Sunday, June 25, 2017

You Can Read Time By Its Cover

Gosh, I wonder if this is going to be a puff piece? Update: This gives new meaning to the term "Deep Throat." "The special counsel is, like Trump, the scion of a wealthy family, raised at a boarding school and educated in the Ivy League. But the life choices of Robert Swan Mueller III, 72, suggest a decidedly different temperament from the one that occupies the Oval Office. Unlike Trump, who says he has few if any personal heroes, Mueller's path was marked by a profound admiration for a role model he met at Princeton, a student a year ahead of...

Totally Annoying Millennial Consultants Make Millions on Ossoff Campaign

So yesterday afternoon I decided to go through the FEC filings for Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in Georgia who on Tuesday managed to lose his House race despite spending $30 million. I figured there'd be some interesting information on where all his money went and sure enough there was. I was going to write a story that minute but I decided to go for a walk instead and write it in the morning, but when I got back home I saw that the Washington Free Beacon had already done more or less what I'd planned. It was super-annoying to put...

Scoop: Trial For Venal, Buffoonish Leader Set for Fall; Process Could Lead to Ouster...

Hold on, I've been promoting this story on Facebook and Twitter and there appears to be some confusion. Sorry if anyone hastily leapt to conclusions, but it's The Bob, not The Donald. That's right, you read it here first, probably. While all attention has been focused on the possibility of Trump being impeached (note: odds remain low at moment, unless evidence surfaces, an unnamed source tells me), almost no one seems to have noticed that Senator Bob Menendez is set to go to trial in September. The evidence would appear to be overwhelming -- Menendez is from New Jersey, so...

Bipartisan Rock

Worst. Concert. Ever. From Politico. (H/t Doug Henwood:) “BONO honored Rep. Steve Scalise at his concert Tuesday night, saying he was 'grateful' the Louisiana Republican survived the shooting. SPOTTED at the U2 show at FedEx Field: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Ted Cruz, Mick Mulvaney, David Brooks, Andrea Mitchell, Frank Luntz...”  

If We Only Had a Brain: The party of bad ideas keeps beating the...

Well, that make it zero for four for the Democrats in this year's special congressional elections. The party has racked up impressive defeats from the mountains of Montana to the prairies of Kansas, and has now flamed out in South Carolina and Georgia. In the former, a candidate who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs and Exxon -- yes, that would be the Democrat, Archie Parnell -- lost to Trump-backed Ralph Norman while in Georgia, bland, lifeless Republican Karen Handle defeated bland, lifeless Democrat Jon Ossoff by more than 10,000 votes. The GOP has held the seat for 39 years but Trump...

WTF is Going On With WB? Plus: The new and improved Washington Babylon

Hey, what’s up? It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in. Is everyone enjoying this spectacular 2017? Glad to hear it. With all the great news pouring in from around the world, it’s hard not to be lovin’ it, amirite? (Note: My marketing team advised me to reach out to Millennials. TMW I nailed it BAE, amirite?) Anyway, I haven’t written anything here at Washington Babylon for awhile and thought I better update you about what’s going on, why we’ve been publishing so infrequently and what we’re planning ahead. First off, I moved down to Miami earlier this year, for an undetermined...

Reaction to Portland Train Stabbing Shows Everything Wrong with Politics Right Now

The Portland stabbings that took the lives of two men and severely injured another elicited a bizarre response from many people that shows U.S. politics at its ugliest. For many people, the killer's political affiliations and who he voted for were seemingly more important than the horrible act of violence he committed and the fate of his victims. Jeremy Christian threatened a Muslim teenager and her friend because he didn’t feel “they” belong here -– a sentiment that unfortunately is felt by many Americans. When three men intervened on behalf of the two young women, they were attacked. That is, rather...

Does Donald Have ADHD?

Many of my friends are appalled by the bizarre behavior of President Trump. His press conferences seem like a class with a rambling, free-verse Beat poet who downed a few shots of tequila before teaching a graduate seminar on the American Constitution. His stream-of-consciousness Twittersburg Addresses rival a high school boy in their level of juvenile banality. Just recently a cantankerous older veteran of the New Left I was talking with said "Look, the other ones were awful but this one is crazy!" Or is he? Sure, you could point to his current trip to the Middle East, with its mysterious...

Does Russia Matter?

Memes aren’t great ways to learn a lot about history or politics, though they’re used that way a lot.  Still, some are funny and make a good point in a few lines in a way that might take paragraphs otherwise.  Today I came across one that I put up on Facebook: “People in my community who are nervous about Russia:  0 People in my community who are nervous about next month’s rent: most everyone” For months now Americans, especially Democrats and Liberals but mostly everyone who hates Trump–and that includes much of the establishment media and economic and political elites–has been obsessed...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 9: Capture

Nhuận was captured on 17 April 1975 while hiding in the French-style villa of Mr. Tôn Thất Đệ, owner of Nha-Trang’s “Tân Tân” ciné. Mr. Đệ was his wife’s uncle. “My case was a special one,” he said. “In the Vietnamese language, “to work with” is popularly understood as “to serve”. The VC who came to arrest me used a civilian car bearing a big “liberation front” flag that was rare and reserved for VIPs at that time. They carefully guided me into the car instead of tying my arms behind me and walking me along the streets as they...
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Prager University Tells Truth About Vietnam

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! From series editor Andrew Stewart: The Vietnam War ended a little over a decade before my birth and I was just learning to walk by the time the Berlin Wall came down. I am one of the first generations who has never known what Americans referred to for 45...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 8: Demoted...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtAVy7P1uJg] Nhuận’s dismay with Thiệu climaxed during the national elections of 1971, when Thiệu resorted to the same dirty tricks Kỳ tried to use in 1967. Thiệu, however, was so successful in rigging the presidential election that the other candidates withdrew in protest. Thiệu ran unopposed and was elected, but his power grab dealt a fatal blow to South Vietnam’s nascent democracy and helped revive the insurgency. But Thiệu was unrepentant; the North was planning a spring offensive and his only concern was security; so he imposed further restrictions on the independent media and political parties. After the election, Thieu...
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South Vietnamese Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Training for Vietnam War 1966 US Army Film

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. This is one of many short films produced for Army training during the war. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! The following is excerpted from the Pentagon Papers: By the summer of 1967, pacification had become a major ingredient of American strategy in Vietnam, growing steadily in importance and the amount of resources devoted to...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 7: Thiệu’s...

Ever the idealist, Lê Xuân Nhuận refused to participate in Nguyễn Cao Kỳ’s plot to seize power from his running mate Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Instead, he informed the CIA, which took steps to assure that Thiệu would become the first president of the Second Republic of South Vietnam. But Thiệu could not assert his power until he had dismantled the security apparatus Kỳ, as prime minister, had developed since 1965. And given that Kỳ’s apparatus was effectively providing security for Sài Gòn during the 1968 Tet uprising, Thiệu’s dismantling process took several months. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily...
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Soviet Animation ‘Ave Maria’

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. This is an animated film produced by the USSR in 1972 using the Ave Maria as a soundtrack while condemning the American war in Vietnam. It is a fascinating opportunity to see what was being told to audiences on the other side of the Iron Curtain and how artists in Russia felt about this hot front of the...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 6: Nhuan...

“In 1967,” Nhuan said, “the Central Vietnam Southern Lowland Region comprised five provinces: Bình-Định, Phú-Yên, Khánh-Hòa, Ninh-Thuận, Bình-Thuận, and one independent city, Cam-Ranh. That region was merged with mine to become the II-CTZ (Corps Tactical Zone). I was made Chief of Special Branch for those twelve Provinces and two cities. The territory was about half that of the whole South Vietnam. The coastal city of Nha Trang fell within my jurisdiction and the PIC in Nha Trang City doubled as the Special Branch office in Khánh Hòa Province." “At that time, the military wanted to control the National Police. II-Corps...
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1965 Why Vietnam?

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. This was a documentary produced by the Department of Defense. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! The following is excerpted from the Pentagon Papers: The story of the Phase II build-up begins near the end of the chain of events which led to the decision, announced on 28 July 1965, on a Phase I build-up...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 5: On...

Nhuận left the CIO/SOC in December 1963 to become Chief of the National Police in Quảng-Đức Province, headquartered in Gia Nghia City in the Central Highlands. Like his previous post in Darlac, Quảng-Đức was a mountainous province on the Kampuchea border, populated by Montagnards. Nhuận maintained his CIO contacts, but there was less contact between the SOC and the Special Branch in the years after the 1963 revolution, as the CIA tightened its control of the CIO at the expense of the Special Police. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! As a province police chief, Nhuận was...
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LBJ and Barry Goldwater, 8/4/64

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. This was telephone conversation between President Johnson and Barry Goldwater, who was at that time his opponent in the 1964 election, regarding the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! The following is excerpted from the Pentagon Papers: Several of the pressuring measures recommended to the White House in May or June were...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 4: 1963-1967

The dictatorial Ngô regime collapsed in 1963, for several reasons. One contributing factor was its Strategic Hamlet program. Designed to protect the regime by relocating millions of mostly rural people, the program was mistakenly placed under the supervision of Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo. A Communist “sleeper” agent, Thảo built as many hamlets as fast as possible, knowing the resettled people would resent being torn from their ancestral lands and garrisoned in forts they were compelled to build. Thảo further subverted the program by having the hamlets built in communist strongholds, a move that provided the insurgents with easy access...
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1964 Patrol in Vietnam

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. This was one of many mainstream media news reels that portrayed the Vietnam war as one that America could win. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! The following is excerpted from the Pentagon Papers: In 1964 the U.S. tried to make GVN strong, effective, and stable, and it failed. When the U.S. offered more...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 3: Into...

By 1961, the insurgency was growing and the in-coming Kennedy Administration put the blame on the repressive policies of Ngô regime. The Kennedys were also upset that Diệm’s brothers Cẩn and Nhu, and their spymaster Tuyến, were smuggling opium out of Laos and using the profits to finance a vast agent network targeted against Diệm’s political opponents. Having just endured the Bay of the Pigs fiasco, the Kennedys were angry at the CIA, which had trained many of the agents and commandoes Nhu, Cẩn, and Tuyến used in their smuggling operations. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSjTNpyJMUo] Compelled to correct the situation, the CIA created...
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French Involvement in Vietnam and Dien Bien Phu

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. The collapse of the French forces in Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 was the moment that accelerated American involvement in the war. Here is a 1962 television episode of the serial The Twentieth Century featuring Walter Cronkite where he describes the French defeat. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! The following is excerpted...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 2: Internal...

In modernizing the GVN’s police forces, MSUG sent qualified uniformed police officers to study at Michigan State for a year. Theoretically, these individuals became police chiefs upon their return to South Vietnam; in fact, any official who wanted to remain in the Ngô family’s good graces did not stray far from home. As Nhuận explained, officials were not promoted into positions of authority unless they met the four D criteria. All civil servants and military personnel had to join the first D: Đoàn Công-Chức Cách Mạng Quốc Gia, the National Revolutionary Civil Servants Organization. The second D (Đạo) referred to...
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Ike Welcomes Vietnam Chief

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. Here we have President Eisenhower hosting South Vietnamese President Diệm in 1957. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! The following comes from the Pentagon Papers: PERCEPTIONS OF THE COMMUNIST THREAT TO SOUTHEAST ASIA AND TO BASIC U.S. INTERESTS American thinking and policy-making was dominated by the tendency to view communism in monolithic terms. The Viet Minh was,...

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 1: The...

The Vietnamese perspective is rarely found in English language books about the Vietnam War, especially regarding the CIA’s “liaison” relationship with South Vietnamese police and security officials. Which is why I considered myself very fortunate when I was introduced to Lê Xuân Nhuận. Nhuận’s Wikipedia bio provides a comprehensive account of his life and accomplishments. He is a noted poet and author of three Vietnamese language books about his experiences as a “Special Police” officer. Two of the books are currently available. The first, The Police Plan (Cảnh-Sát-Hóa) (2002) tells of his service as Director Security and Counter-Intelligence in Region...
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Bảo Đại visits Sài Gòn

As part of Washington Babylon's release of Doug Valentine's Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer we are going to feature content from worldwide archives that recall one of the most painful episodes of recent American and Asian history. Here we have Emperor Bảo Đại in 1949 visiting Sài Gòn. [archiveorg id=ClassicVietnameseInstrumentalPieces width=500 height=30 autoplay="1"] The following appears in volume one of the Pentagon Papers: Events in China of 1948 and 1949 brought the United States to a new awareness of the vigor of communism in Asia, and to a sense of urgency over its containment. U.S. policy instruments developed...

Introduction: Doug Valentine’s Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer

Coming Next Week! The Special Branch of South Vietnam’s National Police force functioned like the FBI, conducting counter-intelligence and criminal investigations. Its primary function, however, was infiltrating and suppressing the Communist Party, as well as the nationalist political parties and factions that opposed the US-backed governments and military juntas that existed from 1955 until 1975. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ofzx-S1GO8?autoplay=1] In these endeavors, the Special Branch was entirely funded and advised by the CIA. And for that reason, the voices of Special Police officers have been censored from American history books about the Vietnam War. Be Sure to Visit the Series Homepage Daily for New Content! Not...

It Did Happen Here? Not quite, but there’s been a steady progression of fascism...

The word fascism has been so recklessly thrown around in the past year that quite frankly I cannot judge if it should be totally shoved down the memory hole and forgotten for a generation. The word has the ideological equivalent of a spit-ball in contemporary parlance now. Meanwhile, we only seen only recently an attempt to precisely define the term after decades of the Left and Libertarian Right throwing it around to describe both Klan members and mainstream politicians. Hell, Alexander Cockburn once wrote "Nor do I think is any more of a fascist — in practical terms — than...

Homegrown Terrorism, the FBI and the Travel Ban: Should Americans be allowed to travel...

A familiar pattern is becoming apparent with terror attacks or would-be terror attacks in the United States. As we wait for the suspect to be identified, some hoping that identity meets their specific narrative, we are often given some early information. "Law enforcement officials are treating this as a possible terror attack" "The suspect was known to the FBI" The latter statement is puzzling. If the suspect was known to the FBI, why was he not previously apprehended? Or why could the FBI not prevent this from happening? The answer, in some cases, raises more unsettling questions. On 60 Minutes on Sunday new details...

Doug Valentine on the Deep State and Fake News

Doug Valentine is one of the country's best sources on intelligence issues and the media. He recently gave an interview to Guns & Butter about the medi and the deep state, which he agreed to let us share here. Bonnie Faulkner produces and hosts the weekly, one-hour public affairs program on KPFA and WBAI radio stations which are part of the Pacifica Network. Here's a  lightly edited description of the topics discussed in Doug's interview: "The deceptive nature of the concept of a “deep state”; 70 years of fake news; Central Intelligence operates illegally and unaccountably; did CIA initiate an intelligence coup against...

The Trump-Media Lovefest

Les Moonves cannot lose … and he knows it. The all-too-well compensated CEO of CBS said as much back in late February of 2016. The Bataan Death March of presidential campaigns had finally kicked into high gear and a month-long barrage of primaries, caucuses and televised debates portended just the sort of never-ending story-line that makes a media mogul’s dreams come true. CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves. The man at the center of that long, pitched battle for the hearts and mindlessness of the American people was none other than future Reality-Star-in-Chief and all-around good for business-man President Donald J....
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Trump’s Conversion: Before he became a Russian tool, Donald was a willing agent of...

Over the past several days the Republican American Health Care Act (ACHA), proposed to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare, has been shown to be nothing but a complete boondoggle in the making. Everyone from Bernie Sanders to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has picked it apart, exposing the sophistry of the whole affair. But was it always going to be this bad under a President Trump? A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away known as the last season of The Late Show with David Letterman, the President was making one of his regular appearances...

Feels Like Mississippi: A call for worker’s rights

For all the progress Mississippi, has made over the years, it still finds itself at the bottom of most national rankings. Some of its more noteworthy un-honors are abysmal ratings in economic growth, poverty and unemployment. Throughout the years, Mississippi has brought in different industries to boost its economy and job market, including casinos. Yet the state struggles to develop a healthy, diverse economy. The corporate welfare approach embraced by the state is almost understandable. Elected officials give corporations contractual incentives and subsidies to secure a new factory, ship-building contract or oil refinery, but they tend to forget a significant...

Six Questions for Dr. Adam Gaffney on the Dismal State of American Health Care

Republican political leaders have long treated the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as a devilish plot and used it to stir up voters across the country. Now they have released their own plan to reverse the “cursed’ ACA and the response has not been positive. I recently sat down with Dr. Adam Gaffney, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a pulmonary and critical care physician, to discuss the state of healthcare in the United States. This interview was edited for length and clarity. 1/ Republicans promised to end Obamacare and despite some divisions seem prepared to do...
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A Queer Defense of Milo Yiannopoulos

He’s a crude provocateur whose racism, sexism, misogyny, and other reactionary ideas disgust me to no end. Yet as a queer writer who generally believes the absolute opposite of Milo Yiannopoulos on most issues I can only offer a robust defense of him. The first reason is plain decency. After his now infamous appearance on the Bill Maher show, Republican smear merchants trotted out a video of Yiannopoulos expressing jesting glee for an alleged instance of sex with an older man when he was a minor child, a discussion that apparently led him to say consent laws should be reduced to...

T-Mobile’s “hip” CEO Polishes his Political Asskissery Skills on Trump’s Behind

John Legere, the “hip” CEO of T-Mobile, the allegedly pro-consumer telecom “un-company” that markets heavily to millennials, repeatedly trashed Donald Trump on Twitter last year but quickly began sucking up to him ever since he won November's  election. The T-Mobile CEO has nearly 4 million followers on Twitter -- far more than most tech industry corporate icons and twice as many as Jeff Bezos -- and even has his own Twitter emoji. During the campaign he and Trump had a few “epic” Twitter wars — Donald even derided the CEO’s embarrassing hairstyle, which arguably makes Trump's combover look positively stylish  — and Legere retorted that...

Six questions with Jeffrey St. Clair about Bernie and the Sandernistas

Not since Hunter S. Thompson turned the 1972 presidential election into a gonzo circus of absurdity have we had a no-holds-barred diary of campaign spectacle as Jeffrey St. Clair's newly-released Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes from a Failed Revolution. St. Clair is one of the country's best investigative journalists on environmental topics and offers here a short, humorous compact volume that makes for essential reading. We recently sat down to discuss his feelings about the election and its outcome. His comments have been edited for clarity and brevity. 1/ Given the outcome of the election and Trump's early days in office,...

Note to readers: And please consider backing our work with a donation today

One thing I've learned the past few months is just how hard it is to raise money to support independent journalism. We started out with a bang back in August but increasingly have had to spend more time raising money and less time investigating stories and producing journalism. Because of that, and a few personal complications for our editor/CEO (i.e. travel, having to move), we've been publishing infrequently these last few weeks. But I hope we'll be back on regular schedule soon. Meanwhile, check out latest by Melissa Garriga ("For Right, Protesting is so Anti-American (except when they’re protesting)") and please...

For Right, Protesting is so Anti-American (except when they’re protesting)

For some conservative Americans who are sitting back and watching protest and violent acts unfold across the United States in response to executive actions by President Trump, the world seems to have gone completely mad and they are disgusted by what they are witnessing. But why? Is this the first time a movement in the United States has harbored peaceful protest and criminal activity at the same time? Hardly. In fact, such movements are not even exclusive to left. For example, it’s hard for the right to look at what’s happening with condescension when the conservative movement against abortion has...

A Washington Babylon Listicle: Seven Reasons Not to Read 1984 under Trump

By the time the book came out in 1949, the Cold War was at its height. The book therefore proved popular. It was almost a matter of patriotism in the West to buy it and talk about it, and perhaps even to read parts of it, although it is my opinion that more people bought it and talked about it than read it, for it is a dreadfully dull book-didactic, repetitious, and all but motionless. -Isaac Asimov ‘Have you read this book? You must read it, sir. Then you will know why we must drop the atom bomb on the...
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Bannon the Hutt

Steve Bannon is probably the strangest character in the rogues gallery that is Donald Trump's cabinet, an unrepentant white nationalist who has turned the Breitbart website into the veritable Der Stürmer of the alt-right. Or so we are told. Lest I be misunderstood, let me say from the outset that Bannon periodically employs a virulent racist discourse. As heir to Andrew Breitbart's media empire following the Tea Party guru's death, he ran some of the following headlines. Here are some notable posts: Lest anyone be confused about the matter, this is how Breitbart describes the alt right's ideological heritage: There are many things...

Six Questions for Yudhijit Bhattacharjee about “The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell,” Snowden and Spying...

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee is a contributor to the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic and other publications. He's also the author of the bestselling book The Spy Who Couldn't Spell, the story of Brian Regan, a dyslexic self-proclaimed CIA analyst with top secret clearance who tried to market stolen information to foreign governments. I recently interviewed Bhattacharjee about his book and the current relevance of Regan's story. This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity. 1/ Who is Brian Regan and how valuable was the information he stole?  Brian Regan was a signals analyst for the U.S. intelligence community...

Trump is Terrifying but Hillary would have (maybe) been worse: An Alternative History

Here we are nearly three months after the presidential election and there's hardly a day that goes by that Hillary Clinton's supporters don't blame her loss on something other than its very obvious cause, namely the fact that she ran an appalling campaign and was one of the most disliked candidates in all American history. But the Clintonistas are still bitterly lamenting all that power and cash that disappeared from their greedy little hands when their candidate went down the tubes, and can't accept their own role in the debacle. So every day we have a new villain who caused the Trump presidency,...

Photo Essay: Looking on the positive side of the Trump presidency, mass protests

Well. I have to admit, the Trump presidency turned ugly far more rapidly than I had anticipated. On the positive side, since I'm ever the optimist, I believe Hillary Clinton represented her own uniquely toxic threat to democracy and had she won, there would have been no protests to greet her. Instead, we would have witnessed the grotesque specter of Hillary taking office to immense relief and cries that the worst had been avoided even as she appointed a host of Wall Street cronies and ratcheted up calls for war with Russia. Let's see where the protests lead, but at...

The Return of Erik Prince: Trump, military contractors and the further privatization of war

In 2005 the Marine Corps University published a paper entitled The Professional Military Services Industry: Have We Created a New Military-Industrial Complex? To consider that question now is the equivalent of asking if the Pope is Catholic. The United States has not only created such a new complex, it has systematized and normalized it. Yet the country has never really had a real debate over whether this was a good thing. Frankenstein’s monster was created with more forethought than the contemporary private military and security contracting industry. The private military train left the station starting with U.S. involvement in the Balkan...

Celebrities and Pro-choice Politics are Ruining the Takeaway From the Women’s March: But that’s...

Last week I left my safe space, my small town in Mississippi, to make a solo pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to check out the Trump inauguration. I had a few “small town girl visiting the busy city” moments while I was there but the most overwhelming experience was when I went to the Women’s March on Washington. I had no expectations of the march, other than wondering if it would be mostly a bunch of Pantsuit Nation, safety-pin wearing liberal women. I had heard about the celebrity speakers ahead of time and about the exclusion of the pro-life group,...

Will Trump be Impeached or Resign in Next Six Months? Don’t bet on it

For months before the election, Donald Trump's opponents predicted that he would soon drop out of the race for one reason or another. It was said, for example, that he ran as a publicity stunt and never expected to win -- that part may well be true -- but once he saw he had a shot he'd quit because being president was too much work. After the first debate, when it looked like Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in, many commentators said he was setting the stage to surrender because he couldn't bear losing and would convince his fans that the...

Which Side Are You On? When it comes to Trump and John Lewis, why...

Well, here we are a few days out from the inauguration and political discourse and intelligence in this country could not be any dumber. We should just officially proclaim as our national slogan "You're Either For 'Em or Agin Em" and acknowledge that for most Americans, the idea of holding two ideas in one's head simultaneously is an impossible task. This was demonstrated repeatedly during the campaign when voicing criticism of Trump was seen as evidence of being pro-Hillary, and vice versa. This black and white view of the world is reinforced by the media, which now demands rigid ideological conformity...

Yes, You Can: Obama, pardon Leonard Peltier

Barack Obama has been busy commuting sentences, mostly for nonviolent drug offenders, with more than 1,100 prisoners receiving clemency during his presidency. That's still a pretty small number given that during the 1980s and 1990s "hundreds of thousands of people were handed decades-long or even life sentences behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses," according to a recent story in The Guardian. But, as befitting his entire presidency, Obama, even with just a week remaining in office, is being highly cautious about anything too controversial and seems unwilling to consider one case that calls out for action: Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist...

“I’ll sell myself out in a lot of different ways, but I will never...

I am the last person on earth who would ever want to be on Team Trump, but I hate BuzzFeed as much as I hate Donald so here we are. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. See, I'm not surprised that BuzzFeed would do something as shady and unethical as exposing this Trump dossier that alleges he paid Russian sex workers for a golden shower show. Nope, literally nothing this loathsome, pathetic excuse for a "news" site does could ever surprise me. I can't understand why anyone would take a site seriously that posts things they admit cannot be verified. However, I did...

BuzzFeed’s Golden Showers

OK, let me start this by saying that I’m a friend of Glenn Simpson, whose company reportedly produced, via a subcontractor, the now famous dossier on Donald Trump that was published by BuzzFeed and that has dominated the news for a week. I have a lot of respect for Glenn, who was a great journalist and whose firm is known to produce excellent research. Let me also say that I think BuzzFeed has some first rate journalists but I'm not a fan of Ben Smith, the editor who made the decision to publish the dossier and who has offered the...

Election Hacking and Porn: The undisclosed link

I'm not sure this is a nationwide trend but my local porn shop has a diversified offering of materials that extends to bed wear, accessories, and bongs. I mention this because this is roughly akin to the nature of the online hacking community worldwide and particularly the English-language scene, complete with overgrown teen geeks. As Dave Chapelle so brilliantly showed us all a little over a decade ago, the internet is a gaudy shopping center and many hackers are window shopping denizens who have strange social habits. The uproar these past few weeks about the Russkies hacking the election is...

MLK for Sale? How to Package a Radical

Every year around this time, Americans shower Martin Luther King, Jr. with love. Since 1986 his birthday has been a national holiday, providing all of us with a chance to learn more about him. School kids get exposed to the nature of African American life under apartheid in the South; symposia and talks are given discussing King’s legacy; King’s experiences are examined under the lens of current racial tensions; stores can have MLK Day sales; and the marketing opportunities are endless. Get your “I Have a Dream” fortune told at a 1-800 number; make a cake with “Batter from a...
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This week in Nazis! Ukraine’s alt right

The political freak-show disaster known as the Ukraine is a constant reminder of just how full of baloney the Democrats are when it comes to discussing the threat posed by fascism, racism, and religious extremism. While any person with a functional brain stem would obviously be mortified by the collection of deplorables that have lined up behind the country's first game show host president, the Democrats have no space to talk here about anything related to Nazism because they are in fact financing one such regime in an ongoing game of geopolitical chicken with Vladimir Putin. For those of you...

Thanks for your support in 2016 and see you in 2017

You may have noticed that Washington Babylon came out with a roar in August and has been pretty quiet for the past month or so. That’s because it turns out that it’s a lot of work to create and run a website — who knew? — and especially during a presidential campaign. To be honest, I’m a little burnt out so I’m going to let the site go dark and work on a few stories and fundraising proposals, and get ready to start 2017 fresh. So have a great holiday and see you again on Monday, January 9. If you want...

ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson and the Dictator Who Accused a Cat of Trying to Assassinate...

There are plenty of grounds to question Donald Trump’s nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state, but so far people have missed an important one, namely his direct role in striking up business with one of the world’s loopier and most deadly dictators: Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov — let’s just call him Berdy from here on out — of Turkmenistan. ExxonMobil is a fossil fuel company with ties to various corrupt overseas regimes, just like its foreign and domestic competitors. If you're an energy company, you chase oil and gas and a lot of it is found...

Why is Rule Blocking Mad Dog’s Nomination Getting So Little Play?

Donald Trump has been busy assembling his administration as he awaits to be inaugurated this next month and there are quite a few nominees of concern. I reported recently on Trump's pick for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, and his ties to terror porn propagandist, Brigitte Gabriel. The nod to Beverly Devos for Secretary of Education should send a shiver down the spine of every public school teacher. Teachers: if you haven't heard, her family is supports research from think tanks that proposes that you guys are paid too much. The number of military officials that Trump has picked so...

Genocide Threat in South Sudan, Thanks to George Clooney, Nicholas Kristof and Newsweek

While world attention is focused on Aleppo, outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns in an op-ed published by Newsweek that there's a real threat of a genocide in South Sudan. He writes: Tens of thousands have been killed. The social fabric of South Sudan has been shattered. The economy is in ruins. Millions have been displaced from their homes. Hunger and poverty are rampant. Today, more than 6 million people in South Sudan require life-saving aid...The people of South Sudan held out hope after independence following decades of war. Yet their leaders bear the primary responsibility of betraying the people’s...

The CIA’s Mop Up Man Strikes Again: NBC’s Ken Dilanian finds Putin directed hacking...

I keep waiting for the Putin hacked the election hysteria to finally crest, but it appears that this could be with us well into the new year. Now, according to NBC, U.S. intelligence officials believe with "a high level of confidence" that Putin became "personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election...Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used." As I've already discussed, I believe that the storyline of Donald Trump being a Manchurian candidate...

The New York Times, Trump and Operation Bullwinkle J. Moose

In the aftermath of the election, the New York Times apologized to its readers for screwing up its campaign coverage and failing to foresee Donald Trump's victory, and promised it would do a better job going forward. "We aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism," said a letter signed by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet. "That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you." It was, theoretically, encouraging...

Fake News: My exchange with Washington Post reporter on Russian hacking story

In my journalism class last week, we discussed the Washington Post story that identified hundreds of media outlets as “fake news” sites. We concluded that fake news is hard to define, but that any news, whether "fake" or "real," that relies on unnamed sources from government agencies without a single verifiable reference is always a red flag. A few days later, the Post released its alarming story about a secret CIA assessment that concluded that Russia not only hacked the presidential campaign but did so to help Donald Trump win the election. This is no small claim and journalism institutions -- especially one...

Which Side Are You On, Trump’s or the CIA’s? Oh FFS, just die, 2016,...

I don't know about anyone else, but I wish 2016 would hurry up and get the fuck out of the way, so the world can move on to a happier and better 2017. Surely, it can't be any worse. (Right? Right?) I'm trying to write about Washington, but at this point it's really hard not to just go to bed and finish off the rest of Stranger Things (highly recommended, by the way) and Narcos. Look, the rules were a joke, especially the Electoral College, and the election was effectively a sham but Trump won fair and square, as it were. It...

Michael Flynn’s Iran Obsession, continued: Will he find the right Curveball?

I ran a story here yesterday about Donald Trump's incoming national security adviser, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and his long time desire to gin up a war with Iran. As I wrote, I've heard that Flynn was fired from his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency because, among other things, he spotted Iranian involvement in just about every problem around the world,  even the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Flynn would demand DIA employees find proof to back up his farfetched stories and when, inevitably, they'd come back empty handed he's berate them for their failure and...

The CIA, Organized Crime, the Media and Elections: A Guide by Doug Valentine

Doug Valentine's new book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, is a compilation of newly updated articles and recent interviews. The book, which discusses a part of history that is rarely mentioned nowadays but is vital to understand as we enter the Trump era, is divided into four sections. The first covers the CIA's Phoenix program in Vietnam; the second looks at how the agency manages the War on Drugs; the third reviews how the Phoenix program became the model for Homeland Security and the War on Terror; and the fourth takes a...

So Why Was Michael Flynn Fired from DIA? And what that means about the...

If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, a major confrontation with Russia would almost inevitably have taken place, and probably sooner rather than later. Under Donald Trump, the risk of World War III with Russia has been reduced dramatically because the new president appears to be quite fond -- some might say too fond -- of Vladimir Putin. So that's good news. On the down side, with Trump there's a real possibility of war with Iran, especially as he has already picked three anti-Iranian hardliners for his defense and national security team. The new Pentagon secretary, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis,...

Meet Charlie Kirk, the ProfessorWatchlist Keeper: Just another brick in the wall.

Ah, college, those great formative years when young adults pursue higher education and broaden their intellectual horizons and meet students from different backgrounds, ethnicity, religion and ideology. Unlike high school, college professors take a deeper dive into topics and challenge ideas that students were taught back home. For a few insecure and closed-minded individuals, having their ideas challenged is scary. Take, for example, Charlie Kirk, the latest of America’s young conservative leaders. He's the 22-year-old who started a growing national organization, Turning Point USA, from his parent's garage in the affluent suburban village of Wheeling, Illinois just four years...

The Inside Story of Mitt Romney’s doomed quest to be Trump’s Secretary of State:...

Donald Trump has filled much of his cabinet, but the key post of secretary of state remains open. There have been about a dozen candidates who’ve crawled on bended knee to meet with Trump in the hopes that he would pick them for the job, including Mitt Romney, who Trump had no intention of hiring. The entire purpose of his interviewing Romney was, I’m told, to make him grovel for the position and then publicly reject him. Trump’s animosity towards Romney dates to the primary season, when Mitt, who was not even running in the GOP primaries, savaged Trump in...

No, Donald Trump is Not a Nazi: And he’ll destroy himself if the media...

Ever since Donald Trump won the election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, liberal groups, the New York Times, MSNBC and assorted pro-Hillary media outlets have thrown a prolonged temper tantrum about the results — remember when they all pointedly asked if Trump would accept the outcome if he lost? — and have done everything possible to put the worst possible spin on his every action. First, the transition was in chaos, even though Trump put together his cabinet relatively quickly. Then there was an uproar about all the possible conflicts of interest stemming from his business holdings and demands that he must...

Waiting for Trump’s Secretary of State: Will new president install full-fledged military junta to...

If you're a conservative Republican who longs for a return of the "free market" economic policies and military interventionism of the Reagan years, Donald Trump's cabinet picks no doubt warm your heart. If you're just about anyone else, including all those Trump voters who hoped their man would "drain the swamp" and "burn the house down," it looks like you're screwed. This country is at a tipping point: The 1 percent economy isn't just a slogan, it's a reality. The top 0.1% of households now hold about the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90%, according to this Business...

Is Weiner About to Finally Go Down? He’s back in New York, but possibly...

After spending a few weeks at a sex rehab facility near Nashville, disgraced former Congressman Antony Weiner was spotted at the apartment in New York that he shared with top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the Daily Mail reported. It's been a rough year for the pitiful Weiner, Aka Carlos Danger. In August, we here at Washington Babylon reported that he continued to sext young women despite having lost his congressional seat and a New York mayoral bid because of his compulsive behavior. Soon thereafter the New York Post reported that Weiner had sexted a crotch shot to a woman while...

Hello history, get me rewrite: In Times obits, Fidel a tyrant while King Abdullah...

The big news over the weekend was the death of Fidel Castro, which prompted a flood of coverage, and rightly so since he was one of the most important figures of recent times. A lot of the reporting and commentary on social media tended to treat Fidel as a hero or a monster. My own view is that things are a lot more complicated than that. As Daniel Wright wrote on Twitter, "Fidel Castro came to power in a popular revolution, inarguable. Issue is whether or not he betrayed that revolution/to what degree." What was striking about a lot of...

Fear Sells: Brigitte Gabriel, Michael Flynn’s favorite Islamophobe, cleans up on lecture circuit

Michael Flynn has been named Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor and there's been a lot written about why he's a dangerous choice. Mostly overlooked is his relationship with Lebanese-born Brigitte Gabriel, a designated “terrorist expert” for many news networks and politicians. Gabriel is the founder of ACT For America, a group that calls itself the "NRA of national security and says, "We don’t just support the protection of America’s national security - we’re fighting for it." She has written a number of books, including her 2006 autobiography, Because They Hate: A survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America. She has referred to Arabs as "barbarians"...

Fentanyl Cheerleaders: How Insys Peddled its Products

There's a great story in the Wall Street Journal today -- "Fentanyl Billionaire Comes Under Fire as Death Toll Mounts From Prescription Opioids" -- about how employees of Insys Therapeutics reportedly "bribed doctors to prescribe the company's painkillers. Fentanyl, one of Insys's painkillers, is essentially legal heroin -- but up to 50 times stronger -- and has fueled the national opioid epidemic. The billionaire refered to in the headline is the company's sleaze Executive Chairman, John Kapoor. The story said: Insys paid its sales representatives base salaries of $40,000, well below the industry average, but offered them the chance to make many multiples...

Michael Flynn’s Turkey Problem: The op-ed industrial complex strikes again

"OK, I'm glad Hillary lost," I wrote on Facebook last week. "She and her sleazy little friends deserved to eat shit. There's still plenty more to write about them but fuck it, it's time to move on and sharpen the knife for Trump & Co. The honeymoon's over." So while you are out having fun this weekend and enjoying the delightful weather, I spent the past few days (other than seeing a movie, reading a book, going out for drinks and watching about 8 hours of football) diligently pursuing stories about Donald Trump and his incoming administration. I encountered a few problems....

Nicholas Kristof’s Burden: First class travel and $30,000 speakers fee makes reporting on poverty...

In theory, there’s nothing not to like about virtuous New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. He and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, “combine journalism and activism in their unique brand of reporting centered on human rights abuses and advocacy,” according to the duo’s speaking bureau. In practice, Kristof is a sanctimonious hack who trots the globe with the White Man’s Burden hanging heavily on his back. Kristof and WuDunn co-authored Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. As we’ll see, Kristof and WuDunn have certainly turned oppression into personal opportunity -- to the tune of about $50,000 for a...

Fake News: A User’s Guide

Gosh, we all knew journalism was in trouble but now we have the proof in a Buzzfeed article by Craig Silverman, “Viral Fake Election News Outperformed Real News On Facebook In Final Months Of The US Election.” According to Silverman's analysis -- which I read after taking a Buzzfeed quiz that revealed, to my distress, that I am only 43% Hufflepuff -- "the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News, and others" during the final three months of the...

A Brief Interview with a White Female Evangelical Trump Voter

My friend Craig Pyes, a great investigative reporter, posted an interesting original interview with a Trump supporter on his Facebook page yesterday. Since Trump voters are still seen by most reporters as alien beings, I asked Craig if I could run the story here. He agreed so here's the interview below, along with and Craig's brief introduction. Craig said the idea was that most left-liberal and academic types don't actually have contact with Trump voters, and if they do, they probably talk at them, not to them. I personally don't agree with everything said here -- by Craig or his...

The Election is Over: Let the bogus media mea culpas and blame game begin

Ever since the election, a variety of journalists have written mea culpas apologizing for how their respective news outlets screwed up election coverage.  "The mood in the Washington press corps is bleak, and deservedly so," Will Rahn wrote at CBSnews.com. "It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory." (Let me note here that I wrote a story trashing the media pre-election, before it was fashionable.) Mea Culpas are definitely in order, though some of them don't...

It’s Not Just Campaign Coverage that Sucks: War reporting still shitty too

A few months back I wrote a story here about how media chatter on an impending attack on Mosul was highly misleading and that an assault on the city before the election was unlikely. Whenever the attack took place, I wrote, it would be difficult to succeed now because the Iraqi Army didn't have the necessary troops to win the fight. I was wrong about the first point but it still looks like long-term prospects for Mosul are grim, despite media accounts that say the U.S. and Iraqi attack is going smashingly. Soon after the campaign kicked off, excited dispatches reported that...

Need to Drain a Swamp? Mike Ferguson is exactly the type of plumber Trump...

Now that the election is over and Hillary is out of the way, we can finally turn our  attention to Donald Trump. He ran as as outsider and promised crowds he would take on the corrupt political establishment. It was an inspirational message -- and let's give him the benefit of the doubt, for just a moment -- as Americans are tired of being ignored by the beltway elite. His supporters believed him and voted him into office hoping he would follow through on his pledge to “drain the swamp.” It’s hard to know the best place to get...

Six Questions for Ted Siedle About the Rhode Island Pension Heist and how one...

Former SEC attorney Edward "Ted" Siedle is an expert on Rhode Island's public pension system, which had been plundered by Democratic Party state officials, including Seth Magaziner, the son of Clinton crony Ira Magaziner. Desperate retirees, spearheaded by the Rhode Island Retired Teachers Association, retained Siedle using a crowdfunding effort to conduct three forensic audits of the pension system, most recently a look at its murky real estate portfolio. READ MORE: Clinton Cronies Involved in Biggest Financial Scandal in Rhode Island History: An introduction READ MORE: Check out the complete transcript Following the 2008 crash, the public pension system was in need of some...

Dear God, Please Let Sarah Palin be the Next Interior Minister

Attorney General Rudy Giuliani. Secretary of State Newt Gingrich. Secretary of Defense Mike Flynn. Secretary of Commerce Mike Huckabee. These are names that provoke fear and loathing, understandably. By contrast, everyone should be thrilled that Sarah Palin is being considered for the job of secretary of the interior. Why? It's simple. Donald Trump is, based on early appearances, not going to represent a real break with America's glorious past. The good news is that he's not going to install a fascist government, a risk I always thought was overblown. The bad news is that he's going to lead a conventional, radical right-wing government, along the...

OK, I’ve calmly and dispassionately reviewed the election results and there is an 87...

So it turns out that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate after all. Who could possibly have predicted that holing up in the Hamptons in August to fundraise wouldn't look good?  Or that having the overwhelming support of Hollywood -- for example, Cher campaigning for her in Kalamazoo a few days before the vote -- wouldn't win over workers and mobilize the poor? Or that the open embrace of the media wouldn't create a backlash against her and, quite possibly, have cost her the election?   "Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters...

Back in the USSR: Yes, Democrats, there is a working class

There's really not much to say at the moment. At least I can't think of much after staring at my screen for the last few hours. The only positive outcome of this depressing election, other than the massive comeuppance to the clueless media elite, is the destruction of the Clinton political dynasty. It's fitting that Hillary lost because she couldn't win over a tiny number of working class voters in the Midwest. She might have had better luck if the Democrats hadn't worked so hard for the past 40 years to undermine the union movement in order to court corporate money,...

Bombshells! An abridged list of the year’s worst political journalism

As I recently wrote in the New York Observer, this year's disgraceful political campaign has been outdone in awfulness only by the political coverage of it. We're used to cable news networks being surrogates for their preferred candidates so it's no surprise to see Sean Hannity of Fox lying on behalf of Trump or Rachel Maddow reading off the latest Clinton campaign press release. But this year the print media has been just as bad, with mainstream outlets turning themselves into propaganda vehicles as well. It's been apparent during the general election that most media outlets are openly in the Hillary...

Forget the Election, Time for Opposition: Plus a prediction: Clinton 50, Trump 47, Johnson...

During the past few weeks I've been overcome by a near smothering wave of election fatigue, which includes high levels of nausea and despair. This campaign has been going on for nearly two years and at a cost that could approach $7 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's bigger than the annual GNP of dozens of individual countries and about on par with annual output in countries like Guinea, Moldov and Tajikistan. It's also about six times higher than what the U.S. spends annually on Education and Social Services in the foreign aid budget. And for what? Tomorrow the country will...

Did Chelsea Pay For Her Wedding With Foundation Money? Can’t wait for liberal outrage

Hillary's liberal supporters and bedwetters have been outraged by reports that Donald Trump used money from his foundation on a portrait of himself, to settle legal problems and for other distinctly non-charitable uses. I don't blame them, it's pretty outrageous. So I expect they are really going to be pissed with this latest Podesta email -- if true -- which suggests that Chelsea Clinton used Clinton Foundation money to pay for her wedding, her "life for a decade" and to pay "taxes on money from her parents." Here's a photo album from the "sumptuous wedding, when Chelsea married Marc Mezvinsky, the...

Bill Clinton’s Play Toy: New Podesta Email Reveals Damning Clinton Foundation Legal Review

In November of 2008, shortly after Barack Obama defeated John McCain, the incoming administration's transition team signed a short, vague “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Clinton Foundation. The agreement, which was negotiated so that Hillary Clinton could be named secretary of state, was meant to demonstrate that the foundation was a legitimate, conflict-of-interest free charity. "In considering Senator Clinton's potential service as Secretary of State, the Parties seek to ensure that the Foundation may continue its important philanthropic activities around the world, which do valuable and critical work in areas such as HIV/AIDS, climate change and economic development," the memorandum said. But the...

What was 2016 Campaign’s Single Worst Article? A request for submissions

I had a story yesterday at the New York Observer titled "This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism," which compiled some of the most embarrassing moments of campaign reporting revealed by the Podesta Leaks. There was a lot of competition but I think the absolute worst was Politico's Glenn Thrush sending Podesta an email saying, "I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I fucked up anything.” Now Washington Babylon is looking to compile a Top Five list...

2016 Campaign’s Biggest Loser: Journalism

I have a story today in the New York Observer about the wretched state of political journalism, which nowadays, as the Podesta emails have shown, has been mostly reduced to surrogacy on behalf of the Clinton campaign. Every time I write anything for the Observer someone rushes to point out that it's a pro-Trump newspaper. Yes, it is, but at least openly so and hence there is truth in advertising. And I've never had any problem writing things critical about Trump in the Observer, for example, from today's story: We have two unbelievably shitty candidates, neither of whom is fit to lead...

If Defeated, Will Hillary Accept Results or Claim Vote was Rigged? Spoiler Alert: It...

Well, a new poll is out that shows that the presidential race is basically tied and it appears Donald Trump has momentum heading into the final stretch. So it seems fair at this point to wonder if Hillary Clinton would accept defeat by the voters. And if she loses and her angry mob of supporters sack Zabar's on the Upper West Side, will she ask them to stand down? It would be really gratifying and funny to see Hillary lose, we can almost all agree, but watching Trump win would be godawful. It never really occurred to me before today that...

What the Fuck is Going On? A Theory

OK, so James Comey has announced that the FBI will reopen the investigation related to Hillary Clinton. This has something to do with Anthony Weiner -- the disgraced former congressman and sexual predator who we wrote about here, first revealing that he continued to sext women. Hillary's army of apologists say there's nothing there, it's a minor matter and will be explained away shortly. Of course, Hillary's apologists always say there's nothing there. Hillary could carve out a baby's heart on CNN and they would blame Donald Trump and Fox News. But think about it: Would the FBI director make this...

Did Teneo Employee Hack Clinton Emails: Actually, according to Chelsea, it looks like he...

I'm a bit rushed today with some non-journalism business but here is a very little noted Podesta email that is quite remarkable. In it, Chelsea Clinton makes a number of rather stunning allegations. Let's put them together and then we can add them up: ---Ilya physically saw/caught Justin a couple of days ago reading his bberry and loading the same spyware onto his computer that he loaded onto Bari's computer ---Multiple people shared with me how upset they were at hearing how Justin referred to my father in the last week - in very derogatory ways widely sadly ---Oscar told my father...

Baquet’s Big Bubble: This is what happens to a newsman from New Orleans who...

Mild-mannered Dean Baquet, the editor of the New York Times, is mad. Why? Because cable news is biased, especially Fox, and because CNN hired Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, and as a result "was in danger of damaging both itself and democracy." He described Lewandowski as “a political shill." Gosh, cable news is biased. What insight. It's a tragic turn of events given the honorable history of cable news -- like that time that Chelsea Clinton was hired by MSNBC for $600,000 a year. Here's how the New York Times reported that story -- spoiler alert: the word "shill"...

The 2016 Campaign and Black Ops: Who’s behind dating site that targeted Julian Assange?

As I've written about many times, I'm highly dubious about all these campaign stories that Putin is running Donald Trump, that Julian Assange is a Russian agent, and that Vlad hacked the DNC. Much of the press recycles these charges as if they were fact, not speculation, and even more astonishing is that people who pride themselves on being liberals and leftists have accepted the stories at face value because they so desperately want Hillary Clinton to win. Do I know that these stories are false? No, I don't. But I do know that the two main sources of information...

Nothing to see here: Just total corrupt relationship between Clinton Foundation and Teneo

No matter how awful his opponent, Donald Trump during this campaign has shown himself to be unfit to win the presidency. You can't offend almost every African-American and Hispanic voter, as well as a sizeable majority of women (among others), and then credibly claim that you can lead the country. I believe Trump's foreign policy and trade proposals are far better than Hillary's but at this point a victory by him -- and that's clearly not going to happen -- would validate the hateful things he has said during the campaign, especially the past month. Sure, Hillary's campaign set him...

Think Tank Insider Spills Beans on Pay-to-Play System

I've written a lot about pay-to-play think tanks, whereby big donors get all sorts of perks and are allowed to influence specific projects, even those in which they have a financial stake. What's great for donors is that think tanks usually don't disclose their contributors so the public doesn't even know who's behind the allegedly independent ideas they promote. In other words, many think tanks basically serve as undisclosed lobbyists for big contributors. I spoke to one think tank insider who described the way the system worked and the  resulting intellectual corruption. This person -- and I'll have more from him soon --...

John Podesta Needs a Serious Fashion Upgrade

OK, I'm going to level with you. My week kind of sucks and I'm working on a couple of big stories for Washington Babylon but I want to post an item. The good news(*) is this is a great story about the Center for American Progress, the think tank founded by über sleaze John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. He's been in the news, some of you may know, because Vlad Putin hacked his embarrassing emails. At least that's what Hillary Clinton claims; it's also possible that a 400-pound private citizen sitting in his basement did it, as Donald Trump has claimed about...

Clinton Surrogate Ran Business That Allegedly Moved Dirty Money Into Florida

I have a story today in the New York Observer that looks at Freddy Balsera, a leading surrogate and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton who ran a business with an Argentine businessman, Carlos Molinari, who has been indicted for moneylaundering. The two men founded a company called Global Development Consultants that Argentine prosecutors believe funneled dirty money directly into the United States. Balsera is a director of Correct The Record, a Super PAC that attacks Hillary’s critics. For example, it heavily promoted the “Bernie Bros” meme, which suggested that  Sanders’ supporters were a bunch of deplorable misogynists. Incidentally, Correct the Record was created by David Brock, the...

Release the Transcripts! “Journalist”/Clinton surrogate Ezra Klein nets $30,750 for a single speech

For months I’ve tried to write about Ezra Klein, the founder of Vox, the nest of nerdy, privileged kids who think that politics and government is super neat. I’ve had a hard time publishing anything because Klein, a leading Hillary Clinton journalism surrogate, is at this point well beyond parody. How can you possibly satire a dweeby hipster wannabe who wears a black T-shirt for a video segment that may as well have been a Hillary campaign ad? (Make sure to read viewer’s comments; they were not impressed.) Or who does a lengthy story on Hillary, featuring a whiffle ball...

Liveblogging the Great Debate

1004: Trump: "We put up the American flag." There is a limit to human degradation. Good night. 1001: Hold on. I want to hear Hillary lie about the Clinton Foundation. 1000: There is a limit to human degradation. Good night. 946: Cubs up 4-0! 941: "I've never seen people as distraught" as Bush administration officials with economic collapse. She needs to get out more. 932: "Hillary, you have no idea." 930: If the US and Russia went after ISIS, that would be great. First thing that either one said that made sense tonight. 929: This is just sad. 928: Ouch. 225K for a speech. But Hillary says she...

Goldman Sachs and Other Potential Conflicts of Interest at Clinton Foundation ID-ed by Doug...

One of the little discussed Podesta emails shows how a number of Clinton insiders became worried about possible conflicts of interest at the family foundation after Chelsea Clinton herself raised concerns. The email -- if legitimate, naturally --could spell problems because it suggests that a number of insiders may have personally cashed in through their work at the Foundation, which is a big no-no under IRS non-profit rules. The November 13, 2013 email was sent from Doug Band to Cheryl Mills. The latter worked as one of Hillary's top aides at the State Department while simultaneously doing sensitive work for the foundation. Band was a founder...

A Stroll Down Memory Lane: The Clintons’ Passionate Friendship with Alvaro Uribe, man who...

I had a story in Fusion last week about the Clinton Foundation's dismally meager achievements in Colombia and Bill's relationship with Canadian businessman Frank Giustra. The latter, who is said to be the Clinton Foundation's biggest donor, has extensive business interests in Colombia and has traveled there numerous times with Bill Clinton. The Fusion story briefly mentioned Hillary and Bill Clinton's friendship with former president Alvaro Uribe. The latter, who is said to have close ties to Colombia's paramilitary death squads, left office in 2010 but recently emerged to scuttle a peace agreement that would have put an end to more than fifty years of war....

University of Georgia Undergrad Knows More About Syria than Clinton or Trump

If you’ve been following the presidential campaign, you know that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has the slightest idea of what’s going on in Syria. Clinton thinks ratcheting up U.S. military action there will turn the country into a thriving democracy, just the way things worked out in Iraq and Libya. Trump is confused about Syria, like just about everything else. Here’s what he said during the second debate. Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a powerful nation and a rich nation, very quickly, very,...

Hillary and the Deplorables: A less than passionate embrace

In August, we wrote about how Hillary Clinton used the Flint Water Crisis for political gain and how her “initiative” to help the victims was pure campaign circus. Now, the Podesta Emails confirm that Hillary's Flint appearance was about creating a "perception of passion." Her campaign was looking for more opportunities for the candidate to pose with the plebes in order to make her look more compassionate than her then campaign rival, Bernie Sanders. In this email thread, campaign consultant Gina Glantz wrote that "the trip to Flint was brilliant" and that "etting ahead" of Sanders on "caring" was an exercise that should be repeated. There must...

Note to Bill Clinton Spokesman: Thanks for your comments

I had a story yesterday in Fusion about the Clinton Foundation’s programs in Colombia, where it brags about helping the poor but, as I saw when I visited the country earlier this year, has accomplished pathetically little on the ground. Its main activity -- in addition to running a private equity fund out of the foundation offices -- seems to be training people for minimum wage jobs that leave them in poverty. Meanwhile, Canadian stock promotor Frank Giustra, who is reportedly the Clinton Foundation’s largest donor, made a fortune in Colombia in the energy and mining sectors with some...

Clinton Foundation’s Biggest Donor Ran “Concentration Camp for Workers” in Colombia, Called in Army...

I have a story out in Fusion today that details how the Clinton Foundation and it's biggest donor -- Frank Giustra, a penny stock artist un-lovingly nicknamed the "Poison Dwarf" by a former stock-fraud investigator -- raped and pillaged Colombia, where I traveled earlier this year. Giustra's cause was aided by Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state met with then-President Alvaro Uribe, who had close ties to death squads and was notoriously corrupt. Shortly after the meeting, Giustra won valuable energy concessions in Colombia. It will hardly come as a surprise that the Foundation's programs in Colombia were marketed as being beneficial to...

Syria: Where there’s oil, there’s fire

With Hillary Clinton pushing for a no-fly zone over Syria that is almost guaranteed to start a shooting war with Russia and Donald Trump saying one thing while his Party's platform says another, it would be helpful at this point if the public understood the bigger picture behind the fighting. Is the conflict in Syria really about where ISIS stands on the battlefront? And how does oil, which the West still depends on for energy needs, fit into the picture? Dr. Richard Lobban, a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Rhode Island College and adjunct lecturer at the Naval War College in Newport, shared with...

Kurt Eichenwald: Campaign’s worst hack (so far)

I’ve followed presidential campaigns for years and it’s never been an uplifting experience, but this year has marked a genuine low for the media. The basic problem is that the lion’ share of journalists covering the campaign are actively rooting for Hillary and are working hand in glove with her campaign to attack Trump while overlooking the Democrat’s own obvious shortcomings. The media may have facilitated Trump’s rise back when he was running in the GOP primaries with its uncritical, circus like coverage that ended up elevating him above the 17 mental midgets he was running against.  But anyone who...

This Campaign Satire Might Save Your Day

Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president. Kenneth Bone wore a red sweater and became a celebrity. The Upper West Side thinks Donald Trump is embarrassing, which we already knew. In other words, the day could not be any worse. Oh yeah, a big chunk of India reportedly has disappeared. Anyway, there's really nothing new to report and everyone is probably still hungover from the long weekend. Fortunately, waitbutwhy.com has produced perhaps the funniest political satire of the whole campaign. Read the whole thing here. Martha: Hey Donald, remember your Muslim ban? Let’s discuss. Trump: I love Captain Khan. I have his name tattooed on...

Edward Snowden: Man vs. Myth: (Part II of III)

Last week, I discussed here some of the questions surrounding Edward Snowden, the NSA “whistleblower,” who has been embraced by liberals and the left. The uncritical support Snowden enjoys was personally reinforced for me by the hate mail and angry posts on social media that the story generated. Snowden did certainly reveal information that exposed serious abuses and started, to some extent, a national conversation about surveillance and the NSA. But the narrative that he is an altruistic saint has become an article of faith on the left, akin to what the 2nd Amendment is on the right. You can’t raise...

After Destroying Man’s Life, Obama Administration Drops Bogus Case Against Him

I know arms dealers are not generally seen as sympathetic, but you should be worried about the story of Marc Turi. He’s the guy who the Justice Department indicted in 2014 for legally sending weapons to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates but then trying to “illegally” divert them to Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. Turi claimed the shipments were part of a covert operation authorized by the U.S. government when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. He told Politico that he used the term "zero footprint" to describe U.S. arming of the rebels through friendly Middle Eastern regimes...

Millennial Warning: Al Gore is not groovy

One of the great mysteries of modern politics is why millennials have the lowest voter turnout rate of any age group. The U.S. system is vibrant and dynamic — just look at 68-year-old Hillary Clinton and 70-year-old Donald Trump — so why are today’s youngsters not more turned on and tuned in and less dropped out? Who knows, but that reportedly could change now that 68-year-old former Veepster Al Gore is hitting the campaign trail to woo youthful voters who just can't make up their mind in this election. Gore is what 69-year-old Andrea Mitchell of NBC News calls...

It Could’ve Happened: Journalism’s Brave New World

I didn’t think much of the New York Times story on Donald Trump possibly not paying taxes for 18 years, as I noted here yesterday. The Times story rather obviously stretched its conclusions well beyond where its flimsy evidence suggested, but nonetheless provoked a collective orgasm from much of the media. “The mind-blowing scale of Trump’s billion-dollar loss, in one tweet,” Vox explained in one of its more deeply reported stories. Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo and a host of others used the word “bombshell to describe a story that was based on three pages of a 21-year-old tax...

Did the New York Times just get played by Roger Stone or Another Trump...

The story of the campaign at the moment is that Donald Trump has possibly not paid taxes for almost two decades, as the New York Times reported Sunday. The Times based this on Trump’s partial 1995 return, which shows he claimed a $916 million loss on that year — “a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.” There are a few problems with the story. The Times was right to pursue it and Trump’s threats to sue the newspaper are typical of his bluster. But there’s...

Donald Trump Needs to Seriously STFU

In the early morning hours Donald Trump, woke up ready to fight. Donald’s 3 a.m. tweet suggested that the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, has a sordid past and an alleged sex tape and that “Crooked Hillary” aided in her citizenship.    In doing so, he again took the bait that Hillary, Queen of faux liberalism, tossed his way during the debate. Watching the debate, it seemed peculiar when Hillary mentioned Machado, but of course, like her entire performance, it was all part of a well-planned script. (It was no coincidence that the very next day her campaign released an ad...

The Left and Edward Snowden: An infantile disorder (Part I of III)

In the last few months, and especially with the release of the Oliver Stone movie about him, Edward Snowden’s supporters have mounted a furious (and almost certainly doomed) campaign to pressure President Barack Obama to pardon him before he leaves office. On the left, there’s almost universal support for Snowden. As Yahoo recently reported: In recent months Snowden “has appeared on giant screens to a sold-out audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, northern Europe’s largest music festival, a symposium on surveillance and civil rights in Tokyo, and Comic-Con in San Diego. In all of these cases, as with most of...

Six Questions for Pundit Carl Diggler* on Election 2016 and how he made Nate...

This year’s election campaign has made monkeys out of almost every pollster, political commentator and prognosticator in the country. Indeed, there is only one pundit who has emerged from this shit show with an unstained reputation: Carl Diggler, CAFE's Chief Beltway Insider Hack. Mr. Diggler — known as “The Dig” among a small group of elite Washington insiders — is a passionate moderate with a personality to match. If you want charisma and raw animal magnetism, you might prefer Nate Silver of 538, Mark Shields at PBS NewsHour, or John King at CNN. If you want facts and accuracy, Mr....

Shakira, Carlos Slim and Me: A true story

Last week, I published an excellent piece by Andy Smolski about Mexican oligarch Carlos Slim’s influence at the New York Times, where he own 17 percent of Class A shares, and how that might effect the newspaper’s coverage. I suggested a few stories for Times reporters to look into, but suspect they won’t because it would require them being honest in covering one of the richest men in the world and a ruthless businessman who has profited at the expense of his country’s poor and has the nerve to portray himself as a “philanthropist” because he donates a few...

Washington Babylon’s Coveted 2016 Election Endorsement, Part II: The case for Donald J. Trump

Yesterday Washington Babylon published its case for Hillary Clinton, which argued that she is preferable to Donald Trump but urged the nation to not vote in this year’s elections because both candidates are unfit to hold the office of the presidency. As I wrote then, after having watched the debate: If there were any doubts before last night, there are none now. These are two unbelievably shitty candidates, neither whom is fit to lead the country, both whom lie without remorse, and this election is a national and international disgrace. Whatever happens on November 8, the country is fucked…To end...

Gennifer Flowers, Used Again

Before the debate Monday, the Internet was buzzing about the appearance of Gennifer Flowers allegedly orchestrated by Donald Trump. This was billed to be quite the showdown. Ms. Flowers seated up front so she could stare down Hillary Clinton, perhaps causing the robotic candidate to be thrown off her political game. However, what the Internet seems to have forgotten, what we all keep forgetting, is that at the end of a political affair scandal, the big loser is invariably the other woman. Gennifer Flowers came forward during the 1992 Presidential campaign to say she’d had a 12 year affair with Bill...

Washington Babylon’s Coveted 2016 Election Endorsement, Part I: The case for Hillary Clinton

If there were any doubts before last night, there are none now. These are two unbelievably shitty candidates, neither whom is fit to lead the country, both whom lie without remorse, and this election is a national and international disgrace. Whatever happens on November 8, the country is fucked. I have a 16-year-old son who texted me after the debate. He wrote: “I was just sitting and I realized how screwed my generation is after this election. It’s a lose-lose situation.” OK, my son is brilliant and remarkable and probably the smartest kid in history (with the possible exception of...

Remember that Big Story Last Week on Trump’s pro-Kremlin Adviser? It had more holes...

Michael Isikoff of Yahoo had a big story last Friday that got major play, probably because it feeds into the dumb narrative that Donald Trump is a Russian stooge being run by Vladimir Putin. To be clear, Trump is a cretinous, scary clown who is being played by Putin but the idea that he’s a Russian agent is stupid and is being furiously peddled by Democratic Party operatives (and the media) as they desperately try to salvage Hillary’s floundering campaign. The story focused on unofficial Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, “who has extensive business interests in Russia.” It said...

Six Questions for Tevi Troy, the “Master of Disaster,” About the Politics of Catastrophe

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian, former White House aide and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is the author of "What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House" and the new "Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office." Tevi and I have our political differences but Tevi’s always got interesting ideas and as far as I’m concerned he’s a five-star individual. Did you know that LBJ had his staff create preprinted forms authorizing deployment of the National Guard to put down...

Louisiana Politricking, Dirty Tricks and Senator David Vitter

In 2010, during the Louisiana Senate race between then-Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon and Republican incumbent David Vitter, I was approached by a political operative with a tip that Vitter may have engaged in a long-term relationship with a prostitute working under the alias of “London Rayne.” Within a few weeks I was able to make contact with London who denied knowing Vitter, much less servicing him. But after gaining her trust, London told me about “the industry” in New Orleans and Louisiana, which led me down a six-year path researching relationships between politicians and prostitutes as well as the nature...

The New York Times Undercover-ed Reporting on its Mexican Billionaire Benefactor

When the New York Times covers Carlos Slim, which is extremely rarely, they make him out to be a shopkeep, the friendly, goodnatured bodega owner down the street. As it happens, Slim is the ruthless head of a transnational conglomerate, Grupo Carso, who is Mexico’s leading oligarch and one of the richest men in the world. I reviewed the Times coverage of Slim from 1998 to the present and it consists of a grand total of 48 mostly dull, lifeless articles. They offer nary a crumb of information as to the power that Slim wields over Mexico and his global...

Elizabeth Warren’s Political Theater

I admit I’m baffled by all the praise being heaped on Senator Elizabeth Warren for her comments to Well Fargo criminal mastermind and CEO, John Stumpf. She “grilled” him, “ripped” him, “excoriated” him, and “eviscerated” him, ran the headlines. Liberals were particularly rapturous in their praise for Warren, who told Stumpf he should resign and called for his company to be investigated and give back its profits. You know what Warren didn’t do? Anything that really matters. For those of you who, like me, don’t read the newspaper, here’s how the New York Times describes the Wells Fargo story: For years,...

Six Questions for Jim Jatras on “Aleppo Boy,” Atrocity Porn and Our Godawful, War-Loving...

Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat, foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership, and lobbyist comments on financial and foreign policy topics and on U.S. politics in his publication TheJIM!gram. Jim’s views may not appeal to everyone, to put it mildly, and that’s exactly why we like him here at Washington Babylon. He’s smart and funny and better informed than most people out there and we’re not going to blacklist him just because his views — and good luck trying to categorize them — fall outside the official mainstream foreign policy consensus the media is so enamored of. This...

The Accoona Scam: Who bought Bill Clinton’s worthless stock shares for $700,000?

Back in the mid-2000s, Bill Clinton was the spokesman for a now defunct search engine firm called Accoona.com. The company was a self-evident scam. It was founded by a French national named Marc Armand Rousso — though he used a number of aliases — who was convicted of stock fraud in France and the U.S.  Rousso raised $100 million dollars from private and institutional investors to fund Accoona, which he claimed would rival Google, and he owned at least 14 percent of the shares.The company claimed millions of searches per day in its early marketing literature but in reality it...

The 38 Studios Strikeout: Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s momentous raid on state treasury

In Rhode Island, a state known for cronyism and corruption, the 38 Studios scam may go down as one of the greatest ever. And the best part of it all is that it involves the political troglodyte and toxic gas bag known as Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox pitcher and Trump supporter. News broke yesterday that the state and 38 Studio's bankrupt ownership had reached a partial settlement in a case involving $88 million in state bonds issued to support Schilling's company. According to the Providence Journal, the sum total spent by the state on the deal, audits, investigations, and everything else totals...

Anthony Weiner: From late night laughs to potential criminal investigation

Washington Babylon reported several times last month on disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner's continued sexting and said that if underage girls were involved, his conduct should draw a criminal investigation. I knew at the time that Weiner was sexting at least one teen but was asked not to report it -- the source feared being identified -- so I held back the information. Our story led to others in the Daily Mail, the New York Post and many other outlets. Today the Mail has published a long and truly disgusting story that should finally banish Weiner from public sight. The story --...

Donald Trump Jr., Skittles and ISIS’s Captured Syrian Passports

The latest vapid uproar of campaign 2016 involves Donald Trump Jr. posting a tweet that "Compared Syrian Refugees to Poisoned Skittles," according to an AP headline. "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?" said the full tweet. The political context is that Donald Trump "has advocated sharply restraining immigration and has accused opponent Hillary Clinton of advocating acceptance of tens of thousands of refugees," as the AP story noted. "The tweet came as world leaders meeting at the United Nations on Monday approved a declaration aimed...

The Rapturing of Edward Snowden: Oliver Stone’s film is showing at fan clubs nationwide

Here’s the most telling part of the film Snowden. (Fair warning: it’s a spoiler, the first of many.) At the end of the movie, in the middle of a panning shot that passes the cover of an open laptop computer, Edward Snowden suddenly emerges playing himself, supplanting Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s heroic, lock-jawed impersonation of Snowden. There’s the real Snowden, presumably in his apartment in Moscow with director Oliver Stone’s crew, carefully posed and lit in a golden haze, chin tilted up nobly, testifying to his self-sacrifice on America’s behalf, and essentially signing off on the film’s content by participating in it....

Will Mosul be Recaptured? Nope, just pre-election White House spin

For weeks press accounts have talked excitedly about an imminent attack on Mosul, which ISIS captured two years ago and is where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his “caliphate." Retaking Mosul would mark a major victory against ISIS and show that the situation in Iraq is markedly improving. So is it going to happen? Don't bet on it. It's unlikely that Mosul will even be attacked, at least before the election, and the whole storyline appears to be a propaganda exercise by the Obama administration. Here's what a source who was recently in Iraq -- and who has excellent contacts with military and intelligence...

New report details Seth Magaziner’s real estate follies and public pension fraud

The release last Friday of a forensic audit of the Rhode Island public pension system's real estate portfolio reveals a dire situation for state Treasurer Seth Magaziner, son of longtime Clinton power player Ira Magaziner. The audit, prepared by Benchmark Financial Services, was crowdfunded by retirees themselves because Magaziner and other state officials had all but blocked them from obtaining public information they had sought from the state. How bad is the situation? Well, the audit report is titled Beyond Bad and it traces a generation of mismanagement of the pension system that has put retirees' futures at grave risk. It said that it began investing in...

Eight lunch time slobs joined Joe Conason’s Q&A about his canonization of St. Bill...

On Friday afternoon, Joe Conason removed his lips from Bill Clinton’s ass long enough to answer questions from his fans on Facebook about his newly released book, Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton. I pictured old Joe, sleeves pushed up while happily perched behind his computer, bombarded with questions from an eager audience. Alas, he did not generate anything like the passion that the Beatles did at Shea Stadium in 1965. All told, only eight people turned out, excluding the present writer. Most asked friendly questions or just wanted to comment about Donald Trump, or the...

The Lassie Chronicles: In new book on Bill Clinton, Joe Conason finds his inner...

Neither irony nor subtlety figure heavily in Joe Conason’s newly released Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton. In its opening pages Conason describes his hero, on his very first day out of office, defending his pardon of the felonious sanctions-buster Marc Rich before a pack of admiring journalists. “The word ‘pardon’ is somehow almost a misnomer,” Clinton intones. “You’re saying they paid, they paid in full.” The former president was suggesting, Conason writes, that “we ought to be more open-minded” about individuals who have “discharged their debt to society.” How, one might wonder, does Clinton square...

What’s in New DNC Leaks cache? A lot — and here’s a few places...

A hacker (or hackers) has recently released a new cache of material taken directly from the computer systems of the Democratic Party and the materials are simply amazing. There are sixteen individual sub-folders, each worthy of multiple news stories, and they are loaded with goodies. I went to the /pol/ board on 4chan, the high school locker room of the worldwide hacker community, for pointers on what's worth checking out. Perhaps the most interesting folder, labeled "finance," contains three documents. Check out the one labelled "11-26-08 NFC Members Raised.xlsx," which is a spreadsheet that lists major DNC donors dating back to 2008. It looks to...

Exclusive: Trump sought quid pro quo in Florida, just not the one journalists reported...

It’s been widely reported over the past few days that Donald Trump’s Foundation made a $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013 and that as a result she failed to look into complaints about Trump’s for-profit university. But now reporters have found that this narrative doesn’t necessarily hold because, according to the New York Times, Trump made the donation slightly earlier than had been reported, lessening the possibility that the contribution was part of a quid pro quo deal on his for-profit educational venture. Brian Ballard, Trump’s Florida lobbyist, now tells the Times it was “ridiculous” to...

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, aided by assorted Florida Loony Tunes, promotes regime change in Venezuela

Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, you may recall, was forced to resign as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee when hacked documents showed she was rigging the primaries for Hillary Clinton. She was booed off the stage at the party’s convention, in one of the few uplifting moments of this year’s presidential campaign. You would have thought that Wasserman Schultz would be keeping a low profile, but instead she’s busy promoting regime change in Venezuela — or, as Debbie prefers to call it, “respect of constitutional and democratic processes.” That’s part of the title of a resolution that the disgraced...

Six Questions for CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou on the worst election ever and the...

John Kiriakou is the first U.S. intelligence officer to reveal information about the CIA’s use of torture in the “war on terror” and as a result was prosecuted and imprisoned under President Barack Obama. After being released last year, he now lives with his family in Arlington. Read more about his post-prison life here. I recently spoke to Kiriakou about the 2016 election. He had truly interesting insights into why Donald Trump might be even scarier than Hillary Clinton and as disturbed as Saddam Hussein. He also explained why he’s “afraid for my country,” how the U.S. is now in...

How Deplorable Are The Deplorables? Trump’s Secret Lefty Agenda

To think that Donald Trump has any goal as president other than boosting his tawdry brand is naive in the extreme and about as useful as dwelling about whether Santa Claus really exists. Still, his candidacy has revealed a lot about the country's electorate and not all of it is bad news -- Hillary Clinton's offensive, if admittedly not entirely inaccurate, remarks about "deplorables" not withstanding. The excitement generated by Trump's campaign on the part of many working class white voters is an undeniable fact. That it took a semi-lucid billionaire running as a Republican to stir that sector of the electorate...

Six Questions for Ethan Brown, author of Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the...

Ethan Brown is an investigative journalist and author who has written for the New York Observer, GQ, Rolling Stone, Men’s Vogue and The Village Voice. He has written three books that have covered the subculture that created Hip Hop, snitches and the corruption in the legal system, and the true story of the murder-suicide of Iraqi veteran Zachary Bowen. Today marks the release of Ethan’s fourth book, Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? This real life murder mystery highlights misconduct on the part of local police to reports that Louisiana Republican Representative...
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Rhode Island “Reform” Scam, Part II: Treasurer Seth Magaziner screws pensioners, buries the evidence...

The Rhode Island Retired Teachers Association is one of the most innocuous-sounding organizations one could imagine, ranking up there with the Canadian ice growers lobby and the like. What scary political demands are likely to emanate from Sinatra fans whose most audacious requests would normally be demanding that the dry cleaner use extra starch for the brunch tablecloth? More to the point, what mortal threat would state treasurer Seth Magaziner, son of Clinton crony Ira Magaziner, see in this bookish group of pensioners? But then came the great Rhode Island pension reform heist. READ MORE: Clinton Cronies Involved in Biggest Financial Scandal in Rhode Island History:...

Why is this smiling, charming woman so unlikeable? Hillary’s highly dubious explanation

Hillary Clinton was posed picture perfect yesterday for her feature in Humans of New York, in which she recounted a harrowing encounter while taking a law school entrance exam at Harvard in the 1960s. This story was meant to serve as an explanation for why people may perceive her “as aloof or cold or unemotional.” There are a lot of curious things about the story. One is that she’s never shared it before so the timing is curious, and highly convenient since her deadly personality has become a big campaign issue. Second, there’s no way to immediately verify it because...

Six Questions for Anonymous, a former CIA counterintelligence officer who thinks Donald Trump is...

We all now by now that Donald Trump is pretty nuts, but is he literally crazy and technically a narcissist? If so, does that really matter? After all, we’ve had some deranged lunkhead presidents in the past and the country survived. What could possibly go wrong under President Donald Trump? I recently talked to a former CIA counterintelligence officer and we touched on these topics. This interview has been lightly edited* for length and clarity. Also, I always use KGB because nobody has heard of its successor, the Спецслужбы России. Q1: OK, so you don’t like either of the candidates but...

A Former CIA Officer and Hillary Voter Explains, in 82 words, why Servergate Matters

Hillary Clinton campaigns Friday. Photo credit: Adrian Michael Servergate is admittedly sort of hard to follow. All we know for sure is that Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar and that the FBI disgracefully opted not to prosecute her for political reasons and that director James Comey will rot in hell for publicly stating that she was guilty but he wouldn’t prosecute her even though he would prosecute others who did the same thing, thereby making official what we all knew already, namely that we live in a lawless country where rules don’t apply to the rich and powerful. But what, in...

Clinton Cronies Involved in Biggest Financial Scandal in Rhode Island History: An introduction

The sad tale of "pension reform" — less politely put, the construction of a pipeline from the public treasury to Wall Street — provides a unique, panoramic view of Democratic Party corruption through the tiny keyhole of every public sector employee's weekly payroll deduction. In Rhode Island, a Democratic-majority state where the old Tammany Hall machine looks like a Catholic grammar school, it is the biggest scandal in history. And surprise, surprise, leading national Democrats have their fingers in the pie. The story begins in the aftermath of the 2008 collapse of the economy when a ne’er-do-well venture capitalist named Gina...

How Come Loretta Lynch Cut Sweetheart Deals with Colombian Cartel Leaders? Plus: Mila Kunis,...

Over the past few year, four leaders of Colombia’s brutal El Dorado cartel were arrested by U.S. authorities and subsequently convicted of shipping nearly 1,000 tons of cocaine into the country. Three got unusually light sentences and, for reasons that remain murky, one cartel leader has been quietly released and another will be freed next year. At least two of these strange deals were cut with the involvement of former U.S. attorney and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch, probably in exchange for intelligence information (a tip on Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, one source suspects). But there’s no way to know...

Hillary’s Hilarious Poll Meltdown: Plus: Hold it — you mean Trump could actually win?

I don’t know what’s funnier, watching Hillary plummet in the polls and soar in her unfavorable ratings, or watching her media sycophants frantically try to ride to her rescue. I’ll be honest with you here, I would love to see the look on her face come November if she manages the seemingly impossible and historic task of losing to a clown like Donald Trump. Admittedly, the pleasure would be largely erased by seeing the look on Trump’s face if he defeats Hillary, who, people forget, has managed to win only two elections in her entire political career, both which she...

Lies, Public Opinion Surveys and Deep-Fried Butter: Why you should ignore the polls and...

Throughout the primary season, the polls were consistently off, sometimes significantly, in capturing the outcome of the primaries and caucuses.  This is important because the polls don’t just capture reality, in theory anyway, they help shape it. People want to be on the winning team and being ahead in the polls generally helps build momentum. So if a poll shows Candidate A cruising to victory, more voters will decide to vote for Voter A simply to be with the winner. That effect may be less important this year and especially this fall when for most of us the idea of being...

Two Ukrainian Oligarchs and Two Campaign Aides: The good ones with Hillary ties and...

One the most heavily promoted stories of this year’s campaign is that Donald Trump is a tool of Moscow and no one is pushing it harder than Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Just in the past few days we’ve had stories by numerous outlets regurgitating the idea, including Politico — “Clinton suggests Russia working to elect Trump” — and CNN — “Hillary Clinton: Timing of Russian hack aimed at helping Trump.” The idea that Trump is Putin’s Manchurian Candidate is too ludicrous to take seriously, as Paul Starobin, Business Week’s former Moscow bureau chief, recently wrote here. But it has gained such...

Jeffrey Epstein’s Political and Sex Trafficking Networks: Plus: Help me find a Miami-based Cuban-American...

Before heading out for the weekend, let’s discuss Jeffrey Epstein, America’s best connected political pedophile, shall we? If you haven’t heard of him, Epstein’s the super-sleazy Palm Beach billionaire who was busted some time back and convicted for conspiring to bring underage foreign girls to his estates in the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Or as his 2008 plea deal put it, to ”knowingly and willfully conspiring with others known and unknown to… persuade, induce, or entice minor females to engage in prostitution.” I’ve previously written about Epstein’s ties to Bill Clinton and to Donald Trump. Neither Clinton...

As Labor Day Nears, Let’s Thank Unions for making Hillary the Democratic nominee!!!! Oh,...

I used to love the Monty Python Show when I was a young lad and I remember one segment that mocked those brain-dead Sunday TV shows during which bland, predictable journalists and “expert” panelists gather to discuss the week’s events. In this segment, the host introduced several military officials and then portentously asked: “Generals, a question. Would the outcome have been any different at Waterloo had Napoleon had B-52s?” Naturally, this led to a spirited debate about whether Wellington would still have prevailed if Napoleon had had modern air power to call on. So today I’m hosting an on-line pre-Labor...

Hopelessly Incompetent Media Can’t Find Clinton Foundation Quid Pro Quos: Here’s one — and...

One of the major foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation is a Nigerian billionaire named Gilbert Chagoury, who’s best known for helping former dictator Sani Abacha hide vast sums of money offshore. Chagoury, who has an estate in Los Angeles, has long-time connections to the Clintons and has contributed at least $1 million and up to $5 million to the foundation. According to a recent Los Angeles Times story, Bill Clinton’s White House aide and go-fer, Doug Band, pushed for access for Chagoury after Hillary Clinton took over at the State Department in 2009. Band, who essentially ran the foundation...

How Did a New Orleans Escort Linked to Senator David Vitter End Up Dead...

Not so long ago I wrote here about how male politicians involved in sex scandals tended to fare better than the women they were involved with, citing, among others, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. I mentioned that Vitter — who was a Families Value Man and by some accounts a pamper-wearer — was reported in 2007 to have been a client of brothels in New Orleans and D.C. His name first surfaced when his phone number was found in a list of records of a company run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the “D.C. Madam.” In 2008, when she was facing...

Alert: Stories on Doug Band, Bill Clinton shoeshine boy, about to blow

I'm hearing from multiple stories that major news outlets are finally embarrassed about their shameful pro-Hillary bias in the presidential campaign and are loading up stories on the Clintons that will be run imminently. One chief target is Doug Band, the long-time White House aide to Bill Clinton who effectively ran the Clinton Foundation until April of 2015. “Band was the all-purpose aide who carried the bags, provided the pen, watched the clock, kept the cigars close, and ensured the Diet Cokes were always chilled, the New Republic reported in 2013. “And after the inglorious end of Clinton’s presidency, Band had stayed...

Bill Clinton and the Case of the Two Mysterious Blondes: How I helped cover...

Long-time reporters in Washington will often tell you that journalists used to cover up the sexual peccadilloes of politicians but don't do it any more. These boring drones will invariably cite JFK's years in the White House and note that there were a stream of women going in and out of the president's quarters, yet reporters protected him and kept in all confidential. That much is true and by some hard-to-gauge yet thrilling accounts JFK is the biggest whore to ever occupy the White House -- bigger even than Bill Clinton. But what's not true is that reporters have stopped covering...

Does Trump Have a Diet Pill Problem? Does Hillary Have Neurological Problems? A guide...

Both presidential candidates and their minions recently have begun urging friendly reporters to run dubious material about their opponent's rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health. There's so much shit being slung it's hard to separate fact from fiction. That both candidates are of unsound mind and body is apparent to even casual observers, such as myself, but not all the rumors are necessarily true. Some, in fact, seem outright loopy. However, let's explore a few that have recently gotten attention and that may or may not be credible. By some accounts, Hillary Clinton is suffering from Parkinson's, gonorrhea and everything in between. Based...

Feeling down? Need a picker-upper? Yes, Trump could still win

The other day I posted an interview with one of the globe’s leading experts who pretty much flatly said Hillary Clinton has the election sewn up. Now I’ve spoken to another of the globe’s leading experts and he disagrees so for people out there who are totally disgusted with the prospect of a Hillary Clinton victory in November — and I would put myself at precisely 50 percent in that camp — here’s some good news. This expert asked to speak off the record, but here’s what he said, lightly edited: To lose, Hillary will have to totally fuck this up,...

Why We Need More Athletes Like Colin Kaepernick: And why journalists should do a...

The vile backlash against Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers great quarterback, is one of the ugly manifestations of the racism that has been dredged up during Election 2016. This, of course, follows of the heels of the equally moronic uproar caused by Olympic gymnast Gaby Douglas for daring — the nerve!!!! — to not put her hand on her heart during the national anthem at the Rio Olympics. Poor Gaby had to apologize to appease  the electronic mob that was threatening to destroy her. If you haven’t been following this, last Friday night Kaepernick, who is half African-American, defended his position...

Latest on Tom Brady’s Troubled Summer: Clear ties to Hitler exposed

Just when it seemed like things couldn't get any worse for Tom Brady, now new and unreported photographic evidence of the quarterback's ties to Adolf Hitler has emerged. For the New England Patriots, the evidence presents a dilemma: should they dismiss the serial-cheating Brady or keep him on despite the shocking photographs that were found over the weekend at a bunker outside of Berlin, and reported here exclusively.* You'll probably be reading more about this in the New York Times (without attribution, as usual), the Washington Post, Libel and Slander Weekly and other prestige outlets, so without further adieu, here are...

Six Questions for Charles Ortel about the Shady University that paid Bill Clinton $17...

We’ve heard a lot about problems surrounding Trump University, which sounds like a pretty big scam. We’ve heard a lot less about Baltimore-based Laureate Education, which is one of the world’s largest for-profit schools. Unlike its major American competitors, most of its operations are overseas in little regulated countries. Its main area of business is Latin America, where it has more than 30 schools. On the campaign trail, of course, Hillary Clinton is a staunch critic of privately run universities and has claimed as this excellent Sunday Times story put it yesterday, that students “find little support once they actually...

Anthony Weiner Appears to be Down for the Count: Washington Babylon’s debut story sinks...

A few weeks back Washington Babylon brought news to the outside world about former congressman Anthony Weiner's continued problems keeping his weiner in his pants instead of sending pictures of it to young woman. The New York Post's Page Six has picked up the story and run with it and has an item out today that hit Weiner -- and wife and Hillary staffer Huma Abedin -- like a kick in the balls. In fact, it's now being reported that Huma has finally come to her senses and has dumped Weiner. (At least if CNN and the Washington Post can...

Let Them Drink Lead: So whatever happened to Hillary’s primary season Flint Initiative?

As the primaries were starting to heat up last March and Bernie Sanders was starting to look like an actual threat to Queen Hillary’s coronation, the Democratic monarch  felt she needed to spring into action. On March 6, two days before the Michigan primary, she stood next to her primary opponent on the CNN Democratic debate stage and made an impassioned plea to residents of Flint — and to the liberal suckers she panders to whenever she needs their support — by promising to help victims of the city’s contaminated drinking water crisis. “The state should be sending money immediately...

The Op-ed Industrial Complex: At least one sector of the economy is humming

When most people see an online or newspaper op-ed they very naturally assume that it was written by the person whose name is on the byline. They are badly mistaken. Most political op-eds have been crafted by lobbyists, PR flacks and other political operatives. Then a big-name is recruited to put his or her name on it and it is handed off to news outlets for publication. But it's even worse than that. Not only are these op-eds generally bogus in terms of authorship, they frequently have a specific purpose in mind, and it's rarely a high-minded one such as the...

Clinton Foundation profiting off AIDS victims: Yet again, this time in the South Pacific

Read this great item by Michael Smith, about the Clinton Foundation's horrifying conduct in Papua New Guinea. Here's a lightly edited excerpt: By the mid-2000s PNG had a raging HIV/Aids epidemic, with TB outbreaks closely following. The proximity of our two countries made PNG's problem Australia's problem too. And Australia budgeted hundreds of millions of dollars to fight it.  When he launched Australia's partnership with the Clinton Foundation in February 2006, Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said: 'Our partnership with the Clinton Foundation will build on the Foundation's impressive track record to provide practical assistance with procurement, supply chains and health system...

Crooked Tom Brady and his Crooked Coach: A request for research help

Tom Brady. For me, like for the majority of people in the world, there are no two words that provoke greater outrage, wrath, disgust and rage. Some people think I’m even obsessed with Tom Brady. But that’s ridiculous. True, I hate him. But why does that make me any more obsessed than anyone else? Gosh, I’m sorry, but what is it with these forgive-and-forget critics? What, are they over Hitler, too? Anyway, to say I have been pleased to see Tom Brady has been undergoing a difficult summer would be understating the case significantly. For those not following events carefully,...

Trump Campaign CEO Produced Palin Hagiopic: Critics agree, one of worst films in all...

  What is it about conservatives and Hollywood? They moan and whine that TinselTown bigwigs are mostly blithering, blathering bleeding hearts -- which is generally true; see for example, the wonderful movie Team America -- but a lot of them long to be hot shot producers and directors too. I recently wrote here about the short, less than illustrious producing career of Trump's recently resigned top campaign advisor, Paul Manfort. Now I've learned, from an alert Washington Babylon reader whose name I don’t know, that Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon is not only off his rocker but he also produced what...

You’ve Always Wanted a Dream Job at a Prestige News Outlet: Apply now!

Writer/Research Assistant(s) for WashingtonBabylon.com Location: Washington D.C. (some flexibility there) Pay: Unpaid but plenty of opportunities for bylines and real journalism. Plus editor-in-chief periodically picks up drink tab Description: Exciting opportunity to work with me, an investigative journalist formerly with the Los Angeles Times and Harper’s Magazine and currently a contributing writer to VICE and a columnist for the New York Observer. I've just launched WashingtonBabylon.com, which you're reading right now. No making coffee here, a job, so to speak, with Washington Babylon involves investigative research for articles involving major politicians, celebrities and scandals. Interns will also line up and conduct interviews with hot-topic experts and...

Alternative History: Had the neo-cons been in power in the 1940s, would Hitlerian hellspawns...

In the run-up to the Iraq War, top Bush administration officials and neo-con war advocates, everyone recalls, forecast that the whole thing would be a “cakewalk." It didn’t quite turn out like that, as I recently noted here and at TNR. At this point, it’s hard to imagine how the invasion could ever have led to anything remotely positive — “nation-building” is one of the dumbest concepts in history — but during interviews last year two former senior CIA officers made a strong case for it. One said: “Before the invasion I’d talk to people in the Senate about it...

Trump, the Manchurian Candidate: One of Election 2016’s crudest smears

By PAUL STAROBIN Idiotic is one of the milder words that come to mind on hearing Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, brand Donald Trump “a puppet” of the Kremlin. Mook did so this past Sunday on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” even though by then, Paul Manafort, Trump’s supposed link to Moscow, according to this fevered line of thinking, had already resigned from his role as campaign chairman. This is an obvious smear—an accusation that needs to be separated from the not-implausible charge that Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network. The “Manchurian Candidate” meme—Paul Krugman suggested...

Six Questions for Ari Rabin-Havt: Does Trump Have a Snowball’s Chance in Hell of...

If you’re rooting for Donald Trump, you’re likely saying to yourself that the media is biased against him and that the polls aren’t reliable and that, sure, he may have a tendency to say dumb stuff but in the end he’s going to win the election because people hate Hillary Clinton. You’re right about all of that except for one thing — at least according to Ari Rabin-Havt, one of the leading political analysts of this or any century. What follows are the key points Ari made last night when I asked him if Trump could win. This interview has...

Breaking: Trump is Dropping Out of the Race! Uh, sorry, Hillary Bros but that’s...

There’s recently been a media/celebrity thread arguing that Donald Trump is going to drop out of the presidential race because he knows he can’t win. That’s why, it is said, he’s been yelling and screaming about how rigged the election is. Variants of this story have been published by Politico, the New York Times and many other outlets. On Monday, Vanity Fair published a story about a recent segment by John Oliver. “The crux of Oliver’s argument looks a lot like the argument Seth Meyers made in June (which itself was similar to something South Park said long before that),”...

Donald Trump 💘 Vladimir Putin: How the DNC and media created a bogus narrative...

Part 1: Did Russia really hack the DNC? Meet Cyberclown James Lewis One of the leading stories of the presidential campaign is that Donald Trump is in bed with Vladimir Putin and that if elected president he and Russia’s leader will effectively be partners in international crime. Trump has said things about Putin that have fueled this narrative, but it’s rather curious, given that he and Putin are allegedly thick as thieves, that Trump has been so unsuccessful at getting approval for any of his fervently pursued business ventures in Russia. One of the key subplots of the media narrative is...

Whore Off!!!™ Dana Milbank vs. Sean Hannity

Fleshy, pasty Yale graduate Dana Milbank, one of the more annoying journalists of this or any era, had a typically moronic column in today’s Washington Post titled “Sean Hannity, Trump’s spin ‘Doctor’.” Don’t get me wrong here, Sean Hannity is also immensely grating, to put it mildly, but if forced to pick sides here I think I’d have to go with Hannity in this rare instance. Reading Milbank, who looks like he hasn’t seen sunlight in years, is about as much fun as inserting your own hand into a waffle iron. He began his column by mentioning that Hannity had...

Who Lost Iraq? Plus: Meet the Indiana company, and Corporate Friend of Hillary, that...

I have a story in the September issue of The New Republic about how corruption helped create a failed state in Iraq and led directly to the rise of ISIS. Most of the media has lost interest in Iraq — even as it has collapsed as a direct result of the United State’s glorious “nation-building” exercise there and the neocon architects of the war are being rehabilitated by Hillary Clinton — so a lot of little things about the country go largely unreported. For example, a report issued last March by the Iraqi parliament’s auditing committee said that the country’s defense ministry has...

A Gawker Post-Mortem: The inside story of the trial, its dirty PR campaign and...

The Pinellas County courthouse sits in a rectangular 1960’s glass and concrete structure, the bad execution of International style architecture so prevalent in Florida. The fronds of the royal palms dotting the neighborhood sway slightly in the briny breezes off the Gulf of Mexico, just a few bucolic blocks away. Not much of national interest happens at the courthouse. Negligence cases arising from fender benders, financial disputes between small businessmen, the occasional divorce. All that changed in October of 2012 when Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea brought his privacy case against Gawker to Pinellas County. While the larger Tampa Bay area is...

Paul Manafort, RIP: My first hand, very personal and painful ordeal

When future historians seek to compile a Top Ten list of people who brought about the political, economic and moral collapse of the United States, they will undoubtedly want to take a long and loving look at Paul Manafort. Until a few months ago, when he was named to run Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he was largely unknown to the U.S. public. But there are few among us who can better claim to encapsulate the money worship and general amorality of contemporary times than Manafort. Tragically, Manafort was humiliated and forced to resign from the Trump campaign today. “Tragically?” you...

Gawker: Cry for the unemployed journalists, not for the First Amendment

A note on today's news about Gawker. I’ll be posting more on this soon. There are some nice people at Gawker and I'm sorry they're going to be out of work, but there are a lot of assholes there, too, led by Nick Denton. People who think the Gawker case is about free speech -- especially people on the left -- have no clue what they are talking about. Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel may be assholes, but this case is about privacy rights, not the First Amendment. Sympathy for Nick Denton and Gawker is badly, badly misplaced. I generally hate to...

Paul Manafort: Trump advisor, “homosexual” lifestyle promoter and real estate baron

I had a piece in Fusion yesterday about Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign advisor, co-authored with the wonderful Adam Weinstein. The main thrust of the story is captured in the headline: “How Trump aide Paul Manafort got ridiculously wealthy while aiding a Ukrainian strongman.” Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Ukraine’s newly formed anti-corruption bureau has raised questions about alleged under-the-table cash payments of $12.7 million to Manafort from Ukrainian government clients, dating back to the days when he worked on behalf of President Viktor Yanukovych. The latter took off for Russian in 2014, when the country was...
U.S. supplied Shia militiaman stands with his Sunni victim.

An Alternative History of ISIS: No, Obama didn’t “found” the terrorist group but it...

With the United States focused on the most darkly comic presidential election in modern history, a far scarier entertainment continues to unfold in Iraq, which is in a process of steady and likely irreversible collapse. Iraq’s looming demise is evident but it’s been obscured here at home by the media’s waning interest and by the periodic drone strikes and Special Operations assaults against ISIS that keep up the fiction that the U.S. military is helping to maintain a unified, viable country. On a grander scale the Obama administration — whose Iraq policy is to keep it from disintegrating before November...

Against Democracy: To combat future electoral threats, technocratic elite campaigns for direct rule and...

The rise of Donald Trump during this year’s presidential campaign and the results of the Brexit vote have led to a revival of technocratic elitism and anti-democracy sentiments not seen since the days of Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve and before that Samuel Huntington’s The Crisis of Democracy, two books written, inevitably, by Harvard men. The latest incarnation posits that people without sufficient education or income are simply too ignorant to participate in democracy, and that the nation should be led by an emergency committee of Wise Men until the clodhopper class can be trained by them to vote responsibly. This...

From Carlos Danger to “Mongoose”: Ex-Congressman Weiner’s latest sexting problems

The New York Post, which covered our debut item about former congressman Anthony Weiner’s alleged ongoing sexting problem, has two new stories on the subject. The one on Saturday said that the “pervy pol” had recently been sexting with “Nikki,” a hot young student, and bragging about being “deceptively strong,” like a “mongoose.” Yeah, no doubt about it, a man comparing himself to a mongoose is a time-tested pick-up line guaranteed to bring results. And it did. The only problem was that there was no Nikki. The boneheaded Weiner had been catfished by a male college Republican, who wondered how easy it...

Pampered Journalists and an Addled Billionaire: The media’s appalling Clinton bias

Back in 2008, I wrote a story for Washington Babylon, my then Harper’s column, about media coverage of Sarah Palin, who was John McCain’s vice presidential running mate at the time. Palin was no genius, to put it mildly, and there were plenty of grounds to criticize her but some of the media attacks were far more revealing about the journalist boobs who launched them than about Palin herself. I cited a story by Colbert King of The Washington Post which said, “I do not now have–nor am I likely ever to have before departing this vale of tears–the slightest...

Washington Babylon’s Launch a Global Success

So there are a lot of exciting developments here at Washington Babylon. We launched yesterday and Sydney Leather's delightful dismantling of Anthony Weiner was picked up by the New York Post (on the front page and Page Six), the Daily Mail, and the Drudge Report. Not bad for Washington's new and only political and gossip tabloid. There were so many great parts to Sydney's story, but I think my favorite was when she writes, "By this point, the entire campaign knew it was over, other than Weiner himself. He actually wonders out loud if he had more time, would he rebound?...
Anthony Weiner's Penis

Two Thumbs Down on Weiner Doc

The new documentary “Weiner” got great reviews, but any hope I had of gaining genuine insight into my former sexting partner vanished quickly. The film begins with precisely the sort of ass-kissing you’d expect given that it’s co-directed by Anthony’s former Chief of Staff, Josh Kriegman, a political hack who previously worked for President Obama’s campaign and briefly went to work for a well-connected Democratic lobby shop after his boss’s career went up in flames. Krigman and co-director Elyse Steinberg, immediately offer clips of Weiner’s rants on the House floor in an obvious attempt to remind people that once upon...

The Woman Who Deflated Anthony Weiner’s Balls: Meet the real Sydney Leathers

It’s pretty obvious that in most major political sex scandals, the men involved generally suffer minor embarrassment but are able to seamlessly return to public life. The women involved, no matter what the circumstances, are mocked, slut-shamed and forever banished from polite society. Take, for example, David Vitters, the senator from Louisiana and Family Values Man (FVM) who back in 2007 was reported to have been a client of brothels in New Orleans and D.C., and who possibly had a diaper fetish. Personally I don’t care if people wear diapers in their spare time or how much they have to...

Welcome to Washington Babylon

Launching a website or blog is like having a baby. You’re never ready. So I’m soft launching Washingtonbabylon.com now and hope to be fully up-and-running right after Labor Day. What is Washington Babylon? Basically it’s a political and gossip tabloid that’s going to cover DC politicians and journalists like Hollywood celebrities -- not the way they are worshiped by our current media masters, but the way they were mocked and exposed by the great Hollywood tabloid Confidential and by Kenneth Anger in his wonderful, lurid book Hollywood Babylon. I wrote about my plans recently at gofundme and I’ll quote liberally...

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