists.”

When I asked if he had can­vassed the opin­ions of Russ­ian neo-Nazi groups while in Moscow, Skillt told me, with pre­dictable oblique­ness, that he had “heard some [Russ­ian] nation­al­ists who have spo­ken of a rev­o­lu­tion inspired by Ukraine.”

So how large is the inter­na­tional brigade of ultra-nation­al­ists? A Euro­pean jour­nal­ist who fol­lows the move­ment of Euro­pean jihadists to Syria—and now fas­cists migrat­ing towards Kiev—told me that there was indeed scat­tered evi­dence that neo-Nazi groups out­side Swe­den were mak­ing pil­grim­ages to Ukraine. When I asked Mag­nus Söder­man if there was a net­work of oth­er Nazis on the ground, he told me that “com­rades from oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries are also prepar­ing to assist if it is need­ed.”

...

13. Edward Snow­den is a spy. Those who have been tak­en in by his super­fi­cial per­sona are vic­tims of a rel­a­tive­ly obvi­ous intel­li­gence “op.”

Inside the Mind of Edward Snow­den” by Tra­cy Con­nor [Inter­view with Bri­an Williams];  NBC News; 5/28/2014.

. . . .“I was trained as a spy in sort of the tra­di­tion­al sense of the word, in that I lived and worked under­cov­er over­seas — pre­tend­ing to work in a job that I’m not — and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” Snow­den said. . . .

 

Discussion

18 comments for “FTR #829 Fireside Chat about Eddie the Friendly Spook and the Ukraine Crisis”

  1. The fol­low­ing is satire. One hopes:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    Steve Scalise episode shows how far we’ve come
    By Dana Mil­bank Opin­ion writer Jan­u­ary 9

    I like a feed­ing fren­zy as much as the next shark. But I can’t get a taste for Rep. Steve Scalise’s blood.

    The Louisiana Repub­li­can, new­ly elect­ed No. 3 in House lead­er­ship, was recent­ly dis­cov­ered to have spo­ken to a group of white suprema­cists. Democ­rats see his offense as a scan­dal to be exploit­ed. In a typ­i­cal press release this week, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee trum­pet­ed trum­pet­ed “the bomb­shell news” that a House Repub­li­can leader “chose to speak at a white suprema­cist ral­ly orga­nized by for­mer KKK Grand Wiz­ard David Duke.”

    But the Demo­c­ra­t­ic attack con­ve­nient­ly omit­ted the date of Scalise’s offense: 2002. And that is ancient his­to­ry, giv­en the sea change that has occurred in nation­al pol­i­tics since then.

    Actu­al­ly, the Scalise episode — and his instant apol­o­gy and dis­avow­al of racism — is an occa­sion for some pride and an indi­ca­tion of how much progress has been made in mar­gin­al­iz­ing the hate­ful, even in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics and even in the Deep South. A decade ago, it was still com­mon for overt racism to be tol­er­at­ed with­in the GOP and for mem­bers of Con­gress and state offi­cials from the South to address racist groups such as the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens and Duke’s Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion.

    “We’re in a dif­fer­ent place entire­ly than we were even 10 or 20 years ago,” Mark Potok, a senior fel­low at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter who runs the Hate­watch blog, told me. “It is extreme­ly rare now for nation­al politi­cians or state politi­cians with nation­al aspi­ra­tions to inter­act with these groups at all. It’s become absolute poi­son.”

    ...

    Potok still thinks Scalise should quit his lead­er­ship role, but he acknowl­edges that, in 2002, the Louisianan “was oper­at­ing, obvi­ous­ly, in a dif­fer­ent atmos­phere.”

    Scalise’s deci­sion to speak to the group even back then is deplorable, and his asser­tion that he didn’t know who his lis­ten­ers were isn’t entire­ly plau­si­ble. It’s embar­rass­ing for Repub­li­cans that the leader who faced a rank-and-file rebel­lion this week was not Scalise but the very decent House speak­er, John Boehn­er. Scalise isn’t helped by Duke, who claimed the law­mak­er “echoed a lot of my ide­ol­o­gy

    But Scalise, rather than attempt­ing to excuse his appear­ance (oth­ers tried to argue that he had addressed a dif­fer­ent group at the same loca­tion), made a state­ment dis­avow­ing “big­otry of all forms” and urged reporters to talk to those who “know what’s in my heart.”

    Rep. Cedric Rich­mond, an African Amer­i­can Demo­c­rat from Louisiana, stepped for­ward as one such char­ac­ter wit­ness, telling the Times-Picayune news­pa­per of New Orleans that Scalise doesn’t have “a racist bone in his body.”

    Fel­low Repub­li­cans defend­ed Scalise not for his 2002 appear­ance (which Boehn­er called “an error in judg­ment”) but as a man who “absolute­ly rejects racism in all forms” (as Bob­by Jin­dal, Louisiana’s Repub­li­can gov­er­nor and an Indi­an Amer­i­can, put it.)

    Reac­tions weren’t always this way. In the late 1990s, Sen. Trent Lott (R‑Miss.) and Rep. Bob Barr (R‑Ga.) pro­voked an uproar when their ties to the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens (suc­ces­sor to the racist White Cit­i­zens’ Coun­cils) were unearthed. Yet lit­tle changed at first. In 2004, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter pub­lished a report doc­u­ment­ing that 38 fed­er­al, state and local elect­ed offi­cials then in office had attend­ed CCC events since 2000. Among them: Mis­sis­sip­pi Gov. Haley Bar­bour ® and Rep. Roger Wick­er (R‑Miss.), now a sen­a­tor.

    Since then, how­ev­er, a trans­for­ma­tion has occurred. Con­sid­er the reac­tion last year when Chris McDaniel, who had been run­ning a tea par­ty chal­lenge to Sen. Thad Cochran in the Mis­sis­sip­pi Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, was found to be list­ed as keynote speak­er at an event that includ­ed a sell­er of “white pride” mer­chan­dise. McDaniel backed out of the event but was nev­er­the­less round­ly denounced by fel­low con­ser­v­a­tives and Repub­li­cans.
    ...

    Keep in mind that Chris McDaniel’s 49% to 51% pri­ma­ry loss to Sen­a­tor Thad Cochran prob­a­bly would­n’t have hap­pened if Cochran was­n’t the incum­bent. It also did­n’t hurt Cochran that he was able to direct­ly appeal to Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing African Amer­i­can vot­ers to take advan­tage of Mis­sis­sip­pie’s open pri­ma­ry sys­tem fol­low­ing reports of McDaniel speak­ing at a neo-Con­fed­er­ate event. And final­ly recall that Mis­sis­sip­pi’s Tea Par­ty was super pissed that McDaniel’s neo-Con­fed­er­ate ties were made into an issue at all (it might sound famil­iar?).

    Con­tin­u­ing...

    ...

    Like­wise, Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy got broad sup­port from Repub­li­cans for his tax rebel­lion against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment last year. But when he won­dered aloud whether “the Negro” was “bet­ter off as slaves,” he was instant­ly aban­doned by the Repub­li­can offi­cials who had sup­port­ed him.

    Racism still exists, not just in the South and among con­ser­v­a­tives but, as this sea­son of police shoot­ings has showed, across Amer­i­ca. Still, it’s worth cel­e­brat­ing that the overt racism tol­er­at­ed by pub­lic offi­cials just a decade ago has been ban­ished from civ­i­lized dis­course.

    Was Dana Mil­bank inten­tion­al­ly engag­ing in dead­pan irony through­out that entire piece? Let’s hope so because oth­er­wise we’re appar­ent­ly sup­posed to believe that Steve Scalise say­ing he abhors big­otry and oth­er mem­bers of con­gress vouch­ing for a lack of racism (when faced with ques­tions about a David Duke event) some­how sig­ni­fies some­thing oth­er than polit­i­cal spin­ning to detract from the real­i­ty of polit­i­cal pan­der­ing to racist sen­ti­ments (whether or not the politi­cians them­selves are per­son­al­ly racist).

    We’re also appar­ent­ly sup­posed to believe the GOP’s sud­den rejec­tion of Cliv­en Bundy, after Bundy shared his view on slav­ery and “the Negro”, is indica­tive of a reformed par­ty that has gen­uine­ly reject­ed dog-whis­tle pol­i­tics. Unless that was snark.

    And this was snark, right?

    Reac­tions weren’t always this way. In the late 1990s, Sen. Trent Lott (R‑Miss.) and Rep. Bob Barr (R‑Ga.) pro­voked an uproar when their ties to the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens (suc­ces­sor to the racist White Cit­i­zens’ Coun­cils) were unearthed. Yet lit­tle changed at first.

    That has to be snark. Yeah, lit­tle changed at first when video of then Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Trent Lott went pub­lic show­ing him at a Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens event say­ing “we would­n’t have had all these prob­lems over all these years” if pro-seg­re­ga­tion­ist Thur­mond had won the pres­i­den­cy in 1948. Lit­tle changed for two weeks and then Lott stepped down as Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader.

    So what’s changed now? Oh yeah, Scalise is still the House Major­i­ty Whip. Noth­ing’s changed. That’s what’s changed.

    Behold the new and improved GOP! Scalise has noth­ing to wor­ry about.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 11, 2015, 10:38 pm
  2. Ooooo...a mys­tery: Is a new “diver­si­ty = white geno­cide” bill­board com­ple­ments of the League of the South or just the work of some ran­dom racists:

    TPM Livewire
    ‘White Geno­cide’ Bill­board Appears On Alaba­ma High­way

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 12, 2015, 11:32 AM EST

    A bill­board dis­play­ing a mes­sage tied to a seg­re­ga­tion­ist “mantra” pop­u­lar with white suprema­cists has cropped up out­side of Birm­ing­ham, Alaba­ma, a city that has seen sev­er­al racial­ly charged, sep­a­ratist signs post­ed in recent years.

    AL.com report­ed Sun­day that a bill­board read­ing “Diver­si­ty means chas­ing down the last white per­son #whitegeno­cide” was post­ed on I‑59 in St. Clair Coun­ty.

    The news web­site not­ed the sim­i­lar­i­ty between the bill­board and one post­ed with­in Birm­ing­ham city lim­its in June 2013 read­ing “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.” AL.com report­ed that both phras­es are attrib­uted to the White Geno­cide Project, a group com­posed of white suprema­cists and seg­re­ga­tion­ists.

    The “anti-racist is a code for anti-white” phrase is part of a creed known as the “Mantra” that was writ­ten by seg­re­ga­tion­ist Robert Whitak­er in the mid-2000s, accord­ing to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter.

    The “white geno­cide” bill­board is appar­ent­ly owned by Dyar Signs. No one with the com­pa­ny was avail­able to com­ment to AL.com on the sign.

    The pres­i­dent of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate group League of the South, Michael Hill, claimed respon­si­bil­i­ty last fall for the 2013 bill­board, accord­ing to the news web­site. Hill said last year that the removal of anoth­er of the group’s bill­boards read­ing “SECEDE” on a high­way near Mont­gomery, Alaba­ma was a Stali­nesque move to squash dis­sent.

    ...

    Yep, that sure is a mys­tery. If only there was some­one to help us solve it...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 12, 2015, 2:40 pm
  3. “He also hint­ed at pri­va­tiz­ing Social Secu­ri­ty”:

    TPM Livewire
    House Bud­get Chair Sig­nals Big Social Secu­ri­ty Reforms A‑Coming
    By Dylan Scott
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 12, 2015, 3:54 PM EST

    The new House Bud­get Com­mit­tee chair­man hint­ed Mon­day that he had big plans for Social Secu­ri­ty reform in the next two years, accord­ing to the Atlanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion.

    A week after the House vot­ed on a rule that crit­ics say could force a man­u­fac­tured cri­sis in the dis­abil­i­ty pro­gram in late 2016, a poten­tial lever­age point for Repub­li­cans aim­ing for changes, Rep. Tom Price (R‑GA) told a con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ence that he want­ed his com­mit­tee to tack­le Social Secu­ri­ty.

    “What I’m hope­ful is what the Bud­get Com­mit­tee will be able do is to is begin to nor­mal­ize the dis­cus­sion and debate about Social Secu­ri­ty. This is a pro­gram that right now on its cur­rent course will not be able to pro­vide 75 or 80 per­cent of the ben­e­fits that indi­vid­u­als have paid into in a rel­a­tive­ly short peri­od of time,” he said at a Her­itage Action for Amer­i­ca event in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., accord­ing to AJC. “That’s not a respon­si­ble posi­tion to say, ‘You don’t need to do any­thing to do it.’”

    Price, whose pre­de­ces­sor Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑WI) nev­er put for­ward major reform pro­pos­als in his oth­er­wise ambi­tious bud­gets, offered means-test­ing and increas­ing the eli­gi­bil­i­ty age as pos­si­bil­i­ties. He also hint­ed at pri­va­tiz­ing Social Secu­ri­ty.

    “All those things ought to be on the table and dis­cussed,” he said.

    ...

    It’ll be inter­est­ing to see how the GOP­ers on the Bud­get Com­mit­tee attempt to “nor­mal­ize the dis­cus­sion and debate about Social Secu­ri­ty”, espe­cial­ly with the 2016 elec­toral start­ing sea­son creep up on the cal­en­dar. At the same time, there’s no rea­son to assume they aren’t seri­ous. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 12, 2015, 7:15 pm
  4. A group of black law­mak­ers is push­ing for Steve Scalise to do an apol­o­gy tour over his appear­ance at a David Duke event. Good luck with that:

    Salon

    Steve Scalise vot­ed against apol­o­gy for slav­ery in 1996
    New­ly uncov­ered report under­scores House Major­i­ty Whip’s dis­turb­ing racial his­to­ry
    Luke Brinker
    Tues­day, Jan 13, 2015 09:20 AM CST

    Louisiana Con­gress­man Steve Scalise, the third-rank­ing House Repub­li­can who faced fire after it emerged that he spoke before a white suprema­cist group in 2002, vot­ed as a state leg­is­la­tor against a res­o­lu­tion apol­o­giz­ing for slav­ery, accord­ing to a 1996 report dis­cov­ered by The Hill news­pa­per.

    The report, from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, states that Scalise was one of two leg­is­la­tors on the Louisiana House Gov­ern­men­tal Affairs Com­mit­tee to oppose the res­o­lu­tion, which sought to atone to African Amer­i­cans for Louisiana’s part “in the estab­lish­ment and main­te­nance of the insti­tu­tion of slav­ery.”

    “Why are you ask­ing me to apol­o­gize for some­thing I didn’t do and had no part of?” the Times-Picayune quot­ed Scalise as say­ing. “I am not going to apol­o­gize for what some­body else did.”

    Scalise instead sup­port­ed a res­o­lu­tion that mere­ly expressed “regret” for slav­ery.

    The rev­e­la­tion of Scalise’s 1996 vote under­scores the congressman’s trou­bled his­to­ry on racial issues. Louisiana blog­ger Lamar White dropped a polit­i­cal bomb­shell last month when he exposed Scalise’s 2002 speech before the Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion (EURO), a group found­ed by for­mer Ku Klux Klan Grand Wiz­ard David Duke. Accord­ing to Louisiana polit­i­cal reporter Stephanie Grace, dur­ing his days in the state leg­is­la­ture, Scalise once described him­self to her as “David Duke with­out the bag­gage.” Duke shocked observers around the world when he pulled off a dis­turbing­ly strong show­ing in Louisiana’s 1991 guber­na­to­r­i­al race.

    Although Scalise allies, includ­ing House Speak­er John Boehn­er, adamant­ly main­tain that the congressman’s heart is in the right place, his votes and pub­lic state­ments depict a politi­cian who has repeat­ed­ly dab­bled in sor­did racial pol­i­tics. In 1999 and 2004, Scalise was part of a small group of Louisiana leg­is­la­tors who vot­ed against mak­ing Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.’s birth­day a state hol­i­day. Those votes came under renewed scruti­ny fol­low­ing reports of his 2002 speech before EURO.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 13, 2015, 10:02 am
  5. Here’s a reminder that the “dynam­ic scor­ing” scheme the GOP is try­ing to force the Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office to use only applies the “voodoo” mag­ic to tax cuts but not gov­ern­ment spend­ing. In oth­er words, while it might seem like the the GOP is secret­ly pray­ing to voodoo spir­its to work their eco­nom­ic mag­ic, voodoo spir­its would nev­er be that con­sis­tent­ly unfair. The GOP is actu­al­ly wor­ship­ing vam­pires. Very wealthy vam­pires. Now you know:

    The New York Times
    The Con­science of a Lib­er­al
    Selec­tive Voodoo

    Paul Krug­man
    Jan 13 9:19 am

    House Repub­li­cans have passed a mea­sure demand­ing that the Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office use “dynam­ic scor­ing” in its rev­enue pro­jec­tions — tak­ing into account the sup­posed pos­i­tive growth effects of tax cuts. It remains to be seen how much dam­age this rule will actu­al­ly cause. The real­i­ty is that there is no evi­dence for the large effects that are cen­tral to right-wing ide­ol­o­gy, so the ques­tion is whether CBO will be forced to accept sup­ply-side fan­tasies.
    nn
    Mean­while, one thing is fair­ly cer­tain: CBO won’t be apply­ing dynam­ic scor­ing to the pos­i­tive effects of gov­ern­ment spend­ing, even though there’s a lot of evi­dence for such effects.

    A good piece in yesterday’s Upshot reports on a recent study of the effects of Med­ic­aid for chil­dren; it shows that chil­dren who received the aid were not just health­i­er but more pro­duc­tive as adults, and as a result paid more tax­es. So Med­ic­aid for kids may large­ly if not com­plete­ly pay for itself. It’s a good guess that the Afford­able Care Act, by expand­ing Med­ic­aid and in gen­er­al by ensur­ing that more fam­i­lies have ade­quate health care, will sim­i­lar­ly gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cant extra growth and rev­enue in the long run. Do you think the GOP will be inter­est­ed in revis­ing down esti­mates of the cost of Oba­macare to reflect these effects?

    ...

    The point is that we’re not just look­ing at a pos­si­ble man­date for using voodoo in bud­get esti­mates, we’re talk­ing about selec­tive voodoo, which incor­po­rates some sup­posed dynam­ic effects while ignor­ing oth­ers for which there is if any­thing stronger evi­dence. Tax cuts for the rich: good! Spend­ing that makes ordi­nary work­ers more pro­duc­tive? Bad!

    In oth­er news, vam­pire wor­ship clear­ly induces low blood sug­ar lev­els. Now you know.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 13, 2015, 7:18 pm
  6. Wow, has the GOP real­ly spent the last 80 years try­ing to throw granny off a cliff? That means when today’s 80 year olds were born, the GOP was already plan­ning for their elder­ly pover­ty. Well, that’s our GOP: try­ing to smoth­er the joy out of life, from cra­dle to grave:

    TPM DC
    The 80-Year Con­ser­v­a­tive War On Social Secu­ri­ty Is Back For More

    By Dylan Scott
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 14, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

    A new bat­tle is brew­ing over Social Secu­ri­ty in 114th Con­gress. The House passed a rule last week that crit­ics say could has­ten a cri­sis on the dis­abil­i­ty side of the pro­gram in late 2016, allow­ing Repub­li­cans to use the loom­ing threat of ben­e­fit cuts as lever­age in nego­ti­a­tions. New Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑KY) has hint­ed at his hopes for a grand bar­gain on enti­tle­ments, and House Bud­get Chair Tom Price (R‑GA) sig­naled Mon­day that he too had big ambi­tions for Social Secu­ri­ty reform.

    Social Secu­ri­ty, in more ways than one the moth­er of all U.S. enti­tle­ment pro­grams, has been the drag­on that con­ser­v­a­tives have suc­ceed­ed in slash­ing, but nev­er slay­ing, over its 80-year his­to­ry. Their oppo­si­tion has mor­phed from out­right ide­o­log­i­cal grounds as the pro­gram was being debat­ed dur­ing the New Deal era to a cam­paign masked in care­ful rhetoric once Social Secu­ri­ty became vir­tu­al­ly untouch­able as a polit­i­cal ani­mal.

    Repub­li­cans know they have a new oppor­tu­ni­ty with the dis­abil­i­ty trust fund and a lever­age point that comes along once every 20 years, and they’re seiz­ing it. Price float­ed some favorite pro­pos­als like means-test­ing, increas­ing the eli­gi­bil­i­ty age, and indi­vid­ual accounts (oth­er­wise known as pri­va­ti­za­tion). He described it as the GOP’s effort to “nor­mal­ize the dis­cus­sion and debate about Social Secu­ri­ty.”

    ...

    INITIAL GOP OPPOSITION (1933–35)

    FDR began advo­cat­ing for an old-age insur­ance pro­gram short­ly after tak­ing office in 1933. While the debate among Democ­rats large­ly cen­tered on what form the pro­gram should take, whom it should cov­er and how it should be paid for, Repub­li­cans warned that the pro­gram would “impose a crush­ing bur­den on indus­try and labor” and “estab­lish a bureau­cra­cy in the field of insur­ance in com­pe­ti­tion with pri­vate busi­ness.”

    Repub­li­cans peti­tioned for the old-age insur­ance pro­gram — what became Social Secu­ri­ty — to be struck from the House­’s bill entire­ly, leav­ing a much small­er ver­sion of wel­fare for the elder­ly. “Nev­er in the his­to­ry of the world has any mea­sure been brought here so insid­i­ous­ly designed as to pre­vent busi­ness recov­ery, to enslave work­ers and to pre­vent any pos­si­bil­i­ty of the employ­ers pro­vid­ing work for the peo­ple,” Rep. John Taber (R‑NY) said, argu­ing against the pro­gram.

    In the Sen­ate, Sen. Daniel Hast­ings (R‑DE) also moved to strike the pro­gram from the leg­is­la­tion, warn­ing that it would “end the progress of a great coun­try and bring its peo­ple to the lev­el of the aver­age Euro­pean.”

    ...

    TRYING TO STOP ITS GROWTH (1935–1955)

    Despite the pas­sage of Social Secu­ri­ty, con­ser­v­a­tives still believed that they could undo the new pro­gram. In the 1936 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Repub­li­can can­di­date Alf Lan­don, gov­er­nor of Kansas, described Social Secu­ri­ty as “a fraud on the work­ing­man” and “a cru­el hoax.”

    “The Repub­li­can par­ty will have noth­ing to do with any plan that involves pry­ing into the per­son­al records of 26 mil­lion peo­ple,” Lan­don said in one address. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee sent out mail­ers cam­paign­ing against it.

    But FDR trounced Lan­don, and the Roo­sevelt admin­is­tra­tion, his suc­ces­sor Tru­man, and Democ­rats in Con­gress start­ed work­ing on ways to expand the pro­gram toward its goal of uni­ver­sal cov­er­age. When the dis­abil­i­ty pro­gram was up for debate in 1949, Repub­li­cans crit­i­cized it. They also peti­tioned against an increase in ben­e­fits, argu­ing that Social Secu­ri­ty was intend­ed to pro­vide only a income floor for old­er Amer­i­cans.

    Some still pushed for the pro­gram to be repealed entire­ly. “The old-age and sur­vivors insur­ance pro­gram is a gross­ly unsound and inef­fec­tive tool for the social-secu­ri­ty pur­pos­es it attempts to accom­plish,” Rep. Carl Cur­tis (R‑NE) said when the 1949 amend­ments were being debat­ed. He lob­bied to replace it with a pro­gram with much small­er ben­e­fits.

    But by 1955, with the notable assis­tance of Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Dwight Eisen­how­er, who called those who want­ed to abol­ish Social Secu­ri­ty “stu­pid,” the pro­gram as it exists today — with near-uni­ver­sal cov­er­age, bet­ter ben­e­fits and a dis­abil­i­ty com­po­nent — was effec­tive­ly in place.

    THE REAGAN REFORMS (1980s)

    As Social Secu­ri­ty cement­ed itself as a fix­ture of the Amer­i­can safe­ty net, Repub­li­cans faced some­thing of a cri­sis about how to dis­cuss the pro­gram. As late as 1962, con­ser­v­a­tives like Ronald Rea­gan were say­ing that the pro­gram had put the Unit­ed States “down the road in the image of the labor Social­ist Par­ty of Eng­land.”

    The debate large­ly sub­sided with the pro­gram sol­vent and oth­er issues dom­i­nat­ing the polit­i­cal dis­course for the next two decades. But, coin­ci­den­tal­ly, as Rea­gan took the White House, demo­graph­ic trends were putting a squeeze on the pro­gram. Rea­gan appoint­ed Rep. David Stock­man (R‑MI), who had once called Social Secu­ri­ty “clos­et social­ism,” to over­see his bud­get office.

    Pub­licly, Rea­gan warned that the pro­gram was “tee­ter­ing on the edge of bank­rupt­cy,” but Stock­man’s pri­vate remarks sug­gest that the admin­is­tra­tion saw the cri­sis as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for cuts. The White House pushed through an elim­i­na­tion of a “frozen” min­i­mum ben­e­fit and stu­dent ben­e­fits with­out much Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port in 1981.

    The cri­sis “will per­mit the politi­cians to make it look like they’re doing some­thing for the ben­e­fi­cia­ry pop­u­la­tion,” Stock­man said, “when they are doing some­thing to it which they nor­mal­ly would­n’t have the courage to under­take.”

    ...

    PREPPING FOR NEXT BATTLE (1980s-2000)

    Behind the scenes, though, con­ser­v­a­tive thinkers were dis­mayed that the Rea­gan White House had come nowhere close to dis­man­tling the pro­gram as had once been hoped. Wonks at the con­ser­v­a­tive Her­itage Foun­da­tion warned that they must work to “pre­pare the polit­i­cal ground so that the fias­co of the last 18 months is not repeat­ed” and they could achieve the “rad­i­cal reform of Social Secu­ri­ty.”

    Pri­va­ti­za­tion — called “indi­vid­ual accounts,” which had peo­ple invest­ing their mon­ey, elim­i­nat­ing the base ben­e­fit that Social Secu­ri­ty had been con­ceived as — was the goal. They con­sid­ered young peo­ple “the most obvi­ous con­stituen­cy for the pri­vate alter­na­tive” and pon­dered ways “to detach, or at least neu­tral­ize” the old­er Amer­i­cans who were or would soon be ben­e­fit­ting from the pro­gram in its cur­rent form.

    Again, how­ev­er, Repub­li­cans seemed to rec­og­nize the polit­i­cal real­i­ties that the last few decades had solid­i­fied and what that required of their pub­lic rhetoric.

    ...

    BUSH’S FAILED PRIVATIZATION PLAN (2000–2005)

    Con­ser­v­a­tives final­ly made their play for pri­va­tiz­ing Social Secu­ri­ty dur­ing the sec­ond Bush admin­is­tra­tion.

    George W. Bush told con­ser­v­a­tives in the midst of the 2000 cam­paign that Repub­li­cans “have to find a way to allow peo­ple to invest a per­cent­age of their pay­roll tax in the cap­i­tal mar­kets” — a new incar­na­tion of the indi­vid­ual accounts or pri­va­ti­za­tion con­cept.

    But the GOP was get­ting sharp­er with its rhetoric. The lib­er­tar­i­an Cato Insti­tute renamed its exist­ing Project on Social Secu­ri­ty Pri­va­ti­za­tion to the Project on Social Secu­ri­ty Choice in 2002. The over­all effect of the Bush-era pro­pos­als was the same, turn­ing a guar­an­teed ben­e­fit into some­thing else entire­ly, but they had fig­ured out what they thought were bet­ter ways to talk about it.

    “BANISH PRIVATIZATION FROM YOUR LEXICON,” read a memo that Repub­li­can poll­ster Frank Luntz gave Bush dur­ing the 2004 cam­paign. But while Bush made Social Secu­ri­ty a top pri­or­i­ty at the onset of his sec­ond term and under­took a nation­al tour to dis­cuss the issue, those who sup­port the tra­di­tion­al pro­gram ral­lied against it.

    The effort — which TPM cov­ered exten­sive­ly; long-time read­ers might recall the Faint­heart­ed Fac­tion — proved to be a deba­cle for Bush. For­mal leg­is­la­tion nev­er even got a full vote in Con­gress, and in 2006, Democ­rats took con­trol of both cham­bers. Repub­li­cans appeared to be so scarred by the episode that the notion of major changes to Social Secu­ri­ty was rarely broached in the fol­low­ing years.

    But now, near­ly a decade lat­er, con­ser­v­a­tives think they have anoth­er shot.

    80 years. Boy, time sure flies, even when noth­ing changes. Granny, unfor­tu­nate­ly, does­n’t fly so well.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 14, 2015, 12:58 pm
  7. Well, it’s a good thing Rand Paul is in favor of legal­iz­ing mar­i­jua­na and mak­ing its pain-killing med­i­cine avail­able for all, giv­en the insane world of hurt he’s try­ing to inflict on every­one:

    The Los Ange­les Times
    Rand Paul steps up the GOP attack on Social Secu­ri­ty

    Michael Hiltzik
    Los Ange­les Times

    Trav­el oblig­a­tions kept me from address­ing until now the attack on Social Secu­ri­ty dis­abil­i­ty recip­i­ents made last week by Sen. Rand Paul (R‑Ky.), but it was too out­stand­ing­ly igno­rant and cyn­i­cal to go unan­swered.

    Long sto­ry short: If Paul’s words tru­ly rep­re­sent the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s approach to Social Secu­ri­ty, then not just the dis­abled but every­one else with an inter­est in the pro­gram — tax­pay­ers, retirees and their sur­vivors and depen­dents — should start pan­ick­ing now. We report­ed on the first shot fired at Social Secu­ri­ty by the new GOP Con­gress here. Paul has now raised the stakes.

    Here are his words, deliv­ered to an appre­cia­tive audi­ence on Wednes­day in the key pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry state of New Hamp­shire:

    “The thing is that all of these pro­grams, there’s always some­body who’s deserv­ing, every­body in this room knows some­body who’s gam­ing the sys­tem. I tell peo­ple that if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be get­ting a dis­abil­i­ty check. Over half the peo­ple on dis­abil­i­ty are either anx­ious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a lit­tle anx­ious for work every day and their back hurts? Every­one over 40 has a back pain.”

    Paul thus asso­ciates him­self with a slan­der of dis­abil­i­ty recip­i­ents favored by Repub­li­can con­ser­v­a­tives abet­ted by ill-informed jour­nal­ists, who include the staffs of NPR and “60 Min­utes.” (We report­ed ear­li­er on the lat­ter’s aban­don­ment of jour­nal­is­tic stan­dards in its dis­abil­i­ty cov­er­age.

    Leav­ing aside Paul’s con­tempt for peo­ple suf­fer­ing from these con­di­tions (“Join the club”), his num­bers are fla­grant­ly wrong. The actu­al fig­ures can be found in this table from the Social Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion. Start with “anx­i­ety”: The Social Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion clas­si­fies anx­i­ety as a sub­set of men­tal dis­or­ders and places it in the catch-all cat­e­go­ry of “oth­er,” which con­sti­tute a total of 3.9% of all dis­abil­i­ty claims — and that’s all oth­er­wise unclas­si­fied men­tal dis­or­ders, not just anx­i­ety.

    Social Secu­ri­ty does­n’t regard anx­i­ety as light­ly as Paul. Accord­ing to its def­i­n­i­tions, which can be found here, the cat­e­go­ry includes post-trau­mat­ic stress syn­drome and pho­bias or com­pul­sions that result in “marked dif­fi­cul­ties” with work­ing or liv­ing in soci­ety, or “com­plete inabil­i­ty to func­tion inde­pen­dent­ly out­side the area of one’s home.” Paul wants his audi­ence to think of “anx­i­ety” as the mild sense of dread you might expe­ri­ence when con­tem­plat­ing a bad day at work, or per­haps an unpleas­ant vis­it with your fam­i­ly. He’s lying about it.

    As for back pain, no one gets dis­abil­i­ty for the kind of mild stiff­ness that Bay­er aspirin claims to relieve in its TV ads. That’s the con­di­tion Paul tries to evoke by say­ing “every­one over 40 has a back pain.” But he shows no empa­thy what­so­ev­er for the real suf­fer­ers of this con­di­tion — those who get it not from labor­ing in a physi­cian’s office or in Con­gress, as Paul has, but from years of hard phys­i­cal toil or work­place injury.

    Social Secu­ri­ty clas­si­fies back pain as a “dis­ease of the mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem.” Some 30.5% of dis­abled work­ers fell into this cat­e­go­ry in 2013, accord­ing to the lat­est avail­able fig­ures. But that cat­e­go­ry cov­ers a lot more than “back pain.” It also com­pris­es ampu­ta­tions, joint fail­ures, leg and arm frac­tures, spine dis­or­ders and burns.

    These are the offi­cial fig­ures; no one has doc­u­ment­ed any oth­ers. Paul did­n’t cite a sin­gle source for his asser­tion that “over half the peo­ple on dis­abil­i­ty are either anx­ious or their back hurts,” so it’s rea­son­able to con­clude that he has no sources. But that’s all right, because his goal isn’t to offer a con­sid­ered analy­sis of the pres­sures fac­ing Social Secu­ri­ty in gen­er­al or its dis­abil­i­ty com­po­nent in par­tic­u­lar, but to ratio­nal­ize an attack on the whole pro­gram by ridi­cul­ing dis­abil­i­ty recip­i­ents as a step toward leg­is­lat­ing their ben­e­fits out of the sys­tem. Fab­ri­cat­ed sta­tis­tics are more than use­ful for that pur­pose.

    The dis­abil­i­ty pro­gram is fac­ing a fis­cal cri­sis that could force a cut­back in dis­abil­i­ty pay­ments of about 20% start­ing next year; Paul and oth­er Repub­li­cans have sig­naled that they won’t accept the cus­tom­ary rem­e­dy for sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions, which involves real­lo­cat­ing some pay­roll tax rev­enue from the old-age fund to cov­er dis­abil­i­ty’s near-term short­fall. Instead, they’re demand­ing a full-scale fis­cal rebal­anc­ing of Social Secu­ri­ty, which in prac­tice means ben­e­fit cuts for every­one — dis­abled, retirees and their fam­i­lies.

    ...

    The most cyn­i­cal aspect of this attack is that it comes from some law­mak­ers who were helped by Social Secu­ri­ty in their own lives. The ros­ter includes Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑Wis.), who received Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits dur­ing his col­lege years, after his father’s untime­ly death, and now thinks that the nation can’t afford to keep pay­ing them as cur­rent­ly sched­uled.

    Anoth­er is Rep. Tom Reed (R‑N.Y.), the spon­sor of the House rules change, whose father died when he was 2 and then was raised by a sin­gle moth­er on Social Secu­ri­ty and vet­er­ans ben­e­fits. Now he talks about Social Secu­ri­ty going “bank­rupt,” which is flat­ly incor­rect, and pro­motes a mea­sure aimed at cut­ting ben­e­fits for all. This is known as climb­ing the lad­der and pulling it up behind you. If Reed, Ryan and Paul get their way, the only option left to the rest of us will be to hold tight.

    And that con­cludes this excit­ing pre­mier episode of “Say­ing Nice Things About Rand Paul”. Hope­ful­ly you enjoyed it. It was prob­a­bly the finale too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 19, 2015, 8:04 pm
  8. If Steve Scalise thought this whole ‘David Duke thing’ was going to blow over with­out a fight, he’s in for a nasty sur­prise: Steve Scalise just might end up fac­ing off against a famil­iar face on the cam­paign trail. A famil­iar face with a lot of bag­gage:

    Buz­zFeed
    David Duke Says He Might Run For Con­gress Against “Sell Out” Steve Scalise

    “He elect­ed sup­pos­ed­ly David Duke with­out the bag­gage but he is not David Duke, he’s certainly—he’s basi­cal­ly, con­demn­ing the peo­ple of his dis­trict who vot­ed over­whelm­ing­ly for me to be their US sen­a­tor and vot­ed to be their gov­er­nor.”

    post­ed on Jan. 29, 2015, at 12:59 p.m.

    Andrew Kaczyn­s­ki Buz­zFeed News Reporter
    Megan Apper Buz­zFeed News Reporter

    For­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke says he might run for office against Repub­li­can Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

    Scalise faced ques­tions ear­li­er this month about a 2003 appear­ance he made as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive before the Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion (EURO) — a white suprema­cist group found­ed by Duke.

    Scalise called the appear­ance “a mis­take I regret” and con­demned the sort of views groups like EURO hold.

    Now Duke, who ini­tial­ly was sup­port­ive, call­ing him a “nice guy” to the Wash­ing­ton Post, says he is a “sell­out” for apol­o­giz­ing for speak­ing to the group over a decade ago.

    “Steve Scalise, let me tell you some­thing, this is the way I view it now: I mean this guy is a sell­out. I mean he’s a sell­out. He’s not David. He used to say that he was David Duke of course with­out the bag­gage, what­ev­er that means,” Duke told Louisiana radio host Jim Eng­ster of the Jim Eng­ster Show Wednes­day.

    The New York Times admit­ted that the Repub­li­can Par­ty won office and got con­trol of the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, essen­tial­ly on my polit­i­cal issues. Opposed to the mas­sive ille­gal immi­gra­tion, the issues of wel­fare reform, so many oth­er issues that I’ve talked about, and but the dif­fer­ence is with some­one like me Steve Scalise, or David Vit­ter, you know the pros­ti­tu­tion king. The dif­fer­ence between myself and those guys is that I did not sell­out. I’ve nev­er sold out…”

    Duke said he took offense to Scalise’s apol­o­gy and repu­di­a­tion of the views held by the group.

    “He said specif­i­cal­ly that he shouldn’t have gone to the Euro­pean Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion. That he shouldn’t have done it, it was a ter­ri­ble mis­take. He shouldn’t…what he’s basi­cal­ly say­ing is that 60% of his dis­trict, the same peo­ple by the way who vot­ed for him that they’re just noth­ing but a bunch of racists. You know, I’ve said noth­ing at that con­fer­ence any dif­fer­ent that I ran for office on. It wasn’t a klan meet­ing. It wasn’t any sort of a rad­i­cal meet­ing, it was a meet­ing that said there was Euro­pean Amer­i­can rights, right? So he is a sell­out, right? Because, you know he can’t meet with mem­bers of his own dis­trict who have opin­ions like I have but he meets with rad­i­cal blacks who have total oppo­site polit­i­cal posi­tions than him.”

    ...

    Duke said Scalise’s con­dem­na­tion of him made him con­sid­er chal­leng­ing Scalise for his con­gres­sion­al dis­trict.

    “I am not reg­is­tered to vote right now. I have legal­ly been able to vote for years but I haven’t reg­is­tered right now and I’d be able to vote for, but I might just reg­is­ter. Just so, I might have to run against Steve Scalise because you know, I real­ly might. I mean, I’m def­i­nite­ly going to con­sid­er it because its so dis­gust­ing to me to see…he got elect­ed on false pre­tens­es.”

    “He elect­ed sup­pos­ed­ly David Duke with­out the bag­gage but he is not David Duke, and he cer­tain­ly doesn’t —he’s basi­cal­ly, con­demn­ing the peo­ple of his dis­trict who vot­ed over­whelm­ing­ly for me to be their US sen­a­tor and vot­ed to be their gov­er­nor. He’s insult­ing every one of the mem­bers who actu­al­ly vot­ed for him because he is sug­gest­ing to they’re racist because they sup­port­ed my views. So that’s the thing, again I call on him to step down. He should step down because he has betrayed, he has betrayed his peo­ple. that’s the dif­fer­ence between, see they always talk about the fact that the Repub­li­can Party’s issues are my issues. The dif­fer­ence with me in the Repub­li­can Par­ty is that I didn’t betray them when I got elect­ed.”

    With all of the sim­i­lar­i­ties between Scalise’s and and Duke’s plat­forms, The House Major­i­ty Whip is going to need to find a way dis­tin­guish him­self. Two words of advice: Avoid goa­tees.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 2, 2015, 8:25 am
  9. http://www.geekwire.com/2015/sap-opens-coffee-shop-for-those-who-share-a-passion-for-technology-in-silicon-valley/

    SAP opens cof­fee shop for those ‘who share a pas­sion for tech­nol­o­gy’ in Sil­i­con Val­ley

    by Mol­ly Brown on March 17, 2015 at 9:40 am
    Pho­to by Móni­ca Guzmán.Photo by Móni­ca Guzmán.

    If the tech world is fueled by any­thing, it’s caf­feine and ideas. So it was only a mat­ter of time until a tech com­pa­ny offi­cial­ly merged the two.

    Ger­man soft­ware mak­er SAP is open­ing a cafe in Sil­i­con Val­ley to “draw a walk-in crowd of techies,” accord­ing to the AP. The soft­ware mak­er wants to pro­vide a friend­ly space for net­work­ing and shar­ing ideas — with gourmet cof­fee and free Wi-Fi, of course — for like­mind­ed tech work­ers and aspir­ing start­up founders.

    The Hana­Haus cafe is open­ing in the for­mer New Var­si­ty The­ater in Palo Alto, a loca­tion close to Stan­ford, Face­book, Hewlett-Packard and sev­er­al ven­ture cap­i­tal firms and star­tups. Accord­ing to the web­site, “the new 15,000-square-foot facil­i­ty is designed to encour­age com­mu­ni­ty, con­nec­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty.”

    Accord­ing to AP, “SAP’s San­jay Shi­role says he wants to fos­ter a cre­ative envi­ron­ment where any­one can sip cof­fee, swap ideas or pound their com­put­er key­boards along­side oth­ers ‘who share a pas­sion for tech­nol­o­gy.’ ” The cafe will sell Blue Bot­tle refresh­ments, offer rental space for events and meet­ings, and a desk with SAP engi­neers and inde­pen­dent con­sul­tants who will offer free advice.

    No word on whether SAP will bring this con­cept to the Seat­tle area. The com­pa­ny also owns Belle­vue-based Con­cur.

    The Hana­Haus cafe is open to the pub­lic March 19.

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | March 20, 2015, 3:03 pm
  10. Booz Allen Con­trac­tor, 2 Oth­er Amer­i­cans Die in Air­bus Crash
    http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-booz-allen-contractor-and-two-other-americans-die-in-airbus-crash/2694391.html
    Excerpt:
    “Booz Allen Hamil­ton Inc con­trac­tor Yvonne Selke and two oth­er U.S. cit­i­zens were among 150 peo­ple killed when a Ger­man­wings Air­bus crashed in a remote Alpine region in France, the U.S. State Depart­ment said on Wednes­day.”

    Ger­man­wings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cock­pit Before Crash in France
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/world/europe/germanwings-airbus-crash.html
    Excerpt:
    ““The guy out­side is knock­ing light­ly on the door and there is no answer,” the inves­ti­ga­tor said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is nev­er an answer.”

    He said, “You can hear he is try­ing to smash the door down.”
    While the audio seemed to give some insight into the cir­cum­stances lead­ing up to the Ger­man­wings crash on Tues­day morn­ing, it also left many ques­tions unan­swered.

    “We don’t know yet the rea­son why one of the guys went out,” said the offi­cial, who request­ed anonymi­ty because the inves­ti­ga­tion is con­tin­u­ing. “But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the oth­er pilot is alone and does not open the door.”

    Posted by Mother Muckraker | March 25, 2015, 5:37 pm
  11. More about the Amer­i­can killed in the Ger­man­wings crash

    http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-france-airline-crash-20150325-story.html#page=1

    Excerpt:
    “Yvonne Selke was a con­tract employ­ee of the Nation­al Geospa­tial-Intel­li­gence Agency, which pro­duces maps and inter­prets satel­lite imagery for U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tives and spe­cial oper­a­tions mis­sions. It is the agency that pro­duced mod­els of Osama bin Laden’s house in Pak­istan to help Navy SEALs in the raid that killed the Al Qae­da leader.

    “Every death is a tragedy, but sel­dom does a death affect us all so direct­ly and unex­pect­ed­ly,” NGA Direc­tor Robert Cardil­lo said in a state­ment. “All of us offer our deep­est con­do­lences and will keep her fam­i­ly and her col­leagues in our thoughts.”

    Selke worked for the intel­li­gence agency through Booz Allen, the man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm, which said she was a “ded­i­cat­ed employ­ee” who had been with the com­pa­ny for near­ly 23 years.”

    Posted by Mother Muckraker | March 25, 2015, 7:29 pm
  12. Dave;
    I think this guy pro­vides a few pieces of the puz­zle re: Snow­den, John Per­ry Bar­low and the EFF, Omiy­dar, Wik­ileaks and more. Seems to dove­tail with your info and pile on some more:

    Pod­cast and show links

    http://porkinspolicyreview.com/2014/08/01/porkins-policy-radio-episode-26-peeling-the-onion-behind-tor-eff-and-john-perry-barlow/

    Descrip­tion:

    Porkins Pol­i­cy Radio episode 26 Peel­ing the onion behind Tor, EFF, and John Per­ry Bar­low

    https://porkinspolicyreview.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/ppr-ep-26-peeling-the-onion-behind-tor-eff.mp3

    Down­load PPR episode 26

    On this week’s episode we peel back some of the lay­ers behind the TOR Project, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion, and a man at the cen­ter of both, John Per­ry Bar­low. We take a look at Tor’s long­time gov­ern­ment fund­ing and how this has helped shape the project. We inves­ti­gate some of the project mem­bers such as Jacob Apple­baum and Runa Sand­vik, both of whom have played up their tech­no-activist street cred while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly receiv­ing mas­sive salaries from the US gov­ern­ment. Last­ly, we take a crit­i­cal look at the founder of the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion, John Per­ry Bar­low, and make the case for his inte­gral part­ner­ship in the Snowden/NSA psy-op. This is only the tip of the ice­berg in terms of what is real­ly going on with the NSA scan­dal, but hope­ful­ly this will open up the door for you to begin inves­ti­gat­ing for your­self.

    Show Notes:

    Almost every­one involved in Tor was (or is) fund­ed by the US gov­ern­ment

    EFF press release on Omid­yar net­work and Tor Project

    EFF annu­al report for 2009–2010 (the most up to date annu­al report avail­able online)

    Q&A marathon with Jacob Apple­baum and Roger Din­gle­dine

    Snowden’s first move against the NSA was a par­ty in Hawaii

    Why Spy?

    Free­dom the Press Foun­da­tion

    Posted by Swamp | April 8, 2015, 9:31 pm
  13. I am prob­a­bly one the the few “right wingers” that fre­quents your web­site and lis­tens to your pod­casts.

    You do impec­ca­ble research.

    Posted by Interested Reader | May 17, 2015, 7:57 pm
  14. With John Boehn­er step­ping down as the Speak­er of the House and Kevin McCarthy, the House Major­i­ty Leader, look­ing like the prob­a­ble replace­ment, the scram­ble over McCarthy’s soon-to-be-open spot as Major­i­ty Leader has already com­menced. And that means, yes, we all get to wait and see if Steve “I’m David Duke with­out the bag­gage” Scalise, the House Major­i­ty Whip, becomes the new House Major­i­ty Leader. He’s report­ed­ly inter­est­ed in the job:

    Politi­co
    Res­ig­na­tion trig­gers all-out lead­er­ship scram­ble

    Repub­li­can Kevin McCarthy is strong­ly favored to become speak­er, but jock­ey­ing is intense for oth­er lead­er­ship posts.

    By Anna Palmer, Jake Sher­man and John Bres­na­han

    09/25/15 12:58 PM EDT

    Updat­ed 09/25/15 05:18 PM EDT

    Speak­er John Boehn­er’s res­ig­na­tion has set off an intense round of jock­ey­ing for all four House lead­er­ship slots, set­ting up what’s expect­ed to be a hyper­com­pet­i­tive inter­nal par­ty bat­tle in the mid­dle of a key stretch of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion this fall.

    House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) is expect­ed to run for speak­er, and no oth­er Repub­li­can has come for­ward to chal­lenge him yet. The most for­mi­da­ble poten­tial rival for the top spot, House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee Chair­man Paul Ryan (R‑Wis.), said Fri­day he will not run.

    Though McCarthy is the heavy favorite to suc­ceed Boehn­er, who announced Fri­day that he would step down at the end of Octo­ber, it’s unlike­ly he’ll be unop­posed.

    Rep. Daniel Web­ster (R‑Fla.) said Fri­day he plans to run for speak­er, though he faces redis­trict­ing prob­lems back home. Web­ster was nom­i­nat­ed for speak­er by hard-lin­ers at the start of the cur­rent Con­gress and received a dozen votes.

    The real com­pe­ti­tion, though, may be for the lead­er­ship jobs direct­ly under the speak­er.

    Among those who are expect­ed to run for major­i­ty leader, or are at least think­ing about it, include Geor­gia Rep. Tom Price, chair­man of the Bud­get Com­mit­tee; Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the cur­rent major­i­ty whip; House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Chair Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers of Wash­ing­ton; and Rep. Pete Ses­sions of Texas, who runs the Rules Com­mit­tee and is for­mer chair­man of the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee.

    “There are still a lot of names float­ing around. We’ve just been hav­ing a lot of con­ver­sa­tions with mem­bers,” Scalise said. “Every­body is just deal­ing with the shock of what hap­pened this morn­ing. We’ll make an announce­ment at an appro­pri­ate time.”

    Rep. Peter Roskam (R‑Ill.), who lost a lead­er­ship race in 2014, is eye­ing the land­scape, and could make a run for one of the open posts, pos­si­bly even major­i­ty leader, accord­ing to sources. Roskam was hand­i­ly defeat­ed by Scalise last year in a con­test for whip after Major­i­ty Leader Eric Can­tor’s (R‑Va.) shock­ing pri­ma­ry loss. Roskam scored major points with fel­low Repub­li­cans for his oppo­si­tion to the Iran nuclear deal, and Scalise has not over­whelmed mem­bers with his per­for­mance as whip.

    Scalise is a for­mer chair­man of the Repub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee and has strong ties with con­ser­v­a­tives through­out the con­fer­ence. But he suf­fered polit­i­cal dam­age last year when it was revealed that he had spo­ken to a white suprema­cy group in 2002.

    But Boehn­er and McCarthy stood by him, and Scalise has worked hard to rebuild his pub­lic stand­ing. He also works hard and is a shrewd polit­i­cal infight­er, and would be a tough oppo­nent in any lead­er­ship race.

    McMor­ris Rodgers, the high­est-rank­ing woman in the House GOP lead­er­ship, is a good fundrais­er and has been work­ing in recent months to try to craft a “mis­sion state­ment” for Repub­li­cans. The project has put her in touch with dozens of mem­bers.

    But McMor­ris Rodgers has lia­bil­i­ties. She already passed on one lead­er­ship race — for­go­ing a run for whip last year — and may not want to risk los­ing her spot at the lead­er­ship table if she does­n’t win this fight.

    Okla­homa Rep. Mark­wayne Mullin is run­ning for House major­i­ty whip, accord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources. Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHen­ry (R‑N.C.) will like­ly run for that post as well, and his cur­rent role in the lead­er­ship could give him a major advan­tage. A third con­tender is Rep. Den­nis Ross of Flori­da, who sent a “Dear Col­league” let­ter Fri­day say­ing that he plans to “spend the next few days per­son­al­ly reach­ing out to mem­bers of our con­fer­ence to dis­cuss my inten­tions to run for Major­i­ty Whip.”

    Cur­rent NRCC Chair­man Greg Walden of Ore­gon, who is close to Boehn­er, gets good marks from oth­er Repub­li­cans and will remain in his cur­rent post.

    The maneu­ver­ing with­in GOP ranks has been ongo­ing for weeks as rumors swirled that Boehn­er would step down before the end of this Con­gress. .Scalise and McMor­ris Rodgers have been lay­ing the ground­work for the major­i­ty leader con­test, mak­ing calls to oth­er mem­bers for sup­port “if some oppor­tu­ni­ty to move up appeared,” accord­ing to one Repub­li­can who spoke to both of them.

    ...

    As we can see, Scalise has been lay­ing the ground­work for the lead­er­ship con­test, but he’s got com­pe­ti­tion:

    ...
    Among those who are expect­ed to run for major­i­ty leader, or are at least think­ing about it, include Geor­gia Rep. Tom Price, chair­man of the Bud­get Com­mit­tee; Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the cur­rent major­i­ty whip; House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Chair Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers of Wash­ing­ton; and Rep. Pete Ses­sions of Texas, who runs the Rules Com­mit­tee and is for­mer chair­man of the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee.
    ...

    Yes, Scalise’s com­pe­ti­tion includes Pete “the Tal­iban is ‘a mod­el’ for the GOP’s oppo­si­tion to Oba­ma” Ses­sions, “Shut­down Cathy” McMor­ris Rodgers, and Tom “let’s pri­va­tize social secu­ri­ty” Price.

    And, unfor­tu­nate­ly for Scalise, his com­pe­ti­tion just picked up two major endorse­ments:

    TPM Livewire
    Two Top House GOP­ers Throw Their Sup­port To Tom Price For Major­i­ty Leader

    By Caitlin Mac­Neal
    Pub­lished Sep­tem­ber 28, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

    Rep. Tom Price (R‑GA) gained two big endorse­ments in the race for House major­i­ty leader, the num­ber two slot in House lead­er­ship, on Mon­day, accord­ing to Politi­co.

    Both Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑WI) and Rep. Jeb Hen­sar­ling (R‑TX) said they will back Price, the chair­man of the House Bud­get Com­mit­tee, over House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise (R‑LA) and House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Chair Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers (R‑WA).

    “Tom Price is a com­mit­ted con­ser­v­a­tive and a good friend,” Ryan, chair of the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, said in a state­ment, accord­ing to Politi­co. “He and I have served for years togeth­er on the Bud­get and Ways and Means Com­mit­tees, work­ing to pay down our debt, fix our tax code, and grow our econ­o­my. Tom has a proven record of advanc­ing con­ser­v­a­tive solu­tions and prin­ci­ples. He has the knowl­edge and skills need­ed to be an effec­tive Major­i­ty Leader, and I’m proud to sup­port him.”

    ...

    Price, the for­mer chair of the House Repub­li­can Study com­mit­tee, did not run for a top lead­er­ship posi­tion in 2014 after for­mer House Major­i­ty Leader Eric Can­tor (R‑VA) lost his seat, and instead sought out the posi­tion of Bud­get Com­mit­tee chair­man.

    And with those two big endorse­ments it’s look­ing like Tom Price might be the lead­ing the race for Major­i­ty Leader. This might not be the year for David Duke with­out the bag­gage.

    But it’s worth keep­ing in mind that the real win­ner of the GOP lead­er­ship fight is prob­a­bly any­one that wants to see the GOP self-implode while it enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly attempts to dri­ve itself, and the coun­try, into a ditch while yelling “you can thank us at the bal­lot box!”:

    TPM Edi­tor’s Blog
    Gam­ing Out Boehn­er’s Depar­ture

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished Sep­tem­ber 28, 2015, 2:02 PM EDT

    With a week­end for the dust to set­tle, we now have a clear­er idea of what led to the dra­mat­ic and unex­pect­ed depar­ture of House Speak­er John Boehn­er. He was­n’t pushed exact­ly. Not exact­ly. Per­haps best to say that the pres­sure was get­ting him clos­er and clos­er to the precipice and rather than be pushed he decid­ed to jump on his own terms. Pope Fran­cis’s vis­it to Capi­tol Hill appears to have played a gen­uine role in deter­min­ing pre­cise tim­ing, though not the deci­sion itself. So what does it mean for the House, the GOP cau­cus and more glob­al­ly the progress of nation­al pol­i­tics over the next year?

    Three points are worth not­ing.

    One is that Boehn­er’s res­ig­na­tion effec­tive­ly end­ed talk of a gov­ern­ment shut­down. In part this is because the fire-breathers in the House have no cud­gel over him now. He’ll avoid a shut­down with Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes if he needs to. Threat­en­ing to depose him if he does does­n’t real­ly cut much now. .But on a broad­er lev­el — and the sec­ond point — House right wingers seem basi­cal­ly okay with this or resigned to it. Because dethron­ing Boehn­er is a far big­ger scalp or accom­plish­ment than yet anoth­er shut­down. Find­ing out pre­cise­ly what went into Boehn­er’s deci­sion to jump now is large­ly beside the point. The House hard­lin­ers want­ed him gone and he’s gone. Their pow­er has gone up dra­mat­i­cal­ly.

    And why was it so impor­tant for Boehn­er to go (and McConnell, too, as they’re now demand­ing)? The answer is as clear as it is dis­con­nect­ed from real­i­ty. Because in their minds it was Boehn­er who was pre­vent­ing them from get­ting a clean shot at Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. This take is even echoed in DC echo cham­ber pub­li­ca­tions like The Hill which says that even though Boehn­er’s depar­ture avoids a shut­down, “it will almost cer­tain­ly com­pli­cate life for Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑Ky).”

    This is a basic mis­un­der­stand­ing of the dynam­ics of the sit­u­a­tion, actu­al­ly a fun­da­men­tal one — based again on the assump­tion that the only thing stand­ing in the way of the House “Free­dom Cau­cus” and right wing glo­ry is that they haven’t shut the gov­ern­ment down enough, or haven’t vot­ed to repeal Oba­macare enough. Was John Boehn­er real­ly run­ning inter­fer­ence for Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, shield­ing him from the fero­cious fury of the right wing of the House cau­cus or was he fre­quent­ly bend­ing over back­wards to find ways to avoid House nut­balls from inflict­ing even more dam­age on the par­ty’s nation­al stand­ing?

    ...

    The House is the House because a mix­ture of demo­graph­ic trends and effec­tive ger­ry­man­der­ing make it almost impos­si­ble for the Repub­li­cans to lose it until after 2020. So House flamethrow­ers can do almost any­thing they want with­out con­se­quences any time soon. But the same does­n’t apply to the Sen­ate and cer­tain­ly not the pres­i­den­cy — where the con­cen­tra­tion of Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes in major cities has lit­tle effect.

    So in terms of headaches and high-wire acts and leg­isla­tive hostage tak­ing, Boehn­er’s depar­ture may cre­ate some more work for the Oba­ma White House. But if you expand your field of vision out beyond the Wash­ing­ton Belt­way, the pic­ture looks rather dif­fer­ent. And here’s where we get to point three. If the right wing of the House GOP cau­cus real­ly gets to run the show in the House and begins doing things that over­whelm­ing majori­ties of the pub­lic are against, that’s actu­al­ly not a good thing for the GOP. That’s espe­cial­ly so dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial race since pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates will inevitably get drawn into bid­ding wars over how much they sup­port the lat­est quixot­ic pri­mal scream from the House Repub­li­cans, which will in term give them extra bag­gage to car­ry into the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    Remem­ber, as with the Cruz/Obamacare shut­down of a cou­ple years ago, the fire­breathers believe that it’s just that they’ve nev­er shut the gov­ern­ment down long enough. If Boehn­er and McConnell and the rest of the ‘estab­lish­ment’ weren’t con­stant­ly uni­lat­er­al­ly sur­ren­der­ing to Oba­ma right when they had the Pres­i­dent where they want­ed him, they would have final­ly bro­ken the guy. They just need these appeasers out of the way to get a clean shot. It’s a handy log­ic since it’s inher­ent­ly dis­prov­able. When­ev­er you final­ly decide to give up since you’re obvi­ous­ly los­ing, some­one can always say that hold­ing out just a bit longer would have brought vic­to­ry.

    We can leave that dis­cus­sion for an Ab-Psych sem­i­nar. The rel­e­vant point is that the House fire­breathers just got stronger. But con­trary to mak­ing life more dif­fi­cult for the White House it actu­al­ly makes it easy, if per­haps more time con­sum­ing. A two term pres­i­dent in his final year in office is not look­ing to pass new leg­is­la­tion. He or she is also large­ly indif­fer­ent to their own per­son­al stand­ing. Their focus is lega­cy and the preser­va­tion of exist­ing leg­isla­tive accom­plish­ments. In oth­er words, the focus is on the 2016 elec­tion. By that mea­sure, while Boehn­er’s depar­ture may not be good for the coun­try, it is quite good for Democ­rats. Because it leaves the folks focused on max­i­miz­ing the self-inflict­ed injuries to the GOP in charge of the show.

    As Pres­i­dent Oba­ma once said, please pro­ceed.

    So whether or not “David Duke with­out the bag­gage” ends up lead­ing the new agen­da as a Major­i­ty Leader or Whip, wel­come to the polit­i­cal the­o­ry that he’s about to unleash in the halls of Congress...Pete “let’s fol­low the ‘Tal­iban mod­el’ ” Ses­sions may not become Major­i­ty Leader, but he’s pret­ty clear­ly won in spir­it:

    ...

    And why was it so impor­tant for Boehn­er to go (and McConnell, too, as they’re now demand­ing)? The answer is as clear as it is dis­con­nect­ed from real­i­ty. Because in their minds it was Boehn­er who was pre­vent­ing them from get­ting a clean shot at Pres­i­dent Oba­ma

    ...

    Remem­ber, as with the Cruz/Obamacare shut­down of a cou­ple years ago, the fire­breathers believe that it’s just that they’ve nev­er shut the gov­ern­ment down long enough. If Boehn­er and McConnell and the rest of the ‘estab­lish­ment’ weren’t con­stant­ly uni­lat­er­al­ly sur­ren­der­ing to Oba­ma right when they had the Pres­i­dent where they want­ed him, they would have final­ly bro­ken the guy. They just need these appeasers out of the way to get a clean shot. It’s a handy log­ic since it’s inher­ent­ly dis­prov­able. When­ev­er you final­ly decide to give up since you’re obvi­ous­ly los­ing, some­one can always say that hold­ing out just a bit longer would have brought vic­to­ry.

    ...

    “It’s a handy log­ic since it’s inher­ent­ly dis­prov­able.”
    Now that’s lead­er­ship!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 28, 2015, 12:37 pm
  15. The race for the House Major­i­ty Leader had a cou­ple more twists today fol­low­ing the high-pro­file endorse­ments of Tom Price by Paul Ryan and Jeb Hen­sar­ling yes­ter­day: Cathy McMor­ris-Rodgers dropped out. But House Major­i­ty Whip Steve ‘David Duke with­out the bag­gage’ Scalise isn’t going down with­out a fight:

    Politi­co
    Scalise offi­cial­ly announces major­i­ty leader bid

    By Jake Sher­man
    09/29/15 08:40 AM EDT

    House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise made his bid for major­i­ty leader offi­cial, brand­ing him­self an inclu­sive leader who gets things done.

    The Louisiana Repub­li­can, who has been the House’s top vote counter since the sum­mer of 2014, wrote in a let­ter to col­leagues that both the coun­try and House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence are at “a cross­roads.” After one year in lead­er­ship, Scalise said that “when­ev­er you’ve called on me, I’ve deliv­ered.”

    “Togeth­er, we’ve con­front­ed many chal­leng­ing issues, and each time I’ve worked to bring all parts of our con­fer­ence togeth­er to pass leg­is­la­tion that reflects our val­ues and moves our coun­try for­ward,” Scalise wrote in the email enti­tled “Togeth­er.”

    Scalise’s team hand-deliv­ered this let­ter to every House Repub­li­can on Mon­day night.

    “It’s time to unite behind a strat­e­gy that lets us make the case for our con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ing vision, and empow­ers you to dri­ve the pub­lic pol­i­cy nar­ra­tive in your own dis­trict,” he wrote. “That’s why as Leader I’ll work with our com­mit­tee chair­men to set clear pol­i­cy goals for our con­fer­ence, and advance a prin­ci­pled, prac­ti­cal agen­da we’ve built togeth­er from the bot­tom up.”

    It remains to be seen if this is enough for House Repub­li­cans. Scalise is fac­ing Rep. Tom Price (R‑Ga.) for the No. 2 slot in the GOP lead­er­ship. Even those two choic­es don’t seem to be pleas­ing the GOP. Rep. Mia Love (R‑Utah) endorsed Rep. Trey Gowdy (R‑S.C.) Tues­day morn­ing, and Rep. Jason Chaf­fetz (R‑Utah) said the Beng­hazi com­mit­tee head would be “heav­en-sent” as major­i­ty leader.

    But Gowdy isn’t run­ning for the posi­tion.

    ...

    Uh oh. Scalise’s chances of become the House Major­i­ty Leader are look­ing a lit­tle shaky...

    ...
    It remains to be seen if this is enough for House Repub­li­cans. Scalise is fac­ing Rep. Tom Price (R‑Ga.) for the No. 2 slot in the GOP lead­er­ship. Even those two choic­es don’t seem to be pleas­ing the GOP. Rep. Mia Love (R‑Utah) endorsed Rep. Trey Gowdy (R‑S.C.) Tues­day morn­ing, and Rep. Jason Chaf­fetz (R‑Utah) said the Beng­hazi com­mit­tee head would be “heav­en-sent” as major­i­ty leader.
    ...

    But at least Scalise still has his cur­rent Major­i­ty Whip posi­tion to fall back upon if things don’t work out...assuming the rules aren’t changed. They might change:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    GOP whip race shapes up: McHen­ry vs. Ses­sions vs. Ross

    By Mike DeBo­nis and Paul Kane
    Sep­tem­ber 29 at 1:19 PM

    The reper­cus­sions of House Speak­er John A. Boehner’s res­ig­na­tion thun­dered down the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship lad­der Tues­day, with three mem­bers telling col­leagues they intend to seek the major­i­ty whip post that may be vacat­ed by Steve Scalise (R‑La.), who is pur­su­ing a run for major­i­ty leader.

    The whip hope­fuls include two Repub­li­can con­fer­ence heavy­weights — Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHen­ry (R‑N.C.) and Rules Com­mit­tee Chair­man Pete Ses­sions (R‑Texas) — as well as a con­ser­v­a­tive out­sider, Den­nis Ross (R‑Fla.), who pledges to “draw a stark dif­fer­ence to the failed poli­cies” of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

    ...

    A key issue in the whip race, how­ev­er, is Scalise’s hold on that posi­tion. The ear­ly sig­nals from his camp are that he intends to retain his posi­tion as major­i­ty whip should he lose the race to fill the major­i­ty leader post, a move that would short-cir­cuit the bids by McHen­ry, Ses­sions and Ross.

    Accord­ing to a vet­er­an law­mak­er and for­mer lead­er­ship staff, some junior Repub­li­cans are con­sid­er­ing push­ing an inter­nal rules change that would for­bid some­one from run­ning for an elect­ed lead­er­ship post while not giv­ing up the oth­er slot.

    This last became an issue in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics when Tom DeLay (R‑Texas) resigned as major­i­ty leader in 2005, and an ear­ly 2006 race to replace him pit­ted Boehn­er, chair­man of the Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, against Roy Blunt (R‑Mo.), who was the major­i­ty whip look­ing to move up a rung on the lead­er­ship lad­der. Blunt, who now serves in the Sen­ate, nar­row­ly lost to Boehn­er and remained as the House GOP whip through 2008.

    It’s unclear if the rules change will come to a vote, though it is a like­ly top­ic of dis­cus­sion at a con­fer­ence meet­ing sched­uled for Tues­day evening.

    ...

    “Accord­ing to a vet­er­an law­mak­er and for­mer lead­er­ship staff, some junior Repub­li­cans are con­sid­er­ing push­ing an inter­nal rules change that would for­bid some­one from run­ning for an elect­ed lead­er­ship post while not giv­ing up the oth­er slot.”
    Poor Scalise with his lack of sup­port. He’s David Duke, but with­out Duke’s bag­gage or base of sup­port! It’s almost sur­pris­ing, all things con­sid­ered.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 29, 2015, 2:38 pm
  16. Steve “I’m like David Duke with­out the bag­gage” Scalise may have com­pe­ti­tion in the race to become the new House Major­i­ty Leader. But in one key area of lead­er­ship — rais­ing mon­ey and giv­ing it to your fel­low par­ty mem­bers — there’s no real con­test because, as the arti­cle below points out, “Scalise has a nat­ur­al fundrais­ing advan­tage as the No. 3 Repub­li­can. His con­tri­bu­tions this year are, how­ev­er, his­tor­i­cal­ly high, even when com­pared with oth­er major­i­ty whips”:

    Roll Call
    In Major­i­ty Leader Race, Scalise Lap­ping Price in This Key Mea­sure

    By Matt Fuller Post­ed at 9:45 a.m. on Oct. 2

    While there’s no defin­i­tive favorite in the major­i­ty leader race — espe­cial­ly with lin­ger­ing ques­tions about Select Beng­hazi Chair­man Trey Gowdy’s inter­est — Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise has one dis­tinct advan­tage over Bud­get Chair­man Tom Price: Scalise has spread around a lot more cash.
    Accord­ing to Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion doc­u­ments reviewed by CQ Roll Call, Scalise has giv­en rough­ly $700,000 to fel­low Repub­li­can mem­bers and can­di­dates over the course of the first three quar­ters of 2015. (The third quar­ter data, which is not yet pub­lic, was sup­plied by Scalise’s office.) In con­trast, Price has trans­ferred at least $139,000 to mem­bers and can­di­dates through the third quar­ter.

    (Price’s office sup­plied CQ Roll Call with his con­tri­bu­tions to mem­bers for the first three quar­ters from his lead­er­ship PAC — $84,000 — but would only give CQ Roll Call his cam­paign com­mit­tee con­tri­bu­tions for the first two quar­ters, rough­ly $55,000.)

    By anoth­er com­par­i­son, Scalise has raised approx­i­mate­ly $1.5 mil­lion for the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee over the first three quar­ters, accord­ing to his office. That includes con­tri­bu­tions to the gen­er­al fund, the recount fund and the build­ing fund. Mean­while, Price has trans­ferred $175,000 to the NRCC this cycle over the first two quar­ters. (Again, Price’s office would not give CQ Roll Call his third quar­ter totals for NRCC con­tri­bu­tions, if he made any.)

    Asked Thurs­day how the dis­par­i­ty between their con­tri­bu­tions would play into the major­i­ty leader race, Price said he didn’t think it would. “I think folks are inter­est­ed in pick­ing the best per­son they think can bring us togeth­er,” he said.

    A Price aide told CQ Roll Call the Geor­gia Repub­li­can has raised mil­lions over the years to sup­port Repub­li­cans. “He’s trav­eled to dozens of dis­tricts across the coun­try to per­son­al­ly cam­paign for can­di­dates,” the aide said. “And, he looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to help our mem­bers in this capac­i­ty in the months to come.”

    While the dis­par­i­ty between Scalise and Price’s mem­ber con­tri­bu­tions may seem con­sid­er­able, their dif­fer­ent posi­tions in the con­fer­ence hier­ar­chy make an apples-to-apples com­par­i­son dif­fi­cult. Scalise has a nat­ur­al fundrais­ing advan­tage as the No. 3 Repub­li­can. His con­tri­bu­tions this year are, how­ev­er, his­tor­i­cal­ly high, even when com­pared with oth­er major­i­ty whips.

    Regard­less of the com­par­i­son prob­lems, this much is clear: Scalise’s finan­cial sup­port for Repub­li­can col­leagues won’t hurt him.

    Price may be right that this race won’t be won or lost on con­tri­bu­tions to mem­bers, but Scalise’s edge speaks to his gen­er­al advan­tage as whip. The Louisiana Repub­li­can has had a whip team from the very begin­ning of the race, and he won a lead­er­ship con­test only 16 months ago. One Repub­li­can, who said he’s sup­port­ing Price, said his impres­sion was that Scalise cur­rent­ly had the lead just by virtue of his supe­ri­or oper­a­tion.

    But Scalise’s posi­tion also comes with draw­backs, name­ly an asso­ci­a­tion with some of the frus­tra­tion mem­bers feel with lead­er­ship.

    That dis­con­tent seemed to mate­ri­al­ize Tues­day, when Gowdy’s name was float­ed as a poten­tial alter­na­tive to Price and Scalise.

    Price told CQ Roll Call Thurs­day the Gowdy boom­let “speaks to the frus­tra­tion that exists in the con­fer­ence.”

    “What we need as a con­fer­ence,” Price con­tin­ued, “is to find a way to uni­fy and come togeth­er for com­mon pur­pos­es, and whether that’s me or whether that’s some­body else, that’s what the con­fer­ence needs to decide.”

    ...

    So it sounds like Steve “I’m like David Duke with­out the bag­gage, and lot of mon­ey” Scalise is actu­al­ly isn’t a sure bet for House Major­i­ty Leader, but still in the lead.

    It rais­es the ques­tion: Is Scalise aim­ing too low here? After all, the guy Scalise is try­ing to replace, Kevin McCarthy, is already see­ing his sup­port col­lapse for his bid to become Speak­er of the House after McCarthy made clear to the world that the end­less string of House “inves­ti­ga­tions” into the Beng­hazi inci­dent was basi­cal­ly all about erod­ing the polit­i­cal sup­port for Hillary Clin­ton. And if “David Duke with­out the bag­gage” can become the new House Major­i­ty Leader, why not Speak­er of the House:

    TPM Livewire
    Lau­ra Ingra­ham: The GOP Estab­lish­ment ‘Needs To Pull The Plug’ On McCarthy

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 2, 2015, 12:10 PM EDT

    Con­ser­v­a­tive radio host Lau­ra Ingra­ham said Thurs­day night that the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment should “pull the plug” on House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R‑CA) bid to become House speak­er.

    Ingra­ham post­ed a tweet call­ing for GOP lead­ers to inter­vene after McCarthy boast­ed that the House inves­ti­ga­tion into Beng­hazi hurt Demo­c­ra­t­ic fron­trun­ner Hillary Clin­ton polit­i­cal­ly.

    ...

    The belea­guered major­i­ty leader, who is run­ning to replace out­go­ing Speak­er John Boehn­er (R‑OH), stum­bled on Thurs­day night as he tried to walk back his com­ments in a Fox News inter­view.

    Oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits, includ­ing Red­State edi­tor Erick Erick­son, have sug­gest­ed that McCarthy’s gaffe should dis­qual­i­fy him for the speak­er­ship.

    ...

    And note that it’s not just the right-wing pun­di­toc­ra­cy that’s start­ing to turn on McCarthy fol­low­ing his Beng­hazi mega-oops. Even the out­go­ing Speak­er John Beohn­er had to engage in some clean up work:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    John Boehn­er just tried to clean up Kevin McCarthy’s Beng­hazi mess. Which says a lot.

    By Amber Phillips
    Octo­ber 1

    House Speak­er John A. Boehn­er (R‑Ohio) prob­a­bly did­n’t want to spend his final days on the job clean­ing up dra­ma caused by his heir appar­ent. But that’s exact­ly what he did Thurs­day when he was forced to issue a state­ment.

    “This inves­ti­ga­tion has nev­er been about for­mer sec­re­tary of state Clin­ton and nev­er will be,” Boehn­er said. “The Amer­i­can peo­ple deserve the truth about what hap­pened in Beng­hazi. That’s always been our focus, and that’s going to remain our focus.”

    He did­n’t men­tion House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) by name, but he did­n’t have to.

    Boehn­er was just one of a few House Repub­li­cans to pub­licly rebuke the major­i­ty leader (and like­ly next speak­er) for his com­ments Tues­day link­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s poll num­bers to Repub­li­cans’ inves­ti­ga­tions of the dead­ly 2012 ter­ror­ist attacks in Beng­hazi, Libya, when she was sec­re­tary of state. (Boehn­er’s office said Thurs­day night they coor­di­nat­ed with McCarthy before releas­ing the state­ment.)

    Also Thurs­day, House over­sight com­mit­tee Chair­man Jason Chaf­fetz (R‑Utah) — whose com­mit­tee has han­dled some Beng­hazi mat­ters — called on McCarthy to apol­o­gize for his “inap­pro­pri­ate” com­ments. (That’s not good when it comes from your own par­ty — and from a chair­man, no less.) Tea par­ty Rep. Thomas Massie (R‑Ky.) made sim­i­lar com­ments, as did tea par­ty Rep. Justin Amash (R‑Mich.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R‑Ill.).

    What’s par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing about McCarthy’s com­ments is that what he said prob­a­bly did­n’t sur­prise many peo­ple.

    A Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC News poll in May found that 55 per­cent of Amer­i­cans (includ­ing 51 per­cent of Democ­rats) think Clin­ton’s han­dling of the Beng­hazi issue is a legit­i­mate issue in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. But here’s the rub: A 2014 Fox News poll found that 63 per­cent of Amer­i­cans thought Repub­li­cans were inves­ti­gat­ing Beng­hazi most­ly for polit­i­cal gains (com­pared to 30 per­cent who said it was most­ly to get to the truth).

    Either way, though, it’s a mess, and it’s cer­tain­ly not how you want to waltz into what already promis­es to be a huge­ly stress­ful job that involves not only fend­ing off Democ­rats but also many mem­bers of your own par­ty. McCarthy will need every ounce of polit­i­cal cap­i­tal, trust and respect he can get just to avoid a poten­tial shut­down in Decem­ber.

    ...

    “This inves­ti­ga­tion has nev­er been about for­mer sec­re­tary of state Clin­ton and nev­er will be.”
    Yikes. That’s prob­a­bly not the kind of absur­dist non­sense the House Speak­er wants to have to be spew­ing out at a time like this when polls are indi­cat­ing that Amer­i­can’s see the inves­ti­ga­tion as most­ly for polit­i­cal gains by a 2–1 mar­gin. And it’s all thanks to the GOP’s puta­tive next top leader. What a fun conun­drum:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    What’s next in the Kevin McCarthy-Beng­hazi-Hillary mess?

    By Greg Sar­gent
    Octo­ber 2

    Politi­co is report­ing that GOP Rep. Jason Chaf­fetz is now expect­ed to chal­lenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the bat­tle to suc­ceed Speak­er John Boehn­er. While Politi­co reports that this is a “long shot,” it is an indi­ca­tion that McCarthy’s open boast­ing about how the Beng­hazi probe drove down Hillary Clinton’s poll num­bers may have weak­ened his stand­ing among fel­low Repub­li­cans, some of whom have been open­ly crit­i­cal of his screw-up — or, if you pre­fer, of his can­dor.

    As Politi­co notes:

    Chaffetz’s planned run comes just a few hours after he called on McCarthy to apol­o­gize for his remarks this week that the Beng­hazi panel’s work has hurt 2016 Demo­c­ra­t­ic fron­trun­ner Hillary Clin­ton in the polls. Those remarks were seen as bol­ster­ing Democ­rats’ long-run­ning argu­ment that the com­mit­tee has as much to do with pol­i­tics as it does inves­ti­gat­ing the Sept. 11, 2012 ter­ror­ist attacks.

    Whether this ends up mean­ing any­thing in the bat­tle to replace Boehn­er remains to be seen. But it rais­es anoth­er ques­tion: What comes next in the bat­tle over McCarthy’s com­ments?

    A House Demo­c­ra­t­ic aide tells me that some Democ­rats are con­sid­er­ing a next step: Offer­ing a “priv­i­leged res­o­lu­tion” on the McCarthy com­ments — a res­o­lu­tion that would basi­cal­ly ask for House recog­ni­tion of the idea that McCarthy admit­ted that tax­pay­er funds are being used for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es. The details are tech­ni­cal, but in essence, if the priv­i­leged res­o­lu­tion is draft­ed cor­rect­ly, it would prob­a­bly force the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to deal with it and hold a vote on it, no mat­ter who intro­duces it.

    So basi­cal­ly, House Repub­li­cans would be forced to vote on whether they stand behind the McCarthy remarks. They would prob­a­bly vote to “table” the res­o­lu­tion, putting an end to action on it. But Democ­rats would then try to point to that vote as evi­dence that Repub­li­cans sup­port his com­ments, i.e., as evi­dence that they sup­port the notion that the Beng­hazi probe has mor­phed into a tool to dri­ve up Clinton’s neg­a­tives.

    The inter­est­ing thing to con­sid­er here is how that could impact a race for Speak­er. Just when the jock­ey­ing is inten­si­fy­ing among Repub­li­cans over who they should sup­port for Speak­er, GOP mem­bers would be asked to go on record on McCarthy’s com­ments.

    Anoth­er option being con­sid­ered by Democ­rats, accord­ing to the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic aide, is a request for action by the House Ethics Com­mit­tee. At her press­er yes­ter­day, Dem leader Nan­cy Pelosi sug­gest­ed that McCarthy’s com­ments may have revealed an “ethics vio­la­tion of the rules of the House,” adding that McCarthy had “clear­ly, glee­ful­ly claimed” that the Beng­hazi probe “had a polit­i­cal pur­pose and had a polit­i­cal suc­cess.” To my knowl­edge, how­ev­er, no Demo­c­rat has pub­licly said that he or she would actu­al­ly appeal to the House Ethics Com­mit­tee.

    ...

    Indeed, one way to think about this is that McCarthy drew back the cur­tain on how every­one knows Con­gress real­ly func­tions: a lot of activ­i­ties reside in a kind of gray area where the use of Con­gres­sion­al pow­er and tax­pay­er funds can plau­si­bly be seen as overt­ly polit­i­cal, but still not ille­git­i­mate. This is what makes McCarthy’s com­ments so inter­est­ing: he revealed more than you are sup­posed to reveal about just how murky and, well, how gray this gray area real­ly is. You could argue that he hint­ed at a lev­el of politi­ciza­tion that cross­es a hid­den line into abuse. But it’s hard to say exact­ly where that line resides, and his com­ments, by them­selves, are far from con­clu­sive on that score at any rate. As Orn­stein puts it, this was “a vio­la­tion of polit­i­cal ethics.”

    In that con­text, there is anoth­er aspect of McCarthy’s com­ments that deserves fur­ther exam­i­na­tion. If you look back at the orig­i­nal inter­view, it’s clear that McCarthy intend­ed to make an overt, explic­it case direct­ly to con­ser­v­a­tives that the Beng­hazi probe’s suc­cess in dri­ving down Clinton’s poll num­bers should reas­sure them that he is a fight­er who has a strat­e­gy. That doesn’t mean he revealed that the whole pur­pose of the Beng­hazi probe has been polit­i­cal. But it does lend some sup­port to the notion that pro­long­ing it has become, at least in part, about build­ing a gen­er­al, inchoate impres­sion of wrong­do­ing on Clinton’s part. McCarthy seemed to want con­ser­v­a­tives to see that the probe had suc­ceed­ed in this regard. As Bri­an Beut­ler puts it, McCarthy’s moment “wasn’t a gaffe; it was a talk­ing point.”

    McCarthy appar­ent­ly want­ed that mes­sage, that talk­ing point, to go out to con­ser­v­a­tives in the con­text of the bat­tle to suc­ceed Boehn­er. Now his com­ments have indeed got­ten caught up in that suc­ces­sion bat­tle, but not in the way he intend­ed.

    McCarthy’s moment “wasn’t a gaffe; it was a talk­ing point.” And now that talk­ing point direct­ed to the con­ser­v­a­tive base threat­ens to pub­licly high­light the hyper-politi­cized nature of the Beng­hazi inves­ti­ga­tion head­ing into a 2016 elec­tion where Hillary Clin­ton’s high neg­a­tives in polls are prob­a­bly the best thing going for the GOP.

    Yes, the lead can­di­date for the next Speak­er of the House can’t keep his mouth shut, and now he has a chal­lenger in the form of Jason Chaf­fetz. And while Chaf­fet­z’s chal­lenge to McCarthy is seen as most­ly a sym­bol­ic long shot, what about Scalise? The guy is on track to becom­ing the next House Major­i­ty Leader so the GOP is clear­ly quite com­fort­able with mak­ing “David Duke with­out the bag­gage” the House GOP’s sec­ond in com­mand. So why not Speak­er? What is there to lose?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 3, 2015, 3:01 pm
  17. A num­ber of ques­tions have sud­den­ly been raised about the future of the GOP’s lead­er­ship in the House fol­low­ing the sur­prise deci­sion by House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy to drop out of the race to become the next Speak­er of the House on the very day that vote was to be held. And since McCarthy is plan­ning on remain­ing in his posi­tion as House Major­i­ty Leader, one of those ques­tion is what hap­pens to Steve Scalise’s bid to replace McCarthy that appeared to have more than enough sup­port from the GOP House cau­cus? Well, he could remain in his spot as Major­i­ty Whip. But there are oth­er options...:

    NOLA.com
    With Kevin McCarthy out, will Steve Scalise run for U.S. House speak­er?

    By Bruce Alpert, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune

    on Octo­ber 08, 2015 at 8:13 PM, updat­ed Octo­ber 08, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s sur­prise deci­sion Thurs­day (Oct. 8) to drop out of the race for speak­er like­ly puts an end to Rep. Steve Scalise’s run for the No. 2 House lead­er­ship post. But it could lead Scalise to shoot high­er, and declare his own can­di­da­cy for speak­er.

    “I think he’s meet­ing with his sup­port­ers and weigh­ing his options,” said Roger Villere, the Louisiana Repub­li­can Par­ty chair­man and a Scalise friend. Villere said hav­ing a speak­er from Louisiana would be great for the state.

    There was no imme­di­ate com­ment from Scalise, 50, a Jef­fer­son Parish Repub­li­can. On Sun­day he announced he had com­mit­ments from more than half the 247-mem­ber GOP cau­cus to move up from major­i­ty whip to major­i­ty leader – from the No. 3 House lead­er­ship posi­tion to the 2nd high­est post.

    Those expres­sions of sup­port became moot Thurs­day with McCarthy’s announce­ment that he was dropped his can­di­da­cy for speak­er and retain­ing his cur­rent post as major­i­ty leader, the post Scalise had been seek­ing.

    When Speak­er John Boehn­er last week announced he was leav­ing, McCarthy quick­ly emerged as the favorite to win the House­’s top job. Scalise chose not to run for speak­er, run­ning instead to replace McCarthy. Whether Scalise did that in def­er­ence to McCarthy’s more senior sta­tus, or because he fig­ured he would be a decid­ed under­dog in the speak­er race may nev­er be known.

    One House mem­ber who would become odds-on favorite if he ran is House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee Chair­man Paul Ryan, R‑Wisc. But Ryan, who was the Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee in 2008, reit­er­at­ed again Thurs­day that he does­n’t want to run. Boehn­er asked him to recon­sid­er Thurs­day after­noon, and some Repub­li­cans think he could still be per­suad­ed to make the race “for the good of the par­ty.” The speak­er is sec­ond only to the vice pres­i­dent as suc­ces­sor to the pres­i­dent.

    Most House mem­bers believe Boehn­er chose to resign because of the same unruli­ness of con­ser­v­a­tives in his cau­cus on dis­play in the race to replace him.

    Scalise’s advan­tage in a run for speak­er is that he’s gen­er­al­ly well liked by both the more con­ser­v­a­tive and more mod­er­ate fac­tions with­in the House GOP cau­cus. His dis­ad­van­tage would be the pref­er­ence by McCarthy and some oth­er House mem­bers for an “out­sider,” some­one pre­sum­ably not in the top GOP lead­er­ship, who could pro­duce a fresh start and per­haps new strate­gies for the bad­ly frac­tured cau­cus.

    One pos­si­ble deter­rent to Scalise run­ning is the con­tro­ver­sy gen­er­at­ed late last year over reports that as a state leg­is­la­tor he spoke to a group of white suprema­cists 13 years ago. He apol­o­gized, said it was a mis­take, and got a reprieve from Rep., Cedric Rich­mond, D‑New Orleans, who said he’s known Scalise for years and did­n’t think he had a racist bone in his body. But just the thought of sto­ries men­tion­ing that the GOP poten­tial speak­er 13 years ago might be enough to dis­suade some from sup­port­ing him for the House­’s top lead­er­ship job.

    In the con­fu­sion among House mem­bers Thurs­day, there was also talk of elect­ing a care­tak­er speak­er – per­haps a respect­ed Repub­li­can mem­ber who is plan­ning to leave Con­gress after the 2016 elec­tions.

    McCarthy met with reporters Thurs­day after shock­ing some with his deci­sion, say­ing he’s at peace with not get­ting one of the pow­er­ful gov­ern­ment jobs. The Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can said he did­n’t want to put his col­leagues into a posi­tion of cast­ing a dif­fi­cult vote. Some House mem­bers were being urged by their Tea Par­ty sup­port­ers to back anoth­er can­di­date.

    McCarthy also said it’s impor­tant the GOP cau­cus be “100 per­cent unit­ed,” and that “if we’re going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to do that.”

    McCarthy had the clear back­ing of a major­i­ty of the GOP cau­cus. But Rep. Dar­rell Issa, R‑Calif., said McCarthy dropped out because he wor­ried whether he could get the 218 votes need­ed in the House to replace Boehn­er as speak­er. Issa said nei­ther of the oth­er can­di­dates – Rep. Daniel Web­ster, R‑Fla., and Jason Chaf­fetz, R‑Utah — could get the need­ed votes either. McCarthy said he thought he could get a major­i­ty, but wor­ried a nar­row vic­to­ry would deny him the man­date to lead the House.

    Tea Par­ty groups flood­ed the phone lines of GOP mem­bers ask­ing them not to vote for McCarthy, link­ing him to Boehn­er. Tea Par­ty activists believed Boehn­er did­n’t fight hard enough against Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies.

    Boehn­er start­ed the con­tentious lead­er­ship bat­tle when he announced Sep­tem­ber 25 that he was giv­ing up the speak­er’s job and his Ohio House seat Oct. 30. He con­firmed Thurs­day he’ll remain as speak­er as long as it takes to select his replace­ment.

    Rep. Ralph Abra­ham, R‑Alto, said it’s pos­si­ble anoth­er can­di­date or two will emerge for speak­er. He said he does­n’t know whether Scalise will throw his hat into that con­test.

    “Not sure where Steve Scalise falls in all of this, but what­ev­er course Steve choos­es, I will sup­port him,” Abra­ham said. “This might be an oppor­tu­ni­ty for new lead­ers and new ideas to emerge.”

    Rep. John Flem­ing, R‑Minden, a leader of the 40-mem­ber con­ser­v­a­tive House Free­dom Cau­cus, which opposed McCarthy, said there may be as many as four or five can­di­dates for speak­er.

    The Free­dom Cau­cus endorsed Web­ster, the Flori­da Repub­li­can, for speak­er, but Flem­ing said the cau­cus could choose anoth­er can­di­date now that McCarthy is out of the race. Flem­ing, too, said he does­n’t know whether Scalise will be one of the speak­er can­di­dates.

    The dis­ar­ray now on dis­play with the House Repub­li­can con­fer­ence reflects the con­flict among mem­bers on how to con­front poli­cies of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion opposed by most GOP mem­bers.

    The Free­dom Cau­cus, in par­tic­u­lar, includ­ing some mem­bers who were elect­ed in 2010 on a promise to derail Oba­ma poli­cies, favors tak­ing a tough stand against fed­er­al fund­ing for Planned Par­ent­hood, the Afford­able Care Act, and the pres­i­den­t’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies.

    Oth­er Repub­li­cans argue that the GOP does not have the votes to dis­man­tle pro­grams sup­port­ed and even devel­oped by the pres­i­dent, such as the 2010 health law best known as “Oba­macare.”

    A gov­ern­ment shut­down, which would result if Con­gress and the pres­i­dent don’t agree on over­all fed­er­al fund­ing, would be blamed on Repub­li­cans, more mod­er­ate mem­bers of the par­ty say.

    Two Repub­li­can House mem­bers, who announced plans to retire after the cur­rent ses­sion, are being men­tioned as pos­si­ble care­tak­er speak­ers: Reps. John Kline, R‑Minn., and Can­dice Miller, R‑Mich. Kline chairs the House Edu­ca­tion and Work­force Com­mit­tee, while Miller, the House GOP’s only female chair, heads the House Admin­is­tra­tion Com­mit­tee. Ore­gon Repub­li­can Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the House GOP’s cam­paign orga­ni­za­tion, is also men­tioned as a pos­si­ble can­di­date for a short-term speak­er­ship.

    Also get­ting men­tioned as pos­si­ble long-term speak­er can­di­dates are Rep. Patrick McHen­ry, R‑N.C., Scalise’s deputy whip; and Rep. Jeb Hen­sar­ling, R‑Texas., the House Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee chair­man. Hen­sar­ling led the fight against leg­is­la­tion to block large, sud­den flood insur­ance pre­mi­um increas­es, a bill that even­tu­al­ly passed with unit­ed sup­port from the Louisiana del­e­ga­tion.

    McCarthy admit­ted that his can­di­da­cy lost sup­port in part because of a state­ment he made on Fox News that the House Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on Beng­hazi had helped sink Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s poll num­bers. It let Clin­ton, the for­mer sec­re­tary of state and front-run­ning Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, argue that the com­mit­tee’s main goal was to hurt her pres­i­den­tial prospects – not find out why four Amer­i­cans died in the attack.

    ...

    “There was no imme­di­ate com­ment from Scalise, 50, a Jef­fer­son Parish Repub­li­can. On Sun­day he announced he had com­mit­ments from more than half the 247-mem­ber GOP cau­cus to move up from major­i­ty whip to major­i­ty leader – from the No. 3 House lead­er­ship posi­tion to the 2nd high­est post.

    Well, Scalise has the sup­port he needs to become House Major­i­ty Leader despite that pesky “David Duke with­out the bag­gage” thing. We’ve already clear­ly crossed some sort of Rubi­con. Why not Speak­er Scalise?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 8, 2015, 7:28 pm
  18. With the House GOP’s still in tur­moil after Kevin McCarthy’s sur­prise deci­sion to drop out of the race to replace John Boehn­er (this time they got the “GOP Speak­er has a sex scan­dal” curse out of the way in advance, all eyes are turn­ing to Paul Ryan to be a uni­fy­ing fig­ure for the par­ty who can end the cri­sis and not embar­rass the par­ty too much by reveal­ing to the pub­lic how incred­i­bly extreme the con­tem­po­rary GOP has become.

    So we’ll see if Ryan is will­ing to fall on his sword and accept Mis­sion Impos­si­ble. He cer­tain­ly has plen­ty of sup­port, although it’s worth not­ing that the sup­port for Ryan as Speak­er from the GOP’s new id is some­what tepid:

    TPM Livewire
    Trump Is ‘Okay’ With The Idea Of Paul Ryan As House Speak­er (VIDEO)

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 10, 2015, 12:04 PM EDT

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump said in an inter­view air­ing Sun­day that he’s on board with the idea of a House Speak­er Paul Ryan (R‑WI).

    In a clip set to air on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Josh Dick­er­son asked the real estate mogul what he thought of Ryan’s prospects for the job. House Repub­li­cans have been clam­or­ing for Ryan to step up to the plate since House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑CA) abrupt­ly with­drew his name from con­sid­er­a­tion for the speak­er­ship on Thurs­day.

    “I think he’s some­body that could get good sup­port,” Trump said. “I think he’s a very nice per­son. I think he does­n’t want it very bad­ly but you nev­er know. Maybe he’s play­ing one of the great games of all time.”

    Trump pre­dict­ed that Ryan would take over the speak­er­ship if it was offered to him. He added that he’d per­son­al­ly be “okay” with Ryan as speak­er, even though he dis­agrees with the con­gress­man­’s posi­tion on enti­tle­ment pro­grams. The Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can has repeat­ed­ly denied that he’s con­sid­er­ing tak­ing the job.

    ...

    Trump then went fur­ther than his pre­vi­ous state­ment in crit­i­ciz­ing McCarthy for tak­ing pride in the House Select Com­mit­tee on Beng­haz­i’s polit­i­cal gains.

    “That was a real­ly bad state­ment for Repub­li­cans and even for the nation in a sense because he so dis­par­aged what’s going on,” he said. “I hap­pen to believe that what they’re doing is the right thing and they’re doing it for the right rea­son.”

    “Trump pre­dict­ed that Ryan would take over the speak­er­ship if it was offered to him. He added that he’d per­son­al­ly be “okay” with Ryan as speak­er, even though he dis­agrees with the con­gress­man­’s posi­tion on enti­tle­ment pro­grams. The Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can has repeat­ed­ly denied that he’s con­sid­er­ing tak­ing the job.”

    Yes, Don­ald Trump is appar­ent­ly “okay” with Paul Ryan as Speak­er, but he’s not real­ly enthu­si­as­tic about Ryan’s obses­sion with gut­ting enti­tle­ments. And not only was that tepid sup­port for Paul Ryan, that’s tepid sup­port for a core com­po­nent of the GOP’s long-term agen­da. You can’t hon­est­ly call your­self the leader of today’s GOP unless you’re a ful­ly com­mit­ted granny toss­er.

    Sure, while we cer­tain­ly have rea­sons to ques­tion Don­ald Trump’s pro­fessed com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing enti­tle­ments, but the fact that the GOP’s cur­rent front run­ner just dissed the pre­sumed sav­ior of the par­ty over the enti­tle­ment cuts that are a core mis­sion of the today’s GOP rais­es all sorts of inter­est­ing ques­tions about just how unpop­u­lar the GOP’s agen­da real­ly is to its base and the broad­er elec­torate once the pub­lic learns the real­i­ty of what the GOP is actu­al­ly plan­ning. And one of those key ques­tions is whether or not Paul Ryan would actu­al­ly be effec­tive enough (or at least as effec­tive as John Boehn­er was) at doing the one key thing any GOP pub­lic leader MUST do. It’s the same thing that makes it increas­ing­ly impos­si­ble to be Speak­er with­out hav­ing your own par­ty turn against you: project an image of mod­er­a­tion to the nation while you push through enough of your par­ty’s Koch-backed fas­cist agen­da to keep your par­ty’s Koch-heads pla­cat­ed. That’s a real­ly dif­fi­cult job and, to Boehn­er’s cred­it, he did it bet­ter than just about any­one else under con­sid­er­ing could prob­a­bly do. And now he’s leav­ing and it’s not at all clear Paul Ryan could avoid pro­ject­ing a Granny Toss­er image for the par­ty to the nation, although he still might be the best shot the GOP has at walk­ing that strange high-wire act of down­play­ing and nor­mal­iz­ing heart­less far-right rad­i­cal­ism.

    So per­haps Paul Ryan is just the Sith Lord the GOP needs right now. Per­haps. But...there is anoth­er:

    NPR
    A Mod­est Pro­pos­al: Don­ald Trump For Speak­er

    Ron Elv­ing
    Sep­tem­ber 25, 2015 7:05 PM ET

    No, seri­ous­ly. Bear with us a moment while we explain.

    Don­ald Trump, the ulti­mate out­sider, should be the new leader of the Repub­li­cans in the House when John Boehn­er steps down on Oct. 30. Trump should be ele­vat­ed to the lofty perch of speak­er and lead the con­ser­v­a­tive cause in its next con­fronta­tion with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

    Think about it. This could be huge. Not just for the House, which would be great again, but for Trump — who would take a long step toward his announced goal of being pres­i­dent. Trump would pick up some on-the-job train­ing in Wash­ing­ton ways, espe­cial­ly the intri­ca­cies of pass­ing a bud­get in a shared-pow­er sys­tem.

    And we know his rep­u­ta­tion for nego­ti­at­ing. He wrote a book called The Art of the Deal. He knows all about doing deals. He’ll make every­one for­get all about that last guy who had the job.

    No, Trump is not a mem­ber of the House. But that does­n’t mat­ter. The Con­sti­tu­tion does not actu­al­ly require the speak­er to be a mem­ber, only to be elect­ed by a major­i­ty of those who are. (It’s true! You can look it up: Arti­cle I, Sec­tion 2.)

    Of course, it is more than a coin­ci­dence that all 53 speak­ers up to now have been mem­bers of the House. It turns out that lots of mem­bers of this club want to be its boss. (It’s a lit­tle like the win streak that the Col­lege of Car­di­nals has going when it comes to elect­ing the next pope.)

    But every once in a while, at moments of cri­sis in the House, there have been seri­ous flir­ta­tions with the idea of an out­sider. They elect­ed a fresh­man speak­er for the 12th Con­gress, which con­vened in Novem­ber 1811, eager to start the War of 1812. The out­sider of that day was a Ken­tuck­ian named Hen­ry Clay. He stuck around a while and def­i­nite­ly got to be huge.

    And when Speak­er Newt Gin­grich was on his way out in the late 1990s you again heard talk of elect­ing a fig­ure­head speak­er, some­one who could class up the place just by being there. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Col­in Pow­ell was men­tioned at the time. So was for­mer Sen. Bob Dole, who had been the GOP nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent in 1996.

    In the end, though, after much fum­bling around and a cou­ple of false starts, the House chose Den­nis Hastert as speak­er. But most peo­ple con­tin­ued to regard Tom DeLay, the House major­i­ty leader, as the par­ty’s true lead­ing man. Hastert stuck around in the speak­er’s chair for eight years, the longest time any Repub­li­can has had the Big Gav­el. He retired in 2007 and became a lob­by­ist.

    ...

    From his ear­li­est months in office, Boehn­er was beset by a damnable dilem­ma. The so-called Tea Par­ty elec­tion of 2010 had giv­en him a major­i­ty, but it had also giv­en him a siz­able intra­party rebel­lion. Many of the Tea Par­ty new­com­ers vot­ed for Boehn­er for speak­er but dis­trust­ed him. Soon enough, he was cut­ting deals with the Sen­ate and with the Demo­c­rat in the White House.

    Boehn­er saw that as doing his job, and he was still doing it this week, try­ing to keep the gov­ern­ment func­tion­ing into a new fis­cal year that starts Oct. 1.

    But this time was dif­fer­ent. This time, House Repub­li­cans felt ready to force a floor vote on Boehn­er’s lead­er­ship.

    Why now? House Repub­li­cans, since tak­ing over the major­i­ty, had forced Con­gress to the brink: over Planned Par­ent­hood, rais­ing the debt ceil­ing, fund­ing for Oba­macare, spend­ing lev­els for domes­tic pro­grams, tax cuts, exec­u­tive orders lib­er­al­iz­ing immi­gra­tion and, most recent­ly, an inter­na­tion­al agree­ment regard­ing Iran’s nuclear pro­gram. Sev­er­al of these issues remained in the mix this month.

    This time, the Free­dom Cau­cus (formed ear­li­er this year) and oth­er ele­ments of the right in the House were will­ing to force the show­down, not only with the White House but with their own leader as well. They came back from a five-week recess to tell Boehn­er they were unable to defend him back home any longer.

    Boehn­er felt he could win that vote, and most Hill observers agreed the rebels did not have the votes to force him out or elect some­one else. They would lose, Boehn­er would win and his bat­tered speak­er­ship would stag­ger on.

    But Boehn­er thought about it, prayed about it, and decid­ed no. He did not want that ordeal, and he did not want to put the House through that ordeal. He had been plan­ning to step down lat­er this year any­way, he said.

    Some­one else can try to lead this major­i­ty in the House.

    Why not some­one like The Don­ald?

    Yes, shy not some­one like The Don­ald? We already know, based on the few actu­al pol­i­cy pro­pos­als that he’s put out, that he’s basi­cal­ly going to be push­ing a stan­dard GOP cor­po­ratist agen­da. But when you see Trump crit­i­ciz­ing Paul Ryan over things like enti­tle­ment cuts, it’s also pret­ty clear that Trump can put a pop­ulist pati­na on the GOP’s agen­da in ways that almost no oth­er GOP­er can do these days. And that abil­i­ty to project pop­ulism while push­ing cor­po­ratism is exact­ly what the GOP needs right now in their next Speak­er. Now more than ever. Plus, as the arti­cle point­ed out, the last time the GOP was con­sid­er­ing some­one from out­side the House to become the new Speak­er they picked Den­nis Hastert instead:

    ...
    And when Speak­er Newt Gin­grich was on his way out in the late 1990s you again heard talk of elect­ing a fig­ure­head speak­er, some­one who could class up the place just by being there. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Col­in Pow­ell was men­tioned at the time. So was for­mer Sen. Bob Dole, who had been the GOP nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent in 1996.

    In the end, though, after much fum­bling around and a cou­ple of false starts, the House chose Den­nis Hastert as speak­er. But most peo­ple con­tin­ued to regard Tom DeLay, the House major­i­ty leader, as the par­ty’s true lead­ing man. Hastert stuck around in the speak­er’s chair for eight years, the longest time any Repub­li­can has had the Big Gav­el. He retired in 2007 and became a lob­by­ist.
    ...

    And look how that turned out.

    So, with the GOP estab­lish­ment con­tin­u­ing of fret over what to do about The Don­ald tak­ing over their par­ty, why not give ‘the voice of the dis­grun­tled GOP­er’, the one guy that can sort of pull off the ‘I’m a pop­ulist’ scam bet­ter than prob­a­bly any­one else today the most pow­er­ful job the GOP has to offer and one that could not only trans­form the Trump cam­paign but poten­tial­ly help rebrand the GOP-led con­gress with sin­gle-dig­it approval rat­ings. Real­ly, why not? Steve “David Duke with­out the Bag­gage” Scalise was a day away from become the new House Major­i­ty leader. And since the GOP does­n’t seem quite yet ready to make “David Duke with­out the Bag­gage” the next Speak­er of the House, how about House Speak­er “The Don­ald”? The out­reach poten­tial for the par­ty is hard to deny. Or under­stand. But it is what it is. Trump for Speak­er!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 10, 2015, 4:46 pm

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