In a 2-1/2 hour chat with The Duran, Robert and Alexander discussed the developments and significance of various US government legal actions, e.g., Assange, Trump, Project Veritas, etc. They also talked a little about the economic situation, China/Taiwan and the hazards of falling into delusional mindsets generally. The observations are from Robert Barnes except as noted otherwise.
I'm long past caring who the targets of these egregious actions are because it's irrelevant, only a stupid person fails to recognize the broader implications for people they like and for themselves.
The Trump legal case continues to develop in new and interesting directions (about 3:40). I think they may be in court today. The district court assigned the case is actually a Trump appointee and she's already indicated she's likely to grant a lot of the relief Trump has requested.
I don't think the DOJ's last-ditch efforts to salvage it will succeed, at least in a court of law; it was temporarily successful in the court of public opinion, w/version number however many by now that Trump is done, etc. being spread and circulated. Some people on the right took the bait because they don't understand the American federal criminal process.
The official media story this week is that the DOJ, thru a grand jury, had issued a subpoena to Trump and that he'd produced a bunch of classified records saying it was all he had, including records just marked classified whether they were or not. Then they got the search warrant and found a bunch more records, meaning Trump was caught obstructing justice, committing perjury to the grand jury, etc.
But the FBI didn't subpoena Trump, they subpoenaed the Office of Donald J Trump, an organization he set up after leaving office to be a transitionary source with the National Archives. The FBI no doubt did this because they knew that rights and protections Trump was entitled to as an individual did not apply for organizations, LLCs, etc. The organization's Records Custodian signed off that he produced the documents that were in his custody at that time.
And the FBI didn't get a warrant to search the organization, which would be the logical next step, they got one to search Trump's personal residence where they found more documents. That contradiction is dismissed by the media.
I predicted he wouldn't be indicted by Sep 1 and that's today. I don't think he'll be indicted over the fall. But there is a risk because we have a crazy DC political system, a crazy DC grand jury, a politically contaminated process top to bottom that may go
rogue and indict him anyway even though they don't have legal
grounds - there's no evidence he committed a crime.
Back to what we discussed right after the raid, that it was a Deep State raid for Deep State documents and everything that has happened since the raid supports this conclusion.
Note: a summary of this discussion can be found here
What's really weird at this stage is to object to Trump's request for a Special Master. Generally when you're not on the clock when these are Natl Archives docs you're supposed to be concerned about you'd have no problem with this. Special Master: if there's some dispute about the government having possession or custody of documents, a federal districut judge can appoint a lawyer as a "special master" to review the documents and decide whether the government is entitled to them or not, usually in the context of privilege, could be attorney-client but others as well.
Trump is arguing both presidential and attorney-client privilege, said the docs they seized should be removed from DOJ and given to a special master. The fact DOJ is trying to fight this to the point of running a smear campaign against Trump and his pleadings shows they're obsessed with preventing anyone else from seeing these documents - not a judge, not a special master.
My hunch is that they didn't get what they were looking for. I think it's documents that could implicate Deep State activities in the US. One of the key agents running the investigation had to resign this past week rather than be subjected to an inspector general individual inquiry, because he was heavily involved in Russiagate, covering up for Hunter Biden, instructing agents not to investigate Hunter's laptop, He resigned to prevent the inspector general from being legally able to ask him questions.
It's clear the Deep State still considers him an existential threat to their prestige and power. In the process they've woken up a lot of people who had idealized notions about the FBI that had been
ingrained in them. The FBI was created by one of the most corrupt people in American legal history and it has always been the political police.
Alexander: having worked as a lawyer, what people call procedure is the essence of law, the most important part of the legal process. Because if it's corrupted, no outcome can possibly be fair. Second, from my own experience, when something sounds extremely complicated procedurally, the party driving the litigation doesn't actually have a legal case.
With the DOJ releasing the redacted affidavit and then the next day providing information that could have been included in the affidavit but was not, we're only being shown some of the cards, what the DOJ wants us to see - remember legal processes are supposed to be conducted in an open way.
There's an article circulating by Conrad Black (who used to own The Daily Telegraph and was a good proprietor) pointing out that ever since Trump announced he was running for president he's been targeted by one smear and one investigation after another, with the rule book thrown out as these people come after him, and this is being done by the senior agencies of the US government. If this can be done to a former president, who is safe?
Robert: Here you have a custom and protocol dealing with presidential records; the Presidential Records Act, which governs everyone except the president as the courts have previously made clear. It's just a way for the archives to store, digitize and make available for FOIA requests documents in their control created during the presidency.
But the president gets to unilaterally and in a non-reviewable form decide what IS a presidential record and what's a personal record. The President can also throughout his presidency unilaterally declare what is and is not classified. That's because the President is the only Constitutionally-elected officer in the Executive branch, everyone else gets their power from the president.
What's extraordinary is that the Deep State doesn't believe in that, they believe they should have the power and the president is just another regulatory bureaucratic official, and that the president can't decide what is/isn't classified or a presidential record. They believe thiings that are just contradictory to the plain language of our law, our Constitution and also contrary to custom and practice.
The affidavit for the Grand Jury subpoena didn't ask for classified records, they asked for records marked "classified." Anyone who's gone through the FOIA archives knows that documents can be marked classified that aren't any longer, I have some right now in my possession and recall reading an interesting dossier on a certain Mr. Bandera describing exactly who he is, what his movement was about.
It's insanity but it gives you an idea of their mindset. They think they're above the law, that they ARE the law and they're above the elected officials; that they determine what is and isn't secret. The way they've handled this case proves Assange's fundamental
premise - how bad people in government get away with doing bad things on a massive scale - depends entirely on secrecy. And you see how obsessed the State is with the idea that Trump has some of their secrets, ergo the extreme lengths they've gone to trying to get them back.
Robert (about 1:58:50): There's a fascinating federal lawsuit in the US, the lawyers and journalists who met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy (and anyone else who visited him there would have the same grounds to join this suit) have filed suit against Mike Pompeo individually as well as aspects of the CIA and US government, and a "private" security company, It's amazing how Assange, like Trump, sometimes directly but sometimes indirectly exposes how the Deep State operates.
For whatever reason, the Ecuadorian embassy hired a private company to provide security at the London embassy, an invitation to trouble. The private security co. goes to a conference in Las Vegas to a certain hotel - the Venetian Hotel owned by Sheldon Adelson, big Replican donor, obsessed with Israel and w/ties to Mossad. My guess is the secuirty co. was invited to this conference, this was all an operation from Day 1. Guy meets with people who say if you do some stuff for us re Assange, we'll guarantee endless contracts from Deep State operatives in the West. Guy's thrilled, goes back and tells everyone he's hit the jackpot.
So security co. told visitors they couldn't take in their laptops and cell phones; what they didn't tell them was that they were scanning them, downloading EVERYTHING - their private communications from the devices of these journalists and lawyers.
This is going to come up if Assange is extradited to the US, which appears likely. If it's an honest court - which I don't know if he'll get, it's the Eastern District of VA which is notoriously rogue except for one judge (Flynn case) - Assange would have immediate grounds for dismissal. When you have breached the attorney-client privilege and know someone's entire legal defense in advance, there's no Constitutional remedy except dismissal. If you've committed that kind of Constitutional violation, you cannot go forward with a criminal prosecution.
BTW, related to US government assurances made to the British High Court about Assange, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals just last week refused to enforce the extradition limitations in the case of someone extradited from Brazil. The US government doesn't consider these assurances binding and courts don't enforce them so they're worthless.
On Assange, they should dismiss all the charges. They've been spying on his attorney-client communications for years. What this suit reveals is extraordinary Constitutional violations of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments on a regular basis because Assange was known at the time to be represented by a US counsel in a pending criminal case.
What I tell people on the right who aren't Assange supporters is that they were going to use the Assange template just like they used Alex Jones as a template for censorship and for lawfare to justify censorship and lawfare against other dissidents.
They're going after James O'Keefe and Project Veritas on Ashley Biden's diary, even though they didn't publish it. *As with Assange, they're trying to claim the criminal act was not the *publishing of it (which is a lie) but how he acquired it*.
Alexander: Personally I don't think it should be a crime for O'Keefe to publish the diary, but since when has thinking about publishing something been a crime? This is George Orwell territory.
Robert: They're trying to broaden the construct of "unauthorized documents" - if you have access to them, if you solicited them, received them or published them - any of the four, that you've now committed a federal crime. They're doing this by borrowing from statutes that were not meant to apply in this context and creating a new law.
But they're broadening the doctrine of "unauthorized" to consider Ashley Biden's laptop "stolen" when in reality she abandoned it. If I leave something behind I don't get to claim it's mine if someone else gets it. You can legally claim it and get it back but she had not done this. So it was a legally abnadoned property, they can do what they want with it, whether they got paid or not is inconsequential.
To show how politicized it's become, there are two cases where information was published that was known to have been acquired by hacking, but no one is talking about prosecuting the publishers (Nikki Haley's donors, Trump's tax and financial records). So it's only going to be politically disfavored targets.
Alexander: the economic situation here keeps getting worse. Sterling is crashing, we're now close to parity with the dollar. We have a PM who's gone AWOL and is more interested in Ukraine, a new PM coming next week that no one takes seriously. The
situation in Ukraine getting crazier by the day. News coming from there over past 24 hours makes you wonder who's in charge and if anyone is.
(there was discussion about the coming midterms and current polls which I won't cover here)
Robert: More important than the public opinion polls are the recent trends over ecomomic data and the political environment.
Even leftists who have used the models have said Dems are going to get wiped out in the midterms, including in some governor's races.
Alexander: In Britain, the economic situation is borderline catastrophic, there's talk that we may cease to be a stable, 1st rank economic power.
In Germany factories are starting to shut; not being liquidated yet but after a while the owner loses money and can't keep it from permanently shutting down. Stresses building up in the European banking and financial system, good article by Yves Smith. There's a whiff of panic in Europe.
South Korea is considered an economic success story but its currency is under a lot of pressure and its trade deficit is rising. In
China, I think they're going to try to reflate their economy, boost growth as they always do, which will cause oil prices to rise. I think Oct/Nov is when it's going to really hit.
The US, because of its domestic economy, is going to be protected but only to a degree. As Jerome Powell said, the Fed cannot control the supply side, it can implement monetary policy but can't conjure up oil or food or fertilizer or titanium.
Robert: There's a good book, The Big Sort, about the politicization of cultural and lifestyle differences, where you picked
where you lived based on your politics, so the Left self-segregating, moving to urban areas and to certain neighborhoods; the Right did this less but the result was the same because of the Left moving away from them, also in cultural affiliations, religious
denominations, social clubs - being around people who think like you, which is why these people are always shocked when there is a dissident voice.
The Biden administration is bragging about all the job growth, but if you look at it, the labor participation rate is still low because it's people getting 2nd and 3rd jobs. That's not a great economy.
Michael Burrie, the guy behind The Big Short, has sold all his stocks except for prisons;he's saying stock market will have a 50% caliber collapse. Jaime Dimon telling his key investors there's a 30% chance of something worse than a recession (they call that a depression).
Alexander: Central banks want us to think they can control
inflation because if they can't, what's the point of having them?
Everyone who has lived through an inflationary crisis knows it comes from too much money in the economy, along with the supply side problems. The money comes from central banks when they print it and governments when they spend it. And the US
government has been recklessly overspending over the past 2 years, claiming the inflation would only be transitory. It infected the entire global economy - whatever you think of the future.of the dollar, at the moment it remains the world's reserve currency.
If you create a supply side crisis on top of that by imposing sanctions on the world's biggest commodity producer, you're going to make the inflation crisis worse.
China / Taiwan
Robert: Xi's up to be re-nominated head of the CCP, they have massive water problems and major heat wave, and that impacts their food and their hydropower which is critical to what they do, in combination with their insane zero-Covid policy that shuts down the supply chain every couple of months. The risk is that Xi will decide to show that the Chinese military isn't a paper tiger and take back Taiwan for nationalistic purposes, which he has support for.
Alexander: Xi is not going to retreat on Taiwan. I don't think he's looking for a war with the US but he can't be seen to retreat on this.
Now there's talk of a billion dollar arms sale by the US to Taiwan. A breaking point will come, maybe even over the next few weeks and months. I don't think people in the US grasp how precarious this situation is, or that relations between Biden and Xi have completely collapsed - Xi's made it clear he doesn't trust Biden anymore, either that he's incapable of running his administration or flat out lying about US intentions with Taiwan.
Robert: You can be skeptical of and disagree with China's totalitarian system, e.g., the social credit system, but still not favor some kind of war. As McGregor has said, it's a dumb idea so why do it. If the US pushes it, it provides Xi with an easy political pretext and actually puts more pressure on him to act on Taiwan to save face.
McGregor gave the best analysis I've seen from a US (ex-) government source. There's large parts of the world where what happened 200 years ago still matters in their political consciousness, and this is the case with China.
My Sen. Martha Blackburn (TN) has to grandstand and go to Taiwan, then nitwit governor of AZ who couldn't do elections right, he's taking a trip to Taiwan. They all have to get in on the
Taiwan action. Blackburn visited Chiang Kai-shek's memorial, she didn't realize this was controversial even within Taiwan, that Taiwan was a dictatorship for many decades.
In their mindset, Taiwan was a country founded by the "freedom fighters" opposed to Mao, holding onto the torch of liberty, and that's who they still are today, fighting against the big bully China. That's why they're eager to be on the Taiwanese side.
Likewise, those who think Taiwan would welcome a Chinese invasion are nuts, 56% of Taiwanese voted for the independence-aligned party in the last election. OTOH, 40% of Taiwanese want closer ties with China for economic, cultural, linguistic, historical, ancestral reasons, ironically a lot of them tied to the Chiang
Kai-shek regime. 3/4 of the people in Taiwan when Chiang Kai-shek went there were native Chinese, not part of the fleeing Chinese army.
The complexity of Taiwan is not understood at all on the American right. They see it as they see Ukraine, as little guys fighting for democracy and sovereignty against bully Putin. They see Solomon Islands within this context. You have high-ranking Senators and governors and State officials with a delusional
understanding of Taiwan's internal politics, and totally oblivious to the Western imperialistic attempts in the early 19th century to divvy up China which is integral to the Chinese people's knowledge and history. How that history shaped their current belief and risk profile, and the complexity of Taiwan is ignored and
we're seeing the consequences of that ignorance.
Alexander People who say we have to stand by Taiwan need to realize that the relationship between China and Taiwan has
been relatively stable for the past 30-40 years or more, with both sides pretending that Taiwan was part of China, a fiction that has worked up to now, kept things peaceful and allowed both to prosper.
The US is trying to destroy that fiction, but what will it do for Taiwan? What has supporting Ukraine done for Ukraine? It's horrible. Today news that the region of Transcarpathia in western Ukraine is going to have a day of mourning for soldiers conscripted in that region and thrown into this great counteroffensive by Ukraine who were obliterated.
The situation between Russia and Ukraine was stable before we supported the Maidan coup in 2014. The situation between China and Taiwan was stable. We're the ones destabilizing the situation. Whether we're doing it for idealistic reasons or cynical ones it's the people in these countries who pay the greatest price. We're not helping them, we're making their lives impossible and in Ukraine, has resulted in many of them being killed.
Robert: Pompeo was one of the propagandists and provocateurs toward Taiwan, who Trump foolishly made both CIA Director and Sec of State though he now realizes how Pompeo was undermining him through his entire administration.
The enemy of my enemy is not my friend
Robert (remarks made earlier, starting about 1:34:15): To remind my friends on the Left, the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, however they define themselves - there's tendency going back a century for those skeptical of the West, the military adventurism, to embrace their opposition - "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Sometimes he's just another enemy.
Most famously, Noam Chomsky and the Khmer Rouge, defending them, and attacking journalists who were exposing them; also trying to deny the Holmodor in the 1920s and 1930s (Walter Durante of NYT got a prize for it, they got one for Russiagate later as well).
Many in the West thought everything anti-Stalin was just propaganda and they were shocked when Kruschev's speech was leaked; much as they were shocked with revelations about Mao in the 1960s - millions or tens of millions of deaths are on him. Jane
Fonda et al in Vietnam War - you can be against the war without being for the other side.
I often get asked "how can you trust Western sources when you don't trust them on Russia and Ukraine and a bunch of other things." First, it's not Western sources in most cases that I get my information from. But we also have to avoid the trap of thinking that just because the US says something, that makes it either true OR false. That's the problem with people trying to convince me China is a thriving, rule-of-law governing democracy - okay, good luck with that.
We can oppose war but still be realistic and not make the mistake the anti-war Left has made since the 1920s, excusing and apologizing for totalitarian regimes merely because they oppose war and sanctions.
But I see people on the Left starting to think that because of what was said about Ukraine and Russia, everything being said about China is not true.
You can say Chavez wasn't as bad as painted by the West, but recognize there's a lot of corruption with Maduro without relying on the State Dept for a source. A Left-wing documentarian
(Max Blumenthal) went to Venezuela to talk to original Chavez supporters, working class Venezuelans, who are harshly critical of the Maduro regime and say it is corrupt.
It undermines the Left's credibility to apologize for these regimes when the accusations are true. They need to apply the same skepticism toward US statements to China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and anywhere else, try to use disciplined methodologies and original sources where you can get them. This is more difficult with China because it's a censorship-driven society. (abt 1:40:53)
there doesn't seem to be anything here