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 10/02/2014. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) contains FTR #812 . (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012 and contained FTR #748 .)
You can subscribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE .
You can subscribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE .
You can subscribe to the comments made on programs and posts–an excellent source of information in, and of, itself HERE .
Introduction: This program highlights political continuity between “the Snowdenistas”–political defenders of “Eddie the Friendly Spook” Snowden, the GOP and paramilitary advocates of legal and physical secession from the United States. The essential points made here build on analysis presented in FTR #771 , among other broadcasts.
(The GOP triumphs in the 2014 elections were realized because two-thirds of eligible voters stayed home. In FTR #762 , we noted that the Snowden “op” appears to have alienated many of the young idealists whose support was central to Obama’s 2008 triumph. We feel that the Snowden “op” did much to enable the GOP off-year electoral success. Our analysis of the Snowden “op” might seem strange or alienating to newer listeners. Snowden and those around him can be succinctly summarized and understood by Snowden’s views on Social Security. “. . . 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.’ ”)
In FTR #756 , we noted the profound political connections between the Snowdenistas and the neo-Confederate movement, an extension of the white supremacist ideology.
Greenwald’s new journalistic endeavors are being underwritten by Pierre Omidyar. Although superficially identified with more “progressive” political elements, Omidyar has been an active ideological and financial supporter of fascist elements abroad, including the OUN/B heirs in Ukraine and the Hindu nationalist/fascist political milieu of Narendra Modi abroad.
Domestically, Omidyar’s Ebay firm  is a supporter of the ultra-reactionary ALEC organization, a strong supporter of the most benighted elements of the Republican Party and a staunch opponent of action on climate change.
Citizen Greenwald was not particularly disturbed by the recent presence of neo-Nazi Andrew Auernheimer  at a recent social gathering at which he and Laura Poitras were present.
Were this an isolated incident, one might be more inclined to dismiss it as happenstance.
Unfortunately, this fits all too neatly into a pattern with Citizen Greenwald. In an earlier professional incarnation as an attorney, he spent years running legal interference for Nazi murderers. (This is discussed at length in FTR #754 .)
Auernheimer (aka “Weev”) is a strong advocate  of the paramilitary right and expresses open sympathy for the violent overthrow of the government and is of the same cloth as the supporters of Cliven Bundy and seditious elements highlighted below. He views Timothy McVeigh as a hero.
Much of the program focuses on issues relevant to the GOP takeover of the Senate and strengtening of its control over the House of Representatives. Particular emphasis is on the GOP’s profound links to the violently paramilitary secessionist milieu.
Paramilitary vigilantes patrolling the Texas border against “illegal aliens” were recently discovered to have amassed ammonium nitrate  in quantities sufficient to build a bomb similar to that used in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that Texas politicians have been supportive of those vigilante groups, including Greg Abbott , the former Texas Attorney General and now Governor-elect.
Among the many GOP politicians embracing far-right ideology is Joni Ernst, the new Senator from Iowa. Ernst has been chattering about “Agenda 21,”  an ideological tenet of the John Birch Society that imagines a nefarious global conspiracy involving the United Nations and political liberals.
Former Reagan and George H.W. Bush speechwriter Douglas MacKinnon  is preaching sedition, advocating that numerous states (including much of the former Confederacy) should secede from the United States. MacKinnon proposes calling the new state “Reagan.”
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the new Senate Majority leader. Shortly before the election, a ship owned by his father-in-law  was busted with 40 kilograms of cocaine on board.
Concluding with discussion of arms dealer Viktor Bout, we note that he has retained the law firm  of former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft to represent him in a bid for a new trial.
Program Highlights Include: Oklahoma GOP Senator Tom Coburn has predicted violence  if Obama implements an executive order on immigration; Viktor Bout’s supplying of arms to Al Qaeda; overview of the Snowden “op;” review of the neo-Confederate and neo-secessionist movements; review of the Crusade For Freedom and the genesis of the Nazi wing of the Republican Party; review of Omidyar’s hands-on applications of neo-liberal theory in his Third World ventures; Mitch McConnell’s reliance on his in-laws’ family wealth; Joni Ernst’s espousal of the arrest  of federal officials attempting to implement the Affordable Care Act; a GOP-initiated investigation into Benghazi that cleared the Obama administration  of all the charges leveled by the GOP.
1. EBay chief Pierre Omidyar is the financial backer of Glenn Greenwald’s current media ventures. EBay is also a supporter of ALEC, one of the most destructive entities in the right-wing political armory.
The tech world’s strange love affair with ultraconservative ALEC is unraveling.
Over the past two months, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yelp, and Yahoo have distanced themselves from the American Executive Legislation Council (ALEC), a Koch Brothers-backed think tank that’s pushed just about every controversial right-wing legislative initiative you can think of. Teaching climate change denial in schools? Check . Advocating for Voter ID laws that disenfranchise minorities? Uh huh . A national “Stand Your Ground” law? Why not ?
The breaking point for ALEC’s souring relationship with so many high-profile tech firms appears to be the group’s denial of strong, widely-agreed-upon  evidence that climate change is real and humans are making it worse. (ALEC recently denied  its, uh, denial, but ALEC’s own model legislation directly contradicts its claims of innocence). But despite the risks  of aligning your organization with anti-sustainability interests, there’s one high-profile tech firm that still hasn’t denounced the organization: eBay, along with its billionaire founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar.
Today, over eighty non-profits including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace signed a letter  urging eBay to end its affiliation with ALEC. eBay, like Google and Microsoft in the past, is a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force, an affiliation that costs the company $5,000 a year in membership fees and thus represents a direct form of financial support for the controversial organization.
eBay spokeswoman Abby Smith has finally responded  to the letter, saying that ALEC promotes issues that are “material to the success of eBay Inc and our customers” and that “our team of internal stakeholders meets regularly to assess the best approach for resolving these issues.”
But would leaving ALEC really have a negative impact on eBay’s business?
Possibly. Yelp, for example, had a clear and legitimate legal interest  in aligning itself with ALEC. The organization crafted model legislation to fight SLAPP lawsuits, which could be used against Yelp’s users who post bad reviews. Indeed, eBay is currently relying on an anti-SLAPP argument in a lawsuit that a patent troll filed against it . But user-generated content, which is usually what anti-SLAPP legislation protects, is not as fundamental to its business as it is to Yelp. And again, even Yelp has cut ties with ALEC.
Another of the Task Force’s stated areas of focus is “promoting new forms of e‑commerce,”  which is certainly in eBay’s wheelhouse. But Amazon, the largest ecommerce site in the US, felt no need to stay aligned with ALEC past 2012. Then there’s ALEC’s and eBay’s shared support of net neutrality. That’s the same justification Facebook made when it donated $10,000 to an anti-gay politician : We both support a free and open Internet! But net neutrality has attracted support among a very broad set of organizations, and not all of them were just abandoned by half a dozen of eBay’s peers.
What about eBay’s chairman Omidyar? Surely, this “civic-minded billionaire,”  who through his Omidyar Network has given hundreds of millions of dollars to philanthropic causes, wouldn’t dream of aligning himself with an organization like ALEC — an organization for whom social and environmental justice plays a distant second fiddle to the Koch Brothers’ funhouse mirror version of free market capitalism. Or would he? As Mark Ames and Yasha Levine have reported , Omidyar’s politics are difficult, though not impossible, to suss out:
Omidyar Network’s philanthropy reveals Omidyar as a free-market zealot with an almost mystical faith in the power of “markets” to transform the world, end poverty, and improve lives—one micro-individual at a time.
And yet, the Omidyar Network is also one of the leading backers of the upcoming film “Merchants of Doubt,”  which seeks to expose the “silver-tongued pundits-for-hire” spreading denial campaigns on serious public health threats like tobacco, toxic chemicals, and yes, climate change. Considering that climate change denial has become the predominant force drawing tech companies away from ALEC, eBay’s continued membership constitutes a pretty significant contradiction for Omidyar. And let’s not forget that for many of the third world communities the Omidyar Network wants to help, devastation from climate change isn’t just a well-supported forecast — it’s already a reality .
Maybe eBay is too focused on its forthcoming PayPal spin off  to pay attention to the outcry over ALEC. Maybe eBay has already decided to let its ALEC membership lapse and it simply hasn’t approved the move with its shareholders. In any case, companies like Facebook learned the hard way  what happens when you align yourself with anti-sustainability interests that run counter to the fundamental principles of your community or industry. And with the tide in the tech community clearly shifting away from ALEC and other climate change deniers, eBay needs to take control of this narrative before it spins out of control, and people start accusing the company of clubbing baby seals and creating the hole in the ozone layer.
2a. While lambasting Bill Maher and others for critical comments about Muslim fundamentalists, Citizen Greenwald was not particularly disturbed by the recent presence of Andrew Auernheimer at a recent social gathering at which he and Laura Poitras were present.
Were this an isolated incident, one might be more inclined to dismiss it as happenstance.
Unfortunately, this fits all too neatly into a pattern with Citizen Greenwald. In an earlier professional incarnation as an attorney, he spent years running legal interference for Nazi murderers. (This is discussed at length in FTR #754 .)
Do note that the article below badly understates Citizen Greenwald’s pro-Nazi activities.
In addition, Wikileaks also tracks back to Nazi and fascist elements. Eddie The Friendly Spook Snowden is part and parcel to the “Paulistinian” milieu. (To flesh out one’s understanding, do check out FTR #755 , about Wikileaks and FTR #756  about the Paulistinian milieu. WikiLeaks and the Paulistinians are inextricably linked with Greenwald and his associates.)
Way back in 2010, a so-called “white hat” hacker named Andrew Auernheimer, known online as “Weev,” exploited a security loophole on Apple’s iPad and acquired the names of 114,000 AT&T customers who subscribed to the iPad 3G data service. Following an investigation, Weev, who had “stolen” (his words) the user data was prosecuted and convicted. To his credit, Weev informed AT&T of the security flaw and the company quickly buttoned it up. But back in April of this year, Weev’s conviction was overturned because he was evidently tried in the wrong state (New Jersey). He was subsequently released from Pennsylvania’s Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex on April 11, 2014. The indictment remains, but the conviction no longer stands.
During his time in jail, Weev apparently became a neo-Nazi, complete with a tattoo not unlike Edward Norton’s tattoo in American History X — a giant swastika on his right pectoral. After his release, he posted a series of racist and anti-Semitic remarks on a website called The Daily Stormer , a white-supremacist site not to be confused with The Daily Caller, The Daily Beast or The Daily Banter. Via Gawker , here are some choice passages:
I’ve been a long-time critic of Judaism, black culture, immigration to Western nations, and the media’s constant stream of anti-white propaganda. Judge Wigenton was as black as they come. The prosecutor, Zach Intrater, was a Brooklyn Jew from an old money New York family.[...]
The whole time a yarmulke-covered audience of Jewry stared at me from the pews of the courtroom. My prosecutor invited his whole synagogue to spectate.[...]
They took control of our systems of finance and law. They hyperinflated our currency. They corrupted our daughters and demanded they subject themselves to sex work to feed their families. These are a people that have made themselves a problem in every nation they occupy, including ours. What’s saddest is that we are the enablers of this problem. The Jews abused our compassion to build an empire of wickedness the likes the world has never seen.
No gray area there. Weev clearly hates Jews, African-Americans and anyone he perceives as “anti-white.”
Oh, and in addition to his conversion to the neo-Nazi cause as well as his seemingly prolific online hate speech, Weev attended a party  in New York soon after getting out of jail. The party was held by none other than Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras to coincide with the ceremony in which the duo received the Polk Award for their reporting on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.
Unless he crashed the party, he was obviously an invited guest. But for a moment let’s assume Greenwald didn’t know Weev was invited. Long before the party, Greenwald had previously defended Weev in The Guardian back in March, 2013, months before the author/reporter rose to international acclaim. Indeed, Greenwald named Weev as a “hacktivist” who was being wrongfully persecuted by U.S. authorities.
Just this week alone, a US federal judge sentenced hactivist Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer to 3 1/2 years in prison for exploiting a flaw in AT&T’s security system that allowed him entrance without any hacking, an act about which Slate’s Justin Peters wrote: “it’s not clear that Auernheimer committed any actual crime”, while Jeff Blagdon at the Verge added: “he cracked no codes, stole no passwords, or in any way ‘broke into’ AT&T’s customer database – something company representatives confirmed during testimony.” But he had a long record of disruptive and sometimes even quite ugly (though legal) online antagonism, so he had to be severely punished with years in prison.
For a moment, let’s set aside the whole neo-Nazi thing. Let’s also not re-litigate the past in which Greenwald, during his law-practice days, defended  a completely different neo-Nazi. The fact that Greenwald continues to blur the line between hacking and activism  is utterly baffling. The manner in which he rationalized Weev’s actions is a gross illustration of gratuitous spin and dangerous oversimplification.
2b. Pando has an interview of ‘weev’ from his new home in Beirut.
“The only hope I have of returning to the land I love, where I was kidnapped at gunpoint and had my house bulldozed, is if there is a such a consistent level of change that most of the agents of the federal government are dead. I want to go home but I can’t.”
It’s late on a Tuesday evening and I’m sitting with Andrew Auernheimer in the posh environs of east Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood. The man most people know by his online handle, “weev ,” is seated across from me at a cozy cafe just down the street from the city’s flagship Western-style shopping mall. Auernheimer, 29, is explaining why he’s been living in Beirut for the past month, and why he can’t return home to America.
Weev’s road to Lebanon began in a New York City bar in May. He was just a few weeks out of federal prison, sprung on appeal  after 14 months of incarceration and years of legal and public sparring with the federal government over hacking charges. Weev wanted to catch the televised spectacle of NASCAR driver Josh Wise racing around the track at Talledega in a car emblazoned with the head of the celebrity Shiba Inu, Doge, and the name of its honorary cryptocurrency, DogeCoin. As a native of Arkansas and the internet, Auernheimer says he couldn’t miss it.
We’ve tells me how he’d met his girlfriend that night. A Syrian Alawite and a tattoo artist, she has introduced Auernheimer into her circle in Lebanon and covered a significant amount of him with Norse symbology in permanent black ink.
The mass-market appeal of their whirlwind modern romance is complicated by the fact that one of those tattoos is a painstaking rococo swastika over his chest . (Thankfully, Gawker has already covered  that extensively – it got me off the hook when Auernheimer offered to show it to me.)
The star-crossed love angle goes part of the way toward answering the question that had compelled me to seek out Auernheimer during a recent trip to Lebanon. Namely, why in hell would an avowed white nationalist super-troll and hacker be living in Beirut?
Internet connectivity is pretty atrocious in Lebanon, not to mention the frequent electrical outages. I hardly need to mention that the Middle East isn’t entirely reconciled to the idea of Western supremacy, or that the current vogue of right-wing nationalist movements throughout Europe (which weev describes as “promising”) is antagonism toward immigrants from the former lands of the Ottoman empire.
Over the course of a couple of hours, coffee, cigarettes and a plate of french fries, the pieces of an explanation come together.
Auernheimer describes himself as the “point person for the press” for the loosely organized crews of which he is member, and has written that “I make art… I see federal courts, financial markets, world media and the very act of human perception as the canvas.” Perhaps by meeting Weev and reporting our conversation, I’m acting as a conduit for the expression of this sort of “art.” If so, I’m taking in mind the words of one of my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde:
“We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admire it intensely. All art is useless.”
By this token, the cyber-activity of weev is either useless art or unforgivable, harmful provocation and quite possibly both.
He says he’s encouraged by recent militia movements like that of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, but that they don’t have their priorities straight. He tells me that he views Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as a hero, and explained his vision of sending tiny drones laden with high explosives to the personal residences of US federal government employees.
“We are close to having atomically precise engineering for asymmetric warfare. Cheap, 3D-printed drones. The tech is simple. The drones that the US uses for airstrikes are crap. Several generations behind. Pretty soon anyone who wants will be able to have something better.”
“Somehow we need to get the ‘soldier types’ connected with the people who have the ideas about who should be targeted and how,” he says. “It’s about the ideological preparation of a segment of the population.”
Auernheimer was freed from prison when his conviction was overturned as unconstitutional in violation of his 6th amendment rights to a fair trial in the jurisdiction where an alleged crime takes place. But he doesn’t get misty-eyed about the benefits of America’s rule of law.
“I’m pro-constitution. I think it’s probably the greatest political document ever written. But it’s been totally and systematically corrupted. It’s not rule of law, its rule by lawyers. The only language the government understands now is fear and violence. And if you’re willing to go far enough, they’ll listen. There was no Waco after Waco. They blinked.”
Lebanon has no extradition treaty with the United States. Weev says that was a crucial criterion for him in choosing a new home. Other candidate countries were Serbia and Andorra, which he says is still his first choice, if he can ever afford it. He also tells me that he would prefer to live in Syria, but is waiting, confidently, for things there to “cool down.”
* * *
Of course, trolling doesn’t work unless it elicits profound reactions of disgust, hate or anger. And weev is one of the internet’s most famous trolls. He is also, somewhat uncomfortably, a dandy of digital civil libertarians due to his intransigence in the face of federal harassment, out at the bleeding edge of the first amendment.
Weev’s three-year scrap with the federal government has been  chronicled  in great  detail in the media  and through his own channels  (here’s  the 2010 Gawker article that started it.) It’s a thorny story with no sympathetic protagonist, and all sorts of legal, technological and social implications. It was a prominent battle in the so-called “hacker-wars,” and he has received support, on civil rights grounds, from the EFF and Glen Greenwald .
Recently, weev has jumped into the fray of the online brouhaha  around Pando reporter Yasha Levine’s reporting on the origins  and funding of Tor , a confusing miasma of alliances that has seen Tor evangelists claiming they are underpaid by the government and a prominent ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project staffer invoking the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Auernheimer’s swastika tattoo is not a rhetorical device. Nor is his relocation to Beirut a simple farce. I can attest that the sort of vitriol weev regularly writes on the internet springs as readily from Auernheimer’s lips as his keyboard.
“America doesn’t have a gun violence problem, it has a minority problem,” he says.
One aspect of the culture that weev obviously enjoys is the concept of “wasta,” an entrenched organizing principle in Levantine neighborhoods, economies and political life, which roughly means “clout” or “influence” or “who you know.” It also signifies protection.
“I’ve got some wasta,” weev says. “Enough to mitigate a controlled kidnapping situation. But there is a much greater risk that the US government could just kill me.”
He refers to wasta frequently throughout our talk, and clearly relishes the idea of a network of protection that doesn’t cave to threats of prosecution or violence. He says he owes his wasta to his girlfriend’s family ties in Beirut.
“In Arkansas, where I was born and raised and the only home I’ve ever really known, no one was willing to step up for me,” he says.
Weev has written of his own parents, who cooperated with investigators in his case, that they “are perfect examples of how secular liberalism destroys families and will rot out the foundations of our very civilization,” and that he pities his mother as “a brainwashed drone of a state gone mad.”
3. Police have reportedly found a box filled with ammonium nitrate in the hotel room of the recently arrested leader of one of the militia groups operating on the US/Mexican border, raising the question of what this militia may have had in mind. Fertilizer for a nice hedge fence along the border, perhaps?
Federal agents found a box filled with what appeared to be ammonium nitrate — which can cause major explosions — along with firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition during a search of the hotel room of militia member Kevin Lyndel Massey.
Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who searched Massey’s hotel room in Brownsville after an Oct. 20 arrest, found an AK-47 with six loaded magazines, a loaded handgun, a ballistic helmet and several cameras, as well as the ammunition box filled with suspected ammonium nitrate and fuel, according toobtained by the San Antonio Express-News.
Ammonium nitrate can be a powerful explosive under certain circumstances: a stockpile of the substance at a fertilizer plant in Westthat killed 15 people and injured more than 160 others. It’s also the substance used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
Massey was arrested in connection to anduring which a Border Patrol agent fired four shots at a man pointing a weapon at the agent near the Rio Grande while pursuing a group of immigrants east of Brownsville, from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville.
During the incident, agents seized a pistol from the man, identified as militia member John Frederick Foerster, and two firearms – a pistol and rifle – carried by Massey, who was in the vicinity with another militia member.
Foerster was arrested Oct. 21.
The court has ordered a psychiatric evaluation on Foerster.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan set Massey’s, including that Massey and his wife remove all firearms and ammunition from their North Texas home.
4. Texas politicians are endorsing the border militias.
For much of the summer, right-wing militiamen have gathered near the Texas-Mexico border, many of them claiming that they are there as part of something called “.” They include members of a movement that and they also include members of even more radical groups that and that .
Miller is not the highest-ranking Texas official who has dismissed criticism of armed vigilantes patrolling the Texas border. Late last month, the 12 Democratic members of Texas’ congressional delegation penned a letter to Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general and the Republican candidate to be Texas’ next governor. In it, the 12 lawmakers quote a militia leader who said thatThey also ask Abbott to “denounce the actions of these militia groups and clarify the jurisdiction these militia groups have to patrol alongside local law enforcement and Border Patrol agents.”
A spokesperson for Abbott dismissed the letter as a “.”
The militias Abbott would not denounce include a volatile mix of. According to the Dallas Morning News, the earliest wave of militiamen coming to Texas included members of the Oathkeepers, a group which describes itself as an “association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, peace officers, fire-fighters, and veterans who .” Their website warns of government officials “disarm[ing] the American people,” “confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies,” and “blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.”
The militiamen also reportedly include members of the “,” a group which claims that its “mission is give our members the capabilities and resources necessary to execute Military Strategies to defend against foreign and domestic enemies.” The Three Percenter movement takes its name from the “3% of the colonist [sic]” who allegedly “ ,” and it was . On his personal blog, Vanderboegh explained that one of the Three Percenter movement’s core beliefs is a willingness to :
We intend to maintain our God-given natural rights to liberty and property, and that means most especially the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, we are committed to the restoration of the Founders’ Republic, and are willing to fight, die and, if forced by any would-be oppressor, to kill in the defense of ourselves and the Constitution that we all took an oath to uphold against enemies foreign and domestic.
We are the people that the collectivists who now control the government should leave alone if they wish to continue unfettered oxygen consumption. We are the Three Percent. Attempt to further oppress us at your peril.
To put it bluntly, leave us the hell alone.
Or, if you feel froggy, go ahead AND WATCH WHAT HAPPENS.
Last April, a similar collection of militia organizations, including members of the Oath Keepers,to offer armed resistance to federal officials seeking to enforce a court order preventing Bundy from illegally grazing his cattle on federal land. Bundy briefly became a hero among conservative media figures such as Fox News’ Sean Hannity, and Bundy’s moment as a Republican folk hero ended fairly abruptly, however, after he
What sets Bundy’s armed supporters apart from the militia members gathering in Texas, however, is that Bundy’s militia squared off against trained federal law enforcement officials. The militiamen in Texas, by contrast, have threatened to point their guns at desperate and often helpless people crossing the border.
5a. As you might expect, the militias might be rather fond of governor Greg Abbott given his refusal to denounce their antics while he’s still Attorney General.
Four days before federal authorities arrested him on federal weapons charges and found ammonium nitrate in his South Texas hotel room, border militia leader Kevin Lyndel “K.C.” Massey chatted and posed for a photo with Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott at a campaign event in Brownsville.
The photo, taken at Brownsville restaurant Cobbleheads on Oct. 16, shows Massey wearing an “Abbott for Governor” sticker on his military fatigues and shaking hands with the smiling candidate.
Video footage captured byin Brownsville also shows Massey taking photos of Abbott while wearing a GoPro camera on his head, which was later confiscated during the raid.
Massey posted another photo of himself and Abbott at the event on his Facebook profile —, but snagged by — with the caption, “Trying to talk to Greg Abbott about the border problems. I gave him my number we will see if he calls.”
Abbott deputy communications director Amelia Chasse said Abbott and his campaign did not know who Massey was when the candidate posed with the militia member. She declined to comment whether Massey posed a security threat to Abbott.
“This individual was part of a photo line at a public event and Greg Abbott took a photo with everyone who was in the line at that event,” Chasse said, adding the two exchanged only “pleasantries” during their brief encounter.
Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who searched Massey’s hotel room in Brownsville after an Oct. 20 arrest, found an AK-47 with six loaded magazines, a loaded handgun, a ballistic helmet and several cameras, as well as an ammunition box filled with suspected ammonium nitrate — which can cause major explosions — and fuel, according to.
Chasse declined to say whether Abbott supports the group.
“Greg Abbott places his trust in the Department of Public Safety, border sheriffs, the National Guard and local law enforcement to do the job necessary to keep Texans safe,” Chasse said.
The campaign did not respond to a follow-up question regarding whether Abbott, an avid gun rights advocate, is concerned that some militia members are allegedly patrolling the border with weapons that, under federal law, they are prohibited from carrying.
Abbott’s opponent Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis blasted Abbott in a statement for not condemning militia groups’ activity at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It’s hard to say what’s more disturbing: the fact that Greg Abbott met with a radical militia leader days before federal authorities found the same kind of explosives from the Oklahoma City bombing in his hotel room or the fact that Greg Abbott is refusing to denounce his dangerous fringe group,” Davis said. “Mr. Abbott’s refusal to disclose what they discussed or condemn this group shows a frightening lack of judgment from someone who wants to be our governor.”
In July, The Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, including U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, called on Abbott to denounce militia groups at the border. At the time, Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean called the move a “partisan political stunt.”
In a statement Friday, Castro said the incident “serves as a reminder that patrolling the border should be left to the authorities.”
“This is what happens when you don’t stand up for the rule of law, and allow felons to ‘patrol’ the border,” Castro said. “Greg Abbott should take this opportunity to denounce these groups.”
While the optics of the photo may be unwelcome for the Abbott campaign, it’s not likely to stir any major shakeups four days from the Nov. 4 election, said Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University.
Jones pointed out that candidates take thousands of photos with potential supporters while on campaigning and are unable to vet each one.
“Certainly for Abbott, it’s not something you would like to see, but at the same time, political candidates shake hands with people at political rallies and meetings on a daily basis,” Jones said.
Ammonium nitrate has massive explosive power under certain circumstances: a stockpile of the substance at a fertilizer plant in West caused the April 17 explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 160 others and the substance was also used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. . . . .
. . . . Chasse declined to say whether Abbott supports the group.
5b. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is warning that if President Obama issues an executive order on immigration people will suddenly think “Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the President ... then why should it apply to me?”
“GOP Senator Warns of Violence after Immigration Order” by Susan Page; USA Today ; 11/20/2014. 
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence.”
Coburn, 66, is a conservative Republican but one who has a personal relationship with Obama. They entered the Senate in the same class, elected in 2004, and the new senators from opposite ends of the political spectrum and their spouses immediately hit it off at an orientation dinner. Last year, the president wrote a tribute in Time magazine to Coburn as “someone who speaks his mind (and) sticks to his principles.”
“I really like the guy,” Coburn, 66, told USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series Wednesday. “I thought he’s neat, and I think Michelle’s a neat lady.”
That history gives Coburn’s stark assessment a special sting. On immigration, he accuses Obama of acting like “an autocratic leader that’s going to disregard what the Constitution says and make law anyway.” He says changes in immigration policy require passage by Congress, not just the president’s signature — a charge the White House disputes and on which legal experts disagree.
“Instead of having the rule of law handling in our country today, now we’re starting to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithesis of what this country was founded on,” Coburn says. “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president ... then why should it apply to me?”
6a. Back in August people were asking if far right GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s “flirtation” with the fringe would hurt her in the general election. She won.
In the weeks since her decisive June U.S. Senate primary win, Iowa Republican Joni Ernst has found herself in the precarious position of being an establishment-backed candidate who owes her shot at a national office to some of the most conservative voters in the country. That means that while she’s now got the full support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, she is also being confronted by sympathetic remarks she made earlier on fringe topics before audiences far to the right of the Iowa general electorate.
The latest primary comments that could haunt her Senate bid are on the topic of Agenda 21, a community planning provision in a decades-old United Nations treaty that’s become an object of fear and conspiracy theories on the right, and especially in the commentaries and writing of Glenn Beck.
Yahoo News has obtained video showing Ernst at a January GOP forum in Montgomery County, Iowa, warning that Agenda 21 could force Iowa farmers off their land, dictate what cities Iowans must live in, and control how Iowa citizens travel from place to place.
“The United Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. senator, I would say, ‘No more. No more Agenda 21.’ Community planning — to the effect that it is implementing eminent domain and taking away property rights away from individuals — I don’t agree with that. And especially in a place such as Iowa, where we rely heavily upon our agricultural community, our rural communities. We don’t want to see things like eminent domain come into play,” Ernst said in response to a question about Agenda 21 at the forum.
“We don’t want to see a further push with Agenda 21, where the Agenda 21 and the government telling us that these are the urban centers that you will live in; these are the ways that you will travel to other urban centers,” Ernst continued. “Agenda 21 encompasses so many different aspects of our lives that it’s taking away our individual liberties, our freedoms as United States citizens. So I would adamantly oppose Agenda 21. I don’t believe it is responsible, not for United States citizens.”
It wasn’t the only time Ernst addressed the topic or raised such fears during her primary campaign. “What I’ve seen, the implications we could have here, is moving people off of their agricultural land and consolidating them into city centers, and then telling them that you don’t have property rights anymore,” she told a crowd in rural Ida Grove in November 2013 , in response to a general foreign policy question and in remarks first reported by the Associated Press in June.
But with her primary long in the rearview mirror and the general election less than 90 days away, Ernst now sounds more like a debunker of the conspiracy than an alarmist.
When asked by Yahoo News last week in Iowa about Agenda 21 and her previous remarks on the issue — an issue so obscure that several outside GOP campaign operatives approached for this story had never heard of it — Ernst had changed her tune, and sounded more in sync with a general election audience.
“I don’t think that the U.N. Agenda 21 is a threat to Iowa farmers,” Ernst said in an interview in her Urbandale campaign office. “I think there are a lot of people that follow that issue in Iowa. It may be something that is very important to them, but I think Iowans are very smart and that we have a great legislature here, we have a very intelligent governor, and I think that we will protect Iowans.”
Ernst has expressed out-of-the-mainstream views on a range of issues, from impeaching President Barack Obama to the issue of states acting to nullify federal law, for which she was criticized by the editorial board of the Des Moines Register .
But her positions on the 1992 U.N. recommendations for countries to become more environmentally sustainable — which Beckmade the basis of his novel “Agenda 21,” about a “violent and tyrannical government” ruling “what was once known as America” — are perhaps her greatest flirtation with the politics of the conspiracy-minded.
And unlike her impeachment remarks, the breadth and length of her response on the topic of Agenda 21 seems to belie a deep knowledge of the conspiracy theory floated by conservative radio icons on an issue on which many candidates would likely have no prepared talking points or strongly held opinions. Many sources familiar with Iowa politics note, however, that the question of Agenda 21 is more frequently discussed in the Hawkeye state’s agricultural communities than it is nationally.
The full audio of her November comments, in response to a more generic question about the Council on Foreign Relations and “the eroding of American sovereignty via the United Nations,” was also obtained by Yahoo News:
For now, Ernst says she’s not concerned about Agenda 21 or even people’s perception of her previous remarks on the matter.
“I don’t think so,” she said, when asked whether she was worried about this. “People will think what they want to think about Agenda 21 — but again, going back to Iowa: The Iowa way is to take care of Iowans, and that’s exactly what we intend to do. I think the U.N. is a far reach away from Iowa. I don’t think it’s a threat.”
6b. Note that in addition to pushing for nullification of Obamacare , Ernst has also backed the arrest of federal officials trying to implement it .
State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, once said she would support legislation that would allow “local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement” Obamacare.
Ernst voiced her support for that, as well as supporting legislation that would “nullify” Obamacare in a Iowa State Legislative Candidates survey for Ron Paul’s libertarian-aligned Campaign for Liberty in 2012. It can be viewed here .
The question was: “Will you support legislation to nullify ObamaCare and authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement the unconstitutional health care scheme known as ObamaCare?” Ernst answered that question as “yes.”
Campaign for Liberty Communications Director Megan Stiles told TPM on Friday that the “yes” answer is what the group is looking for in candidates. Stiles, however, cautioned that the group does not endorse candidates.
“States nullifying federal laws is one way of a check on the balance of federal power,” Stiles said. “So that’s an additional way to fight Obamacare. That’s what we’re looking for.” . . . .
7. Former Reagan speechwriter Dougas MacKinnon is advocating the breakup of the United States.
A conservative columnist and former aide to President Ronald Reagan called on southern states to secede and form an ultraconservative new nation named after his old boss.
Douglas MacKinnon, a former speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, appeared Tuesday on The Janet Mefford Show to promote his new book,“The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country … Now,” reported Right Wing Watch .
He told the religious conservative host that southern states – starting with Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina – should leave the United States so they can implement a right-wing Christian system of government.
MacKinnon envisions other states joining, but he hopes to leave out Texas because “there have been a number of incursions into Texas and other places from some of the folks in Mexico.”
“A growing number of our leaders seem determined to erase our borders,” he wrote in a recent syndicated column promoting his book , “do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nanny state into a theology, bankrupt or punish American companies in the name of fighting climate change, do away with the 2nd Amendment, censor or demonize the history of western civilization and replace it with multiculturalism, give every kid a trophy and turn them into wimps, continue to support the completely unfunded public-employee pensions which are destroying the financial solvency of cities, counties, and states across our nation, add billions every day to our $17 trillion in debt, destroy our health-care system to substitute socialized medicine, vilify fossil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a particular and unhinged bias against the Christian faith.”
He argued on the radio program that the South had “seceded legally” and “peacefully” in the months prior to the Civil War.
“President Lincoln waged an illegal war that was, in fact, not declared against the South after the South basically did what we’re talking about in this book now in terms of peacefully, legally and constitutionally leaving the union,” MacKinnon said.
However, MacKinnon brushed aside Mefford’s concerns that secession would trigger another Civil War, saying only that “it wouldn’t remotely come to that” because news coverage is faster and more thorough in modern times.
He said the new country should be called Reagan, at least until voters there could decide on a permanent name.
MacKinnon did not specifically address during the radio program whether slavery would be legal in the new secessionist government, nor did he describe the status of black people living in Reagan.
But he made clear that LGBT people would be second-class citizens – or worse – saying that advances in their rights as citizens was a major factor in his call to break up the United States.
“If you do believe in traditional values, if you are a Christian, if you are evangelical, if you do believe in the golden rule, then you’re seeing all of this unravel before our eyes daily,” he complained.
MacKinnon said he devised his plan with the help of a military veteran friend, along with a group that included “a constitutional law expert, two former military officers, two former diplomats, a minister, another special operator, and experts on banking, energy, farming, and infrastructure.”
8. Senate Majority Leader-to-be Mitch McConnell’s family is in the news for the wrong reasons. (Most of McConnell’s fortune apparently comes from his in-laws.) His father-in-law (James Chao) has prospered because of his founding and proprietorship of a shipping line, The Foremost Group.
That company has an opaque structure, with many of its ships registered in countries that make compliance with maritime regulations easier to skirt.
Now, one of Foremost’s ships (the Ping May) has been busted sailing from Colombia for Amsterdam with 40 kilograms of cocaine aboard.
In the post accessed below, author Nathan Downes asks a relevant question: How much of Foremost’s largesse (and, by extension, the McConnell clan’s wealth) is derived from shady enterprises?
James Chao, father of Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine, has a lot of questions to answer after 40 kilograms of cocaine (about $6.7 million worth ) was found on the Ping May , a ship owned by the Foremost Group , a company James Chao founded  and led to a tidy fortune. But was that fortune built on honest movement of legitimate bulk trade goods, or has Mr. Chao been trading in less than legal goods?
The cocaine, found in 40 separate packages, was discovered during a routine inspection hidden among a load of coal bound for Europe from the port of Santa Marta, Columbia onboard the Ping May, one of 15 ships Foremost currently operates, with another 8 under construction . The final destination for the ship was to be the Netherlands, likely one of the port cities surrounding Amsterdam. It is known that the Ping May has been witnessed at the port of Zaanstad , one of these cities, in the past.
Foremost Group is the source of most of Senator McConnell’s fortune through gifts  and inheritance  from his in-laws. It is a shadowy corporation, utilizing a complex scheme of shell companies  to skip out on millions in taxes annually .
They fly their ships under the flag of Liberia, a west African nation known for its lax labor protections , allowing Foremost the opportunity to exploit its ships’ workforce with little fear of recrimination. However, this status as an employer-friendly anti-labor nation also allowed western African nations, such as Liberia, to become one of the epicenters for drug smuggling through legitimate channels . By working to extract every red cent of profit at the cost of the laborers who make their fortunes possible, Foremost may have sewn the seeds of its own downfall.
It could be that some among the ships workforce, tired of being exploited, decided on being creative with their income. It could be that the drug cartels which dominate Columbia inserted the cocaine without any of the ships crew knowing. Or it could be that Mr. Chao is in league with the drug cartels, possibly for a very long time, and chose to fly under the Liberian flag for this very reason. We do not know.
It is most likely that Mr. Chao’s greed is the only crime for which he is guilty. By using this elaborate scheme to not only defraud the US government of owed taxes but to exploit his workforce, Mr. Chao may have made such a scenario a foregone conclusion. Now his company is under a microscope, the last place the very private man wanted it.
9. Arms dealer Viktor Bout has some unspecified “newly discovered evidence” that he thinks will get him a new trial. He has hired former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s law firm to represent him. Bout had trafficked arms to, among other groups, Al Qaeda.
Convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout believes he has evidence to justify a new U.S. trial and has hired the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to help him pursue his case.
Bout, 47, is serving a 25-year prison sentence following his 2011 jury conviction for having conspired to kill U.S. soldiers by way of his agreement to sell weapons to a Colombian rebel group.
According to filings on Monday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Bout hired the Ashcroft Law Firm and Alexey Tarasov, a Houston-based lawyer, to help him obtain a new trial based on unspecified “newly discovered evidence.”
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin on Monday granted Bout until Jan. 1, 2015 to formally seek a new trial, allowing his new lawyers more time to examine the issues.
Bout’s deadline to seek a new trial had been Monday, but he said the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan was “not opposed” to a 60-day extension.
Michael Sullivan, a partner at Ashcroft’s firm and former U.S. attorney in Massachusetts who would work on the case, declined to comment. Tarasov did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokeswoman for Bharara declined to comment.
Bout’s challenge follows the September 2013 refusal by the federal appeals court in Manhattan to overturn his conviction, which he claimed followed a “vindictive” prosecution and his improper extradition from Thailand to face U.S. charges.
Jurors convicted Bout of having agreed to sell arms to informants posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which the U.S. government had deemed a foreign terrorist organization, and conspiring to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles.
Co-defendant Richard Chichakli, a dual American and Syrian citizen, was convicted of conspiracy charges last December.
Bout is in a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois, and is not eligible for release until Dec. 15, 2029. He was the subject of a 2007 book, “Merchant of Death.”
10. The endless GOP drumbeat about Benghazi continues, despite the fact that the latest [7th], GOP-initiated investigation absolves Obama and company of all of the GOP’s charges.
Eighth time’s a charm? 
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.
Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.
The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.