Congress Quietly Passes New Rule Allowing House Members To Hide Records From Ethics Probes

from the Huffington Post

Just when you thought ethics standards couldn’t get much worse on Capitol Hill… It’s emerged that the House GOP quietly changed a rule last week to allow members to keep their records hidden from ethics or criminal investigations.

The tweak allows politicians to conceal any information members produce — even suspicious expenditures and budgets — if the Office of Congressional Ethics or the Department of Justice investigates them for criminal activity, the Center for Responsive Politics reports.

The change essentially makes a member of Congress the owner and sole controller of any records he or she creates, regardless of whether those documents touch on a public interest, such as use of taxpayer funds or the commission of a crime.

Records created, generated, or received by the congressional office of a Member … are exclusively the personal property of the individual member … and such Member … has control over such records,” the regulation states.

The change granting records control to members was passed without much notice amid news of a plan to gut the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which caused a public outcry but failed to pass.

Under the new regulation, a lawmaker being investigated for misuse of taxpayer funds, for example, might now assert the privilege to withhold spending records from law enforcement authorities. Had that measure existed earlier, certain accounts might not have been accessible for corruption investigations that resulted in charges against members of Congress.

[read more here]

Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressives”: as Apologists for the Neocon-Neoliberal Empire, You Are as Evil as the Empire You’ve Enabled

by Charles Hugh Smith, from Of Two Minds

Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressive”: I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment’s Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they’re destroying the nation and everywhere the Empire intervenes.

While you squandered your political capital defending zero-cost causes like “safe spaces on college campuses,” the Empire was busy killing, maiming and making refugees of women and children in Syria. President Obama and his Neocon crew (former Secretary Hillary Clinton included) aren’t fools; they rely on drones and proxy armies to do their dirty work.

Neoliberalism is the Establishment’s core ideology, and by supporting Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, you furthered, defended and rationalized the Empire’s neoliberal expansion and exploitation. Neoliberalism’s Big Lie is transforming everything into a market makes everyone richer.

The dirty little secret of Neoliberalism is that the markets it creates are rigged in favor of Elitist cronies. If you can set aside your “progressive” blinders for a moment (Bill and Barack could do no wrong for 16 long years of neoliberal exploitation), you might learn that the Presidents and party you supported ushered in the era of neoliberal pillage as public-private partnerships, Philanthro-Capitalism, and rigged markets that enriched the elitist Establishment you defend at the expense of the bottom 95% non-elites.

[read more here]

‘Clinton email leak done by insider, not Russia’ – frmr UK diplomat & whistleblower

Sickening State Department Spokesman Says Previous Lies from the Intel Industry Aren’t Relevant Today Because… Reasons (I beg to differ)

by Scott Creighton

“But the intelligence was being FIXED AROUND THE POLICY” Downing Street Memo

Image result for yellow cake from niger

The intellectual depravity that is our foreign policy these days was on display yesterday as State Department spokesman, John “big shoulder pads” Kirby, answered some questions relating to the evidence-challenged intel report on Russian hacking that was released on Friday (see video at end of this article)

Kirby said it would be “irresponsible” for the CIA or other intelligence agencies to provide actual facts regarding their inflammatory claims about Russia interfering with our elections. He went on to say previous lies about Iraq WMDs which led to the illegal invasion and occupation of that country aren’t “relevant” to today’s unsubstantiated claims about Russia.

Besides, according to Kirby, the American people don’t need and or want any actual evidence when it comes to our chicken-hawk politicians fanning the flames of World War with Russia. We would rather our intelligence industry protect their sources for future lies, rather than produce concrete evidence to back up their highly inflammatory and currently baseless claims.

“Look… nobody’s saying there weren’t “mistakes” made back in 2000, 2001… but that was what? 15 years ago?… I think to paint them with the same brush is highly unfair”

“Mistakes” Mr. Kirby?

Declassified Documents and Key Participants Show the Importance of Phony Intelligence in the Origins of the Iraq War – National Security Archive, George Washington University

This was a LIE not a mistake: “There’s not just one of those, there are MANY of those!” Donald Rumsfeld

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This was a LIE, not a mistake, and there was not just ONE of those, there were MANY OF THOSE Mr. Kirby and I’m here to tell you, it is not irrelevant.

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