Senator Rand Paul declared war on the deep state in a press statement Tuesday, noting that he and his Senate collegaues were excluded from a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel concerning the killing of Saudi reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
The only people allowed into the briefing were a few select lawmakers sitting on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee.
“There are eight people in Congress who get briefings on intelligence,” Paul said. “That is not democracy. That is not democratic representation nor is it democratic oversight.”
“I think the very definition of the deep state is when the intelligence communities withhold information from Congress,” Paul added, noting that he had to try to find out details of the briefing from the media.
“Why not share information with the entire Senate?” Paul tweeted:
The Director of the CIA has arrived in the Senate, yet almost every senator has been excluded. Why not share information with the entire Senate on MBS’ role in the killing of a journalist? Saudi Arabia continues to spread radicalism & we shouldn’t continue to blindly support them pic.twitter.com/xfCIL3LnWU
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 4, 2018
Paul expanded on his comments in a further interview with Fox News:
“This is the very definition of the deep state. The deep state is that the intelligence agencies do things, conclude things, make conclusions, but then the elected officials are prevented from knowing about this,” Paul told Fox News.
Paul added that “the deep state” will continue to amass “more power” until the status quo changes.
“If we aren’t told about this and I’m not allowed to know about these conclusions, then I can’t have oversight,” he said. “And so then state grows, the intelligence, the deep state grows and has more and more power.”
“I’ve read in the media that the CIA has said with high confidence that the crown prince was involved with killing Khashoggi,” Paul continued. “I have not seen that intelligence nor have I even seen the conclusions. And today there’s yet another briefing and I’m being excluded. So really, this is the deep state at work … that your representatives don’t know what is going on in the intelligence agencies.”
Optimism can be a very powerful thing.
For a long time Americans believed that things would get better, and that caused them to take action to make things better, and that actually resulted in things moving in a positive direction. But now things have abruptly shifted. In late 2018, an increasing number of Americans believe that an economic downturn is coming, and they are taking actions consistent with that belief. As a result, they are actually helping to produce the result that they fear. And without a doubt, any rational person should be able to see that signs that the U.S. economy is slowing down are all around us. So it isn’t as if those that are preparing for the worst are being irrational. It is just that when large numbers of people all start to move in the same direction, it has a very powerful effect. We witnessed this in the stock market in recent years when people just kept buying stocks even though they were massively overvalued. The collective belief that there was money to be made in the stock market became a self-fulfilling prophecy which pushed stock prices up to absurd heights. But now that process is beginning to reverse as well, and ultimately the unwinding of that bubble will be quite painful.
Over the past couple of years the dominant economic narrative that the mainstream media was pushing was that the U.S. economy was “booming”, and this encouraged businesses to expand and consumers to go out and spend money.
But now the dominant economic narrative has changed, and businesses are starting to take actions that are consistent with the new narrative. In the retail industry, if executives truly believed we would see an economic boom in the years ahead they would be expanding, but instead stores are being closed at a record pace…
Mall and shopping center owners across the U.S. are preparing to be hit by more store closures, following a brutal year that included department store chains like Bon-Ton and Sears going bankrupt, Toys R Us liquidating and even Walmart shutting dozens of its club stores.
Now, a slew of specialty retailers like Gap and L Brands are getting serious about downsizing, which will leave more vacant storefronts within malls until landlords are able to replace tenants.
As a result of these store closings, large numbers of workers will be without jobs, vendors will not be receiving orders and mall owners will be without tenants.
In other words, economic activity will slow down.
Another sector where there has been a major psychological shift is in the real estate industry. Home prices have been falling all over the nation, and this includes markets that were once extremely hot such as San Francisco…
In San Francisco, the number of homes with a price cut in October nearly doubled, to 238 from 124 last October, according to data from Realtor.com.
That’s nothing compared to Santa Clara County, where the number of price cuts rose to 818 last month, more than six times last year’s number. Santa Clara County had been one of the nation’s hottest markets this year, and the Bay Area’s price appreciation leader until September.
“Clearly, there is a market shift,” said Rich Bennett, a Zephyr agent in San Francisco.
If homeowners believed that this dip was just temporary and that home prices would start surging again next year as the U.S. economy thrives, it would be quite foolish of them to slash their prices like this.
In some cases, home prices are being reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why throw all of that money away if the market is going to bounce back shortly?
Over in the auto industry, there has also been a noticeable psychological shift.
If the U.S. economy was going to be doing extremely well in the years ahead, the major automakers should all be gearing up for record sales.
But instead, General Motors just shut a bunch of factories and laid off 14,000 workers, and Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas is projecting that Ford will soon be laying off large numbers of employees…
“We estimate a large portion of Ford’s restructuring actions will be focused on Ford Europe, a business we currently value at negative $7 billion,” Jonas wrote. “But we also expect a significant restructuring effort in North America, involving significant numbers of both salaried and hourly UAW and CAW workers.”
Ford’s 70,000 salaried employees have been told they face unspecified job losses by the middle of next year as the automaker works through an “organizational redesign” aimed at creating a white-collar workforce “designed for speed,” according to Karen Hampton, a spokeswoman.
“These actions will come largely outside of North America,” Hampton said of Ford’s restructuring. “All of this work is ongoing and publishing a job-reduction figure at this point would be pure speculation.”
Shifting gears, let’s talk about agriculture.
If farmers believed that the trade war was just temporary and that things would soon swing back in their favor, many of them would keep trying to hold on for as long as they possibly could.
But instead, farm bankruptcies are absolutely surging…
A total of 84 farms in the upper Midwest filed for bankruptcy between July 2017 and June 2018, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That’s more than double the number of Chapter 12 filings during the same period in 2013 and 2014 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, reported Vox.
Farms that produce corn, soybeans, milk, and beef were all suffering due to low global demand and low prices before the trade war, according to economists, but president Trump’s trade war is making the problem even worse by exacerbating the weaknesses in the American economy. China has retaliated against the tariffs by slapping billions of dollars worth of tariffs on United States agriculture exports in response to Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products. Other countries, including Canada, have also added duties to US agriculture products in response to Trump’s tariffs on all imported steel and aluminum.
Most Americans want to have hope, but when they look at our economic situation all they see is a very bleak future.
And in some parts of the nation, there still hasn’t been any sort of a “recovery” from the last recession. For example, a recent Bloomberg article took a hard look at what conditions are currently like in eastern Kentucky…
Tiffany Hensley’s drive home takes her through some picturesque scenery, and an ugly economy.
“The first thing you see when you get down here is beauty,” says Hensley, midway through her shift at a diner in the rolling hills of eastern Kentucky. “But then you get to looking around. It’s real rough.’’
Of course eastern Kentucky is far from alone. Yes, coastal cities such as San Francisco and New York have prospered in recent years, but rural communities all across America have been deeply suffering.
And now economic conditions are deteriorating once again nationally, and things are about to get a whole lot tougher for everyone.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke at American University Washington College of Law in a speech billed as foreign policy-focused; however, it included criticism of President Donald Trump and his policies and claimed he promotes white nationalism and encourages “domestic right-wing terrorism.”
“He cozies up to white nationalists,” Warren said on Thursday. “He undermines the free press and incites violence against journalists.”
Warren said Trump’s election poses a threat to democracy.
“The 2016 election provided a stark reminder that we must remain vigilant and fight for our democracy every single day,” Warren said. “That starts with protecting our elections and democratic processes, and making it clear that there will be severe consequences for those – foreign or domestic – who meddle, hack, or undermine them.”
“It means ensuring a meaningful opportunity for every American citizen to vote,” Warren said. “And it means fighting for equal justice and protection under the law for all.”
“It also requires us to speak out against hateful rhetoric that fuels domestic terrorism of all kinds, whether in San Bernadino or Charleston, Orlando or Charlottesville, Fort Hood or Pittsburgh,” Warren said. “We must speak plainly about all of these incidents.”
Women are traveling in increasing numbers to Illinois to get abortions, in what may be a reaction to a number of Midwestern states passing pro-life measures.
The total number of statewide abortions, as well as the number of abortions performed in Illinois on out-of-state-women, increased between 2016 and 2017, according to the Chicago Tribune. Women had 38,382 abortions in 2016 compared to 39,329 abortions in 2017, the Tribune reported.
The number of out-of-state abortions increased by nearly 1,000 between 2016 and 2017, rising from 4,543 abortions to 5,528, according to the Tribune.
Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri surround Illinois and have passed numerous pro-life measures, perhaps compelling women to travel to Illinois to access abortions.
“It seems like a lot of these (nearby) states have increased the barriers to abortion and other health care for women in recent years,” Timna Axel, 28, who volunteers with Midwest Access Coalition said, according to the newspaper. “It doesn’t seem right there should be this island of health care access in Chicago.”
Midwest Access Coalition “helps women traveling to, from, and within the Midwest access a safe, legal abortion,” according to its Twitter handle.
Iowa passed a bill in May banning abortion in the presence of an unborn baby’s heartbeat, which is usually detected around six weeks. The law was prevented from taking effect, however, after a judge put a temporary injunction in place in June. Iowa bans abortions after 20 weeks.
A Missouri judge ruled in October 2017 that the state’s 72-hour waiting period is constitutional, rejecting Planned Parenthood’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order on Missouri’s abortion laws. The Missouri House passed a bill in April banning abortions after 20 weeks.
“So many states around us are enacting dangerous restrictions that put the health and lives of women at risk, so women have no choice really but to come to Illinois,” Terry Cosgrove, president of abortion rights advocacy group Personal PAC, said according to the Tribune. “It isn’t anything but pure misogyny.”
“The increase in abortions performed on out-of-state women is indicative of how truly regressive we are when it comes to protecting pre-born children in our state,” Illinois Right to Life Executive Director Mary Kate Knorr said, the Tribune reported. “Illinois is an outlier amongst our neighbors, whose legislatures have consulted science and found that discouraging abortions is in the best interest of their residents.”
“When access to abortion is politically restricted, those who have the means to travel will do so, and those without means are left most vulnerable,” Planned Parenthood of the Heartland spokeswoman Becca Lee said, according to the Tribune.
The number of U.S. abortions has hit a historic low, according to the latest numbers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Nov. 21.
“I think women are simply choosing not to terminate,” Iowa Right to Life Executive Director Caitlyn Dixson said, the Tribune reported.