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TBR News October 31, 2018

Oct 31 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. October 31, 2018: ”Extensive e-mails from very far right organizations and individuals to a friendly source make it very clear that all of them are entrenched and very, ferociously, loyal to Trump.

The more established entities all speak of Trump’s dislike of blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and Jews and urge their supporters to vote for only Republican candidates in the coming mid-term elections.

Trump’s financial support of Willis Carto can be found in a collection of letters and photographs we have seen copies of and which are being prepared, their owner says, for general publication.

Trump has yearned for a Hitler-type parade in Washington with himself standing alone on a reviewing platform.

An interesting question would be: Does he want the marching troops to goosestep as they pass the reviewing stand?”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 66
  • Which countries grant unconditional birthright citizenship?
  • In Campaign’s Homestretch, Trump Tosses Out Ideas to See What Sticks
  • The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  •    What’s the Psychological Impact of Overpopulation? Here’s a Horrific Experiment
  •    Jamal Khashoggi Died for Nothing

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 66

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Apr 13, 2018

“Over the last year, nearly 100 per cent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.”

Source: Address on military strikes against Syria

in fact: While it is true that nearly all of the land once held by ISIS has been freed, it is not true that all of this territory was liberated over the past year, beginning in April 2017, or even since the beginning of 2017, when Trump took office. Noted Factcheck.org: “According to analytics and consultancy firm IHS Markit, near its height in January 2015, the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria covered about 35,000 square miles. By January 2016, that had been reduced to about 30,100 square miles. By the time Trump took office in January 2017, ISIS-controlled territory had shrunk to about 23,300 square miles.” The Associated Press noted: “IS was pushed to the point of collapse in Mosul, its main Iraqi stronghold, before Trump took office. In 2016, Iraqi military forces, supported by the U.S.-led coalition, waged successful battles to oust IS from Fallujah, Ramadi, eastern Mosul and a number of smaller towns along the Tigris River.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“DOJ just issued the McCabe report – which is a total disaster. He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: The claim that “McCabe is Comey” almost seems too nonsensical for a detailed fact check, but it is worth pointing out just how nonsensical it is in the context of the report to which Trump was referring — in which a central issue is that Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director, and James Comey, the former FBI director, offered very different accounts of their conversations. The report, by the inspector general of the Department of Justice, found that McCabe “lacked candor” in four instances in which he discussed his role in providing information to a newspaper reporter. One of the four instances was a conversation with Comey; another one of the instances was an interview under oath with investigators in which he discussed a conversation he had with Comey. In both cases, McCabe was found to have “lacked candor” essentially because the inspector general believed Comey’s account over McCabe’s. McCabe’s lawyers were unhappy with this decision, arguing that the report “paints Director Comey as a white knight carefully guarding FBI information, while overlooking that Mr. McCabe’s account is more credible.”

“Virtually everyone in Washington thought he (James Comey) should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: This is an obvious exaggeration. While Comey had been criticized by both some Republicans and some Democrats, especially during the 2016 election, few were calling for Trump to fire him in 2017. While some may have privately wanted a firing, this was far from a consensus view in Washington.

“Started the Wall in San Diego, where the people were pushing really hard to get it. They will soon be protected!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Only prototypes of Trump’s border wall have been erected in San Diego; no construction of a permanent, extended wall has begun. In addition, there is no indication that the people of San Diego are pushing for the wall. San Diego’s government does not favour a wall; its city council voted 5-3 in September to express opposition, and even the Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer, has stated that he is opposed: “Mayor Faulconer has been clear in his opposition to a border wall across the entirety of the U.S. southern border,” a spokesperson said in September. While there has not been specific polling on the views of the residents of San Diego in particular, Californians on the whole do not favour the wall; a September 2017 poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, for example, found that 73 per cent of California adults were opposed.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

  • Apr 15, 2018

“Just hit 50% in the Rasmussen Poll, much higher than President Obama at same point.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump is right about his own 50 per cent number in the latest Rasmussen tracking poll — which is known for its consistent lean toward Republicans, but nonetheless. He is wrong, however, that 50 per cent is “much higher” than Obama’s number at the same point. Trump hit 50 per cent on April 13, 2018. On April 13, 2010, Obama was at 49 per cent in the Rasmussen poll. Obama hit 50 per cent the next day.

Trump has repeated this claim 5 times

“Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump’s “in other words” translation is simply nonsensical. Comey wrote in his book that his controversial late-campaign decision to publicly announce that the FBI was again investigating a matter related to Clinton’s emails, rather than to stay silent about the revival of the investigation, was influenced by his perception that Clinton was likely to win the race. (He said he was concerned about “making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation.”) This decision was furiously criticized by Clinton’s campaign, and it was, obviously, harmful to her, not helpful. It plainly does not make sense that Comey would do something damaging to Clinton’s campaign because he “wanted a job.” In addition, he already had a job: he was not even four years into a 10-year appointment.

  • Apr 16, 2018

“But with China, we’re at $375 billion trade deficit.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: This number counts only trade in goods and ignores trade in services, in which the U.S. has a significant surplus. Including all kinds of trade, the net deficit was $337 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released earlier in the same month.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

“I mean, Mexico — nobody knows this — we lost last year, in terms of a trade deficit, $100 billion with Mexico. We can’t keep doing this, folks.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Trump is off by at least $31 billion, or at least $29 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was $71 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $69 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the same month Trump spoke. (The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different method of calculating deficits and surpluses than the Census Bureau.)

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

“The European Union, as an example, is very hard to do business. We lost $151 billion with the European Union last year, $151 billion.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: This number counts only trade in goods and ignores trade in services, in which the U.S. has a significant surplus. Including all kinds of trade, the overall U.S. trade balance with the European Union in 2017 was a deficit of $102 billion, according to U.S. government statistics.

Trump has repeated this claim 29 times

“You know, they used to call it ‘tax reform.’ And that’s why for almost 40 years they couldn’t get anything passed, because they used the word ‘tax reform.’ So I met with the politicians. And you know, I’ve only been doing this for like two-and-a-half years. So I said, ‘What’s the problem? How can you not get tax cuts?’ They said, ‘Well, we don’t call it tax cuts. We call it tax reform.’ I said, that’s your problem. what we’re doing is cutting taxes.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Trump’s history was inaccurate even if he was only talking about his own party’s tax cuts. In claiming “for almost 40 years they couldn’t get anything passed,” he again ignored the passage of George W. Bush’s major tax cuts, which were indeed billed as “tax cuts” rather than “tax reform.” He also exaggerated how long it had been since Reagan’s tax cuts: Reagan’s second major tax cut bill was signed in 1986, 32 years prior. That Reagan bill was successful although it was billed as “tax reform”: it was called the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

“And wages, for the first time in 18 years, are going up. Because I used to make those speeches — I came down here and made one. Wages were stagnant, and even going down. People made more money 18 years ago, and today they’re working two and three jobs. First time in 18 years where wages are going up. Congratulations. Enjoy your money. Congratulations.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014. As PolitiFact reported earlier: “For much of the time between 2012 and 2014, median weekly earnings were lower than they were in 1979 — a frustrating disappearance of any wage growth for 35 years. But that began changing in 2014. After hitting a low of $330 a week in early 2014, wages have risen to $354 a week by early 2017. That’s an increase of 7.3 percent over a roughly three-year period.” FactCheck.org reported: “For all private workers, average weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) rose 4% during Obama’s last four years in office.”

“So I’m here, 15, 16 months, and we’ve cut more regulations than any president, whether it’s four years, eight years, or in one case, 16 years. Nobody is even close.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: No president has served for 16 years. The longest-serving president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, served just over 12 years.

Trump has repeated this claim 9 times

“The individual mandate is gone. That’s on Obamacare — which is about the end of Obamacare.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: The Obamacare “individual mandate,” a requirement that Americans obtain health insurance or pay a financial penalty, is a central part of the law, and Trump did succeed in repealing it. But this does not mean “about the end of Obamacare” as a whole: all of its other components remain. Trump did not eliminate Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, and the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases. Nor did he touch various Obamacare rules for the insurance market, like its prohibition on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Trump has repeated this claim 11 times

“But since Election Day, we’ve created 3 million new jobs. Three million. And people, if I would have said that, prior to the election — that we’ll create, in a short period of time, 3 million jobs — they would have said, that’s ridiculous, that’s an exaggeration, how can it be possible.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Between November 2016, the month of the election, and February 2018, the U.S. added 3.1 million jobs, so leaving aside the fact that Obama was president in November, December and most of January, Trump’s figure is accurate. It is false, though, that nobody would have thought this number was possible. More jobs, 3.3 million, were added during the 16 months prior to that, under Obama.

Trump has repeated this claim 16 times

“Tomorrow is Tax Day, and we’re going to hear from everybody and every — I mean, we have heard from so many people. They’re so thrilled. And remember this: This is the last time you’re going to fill up that long, complicated, horrible return…So tomorrow, last day. Very importantly, next year, it’s going to be a simple — for the most part, one page. It may get a little bit bigger. But it will be simple and easy to do.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Trump’s tax law did not introduce a new, simpler form for tax-filing. Bloomberg reported: “Republicans had said before writing the law that they aimed to make taxes simple enough for many people to file a return on a postcard, but that didn’t happen. Other politicians in Trump’s party dropped the talking point.” The Associated Press reported: “There’s no sign that the IRS is planning new filing forms, card-sized or otherwise, for the 2018 tax year. As for the new one-page form that Trump said is coming, there already is one: the 1040EZ has been around for years. It can be used by people with less than $100,000 in taxable income and no dependents, and who meet other criteria.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

“So many of the companies are bringing back their money, and they’re putting it to work. Chrysler is opening up a big, beautiful plant in Michigan.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Chrysler announced in January that it is investing $1 billion to revamp its existing Warren Truck Assembly Plant. It has not announced plans to open up any new plant.

“Companies are moving back into our country now. We have billions of dollars, and even trillions of dollars, going to be coming back in — already started. Apple, $350 billion investment in, really, a new campus. Beautiful, beautiful campus and plants. And I’ve always wanted that.”

Source: Remarks at small business roundtable in Hialeah, Florida

in fact: Apple did not say it would spend $350 billion on a new campus and plant. It did indeed say in its January press release that it would open a new campus, but it said this would cost a fraction of $350 billion: “Apple expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one.” Most of the rest of the $350 billion in spending it touted in the press release was regular spending on “domestic suppliers and manufacturers”: Apple said this kind of non-investment spending would amount to an estimated $55 billion in 2018, a pace of $275 billion over five years.

Trump has repeated this claim 20 times

Which countries grant unconditional birthright citizenship?

Donald Trump has said children born on American soil should not automatically get citizenship, claiming that the US is “the only country in world” to do this. DW shows where else “jus soli” is enshrined in law.

October 31, 2018

by Cristina Burack

DW

In the final days before the US midterm elections, President Donald Trump has called for doing away automatically granting an individual American citizenship if he or she is born within and subject to the jurisdiction of the US. This includes the children of non-citizens, whether documented or documented,

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States,” Trump claimed.

In fact, the US is one of a number of nations that automatically grant citizenship to those born on their soil, regardless of any other conditions. This right is commonly referred to as unconditional or unrestricted birthright citizenship, more formally known as jus soli (“law of soil”). Jus soli can also be conditional, and Trump on Wednesday sought to argue that this might be the case for the US as well, pointing to a sub-clause in the wording of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Birthright citizenship contrasts with blood citizenship, or jus sanguinis (“law of blood”), in which a child inherits citizenship from its parents.

What countries offer unconditional birthright citizenship?

Along with the US, 29 other countries currently bestow automatic citizenship to any individual born within its borders, excluding the children of foreign diplomats or of enemy forces occupying the country. They are:

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chad, Chile, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesotho, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay and Venezuela.

These countries either have legal systems derived from English common law, where the practice of jus soli developed, or instituted the citizenship measure in order to attract people to their countries, such as in Central and South American nations.

What countries offer conditional birthright citizenship?

Many countries grant citizenship to individuals born on their territory provided that certain criteria are met, such as one parent needing to be a citizen of the country or a legal resident. For instance, the constitution of the Dominican Republic explicitly rules out granting citizenship to the children of individuals residing illegally in the country. Malaysia’s constitution states that a child born on Malaysian soil must be born to permanent resident foreigners.  Other countries offering conditional birthright citizenship include Australia, Colombia and Ireland.

Have any countries ever changed their laws birthright citizenship?

Yes, many countries have changed their laws, with most tending to introduce conditions that make birthright citizenship more restrictive. One key example is France, which until 1993 had unconditional birthright citizenship, unlike its European neighbors. Children born in France to foreign parents now must request French nationality at age 18 rather than receiving it at birth as they used to. Great Britain, considered the birthplace of birthright citizenship, also reformed its citizenship criteria in 1983, requiring that at least one parent be legally settled in the UK. Both India and Malta abolished their birthright citizenship.

Germany, however, has liberalized its citizenship laws slightly in recent years. Whereas citizenship used to be based exclusively on parents’ nationality, since 2000 the children of non-ethnic German parents may acquire citizenship at birth, if at least one of their parents has held permanent residence for at least 3 years and resided in Germany for at least 8 years.

 

In Campaign’s Homestretch, Trump Tosses Out Ideas to See What Sticks

October 30, 2018

by Peter Baker

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — First there was the middle-class tax cut that even his allies and many of his aides had not heard about. Then troops were dispatched to the border to counter an “invasion of our country” by impoverished migrants about 900 miles away.

And then, on Tuesday, President Trump declared that he would sign an executive order essentially rewriting the Constitution as it has been traditionally interpreted to stop children of undocumented immigrants from automatically becoming citizens just because they are born in the United States, claiming power no other president has asserted.

In the last days before a midterm congressional election that will determine the future of his presidency, Mr. Trump seems to be throwing almost anything he can think of against the wall to see what might stick, no matter how untethered from political or legal reality. Frustrated that other topics — like last week’s spate of mail bombs — came to dominate the news, the president has sought to seize back the national stage in the last stretch of the campaign.

Ad hoc though they may be, Mr. Trump’s red-meat ideas have come to shape the conversation and, he hopes, may galvanize otherwise complacent conservative voters to turn out on Tuesday. But he risks motivating opponents, as well, and he has put even some of his fellow Republicans on the spot as they are forced to take a position on issues they were not expecting to have to address.

Within hours of his promise to end birthright citizenship, some Republicans were denouncing the idea or distancing themselves from it. “Well, you obviously cannot do that,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin told WVLK, a radio station in Lexington, Ky. “I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case, the 14th Amendment is pretty clear.”

Representative Ryan A. Costello of Pennsylvania said Republicans in suburban districts with large numbers of immigrants were already struggling to hold on. “So now POTUS, out of nowhere, brings birthright citizenship up,” he wrote on Twitter, using the acronym for “president of the United States.” “Besides being basic tenet of America, it’s political malpractice.”

Mr. Trump has long favored eliminating automatic citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants, but according to broad legal consensus, doing so would require a constitutional amendment to adjust the 14th Amendment, which declares that all people born in the United States, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”

But in an interview with Axios, he said he has now been told by the White House Counsel’s Office that he does not need a constitutional amendment or even an act of Congress and can instead issue an executive order declaring that the provision does not apply in the case of children born to people in the country without legal status.

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States” and is entitled to “all of those benefits,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

Actually, about 30 other countries also grant citizenship at birth, and most legal scholars believe the president does not have the power to change that in the United States. If Mr. Trump follows through and signs such an order, it would presumably be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court, which would then be asked to determine whether the traditional understanding of the 14th Amendment applies.

Among those who think he would lose is George T. Conway III, a prominent conservative lawyer and the husband of the president’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway. In an op-ed article in The Washington Post written with Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, Mr. Conway said that “such a move would be unconstitutional” and that “the challengers would undoubtedly win” at the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump’s surprise proposal is the latest he has introduced with Election Day approaching. He recently announced that he would introduce a new plan to cut taxes for the middle class by 10 percent, a statement that caught other Republicans by surprise.

His focus on the caravan in Mexico has also inflamed the election debate. At rallies, he has depicted the group of migrants as a dire threat to the United States and vowed to make this the caravan campaign, accusing Democrats of favoring “open borders” and even suggesting that they were behind the movement of thousands of Central Americans. He ordered 5,200 troops to the border this week in a show of strength and promised to build tent cities to detain asylum seekers.

“This has nothing to do with elections,” Mr. Trump told Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Monday night. “And I’ve been saying this long before election — I’ve been saying this before I ever thought of running for office. We have to have strong borders. If we don’t have strong borders, we don’t have a country.”

The birthright executive order caught even the president’s supporters by surprise. Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, who supports ending birthright citizenship and argues that Mr. Trump does have the power to do so on his own authority, said the rollout of the planned executive order was “sloppy” and ultimately counterproductive.

“It would have been nice if they did this a month from now or two months ago so it’s not right before an election,” Mr. Krikorian said. “Two months ago, they could have prepared talking points and sent them out, and then staffers to congressmen could read them and decide what they’re supposed to say. A month from now, it would not happen right before an election.” He added, “It doesn’t strike me as the best way to run a railroad.”

Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and a former White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, said Mr. Trump seemed to be making stuff up as he went without any kind of vetting.

“The executive order is flatly unconstitutional. It’s pretend,” he said. “The tax cut is pretend. Sending troops to the border is expensive theater. Trump is throwing out these ever wilder ideas in the hope to dominate the news. Perhaps there will be method to the madness if he can shape the debate the week before the election. Just as likely, though, the escalating craziness will remind voters of what they don’t like about the president.”

The birthright issue was particularly uncomfortable for Republicans in places like Florida. Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for the United States Senate, walked away when a reporter asked if he supported Mr. Trump’s proposal. An aide later told The Miami Herald that the governor did not hear the question, but an issued statement did not answer the question, either.

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, another Florida Republican, said that he would “strongly disagree with the proposed executive order,” and Representative Carlos Curbelo, also a Republican from the state, wrote on Twitter that “birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no @realdonaldtrump you can’t end it by executive order.”

Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said that in pushing immigration in the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Trump was looking for short-term political gain that could cost Republicans in the long run.

“It helps him politically, and he’s looking particularly at Senate races where it could help energize a part of his base that’s mostly anti-immigrant and restrictionist,” Mr. Aguilar said. But, he added, “this continues to fuel the problem the G.O.P. has with Hispanic voters.”

David Winston, a Republican strategist who advises the House and Senate leadership, said the president’s discussion of immigration plays to the base, but wave elections like those in 1994, 2006 and 2010 have been won by persuading independents, who care more about the economy.

“Yes, you’ve got these other issues that motivate the base, but neither party’s base is large enough to win,” he said. The political middle would decide control of Congress. “That is the audience, and that’s the audience that’s focused on the economy.”

The economic numbers right now are good, Mr. Winston added, but the question is whether voters feel they are finally breaking free of a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

“We’ll find out a week from now,” he said.

At first, he said Congress would pass it before the midterm elections even though lawmakers had recessed for the campaign and had no plans to return to Washington before the vote. Then he said he would push for passage next year, although even aides could not describe what he had in mind.

 

The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982

Three US families have a combined wealth of $348.7bn. As their generations expand, we are are drifting toward a society governed by the rich

October 31, 2018

by Chuck Collins

The Guardian

It hardly makes news any more that the US is becoming an extremely unequal country.

Each year new eye-popping statistics juxtapose the reality of decades of stagnant wages for half the country’s workers with today’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power.

The top three wealthiest billionaires in the US – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population combined.

This is possible because the bottom fifth of US households are underwater, with zero or negative net worth. And the next fifth has so few assets to fall back on that they live in fear of destitution.

“We’re developing into a plutocracy,” said the former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

One troubling indicator that we are drifting toward a society governed by the wealthy is the expanding fortunes of multi-generational wealth dynasties.

The three wealthiest US families are the Waltons of Walmart, the Mars candy family and the Koch brothers, heirs to the country’s second largest private company, the energy conglomerate Koch Industries. These are all enterprises built by the grandparents and parents of today’s wealthy heirs and heiresses.

These three families own a combined fortune of $348.7bn, which is 4m times the median wealth of a US family.

Since 1982, these three families have seen their wealth increase nearly 6,000%, factoring in inflation. Meanwhile, the median household wealth went down 3% over the same period.

The dynastic wealth of the Walton family grew from $690m in 1982 (or $1.81bn in 2018 dollars) to $169.7bn in 2018, a mind-numbing increase of more than 9,000%.

This isn’t the normal physics of wealth in the US, where we’ve traditionally abhorred the idea of hereditary wealth and power. Since 1900, most grand fortunes have been dispersed by the time the great-grandchildren come around – hence the old adage: “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

Usually wealth diminishes over multiple generations, as money is spent, passed down to heirs, given to charity and paid in taxes. Only when families aggressively intervene to arrest this cycle does wealth continue to expand over multiple generations, even as the number of heirs increases.

Several dynastic families have used their considerable clout to stage just such an intervention, spending millions to save themselves billions.

They’ve lobbied Congress to tip the rules in favor of dynastic wealth, including tax cuts and public policies that will further enrich their enterprises. In the early 2000s, the Mars, Walton and Gallo families actively lobbied to abolish the federal estate tax, a tax paid exclusively by multimillionaires and billionaires. The Koch brothers have since organized their famous donor network to lobby for tax cuts for the rich and to roll back regulations on the energy industry, the source of their wealth.

Others aggressively use dynasty protection techniques to hide wealth and transfer it to heirs. They hire armies of tax accountants, wealth managers and trust lawyers to create trusts, shell corporations and offshore accounts to move money around and dodge taxation and accountability.

For example, the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, number 15 on the Forbes 400 list, has used complicated trust mechanisms to pass on $7.9bn to his children while avoiding $2.8bn in gift and estate taxation. Adelson recently broke spending records on midterm elections, with more than $100m in campaign donations.

Not all the wealthy are focused on hoarding for the next generation. Warren Buffett, the third-wealthiest person on the Forbes list, decided not to give his children his immense wealth. Instead, he pledged his entire fortune to charity and contributing to the public good through paying taxes.

Instead of lobbying for tax cuts, Buffett testified before Congress in favor of expanded estate taxation. “Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise,” Buffett told lawmakers years ago. “Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy.”

In the face of weakened tax laws and aggressive wealth hiding, we’re facing the emergence of widespread wealth dynasties. The French economist Thomas Piketty has warned that if we don’t intervene to reverse these dynamics, we’re moving toward a “patrimonial capitalism”, where the heirs of today’s billionaires will dominate our politics, culture, philanthropy and economy.

That’s a world none of us will want to be part of.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

October 31, 2018

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

 

Conversation No. 50

Date, Friday, November 29, 1996

Commenced: 11:20 AM CST

Concluded: 11:55 AM CST

GD: How are you doing today, Robert?

RTC: Had a bad night, Gregory. Couldn’t get to sleep and then dozed off about five. Not a good night.

GD: Take sleeping pills?

RTC: I don’t like to start with things like that. You can get addicted to them so I just put up with it and I will take a nap after lunch. That will help. How are you today?

GD: I’m OK. Been working on the latest Müller book and I got bogged down. When that happens, you have to just stop everything and walk away for a while.

RTC: How is the book coming?

GD: Making it, Robert. Publisher tells me the first book is doing very well.

RTC: Any negative comments?

GD: Not to him.

RTC: Oh, there are some unhappy people back here. The rumors are out that you might do another book so I would be careful talking about its contents to anyone.

GD: Corson and Kimmel have been very interested.

RTC: That’s what I mean. Don’t tell either one of them a damned word.

GD: No, the more curious people get, the less I say. I know Tom is with the FBI so, naturally, I only engage in light conversations with him and Bill is too curious to suit me.

RTC: Bill like to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds, if you follow me.

GD: Yes. Typical.

RTC: Müller died in ’83, didn’t he?

GD: Yes. Buried in Oakland.

RTC: Buried under his Company name?

GD: No, his real one.

RTC: He sold paintings for us, as I remember.

GD: Oh, yes he did. Your people took over looted Nazi art from the Army after the war and then you know what happened to it.

RTC: Yes, of course. We sold it for profit and if we had any trouble with previous owners, we simply terminated them. Mostly hysterical Jews screaming about this or that but eventually, they were dealt with and business went on.

GD: Heini told me he took in millions.

RTC: Oh, yes, he did. Some of it we used for off the books operations, like snuffing Diem and other nasty businesses and the rest ended up in private hands, let us say.

GD: Well, I recall the beautiful Raphael hanging up in Heini’s office. A fruity looking fellow in a white shirt. It apparently came from a collection in Warsaw along with a Leonardo. The Leonardo was found and sent back but the Raphael ended up with the Gestapo and Heini hid it and later went back for it. Of course he could never sell it but it looked so nice in his home. I can imagine the howls of rage if the Polacks found out about it.

RTC: Yes, indeed. God, how many such scenes we had to take care of.

GD: Terminate with extreme prejudice?

RTC: No, that term is used for in-house problems. Like the unfortunate fellow who shot himself in the back of the head and jumped off his little boat with weights on his feet. Things like that.

GD: And Olson?

RTC: Well, he was potential trouble so he did a full gainer out of a hotel window. It wasn’t the long fall that did him in, Gregory, but that sudden stop at the bottom.

GD: Müller told me about that. He said unwanted people like Forrestal rained down all over Washington until he introduced the heart attack drug. He used to feel sorry for people down below. I mean, some woman taking mail to the corner box gets an unwanted individual landing on top of her. Or imagine someone just bought a new Packard and there is a huge mess on their crushed roof and brains splattered all over the rest of the car. No, Heini was right about the heart attacks. Much more plausible and certainly less messy.

RTC: I agree.

GD: Diem?

RTC: Oh that business. I was on the inside with that one. What a mess but typical. Diem and his brother ran Vietnam and were trying to kill off the Buddhists. Kennedy had no idea what was going on over there and was waffling about pouring American troops into the country. The Diem family were crooked as hell and very, very nasty and demanding. Thee were two camps here, Gregory. The first one wanted a major effort there to stop Communism dead in its tracks and the other felt that such actions would become a bottomless pit.

GD: In the event, they were right.

RTC: Yes, but that is now, based on hindsight, but at the time, no one knew just what to do. We were technically only advising Diem. We had a deal with the French, at least the Company did, to support any régime that would protect their interest there. Lots of rubber and there was also untapped oil fields offshore. Jack was an idealist at times and got pulled this way and that. I mean we felt that a strong military presence there was good. We could use that country as a base of operations to expand into Laos and other areas but we had to act like we were supporting the democratic movements in Saigon. Diem was a vicious dictator and was surrounded with totally corrupt officials so he was not a good image for us. After we talked about it somewhat, it was decided to get rid of him and his brother and put in new people. We talked with dissident generals and pretty well set up a putsch. The idea was not to run him out of the country but to kill both of them and set an example for others.

GD: Was Kennedy in on it?

RTC: OF course, he knew in advance. We tarted it up and he went for it. But kept waffling this way and that so we just told the generals to go ahead. They grabbed the two of them and chopped them both up with bayonets in the back on an armored car. I personally told our people there that it ought to be done and the bodies tossed out on the street as an example to others.

GD: Admiral Byng.

RTC: Yes, just so. Kennedy was presented with a fiat and went along.

GD: And what about the usual Congressional investigations?

RTC: We did what we always do, Gregory. Private talks with key people on the hill and the whole thing is rigged from the beginning.

GD: You told them the truth?

RTC: Oh, be a realist here. Of course not. We lie to Congress and the White House every day. We know so much about all of them, just like old Hoover did, that they shut up and we have our people at the New York Times write things up the way we wish. And then the public goes off and watches a football game and opens another beer.

GD: Could any of this ever get out?

RTC: No. Say some gung ho reporter wants to do a story on how we killed Diem or something else like that. We would hear about it at once because we have our people in all the major papers and television offices so we would get the word right away. The usual drill is to call up the editor and have a talk with him and the reporter gets assigned to inspect whale shit somewhere.

GD: And if he gets too curious or won’t give up?

RTC: There’s always the heart attack or the road accident.

GD: Of falling out of the window.

RTC: Not much of that anymore. As you say, too messy.

GD: Heini used to off them and then turn up the heat in their house until they got really ripe.

RTC: Not personally?

GD: No, he used Arno to off people. Arno is a real jewel. He’s a Lutheran minister at the present time but Heini told me once that Arno loved the knife and some of his victims looked like something Picasso would have painted

RTC: (Laughter) Yes, well, we had some of those too.

GD: I recall the Diem business. That was the turning point over there. The hawks won out.

RTC: What a mess that was, Gregory. Now mind you, I felt that Diem just would not listen to us and was causing such bad publicity here by his undemocratic behavior that I really don’t think we had much of a choice. Kennedy was a twit and proved to be so unreliable in the business that we eventually decided he had to go too. Johnson would do what he was told but Kennedy was as independent as a hog on ice so onto the face of the fifty cent piece and into the hearts of all Americans. You won’t find Johnson on a coin but he put plenty of them into his pocket. Give me the crook over the idealist any time.

GD: I agree. Anyway, I am writing the art business up for the new book. They never took anything really big but all the small stuff fell through the cracks. Müller used to call it degenerate filth and that Hitler was right about it but I notice he never burnt any of the Klees or Picassos. You can get money for all of that and I find that money has such a soothing effect, Robert.

RTC: Yes, I believe it does. It is the root of all evil, after all.

GD: No, the actual Biblical quotation is that the love of money is the root of all evil.

RTC: One or the other.

 

(Concluded at 11:55 AM CST)

 

What’s the Psychological Impact of Overpopulation? Here’s a Horrific Experiment

In 1972, eight mice were placed in a utopia. Full of food, water, bedding, and space for 3000 mice. Within three years there were no survivors.

by Scotty Hendricks

Big Think

There are nearly 7.5 billion people on the planet right now. The question of how to feed, clothe, educate, employ, and hydrate everyone is a problem that is widely acknowledged. The question of overpopulation, and whether or not it is a major problem, often asks how our limited resources can be used in a growing world.

However, while most discussion of overpopulation is focused on the material aspects of it, some have asked about the psychological ramifications. Chief among these thinkers was Dr. John B. Calhoun who worked extensively with mice and rats to study the effects of overpopulation on behavior.

Dr. Calhoun was a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In his most famous experiment, four breeding pairs of mice were moved into a mouse utopia. There were unlimited supplies of food, water and bedding. The area was disease free, the temperature perfectly controlled, and the researchers even cleaned the place monthly. As close to heaven as a mouse could get. All that they lacked was infinite space. There was, however, room for 3,000 mice.

Mice, for those who are unaware, are actually quite social creatures in the right conditions. They take on group roles, mark out territories, and develop hierarchies if their environment allows. It is this behavior that Calhoun wished to affect, and study. He described the experiment in terms of four “eras”, summarized here.

Days 0-100: The era called “Strive”. During which the mice were getting used to the new world, territories were established.

Days 100-315: The “Exploit” period. The population doubled every 60 or so days. Normal social behavior was noted here, and the population took full advantage of its unlimited resources.

Days  315-600: The “Equilibrium” period. It was here that the social roles of mice began to break down. Mice born during this period found they lacked space to mark out territories in, and random acts of violence among the mice began to occur. Many males simply gave up on trying to find females. These males retreated into their bedding and rarely ventured out. Simply eating, sleeping, and grooming. Calhoun dubbed these narcissistic loners “The Beautiful Ones”. They also tended to be rather stupid.

Days 600-800: The “Die” phase. The population, which maxed-out at 2,200, began to decline. No surviving births took place after day 600, and the colony ultimately died out. Individuals removed from the colony and placed in similar units continued to demonstrate erratic behavior and also failed to reproduce. The mice were remarkably violent at this time, for little reason.

His work was continued later by other researchers, and was the inspiration for the children’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, later made into the film The Secret of NIMH.

A formula was written to explain what happened to the mice, how the population continued to crash even after conditions began to improve again. Calhoun felt there were truly two deaths for the mice: the first death was a spiritual one, leading to the decline into chaos and madness. After that event, no recovery was possible for the mice. The second was physical, and inevitable after the first.

So, what does this nightmare mean for us?

Dr. Calhoun felt that the conditions in the experiment could be extrapolated to apply to humanity, given that humanity had solved many major questions of resource shortages by the 1970s and was now bound only by space. Mice have social roles, as do humans, and while humans might be said to be more intelligent than mice, both animals have tendencies to bizarre behavior when put under stress.

He felt it was plain that the problem was having too many individuals for meaningful social roles, saying that after that point: “only violence and disruption of social organization can follow. … Individuals born under these circumstances will be so out of touch with reality as to be incapable even of alienation. Their most complex behaviors will become fragmented. Acquisition, creation and utilization of ideas appropriate for life in a post-industrial cultural-conceptual-technological society will have been blocked.”

His work was later continued to find that the key issue was not merely population density, but degrees of separation and levels of interaction that caused the stress. By making it more possible for individual mice to avoid other mice, even for a limited time, the effects of the population bomb were reduced. Dr. Calhoun set up nearly 100 more of these experimental universes, the above being the history of Universe 25.

Could that happen to us?

He was not as pessimistic as the story may make you suppose. He felt that humanity was not bound to doom as the mice were. Our capacity both for finding new areas to live in, such as outer space, and of using creativity to respond to environmental changes, made it possible for us to avoid the conditions that created his nightmare.

While most overpopulation theorists in the 1970s were worried about resource problems, Dr. Calhoun was worried about the psychological effects of overpopulation on a social animal. When presented with utopia, most of the mice simply went mad. A rare few remained sane for the duration of the experiment, leading Calhoun and his team to focus on why that was in later tests.

So, is our own version of Universe 25 right around the corner? No, says Dr. Calhoun. Yes, says anybody who complains about people being on their phones too often, or that modern life is too narcissistic. Will the beautiful ones take over? Or will Dr. Calhoun be proven correct that mankind has enough creativity and ability to avoid the first death?

 

 

Jamal Khashoggi Died for Nothing

Let the cover-up begin

October 30, 2018

by Philip Giraldi

The Unz Review

The angst over the Jamal Khashoggi murder in the Saudi Arabian Consulate General building in Istanbul is already somewhat fading as the media has moved on in search of fresh meat, recently focusing on the series of attempted mail bombings, and currently on the mass shooting in Pittsburgh. But the affaire Khashoggi is still important as it potentially brings with it possible political realignments in the Middle East as well as in Europe as countries feel emboldened to redefine their relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The Turks know exactly what occurred in the Consulate General building and are now putting the squeeze on the Saudis, requiring them to fess up and no doubt demanding compensation. Some sources in Turkey believe that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will actually demand recreation of the Caliphate, which the Kemal Ataturk led Turkish Republic’s government abolished in 1924. That would diminish Saudi Arabia’s ability to regard itself as the pre-eminent Islamic state due to its guardianship over the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. It would be a major realignment of the Islamic umma and would be akin to a restoration of some semblance of Ottoman supremacy over the region.

To be sure, the brutally effective Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very active when it comes to monitoring the activities of both friendly and unfriendly foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. It uses electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local Turks as employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to MIT. As a result, it should be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, meaning that the audio of the actual killing that has been reported in the media is no doubt authentic and might even be supplemented with video.

One recent report, on BBC, indicates that CIA Director Gina Haspel has traveled to Turkey and has been allowed to hear the recordings of Khashoggi being tortured and killed. It’s a good thing the Trump White House sent Haspel as she would know exactly what that sort of thing sounds like based on her own personal experience in Thailand. She will presumably be able to explain the operation of a bone saw to the president.

So the Saudis seem to be in a hopeless situation, but they have several cards to play. They have many lobbyists of their own in Washington that have bought their way into think tanks and onto editorial pages. They are also in bed with Israel in opposition to Iran, which means that the Israel Lobby and its many friends in the U.S. Congress will complain about killing Khashoggi but ultimately will not do anything about it. The White House will also discourage America’s close allies from adopting measures that would do serious damage to the Saudis. In regional terms, Saudi Arabia is also key to Trump’s anticipated Middle East peace plan. If it pulls out from the expected financial guarantees aspect, the plan will fall apart, so Washington will be pressing hard on Ankara in particular to not overdo its bid for compensation.

All of which leads to some consideration of the hypocrisy of the outrage over Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia murdered a citizen in a diplomatic facility located in Turkey, apparently because they believed that individual to be a dissident who was a threat to national security. They then seriously botched the cover-up. In spite of all that, it would seem that the issue involves only two parties directly, the Saudis and the Turks, though there have been calls from a number of countries to punish the Saudis for what was clearly a particularly gruesome murder carried out in contravention of all existing rules for behavior of diplomatic missions in foreign countries.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular missions grants to Diplomats a certain level of immunity in foreign posts, but that does not include murder. In consular posts, like Istanbul, consular immunity only extends to officials who are actually performing consular duties when an alleged infraction occurs. I know from personal experience how subjective that process can be as I was arrested by Turkish police when I was the U.S. Consulate duty officer in Istanbul while looking for a missing American who turned out to be a drug dealer. The Turks weren’t sure what to do with me as I was Consular so I spent 24 hours playing cards with the prison governor before I was released.

The hypocrisy comes in when the U.S. Congress and media become enraged and demand that there be “consequences,” in part because Khashoggi was a U.S. legal resident and therefore under law a “U.S. person.” Saudi Arabia is, to be sure, a country that most would consider to be an undesirable destination if one is seeking to eat, drink and be merry. Or just about anything else having to do with personal liberty. An absolute dictatorship run by one family, it has long both relied on and been the exporter of the most backward looking and unpleasant form of Islam, Wahabbism. But for the fact that the Saudis are the world’s leading exporter of oil, and, for Muslims, guardian of the religion’s holy sites, the country would long ago have been regarded as a pariah.

But that said, Congress and the White House might well consider how the rest of the world views the United States when it comes to killing indiscriminately without fear of consequences. President Barack Obama, who has practically been beatified by the U.S. mainstream media, was the first American head of state to openly target and kill American citizens overseas. He and his intelligence advisor John Brennan would sit down for a Tuesday morning meeting to revise the list of Americans living outside the U.S. who could be assassinated. To cite only one example, the executions of Yemeni dissident Anwar al-Awlaki and his son were carried out by drone after being ordered from the White House without any due process apart from claimed presidential authority. Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also attacked Libya, a nation with which America was not at war, destroyed its government, and reduced the country to its current state of anarchy. When its former ruler Moammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by having a bayonet inserted up his anus, Hillary giggled and said “We came, we saw, he died.”

The United States is also supporting the ongoing war in Syria and also enables the Saudis to continue their brutal attacks on Yemen, which have produced cholera, starvation and the deaths of an estimated 60,000 Yemenis plus millions more threatened by disease and the deliberate cutting off of food supplies. And the White House looks the other way as its other best friend in the Middle East, Israel, shoots thousands of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. Overall one might argue that if there is a smell in the room it is coming from Washington and one death in Istanbul, no matter how heinous, pales in comparison to what the U.S. itself, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been doing without any pushback whatsoever.

And then there is the small matter of actual American interests. If Washington persists in going after the Saudis, which it will not do, it will presumably jeopardize future weapons sales worth tens of billions of dollars. The Saudis also support the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all international purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil. The Saudis, who also use their own petrodollars to buy U.S. treasury bonds, could pull the plug on that arrangement. Those are actual American interests. If one pulls them all together it means that the United States will be looking for an outcome to Khashoggi’s slaying that will not do too much damage to Saudi Arabia.

So, what do I think will happen as a result of the Khashoggi killing? Nothing that means anything. There are too many bilateral interests that bind the Saudis to Europe and America’s movers and shakers. Too much money is on the table. In two more weeks mentioning the name Khashoggi in Washington’s political circles will produce a tepid response and a shake of the head. “Khashoggi who?” one might ask.

 

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