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Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class due to "Clinton betrayal"

After twenty year of betrayal of working class Democrats face the consequences of their "Clinton strategy" in full force: workers abandoned them in droves

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Democratic Party Monday morning quarterbacking Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Bernie Sanders as sheepdog for Hillary TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders Populism Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak
Clinton Cash and Hillary Clinton links to financial industry Hillary Clinton email scandal Swiftboating Trump: Khan gambit against Trump at the Democratic Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Hillary as a pathological liar Lesser evil trick of legitimizing a disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections
Neoconservatism Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary health issues Female Sociopaths Bill Clinton With Bill possibly again occupying White House bedroom his sexapades became Hillary campaign issue Hillary Clinton defense of the middle aged rapist of a 12 years old girl
Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime American Exceptionalism Color revolutions Deception as an art form Madeleine Albrigh as a model for Hillary
Clinton Cash The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich Crisis of Character A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They O Hillary the Other Woman Dolly Kyle Amazon.com Books The Clintons' War on Women Roger Stone, Robert Morrow Amazon.com Books Bill Clinton New Gilded Age President Patrick J. Maney 9780700621941 Amazon.com Books The Secret Life of Bill Clinton The Unreported Stories Ambrose Evans-Pritchard  Amazon.com Books Partners in Crime The Clintons' Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit Jerome Corsi  Amazon
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Strauss and the Neocons Lawrence Summers Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic
Diplomacy by deception Corruption of Regulators The Deep State Machiavellism Noble Lie Hillary role in cover up of Bill Clinton sexapades Nation under attack meme
Predator state The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Politically Incorrect Humor  Etc
   

Bill, Hillary, Barack and the rest should do the decent and honorable thing: disappear completely, along with the rest of their vicious elitist Neoliberal Democrat ilk. Progressives who have insisted on backing these criminals – and who have tried to bully those of us on the actual left into joining them in that ugly and viciously circular embrace – need to make themselves over or just drop off the face of the political landscape and let people who are more serious and radical step in.

www.counterpunch.org - Nov 12, 2016, 7:00 PM

 

Trump was right to point out that the Clintons and their allies atop the Democratic National Committee rigged the game against Bernie.

This rigging was consistent with the neoliberal corporate Democratic Party elite’s longstanding vicious hatred of left-wing of the party and anti-plutocratic populists. They hate and viciously fight them in the ranks of their pro-Wall Street Party. It's "Clinton Third Way Democrats" who essentially elected Trump, because Bernie for them is more dangerous than Trump.

The Democratic party became a neoliberal party of top 10% (may be top 20%), the party of bankers and white collar professionals. "Soft" neoliberals, to distinguish them from "hard" neoliberals (GOP).

Under Bill Clinton the Democrats have become the party of Financial Oligarchy. At this time corporate interests were moving to finance as their main activity and that was a very profitable betrayal for Clintons. They were royally remunerated for that.

Clintons have positioned the Dems as puppets of financial oligarchy and got in return two major things:

  1. Money for the Party (and themselves)
  2. The ability to control the large part of MSM, which was owned by the same corporations, who were instrumental in neoliberal takeover of the USA.

When the neoliberal media have to choose between their paymasters and the truth, their paymasters win every time. Like under Bolshevism, they are soldiers of the Party. In any case, starting from Clinton Presidency Democratic Party turned into a party of neoliberal DemoRats and lost any connection with the majority of the USA population.

Like Republicans they now completely depends on "divide and conquer" strategy. Essentially they became "Republicans light." And that's why they used "identity wedge" politics to attract African American votes and minorities (especially woman and sexual minorities; Bill Clinton probably helped to incarcerate more black males than any other president).

As if Spanish and African-American population as a whole have different economic interests than white working class and white lower middle class.

So Dems became a party which represents an alliance of neoliberal establishment and minorities, where minorities are duped again and again (as in Barack Obama "change we can believe in" bait and switch classic). This dishonest playing of race and gender cards was a trademark of Hillary Clinton campaign.

Clintons understood well that their  "The Third Way" turn represents the major betrayal of the working class, but they counted (and pretty successfully until 2016) on the fact that white working class "has nowhere to go" and will vote for them anyway, as a lesser evil. But in 2016 they were up to a big and unpleasant  surprise -- white working class turned to right wing populists. So Clinton Democrat are instrumentals in the big "Far right Renaissance". They essentially created all the necessary preconditions for it.

All those hissy hits of Democrats (and subservant to neoliberals MSM; see, for example Krugman in NYT) after Hillary Clinton landmark defeat just reflect this fact.

The best article on this issue that so far I managed to find is Sophia A. McClennen article in Salon:

10 reasons why #DemExit is serious Getting rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not enough  by

Salon.com

Shortly after Bernie Sanders publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton a new hashtag trended on Twitter: #DemExit.  The hashtag offered Sanders supporters a chance to vent their frustrations with the Democratic Party and with the sense that their candidate had been pressured into an endorsement.  Rather than reach out to these disaffected voters, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ignored them. Understood within the larger narrative that Sanders supporters were just whining brats who refused to concede and move on, #DemExit was dismissed as just more sour milk.

But now that the latest leak of DNC emails proves that Sanders supporters have a legitimate right to feel cheated, #DemExit increasingly seems like an appropriate response to a rigged system.

The new leak shows that the DNC never took the Sanders campaign seriously, even when he was winning state after state. Rather than recognize that Sanders was attracting new voters to the party, members of the DNC chose to mock them and close ranks around Clinton.

Here are 10 reasons why the #DemExit movement has a valid reason to want nothing to do with the DNC.  Having DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign is not enough for #DemExit supporters because their concerns run throughout the ranks of the DNC. Until party leaders take these concerns seriously they will have to spend their convention watching potential voters jump ship.

1.     Superdelegates

It is important to recognize that frustrations over party politics are not uniquely tied to the email leaks. The frustration over the superdelegate system is one clear example that distrust of the DNC goes deeper. The fact that the party even has superdelegates is a sign of its anti-democratic, pro-oligarchy stance. As Branko Marcetic of In These Times reports the superdelegate system was created specifically to challenge the will of voters. According to Marcetic, “When a Sanders supporter criticized superdelegate Howard Dean for sticking with Clinton despite Sanders’ landslide victory in Vermont, Dean tweeted back: “Superdelegates don’t represent the people.”

While there have been new negotiations to adjust the role of superdelegates, these concessions still give too much power to the party elite.

In addition, the fact that Clinton superdelegates were regularly reported by the media in her delegate tally contributed to the sense that Sanders couldn’t win.  So it was not just the existence of the superdelegates; it was the way they were covered by the corporate media that pissed off Sanders supporters. Any party with a superdelegate system should be prepared to alienate voters.  This time it worked.

2.     The Debate Schedule

The DNC created a debate schedule designed to make it hard for candidates to challenge Clinton’s status as the “presumptive” nominee.  Debates were held on weekends, at times that conflicted with other events, and were generally slotted to attract fewer viewers. From the start, well before it was clear that Sanders was gaining momentum, folks were already complaining that the debate schedule was slanted towards Clinton. According to a piece in The National Review from November some Democrats thought it was no accident the DNC scheduled a debate in Iowa on the night of a big Iowa Hawkeyes game.  The next two debates were also scheduled for less viewer heavy weekend slots.

The drama over the debate schedule got worse as the DNC refused to add more debates to give Sanders a chance to continue to build momentum.  As The Intercept reports the DNC laughed at the idea of adding another debate prior to the California primary, even though Fox News offered to host one.  Fox News wrote that, “the race is still contested, and given that you sanctioned a final trio of debates, the last of which has not yet been held, we believe a final debate would be an excellent opportunity for the candidates to, as you said when you announced these debates, ‘share Democrats’ vision for the country.’”  There never was a California debate set up. Not on Fox News or any other venue.

3.     Campaign finance

Back in April the Sanders campaign questioned “serious apparent violations” of campaign finance laws under a joint fundraising deal between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  The Sanders camp alleged that the joint fundraising agreement offered Clinton a chance to “launder” money through the DNC.  “While the use of joint fundraising agreements has existed for some time — it is unprecedented for the DNC to allow a joint committee to be exploited to the benefit of one candidate in the midst of a contested nominating contest,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager.

Politico reported that legal experts gave conflicting views on whether the practice constituted a violation of campaign finance law.  But whether or not it was legal was not the only point.  Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, who served for 13 years as general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, stated that “It clearly goes against what was intended for the joint fundraising committees.”  Given the already significant war chest Clinton had to run her campaign it is not surprising that Sanders supporters would find this news disturbing.

4.     Refusal to Address Claims of Election Fraud

According to a piece from the Observer on calls in California to have the DNC investigate election fraud, “Voter tampering has been frequently cited in California, with many alleging their party registration was changed without their consent. In Riverside County, district attorney Mike Hestrin confirmed voters’ party affiliations were changed without their knowledge.” And that was just one part of the story from California.

The primary elections were rife with claims of election fraud. From the purging of voter rolls (Brooklyn) to cutting poll locations (Arizona, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico), to the debacle of the California primary, there were numerous situations where the DNC could and should have called for an investigation. Despite the fact that in many cases it was Democratic voters that were directly affected, the DNC made no move to support voters’ claims of election fraud.

5.     The Democratic Party Platform

The recent fights over the DNC platform reveal a real lack of support for progressive policy, especially on key economic issues.  As Marcetic reported for In These Timesthere’s no denying that the platform compromises on certain core progressive values.”  While some suggested that the new platform was a “win” for Sanders, in the end the platform submits to corporate will on many issues

Committee delegates selected by Clinton and Wasserman Schultz voted down several measures dear to progressives’ hearts: “amendments advocating single-payer health care and a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, several proposals to halt climate change, language criticizing Israeli ‘occupation’ of Palestine and an amendment explicitly opposing the TPP trade agreement.” As Marcetic shows, delegates to the committee with corporate ties were among the most avid in promoting pro-business policy completely out of step with the sort of progressive values that once separated Democrats from Republicans. Unsurprisingly, those very same delegates were the ones connected to Clinton and Wasserman Schultz.

6.     Documented Attempts to Discredit / Dismiss Sanders

As if the previous issues were not evidence enough to justify the #DemExit movement, the Guccifer 2.0 leaks now offer Sanders supporters copious examples of ways that the DNC simply did not respect the Sanders campaign.  It is important to note that Wasserman Schultz was not alone in this general attitude. Even more disturbing, we have no examples of any DNC staffer suggesting that Sanders deserved a better shake than he was getting.  Some of the most egregious examples can be found here.

7.     DNC Collusion with Media

The corporate media was no ally to the Sanders campaign. With AP calling the primary for Clinton before California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota were set to vote, many Sanders’ supporters felt betrayed by the press. As Bill Boyarsky reports for Truthdig, “The story was not just a scoop. It fed the hostility and cynicism of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ fervent supporters.”

The Guccifer 2.0 leaks also reveal a disturbing pattern of collusion between the media and the DNC to support Clinton and not Sanders.  Luis Miranda, the national communications director for the DNC, communicated with reporters from both Politico and the Wall Street Journal in efforts to discredit Sanders. In one email thread, Miranda told Politico he would “point out… some of the issues” with Sen. Sanders’ DNC committee appointments, but only “off the record.”  Miranda also helped craft “talking points”  to be used by the Clinton campaign in response to the Hillary Victory Fund’s money laundering allegations referenced above.

DNC Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach also vetted a Politico story by reporter Ken Vogel before it was sent to editors:  “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach wrote to Miranda. “Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

And then there are the messages that show how Wasserman Schultz pressured MSNBC after it criticized her “unfair” treatment of Sanders.

8.     False Claims of Neutrality

Perhaps one of the most enervating features of the story is the fact that the leaked documents counter Wasserman Schultz’s claims that the DNC was neutral.  There simply is no evidence of neutrality at all–only evidence of bias. It makes moments like Wasserman Schultz’s interview with “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah where he asked her to respond to allegations that she has been cock-blocking Sanders seem like an orchestrated cover-up exist and they make the DNC look really bad. Rather than worry about Russian hacks, the DNC should worry about its integrity.

Today the polling for a potential Donald Trump win is increasingly frightening.  Even Michael Moore is predicting a Trump win.  While there are a variety of forces that are working together to advance the Trump campaign, the DNC’s actions are certainly not helping. If Trump wins in November, the DNC will certainly bear a good portion of the blame.

Sophia A. McClennen is Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She writes on the intersections between culture, politics, and society. Her latest book, co-authored with Remy M. Maisel, is, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics


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[Dec 18, 2017] The Scary Void Inside Russia-gate by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This is unprecedented, preposterous, and dangerous, potentially more so than even Joe McCarthy's search for "Communist" connections. It would suggest, for example, that scores of American corporations doing business in Russia today are engaged in criminal enterprise. ..."
"... To suggest that such contacts are in any way criminal is to slur hundreds of reputations and to leave U.S. policy-makers with advisers laden with ideology and no actual expertise. It is also to suggest that any quest for better relations with Russia, or détente, is somehow suspicious, illegitimate, or impossible, as expressed recently by Andrew Weiss in The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Russia-gate began sometime prior to June 2016, not after the presidential election in November, as is often said, as an anti-Trump political project. (Exactly why, how, and by whom remain unclear, and herein lies the real significance of the largely bogus "dossier" and the still murky role of top U.S. intel officials in the creation of that document.) ..."
"... As Greenwald points out, all of the now retracted stories, whether by print media or cable television, were zealous promotions of Russia-gate and virulently anti-Trump. They, too, are examples of Russia-gate without Russia. ..."
"... Unfortunately, and I can't believe I'm going to concede this, but FOX News, regarding this one particular issue: the baloney of Russiagate, is probably the most accurate mainstream source out there right now. Despite everything else they get wrong, FOX News, pertaining to Russiagate, is generally (generally) accurate from the bits and pieces I've seen. ..."
"... I agree. It seems sort of like the Nazi regime with more advanced technology and more complete ability for the gestapo to exercise control or more aptly like the Soviet Union where people actually believe the regime's propaganda. ..."
"... The neocon perpetrators of the Russia-gate hoax will continue putting their own greed (for money and power) ahead of American national security. That's who they are and what they do. They conflate global domination with American national security because it benefits them to do so. Sure, they don't want a hot war with Russia because they are neither psychotic nor suicidal. But they are power-crazed: delusional to the extent they think they can prevent the Russian-American hostility provoked by their own machinations from spinning out of control. ..."
"... Reason #3: A looming, aggressive enemy (so portrayed) is needed to sustain the U.S.'s parasitic surveillance, "security", and "defense" ecosystems. ..."
"... Thanks, Professor Cohen, and I happen to think that this phony Russia hacking fabrication is breaking down, along with many other false narratives of the West. So many things are exposing the lies and there are truly good investigators who are weighing in, so I am hopeful that the neocons will be finally outed as hopelessly behind the times. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Despite a lack of evidence at its core – and the risk of nuclear conflagration as its by-product – Russia-gate remains the go-to accusation for "getting" the Trump administration, explains Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen.

The foundational accusation of Russia-gate was, and remains, charges that Russian President Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic National Committee e-mails and their public dissemination through WikiLeaks in order to benefit Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and that Trump and/or his associates colluded with the Kremlin in this "attack on American democracy."

As no actual evidence for these allegations has been produced after nearly a year and a half of media and government investigations, we are left with Russia-gate without Russia. (An apt formulation perhaps first coined in an e-mail exchange by Nation writer James Carden.) Special counsel Mueller has produced four indictments: against retired Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's short-lived national-security adviser, and George Papadopolous, a lowly and inconsequential Trump "adviser," for lying to the FBI; and against Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates for financial improprieties. None of these charges has anything to do with improper collusion with Russia, except for the wrongful insinuations against Flynn.

Instead, the several investigations, desperate to find actual evidence of collusion, have spread to "contacts with Russia" -- political, financial, social, etc. -- on the part of a growing number of people, often going back many years before anyone imagined Trump as a presidential candidate. The resulting implication is that these "contacts" were criminal or potentially so.

This is unprecedented, preposterous, and dangerous, potentially more so than even Joe McCarthy's search for "Communist" connections. It would suggest, for example, that scores of American corporations doing business in Russia today are engaged in criminal enterprise.

More to the point, advisers to U.S. policy-makers and even media commentators on Russia must have many and various contacts with Russia if they are to understand anything about the dynamics of Kremlin policy-making. I myself, to take an individual example, was an adviser to two (unsuccessful) presidential campaigns, which considered my wide-ranging and longstanding "contacts" with Russia to be an important credential, as did the one sitting president whom I advised.

To suggest that such contacts are in any way criminal is to slur hundreds of reputations and to leave U.S. policy-makers with advisers laden with ideology and no actual expertise. It is also to suggest that any quest for better relations with Russia, or détente, is somehow suspicious, illegitimate, or impossible, as expressed recently by Andrew Weiss in The Wall Street Journal and by The Washington Post , in an editorial . This is one reason why I have, in a previous commentary , argued that Russia-gate and its promoters have become the gravest threat to American national security.

Russia-gate began sometime prior to June 2016, not after the presidential election in November, as is often said, as an anti-Trump political project. (Exactly why, how, and by whom remain unclear, and herein lies the real significance of the largely bogus "dossier" and the still murky role of top U.S. intel officials in the creation of that document.)

That said, the mainstream American media have been largely responsible for inflating, perpetuating, and sustaining the sham Russia-gate as the real political crisis it has become, arguably the greatest in modern American presidential and thus institutional political history. The media have done this by increasingly betraying their own professed standards of verified news reporting and balanced coverage, even resorting to tacit forms of censorship by systematically excluding dissenting reporting and opinions.

(For inventories of recent examples, see Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept and Joe Lauria at Consortiumnews . Anyone interested in exposures of such truly "fake news" should visit these two sites regularly, the latter the product of the inestimable veteran journalist Robert Parry.)

Still worse, this mainstream malpractice has spread to some alternative-media publications once prized for their journalistic standards, where expressed disdain for "evidence" and "proof" in favor of allegations without any actual facts can sometimes be found. Nor are these practices merely the ordinary occasional mishaps of professional journalism.

As Greenwald points out, all of the now retracted stories, whether by print media or cable television, were zealous promotions of Russia-gate and virulently anti-Trump. They, too, are examples of Russia-gate without Russia.

Flynn and the FBI

Leaving aside possible financial improprieties on the part of General Flynn, his persecution and subsequent prosecution is highly indicative. Flynn pled guilty to having lied to the FBI about his communications with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, on behalf of the incoming Trump administration, discussions that unavoidably included some references, however vague, to sanctions imposed on Russia by President Obama in December 2016, just before leaving office.

Those sanctions were highly unusual -- last-minute, unprecedented in their seizure of Russian property in the United States, and including a reckless veiled threat of unspecified cyber-attacks on Russia. They gave the impression that Obama wanted to make even more difficult Trump's professed goal of improving relations with Moscow.

Still more, Obama's specified reason was not Russian behavior in Ukraine or Syria, as is commonly thought, but Russia-gate -- that is, Putin's "attack on American democracy," which Obama's intel chiefs had evidently persuaded him was an entirely authentic allegation. (Or which Obama, who regarded Trump's victory over his designated successor, Hillary Clinton, as a personal rebuff, was eager to believe.)

But Flynn's discussions with the Russian ambassador -- as well as other Trump representatives' efforts to open "back-channel" communications with Moscow – were anything but a crime. As I pointed out in another commentary , there were so many precedents of such overtures on behalf of presidents-elect, it was considered a normal, even necessary practice, if only to ask Moscow not to make relations worse before the new president had a chance to review the relationship.

When Henry Kissinger did this on behalf of President-elect Nixon, his boss instructed him to keep the communication entirely confidential, not to inform any other members of the incoming administration. Presumably Flynn was similarly secretive, thereby misinforming Vice President Pence and finding himself trapped -- or possibly entrapped -- between loyalty to his president and an FBI agent. Flynn no doubt would have been especially guarded with a representative of the FBI, knowing as he did the role of Obama's Intel bosses in Russia-gate prior to the election and which had escalated after Trump's surprise victory.

In any event, to the extent that Flynn encouraged Moscow not to reply in kind immediately to Obama's highly provocative sanctions, he performed a service to U.S. national security, not a crime. And, assuming that Flynn was acting on the instructions of his president-elect, so did Trump. Still more, if Flynn "colluded" in any way, it was with Israel, not Russia , having been asked by that government to dissuade countries from voting for an impending anti-Israel U.N. resolution.

Removing Tillerson

Finally, and similarly, there is the ongoing effort by the political-media establishment to drive Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from office and replace him with a fully neocon, anti-Russian, anti-détente head of the State Department. Tillerson was an admirable appointee by Trump -- widely experienced in world affairs, a tested negotiator, a mature and practical-minded man.

Originally, his role as the CEO of Exxon Mobil who had negotiated and enacted an immensely profitable and strategically important energy-extraction deal with the Kremlin earned him the slur of being "Putin's pal." This preposterous allegation has since given way to charges that he is slowly restructuring, and trimming, the long bloated and mostly inept State Department, as indeed he should do. Numerous former diplomats closely associated with Hillary Clinton have raced to influential op-ed pages to denounce Tillerson's undermining of this purportedly glorious frontline institution of American national security. Many news reports, commentaries, and editorials have been in the same vein. But who can recall a major diplomatic triumph by the State Department or a Secretary of State in recent years?

The answer might be the Obama administration's multinational agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear-weapons potential, but that was due no less to Russia's president and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provided essential guarantees to the sides involved. Forgotten, meanwhile, are the more than 50 career State Department officials who publicly protested Obama's rare attempt to cooperate with Moscow in Syria. Call it by what it was: the sabotaging of a president by his own State Department.

In this spirit, there are a flurry of leaked stories that Tillerson will soon resign or be ousted. Meanwhile, however, he carries on. The ever-looming menace of Russia-gate compels him to issue wildly exaggerated indictments of Russian behavior while, at the same time, calling for a "productive new relationship" with Moscow, in which he clearly believes. (And which, if left unencumbered, he might achieve.)

Evidently, Tillerson has established a "productive" working relationship with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, the two of them having just announced North Korea's readiness to engage in negotiations with the United States and other governments involved in the current crisis.

Tillerson's fate will tell us much about the number-one foreign-policy question confronting America: cooperation or escalating conflict with the other nuclear superpower, a détente-like diminishing of the new Cold War or the growing risks that it will become hot war. Politics and policy should never be over-personalized; larger factors are always involved. But in these unprecedented times, Tillerson may be the last man standing who represents the possibility of some kind of détente. Apart, that is, from President Trump himself, loathe him or not. Or to put the issue differently: Will Russia-gate continue to gravely endanger American national security?

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation , where a version of this article first appeared.

Abe , December 15, 2017 at 1:49 pm

"Thanks to Flynn's indictment, we now know that the Israeli prime minister was able to transform the Trump administration into his own personal vehicle for undermining Obama's lone effort to hold Israel accountable at the UN. A clearer example of a foreign power colluding with an American political operation against a sitting president has seldom, if ever, been exposed in such glaring fashion.

"Kushner's deep ties to the Israeli right-wing and ethical breaches

"The day after Kushner was revealed as Flynn's taskmaster, a team of researchers from the Democratic Super PAC American Bridge found that the presidential son-in-law had failed to disclose his role as a co-director of his family's Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation during the years when his family's charity funded the Israeli enterprise of illegal settlements. The embarrassing omission barely scratched the surface of Kushner's decades long relationship with Israel's Likud-led government. [ ]

"A Clinton mega-donor defends Kushner's collusion

"So why isn't this angle of the Flynn indictment getting more attention? An easy explanation could be deduced from the stunning spectacle that unfolded this December 2 at the Brookings Institution, where the fresh-faced Kushner engaged in a 'keynote conversation' with Israeli-American oligarch Haim Saban. [ ]

""The spectacle of a top Democratic Party money man defending one of the Trump administration's most influential figures was clearly intended to establish a patina of bipartisan normalcy around Kushner's collusion with the Netanyahu government. Saban's effort to protect the presidential son-in-law was supplemented by an op-ed in the Jewish Daily Forward headlined, 'Jared Kushner Was Right To 'Collude' With Russia -- Because He Did It For Israel.'

"While the Israel lobby ran interference for Kushner, the favorite pundits of the liberal anti-Trump "Resistance" minimized the role of Israel in the Flynn saga. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who has devoted more content this year to Russia than to any other topic, appeared to entirely avoid the issue of Kushner's collusion with Israel.

"There is simply too much at stake for too many to allow any disruption in the preset narrative. From the journalist pack that followed the trail of Russiagate down a conspiracy infested rabbit hole to the Clintonites seeking excuses for their mind-boggling campaign failures to the Cold Warriors exploiting the panic over Russian meddling to drive an unprecedented arms build-up, the narrative must go on, regardless of the facts."

Michael Flynn's Indictment Exposes Trump Team's Collusion With Israel, Not Russia
By Max Blumenthal
https://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/flynn-indictment-exposes-collusion-israel

Drew Hunkins , December 15, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Unfortunately, and I can't believe I'm going to concede this, but FOX News, regarding this one particular issue: the baloney of Russiagate, is probably the most accurate mainstream source out there right now. Despite everything else they get wrong, FOX News, pertaining to Russiagate, is generally (generally) accurate from the bits and pieces I've seen.

One quick example -- a few months ago the otherwise execrable Hannity actually had on his show the great Dennis Kucinich who railed against the deep state for attacking Trump b/c of his overtures toward peace with Moscow and how the deep state was using Russiagate to do it, etc. Kucinich was sensational. I doubt Maddow would ever have given him such a platform to voice the truth like Hannity did on this particular occasion.

Patrick Lucius , December 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I may have to take a look at Fox again–I bet you are right. Hannity as an arbiter of truth–oh my god

Drew Hunkins , December 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm

On this one particular issue, Hannity gets things right.

Rob , December 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm

If Hannity ever reports a story correctly, it's only because it coincides with his deeply partisan interests. Being truthful is something about which he cares little, if at all.

Skip Scott , December 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Yeah Drew-

For years I railed against Fox, but nowadays they seem to be the relatively sensible ones. Tucker Carlson is exceptionally bright, and I have no idea what got into Hannity. I used to loathe him to no end. Him giving Dennis Kucinich a chance to speak his mind is something I never would have imagined.

Drew Hunkins , December 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Isn't it something Mr. Scott?

Dave P. , December 15, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Drew and Skip Scott – Yes, I agree with you. I watched Dennis Kucinich too. Hannity and Carlson have been doing some very good reporting on these issues. It is amazing how the things have changed. Fox News was "No" for progressives to go to.

Annie , December 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Prior to Trump's presidency I would never watch Fox News, but on this issue,, they are a more accurate source of information then any other broadcasting media. Rachel Maddow does nothing but rave, as if she had her own personal agenda, and maybe she does, ousting Trump, and that a woman didn't win the White House. I too saw the interview with Kucinich, and indeed it was a very good one.

RamboDave , December 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Tucker Carlson, on Fox (right before Hannity), has had Glenn Greenwald on several times.

David G , December 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

That basically maps directly onto the fact that Russia is the one issue Trump is right on.

Patrick Lucius , December 15, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Great article. Has America gone off the deep end? I just watched the first ten minutes of an anti-Putin and anti-Russian Frontline on television two nights ago. I have never seen more blatant or shameless propaganda. Because my mom watches tv all day and I am taking care of her, I see the same slop, drivel, and gibberish parroted all day long on the major news outlets. Perhaps I should state that more professionally: I see the same shameless propaganda parroted daily by the mainstream news media And it occurs to me–these young news commentators are not part of a conspiracy, willfully lying–they actually believe the propaganda. We are in trouble. I think as a group we act much more like bees in a hive or monkeys in a troop than we do as rational beings, and I mean no disrespect to bees or monkeys.

exiled off mainstreet , December 15, 2017 at 2:56 pm

I agree. It seems sort of like the Nazi regime with more advanced technology and more complete ability for the gestapo to exercise control or more aptly like the Soviet Union where people actually believe the regime's propaganda.

Annie , December 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Personally I believe that many do know that there is nothing to the Russia-gate story, but go along to get along, and they are no different then politicians, who bow before the Israeli Lobby, or NRA, or corporate groups to get reelected, and maintain their standing in their party. Another way of putting it, is to say they are willing to prostitute themselves. I can't see myself doing that.

occupy on , December 16, 2017 at 12:36 am

I, too, saw this scurrilous 'documentary' – "Putin's Revenge" – and made a point of writing down the names of a good number of those commentators moving the narrative along. All of them are well-known active Zionists or children of American Zionists who've helped create and ardently protect the State of Israel. I wish I could remember now at least some of the commentors' names. I didn't see Frontline' "Putin's Revenge" on PBS. It was on a National Geographic channel that traditionally shows those anthropological 'documentaries' about "Ancient Alien Visitors," "Gods from Outer Space, etc .pleasant programs to fall to sleep by. 'Putin's Revenge', however, was grotesque in its downright lies – making me furiously wide awake until I could google info on those names.

alley cat , December 15, 2017 at 2:36 pm

"Or to put the issue differently: Will Russia-gate continue to gravely endanger American national security?"

The neocon perpetrators of the Russia-gate hoax will continue putting their own greed (for money and power) ahead of American national security. That's who they are and what they do. They conflate global domination with American national security because it benefits them to do so. Sure, they don't want a hot war with Russia because they are neither psychotic nor suicidal. But they are power-crazed: delusional to the extent they think they can prevent the Russian-American hostility provoked by their own machinations from spinning out of control.

exiled off mainstreet , December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

This is a great article by one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable commentators on Russia remaining active despite the ongoing dangerous propaganda storm. Those responsible for this storm are threatening our continued existence. Because of this depressing salient fact, the democratic party, which has been fully on board with this, has totally sacrificed its legitimacy and degenerated to a clear and present existential danger. Clear thinking people have to view it as such and take necessary action based upon that fact, which is serious in its implications, since it is difficult in the extreme to supplant an existing party in a two party system (which has degenerated into a two faction one party state some time ago) in light of the media propaganda, intelligence and police control exercised by this odious system.

Bill , December 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Really glad, Mr, Cohen, to see your article in Consortium. Your voice is always a wise one. Weekly listener.

Very important and accurate information, for the most part, in my view, though I have a few caveats.

Unfortunately for our perception of the 'goodness' of those in power, I tend to think the level of knowledge and intention of those who spread Russiagate are more cynical than you imagine.

When we read certain articles from hardline think-tanks and serious political commentary from those publications and outlets which sustain the current 'scandal' we see a surprising awareness of Russia's true intentions and nature. Sober, and reasonable. The problem is that this commentary is not what is used to persuade any element of the public toward a certain view on Russia. You instead see it within the establishment essentially talking amongst themselves.

The problem, as I see it, is that these people are fully aware of the truth, as well as Russia's intentions. They are just quite simply spinning vast lies to the contrary whenever they speak to, or in front of, the public. For two main reasons:

  • Hobbling Trump, for a number of reasons, not least of which amounts to his unwillingness to pretend he cares about 'spreading Democracy' around the world. More immediate goal.
  • Trying to put a lid on a rapidly boiling over domestic discontent with the status quo. Meaning corporate control over the government, pro-corporate, anti-democratic policy, and endless senseless war.

The remainder of this piece refers to #2.

Russia is an 'enemy' now, more than anything else, because, for whatever it's self-interested motivations, it is a loud, prominent, powerful voice actively and methodically criticizing and opposing US imperial hypocrisy, double-standards, and deception.

  • We are told they 'sow chaos'. Code for platforming anti-establishment truth-tellers.
  • We are told they cause us to 'lose trust in our system of government'. Code for them platforming people who help expose, like Bernie Sanders does, how 'our system of government' has been taken from us by corporations, and making us want it back, for the people.
  • We are told that Russia is, in however many words, whatever we, ourselves are. Imperialistic, disregarding of truth and reality, arrogant, entitled, expansionist etc. The American people are waking up to what the Empire does, and why. The rather desperate idea is to redirect that knowledge and stick it to Russia. Externalizing an internal threat.
  • Finally, we are told that Russia is criticizing and grand-standing against the West in order to tamp down domestic discontent. Which, given the previous entry here, is showing to be exactly what the US government is doing. To the letter.

Russia is a fake enemy, talked about in a fake way, by fake people in an increasingly fake democracy. Respectfully, Mr. Cohen, I don't think ideology is the problem. I don't think those at the helm of US foreign policy have had an ideology in a long, long time. I think they have, with few exceptions, a 'prime directive': The retention and expansion of Oligarchic corporate power.

Nowadays, fearmongering over immigrant crime, terrorists, non-state cyber-criminals, or whatever else conjured to make the extremely safe-from-foreign-threats (To this day no war on our soil since the Civil War. Itself a domestic threat) American people feel afraid, and thus controllable and ignorant, is no longer working. Only a big fish like Russia can even hope to do the job. Plus that big fish is one of the factors 'sowing chaos' by giving a voice to anti-imperialists in the West to spread the truth of the government we actually live under.

In short, Russiagate, and it's accompanying digital censorship efforts, are a desperate attempt to rest control back over the American people and away from honest, rational truth.

Even shorter, our rulers underestimated the power of the internet.

Kind regards,
Bill

Lois Gagnon , December 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Thank you. That is a really truthful post. It really is all about maintaining imperial hegemony at all costs. Unfortunately, the cost could be the end of life on Earth. These weasels controlling the machinery of state from the darkness must be exposed as the treacherous criminals they are.

David G , December 16, 2017 at 9:22 am

Reason #3: A looming, aggressive enemy (so portrayed) is needed to sustain the U.S.'s parasitic surveillance, "security", and "defense" ecosystems.

Jessica K , December 15, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Thanks, Professor Cohen, and I happen to think that this phony Russia hacking fabrication is breaking down, along with many other false narratives of the West. So many things are exposing the lies and there are truly good investigators who are weighing in, so I am hopeful that the neocons will be finally outed as hopelessly behind the times.

And Twitter is helping because western media sources will not tell the truth and people are taking to it to push back. I agree that at this time Fox is more interested in the facts than MSNBC, and particularly Tucker Carlson. (The sex scandals, now another witch hunt, are showing what a fouled-up society America has become. It is feminist McCarthyism, sadly, and I am glad Tavis Smiley is fighting back.)

Yesterday I had a conversation with a loud mouth believer of the "Putin did it" fable and told him some details, that outright it was a fabrication, and someone nearby in the coffee shop actually joined to support the pushback with other facts. So, I am hopeful that people are waking up. And Nikki Haley has just been called by people on Twitter for her lies about Iran provocation in Yemen. Plus documents on NATO expansion after Gorbachev was assured would not happen, have just been revealed. I do think people are waking up.

Bill , December 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Jessica,

That's what it takes. The political battle of our times. Good on you. I think you're right. The beginnings of which seem to have motivated Russiagate in the first place. I did a longer post on this above. Please keep spreading sense. I'll do the same.

Best wishes,
Bill

RnM , December 15, 2017 at 9:25 pm

It's good to be optimistc, but let us not forget the long history (short by Old World standards) of the oligarchy of doing anything and everything to get what they want.

The present cock-up of Russia-gate (Geez, I hate using that MSM concocted jingo term) points, not to the oligarchs losing their groove, but to an incompetent but persistent bunch of Clinton/Obama synchophants. Their days in any kind of power are, thankfully, numbered. But the snakes are lurking in the bushes, as are the deeper parts of the deep state. It's the long game that they are in for.

Martin - Swedish citizen , December 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Thanks, Jessica,
A hopeful comment! Here, too, I sense at least some more dissent among us citizens with the prevailing lies.
When the bubble bursts, the boy has cried and everyone "realises" the emperor is naked, I wonder, will our governments, politicians and media survive? Everyone, practically, is complicit.

Jessica K , December 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Thanks, Bill, and I think we're at a profound crossroads in world history. I saw an interview on YouTube with young Americans who did not even know who won the Civil War nor why it was fought! We all must speak out with conviction and without anger.

Realist , December 15, 2017 at 3:44 pm

My parents always used to use the old argument to keep my thinking on track and avoid conforming to dangerous groupthink: "if everyone else decided to jump off the cliff, in the river or out the 10th floor window, would you just follow the crowd?" Professor Cohen is one of the rare little boys who either learned that lesson well or has always had strong innate instincts to avoid following the crowd or jumping on self-destructive bandwagons. Most of the readers of this site seem to have similar predilections and are among the very few Americans not being led by the Pied Pipers of all-encompassing self-destructive Russophobia. (Is there some common childhood experience or shared gene in our personal biographies that compel our rigorous adherence to the principles we all uphold?) As other posters have noted here, those few media personalities with a seeming immunity to the pathological groupthink now infecting most of America are indeed a very curious lot, with little else in the way of ideological conformity, but thank heavens for them for any restoration of mass sanity will surely have to originate from within their ranks, examples and leadership. I, for one, am pulling for Professor Cohen to be among those leading this country out of the wilderness of lock-step madness.

Bob Van Noy , December 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

We remember an era before 11/22/1963

Joe Tedesky , December 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Realist I'm glad you brought up the readers on consortiumnews, and their not falling for this Russia-Gate nonsense. People posting comments here in support of 'no Russian interference' have been accused of being Trump supporters, but that was never the case. No, instead many here just saw through the fog of propaganda, and certainly saw this Russia-Gate idiocy as it being nothing more than an instigated coup. This defense of Trump could have been for any newly elected president, but the division between Hillary supporters, and Trump backers, has been the biggest obstacle to overcome, while attempting to explain your thought. I truly think that if the shoe had been on the other foot, that the many posters of comments here on consortiumnews would have been on Hillary's side, if it had been the same kind of coup that had been put in place. It's time to tell John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, and Robert Mueller, to call Hillary and say, 'well at least we tried Madam Secretary', and then be done with it.

Dave P. , December 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Realist and Joe – I always enjoy reading your thoughtful comments. Those of us who have been reading professor Stephen Cohen's articles for more than four decades now , know that he is the foremost authority on Russia. Instead of being courted to give his valuable input into the relations with Russia, he and others like him are being vilified as Putin apologists. It is the sign of the times we live in now.

As many comments posters here on this site had noted, the Russia-Gate has been deliberately created to confront Russia at this time rather than later on. Russia is in the way for final push for World domination – the Neoliberal Globalization.

Nobody, in Washington or elsewhere in the Country seems to ask why and for whom they, The ruling Powers want to establish this World Empire at any cost – even at the risk of a nuclear war. This process of building an Empire has changed the country as I had seen it more than half a century ago.

NeoLiberal Globalization, building this World wide Empire during the last three or four decades had its real winners and losers. Lot of wealth has been created all over the World under neoliberal global economy.

The big time winners are top .01% and another about 10% are also in the winners category, and have accumulated lot of wealth. From all over the World; China, India . . . this top 10% class send their kids to the best universities in the West for professional education; Finance, High tech, Sciences, and other professions and they get the jobs all over in Silicon Valley, and big financial Institutions and other professional fields in U.S. , U.K., Australia Canada . . .

The losers are middle class in U.S. – whom Hillary called deplorables – especially in those once mighty Industrial States in the Midwest, and East. With my marriage here , I inherited lots of relatives more than forty five years ago, most of them in the Midwest. As somebody commented a few weeks ago on this site about these middle class people that their " Way of Life " has been destroyed. It is true. All these people voted for Trump. With the exception of two, all our relatives in the Midwest and elsewhere on my wife's side voted for Trump. They are good, hard working people. It is painful to look at those ruined and abandoned factories in those States and ruined lives of many of those Middle Class people. Globalization has been disastrous for the middle class people in U.S. It is a race to the bottom for those people.

Ask those relatives if they have ever read anything about Russia during 2016. Not one of them have ever read or listened to anything related to Russian media or other Russian source. They did not even know if anything like RT or Sputnik News ever existed. Most of them don't even know now. And it is true of the people we associate with here where we live. None of them have time to read anything let alone Russian Media. I came to know about RT during events in Ukraine in 2014, and about Sputnik News over a year ago when this Russia- Gate commotion began. And I had read lot of Russian literature in my young age.

As several articles on this website have pointed out those email leaks were an inside job. Russia-Gate is just a concocted scheme to bring down Trump. And to destabilize Russia – a hurdle to Globalization and West's domination.

Skip Scott , December 17, 2017 at 8:39 am

Dave P-

Yours is a very accurate portrayal of the heartland of America. I live in a very rural area of the southwest, and you describe reality there to a "T". They are much too busy trying to survive to dig too deeply into world affairs. Thank goodness at least they've got Tucker Carlson at Fox to contrast the propaganda spewers on the other networks. They know the latte sippers and their government has abandoned them, but they don't fully understand the PNAC empire's moves in pursuit of global domination, and many wind up in the military jousting at windmills.

Realist , December 17, 2017 at 4:46 pm

I totally concur, Dave. I'm 70 and well remember, as a little kid, as a teenager and as a young man, folks talking about a far-off ideal of world unity, wherein all people on earth would share in earth's bounty and have the same democratic rights. The UN was supposed to be one of the first steps in that general direction. However, nobody thought that the eventual outcome would be what the movement has transmogrified into today: neoliberal globalism in which a tiny fraction of the top 1% own and control everything, with the rest of us actually suffering a drastic drop in our standard of living and a blatant diminution of our political rights.

It's been fifty years since I lived in Chicago, and about 45 since I last lived in the Midwest, but I was born and raised there and well recognise everything you have said about the place and the people in your remark to be entirely correct. It's also true for most of the other regions of this country in which I have lived, but the "Rust Belt" has paid the price in spades to satiate the neoliberal globalist "free traders." (Remember when THAT catchphrase was first sold to the working classes by Slick Willie's DLC wing of the Democratic party? He and Al Gore basically ended up doubling the ranks of "Reagan Democrats" whether they intended to do so or not. And, Hillary was so delusional as to assume those people would be on her side!)

Dave P. , December 17, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Yes, Realist. That Slick Willie and Gore did the most damage to the working class than any other administration in the recent American history. And being progressive democrats, we worked hard for their election as volunteers registering voters. At that time Rolling Stone Magazine called them as Saviors after Reagan and Bush era of greed – as they called it. Clintons sold the Democratic Party to the Wall Street and to Neoliberal Globalization. Tony Blair did the same in U.K. to the Labor Party.

Then we put faith in Hopey changey Obama and worked for his election. And he turned out to be big fraud too. After his Libya intervention and then on to Syria, I finally got turned off from Democratic Party politics. My wife, and I had started with McGovern Campaign in 1972.

Talking about Chicago, I landed at O'Haire fifty two years ago during snowy Winter, with just a few hundred dollars in my pocket enough for one semester on my way to Graduate School. You can not do it these days. America was at it's best. Ann Arbor was a Republican town those days with very friendly people. Compared to Europe, and other cultures, I found Americans the least prejudiced people, very open to other cultures. The factories In Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana . . . were humming. Never on Earth, such a prosperous middle class on such a scale has ever been created; made of good, hard working people in those small and big towns. The workers were back bone of the Democratic Party. And every thing looked optimistic. I, and couple of my friends thought it can not get better than this on Earth.

And all this seems like a past history now. Life is still good but that stability and that optimism of 1960's is gone. I visited Wisconsin and Michigan last Spring and in Fall again this year. It is painful to look at those gigantic factories shut down and in ruins. I lived for a decade in Michigan. As I said in my comments above, the biggest loser in this NeoLiberal Globalization is American Middle Class.

Piotr Berman , December 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Jessica K: The sex scandals, now another witch hunt, are showing what a fouled-up society America has become.

One could say that there is nothing bad about a witch hunt, provided that it genuinely goes after evil witches. Perhaps the worst hitch hunt in my memory was directed at preschool teachers accused of sexual molestation and sometimes satanism. Probably we are not in this Animal Kingdom story (yet):

Denizens of AK see a hare running very fast and they ask "what happen?" Mr. hare answers "They are castrating camels!" "But you are a hare, not a camel!" "Try to prove that you are not a camel!".

Abe , December 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

"In a dramatic development in the trial in Kiev of several Berkut police officers accused of shooting civilians in the Maidan demonstrations in February 2014, the defence has produced two Georgians who confirm that the murders were committed by foreign snipers, at least 50 of them, operating in teams. The two Georgians, Alexander Revazishvili and Koba Nergadze have agreed to testify [ ]

"This dramatic and explosive evidence was first brought to light by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin on November 16 in an article in the Italian journal Il Giornale and is again brought to the world's attention by a lawyer with some courage picking up on that report and speaking with the witnesses himself. These witnesses stated to Gian Micalessin, even more explosively, that the American Army was directly involved in the murders.

"The clear objective of the Maidan massacre in Kiev on February 20, 2014 was to sow chaos and reap the fall of the democratically elected, pro-Russian Yanukovych government. People were slaughtered for no other reason than to destroy a government the NATO powers, especially the United States and Germany, wanted removed because of its opposition to NATO, the EU, and their hegemonic drive to open Ukraine and Russia to American and German economic expansion. In other words, it was about money and the making of money.

"The western media and leaders quickly blamed the Yanukovych government for the killings during the Maidan demonstrations, but more evidence has become available indicating that the massacre in Kiev of police and civilians – which led to the escalation of protests, leading to the overthrow of the Yanukovych government – was the work of snipers working on orders of government opponents and their NATO controllers using the protests as a cover for a coup.

"One of the snipers already admitted to this in February 2015, thereby confirming what had become common knowledge just a few days after the massacre in Kiev and in a secretly recorded telephone call, the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet reported to the EU head of Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton, in early March 2014, that there was widespread suspicion that "someone from the new coalition" in the Kiev government may have ordered the sniper murders. In February 2016, Maidan activist Ivan Bubenchik confessed that in the course of the massacre, he had shot Ukrainian police officers. Bubenchik confirmed this in a film that gained wide attention.

'Dr. Ivan Katchanovski, at the University of Ottawa, published a devastating paper on the Maidan killings setting out in extensive detail the conclusive evidence that it was a false flag operation and that members of the present Kiev regime, including Poroshenko himself were involved in the murders, not the government forces. [ ]

"In the November 16 article in the Italian journal Il Giornale, and repeated on Italian TV Canale 5, journalist Gian Micalessin revealed that 3 Georgians, all trained army snipers, and with links to Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgian security forces were ordered to travel to Kiev from Tbilisi during the Maidan events. It is two of these men that are now being called to testify in Kiev."

The Maidan Massacre: US Army Orders: Sow Chaos
By Christopher Black
https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/15/the-maidan-massacre-us-army-orders-sow-chaos/

Abe , December 15, 2017 at 5:12 pm

The pretext for the western-supported overthrow of Ukrainian President Yanukovych was the massacre of more than a hundred protestors in Kiev in February 2014, which Yanukovych allegedly ordered his forces to carry out. Doubts have been expressed about the evidence for this allegation, but they have been almost entirely ignored by the western media and politicians.

Ukrainian-Canadian professor Ivan Katchanovski has carried out a detailed study of the evidence of those events, including videos and radio intercepts made publicly available by pro-Maidan sources, and eye witness accounts. His findings point to the involvement of far-right militias in the massacre and a cover-up afterwards:

– The trajectories of many of the shots indicate that they were fired from buildings that were then occupied by Maidan forces.
– Many warnings were given by announcers on the Maidan stage about snipers firing from those buildings.
– Several leaders of the then opposition felt secure enough to give speeches on the Maidan around the time that gunmen in nearby buildings were shooting protestors dead, and those leaders were not targeted by the gunmen .
– Many of the protesters were shot with an outdated type of firearm that was not used by professional snipers but was available in Ukraine as a hunting weapon.
– Recordings of all live TV and Internet broadcasts of the massacre by five different TV channels were either removed from their websites immediately after the massacre or not made publicly available.
– Official results of ballistic, weapons, and medical examinations and other evidence collected during the investigations have not been made public, while crucial evidence, including bullets and weapons, has disappeared.
– No evidence has been given that links the then security forces' weapons to the killings of the protesters.
– No evidence has been given of orders to shoot unarmed protestors even though the new government claimed that Yanukovych issued those orders personally.
– So far the only three people have been charged with the massacre, one of whom has disappeared from house arrest.

http://www.academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine

Bob Van Noy , December 15, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Thank you Abe that article could change everything

Martin - Swedish citizen , December 15, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Abe,
Thanks for advocating Dr Katchanovski! I have been reading some of his papers since a year or two and his work seems very thorough! He uses physical facts like trajectories of bullets to determine where shots originated.

Another expert in the field who knows Mr Katchanovski fully endorsed his academic work without any hesitation when I asked him recently. He is being published by publishers with the highest demands. His work can be found in academia.com or is it .org, login is free of charge.
His work deserves the attention of real journalists.

Martin - Swedish citizen , December 15, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Oh, sorry, I see u already mentioned academia.edu!
No harm repeating though.
And it is .edu. :)

Litchfield , December 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Ditto with the airliner shootdown.
Russia is accused and evidence is destroyed/suppressed.
The pattern is quite clear. Russiagate is merely an extension of the same pattern.
Remember those intelligence tests that consist of presenting a series of numbers, and the test taker has to figure out what the next number in the pattern is . . .
So, the Russiagate thing is merely the next item that continues the pattern of Maidan, plane shootdown and cover-up, shootdown of plane in Sinai, etc. etc. etc.
I think the deep state REALLY went apoplectic when Snowden escaped to Russia.

They will have their revenged, at any price, to the USA, to Russia, to the world. These are madmen.

Joe Tedesky , December 16, 2017 at 12:32 am

It's prove Abe that 'only if you live long enough' applies to learning these newly uncovered facts regarding the Maiden Square riots. Let's hold out hope that the truth to MH17 comes out soon. Another thing, how can these sanctions against Russia stay in place while everything known as a narrative to that event comes unraveled.

Marko , December 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm

That's a good article , worth reading in its entirety. Thanks.

occupy on , December 16, 2017 at 1:23 am

Abe, thank you so much for this information. US fingerprints are all over Ukraine's sickening economic 'reforms', too! Have you read the House Ukraine Freedom Support Act – passed by both houses in the middle of the night Dec. 2014? I have. Wade through until nearly the end where it gives President Obama #1. the power to work toward US corporations exploring and developing Ukraine's natural resources (including fracking) once 'reforms' have been put in place (privatization); #2. the power to ask the World Bank to extend special loans for US corporations to develop those natural resources; #3. the power to install 'defensive' missile sites all along Russia's western borders; #4. the power to free US NGO's in Russia from their previously non-partisan restraints and allow them to work with anti-Putin political groups.

I urge you to google Dennis Kucinich/Ron Paul/Ukraine Freedom Support Act -2014. You won't believe how that bill got through the House of Representatives and Senate. And you'll have to laugh when you hear the word "democracy" in any context with "the USA".

Annie , December 15, 2017 at 6:48 pm

I also see the sexual allegations made against Trump, as another opportunity to oust him from his presidency. I in no way condone such behavior, but it's disturbing to think the main motivation driving this is another means of trying to oust him from his presidency. I don't believe, as these women claim, that they felt "left out", in the recent outings of men who have misused their positions of power to exploit women sexually.

Litchfield , December 15, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Yep, the Weinstein thing is being trumpeted and amplified to the extent that it synergizes wtih attempts to oust Trump. It is handy to the deep state. Trump qua political figure is being tarred with the Weinstein brush. That is the main reason we are seeing such a heavy dose of stories on male bad behavior. We would not be seeing this if Hillary were in power. Just a few stories but not full-court press. Because too many of these bad actors are actually in the Hillary camp. Like, most of Hollywood. The story wouldn't help her, politically, if she were in power. It only helps politically to drag down Trump. Before the Weinstein thing came along, we arleady had teh golden showers fairy tale. In fact it would not surprise me at all if Rose McGowan had some kind of political support and encouragement to "go public."
this is no way means that I think this kind of thing is OK. But, things are not straightforward in our world. It is a political as well as a "moral" or lifestyle story. One of the political targets is Trump. Notice that the heads of studios who knew all about this behavior and did nothing are not being forced to step down. Let's check out their political donations . . .

Joe Tedesky , December 16, 2017 at 12:44 am

What if the 'Sexual Predator Purge' stories along with the 'Get Trump Out of Office' campaign were but two stories colliding into each other? I mean a reporter in our TMZ world we live in would need paid a handsome sum to continually stay quiet over a Harvey Weinstein kind of scoop, so eventually these scandals had to come out. And then there's hateable loud mouth the Donald, who must be stopped by any means. Put the two together, and hey with how all these big shot perv's are going down, why not corral Trump and force him to resign. It's even cheaper than impeachment.

So the conniving once again craft together a piece of fiction, mixed in with some reality, and take the American conscience off into another realm of fantasy. Hate can get anybody carted off to the guillotine, if the timings right.

Joe Tedesky , December 16, 2017 at 12:55 am

Andrew Bacevich mentions the Weinstein scandal, and then goes on to suggest what the conversation should be.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48429.htm

Litchfield , December 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

Bacevich is fine as far as he goes
But he never quite "turns the corner" himself in taking the story as far as it needs to be taken and laying out the conclusions that the public needs to grasp.

David G , December 16, 2017 at 9:32 am

Yes! That! Thank you, Litchfield.

Bacevich is knowledgeable and worth reading. But he never, afaik, ventures to look deeply enough into the imperial heart of darkness – "turn the corner", as you say.

Leslie F. , December 15, 2017 at 7:11 pm

So the investigation isn't really about Russia. It is about corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, etc. All worthy of investigation. Not to mention the conspiracy to kidnap the Turkish cleric and collusion with Israel This investigation should not be shut down because the deep state and the press are in a conspiracy to blame it all on Russia. It is up to you guys in the press to convince your colleagues to call it what it really is, and expose those members who continue to misrepresent reality. The press, as a whole, has dropped the ball in a big way on this, but that is not Mueller's responsibility. The 4th estate is a mess and you should be trying to figure out how to clean it up without violating the constitution.

Annie , December 15, 2017 at 7:58 pm

This is one of the reasons I no longer support Democracy Now. As Mr. Cohen said, " worse, this mainstream malpractice has spread to some alternative-media publications once prized for their journalistic standards, "

God, help us, everyone including mental health professionals have no sense of professionalism, but they sure know how to make a buck, and try to undo a presidency.

"There are Thousands of Us": Mental Health Professionals Warn of Trump's Increasing Instability

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/8/there_are_thousands_of_us_mental

Litchfield , December 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Ditto, The Nation. See my post.

Annie , December 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm

I read your post, and of course I agree. Some of the allegations are so minor, as he hugged me and gave me a kiss on my mouth. He touched my breast. I was in the dressing room when he came in unannounced, and my hair was in curlers, and I was only wearing a robe, but I was nude underneath. Of course some were more disconcerting then those I mentioned, but all claim to be traumatized. I have no doubt their agenda is to bring him down and the whole thing has been orchestrated to do just that. Where is all the concern, and coverage of rape in this country where the estimates go from 300,000 to over a million women raped each year? Where are the stories about sexual trafficking of children, or the children who are sexually abused in their own homes? I've never seen coverage on these issues like what is happening now. That is another reason I find this whole thing appalling. Not to mention using sexual harassment as a political tool to bring down a president.

David G , December 16, 2017 at 9:41 am

So many examples of this. There's an alternative newspaper comic I used to like, "Tom the Dancing Bug" – smart, subversive, and "progressive". But the writer has completely bought into Scary Putin/Puppet Trump. It's depressing.

BobH , December 15, 2017 at 8:33 pm

"unprecedented, preposterous, and dangerous" sums it up nicely. It was also good to have Professor Cohen's endorsement of this website's courageous initiatives in combatting the Russia-gate farce.

Bob Van Noy , December 16, 2017 at 11:15 am

I'll happily second that thought BobH. And thanks

Litchfield , December 15, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Thank god Consortium News keeps up the pressure on the Russia-gate scam.
And glad to see Stephen Cohen published here.
Readers of this site need to keep reminding themselve of the basic background on this -- at least, I do -- in case opportunities comes along to deflate others' credulousness.

One question for Stephen Cohen:
Your wife is the editor of The Nation.
What has The Nation done to stop the madness?
Not enough. What's the story?
In fact, during the campaign and post-election, The Nation shamefully lent itself to the craziness on the left that sought to devalidate not only the results of the election but Trump himself qua human being. Nothing has been too far below the belt for Nation editors and writers to strike. I have had the ongoing impression that The Nation's editorial board really cannot see below the surface on any of this and have driven a very superficial anti-Trump, "resist" narrative dangerous in its implications. I think I have seen just one story, by a Patrick someone, that seriously questioned the russia-gate narrative. The Nation has fallen right in to the trap of "I hate Trump so much and am so freaked out by his election that I will make common cause with any one and any forces in our polity that will get rid of him somehow." The nation seems too scared of facing head on the reality of deep state actors in the USA. Or is too wedded to its version of reality to see what has become incraseingly clear to growing numbers of Americans.
As many an intelligent and more knowledgeable than I person has said: There is plenty to decry about Trump. But worse is the actions taken in the name of ridding the country of him and his presidency.
Because of this consistent cluelessness I have canceled all gift subscriptions to The Nation. I'll pay for my own sub, to see where this magazine goes, but others will have to pay their own way with The Nation if they so choose.
So, please clean up at home and get the act together on what is left of the left.
First.

Herman , December 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Thought the acronym PEPs was clever, Progressives Except for Palestine. Now it has morphed into PEPIRs pronounced Peppers, Progressives Except for Palestine, Iran and Russia. Actually could be PEPIRS adding Syria. If we added Iraq it could be PIEPIRS or Peepers. Actually, I have little regard for such people whose aims include killing and maiming for land and money.

Professor Cohen's credentials are very impressive and his voice and pen are badly needed. People like him are precious resources for America and the world.

Herman , December 16, 2017 at 11:08 am

PIEPIRS is incorrect with the I before the E making Pipers. So we have PEPs, Peppers and Pipers. Please excuse the frivolous comments but it feels good to try to expose their hypocrisy in any way you can, that is of the Peps, Peppers and Pipers.

Gregory Herr , December 15, 2017 at 9:43 pm

What has really been astonishing to me -- beyond a lack of evidence for all the "Russia-gate" allegations–is the utterly preposterous nature of the narrative in the first place. Robert Parry has addressed this, but the voice of Stephen Cohen–with the perspective of specialized scholarship and experience vis-a-vis Russia–is a welcome voice indeed.

David G , December 16, 2017 at 9:55 am

The NY Times printed an allegedly explanatory graphic a couple of days ago showing the Trump/Russia "scandal" as a basically a proliferating root system descending from the central "collusion" premise, with the roots and rootlets branching down to encompass all the disjointed facts (and "facts") and allegations that have appeared in the media.

The graphic was unintentionally revealing of the phoniness of the whole business: instead of showing numerous observations leading to a deeper truth, it accurately depicted "Russia-gate" as a pre-existing (fact-free) conceit that has chaotically complexified to accommodate random developments. That's the definition of a weak and useless theory!

Gregory Herr , December 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

It seems to that as a representative of the incoming Administration's foreign policy team Flynn was just doing his job speaking with the Russian ambassador about the sudden and striking maneuvers of Obama during the transition. And in trying to defuse potential fallout and escalation due to those sanctions he was doing his job well. Was it not perfectly legal and well within the parameters of his duties to establish some baselines of discussion with counterparts?
Flynn's expression of thoughts on policy to counterparts were, to my mind, subject to the approval of the head of the incoming Administration -- namely Trump, and Trump only.

By the time the FBI questioned Flynn, he surely must have had an idea his conversation with the Ambassador had been under surveillance. What was the "lie"? Was he forgetful of a detail and just caught in a nitpicking technicality? Or did he deliberately manufacture a falsehood? When he gets past his legal entanglement, I sure hope he sits down to a candid interview. I'd like him to demystify me about all this.

I like your phraseology David this nonsense has been chaotically complexified to accommodate random developments!

David G , December 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Thanks, Gregory Herr. In your earlier comment that I replied to, you reference "the utterly preposterous nature of the narrative". That's not bad phraseology either.

And it also gets to something I've been thinking all along: I'd like to hear a "Russia-gate" proponent, such as an MSNBC host, actually supply what they consider a plausible narrative that fits all these breathless Trump/Russia "scoops".

I'm not demanding they prove anything, but just want to hear a story that makes sense. Because it seems to me that all the little developments they rush toward with their hummingbird attention spans don't fit together, *even if you concede all the dubious and debatable "facts"*.

dhinds , December 16, 2017 at 7:28 am

An important interview, for anyone that wants to understand Russia, today.

https://youtu.be/E_WPk6Rxx00

Megyn Kelly Interview Vladimir Putin

June, 2017

Damn good Interview (on the part of Putin – He said what was needed to be said. including "well, this is just more nonsense Have you lost your mind over there, or something)? He then continued to wrap it up, in a reasonable and and diplomatic manner.

Effectively, the USA continues locked into denial, refusing to accept responsibility for it's own current state of affairs. (The mass delusion is so thick you could eat it with a spoon, if it wasn't so putrid).

Warmongering, terrorist and refugee creating Regime Change and mass assassinations (with neither congressional oversight nor due process), arms and influence peddling profiteering, the creation of a mass surveillance society and militarized police state that kills minorities, the homeless and poor with impunity, mass incarceration in private for profit prisons, increasingly gross inequality and the excessive cost of health care and education; show the USA to be a society adrift and devoid of fundamental values. (And that's me talking, not Vladimir Putin)

The Clintons, Bush's and their supporters are to blame and should be held accountable, but mainly a new course for society must be charted and neither of the two corrupt major political parties is capable of that at this time.

A new coalition is called for.

James , December 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

Thank you Mr. Cohen for your ever insightful and reasoned commentary on this disturbing trend.

Clif , December 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Yes, thank you Dr. Cohen.

The lack of scrutiny is alarming. I'd like to offer Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan as possible figures who are working the lines and should be drawn into the light.

rosemerry , December 16, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Professor Cohen is one of the few who really knows about Russia, so of course so any of the Fawning Corporate Media (to quote Ray McGovern) denigrate his work. Even in GWBush's time he often explained "the Cold War is over", and Obama's intemperate rush to expel diplomats and push ahead the Russophobia after Trump's election had no basis in fact and just encouraged the Hillary-Dems and neocons to continue the unjustified destruction of the one aspect of Trump's "plan" that would have benefited the USA and peace.

Bill , December 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Do you really think that Obama was misled by others? I don't believe it. Obama and Hillary are the origin of the fabrications. Will anyone hold their feet to the fire?

Jerry Alatalo , December 17, 2017 at 1:56 pm

"It's the state-sponsorship of terrorism, stupid." The largest-scale, ongoing, organized war criminal operation in the history of the world has murdered millions.

Jessica K , December 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Vox has an article "The Left Shouldn't Make Peace With Neocons -- Even to Defeat Trump", by Robert Wright. Bill Kristol of American Conservative and many other neocons including Robert Kagan have dual US-Israel citizenship, and they push the MICC toward war. They'll be pushing for war with Iran and maybe Russia.

Tim , December 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

Sadly, quite a concise, clear picture of the muddy waters called Russia-gate, Intel's baby, and the faint possibilities of Tillerson and Lavrov holding fast against sabotage. Let's hope against all hope.

[Dec 16, 2017] The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was by Gabriel Rockhill

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. ..."
"... Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics. ..."
"... When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. ..."
"... It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy." ..."
"... When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare. ..."
"... In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. ..."
"... To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. ..."
"... It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via Counterpunch.org,

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions . The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth -- a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short -- has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present ).

To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the "new world," with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning "the people," was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics.

When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President.

It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy."

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of "Indian killer" Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a 'democrat,' he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.

However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected.

It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23).

Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing."

... ... ...

[Dec 16, 2017] Seth Rich murder: The facts so far by Kit

Aug 11, 2016 | OffGuardian

Last month Seth Rich, a data analyst who worked for the DNC, was shot near his home in Washington DC. He was on the phone to his girlfriend when it happened. Police were called to the scene and discovered the young man's body at roughly 4.20am. It was reported that Rich was "covered in bruises", shot "several times" and "at least once in the back".

The New York Daily News reported:

" police have found little information to explain his death. At this time, there are no suspects, no motive and no witnesses in Rich's murder.

While initial theories were that the killing was robbery or mugging gone wrong, the Washington Post said:

" There is no immediate indication that robbery was a motive in the attack but it has not been ruled out as a possibility."

Rich's family have also reported that nothing was taken:

" [Rich's] hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything."

On August 9th Julian Assange gave an interview on Dutch television in which he seemed to imply that Rich's death was politically motivated, and perhaps suggest he had been a source for the DNC e-mail leak:

That same day wikileaks tweeted that they were offering a $20,000 dollar reward for information on the killing of Mr Rich.

These are the facts of the case, so far. And they are undisputed.

I'm not going to take a position on the motive for Mr Rich's killing, or possible suspects. But I do want to point out the general level of media silence. Take these facts and change the names – imagine Trump's email had been hacked, and then a staffer with possible ties to wikileaks was inexplicably shot dead. Imagine this poor young man had been a Kremlin whistleblower, or a Chinese hacker, or an Iranian blogger.

If this, as yet unsolved, murder had ties to anyone other than Hillary Clinton, would it be being so ritually and rigourously ignored by the MSM?

[Dec 15, 2017] James Clapper Corrects Left's Narrative On Russia Election Interference 'Not All 17' Intel Agencies Affirmed

Notable quotes:
"... Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, " ..."
"... Aaron Klein Investigative Radio ..."
"... ." Follow him on ..."
"... Twitter @AaronKleinShow. ..."
"... Follow him on ..."
"... With research by Joshua Klein. ..."
May 09, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

During yesterday's Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, put the kibosh on a major anti-Donald Trump talking point that 17 federal intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

That talking point was amplified last October, when Hillary Clinton stated the following at the third presidential debate: "We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber-attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing."

Clinton was referring to an October 7, 2016 joint statement from the Homeland Security Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence claiming, "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations."

The statement was followed by a January 6, 2017 U.S. Intelligence Community report assessing Russian intentions during the presidential election.

While the U.S. Intelligence Community is indeed made up of 17 agencies, Clapper made clear in his testimony yesterday that the community's assessments regarding alleged Russian interference were not the product of all seventeen agencies but of three – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Referring to the assessments, Clapper stated : "As you know, the I.C. was a coordinated product from three agencies; CIA, NSA and the FBI, not all 17 components of the intelligence community. Those three under the aegis of my former office."

Later in the hearing, Clapper corrected Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) when Franken claimed that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia attempted to influence the election.

Here is a transcript of that exchange :

FRANKEN: And I want to thank General Clapper and – and Attorney General Yates for – for appearing today. We have – the intelligence communities have concluded all 17 of them that Russia interfered with this election. And we all know how that's right.

CLAPPER: Senator, as I pointed out in my statement Senator Franken, it was there were only three agencies that directly involved in this assessment plus my office

FRANKEN: But all 17 signed on to that?

CLAPPER: Well, we didn't go through that – that process, this was a special situation because of the time limits and my – what I knew to be to who could really contribute to this and the sensitivity of the situation, we decided it was a constant judgment to restrict it to those three. I'm not aware of anyone who dissented or – or disagreed when it came out.

The January 6 U.S. intelligence community report is titled, "Background to 'Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections': The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution."

The report makes clear it is a product of three intelligence agencies and not 17.

The opening states: "This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies."

Following Clinton's presidential debate claim about "17 intelligence agencies," PolitiFact rated her statement as "true."

However, within its ruling, PolitiFact conceded:

We don't know how many separate investigations into the attacks there were. But the Director of National Intelligence, which speaks for the country's 17 federal intelligence agencies, released a joint statement saying the intelligence community at large is confident that Russia is behind recent hacks into political organizations' emails.

PolitiFact's "true" judgement was the basis for a USA Today piece titled, "Yes, 17 intelligence agencies really did say Russia was behind hacking."

Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, " Aaron Klein Investigative Radio ." Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein.

[Dec 15, 2017] FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information." ..."
"... It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...." ..."
"... One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 ) ..."
"... That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed. ..."
"... And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked. ..."
"... Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here. ..."
"... Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets. ..."
"... They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? ..."
"... Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did. ..."
"... And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Tyler Durden Dec 15, 2017 10:10 AM 0 SHARES detailed in a Thursday letter from committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok

The letter reveals specific edits made by senior FBI agents when Deputy Director Andrew McCabe exchanged drafts of Comey's statement with senior FBI officials , including Peter Strzok, Strzok's direct supervisor , E.W. "Bill" Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an unnamed employee from the Office of General Counsel (identified by Newsweek as DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson) - in what was a coordinated conspiracy among top FBI brass to decriminalize Clinton's conduct by changing legal terms and phrases, omitting key information, and minimizing the role of the Intelligence Community in the email investigation. Doing so virtually assured that then-candidate Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted.

Heather Samuelson and Heather Mills

Also mentioned in the letter are the immunity agreements granted by the FBI in June 2016 to top Obama advisor Cheryl Mills and aide Heather Samuelson - who helped decide which Clinton emails were destroyed before turning over the remaining 30,000 records to the State Department. Of note, the FBI agreed to destroy evidence on devices owned by Mills and Samuelson which were turned over in the investigation.

Sen. Johnson's letter reads:

According to documents produced by the FBI, FBI employees exchanged proposed edits to the draft statement. On May 6, Deputy Director McCabe forwarded the draft statement to other senior FBI employees, including Peter Strzok, E.W. Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an employee on the Office of General Counsel whose name has been redacted. While the precise dates of the edits and identities of the editors are not apparent from the documents, the edits appear to change the tone and substance of Director Comey's statement in at least three respects .

It was already known that Strzok - who was demoted to the FBI's HR department after anti-Trump text messages to his mistress were uncovered by an internal FBI watchdog - was responsible for downgrading the language regarding Clinton's conduct from the criminal charge of "gross negligence" to "extremely careless."

"Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is " A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard ," and " Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights ." "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, "extremely careless" is in fact a defense to "gross negligence": "What my client did was 'careless', maybe even 'extremely careless,' but it was not 'gross negligence' your honor." The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase "gross negligence" had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information."

Also removed from Comey's statement were all references to the Intelligence Community's involvement in investigating Clinton's private email server.

Director Comey's original statement acknowledged the FBI had worked with its partners in the Intelligence Community to assess potential damage from Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server. The original statement read:

[W]e have done extensive work with the assistance of our colleagues elsewhere in the Intelligence Community to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the private email operation.

The edited version removed the references to the intelligence community:

[W]e have done extensive work [removed] to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

Furthermore, the FBI edited Comey's statement to downgrade the probability that Clinton's server was hacked by hostile actors, changing their language from "reasonably likely" to "possible" - an edit which eliminated yet another justification for the phrase "Gross negligence." To put it another way, "reasonably likely" means the probability of a hack due to Clinton's negligence is above 50 percent, whereas the hack simply being "possible" is any probability above zero.

It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

The original draft read:

Given the combination of factors, we assess it is reasonably likely that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account."

The edited version from Director Comey's July 5 statement read:

Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail account.

Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...."

One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 )

Transcript , James Comey Testimony to House Intel Committee, March 20, 2016

The letter from the Senate Committee concludes; "the edits to Director Comey's public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI's public evaluation of the implications of her actions . This effort, seen in the light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior FBI agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an "insurance policy" against Mr. Trump's election, raise profound questions about the FBI's role and possible interference in the 2016y presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation of President Trump ."

Johnson then asks the FBI to answer six questions:

  1. Please provide the names of the Department of Justice (DOJ) employees who comprised the "mid-year review team" during the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server.
  2. Please identify all FBI, DOJ, or other federal employees who edited or reviewed Director Comey's July 5, 2016 statement . Please identify which individual made the marked changes in the documents produced to the Committee.
  3. Please identify which FBI employee repeatedly changed the language in the final draft statement that described Secretary Clinton's behavior as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless. " What evidence supported these changes?
  4. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to remove the reference to the Intelligence Community . On what basis was this change made?
  5. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to downgrade the FBI's assessment that it was "reasonably likely" that hostile actors had gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account to merely that than [sic] intrusion was "possible." What evidence supported these changes?
  6. Please provide unredacted copies of the drafts of Director Comey's statement, including comment bubbles , and explain the basis for the redactions produced to date.

We are increasingly faced with the fact that the FBI's top ranks have been filled with political ideologues who helped Hillary Clinton while pursuing the Russian influence narrative against Trump (perhaps as the "insurance" Strzok spoke of). Meanwhile, "hands off" recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein don't seem very excited to explore the issues with a second Special Counsel. As such, we are now almost entirely reliant on the various Committees of congress to pursue justice in this matter. Perhaps when their investigations have concluded, President Trump will feel he has the political and legal ammunition to truly clean house at the nation's swampiest agencies.

swmnguy -> 11b40 , Dec 15, 2017 4:42 PM

All I see in this story is that the FBI edits their work to make sure the terminology is consistent throughout. This is not a smoking gun of anything, except bureaucratic procedure one would find anywhere any legal documents are prepared.

That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed.

Now, if Hillary hadn't been such an arrogant bitch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If she had just take the locked-down Android of iOS phone they issued her, instead of having to forward everything to herself so she could use her stupid Blackberry (which can't be locked down to State Dep't. specs), everything would have been both hunky and dory.

And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked.

Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here.

youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 8:59 AM

What did Obozo know and when did he know it

E.F. Mutton -> youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 9:04 AM

False Flag time - distraction needed ASAP

Bigly -> E.F. Mutton , Dec 15, 2017 9:14 AM

We need to look for this as there are a LOT of people who need to be indicted and boobus americanus needs distraction.

My concern is that there are not enough non-corrupts there to handle and process the swamp as Trump did not fire and replace them 10 months ago.

shitshitshit -> Bigly , Dec 15, 2017 9:16 AM

I wonder how high will this little game go...

That obongo of all crooks is involved is a sure fact, but I'd like to see how many remaining defenders of the cause are still motivated to lose everything for this thing...

In other terms, what are the defection rates in the dem party, because now this must be an avalanche.

cheka -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 9:45 AM

applied neo-bolshevism

macholatte -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 10:23 AM

I am tired of this shit. Aren't you?

Please, EVERYONE with a Twitter account send this message Every Day (tell your friends on facebook):

Mr. President, the time to purge the Obama-Clinton holdovers has long passed. Please get rid of them at once. Make your base happy. Fire 100+ from DOJ - State - FBI. Hire William K. Black as Special Prosecutor

send it to:

@realDonaldTrump
@PressSec
@KellyannePolls
@WhiteHouse


Does anybody know how to start an online petition?
Let's make some NOISE!!

Bay of Pigs -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 12:02 PM

Sadly, I don't see this story being reported anywhere this morning. Only the biggest scandal in American history. WTF?

11b40 -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:22 PM

Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets.

Of course, they may all be related, since Debbie Wasserman-Shits brought them in and set them up, then intertwined their work in Congress with their work for the DNC.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:53 PM

They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? It's just like slick willy. Deny. Deny. Deny.

ThePhantom -> grizfish , Dec 15, 2017 3:35 PM

The Media is "in on it" and just as culpabale.... everyone's fighting for their lives.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 4:29 PM

Just more theater. Throwing a bone to the few citizens who think for themselves. Giving us false hope the US legal system isn't corrupt. This will never be prosecuted, because the deep state remains in control. They've had a year to destroy the incriminating evidence.

Lanka -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 2:27 PM

Tillerson is extremely incompetent in housecleaning. He needs to be replaced by Fred Kruger, Esq.

TerminalDebt -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

I guess we know now who the leaker was at the FBI and on the Mule's team

Joe Davola -> TerminalDebt , Dec 15, 2017 1:27 PM

I'm guessing the number of leakers is bigger than 1

eclectic syncretist -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:01 AM

What's next? The FBI had Seth Rich killed? Is that why Sessions and everyone else appears paralyzed? How deep does this rabbit hole go?

Overfed -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:58 AM

I'm sure that Chaffets and Gowdy will hand down some very stern reprimands.

Mr. Universe -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 11:24 AM

Ryan and his buddies in Congress will make strained faces (as if taking a dump) and wring their hands saying they must hire a "Special" Investigator to cover up this mess.

Duane Norman -> Mr. Universe , Dec 15, 2017 11:31 AM

http://fmshooter.com/claiming-fbis-reputation-integrity-not-tatters-comp...

Yeah, but it won't make a difference.

Gardentoolnumber5 -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 3:12 PM

Chaffets left Congress because he couldn't get any more help from Trump's DOJ than he did from Obama's. Sad, as he was one of the good guys. imo

ThePhantom -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 3:38 PM

did you notice the story yesterday about "Russian hacker admits putin ordered him to steal dnc emials" ? someones worried about it....

grizfish -> ThePhantom , Dec 15, 2017 4:38 PM

They tweet that crap all the time. Usually just a repeat with different names, but always blaming a Ruskie. About every 6 months they hit on a twist in the wording that causes it to go viral.

Bush Baby -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 11:37 AM

Before Trump was elected , I thought the only way to get our country back was through a Military Coup, but it appears there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

eclectic syncretist -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 11:57 AM

I wonder if that light is coming from the soon to be gaping hole in the FBI's asshole when the extent of this political activism by the agency eventually seeps into the public conciousness.

rccalhoun -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

you can't clean up a mess of this magnitude. fire everyone in washington---senator, representative, fbi, cia, nsa ,etc and start over---has NO chance of happenning

the only hope for a non violent solution is that a true leader emerges that every decent person can rally behind and respect, honor and dignity become the norm. unfortunately, corruption has become a culture and i don't know if it can be eradicated

Lanka -> rccalhoun , Dec 15, 2017 2:31 PM

Just expose the Congress, McCabe, Lindsey, McCabe, Clinton, all Dem judges, Media, Hollywood, local government dems as pedos; that will half-drain the swamp.

shankster -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 4:11 PM

Does the US public have a consciousness?

lew1024 -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 2:54 PM

If Trump gets the swamp cleaned without a military coup, he will be one of our greatest Presidents. There will be people who hate that more than they hate being in jail.

checkessential -> BennyBoy , Dec 15, 2017 1:00 PM

And they say President Trump obstructed justice for simply asking Comey if he could drop the Michael Flynn matter. Wow.

TommyD88 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 1:09 PM

Alinsky 101: Accuse your opponent of that which you yourself are doing.

Overfed -> redmudhooch , Dec 15, 2017 2:47 PM

Getting rid of the FBI (and all other FLEAs) would be a good thing for all of us.

A Sentinel -> TommyD88 , Dec 15, 2017 2:13 PM

Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did.

lurker since 2012 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 4:09 PM

And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS.

Ramesees -> BaBaBouy , Dec 15, 2017 9:31 AM

I have - it's was NBC Nightly News - they spent time on the damning emails from Strozk. Maybe 2-3 minutes. Normal news segment time. Surprised the hell out of me.

A Sentinel -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 2:14 PM

Someone probably got fired for that.

ThePhantom -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 3:41 PM

the "MSM" needs to cover their own asses ...like "an insurance policy" just in case the truth comes out... best to be seen reporting on the REAL issue at least for a couple minutes..

[Dec 15, 2017] Democrats lost because Clinton didn't bother to listen to the concerns of the working class. Instead, she demonized and ridiculed them

Dec 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Larry Gates , December 14, 2017 at 9:14 am

Hillary Clinton "actually listening to the people"??? Nonsense.

Democrats lost because she didn't bother to listen to the concerns of the working class. Instead, she demonized and ridiculed them. If Democrats don't return to their one-time base in the working class, we will be doomed to more Donald Trumps and more massive transfers of wealth from those to work for a living to the very rich.

As a lifetime progressive, I categorically reject the neoliberal political philosophy of both Clinton and Obama. In addition to being morally wrong, it is foolish, because in kicking out both the working class and progressives like me, they don't have enough votes to win elections. I also reject lying in order to undo the will of the American people. Russia-gate is, from the "evidence" given, total BS.

The will of those stinking (not a word I would use) undesirables at Walmart was to raise their collective middle fingers at the elites who have abandoned them and thrown them under the bus. They were voting against phony promises of hope and change. They were voting against NAFTA and the TPP. And guess what: Plenty of them would have voted for Bernie Sanders.

[Dec 13, 2017] All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections. ..."
"... What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel? ..."
"... The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played. ..."
"... In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars. ..."
"... True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated. ..."
"... Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces. ..."
"... Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us". ..."
"... If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing. ..."
"... It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation. ..."
"... The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ... ..."
"... Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community. ..."
"... Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests. ..."
"... Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders. ..."
"... the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official ..."
"... "The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems" ..."
"... It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome? ..."
"... So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's. ..."
"... You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on ..."
"... Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts. ..."
"... If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ..."
"... Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence. ..."
"... Clinton lied under oath ..."
"... The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office... ..."
"... Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive? ..."
"... The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese? ..."
"... The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council. ..."
"... And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics. ..."
"... In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it. ..."
"... All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election. ..."
"... So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere ..."
"... Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference. ..."
"... America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works. ..."
"... The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that ..."
"... Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

polpont , 4 Dec 2017 08:32

Mueller will have to thread very carefully because he is maneuvering on a very politically charged terrain. And one cannot refrain from comparing the current situation with the many free passes the democrats were handed over by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the media which make the US look like a banana republic.

The mind blowing fact that Clinton sat with the Attorney General on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport "to chit-chat" and not to discuss the investigation on Clinton's very wife that was being overseen by the same AG, leaves one flabbergasted.

And the fact that Comey essentially said that Clinton's behaviour, tantamount in his own words to extreme recklessness, did not warrant prosecution was just inconceivable.

Don't forget that Trump has nearly 50 M gun-toting followers on Tweeter and that he would not hesitate to appeal to them were he to feel threatened by what he could conceive as a judicial Coup d'Etat. The respect for the institutions in the USA has never been so low.

ID1456161 -> Canadiman , 4 Dec 2017 08:30

...a judge would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant a trial.

Actually, in the U.S. a grand jury would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant formal charges leading to a trial. There is also the possibility that Mueller has uncovered both Federal and NY State offenses, so charges could be brought against Kushner at either level. Mueller has been sharing information from his investigation with the NY Attorney General's Office. Trump could pardon a federal offense, but has no jurisdiction to pardon charges brought against Kushner by the State of NY.

Anna Bramwell -> etrang , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
I watched RT for 24 months before the US election. They favoured Bernie Saunders strongly before he lost to Hilary. Then they ran hustings for the smaller US parties, eg Greens, and the Libertarians , which could definitely be seen as an interference in the US election, but which as far as I know, was never mentioned in the US. They were anti Hilary but not pro Trump. And indeed, their strong anti capitalist bias would have made such support unlikely.
EduardStreltsovGhost -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What's he lying about? More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections.

Obama and Hillary met hundreds of foreign officials. Were they colluding as well?

pretzelattack -> Atticus_Finch , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel?
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 08:26
The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played.
Krautolivier , 4 Dec 2017 08:21
In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars.
It's all too funny.
zerohoursuni -> damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 08:19
True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated.

Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces.

Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us".

cookcounty , 4 Dec 2017 08:15
I missed Jill Abramson's column about all the meetings the Obama administration held -- quite openly -- with foreign governments during the transition period between his election and his first inauguration.

But since she's been demonstrably and laughably wrong about predicting future political events in the USA (see her entire body of work during the 2016 election campaign), why should she start making sense now?

It's completely possible, of course, that some as-yet-to-be-revealed piece of evidence will prove collusion -- before the election and by candidate Trump -- with the Russians. But the Flynn testimony certainly isn't it. All the heavy breathing and hysteria is simply a sign of how the media, yet again, always gravitates toward the news it wishes were true, rather than what really is true. If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing.

themandibleclaw -> SteveMilesworthy , 4 Dec 2017 08:12
Flynn was charged with far more serious crimes which were all dropped and he was left with a charge that if he spends any time in prison, it will be about 6 months. Now, you could say for him to agree to that, he must have some juicy info - and he probably does - but what that juicy info is is just speculation. And if we are speculating, then maybe what he traded it for was nothing to do with Trump? After all, one of the charges against him was failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Turkey.

It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation.

WallyWillage , 4 Dec 2017 08:05
Still no evidence of Russian collusion in Trump campaign BEFORE the election...... whatever happened after being president elect is not impeachable unless it would be after taking office.

The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ...

EduardStreltsovGhost -> CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 08:03

You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression

if that were the case, Clinton, Bush and Obama would be sitting in jail right now.
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 07:58
Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community.

Trumps presidency could have the capability of galvanising a powerful resistance against the 2 party state for 'real change, like affordable healthcare and affordable education for ALL its people. But no its not happening, Trump is attacked on probables and undisclosed sources. A year has passed and nothing has been revealed.

Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests.

Well their not, their only function is, is to spend tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on education, health, infrastructure, things that would 'really' benefit America. Disagree, well go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy nut-job, in the meantime China is by peaceful means getting the mining rights in Africa, Australia, deals that matter.

The tax legislation for the few against the many is deflected by the anti-Trump hysteria based on conjecture and not proof.

EduardStreltsovGhost , 4 Dec 2017 07:52
Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders.
RelaxAndChill -> Silgen , 4 Dec 2017 07:46
Crimea was and is Russian. Your mask is slipping, Vlad .

Your ignorance is showing. I have no connection to Russia what so ever. Crimea was legally ceded to Russia over 200 years ago, by the Ottomans to Catherine the Great. Russia has never relinquished control. What the criminal organization the USSR did under Ukrainian expat Khrushchev, is irrelevant. And as Putin said , any agreement about respecting Ukraine's territorial integrity was negated when the USA and the EU fomented and financed a rebellion and revolution.

StillAbstractImp , 4 Dec 2017 07:40
Decelerating Fascism - Is Kushner a Putin operative, too?
mikedow -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 07:35
Australia, Canada, and S. Africa supply the lion's share of gold bullion that London survives on. And the best uranium in the world. All sorts of other precious commodities as well. If you're not toeing the line on US foreign policies religiously, the Yanks will drop you.
themandibleclaw -> Toastface_Killah , 4 Dec 2017 07:34

You are selectively choosing to refer to this one instance, but even here Obama administration were still in charge - so not very legal, was it.

I am "selectively choosing to refer to this one instance" because that's all Flynn has been charged with. Oh, and it is totally legal for a member of the incoming administration to start talks with their foreign counterparts. Here's a quote from an op-ed piece in The Hill from a law professor at Washington University.

the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official .

http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/362813-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-flynn-indictment

backstop -> EdwardFatherby , 4 Dec 2017 07:31
"The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems"

It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome?

BustedBoom , 4 Dec 2017 07:31

He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's.
CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 07:26
You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on

Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts.

Oh, and I have to be supporter of Putin's oligarchy with dreams of great tsars of Russia, if I care about humans survival on this planet and have very bad opinion about suicidal fools playing this stupid games.

ConCaruthers , 4 Dec 2017 07:25
If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
moonsphere -> Hydro , 4 Dec 2017 07:24
Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence.
etrang -> CraftyRabbi , 4 Dec 2017 07:14

Mueller could charge/indict Kushner or Trump Jr under New York state criminal statutes

But not for crimes relating to federal elections or conspiring with Russia.

John Edwin -> OlivesNightie , 4 Dec 2017 07:13
Clinton lied under oath
John Edwin -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 07:11
The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office...
emiliofloris -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 07:08

I am not sure any level of scandal will make much difference to Trump or his supporters. They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact.

So far the level of scandal is below that of Whitewater/Lewinsky, and that was a very low level indeed. What "evidence of wrongdoing" is there? Nothing, that's why they charged Flynn with lying to investigators. It's important to keep in mind that the he did nor lie about actual crimes. Perhaps that's going to change as the investigation proceeds, but so far this is nothing more than a partisan lawfare fishing expedition.

Billsykesdoggy -> reinhardpolley , 4 Dec 2017 06:55
<blockquoteSpecifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.>

So Trump authorized Obama's talks with Macron last week?

Don't think so.

braciole -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:55

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

And your evidence for this is what exactly? As for countries trying to influence elections in other countries, I'm all for it particularly when one of the candidates is murderous, arrogant and stupid.

BTW, in Honduras after supporting a coup against the democratically-elected president because he sought a referendum on allowing presidents to serve two terms, you'd think the United States would interfere when his non-democratically-elected replacement used a "packed" supreme court to change the constitution to allow presidents to serve more than one term to at least stop him stealing an election as he is now doing/has done. But they didn't and that hasn't stopped the United States whining that Evo Morales is being undemocratic by trying to extend the number of terms he can serve.

emiliofloris -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:53

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive?

The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese?

technotherapy , 4 Dec 2017 06:46
The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics.

themandibleclaw -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:44

Can someone please actually tell us what Flynn/Jared/Trump is supposed to have done.

In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it.

moonsphere -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 06:44
These days "US influence" seems to consist of bombing Middle Eastern countries back to the bronze age for reasons that defy easy logic. Anything that reduces that kind of influence would be welcome.
reinhardpolley -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:33
The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948]) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Logan+Act
themandibleclaw , 4 Dec 2017 06:22
All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election.

So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere.

damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference.

But now this Russian debacle, and at last they've woken up, because another country had the temerity to turn the tables on them. And I think if this was Bush or Obama we would never have heard a thing about it. Everybody hates the Dotard, because he's an obese dick with an IQ to match.

Boojay , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Nothing will happen to Trump, It's all bollocks. You've all watched too many Spielberg films, bad guys win, and they win most of the time.
Trump is the real face of America, America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works.
formerathlete -> vacantspace , 4 Dec 2017 06:15

when American presidents were rational, well balanced with progressive views we had.... decent American healthcare? Equality of opportunity? Gun laws that made it safe to walk the streets?

Say who, what an a where now????????? Since when has the US EVER had any of the three things that you mentioned???

If ever, then it was a loooooong time before the pilgrim fathers ever landed.

Hugh Mad -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 06:10

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

That is the bottom line, yes. People view the world through west = good and Russia = bad, while both make economic and political decisions that serve the interests of their people respectively. Ultimately, I think people are scared that the West's monopoly on global influence is slipping, to as you said, a rival.

JonShone -> Hugh Mad , 4 Dec 2017 06:06
You are right that calling Russia the US enemy needs justification, but these threads often deteriorate into arguments of the yes it is/no it isn't variety.

Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat.

It's certain that their ideals and goals run counter to those generally held in the US in many ways. But let's not forget that the US' ideals are often, if not generally, divergent from their interests and US foreign policy since 1945 has been responsible for countless deaths, perhaps more than Russia's.

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

RelaxAndChill , 4 Dec 2017 05:59
All the signs in the Russia probe point to ..

How the liberals and the Democrats don't give a damm about the USA or the world's political scene, just some endless 'sore loser' witch hunt. So much could be achieved by the improving of relations with Russia. Crimea was and is Russian. Let Trump have a go as POTUS and then judge him. He wants to befriend Putin and if done it would help solve Syrian, Nth Korean and other global problems.

variation31 -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 05:50

They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact

Whereas if it's a Democrat in the spotlight, these same dipshits see it as an élitist cover-up and no lack of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact. If anything, lack of evidence is evidence of cover-up which is therefore proof of evidence.

These cynical games they play with veracity and human honesty are a very pure form of evil.

[Dec 11, 2017] Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up by Alexander Mercouris

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them. ..."
"... The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light. ..."
"... There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; ..."
"... There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy. ..."
"... If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists. ..."
"... Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions . It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in. ..."
"... Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said. ..."
"... Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved? ..."
"... My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos. ..."
"... Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign. ..."
"... It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions. ..."
"... It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared. ..."
"... By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide. ..."
"... They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans. ..."
"... Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing. ..."
"... Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade. ..."
"... once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months... ..."
"... This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alexander Mercouris via TheDuran.com,

Almost eighteen months after Obama's Justice Department and the FBI launched the Russiagate investigation, and seven months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the investigation over, the sum total of what it has achieved is as follows

(1) an indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates which concerns entirely their prior financial dealings, and which makes no reference to the Russiagate collusion allegations;

(2) an indictment for lying to the FBI of George Papadopoulos, the junior volunteer staffer of the Trump campaign, who during the 2016 Presidential election had certain contacts with members of a Moscow based Russian NGO, which he sought to pass off – falsely and unsuccessfully – as more important than they really were, and which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations; and

(3) an indictment for lying to the FBI of Michael Flynn arising from his perfectly legitimate and entirely legal contacts with the Russian ambassador after the 2016 Presidential election, which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations, and which looks as if it was brought about by an act of entrapment .

Of actual evidence to substantiate the claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election Mueller has so far come up with nothing.

Here I wish to say something briefly about the nature of "collusion".

There is no criminal offence of "collusion" known to US law, which has led some to make the point that Mueller is investigating a crime which does not exist.

There is some force to this point, but it is one which must be heavily qualified:

(1) Though there is no crime of "collusion" in US law, there most certainly is the crime of conspiracy to perform a criminal act.

Should it ever be established that members of the Trump campaign arranged with the Russians for the Russians to hack the DNC's and John Podesta's computers and to steal the emails from those computers so that they could be published by Wikileaks, then since hacking and theft are serious criminal acts a criminal conspiracy would be established, and it would be the entirely proper to do to bring criminal charges against those who were involved in it.

This is the central allegation which lies behind the whole Russiagate case, and is the crime which Mueller is supposed to be investigating.

(2) The FBI is not merely a police and law enforcement agency. It is also the US's counter-espionage agency.

If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them.

Since impeachment is a purely political process and not a legal process, should it ever be established that there were such secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy, then I have no doubt that Congress would say that there were grounds for impeachment even if no criminal offences had been committed during them.

The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light.

Specifically:

(1) There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; and

(2) There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy.

Such contacts as did take place between the Trump campaign and the Russians were limited and innocuous and had no effect on the outcome of the election. Specifically there is no evidence of any concerted action between the Trump campaign and the Russians to swing the election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.

As I have previously discussed, the meeting between Donald Trump Junior and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is not such evidence .

If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists.

Why then is the investigation still continuing?

Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions. It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in.

How else to explain the strange decision to subpoena Deutsche Bank for information about loans granted by Deutsche Bank to Donald Trump and his businesses?

Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said.

Yet in the desperation to find some connection between Donald Trump and Russia it is to these absurdities that Mueller is reduced to.

Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved?

My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos.

Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign.

The indictment against Manafort and Gates looks sloppy and rushed. Perhaps I am wrong but there has to be at least a suspicion that the indictments were issued in a hurry to still criticism of Mueller of the kind that was now appearing in the Wall Street Journal.

Presumably the reason the indictment against Flynn was delayed was because his lawyers had just signaled Flynn's interest in a plea bargain, and it took a few more weeks of negotiating to work that out.

It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions.

In fact the Wall Street Journal was more right than it perhaps realised. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the FBI's actions are open to very serious criticism to say the least, and that Mueller is simply not the person who can be trusted to take an objective view of those actions.

Over the course of the 2016 election the FBI cleared Hillary Clinton over her illegal use of a private server to route classified emails whilst she was Secretary of State though it is universally agreed that she broke the law by doing so.

The FBI does not seem to have even considered investigating Hillary Clinton for possible obstruction of justice after it also became known that she had actually destroyed thousands of her emails which passed through her private server, though that was an obvious thing to do.

It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared.

By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide.

In other words it was because of the FBI's actions in the first half of 2016 that Bernie Sanders is not now the President of the United States.

In addition instead of independently investigating the DNC's claims that the Russians had hacked the DNC's and John Podesta's computers, the FBI simply accepted the opinion of an expert – Crowdstrike – paid for by the DNC, which it is now known was partly funded and was entirely controlled by the Hillary Clinton campaign, that hacks of those computers had actually taken place and that the Russians were the perpetrators.

As a result Hillary Clinton was able to say during the election that the reason emails which had passed through those computers and which showed her and her campaign in a bad light were being published by Wikileaks was because the Russians had stolen the emails by hacking the computers in order to help Donald Trump.

It is now known that the FBI also met with Christopher Steele, the compiler of the Trump Dossier, who is now known to have been in the pay of the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign. The first meeting apparently took place in early July 2016, shortly before the Russiagate investigation was launched.

Whilst there is some confusion about whether the FBI actually paid Steele for his information, it is now known that Steele was in contact with the FBI throughout the election and continued to be so after, and that the FBI gave credence to his work.

Recently it has also come to light that Steele was also directly in touch with Obama's Justice Department, a fact which was only disclosed recently.

The best account of this has been provided by Byron York writing for The Washington Examiner

The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.

Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.

Word that Ohr met with Steele and Simpson, first reported by Fox News' James Rosen and Jake Gibson, was news to some current officials in the Justice Department. Shortly after learning it, they demoted Ohr, taking away his associate deputy attorney general title and moving him full time to another position running the department's organized crime drug enforcement task forces.

It is also now known that over the course of the election the FBI – on the basis of information in the Trump Dossier – obtained at least one warrant from the FISA court which made it possible for it to undertake surveillance during and after the election of persons belonging to involved the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

In response to subpoenas issued at the instigation of the Congressman Devin Nunes the FBI has recently admitted that the Trump Dossier cannot be verified .

However the FBI and the Justice Department have so far failed to provide in response to these subpoenas information about the precise role of the Trump Dossier in triggering the Russiagate investigation.

The FBI's and the Justice Department's failure to provide this information recently provoked an angry exchange between FBI Director Christopher Wray and Congressman Jim Jordan during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing Jordan said to Wray the following

Let's remember a couple of things about the dossier. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage and it's been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document -- that it became the basis for a warrant to spy on Americans.

In response Wray refused to say officially whether or not the Trump Dossier played any role in the FBI obtaining the FISA warrants.

This was so even though officials of the FBI – including former FBI Director James Comey – have slipped out in earlier Congressional testimony that it did.

This is also despite the fact that this information is not classified and ought already to have been provided by the Justice Department and the FBI in response to Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

There is now talk of FBI Director Christopher Wray and of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein being held in contempt of Congress because of the failure of the Justice Department and the FBI to comply with Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

During the exchanges between Wray and Jordan at the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Jordan also had this to say

Here's what I think -- I think Peter Strozk (sic) Mr. Super Agent at the FBI, I think he's the guy who took the application to the FISA court and if that happened, if this happened , if you have the FBI working with a campaign, the Democrats' campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document so they can take it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign, if that happened, that is as wrong as it gets

Peter Strzok is the senior FBI official who is now known to have had a leading role in both the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of her private server and in the Russiagate investigation.

Strzok is now also known to have been the person who changed the wording in Comey's statement clearing Hillary Clinton for her misuse of her private email server to say that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless'" as opposed to "grossly negligent".

Strzok – who was the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence – is now also known to have been the person who signed the document which launched the Russiagate investigation in July 2016.

Fox News has reported that Strzok was also the person who supervised the FBI's questioning of Michael Flynn. It is not clear whether this covers the FBI's interview with Flynn on 24th January 2017 during which Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. However it is likely that it does.

If so then this is potentially important given that it was Flynn's lying to the FBI during this interview which made up the case against him and to which he has now pleaded guilty. It is potentially even more important given the strong indications that Flynn's interview with the FBI on 24th January 2017 was a set-up intended to entrap him by tricking him into lying to the FBI.

As the FBI's deputy director of counter-intelligence it is also highly likely that it was Strozk who was the official within the FBI who supervised the FBI's contacts with Christopher Steele, and who would have been the official within the FBI who was provided by Steele with the Trump Dossier and who would have made the first assessment of the Trump Dossier.

Recently it has been disclosed that Special Counsel Mueller sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation supposedly after it was discovered that Strzok had been sending anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton messages to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair.

These messages were sent by Strzok to his lover during the election, but apparently only came to light in July this year, when Mueller supposedly sacked Strzok because of them.

It seems that since then Strzok has been working in the FBI's human resources department, an astonishing demotion for the FBI's former deputy director for counter-intelligence who was apparently previously considered the FBI's top expert on Russia.

Some people have questioned whether the sending of the messages could possibly be the true reason why Strzok was sacked. My colleague Alex Christoforou has reported on some of the bafflement that this extraordinary sacking and demotion has caused.

Business Insider reports the anguished comments of former FBI officials incredulous that Strzok could have been sacked for such a trivial reason. Here is what Business Insider reports one ex FBI official Mark Rossini as having said

It would be literally impossible for one human being to have the power to change or manipulate evidence or intelligence according to their own political preferences. FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

This is obviously right. Though the ex-FBI officials questioned by Business Insider are clearly supporters of Strzok and critics of Donald Trump, the same point has been made from the other side of the political divide by Congressman Jim Jordan

If you get kicked off the Mueller team for being anti-Trump, there wouldn't be anybody left on the Mueller team. There has to be more

Adding to the mystery about Strzok's sacking is why the FBI took five months to confirm it.

Mueller apparently sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation in July and it was apparently then that Strzok was simultaneously sacked from his previous post of deputy director for counter-espionage and transferred to human resources. The FBI has however only disclosed his sacking now, five months later and only in response to demands for information from Congressional investigators.

There is in fact an obvious explanation for Strzok's sacking and the strange circumstances surrounding it, and I am sure that it is the one which Congressman Jordan had in mind during his angry exchanges with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Recently the FBI has admitted to Congress that it has failed to verify the Trump Dossier.

I suspect that Congressman Jordan believes that the true reason why Strzok was sacked is that Strzok's credibility had become so tied to the Trump Dossier that when its credibility collapsed over the course of the summer when the FBI finally realised that it could not be verified his credibility collapsed with it.

If so then I am sure that Congressman Jordan is right.

We now know from a variety of sources but first and foremost from the testimony to Congress of Carter Page that the Trump Dossier provided the frame narrative for the Russiagate investigation until just a few months ago.

We also know that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report about supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election which was shown by the US intelligence chiefs to President elect Trump during their stormy meeting with him on 8th January 2017.

The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth.

The June 2017 article in the Washington Post (discussed by me here ) also all but confirms that it was the Trump Dossier that provided the information which the CIA sent to President Obama in August 2016 which supposedly 'proved' that the Russians were interfering in the election.

As the BBC has pointed out , it was also the Trump Dossier which Congressman Adam Schiff – the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Community, who appears to be very close to some of the FBI investigators involved in the Russiagate case – as well as the FBI's Russiagate investigators were using as the narrative frame when questioning witnesses about their supposed role in Russiagate.

These facts make it highly likely that it was indeed the Trump Dossier which provided the information which the FBI used to obtain all the surveillance warrants the FBI obtained from the FISA court during the 2016 election and afterwards.

Strzok's position as the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence makes it highly likely that he was the key official within the FBI who decided that the Trump Dossier should be given credence, whilst his known actions during the Hillary Clinton private server investigation and during the Russiagate investigation make it highly likely that it was he who was the official within the FBI who sought and obtained the FISA warrants.

Given Strzok's central role in the Russiagate investigation going back all the way to its start in July 2016, there also has to be a possibility that it was Strzok who was behind many of the leaks coming from the investigation which so destabilised the Trump administration at the start of the year.

This once again points to the true scandal of the 2016 election.

On the strength of a fake Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community carried out surveillance during the election of US citizens who were members of the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

Given the hugely embarrassing implications of this for the FBI, it is completely understandable why Strzok, if he was the person who was ultimately responsible for this debacle – as he very likely was – and if he was responsible for some of the leaks – as he very likely also was – was sacked and exiled to human resources when it was finally concluded that the Trump Dossier upon which all the FBI's actions were based could not be verified.

It would also explain why the FBI sought to keep Strzok's sacking secret, so that it was only disclosed five months after it happened and then only in response to questions from Congressional investigators, with a cover story about inappropriate anti-Trump messages being spread about in order to explain it.

This surely is also the reason why in defiance both of evidence and logic the Russiagate investigation continues.

Given the debacle the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community are facing, it is completely understandable why they should want to keep the Russiagate investigation alive in order to draw attention away from their own activities.

Put in this way it is Robert Mueller's investigation which is the cover-up, and the surveillance which is the wrongdoing that the cover up is trying to excuse or conceal, which is what I said nine months ago in March .

Congressman Jordan has again recently called for a second Special Counsel to be appointed .

When the suggestion of appointing a second Special Counsel was first floated last month the suggestion was that the focus of the second Special Counsel's investigation would be the Uranium One affair.

That always struck me as misconceived not because there may not be things to investigate in the Uranium One case but because the focus of any new investigation should be what happened during the 2016 election, not what happened during the Uranium one case.

Congressman Jordan has now correctly identified the surveillance of US citizens by the US national security bureaucracy during the election as the primary focus of the proposed investigation to be conducted by the second Special Counsel.

In truth there should be no second Special Counsel. Since there is no Russiagate collusion to investigate the Russiagate investigation – ie. the investigation headed by Mueller – should be wound up.

There should be only one Special Counsel tasked with looking into what is the real scandal of the 2016 election: the surveillance of US citizens carried out during the election by the US national security bureaucracy on the basis of the Trump Dossier.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

BennyBoy -> MozartIII , Dec 10, 2017 1:29 PM

Top Clinton Aides Face No Charges After Making False Statements To FBI

Neither of the Clinton associates, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, faced legal consequences for their misleading statements, which they made in interviews last year with former FBI section chief Peter Strzok.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/clinton-aides-went-unpunished-after-making-false-statements-to-anti-trump-fbi-supervisor/

zorba THE GREEK -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 12:53 PM

These are acts to overthrow the legitimate government of the USA and therefore constitute treason. Treason is still punishable by death. It is time for some public hangings. Trump should declare martial law. Put Patraeus and Flint in charge and drain the swamp like he promised...

Oldwood -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 2:57 PM

Absolutely. This is not political, about justice or corruption or election coercion, this is about keeping the fires lit under Trump, no matter how lame or lying, in the hopes that something, anything, will arise that could be used to unseat Trump. Something that by itself would be controversial but ultimately a nothing-burger, but piled upon the months and years of lies used to build a false consensus of corruption, criminality and impropriety of Trump. Their goal has always been to undermine Trump by convincing the world that Trump is evil and unfit using nothing but lies, that without Trump's endless twitter counters would have buried him by now. While they know that can't convince a significant majority that these lies are true, what they can do is convince the majority that everyone else thinks it true, thereby in theory enabling them to unseat Trump with minimal resistance, assuming many will simply stand down in the face of a PERCEIVED overwhelming majority.

This is about constructing a false premise that they can use minimal FACTS to confirm. They are trying and testing every day this notion with continuing probes and jabs in hopes that something....anything, sticks.

Hikikomori -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 3:26 PM

Just part of the War on Men. Trump is a man. He lost to It's Her Turn. Therefore he must be taken down.

robertsgt40 -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

Solve the Seth Rich murder and we'll know who "hacked" the DNC emails. Paging John Podesta.

Lumberjack -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 12:44 PM

More Clinton ties on Mueller team: One deputy attended Clinton party, another rep'd top aide

https://www.google.com/amp/www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/08/more-clin...

turbojarhead -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 2:12 PM

I have a question, if someone could answer.

Mueller is a lot of things, but he is a politician, and skilled at that, as he has survived years in Washington.

So why choose KNOWN partisans for your investigation? He may not have known about Strzok, but he surely knew about Weitsmann's ties to HRC, about Rhee being Rhodes personal attorney,..so why put them on, knowing that the investigations credibility would be damaged? No way most of this would not come out, just due to the constant leaks from the FBI/DOJ.

What is the real goal, other than taking Trump down and covering up FBI/DOJ/Obama Admin malfeasance? These goons are all highly experienced swamp dwellers, so I think there is something that is being missed here..

MissCellany , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

" The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth. "

Oh, bull crap. None of them believed a word of it, and at least some of them were in on the dossier's creation.

They just wanted to put over their impeach/resist/remove scam on us deplorables so they could hang on to power and maintain secrecy over all their years of criminal activity.

lester1 , Dec 10, 2017 1:33 PM

Obama weaponized the NSA and FBI to try and take out Trump.

Obama figured Hillary would win and everything would be swept under the rug.

Hopefully Trump fires Mueller over the Christmas weekend!

Reaper , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

The FBI is a fraud on the sheeple. Indoctrinated sheeple believe FBI testimony. The M.O. of the FBI is entrapment of victims and entrapped witnesses against victims using their Form 302 interrogations. The FBI uses forensic evidence from which gullible juries trust the FBI financed reports. Power corrupts. The power to be believed because of indoctrination corrupts absolutely.

https://boingboing.net/2013/05/07/dont-ever-speak-to-the-fbi-w.html

https://www.nationofchange.org/2015/04/21/doj-admits-fbi-forensic-examin...

Trump as Chief Executive can end the FBI policy of interviews without recordings being used to entrap victims and witnesses.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

EXCELLENT ANALYSIS! A+++

Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up

It makes perfect sense.

Stopdreaming -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 1:54 PM

They have the goods on Sessions...he was blackmailed. No other logical explanation for his lack of fortitude.

thebigunit -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:03 PM

Keep your powder dry. Hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

All this crap comes down to ONE THING: Sessions ... why he refuses to fire a mega-conflicted and corrupt POS Mueller...

Investigative reporter Sarah Carter hinted (last Friday?) that something big would be happening "probably within the next forty-eight hours". She related this specifically to a comment that Sessions had been virtually invisible.

I will make a prediction:

THE COMING WEEK WILL BE A TUMULTUOUS WEEK FOR THOSE OBSESSED BY THE "RUSSIA COLLUSION CONSPIRACY" .

First, Sessions will announce significant findings and actions which will directly attack the Trump-Russia-Collusion narrative.

And then, the Democrats/Media/Hillary Campaign will launch a hystierical, viscious, demented political counter attack in a final onslaught to take down Trump.

Expect to see Soros mobs in the streets.

Either Mueller goes, or Trump goes.

turbojarhead -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:37 PM

They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans.

When Trump tries to get out of the trap by leaking he is thinking about firing Sessions, Lispin Lindsey goes on television to say that will not be allowed too happen. If he fires Sessions, Congress would not approve ANY of Trump's picks for DOJ-leaving Rosenstein in charge anyway.

Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:40 PM

There is good reason for optimism: Trumpus Maximus is on the case.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

The design has been exposed. It is now fairly clear WHAT the conspirators did.

We now enter the neutralization and mop-up phase.

And, very likely, people who know things will be EAGER to talk:

FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 1:51 PM

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

thebigunit -> ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 2:02 PM

EXACTLY!

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade.

Mzhen , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

Bloomberg fed a fake leak that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank. Democrats (Schiff) on the House Intelligence Committee fed fake information about Don Jr. that was leaked to CNN. Leading to an embarrassing retraction. ABC's Brian Ross fed a fake leak about the Flynn indictment. Leading to an embarrassing retraction.

Maybe the operation that Sessions set up some time ago to catch leakers is bearing fruit after all. And Mueller should realize that the ice is breaking up all around him.

Angelo Misterioso , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months...

Nunyadambizness , Dec 10, 2017 2:34 PM

This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did, in the classic method of diversion. Sideshow magicians have been doing it for millenia--"Look over there" while the real work is done elsewhere. The true believers don't want to believe that Hitlary and the Democrap party are complicit in the selling of Uranium One to the Ruskies for $145 million. No, no, that was something completely different and Hitlary is not guilty of selling out the interests of the US for money. Nope, Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election. Yep, that's it.

Mueller is now the official head of a shit show that's coming apart at the seams. He was too stupid to even bring on ANY non-Hitlary supporting leftists which could have given him a smidgen of equibility, instead he stacked the deck with sycophant libtard leftists who by their very nature take away ANY concept of impartiality, and any jury on the planet would see through the connivance like glass. My guess is he's far too stupid to stop, and I happily await the carnage of his actions as they decimate the Democrap party.

Show's on, who's bringing the chips?

[Dec 10, 2017] #blamePutin continues to be the media s dominant hashtag

Notable quotes:
"... The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. ..."
"... Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant . ..."
"... By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another. ..."
"... I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq. The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember. ..."
"... At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . Amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation. ..."
"... The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore. ..."
"... John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonizing Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day. ..."
"... So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia? If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism? ..."
"... In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave. ..."
"... I do not know the truth about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organizing mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..."
"... Browder is a spook. ..."
"... This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media. ..."
"... In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes ..."
"... I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up. ..."
"... The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy. ..."
"... The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc. Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket.. ..."
"... The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia? ..."
off-guardian.org

Vladimir Putin finally confesses his entire responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened since the beginning of time

The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. Take a look at this gem :

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a "serial killer" – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.

But Putin has not been reported anywhere else as making any recent statement about Browder whatever, and the Observer article makes no further mention of Putin's supposed utterance or the circumstances in which it was supposedly made.

As the rest of the article makes clear, the suspicions against Browder were actually voiced by Russian police investigators and not by Putin at all.

The Observer fabricated a direct quote from the Russian president for their propaganda purposes without any regard to basic journalistic standards. They wanted to blame Putin personally for the suspicions of some Russian investigators, so they just invented an imaginary statement from him so they could conveniently do so.

What is really going on here is the classic trope of demonisation propaganda in which the demonised leader is conflated with all officials of their government and with the targeted country itself, so as to simplify and personalise the narrative of the subsequent Two Minutes Hate to be unleashed against them.

When, as in this case, the required substitution of the demonised leader for their country can't be wrung out of the facts even through the most vigorous twisting, a disreputable fake news site like The Guardian/Observer is free to simply make up new, alternative facts that better fit their disinformative agenda. Because facts aren't at all sacred when the official propaganda line demands lies.

In the same article, the documents from Russian investigators naming Browder as a suspect in certain crimes are first "seen as" a frame-up (by the sympathetic chorus of completely anonymous observers yellow journalism can always call on when an unsupported claim needs a spurious bolstering) and then outright labelled as such (see quote above) as if this alleged frame-up is a proven fact. Which it isn't.

No evidence is required down there in the Guardian/Observer journalistic gutter before unsupported claims against Russian officials can be treated as unquestionable pseudo-facts, just as opponents of Putin can commit no crime for the outlet's hate-befuddled hacks.

The above falsifications were brought to the attention of the Observer's so-called Readers Editor – the official at the Guardian/Observer responsible for "independently" defending the outlet's misdeeds against outraged readers – who did nothing. By now the article has rolled off the site's front page, rendering any possible future correction nugatory in any case.

Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant .

A trifecta of fakery in one article! That makes crystal clear what the Guardian meant in this article , published at precisely the same moment as the disinformation cited above, when it said:

"We know what you are doing," Theresa May said of Russia. It's not enough to know. We need to do something about it.

By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another.


michaelk says November 26, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/26/big-issue-who-will-step-in-after-bullies-have-silenced-dissenters

From the 'liberal' Guardian/Observer wing of the rightwing bourgeois press, spot the differences with the article in the Mail on Sunday by Nick Robinson?

michaelk says November 26, 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5117723/Nick-Robinson-Putin-using-fake-news-weaken-West.html

This thing seems to have been cobbled together by a guy called Nick Robinson. The same BBC Nick Robinson that hosts the Today Programme? I dunno, one feels really rather depressed at how low our media has sunk.

michaelk says November 23, 2017
I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq. The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember.

Nothing happened afterwards. There was no tribunal to examine the media's role in that massive international crime against humanity and things actually got worse post Iraq, which the attack on Libya and Syria illustrates.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
Exactly: in my opinion there should be life sentences banning scribblers who printed lies and bloodthirsty kill, kill, kill articles from ever working again in the media. Better still, make them go fight right now in Yemen. Amazing how quickly truth will spread if journalists know they have a good chance of dying if they print lies and falsehoods ..
michaelk says November 23, 2017
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . Amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation.

The Guardian's writers get so much, so wrong, so often it's staggering and nobody gets the boot, except for the people who allude to the incompetence at the heart of the Guardian. They fail dismally on Trump, Brexit and Corbyn and yet carry on as if everything is fine and dandy. Nothing to complain about here, mover along now.

I suppose it's because they are actually media aristocrats living in a world of privilege, and they, as members of the ruling elite, look after one another regardless of how poorly they actually perform. This is typical of an elite that's on the ropes and doomed. They choose to retreat from grubby reality into a parallel world where their own dogmas aren't challenged and they begin to believe their propaganda is real and not an artificial contruct. This is incredibly dangerous for a ruling elite because society becomes brittle and weaker by the day as the ruling dogmas become hollow and ritualized, but without traction in reality and real purpose.

The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore.

All our problems are pathetically and conviniently blamed on the Russians and their Demon King and his vast army of evil Trolls. It's like a political version of the Lord of the Rings.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
Don't expect the Guardian to cover the biggest military build-up (NATO) on Russia's borders since Hitler's 1941 invasion.

John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonizing Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
The Guardian is now owned by Neocon Americans, that is why it is demonising Russia.

Simple as that.

WeatherEye says November 29, 2017
Evidence?
Harry Stotle says November 21, 2017
The Guardian is trying to rescue citizens from 'dreadful dangers that we cannot see, or do not underdstand' – in other words they play a central role in 'the power of nightmares'

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlA8KutU2to?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

rtj1211 says November 21, 2017
So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia? If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism?

In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave.

I do not know the truth about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organizing mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..

michaelk says November 21, 2017
It's perfectly possible, in fact the norm historically, for people to believe passionately in the existence of invisible threats to their well-being, which, when examined calmly from another era, resemble a form of mass-hysteria or collective madness. For example; the religious faith/dogma that Satan, demons and witches were all around us. An invisible, parallel, world, by the side of our own that really existed and we were 'at war with.' Satan was our adversary, the great trickster and disseminator of 'fake news' opposed to the 'good news' provided by the Gospels.

What's remarkable, disturbing and frightening is how closely our media resemble a religious cult or the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The journalists have taken on a role that's close to that of a priesthood. They function as a 'filtering' layer between us and the world around us. They are, supposedly, uniquely qualified to understand the difference between truth and lies, or what's right and wrong, real news and propaganda. The Guardian actually likes this role. They our the guardians of the truth in a chaotic world.

This reminds one of the role of the clergy. Their role was to stand between ordinary people and the 'complexities' of the Bible and seperate the Truths it containedf from wild and 'fake' interpretations, which could easily become dangerous and undermine the social order and fundamental power relationships.

The big challenge to the role of the Church happened when the printing press allowed the ordinary people to access the information themselves and worst still when the texts were translated into the common language and not just Latin. Suddenly people could access the texts, read and begin to interpret and understand for themselves. It's hard to imagine that pepeople were actually burned alive in England for smuggling the Bible in english translation a few centuries ago. That's how dangerous the State regarded such a 'crime.'

One can compare the translation of the Bible and the challenge to the authority of the Church and the clergy as 'guardians of the truth' to what's happeing today with the rise of the Internet and something like Wikileaks, where texts and infromation are made available uncensored and raw and the role of the traditional 'media church' and the journalist priesthood is challenged.

We're seeing a kind of media counter-reformation. That's why the Guardian turned on Assange so disgracefully and what Wikileaks represented.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
A brilliant historical comparison. They're now on the legal offensive in censoring the internet of course, because in truth the filter system is wholly vulnerable. Alternative media has been operating freely, yet the majority have continued to rely on MSM as if it's their only source of (dis)information, utilising our vast internet age to the pettiness of social media and prank videos. Marx was right: capitalist society alienates people from their own humanity. We're now aliens, deprived of our original being and floating in a vacuum of Darwinist competition and barbarism. And we wonder why climate change is happening?
pimatters says November 27, 2017
Yes, as the guy below says this is a great simile. Wikileaks is like the first English translations of the bible! Fantastic!
pimatters says November 27, 2017
above – not below
tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Apparently we are "living in disorientating times" according to Viner, she goes on to say that "championing the public interest is at the heart of the Guardian's mission".

Really? How is it possible for her to say that when many of the controversial articles which appear in the Guardian are not open for comment any more. They have adopted now a view that THEIR "opinion" should not be challenged, how is that in the public interest?

In the Observer on Sunday a piece also appeared smearing RT entitled:
"MPs defend fees of up to £1,000 an hour to appear on 'Kremlin propaganda' channel"
However they allowed comments which make interesting reading. Many commenter's saw through their ruse and although the most vociferous critics of the Graun have been banished, but even the mild mannered ones which remain appear not the buy into the idea that RT is any different than other media outlets. With many expressing support for the news and op-ed outlet for giving voice to those who the MSM ignore – including former Guardian writers from time to time.

Why Viner's words are so poisonous is that the Graun under her stewardship has become a agitprop outlet offering no balance. In the below linked cringe worthy article there is no mention of RT being under attack in the US and having to register itself and staff as foreign agents. NO DEFENCE OF ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by the US state is mentioned.

Surely this issue is at the heart of championing public interest?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/mps-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt#comments

The fact that it's not shows clearly the fake Guardian/Observer claim and their real agenda.

WE ARE DEFINITELY LIVING IN DISORIENTATION TIMES and the Guardian/Observer are leading the charge.

tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Correction: DISORIENTATING TIMES
Peter says November 21, 2017
For the political/media/business elites (I suppose you could call them 'the Establishment') in the US and UK, the main problem with RT seems to be that a lot of people are watching it. I wonder how long it will be before access is cut.

RT is launching a French-language channel next month. We are already being warned by the French MSM about how RT makes up fake news to further Putin's evil propaganda aims (unlike said MSM, we are told).

Basically, elites just don't trust the people (this is certainly a constant in French political life).

Jim says November 21, 2017
It's not just that they don't allow comments on many of their articles, but even on the articles where CiF is enabled, they ban any accounts that disagree with their narrative. The end result is that Guardianistas get the false impression everyone shares their view and that they are in the majority.
The Guardian moderators are like Scientology leaders who banish any outsiders for fear of influencing their cult members.
BigB says November 20, 2017
Everyone knows that Russia-gate is a feat of mass hypnosis, mesmerized from DNC financed lies. The Trump collusion myth is baseless and becoming dangerously hysterical: but conversely, the Clinton collusion scandal is not so easy to allay. Whilst it may turn out to be the greatest story never told: it looks substantive enough to me. HRC colluded with Russian oligarchy to the tune of $145m of "donations" into her slush fund. In return, Rosatom gained control of Uranium One.

A curious adjunct to this corruption: HRC opposed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Given her subsequent rabid Russophobia: you'd have thought that if the Russians (as it has been spun) arrested a brave whistleblowing tax lawyer and murdered him in prison – she would have been quite vocal in her condemnation. No, she wanted to make Russia great again. It's amazing how $145m can focus ones attention away from ones natural instinct.

[Browder and Magnitsky were as corrupt as each other: the story that the Russians took over Browder's hedge fund and implicated them both in a $230m tax fraud and corruption scandal is as fantastical as the "Golden Shower" dossier. However, it seems to me Magnitsky's death was preventable (he died from complications of pancreatitis, for which it seems he was initially refused treatment ) ]

So if we turn the clock back to 2010-2013, it sure looks to me as though we have a Russian collusion scandal: only it's not one the Guardian will ever want to tell. Will it come out when the FBI 's "secret" informant (William D Cambell) testifies to Congress sometime this week? Not in the Guardian, because their precious Hillary Clinton is the real scandal here.

jag37777 says November 20, 2017
Browder is a spook.
susannapanevin says November 20, 2017
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin .
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media.

In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes.

labrebisgalloise says November 20, 2017
I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up.
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
Hey, MbS is also an "anti-corruption" campaigner! If the media says so it must be true!
Sav says November 20, 2017
Some months ago you saw tweets saying Russophobia had hit ridiculous levels. They hadn't seen anything yet. It's scary how easily people can be brainwashed.

The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy.

A Petherbridge says November 20, 2017
Well said – interesting to know what the Guardian is paid to run these stories funded by this arm of US state propaganda.
bevin says November 20, 2017
The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc. Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket..

This outbreak is reaching the dimensions of the sort of mass hysteria that gave us St Vitus' dance. Oh and the 'sonic' terrorism practised against US diplomats in Havana, in which crickets working for the evil one (who he?) appear to have been responsible for a breach in diplomatic relations. It couldn't have happened to a nicer empire.

Admin says November 21, 2017
The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia?

[Dec 10, 2017] blamePutin continues to be the media's dominant hashtag. Vladimir Putin finally confesses his entire responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened since the beginning of time

Highly recommended!
Dec 10, 2017 | off-guardian.org

by VT

The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. Take a look at this gem :

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a "serial killer" – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.

But Putin has not been reported anywhere else as making any recent statement about Browder whatever, and the Observer article makes no further mention of Putin's supposed utterance or the circumstances in which it was supposedly made.

As the rest of the article makes clear, the suspicions against Browder were actually voiced by Russian police investigators and not by Putin at all.

The Observer fabricated a direct quote from the Russian president for their propaganda purposes without any regard to basic journalistic standards. They wanted to blame Putin personally for the suspicions of some Russian investigators, so they just invented an imaginary statement from him so they could conveniently do so.

What is really going on here is the classic trope of demonisation propaganda in which the demonised leader is conflated with all officials of their government and with the targeted country itself, so as to simplify and personalise the narrative of the subsequent Two Minutes Hate to be unleashed against them.

When, as in this case, the required substitution of the demonised leader for their country can't be wrung out of the facts even through the most vigorous twisting, a disreputable fake news site like The Guardian/Observer is free to simply make up new, alternative facts that better fit their disinformative agenda. Because facts aren't at all sacred when the official propaganda line demands lies.

In the same article, the documents from Russian investigators naming Browder as a suspect in certain crimes are first "seen as" a frame-up (by the sympathetic chorus of completely anonymous observers yellow journalism can always call on when an unsupported claim needs a spurious bolstering) and then outright labelled as such (see quote above) as if this alleged frame-up is a proven fact. Which it isn't.

No evidence is required down there in the Guardian/Observer journalistic gutter before unsupported claims against Russian officials can be treated as unquestionable pseudo-facts, just as opponents of Putin can commit no crime for the outlet's hate-befuddled hacks.

The above falsifications were brought to the attention of the Observer's so-called Readers Editor – the official at the Guardian/Observer responsible for "independently" defending the outlet's misdeeds against outraged readers – who did nothing. By now the article has rolled off the site's front page, rendering any possible future correction nugatory in any case.

Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant .

A trifecta of fakery in one article! That makes crystal clear what the Guardian meant in this article , published at precisely the same moment as the disinformation cited above, when it said:

"We know what you are doing," Theresa May said of Russia. It's not enough to know. We need to do something about it.

By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another.


michaelk says November 26, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/26/big-issue-who-will-step-in-after-bullies-have-silenced-dissenters

From the 'liberal' Guardian/Observer wing of the rightwing bourgeois press, spot the differences with the article in the Mail on Sunday by Nick Robinson?

michaelk says November 26, 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5117723/Nick-Robinson-Putin-using-fake-news-weaken-West.html

This thing seems to have been cobbled together by a guy called Nick Robinson. The same BBC Nick Robinson that hosts the Today Programme? I dunno, one feels really rather depressed at how low our media has sunk.

michaelk says November 23, 2017
I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq.

The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember. Nothing happened afterwards. There was no tribunal to examine the media's role in that massive international crime against humanity and things actually got worse post Iraq, which the attack on Libya and Syria illustrates.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
Exactly: in my opinion there should be life sentences banning scribblers who printed lies and bloodthirsty kill, kill, kill articles from ever working again in the media.

Better still, make them go fight right now in Yemen. Amazing how quickly truth will spread if journalists know they have a good chance of dying if they print lies and falsehoods ..

michaelk says November 23, 2017
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation.

The Guardian's writers get so much, so wrong, so often it's staggering and nobody gets the boot, except for the people who allude to the incompetence at the heart of the Guardian. They fail dismally on Trump, Brexit and Corbyn and yet carry on as if everything is fine and dandy. Nothing to complain about here, mover along now.

I suppose it's because they are actually media aristocrats living in a world of privilege, and they, as members of the ruling elite, look after one another regardless of how poorly they actually perform. This is typical of an elite that's on the ropes and doomed. They choose to retreat from grubby reality into a parallel world where their own dogmas aren't challenged and they begin to believe their propaganda is real and not an artificial contruct. This is incredibly dangerous for a ruling elite because society becomes brittle and weaker by the day as the ruling dogmas become hollow and ritualized, but without traction in reality and real purpose.

The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore.

All our problems are pathetically and conviniently blamed on the Russians and their Demon King and his vast army of evil Trolls. It's like a political version of the Lord of the Rings.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
Don't expect the Guardian to cover the biggest military build-up (NATO) on Russia's borders since Hitler's 1941 invasion.

John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonising Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
The Guardian is now owned by Neocon Americans, that is why it is demonising Russia. Simple as that.
WeatherEye says November 29, 2017
Evidence?
Harry Stotle says November 21, 2017
The Guardian is trying to rescue citizens from 'dreadful dangers that we cannot see, or do not understand' – in other words they play a central role in 'the power of nightmares' https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlA8KutU2to
rtj1211 says November 21, 2017
So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia?

If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism?

In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave ..

I do not know the trurh about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organising mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..

michaelk says November 21, 2017
It's perfectly possible, in fact the norm historically, for people to believe passionately in the existence of invisible threats to their well-being, which, when examined calmly from another era, resemble a form of mass-hysteria or collective madness. For example; the religious faith/dogma that Satan, demons and witches were all around us. An invisible, parallel, world, by the side of our own that really existed and we were 'at war with.' Satan was our adversary, the great trickster and disseminator of 'fake news' opposed to the 'good news' provided by the Gospels.

What's remarkable, disturbing and frightening is how closely our media resemble a religious cult or the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The journalists have taken on a role that's close to that of a priesthood. They function as a 'filtering' layer between us and the world around us. They are, supposedly, uniquely qualified to understand the difference between truth and lies, or what's right and wrong, real news and propaganda. The Guardian actually likes this role. They our the guardians of the truth in a chaotic world.

This reminds one of the role of the clergy. Their role was to stand between ordinary people and the 'complexities' of the Bible and separate the Truths it contained from wild and 'fake' interpretations, which could easily become dangerous and undermine the social order and fundamental power relationships.

The big challenge to the role of the Church happened when the printing press allowed the ordinary people to access the information themselves and worst still when the texts were translated into the common language and not just Latin. Suddenly people could access the texts, read and begin to interpret and understand for themselves. It's hard to imagine that people were actually burned alive in England for smuggling the Bible in English translation a few centuries ago. That's how dangerous the State regarded such a 'crime.'

One can compare the translation of the Bible and the challenge to the authority of the Church and the clergy as 'guardians of the truth' to what's happeing today with the rise of the Internet and something like Wikileaks, where texts and infromation are made available uncensored and raw and the role of the traditional 'media church' and the journalist priesthood is challenged.

We're seeing a kind of media counter-reformation. That's why the Guardian turned on Assange so disgracefully and what Wikileaks represented.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
A brilliant historical comparison. They're now on the legal offensive in censoring the internet of course, because in truth the filter system is wholly vulnerable. Alternative media has been operating freely, yet the majority have continued to rely on MSM as if it's their only source of (dis)information, utilizing our vast internet age to the pettiness of social media and prank videos. Marx was right: capitalist society alienates people from their own humanity. We're now aliens, deprived of our original being and floating in a vacuum of Darwinist competition and barbarism. And we wonder why climate change is happening?
tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Apparently we are "living in disorientating times" according to Viner, she goes on to say that "championing the public interest is at the heart of the Guardian's mission".

Really? How is it possible for her to say that when many of the controversial articles which appear in the Guardian are not open for comment any more. They have adopted now a view that THEIR "opinion" should not be challenged, how is that in the public interest?

In the Observer on Sunday a piece also appeared smearing RT entitled: "MPs defend fees of up to £1,000 an hour to appear on 'Kremlin propaganda' channel." However they allowed comments which make interesting reading. Many commenter's saw through their ruse and although the most vociferous critics of the Graun have been banished, but even the mild mannered ones which remain appear not the buy into the idea that RT is any different than other media outlets. With many expressing support for the news and op-ed outlet for giving voice to those who the MSM ignore – including former Guardian writers from time to time.

Why Viner's words are so poisonous is that the Graun under her stewardship has become a agitprop outlet offering no balance. In the below linked cringe worthy article there is no mention of RT being under attack in the US and having to register itself and staff as foreign agents. NO DEFENCE OF ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by the US state is mentioned.

Surely this issue is at the heart of championing public interest?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/mps-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt#comments

The fact that it's not shows clearly the fake Guardian/Observer claim and their real agenda.

WE ARE DEFINITELY LIVING IN DISORIENTATION TIMES and the Guardian/Observer are leading the charge.

tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Correction: DISORIENTATING TIMES
Peter says November 21, 2017
For the political/media/business elites (I suppose you could call them 'the Establishment') in the US and UK, the main problem with RT seems to be that a lot of people are watching it. I wonder how long it will be before access is cut. RT is launching a French-language channel next month. We are already being warned by the French MSM about how RT makes up fake news to further Putin's evil propaganda aims (unlike said MSM, we are told). Basically, elites just don't trust the people (this is certainly a constant in French political life).
Jim says November 21, 2017
It's not just that they don't allow comments on many of their articles, but even on the articles where CiF is enabled, they ban any accounts that disagree with their narrative. The end result is that Guardianistas get the false impression everyone shares their view and that they are in the majority. The Guardian moderators are like Scientology leaders who banish any outsiders for fear of influencing their cult members.
BigB says November 20, 2017
Everyone knows that Russia-gate is a feat of mass hypnosis, mesmerized from DNC financed lies. The Trump collusion myth is baseless and becoming dangerously hysterical: but conversely, the Clinton collusion scandal is not so easy to allay. Whilst it may turn out to be the greatest story never told: it looks substantive enough to me. HRC colluded with Russian oligarchy to the tune of $145m of "donations" into her slush fund. In return, Rosatom gained control of Uranium One.

A curious adjunct to this corruption: HRC opposed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Given her subsequent rabid Russophobia: you'd have thought that if the Russians (as it has been spun) arrested a brave whistleblowing tax lawyer and murdered him in prison – she would have been quite vocal in her condemnation. No, she wanted to make Russia great again. It's amazing how $145m can focus ones attention away from ones natural instinct.

[Browder and Magnitsky were as corrupt as each other: the story that the Russians took over Browder's hedge fund and implicated them both in a $230m tax fraud and corruption scandal is as fantastical as the "Golden Shower" dossier. However, it seems to me Magnitsky's death was preventable (he died from complications of pancreatitis, for which it seems he was initially refused treatment ) ]

So if we turn the clock back to 2010-2013, it sure looks to me as though we have a Russian collusion scandal: only it's not one the Guardian will ever want to tell. Will it come out when the FBI 's "secret" informant (William D Cambell) testifies to Congress sometime this week? Not in the Guardian, because their precious Hillary Clinton is the real scandal here.

jag37777 says November 20, 2017
Browder is a spook.
susannapanevin says November 20, 2017
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin .
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media.

In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes.

labrebisgalloise says November 20, 2017
I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up.
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
Hey, MbS is also an "anti-corruption" campaigner! If the media says so it must be true!
Sav says November 20, 2017
Some months ago you saw tweets saying Russophobia had hit ridiculous levels. They hadn't seen anything yet. It's scary how easily people can be brainwashed.

The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy.

A Petherbridge says November 20, 2017
Well said – interesting to know what the Guardian is paid to run these stories funded by this arm of US state propaganda.
bevin says November 20, 2017
The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc.

Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket..

This outbreak is reaching the dimensions of the sort of mass hysteria that gave us St Vitus' dance. Oh and the 'sonic' terrorism practised against US diplomats in Havana, in which crickets working for the evil one (who he?) appear to have been responsible for a breach in diplomatic relations. It couldn't have happened to a nicer empire.

Admin says November 21, 2017
The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia?

[Dec 09, 2017] DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party

Currently in the USA only nationalist politicians display some level of courage and authenticity. That's why they attract people.
The problem with superdelegates in Democratic Party is just the tip of the iceberg of the "Clinton transformation" of the party. The Part is now neoliberal party that have nothing to do with the democracy. At best it would qualify as a moderate Republican wing.
Notable quotes:
"... This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime. ..."
"... If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement. ..."
"... No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories). ..."
"... I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic. ..."
"... Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors. ..."
"... under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate. ..."
"... In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited? ..."
"... This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth. ..."
"... See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance). ..."
"... I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. ..."
"... What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan. ..."
"... The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism. ..."
"... And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine. ..."
"... The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People. ..."
"... While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention. ..."
"... I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem. ..."
"... So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole. ..."
"... Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JCC , December 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

Having just read the Autopsy report at https://democraticautopsy.org/wp-content/uploads/Autopsy-The-Democratic-Party-In-Crisis.pdf I couldn't agree more.

The Report is fair, but supporting things like reduction of Super Delegates from the mid-700s to mid-200s is wrong! Complaining about lack of democracy within the Party means getting rid of them altogether! That's just one small example.

This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime.

John k , December 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

Reducing to 200 supers is a good start. Bernie woulda likely won on that basis.

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It is a good start. If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement.

No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories).

Jeremy Grimm , December 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I can't point to any particulars -- but I felt something disingenuous about Norman Solomon -- something 'off'. An even meaner thought came to mind as I listened to his complaints and details of the DNC machinations -- Norman Solomon would be perfect to work for unity in the Green Party. He could make theater of herding the Green cats and accomplish nothing in particular.

I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic.

But this time the DNC has no dying Roosevelt to tack a Truman onto.

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Aye! and you can't burn a thing down by continuing to send it money, or lend it undying support, or by continuing to vote for their horrible lesser evil moderate republican candidates.

I quit the damned party as loudly as i could in november 2016 emails to all and sundry, chewing them all new ones, as it were.

i never heard a word back, of course and the AI that runs the damned thing keeps sending me emails begging for cash; and surveys,lol which i send back to them with my chicken scratch all in the margins with my outrage and my considered opinions. i assume all that goes unread, as well. perhaps if i incorporated and obtained a po box in the caymans or pulau or somewhere

Ted Whittemore , December 9, 2017 at 8:38 am

Short-term (2018)–Norman Solomon is right. Only the Democratic party is in a position to defeat the rightists. In the longer term, Howie Hawkins's recent argument for a new, genuinely working-class party is more convincing to me. It's a lot more work, though.

John Wright , December 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

What may push the Democrats to eventual reform is poor fundraising. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/21/the-dncs-abysmal-fundraising/ But one wonders if Dems will amp up their willingness to do the bidding of the donor class in a last ditch effort to increase their personal wealth.

The DNC may be becoming irrelevant, but individual Democratic politicians can monetize their current positions as they stock their personal lifeboats before the Bernie Sanders mentioned Titanic goes down..

Sid_finster , December 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors.

WobblyTelomeres , December 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Substitute R for D and your statement remains true.

oh , December 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

Instead of thinking short term and trying stay in the Dim party real left wing people need to take the long term view and start a new party which will be the only way forward.

lb , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

I peeked at the News Hour coverage from PBS to check the official line:

In the draft proposal, a special national party commission calls for keeping some 400 members of the Democratic National Committee as automatic delegates to the convention.

But under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate.

And yet

Cohen and other Democrats stressed, however, that commission members have been busy circulating amendments ahead of the commission's weekend gathering in metro Washington.

So, which superdelegates will remain and with what actual constraints, and how far does this move the system away from the status quo? In light of Solomon's interview, I do wonder about actuarial sleigh-of-hand here. Is there a way of affecting a likely purge of 2020 Sanders/"grass-roots" aligned superdelegates now? Is there a way of suggesting that the superdelegates must vote as the states' primaries/caucuses (thus defanging them) but then not actually imposing any real penalty of these "party elders" and such? (Will 2020 be about "unfaithful superdelegates voting their conscience against the party rules for the greater good"?)

In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited?

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

The report itself is worth reading. I downloaded it a while back when Lambert and Yves first posted it.

Solomon gets Moore wrong. Moore is not a neo-fascist or fascist. Moore represents some very deep-seated religious ideas that are prevalent in the South and in the border states. When Naked Capitalism and other sources report a bishop of an African-American church making rather ambiguous comments about the rock with the Ten Commandments, we see an ancient religious attitude emerging:

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/roy_moore_speaks_at_a_black_ch.html

Yet as many Southerners point out, the South has a progressive / populist tradition. And where are the Democrats? To me, this is part of the thorough corruption of the party and its deterioration into a fan club. Too many Democrats are looking for fascists and Rooskies. People are fleeing the party, and various Democrats living the "Don't know much about history" aspect of U.S. culture are desperately trying to pin the fascist label on people. And what is the solution being offered? Fly in Jon Ossoff? He didn't live in the congressional district where he ran anyway, going counter to another deeply held U.S. tradition, that you live in your district.

This isn't about "smart" or not smart thinking. This is about people being so thoroughly corrupt in their thinking that they can only frame questions corruptly and give corrupt answers. Maybe I'm being hard on Solomon, but looking for Benito Mussolini in Alabama is wrong history, wrong metaphor, wrong diagnosis, wrong meme.

Next up? The question and and answer of "gentle" "entitlement" "reform." Corrupt from its very inception.

This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

/\x2

See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance).

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Watt4Bob: You refer here and below to the states along the inland sea, in a sense, the rather eccentric Great Lakes States. I'd add:

–Chicago agitators and the Haymarket "Riot" (which the police caused)
–The United Auto Workers (Flint strike among others).
–Unions and Youngstown.
–Jane Addams and her own ideas about building community and building peace.
–The Milwaukee Socialists and the mayoralty there.
–The whole rambunctious structure (if it's a structure) of neighborhood associations in Chicago, where many of those involved in the Harold Washington campaign got their start.
–Henry Gerber, the Society for Human Rights, and the first agitation for acceptance of gay people, 1924, Chicago. Who even knew that midwesterners thought about politico-sexual themes?

Yes, there is very talented group of people here who simply have to cut down on the distractions and get back to work.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Socialism was actually a powerful movement -- with elected officials -- all throughout the Upper Midwest during the so-called Progressive Era and the 1920s. Part of this was a result of German settlements; any Midwestern town with a significant population of Germans (especially from Hamburg) had a strong socialist impulse. Often this was manifest in the elected officials, but even where the Socialists didn't win elections, they were able to influence policy.

I have little patience for the so-called "Democrats" who, as you said above "don't know much about history".

Rosario , December 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Thank you for bringing those points up. I'd say that buzzwords like fascist and Nazi are bull horned (as opposed to Republican dog whistles) only as a means to distract from actual policy issues (vis-a-vis Bernie), but I wonder if it is the case that even the most cynical Clintonites believe their own BS at this point. These narratives have taken on a life of their own.

I don't think Norman Solomon has bad intentions. If anything he is appealing to pragmatism and reason too strongly in a political environment that is unreasonable. Bernie does a much better job at blowing the emotional horn just enough to fit the political zeitgeist while maintaining an engine of actual policy issues to move his political machine. Historically, this has always been a successful strategy for socialists, Americans love fire-brands.

As far as Norman's claims of fascism I just don't see how tossing around those terms adds any strategic value to the political struggle against the right. It just comes across as preaching to the choir. We (the left) all know Moore is an ass, calling him fascist doesn't make that any more evident. The trick is trying to understand why he is still viable politically to a significant number of people despite being an ass. This was the mistake made with Trump. To loosely paraphrase Adolph Reed, calling something fascist or Nazi and $2.25 will get me a ride on the subway but it does nothing to develop action to counter right wing agendas. The normalization of the right (Republicans) does not occur because they have "better ideas" (their current tax bill shows they aren't even trying to appeal to 99% of society) it is because the current left option in the USA (Democrats) are offering no ideas , or certain members are not allowed to express ideas because of corporate power and corporate-supported political power. Assuming I am directing this at the DNC, then who is actually supporting the so-called fascists?

As goes fascism in the United States, I don't really think anyone has a good definition. Some see it as a politics that are largely aesthetic as opposed to based on discourse or debate. Some see it as a marriage of corporate power with state power with police and military supremacy. By those two measures I think the USA is already deeply fascist. Though it seems by the current measures, the only thing that make someone unequivocally fascist (or Nazi) is their being a bigot. This simplistic view of fascism is an insult to history, and all the people that either died fighting fascism or were sacrificed at its political altar.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm

I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Jack , December 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think a little history would be useful at this point to help us understand that we've been this way before.

As concerns the Minnesota Farmer-Labor party which later merged with the Minnesota Democratic Party to form the DFL, which has lately devolved, IMO, Wellstone and Franken not withstanding, to much more closely resemble the party of Clintonism than the party of the young Hubert Humphrey.

Quotes are from Wikipedia ;

The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party emerged from the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota and the Union Labor Party in Duluth, Minnesota, on a platform of farmer and labor union protection, government ownership of certain industries, and social security laws.[2] One of the primary obstacles of the party, besides constant vilification on the pages of local and state newspapers, was the difficulty of uniting the party's divergent base and maintaining political union between rural farmers and urban laborers who often had little in common other than the populist perception that they were an oppressed class of hardworking producers exploited by a small elite.

That 'divergent base' thing ring a bell anyone?

"The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.

At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state."

The upper-midwest was fly-over land long before the Wright brothers, and it makes perfect sense that the the Minnesota Farmer-Labor, and its predecessor, the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota should sprout here, where the effects of elite neglect/abuse and the related Great Depression had left We the People feeling mis/unrepresented by the two national parties.

Of course it's good to remember that Hubert Humphrey, and the Minnesota Democratic party did not embrace the populist revolt until it had been successful on its own, in electing multiple Minnesota Governors, Senators, and Representatives in the 1920-30's, but embrace it they did, and from 1944 until the 1970's, the DFL stood for something a bit more than the local franchise of the National Party.

I strongly encourage you to follow the links in the quotes above, you'll find the history of, among other things, the Bank of North Dakota, still the only state-owned bank in the country, founded in 1919 to allow ND farmers to break the strangle-hold that banks in Minneapolis and Chicago held over the farmers of the northern plains, and demand of working people for free, universal health-care.

So far, the Democratic party, sadly, including the DFL, seems dedicated to putting down the populist revolt by its neglected base, but with some hard work maybe this time around we can figure out how to shorten the time between being resisted and being embraced.

The enemies are perennial, so are the solutions, but populism did have a season of successes in the first half of the 20th century, and there is no reason to think it couldn't happen again.

Remember too, the Non Partisan League of Alberta Canada, and was one of the principal champions of universal healthcare that Canadians now enjoy.

Jerry , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think incumbent Governors and Congress members have earned the right to be a super delegate by virtue of having won their own election. Their re-election will be affected by the top of the ticket.

If Repubs had been blessed with super delegates, would Trump have still won?

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Yes! I missed your comment when I posted a reply to another comment at 1:02 pm.

flora , December 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

July 2016, after the primaries were over, the WaPo, that bastion of Dem estab groupthink, suggested the GOP adopt super delegates to avoid another surprise primary outcome. And we see how well not having super delegates turned out for the GOP.

"There are probably a few missteps I am forgetting. Priebus's spinelessness may well result in an irretrievably divided party, not to mention a humiliating loss in a critical, entirely winnable election. Priebus's successor had better learn some lessons from 2016. He or she might also consider using super delegates. It turns out party grownups are needed. This cycle they've been AWOL."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/08/ten-mistakes-reince-priebus-made/?utm_term=.0c7187bd122d

Fast forward to today. Yeah, not having super delegates really cost the GOP in the general election. not.

Sluggeaux , December 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism.

They're not going to let go of the self-licking ice cream cone that the Democrat Party has become until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. That day may be coming soon; however, the current coup d'etat in Washington may render a party of $27 donors irrelevant

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

This: "until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. "^^^

A similar sentiment was included in all of the flurry of angry emails i sent hither and yon when I quit the demparty right after the election. ie: the current course of pleasing the donors is unsustainable if they continue to chase off their own base. what are the donors paying for?

one would presume a voice in gooberment .meaning won seats,lol.
without voters, why would any self respecting conglomerate continue to shell out dough to the demparty?
of course, all the hippie-punching and other abuse of their base makes perfect sense if the demparty is, in truth, a ringer party for the oligarchs a pressure relief valve, like on the side of a water heater
if, in other words, they pretend to be the "opposition" and "for the people"(tm) so all us'n's don't go rabid and Wobbly.
This seems a more and more likely explanation every week.

Blue Pilgrim , December 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Perhaps old age and failing memory is to blame, but I can't remember not hearing the nonsense arguments of 'vote for the lesser of two evils and reform from within', and the fear mongering about the right or Republicans winning. (Republicans used to have sort-of 'liberal' members, like Lowell Weicker, who would make current Democrats look like fascists -- well, a lot of them are really ). It never worked and everything just gets worse.

And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine.

I've given up on both parties, and their phony elections -- there are no solutions there. What is needed is to see through the games and destroy the machine. Not easy but there is no other way. Solomon is part of the machine, and the so-called 'progressives' are not progressive. We are at the point where the only possible solutions are radical -- striking at the root. The collapse of the empire and capitalism (corporatism -- just a larval stage of fascism) is coming one way or another because it is not sustainable -- and that which cannot be sustained will not be. It's like how slavery and feudalism reached a point where they could no longer survive as dominant systems, nor returned to as such (similar to how the gold standard, or non-tech agricultural society can not be universally restored). The writing finger moves on.

We can either see how the global wind of history and culture is blowing and intelligently move ahead with it, or we can destroy ourselves. The action must be on the streets, in the workplace, from the masses, in collective consciousness, and world wide. Democrat shills like Solomon and clowns like Trump should be ignored as symptomatic noise.

Interview of Richard Wolff by Jimmy Dore has some hints:
https://subtletv.com/baajhiq/Jimmy_Dore_Show_goes_full_socialist_with_Prof_Richard_Wolff

Chauncey Gardiner , December 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People.

Thank you for shining the light on this latest episode of their actions for their financial benefactors.

Arizona Slim , December 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Just got back from running errands. While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention.

JBird , December 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

it's really not possible for the leaders at the national level of the Democratic Party to have a close working relationship with the base when it's afraid of the base.

And strangely, this is a big reason for why after three plus decades, I am no longer an active member of the party. If you treat the majority of American nation as dangerous, deplorable, or at best just dumb, please don't be shocked when people start either start ignoring you, or just try to get rid of.

I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem.

So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole.

Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop.

[Dec 09, 2017] Hyping the Russian Threat to Undermine Free Speech by Max Blumenthal

Highly recommended!
This is a simply a brilliant article. Probably the best written on the subject so far. Kudos to Max Blumenthal
Thinks tanks are really ideological tanks -- formidable weapon in propaganda wars that crush everything on its way. And taken together far right think tanks financed by defense sector or intelligence agencies are really a shadow far right political party with its own neocon agenda. Actually subverting the will of American people (who elected Trump) for more peaceful relations (aka detente) with Russia in favor of interest of weapon manufactures and the army of "national security parasites".
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is… losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers those think tanks decides to create a fake narrative and blame Russians. Is not this a classic variant of projection ?
The slow strangulation of the US MSM means the crisis of confidence. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of of degradation of the ruling elite. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to social problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, as well as intelligence agencies spying on everybody.
Now all those well paid ( and sometimes even talented) war propagandist intend to substitute the real crisis of neoliberalism in the USA demonstrated during the recent Presidential Elections for the artificial problem of Russian meddling. And they are succeeding in this unfair and evil substitution. The also manage to "poison the well" -- relation between two nations were now at the level probably lower then during Cold War (when many Russians were sympathetic to the USA). I think 70% of Democratic voters now are convinced the Russia was meddling in the USA election and about 30% of Republican voters also think so. For the creators of 'artificial reality" such numbers signify big success. A very big success to be exact.
Notable quotes:
"... In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos ..."
"... The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media ..."
"... A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe." ..."
"... Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force. ..."
"... Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs. ..."
"... Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease. ..."
"... In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending." ..."
"... Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran. ..."
"... Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. ..."
"... Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news. ..."
"... Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them. ..."
"... The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal. ..."
"... The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents. ..."
"... In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record. ..."
"... When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent. ..."
"... Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie. ..."
"... The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits. ..."
"... Dr. Strangelove ..."
"... It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations. ..."
Nov 13, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

Nearly a year after the presidential election, the scandal over accusations of Russian political interference in the 2016 election has gone beyond Donald Trump and reached into the nebulous world of online media. On November 1, Congress held hearings on "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online." The proceedings saw executives from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube subjected to tongue-lashings from lawmakers like Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who howled about Russian online trolls "spread[ing] stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement."

In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos.

"Civil wars don't start with gunshots, they start with words," he proclaimed. "America's war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America."

Next, Watts suggested a government-imposed campaign of media censorship: "Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end."

The censorious overtone of Watts' testimony was unmistakable. He demanded that government news inquisitors drive dissident media off the internet and warned that Americans would spear one another with bayonets if they failed to act. And not one member of Congress rose to object. In fact, many echoed his call for media suppression in the House and Senate hearings, with Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jackie Speier agreeing the most vehemently. The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media -- including content that amplified the message of progressive causes like Black Lives Matter.

Details of exactly what transpired vis a vis Russia and the U.S. in social media in 2016 are still emerging. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a declassified version of the intelligence community's report on "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," written by CIA, FBI and NSA, with its central conclusion that Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

To be sure, there is ample evidence that Russian-linked trolls have attempted to exploit wedge issues on social media platforms. But the impact of these schemes on real-world events appears to have been exaggerated. According to Facebook's data , 56 percent of Russian-linked ads appeared after the 2016 presidential election, and another 25 percent "were never shown to anyone." The ads were said to have "reached" over 100 million people, but that assumes that Facebook users did not scroll through or otherwise ignore them, as they do with most ads. Content emanating from "Russia-linked" sources on YouTube, meanwhile, managed to rack up hit totals in the hundreds , not exactly a viral smash.

Facebook posts traced to the infamous Internet Research Agency troll factory in Russia amounted to only 0.0004 percent of total content that appeared on the social network. (Some of these posts targeted "animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies," while another hawked an LGBT-themed " Buff Bernie coloring book for Berniacs.") According to its " deliberately broad" review , Twitter found that only 0.74 percent of its election-related tweets were "Russian-linked." Google, for its part, documented a grand total of $4,700 of "Russian-linked ad spending" during the 2016 election cycle. While some have argued that the Russian-linked ads were micro-targeted, and could have shifted key electoral voting blocs, these ads appeared in a media climate awash in a multi-billion dollar deluge of political ad spending from both established parties and dark money super PACs.

However, a blitz of feverish corporate media coverage and tension-filled congressional hearings has convinced a whopping 82 percent of Democrats that "Russian-backed" social media content played a central role in swinging the 2016 election. Russian meddling has even earned comparisons by lawmakers to Pearl Harbor, to "acts of war," and by Hillary Clinton to the attacks of 9/11 . And in an inadvertent way, these overblown comparisons were apt.

As during the aftermath of 9/11, the fallout from Russiagate has spawned a multimillion-dollar industry of pundits and self-styled experts eager to exploit the frenetic atmosphere for publicity and profits. Many of these figures have emerged out of the swamp that flowed from the war on terror and are gravitating toward the growing Russia fearmongering industrial complex in search of new opportunities. Few of these characters have become as prominent as Clint Watts.

So who is Watts, and how did he emerge seemingly from nowhere to become the star congressional witness on Russian meddling?

Dubious Expertise, Impressive Salesmanship

A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe."

Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force.

Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs.

Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease.

Before Congress, a String of Deceptions

Back on March 30, as the narrative of Russian meddling gathered momentum, Watts made his first appearance before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

Seated at the front of a hearing room packed with reporters, Watts introduced Congress to concepts of Russian meddling that were novel at the time, but which have become part of Beltway newspeak. His testimony turned out to be a signal moment in Russiagate, helping transition the narrative of the scandal from Russia-Trump collusion to the wider issue of online influence.

In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending."

Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran.

The premise of these op-eds should have raised serious concerns about Watts and his colleagues, and even questions about their sanity. They had marketed themselves as national security experts, yet they were lobbying the US to "befriend" the allies of Al Qaeda, the group that brought down the Twin Towers. (Ahrar al-Sham was founded by Abu Khalid al-Suri, a Madrid bombing suspect who was named by Spanish investigators as Osama bin-Laden's courier.) Anyone cynical enough to put such ideas into public circulation should have expected a backlash. But when the inevitable wave of criticism came, Watts dismissed it all as a Russian bot attack.

Addressing the Senate panel, Watts said that those who took to social media to mock and criticize his Foreign Affairs article were, in fact, Russian bots. He provided no evidence to support the claim, and a look at his single tweet promoting the article shows that he was criticized only once (by @Navsteva, a Twitter user known for defending the Syrian government against regime change proponents, not an automated bot). Nevertheless, Watts painted the incident as proof that Russia had revived a Cold War information warfare strategy of "Active Measures," which was supposedly aimed at "crumbl[ing] democracies from the inside out [by] creating political divisions."

Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. In fact, the only piece of proof he offered (in a Daily Beast transcript of his testimony) was a single link to an RT article that factually documented a squabble between Black Lives Matter protesters and white supremacists -- an incident that had been widely covered by other outlets, from the Houston Chronicle to the Washington Post . Watts did not explain how this one report by RT sowed any chaos, or whether it had any effect at all on actual events.

Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news.

In the articles cited by Watts during his testimony, neither RT nor Sputnik made any reference to "terrorists" taking over Incirlik Airbase. Rather, these outlets compiled tweets by Turkish activists and sourced their coverage to a report by Hurriyet, one of Turkey's largest mainstream papers. In fact, the incident was reported by virtually every major Turkish news organization ( here , here , here and here ). What's more, the events appeared to have taken place approximately as RT and Sputnik reported it, with protesters readying to protect the airbase from a coup while Turkish police sealed the base's entrances and exits. A look at RT's coverage shows the network even downplayed the severity of the event, citing a tweet by a U.S.-based national security analysis group stating, "We are not finding any evidence of a coup or takeover." This stands entirely at odds with Watts' claim that RT exaggerated the incident to spark chaos.

Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them.

Questions emailed to Watts via his employers at FPRI received no reply.

Another Watts Deception, This Time Discredited in Court

During his Senate testimony, Watts introduced a second, and even more distorted claim of Trump employing Russian "active measures" to attack his political foes. The details of the story are complex and difficult for a passive audience to absorb, which is probably why Watts has been able to get away with pushing it for so long.

Watts' testimony was the culmination of a mainstream media deception that forced an aspiring reporter out of his job, drove him to contemplate suicide, and ultimately prompted him to take matters into his own hands by suing his antagonists.

The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal.

The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents.

In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record.

When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent.

When Watts revived Eichenwald's bogus version of events in his Senate testimony, Moran began to spiral into the depths of depression. He even entertained thoughts of suicide. But he ultimately decided to fight, filing a lawsuit against Newsweek's parent company for defamation and libel.

Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie.

The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits.

FPRI, a Pro-War Think Tank Founded by White Supremacist Eugenicists

Before he emerged in the spotlight of Russiagate, Watts languished at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, earning little name recognition outside the insular world of national security pundits. Based in Philadelphia, the FPRI has been described by journalist Mark Ames as "one of the looniest (and spookiest) extreme-right think tanks since the early Cold War days, promoting 'winnable' nuclear war, maximum confrontation with Russia, and attacking anti-colonialism as dangerously unworkable."

Daniel Pipes, the arch-Islamophobe pundit and former FPRI fellow, offered a similar characterization of the think tank, albeit from an alternately opposed angle. "Put most baldly, we have always advocated an activist U.S. foreign policy," Pipes said in a 1991 address to FPRI. He added that the think tank's staff "is not shy about the use of force; were we members of Congress in January 1991, all of us would not only have voted with President Bush and Operation Desert Storm, we would have led the charge."

FPRI was co-founded by Robert Strausz-Hupé, a far-right Austrian emigre, with help from conservative corporations and covert funding from the CIA From the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Strausz-Hupé gathered a "Philadelphia School" of Cold War hardliners to develop a strategy for protracted war against the Soviet Union. His brain trust included FPRI co-founder Stefan Possony, an Austrian fascist who was a board member of the World Anti-Communist League, the international fascist organization described by journalists Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson as a network of "those responsible for death squads, apartheid, torture, and the extermination of European Jewry." True to his fascist roots, Possony co-authored a racialist tract, " The Geography of Intellect ," that argued that blacks were biologically inferior and that the people of the global South were "genetically unpromising." Strausz-Hupé seized on Possony's racialist theories to inveigh against anti-colonial movements led by "populations incapable of rational thought."

While clamoring for a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union -- and acknowledging that their preferred strategy would cause mass casualties in American cities -- Strausz-Hupé and his band of hawks developed a monomaniacal obsession with Russian propaganda. By the time of the Cuban missile crisis, they were stricken with paranoia, arguing on the pages of the New York Times that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was a Soviet useful idiot whose film, Dr. Strangelove , advanced "the principal Communist objectives to drive a wedge between the American people and their military leaders."

Ultimately, Strausz-Hupé's fanaticism cost him an ambassadorship, as Sen. William Fulbright scuttled his appointment to serve in Morocco on the grounds that his "hard line, no compromise" approach to communism could shatter the delicate balance of diplomacy. Today, he is remembered fondly on FPRI's website as "an intellectual and intellectual impresario, administrator, statesman, and visionary." His militaristic legacy continues thanks to the prolific presence -- and bellicose politics -- of Watts.

The Paranoid Style

This year, FPRI dedicated its annual gala to honoring Watts' success in mainstreaming the narrative of Russian online meddling. Since I first transcribed a Soundcloud recording of Watts' keynote address, the file has been mysteriously scrubbed from the internet. It is unclear what prompted the removal, however, it is easy to understand why Watts would not want his comments examined by a critical listener. His speech offered a window into a paranoid mindset with a tendency for overblown, unverifiable claims about Russian influence.

While much of the speech was a rehash of Watts' Senate testimony, he spent an unusual amount of time describing the threat he believed Russian intelligence agents posed to his own security. "If you speak up too much, you'll get knocked down," Watts said, claiming that think tank fellows who had been too vocal about Russian meddling had seen their laptops "burned up by malware."

"If someone rises up in prominence, they will suddenly be -- whoof! -- swiped down out of nowhere by some crazy disclosure from their email," Watts added, referring to unspecified Russian retaliatory measures. As usual, he didn't produce concrete evidence or offer any examples.

"Anybody remember the reporters that were outed after the election? Or maybe they tossed up a question to the Clinton campaign and they were gone the next day?" he asked his audience. "That's how it goes."

It was unclear which reporters Watts was referring to, or what incident he could have possibly been alluding to. He offered no details, only innuendo about the state of siege Kremlin actors had supposedly imposed on him and his freedom-fighting colleagues. He even predicted he'd be "hacked and cyber attacked when this recording comes out."

According to Watts, Russian "active measures" had singlehandedly augmented Republican opinion in support of the Kremlin. "It is the greatest success in influence operations in the history of the world," Watts confidently proclaimed. He contrasted Russia's success with his own failures as an American agent of influence working for the U.S. military, a saga in his career that remains largely unexamined.

Domestic Agent of Influence

"I worked in influence operations in counter-terrorism for 15 years," Watts boasted to his audience at FPRI. "We didn't break one or two percent [increase in the approval rating of US foreign policy] in fifteen years and we spent billions a year in tax dollars doing it. I was paid off of those programs. We had almost no success throughout the Middle East."

By Watts' own admission, he had been part of a secret propaganda campaign aimed at manipulating the opinions of Middle Easterners in favor of the hostile American military operating in their midst. And he failed massively, wasting "billions a year in tax dollars."

Given his penchant for deception, this may have been yet another tall tale aimed at burnishing his image as an internet era James Bond. But if the story was even partially true, Watts had inadvertently exposed a severe scandal that, in a fairer world, might have triggered congressional hearings.

Whatever took place, it appears that Watts and his Cold Warrior colleagues are now waging another expensive influence operation, this time directed against the American public. By deploying deceptions, half-truths and hyperbole with the full consent of Congress and in collaboration with the mainstream press, they have managed to convince a majority of Americans that Russia is "trying to knock us down and take us over," as Watts remarked at the FPRI's gala.

In just a matter of months, public consent for an unprecedented array of hostile measures against Russia, from sanctions and consular raids to arbitrary crackdowns on Russian-backed news organizations, has been assiduously manufactured.

It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations.

In the next installment of this investigation, we will see how a collection of cranks, counter-terror retreads and online vigilantes overseen by the German Marshall Fund have waged a search-and-destroy mission against dissident media under the guise of combating Russian "active measures," and how the mainstream press has enabled their censorious agenda.

Read part two here .

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of " Goliath ," " Republican Gomorrah ," and " The 51 Day War ." He is the co-host of the podcast, Moderate Rebels . Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal .

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[Dec 08, 2017] AMERICA-HYSTERICA

Notable quotes:
"... Pentagon "weaponised information" years ago: " Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media ".) ..."
"... The collapse of the Fusion GPS operation will unravel the whole construction. And it's coming . ( And don't forget Awan .) All this because the Dems fixed their nomination and then lost anyway. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

AMERICA-HYSTERICA I. It's not working. 52% believe it's better to have Russia on "our side" than not ; 76% of Republicans and 51% of independents agree but only 29% of Democrats. (I presume Dems find it easier to believe that Trump won because Putindunnit than that he beat their candidate fair and square). It's not working in Europe either: another poll show large majorities in Germany, Poland, France and UK would like better relations with Russia . But the effluent is still pumped out: " weaponised information ". (As a readers' guide to this sort of thing, you won't go wrong assuming that whatever US/NATO accuse Russia of doing, they are actually doing. For example, the Pentagon "weaponised information" years ago: " Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media ".)

AMERICA-HYSTERICA II. " FBI and Justice Department officials have told congressional investigators in recent days that they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier. " The collapse of the Fusion GPS operation will unravel the whole construction. And it's coming . ( And don't forget Awan .) All this because the Dems fixed their nomination and then lost anyway.

[Dec 05, 2017] Schizophrenic nonsense about Russia in Western MSM

So the anti-Russian campaign probably started after Sochi Olympics if nor earlier. Now we see just a new stage of it.
Notable quotes:
"... Western media, analysts and commentator spew the same inane nonsense regarding Russia. Either Putin is the new Hitler or he is just like Stalin or trying to become a new Tsar. Western experts accuse Putin of trying to revive the USSR one day only to accuse Putin re-establishing the Russian Empire the day afterwards. ..."
"... West media oscillates from Russia is about collapse to Russia is about to invade Europe and conquer the world! ..."
"... For nearly two hours, the Russian president reeled off a litany of resentments. The west had proclaimed victory in the cold war. It had cheated Moscow by expanding the EU and Nato right to Russia's borders. It had ignored international rules to pursue reckless policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. ..."
"... So far, the sanctions have acted as what one US official calls an "accelerant" to the unexpected plunge in oil prices, pushing Russia into a deep economic crisis. The rouble has tumbled, leaving Russia facing recession and spiralling inflation, challenging its ability to fund its costly stealth war in Ukraine (where the Kremlin insists there are no Russian soldiers on the ground, despite ample evidence to the contrary [Where is the evidence? Please state what the evidence is.]). ..."
"... I stopped reading the FT years ago . For the financial stuff it was quite good (!) and had a good level for people not accompli in such matters, but it always sucked ass * politically as it is generally to the far right of Ghengis Khan (my apologies to him as I am probably one of the descendents of the many beautiful ladies he porked – apparently 1 in 7 of us are). ..."
Jan 31, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Warren says:

Western media, analysts and commentator spew the same inane nonsense regarding Russia. Either Putin is the new Hitler or he is just like Stalin or trying to become a new Tsar. Western experts accuse Putin of trying to revive the USSR one day only to accuse Putin re-establishing the Russian Empire the day afterwards.

West media oscillates from Russia is about collapse to Russia is about to invade Europe and conquer the world!

Moscow Exile, February 3, 2015 at 11:02 am
From the above tweet kindly posted by Peter:

Extracts from the FT article: "Battle for Ukraine: How the west lost Putin"

It was past 10pm and the German chancellor was sitting in a Hilton hotel conference room in Brisbane, Australia. Her interlocutor was the implacable Vladimir Putin. For nearly two hours, the Russian president reeled off a litany of resentments. The west had proclaimed victory in the cold war. It had cheated Moscow by expanding the EU and Nato right to Russia's borders. It had ignored international rules to pursue reckless policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The chancellor steered the conversation back to eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists were engaged in a bloody struggle against the western-backed government in Kiev, according to a person familiar with the meeting [WHO? No names, no pack drill?]. Since the crisis began, Ms Merkel [Why Ms? She is "Frau" and she is married. Does the journalist not know that? Does he think that Bundeskanzlerin Merkel wants to keep her marital status a secret? Fucking PC crap!] had worked hard to extract some sense from Mr Putin of what he wanted - something she could use to construct an agreement. When he finally offered a solution, she was shocked. Mr Putin declared Kiev should deal with the rebels the way he had dealt with Russia's breakaway Chechnya region: by buying them off with autonomy and money. A reasonable idea, perhaps, to an ex-KGB colonel. But for an East German pastor's daughter, with a deeply-ingrained sense of fairness, this was unacceptable.

Ms Merkel had asked her closest advisers to stay outside during the Brisbane meeting, on November 15 last year. "She wanted to be alone . . . to test whether she could get Putin to be more open about what he really wants",says someone briefed on the conversation [WHO?]. "But he wouldn't say what his strategy is, because he doesn't know".

For Moscow, too, something snapped. Weeks later, a Kremlin official [WHO?] dismissed the notion, often cited in diplomatic circles, that there had ever been a "special relationship" between the two leaders. "Putin and Merkel could never stand each other", he told the Financial Times. "Of course, they are professionals, so they tried to make the best of it for a long time. But that seems to have changed now."

The Merkel-Putin encounter in Australia marked a turning point. After a year of crisis, the west realised that it had been pursuing an illusion: for all its post-communist tribulations, Russia was always seen to be on an inexorable path of convergence with Europe and the west - what a senior German official [WHO?] calls the notion that "in the end, they'll all become like us".

So far, the sanctions have acted as what one US official calls an "accelerant" to the unexpected plunge in oil prices, pushing Russia into a deep economic crisis. The rouble has tumbled, leaving Russia facing recession and spiralling inflation, challenging its ability to fund its costly stealth war in Ukraine (where the Kremlin insists there are no Russian soldiers on the ground, despite ample evidence to the contrary [Where is the evidence? Please state what the evidence is.]).

According to a senior Washington official [WHO?], Mr Poroshenko, the oligarch elected Ukraine's president in May, was anxious to hold face-to-face meetings with Mr Putin. But he wanted other leaders in the room capable of holding Mr Putin to commitments. Ms Merkel was the obvious choice. "The administration's view is that she's the best interlocutor that we have in the west with Putin," says an ex-US diplomat [WHO?].

US President Barack Obama has held his own share of calls with Mr Putin, but he has largely taken a back seat. US insiders [WHO?] say the president feels Mr Putin was unresponsive to efforts to build a relationship. "Obama sees the world in win-win terms, Putin sees it in zero-sum terms", says the ex-diplomat. The two have a visible lack of chemistry. In Mr Obama's words, Mr Putin has a "kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom".

Diplomats suspect [WHICH DIPLOMATS?] Mr Putin is surrounded by yes-men afraid to give him the unvarnished truth. They suggest, for example, that he has been surprised by the strength of EU unity over sanctions.

She prepares meticulously, studying maps of eastern Ukraine and poring over them in meetings and phone calls with Mr Putin. "There are maps and charts, with roads and checkpoints", says a European diplomat [WHO?]. "She has these details. She knows about them."

In public, Ms Merkel has not said Mr Putin has lied, but she has in private [TO WHOM?]. "'He's lying', that's what she says to all the other leaders," says the EU diplomat.

A partygoer [WHO?] close to Ms Merkel recalls her saying little about the disaster. "The chancellor doesn't like to speak about something until she is sure of her facts. But she was shaken. It was horrendous."

"The Russians just weren't credible. They got beaten", says a senior Washington official [WHO?].

Asked why Mr Putin did not turn MH17 into an opportunity for reconciliation, a former senior Kremlin official [WHO?] said: "Because he was insulted. He acted emotionally. Because your side came out before anything was clear, accusing him of all sorts of things".

and on and on and on.

I've just got fed up of noting the unsubstantiated statements. And to make all this even more annoying,each time I cut and pasted, I received the following notification off FT:

"High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article."

High quality global journalism???

et Al , February 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm
I stopped reading the FT years ago. For the financial stuff it was quite good (!) and had a good level for people not accompli in such matters, but it always sucked ass* politically as it is generally to the far right of Ghengis Khan (my apologies to him as I am probably one of the descendents of the many beautiful ladies he porked – apparently 1 in 7 of us are).

The thing is, none of this should surprise us as established journalism has only got worse. Alternative media fortunately has grown on the back of this atrophy of the circle jerk club. What this goes to show is that the discerning news consumer now looks elsewhere for its news because the Pork Pie News Networks are so transparently bullshit in the extreme and even more unapologetic when they are caught with their pants down pretending to be milking grandma's cow in the middle of the night.

Fern, February 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm
If Putin became 'emotional' every time he was insulted by the west, he wouldn't have gotten out of bed since about 2003. Jeez, the crap these guys write.

[Dec 05, 2017] One-Pager on Latest Developments in Russia (RF Sitrep 20150129)

Jan 31, 2015 | Russia Insider

HOW TO READ THE WESTERN MEDIA.

When they say Kiev forces have re-taken the airport, know that they have lost it.

When they say giving up South Stream was a defeat for Putin, know it was a brilliant counter-move.

When they say Russia is isolated (a stopped clock, here's The Economist in 1999!), know that it is expanding its influence and connections every day.

When they say Russians are turning against Putin, know that the opposite is true. When they speak of nation-building in the new Ukraine, know it's degenerating into armed thuggery (see video).

Know that when they speak of Kyrzbekistan, they're not just stenographers, they're incompetent stenographers.

Take what they say, turn it upside down, and you'll have a better take on reality.

THE MERKEL MYSTERY. I, like many, thought, when the Ukraine crisis began, that German Chancellor Merkel would prove to be key in settling it. This has not proved to be the case at all; in fact she often throws more fuel on the fire. I believe that Gilbert Doctorow may have the answer. In essence, he believes that Berlin dreams the "pre-WWI dream of Mitteleuropa" with cheap, docile workers in Poland, Ukraine and the others forever. Of course, it hasn't worked out very well, but that, he thinks, was the plan. There was no "End of History" after all; a rebirth of history it seems.

[Dec 03, 2017] The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money.

Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim Haygood , December 2, 2017 at 8:29 am

Renegade ( ex-? ) Republican David Stockman NAILS IT TO THE WALL:

To be sure, some element of political calculus always lies behind legislation. For instance, the Dems didn't pass the Wagner Act in 1935, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as exercises in pure civic virtue -- these measures targeted huge constituencies with tens of millions of votes at stake.

Still, threadbare theories and untoward effects are just that; they can't be redeemed by the risible claim that this legislative Rube Goldberg contraption being jammed through sight unseen ( in ACA redux fashion ) is for the benefit of the rank and file Republican voters, and most especially not for the dispossessed independents and Dems of Flyover America who voted for Trump out of protest against the failing status quo.

To the contrary. The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money. Period.

There is no higher purpose or even nugget of conservative economic principle to it. The battle cry of "pro-growth tax cuts" is just a warmed over 35-year-old mantra from the Reagan era that does not remotely reflect the actual content of the bill or disguise what it really is: namely, a cowardly infliction of more than $2 trillion of debt on future American taxpayers in order to fund tax relief today for the GOP's K Street and Wall Street paymasters.

On a net basis, in fact, fully 97% of the $1.412 trillion revenue loss in the Senate Committee bill over the next decade is attributable to the $1.369 trillion cost of cutting the corporate rate from 35% to 20% (and repeal of the related AMT). All the rest of the massive bill is just a monumental zero-sum pot stirring operation.

https://tinyurl.com/yal6ls89

Stockman, who knows federal budgeting better than most of us know the contents of our own homes, goes on to shred the tax bill item by item, leaving a smoking, scorched-earth moonscape in his deadly rhetorical wake. And he's not done yet.

But Lordy, how he scourges the last hurrah of the know-nothing R party, just before it gets pounded senseless at the polls next year. Bubble III is the last hope of the retrograde Republican Congressional rabble. But it's a 50/50 proposition at best that our beloved bubble lasts through next November. :-(

tegnost , December 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

thanks Jim, yes, this looks like it will knock the legs out of the "main st" economy, but over at versailles on the potomac they'll be listening to/playing the fiddle and watching the country burn while guzzling 300 dollar scotch and and admiring their campfire.

ambrit , December 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

Right next to "Versailles on the Potomac" is the site of the former Bonus Army camp, Anacostia Flats. The burning of the Bonus Army camp at Anacostia Flats could be seen, as a red glow, from the White House. Historians charitable to Herbert Hoover suggest that Gen. Douglass MacArthur 'conned' Hoover into letting the Army 'disperse' the Bonus Army. The resulting spectacle can be said to be one of the prime reasons why the American public rejected Hoover when he ran for re-election against Franklin Roosevelt.
I don't know if Hoover played the fiddle, but MacArthur was known to be able to play politicians like one.
The lesson here, if there is one, is that the present occupant of the White House had better be very circumspect about taking advice from Generals.

nonclassical , December 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

"anacostia flats" bonus army raided by Wall Street General MacArthur which is reason in previous iteration of Wall Street power grab by "American Liberty League", ("The Plot To Seize the White House"-Jules Archer) Marine General Smedley Butler felt forced play whistle-blower, providing FDR leverage he needed to prosecute banksters.


Big River Bandido December 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

The gist of the commenter's statement was true - Democrats are totally complicit in the end result of Republican economic and foreign policy. Until now, Republicans could only deliver on their promises when Democrats helped them out. The Democrats' enabling strategy eventually alienated their own core supporters. With this tax cut, the Republicans have shown, for the first time, the ability to enact and sign their own legislation.

The Democrats basically accommodated the Republicans long enough to ensure their own irrelevance. They will not rise again until their "mixed stances" and those who encourage them are purged.

[Dec 03, 2017] Another Democratic party betrayal of their former voters. but what you can expect from the party of Bill Clinton?

Highly recommended!
Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

And I feel like the Democrats get so distracted. They have been talking about sexual harassment and stuff instead of the TAX BILL. It is so damn easy to get them to take their eyes off the ball! and get played again and again. . . and TRAGIC given the consequences . . .

Big River Bandido , December 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

It's the perfect "distraction". Allows them to engage in virtue-signaling and "fighting for average Americans". It's all phony, they always "lose" in the end getting exactly what they wanted in the first place, while not actually having to cast a vote for it.

Kabuki theater in every respect.

jrs , December 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It's all related, less safety net and more inequality means more desperation to take a job, *ANY* job, means more women putting up with sexual harassment (and workplace bullying and horrible and illegal workplace conditions etc.) as the price of a paycheck.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Horrible Toomey's re-election was a parallel to the Clinton/Trump fiasco. The Democrats put up a corporate shill, Katie McGinty that no-one trusted.

"Former lobbyist Katie McGinty has spent three decades in politics getting rich off the companies she regulated and subsidized. Now this master of the revolving-door wants Pennsylvania voters to give her another perch in government: U.S. Senator." Washington Examiner.

She was a Clintonite through and through, that everyone, much like $Hillary, could see through.

Expat , December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

To paraphrase the Beatles, you say you want a revolution but you don't really mean it. You want more of the same because it makes you feel good to keep voting for your Senator or your Congressman. The others are corrupt and evil, but your guys are good. If only the others were like your guys. News flash: they are all your guys.

America is doomed. And so much the better. Despite all America has done for the world, it has also been a brutal despot. America created consumerism, super-sizing and the Kardashians. These are all unforgivable sins. America is probably the most persistently violent country in the world both domestically and internationally. No other country has invaded or occupied so much of the world, unless you count the known world in which case Macedonia wins.

This tax plan is what Americans want because they are pretty ignorant and stupid. They are incapable of understanding basic math so they can't work out the details. They believe that any tax cut is inherently good and all government is bad so that is also all that matters. They honestly think they or their kids will one day be rich so they don't want to hurt rich people. They also believe that millionaires got their money honestly and through hard work because that is what they learned from their parents.

Just send a blank check to Goldman Sachs. Keep a bit to buy a gun which you can use to either shoot up a McDonalds or blow your own brains out.

And some people still ask me why I left and don't want to come back. LOL

tony , December 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

Macedonia of today is not the same are that conquered the world. They stole the name from Greeks.

That being said, the US is ripe for a change. Every policy the current rulers enact seems to make things better. However, I suspect a revolution would kill majority of the population since it would disrupt the all important supply chains, so it does not seem viable.

However, a military takeover could be viable. If they are willing to wipe out the most predatory portions of the ruling class, they could fix the healthcare system, install a high-employment policy and take out the banks and even the military contractors. Which could make them very popular.

False Solace , December 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

> a military takeover could be viable

Yeah, right. Have you seen our generals? They're just more of the same leeches we have everywhere else in the 0.01%. Have you seen any of the other military dictatorships around the world, like actually existing ones? They're all brilliantly corrupt and total failures when it comes to running any sort of economy. Not to mention the total loss of civil rights. Americans have this idiotic love of their military thanks to decades of effective propaganda and think the rule of pampered generals would somehow be better than the right to vote. Bleh.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

This is a military dictatorship. The fourth and sixth amendments have been de facto repealed. Trump cared about one thing and one thing only, namely to repeal the estate tax. He is the ultimate con man and this was his biggest con. It is truly amazing how he accomplished this. He has saved his family a billion $$$. He will now turn over governing to the generals and Goldman Sachs. He may even retire. Truly amazing. One has to admire the sheer perversity of it all. When will the American electorate get tired of being conned? The fact is they have nothing but admiration for Trump. We live in a criminal culture, winner take all. America loves its winners.

John Wright , December 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

There is an old 2003 David Brooks column in which he mentions that

"The Democrats couldn't even persuade people to oppose the repeal of the estate tax, which is explicitly for the mega-upper class. Al Gore, who ran a populist campaign, couldn't even win the votes of white males who didn't go to college, whose incomes have stagnated over the past decades and who were the explicit targets of his campaign. Why don't more Americans want to distribute more wealth down to people like themselves?"

Then Brooks goes on to explain

"The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/opinion/the-triumph-of-hope-over-self-interest.html

The Republicans have conditioned people to believe government services (except for defense/military) are run poorly and need to be "run like a business" for a profit.

The problem is that not all government services CAN be profitable (homeless care, mental health care for the poor, EPA enforcement, OSHA enforcement). And when attempts are made to privatize some government operations such as incarceration, the result is that the private company tries to maximize profits by pushing for laws to incarcerate ever more people.

The history of the USA as viewed by outsiders, maybe 50 years hence, will be that of a resource consuming nation that spent a vast fortune on military hardware and military adventures when it had little to fear due to geography, a nation that touted an independent press that was anything but, a nation that created a large media/entertainment industry which helped to keep citizens in line, a nation that fostered an overly large (by 2 or 3 times per Paul Whooley) parasitical financial industry that did not perform its prime capital allocation task competently as it veered from bubble to bubble and a nation that managed to spend great sums on medical care without covering all citizens.

But the USA does have a lot of guns and a lot of frustrated people.

Maybe Kevlar vests will be the fashion of the future?

Steve , December 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the great link on how sadly uninformed average Americans are! I've been looking for it for a while and great comment!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

The provision to do away with the estate tax, if not immediately, in the current versions (House and Senate) is great news for the 1%, and bad for the rest of us.

And if more people are not against that (thanks for quoting the NYTImes article), it's the failure of the rest of the media for not focusing more on it, but wasting time and energy on fashion, sports, entertainment, etc.

Vatch , December 2, 2017 at 7:24 pm

he provision to do away with the estate tax . . . is great news for the 1%

I think it's even a little more extreme than that. The data is a few years old, but it is only the top 0.6% who are affected by estate taxes in the United States. See the data at these web sites:

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-17

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-estate-tax-statistics-year-of-death-table-1

Sydney Conner , December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the succinct, accurate eloquent description of our nightmare reality.

DHG , December 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

https://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

JTMcPhee , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

The military adventures were largely in support of what Smedley Butler so accurately called the Great "Racket" of Monroe Doctrine colonialism and rapacious extractive "capitalism" aka "looting."

For those who haven't encountered Maj. Gen. Butler's take on his 33 years of serving the Oligokleptocracy, here's a link: https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

A smart and honest fellow, who even declined as a "war hero" to serve as the oligarchs' figurehead in an earlier and clumsier plot to get rid of the trappings and regulation of "democracy:" The Business Plot, https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/smedley-butler-and-the-business-plot/

It took longer and costed the rich a bit more to buy up all the bits of government, but the way they've done will likely be more compendious and lasting. Barring some "intervening event(s)".

Jonathan Holland Becnel , December 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

Doomed?

Project Much?

While Republicans show their true colors, im out there seeing a resurgence of civil society. And im starting to reach Hard core Tea Party types. Jobs, Manufacturing, Actual Policy.

IOW The Revolution Is Nigh.

2018 will be a Fn watershed.

[Nov 30, 2017] Democrats Rely on Blame-Shifting by By Andrew Spannaus

Notable quotes:
"... By riding hatred of President Trump and spurring on the Russia-gate hysteria, Democrats hope to win in 2018 without a serious examination of why they lost support of key working- and middle-class voting blocs, says Andrew Spannaus. ..."
"... cause célèbre ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

By riding hatred of President Trump and spurring on the Russia-gate hysteria, Democrats hope to win in 2018 without a serious examination of why they lost support of key working- and middle-class voting blocs, says Andrew Spannaus.

Victories in state-level elections in New Jersey and Virginia on Nov. 7 have buoyed Democratic hopes for an anti-Trump wave among the population that will lead to a big victory in next year's mid-term elections, and permanently damage President Trump heading towards 2020. Yet there is significant risk in hoping that anti-Trump sentiment will be enough for the Democrats to return to power.

The danger is that the considerable differences between the centrist faction, which for the most part controls the party structure, and the progressive wing of the party, will be swept under the rug in the name of unity, perpetuating the substantive problems that have alienated important sections of the population from the party.

The power of opposition to Trump has been on display from the very beginning: It was more than a bit ironic to see feminist protestors – properly exercising their right to protest against a President who has made many derogatory comments towards women – hold up signs defending the CIA during the Women's March on Inauguration Day Yes, in their zeal to oppose Trump, both the center and the far left have been willing to embrace the battle led by a limited but powerful grouping in the intelligence community to stop the President from his stated intention of improving relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia.

This has become such a cause célèbre that people who would normally look suspiciously at the motives of the CIA or other similar agencies seem unable to recognize that the basic "crime" Trump is accused of is favoring diplomacy with a country most of the institutions consider an enemy. With the media's help, it has apparently been decided that this President does not have the right to influence policy, if the majority of the establishment disagrees with his positions.

The major issue in the Democratic Party is obviously the economy. Sen. Bernie Sanders, officially an Independent from Vermont, won 43 percent of the vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries because he pushed a "populist," anti-system message that was heavily critical of globalization, Wall Street and trade deals that have weakened the American middle class.

[Nov 30, 2017] Democrats Rely on Blame-Shifting by By Andrew Spannaus

Nov 30, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

By riding hatred of President Trump and spurring on the Russia-gate hysteria, Democrats hope to win in 2018 without a serious examination of why they lost support of key working- and middle-class voting blocs, says Andrew Spannaus.

Victories in state-level elections in New Jersey and Virginia on Nov. 7 have buoyed Democratic hopes for an anti-Trump wave among the population that will lead to a big victory in next year's mid-term elections, and permanently damage President Trump heading towards 2020. Yet there is significant risk in hoping that anti-Trump sentiment will be enough for the Democrats to return to power.

The danger is that the considerable differences between the centrist faction, which for the most part controls the party structure, and the progressive wing of the party, will be swept under the rug in the name of unity, perpetuating the substantive problems that have alienated important sections of the population from the party.

The power of opposition to Trump has been on display from the very beginning: It was more than a bit ironic to see feminist protestors – properly exercising their right to protest against a President who has made many derogatory comments towards women – hold up signs defending the CIA during the Women's March on Inauguration Day Yes, in their zeal to oppose Trump, both the center and the far left have been willing to embrace the battle led by a limited but powerful grouping in the intelligence community to stop the President from his stated intention of improving relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia.

This has become such a cause célèbre that people who would normally look suspiciously at the motives of the CIA or other similar agencies seem unable to recognize that the basic "crime" Trump is accused of is favoring diplomacy with a country most of the institutions consider an enemy. With the media's help, it has apparently been decided that this President does not have the right to influence policy, if the majority of the establishment disagrees with his positions.

The major issue in the Democratic Party is obviously the economy. Sen. Bernie Sanders, officially an Independent from Vermont, won 43 percent of the vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries because he pushed a "populist," anti-system message that was heavily critical of globalization, Wall Street and trade deals that have weakened the American middle class.

[Nov 29, 2017] Brennan and Clapper Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators by Mike Whitney

Brennan is probably one of the key figures in color revolution against Trump that was launched after the elections...
Looks like both Brennan and Clapper suffer from the acute case of Anti-Russian paranoia along with Full Spectrum Dominance hallucinations.
Notable quotes:
"... In other words, after an arduous 12 month-long investigation involving both Houses of Congress, a Special Counsel, and a small army of high-paid Washington attorneys, the only straw Brennan has found to hold on to, is a few innocuous advertisements posted on Facebook and Twitter that had no noticeable impact on the election at all. That's a very weak foundation upon which to build a case for foreign espionage or presidential collusion. It's hard not to conclude that the public has been seriously misled by the leaders of this campaign. ..."
"... The Intel bosses continue to believe that they can overcome the lack of evidence by repeating the same claims over and over again. The problem with this theory is that Brennan's claims don't match the findings of his own "Gold Standard" report, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA which was published on January 6, 2017 and which supposedly provides rock solid evidence of Russian meddling. The greatly over-hyped ICA proves nothing of the kind, in fact, the report features a sweeping disclaimer that cautions readers against drawing any rash conclusions from the analysts observations ..."
"... So, while Brennan continues to insist that the Kremlin was involved in the elections, his own analysts suggest that any such judgments should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Nothing is certain, information is "incomplete or fragmentary", and the entire report is based on what-amounts-to 'educated guesswork.' Is Brennan confused about the report's findings or is he deliberately trying to mislead the American people about its conclusions? ..."
"... There appears to be a significant discrepancy between Brennan's unshakable belief in Russian intervention and the findings of his own "hand picked" analysts who said with emphatic clarity: "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact." ..."
"... Clapper played a key role in the bogus Iraq-WMD intelligence when he was head of the National Geo-spatial Agency and hid the fact that there was zero evidence in satellite imagery of any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. When no WMDs were found, Clapper told the media that he thought they were shipped off to Syria. ..."
"... In 2013, Clapper perjured himself before Congress by denying NSA's unconstitutional blanket surveillance of Americans. After evidence emerged revealing the falsity of Clapper's testimony, he wrote a letter to Congress admitting, "My response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize." . ..."
"... Clapper also has demonstrated an ugly bias about Russians. On May 28, as a former DNI, Clapper explained Russian "interference" in the U.S. election to NBC's Chuck Todd on May 28 with a tutorial on what everyone should know about "the historical practices of the Russians." Clapper said, "the Russians, typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." ("Mocking Trump Doesn't Prove Russia's Guilt", Ray McGovern, Consortium News) ..."
"... So, Clapper concealed information that could have slowed or prevented the rush to war in Iraq. That's a significant failing on his part that suggests either poor judgment or moral weakness. Which is it? ..."
"... Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program ..."
"... So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia? Keep in mind, the jihadist militants that have been tearing apart Syria for the last six years were armed and trained by the CIA Brennan's CIA ..."
"... As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can't trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is 'thrown out' because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say. ..."
"... From the presented evidence: Serial Fabricators! I have much more confidence in the veracity of used car salesmen than that of Messrs. Brennan and Clapper. ..."
"... Becoming friends with Russia, the only potential enemy available, would destroy the MIC. A real possibility the Washington establishment will never allow to happen. ..."
"... What is that having to do with the content of Mr. Whitney's good article? Mr. Whitney, to me you are of the quarter or less of Counterpunch writers who are to making sense most of the time. . . . and am always liking your writing style. Trump could have been or be a great pres. of your nation, but between dropping advisors for no good reason, becoming frightened and drawing away from his desire for rapprochement with the Russian Federation, worst of all, from this distant perspective, to appointing his daughter and son-in-law as senior advisors. Both are overpriveleged morons. ..."
"... Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister. ..."
"... Pompeo should have reversed every single thing he did the minute he took office, starting with firing every CIA employee brought into the Agency by Brennan (this can be done – CIA employees have no Civil Service protection). That Brennan is still at large after his outrageous involvement in the phony Russia dossier is an indictment of Jeff Sessions, Trump, the DOJ and the FBI. He could be indicted on a host of Federal charges if somebody had the guts to do it. ..."
"... Professional liars. But, there was some question/doubt about this? ..."
"... As to the US spending $5 billion of US taxpayers money to 'destabilize Ukraine', we can prove that. Or at least we can take the word of a US official that this was true. Hillary's Assistant Secretary of State said this publicly at the National Press Club on Dec 13, 2013 . a few months before the violent coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine. ..."
Nov 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

Mike Whitney November 17, 2017

On Sunday, Former CIA Director John Brennan and Former National Intelligence Director (NID) James Clapper appeared on CNN's morning talk show, State of the Union, to discuss Donald Trump's brief meeting with Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. The two ex-Intel chiefs were sharply critical of Trump and wondered why the president did not "not acknowledge and embrace" the idea that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. According to Brennan, Russia not only "poses a national security problem" for the US, but also "Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy, and our whole process."

Naturally, CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, never challenged Brennan or Clapper on any of the many claims they made regarding Russia nor did he interrupt either man while they made, what appeared to be, carefully scripted remarks about Trump, Putin and the ongoing investigation.

There were no surprise announcements during the interview and neither Brennan or Clapper added anything new to the list of allegations that have been repeated ad nauseam in the media for the last year. The only time Tapper veered off course at all was when he asked Brennan whether he thought "any laws were broken by the Trump campaign? Here's what Brennan said:

I'm just a former intelligence officer. I never had the responsibility for determining whether or not criminal actions were taken. But, since leaving office on the 20th of January, I think more and more of this iceberg is emerging above the surface of the water, some of the things that I knew about, but some of the things I didn't know about, in terms of some of the social media efforts that Russia employed. So, I think what Bob Mueller, who, again, is another quintessential public servant, is doing is trying to get to the bottom of this. And I think we're going to find out how large this iceberg really is.

In other words, after an arduous 12 month-long investigation involving both Houses of Congress, a Special Counsel, and a small army of high-paid Washington attorneys, the only straw Brennan has found to hold on to, is a few innocuous advertisements posted on Facebook and Twitter that had no noticeable impact on the election at all. That's a very weak foundation upon which to build a case for foreign espionage or presidential collusion. It's hard not to conclude that the public has been seriously misled by the leaders of this campaign.

The Intel bosses continue to believe that they can overcome the lack of evidence by repeating the same claims over and over again. The problem with this theory is that Brennan's claims don't match the findings of his own "Gold Standard" report, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA which was published on January 6, 2017 and which supposedly provides rock solid evidence of Russian meddling. The greatly over-hyped ICA proves nothing of the kind, in fact, the report features a sweeping disclaimer that cautions readers against drawing any rash conclusions from the analysts observations. Here's the money-quote from the report:

Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.

So, while Brennan continues to insist that the Kremlin was involved in the elections, his own analysts suggest that any such judgments should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Nothing is certain, information is "incomplete or fragmentary", and the entire report is based on what-amounts-to 'educated guesswork.' Is Brennan confused about the report's findings or is he deliberately trying to mislead the American people about its conclusions?

Here's Brennan again on Sunday:

I think Mr. Trump knows that the intelligence agencies, specifically CIA, NSA and FBI, the ones that really have responsibility for counterintelligence and looking at what Russia does, it's very clear that the Russians interfered in the election. And it's still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it, and also push back hard against Mr. Putin. The Russian threat to our democracy and our democratic foundations is real.

There appears to be a significant discrepancy between Brennan's unshakable belief in Russian intervention and the findings of his own "hand picked" analysts who said with emphatic clarity: "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact."

Why is it so hard for Brennan to wrap his mind around that simple, unambiguous statement? The reason Brennan's intelligence analysts admit that they have no proof, is because they have no proof. That might sound obvious, but we have to assume that it isn't given that both Houses of Congress and a Special Counsel are still bogged down in an investigation that has yet to provide even a solid lead let alone any compelling evidence.

We also have to assume that most people do not understand that there is not sufficient evidence to justify the massive investigations that are currently underway. (What probable cause?) Adds placed in Facebook do not constitute hard evidence of foreign espionage or election rigging. They indicate the desperation of the people who are leading the investigation. The fact that serious people are even talking about social media just underscores the fact that the search for proof has produced nothing.

These investigations are taking place because powerful elites want to vilify an emerging geopolitical rival (Russia) and prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Moscow, not because there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. As the Intel analysts themselves acknowledge, there is no proof of criminal wrongdoing or any other wrongdoing for that matter. What there is, is a political agenda to discredit Trump and demonize Russia. That's the fuel that is driving the present campaign.

Russia-gate is not about 'meddling', it's about politics. And Brennan and Clapper are critical players in the current drama. They're supposed to be the elder statesmen who selflessly defend the country from foreign threats. But are they or is this just role-playing that doesn't square with what we already know about the two men? Here's thumbnail sketch of Clapper written by former-CIA officer Ray McGovern that will help to clarify the point:

Clapper played a key role in the bogus Iraq-WMD intelligence when he was head of the National Geo-spatial Agency and hid the fact that there was zero evidence in satellite imagery of any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. When no WMDs were found, Clapper told the media that he thought they were shipped off to Syria.

In 2013, Clapper perjured himself before Congress by denying NSA's unconstitutional blanket surveillance of Americans. After evidence emerged revealing the falsity of Clapper's testimony, he wrote a letter to Congress admitting, "My response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize." .

Clapper also has demonstrated an ugly bias about Russians. On May 28, as a former DNI, Clapper explained Russian "interference" in the U.S. election to NBC's Chuck Todd on May 28 with a tutorial on what everyone should know about "the historical practices of the Russians." Clapper said, "the Russians, typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." ("Mocking Trump Doesn't Prove Russia's Guilt", Ray McGovern, Consortium News)

So, Clapper concealed information that could have slowed or prevented the rush to war in Iraq. That's a significant failing on his part that suggests either poor judgment or moral weakness. Which is it?

He also lied about spying on the American people. Why? Why would he do that? And why should we trust someone who not only spied on us but also paved the way to war in Iraq?

And the rap-sheet on Brennan is even worse than Clapper's. Check out this blurb from Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian:

"Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program

Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser . In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama's drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year .

Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama's most controversial and radical policies, including "signature strikes" in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency .." ("John Brennan's extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination", Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia? Keep in mind, the jihadist militants that have been tearing apart Syria for the last six years were armed and trained by the CIA Brennan's CIA

These radical militias have been defeated largely due to Russian military intervention. Do you think that this defeat at the hands of Putin may have shaped Brennan's attitude towards Russia?

Of course, it has. Brennan never makes any attempt to conceal his hatred for Putin or Russia.

As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can't trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is 'thrown out' because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say.

Which is why the Russia-gate narrative is beginning to unravel.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

Curmudgeon , November 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT

What!!!! Someone from the management of an intelligence agency lying? I'm shocked!
Dan Hayes , November 25, 2017 at 7:51 am GMT
From the presented evidence: Serial Fabricators! I have much more confidence in the veracity of used car salesmen than that of Messrs. Brennan and Clapper.
m___ , November 25, 2017 at 8:22 am GMT
Fake news, and stale news. By when an algorithm of Goolag to "clean" the internet of current house-hold garbage?
Carroll Price , November 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT
Becoming friends with Russia, the only potential enemy available, would destroy the MIC. A real possibility the Washington establishment will never allow to happen.
Che Guava , November 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

What is that having to do with the content of Mr. Whitney's good article? Mr. Whitney, to me you are of the quarter or less of Counterpunch writers who are to making sense most of the time. . . . and am always liking your writing style. Trump could have been or be a great pres. of your nation, but between dropping advisors for no good reason, becoming frightened and drawing away from his desire for rapprochement with the Russian Federation, worst of all, from this distant perspective, to appointing his daughter and son-in-law as senior advisors. Both are overpriveleged morons.

Chris Bridges , November 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT
Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister. He is an extreme leftist and there should be an investigation into how this wacko was allowed to join the CIA – he openly admits voting for CPUSA chief Gus Hall in 1976. Brennan is, besides, a resentful CIA failure.

He was denied entry to the elite Directorate of Operations (or couldn't cut the mustard and was banished from it) and spent his career stewing away in anger as a despised analyst at CIA headquarters.

Brennan spent his time at CIA attempting to undermine the organization.

Pompeo should have reversed every single thing he did the minute he took office, starting with firing every CIA employee brought into the Agency by Brennan (this can be done – CIA employees have no Civil Service protection). That Brennan is still at large after his outrageous involvement in the phony Russia dossier is an indictment of Jeff Sessions, Trump, the DOJ and the FBI. He could be indicted on a host of Federal charges if somebody had the guts to do it.

Michael Kenny , November 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
The umpteenth version of a now standard article.

We all know that the Russiagate narrative isn't starting to unravel and this and other (wholly untrustworthy) internet authors' claims are not proved by simply repeating them over and over again (to borrow a phrase!). In fact, Russiagate is expanding. It has gone from mere Russian interference in the election to dubious financial transactions between wealthy Americans, including Trump, and, to put it very politely, "dubious" Russians. It has also expanded to Europe.

What is emerging, therefore, is a collusion between wealthy Americans, no doubt with major investments in Russia, US internet sites, probably financed by the aforementioned wealthy Americans, dubious Russian financiers, Putin, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage and no doubt others to manipulate, perhaps rig, elections and referenda in the US and Europe. It's not about politics. It's about money and conflicts of interest.

We also get the now standard argument that Trump is just dying to "normalize" relations with Russia but is being held back by some dastardly group or other. As we all know, of course, "normalizing relations with Moscow" in Orwellian translates into English as "capitulating to Putin in Ukraine". Putin's frantic attempts to get Trump to let him win in Syria is why this old line is suddenly back on the table.

Finally, the idea of the Russian Federation as an emerging geopolitical rival is amusing. That country has existed as a sovereign state only for about 25 years and is merely the largest piece of wreckage from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a world that is slowly being dominated by China, Russia is a very minor player.

Beefcake the Mighty , November 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm GMT
Professional liars. But, there was some question/doubt about this?
DESERT FOX , November 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT
Brennan and Clapper are agent provocateurs for the Zionists who control the U.S. government and the 17 gestapo agencies which in fact are controlled by dual citizen Zionists ie ISRAEL.

Brennan and Clapper are under Zionist control and thus are traitors to the constitution of America and should be tried and sent to prison for life.

jacques sheete , November 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

It's not about politics. It's about money and conflicts of interest.

And since when are the three not related?

It's too bad that good people, like MW, need to waste their time and energy investigating and publishing what's obviously state sponsored utter rubbish designed to support some of the money bag crowd in one way or another.

Why does it even need to be stated that most of what's supposed to be a big deal to us prols, peasants and piss ants is nothing but propaganda, and of a particularly transparent and low grade variety,even?

Clyde , November 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm GMT
@Chris Bridges

Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister.

Clapper told some whoppers while he was head of all our intelligence agencies under Obama. But you are correct that Brennan is far more toxic. He was this way under Obama and post-Obama. He has been one of the biggest Trump saboteurs. And most effective. One ugly customer!

Colleen Pater , November 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon

Why should we care if the russians spent billions on trying to exert their influence on us, we do it we have an alphabet soup of projects to do exactly that and god knows what else to every nation on earth.In fact we do it to our own people these social websites and "news" sites universities media etc are nothing but one huge propaganda machine intended to render democracy nothing more than a distraction so elites can go about doing what they want.

jilles dykstra , November 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
Long ago, when car radio's still had antennae long enough to receive long wave transmissions, I often listened to BBCW radio, 848 Mhz.
I still remember the statement 'you can always tell when a politician lies, he then moves his lips'.
jilles dykstra , November 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Capitulating to Putin in Ukraine. The assertion is that the CIA spent five billion dollar in Ukraine in order to overthrow the legitimate democratic government. Of course nobody can prove the assertion. What is crystal clear is that the members of EU parliament Verhofstadt, Van Baalen and Timmermans held speeches in Kiev urging the people to overthrow the government.
Their speeches could be seen live on tv, or were rebroadcast.

Timmermans held the crocodile tears speech at the UN about the MH17 victims. How, why, and through whom over 300 people were killed in Ukraine airspace we do not know until now. All there is is vague insinuations towards Russia, the country for which the disaster was a disaster, EU sanctions all of a sudden were possible.

That the political annexation by the west failed is best seen in E Ukraine, where the wealth is, in gas and oil. A son, and a son in law, of Biden, and Kerry were promised well paid jobs as CEO's of companies who were to exploit the E Ukrainian wealth, they are still waiting for the jobs.

Roger n Me , November 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
I remember when they actually prosecuted for someone for lying to Congress. Unfortunately, it was a former baseball player named Roger Clemons over the vitally important question of whether or not he had taken steroids. Obviously a vital question that every sports tabloid wants to know.
Cyrano , November 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm GMT
I just hope that the Russians realize that with enormous power comes enormous responsibility. I hope that they'll choose the next US president wisely.

There is real danger there is -- now that we know that the Russians can elect pretty much anyone in the US – that come the next elections, some charismatic, possibly independent candidate, might seduce the Russians with promises of improved ties, and after they elect him, he might turn to be a real wacko job who might end up not only worsening the ties between the superpowers, but he might end up destroying the world. Be cautious, Russians.

I.F. Stoned , November 25, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT
If we want to talk about meddling in the election ..

Lets compare CNN giving hours and hours of free and very favorable air time to the Hillary campaign?

versus

A news website paying for a handful of thousand dollar adds on Twitter?

I remember studies that showed that during the crooked, corrupt and rigged Democratic Primaries, that there was a large disparity in favorable stories about Hillary versus the number that were favorable for Bernie. And CNN happily seemed to give lots of airtime to any Hillary surrogate who wanted to red bait and smear Bernie as a socialist.

We saw the same sort of disparity in the amount of favorable coverage of Trump vs Hillary. Likewise, any Hillary surrogate who wanted to spread the official campaign message that Trump was a racist, was a fascist, and said some rude things about women was always welcome on the CNN airwaves.

And, just recently, we had the web page editor for the NYT state publicly that they deliberately tilted their web page stories to convince voters to vote against Trump.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg if we want to talk about how the American corporate (aka mainstream) media tried very hard to tilt the whole election towards putting the Crooked Clintons back into the White House.

But, OMG, the story in the same corrupt media is that awful and evil RT spend a whole thousand dollars on an ad trying to promote their website.

Vikki , November 25, 2017 at 7:44 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

As to the US spending $5 billion of US taxpayers money to 'destabilize Ukraine', we can prove that. Or at least we can take the word of a US official that this was true. Hillary's Assistant Secretary of State said this publicly at the National Press Club on Dec 13, 2013 . a few months before the violent coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine.

Bottom , November 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm GMT
@Colleen Pater

Hillary is the one who spend BILLIONS trying to become President. The only thing that so far has been traced to Russia is a few hundred thousand in Twitter Ads that otherwise served the legitimate purpose of trying to promote the web news sites. And most of those ads didn't concern political stories, but instead stories about cute puppies to draw clicks.

Adrian E. , November 25, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT
The interesting development is that, after no proof for the "Russian hacking" allegations could be found, they turned to simple ads (for amounts that are extremely small compared to what the campaigns spent) and social media postings. This was accompanied by loosening the criteria, they did not even pretend any more that they had indications that these social media activities were connected to the Russian state, they just had to be "Russia-linked". In the case of Twitter, this includes anyone who has ever logged in from Russia, uses Cyrillic signs in the account metadata (that could also be connected with a number of other countries), logged in from a Russian IP address, paid something with a Russian credit card etc., and only one condition had to be fulfilled for an account to be counted as "Russia-linked".

Of course, with such a large country, there are certainly some social media activities that are "linked" with it. There can be many reasons – people who travel, migrants in both directions, or simply Russians with an interest in US politics. From what is known, the ads and postings were so diverse – some right-wing and pro-Trump, some leftwing or critical of Trump, and many not directly linked to the elections – and distributed over a large time with many after the elections that it does not seem too unlikely as a result of social media activities of random people who have some connection with Russia.

Of course, we may speculate in each case, why someone posted something or bought an ad. But before speculating, it would be necessary to have data about ads and social media postings linked to other countries. For example, it could be determined with the same criteria which ads and postings were Brazile-linked, Germany-linked, and Philippines-linked. Probably, there, a similar random collection would emerge. Only if there is something special about the Russia-linked ads and postings, it would even make sense to speculate about the reasons.

We don't know whether these "Russia-linked" ads and social media positings were just random activities by people related to Russia (e.g. about 2% of the US population have Russian as their native language, some may not have many contacts with Russia any more and don't travel there regularly, but others do) or whether a part of them was the result of an organized campaign, but in any case, from what was written in the media, the volume of these social media activities does not seem to be very large (but in order to judge that, social media activities linked to other countries with the same criteria would be needed).

What I find hilarious is how people sometimes try to insert a collusion angle even if it is not about hacking, but about social media ads and postings. This becomes completely absurd. Then, the idea is that Russians contacted the Trump campaign in order to find out which ads they should buy and what they should post on social media. Why should they do so? If the Trump campaign had ideas about what to post and what kind of ads to buy, why didn't they just do it themselves or via an American company? What would be the point of the Trump campaign spending $564 million on the campaign, but then do a small part of the campaign via Russians who then spent a few thousand dollars for buying ads and posting messages the Trump campaign had advised them to via "collusion"? After all, if they had done it themselves or via an American intermediary, there would be nothing nefarious or suspicious about this, this idea that for a very small part of their campaign, they colluded with Russians and told them what to post and which ads to buy almost sounds as if they deliberately wanted to behave in a strange way that could then fit a preconceived collusion narrative. And even if they had outsourced some small part of their campaign to a Russian company for some odd reasons, would that make it nefarious?

I think the Russiagate theorists should at least make sure that their theories don't violate basic principles of common sense. If they want to use the hacking story, the involvement of Russian secret services might theoretically make sense – it might not be so easy for the Trump campaign to hack servers themselves (though phishing is hardly something so sophisticated that only secret services can do it, we're not talking about something like Stuxnet), and something illegal would be involved. That is a theory that could in principle make sense, the only problem is, that no evidence for this is available (and the Russians are certainly not the only ones who might have had an interest in these mails, another plausible theory is that it was an insider who disliked how the Clinton campaign took over the DNC early on and created better conditions for Clinton than for Sanders, and it could have been any hacker who, for some reason disliked Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and Podesta). If the Russiagate theorists switch over to simple social media activity because there is no evidence for Russian secret services being responsible for giving e-mails to Wikileaks, they also have to sacrifice the whole "collusion" part of the story. It might be that some Russians used social media in an organized way, but to invent a story that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russians for a small part of their social media election campaign hardly makes sense.

The only condition under which it might somehow make sense would be if someone thought Russians are intellectually vastly superior to Americans and know much better what potential voters care about, and their capabilities are even vastly above Cambridge Analytics. Then, it might somehow make sense for the Trump campaign to hand over a part of the social media activities to Russians, and this might somehow be seen as an unfair advantage – but again, if, with that assumption, the Russians are intellectually so vastly superior that can have a significant influence with very small amounts of money and works while the Trump and Clinton campaigns spend billions, why would they have to "collude" with the Trump campaign, people who would be intellectually so much below them according to that assumption? Maybe real genius for targeting potential voters only emerges when Americans and Russians with complementary abilities collaborate? In any case, it is already very difficult just to construct a version of that theory that does not violate basic principles of common sense.

Fred D , November 26, 2017 at 12:24 am GMT
Mind controlled Moron
WHAT , November 26, 2017 at 2:19 am GMT
@Michael Kenny

"Let him win in Syria"?

Dude, it`s like the first legit amusing line from you. Now bring another!

robt , November 26, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT
@Cyrano

Sarcasm is probably the only way to deal with it. I find myself all the time asking people if they are serious or joking. Sadly, many claim they are serious.
Currently it seems that peaceful and productive relations with a foreign power are Bad Things.
Mr Putin did amusingly say one time to a ditzy US 'journalist':
"Have you all lost your minds over there?"

Cyrano , November 26, 2017 at 3:54 am GMT
@robt

I really truly believe that the only way to force the stupids who came up with that ridiculous story about "Russia influencing the elections" – to drop it – is to make incessantly fun of them until they finally realize how really truly stupid they are.

exiled off mainstreet , November 26, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT
@DESERT FOX

The facts support this viewpoint, including the dual citizen element of it. By the way, I oppose the death penalty except if it is applied to major serial war criminals. I recognize that all legal systems are too corrupt to be given the power of life and death, and that this is particularly true of the US system, which sets the benchmark for corruption. The corruption of the US political system, meanwhile, is revealed by the fact that this absurd Russiagate story is still being peddled and is accepted as received wisdom despite the manifold evidence proving its absurd falsity. What the article shows is that Clapper and Brennan are serial war criminals and that their latest gambit threatens our very existence. We would be better off if the utopia of a legal system incorruptible enough to allow for the death penalty did exist in the US rather than the corrupt system allowing somebody like Mueller to act extra-legally on this absurd basis was continuing in operation. By the way, the Canadian satellite media is still publishing stories trying to resuscitate the Steele dossier paid by the DNC and the yankee government as factual. The whole thing would be comical if it were not deadly serious. Those still backing the story publicly are either dangerously deluded or criminal themselves.

Sarah Toga , November 26, 2017 at 5:10 am GMT
Does Brennan have that dark calloused spot on his forehead yet from use of his "prayer rug" ?
DESERT FOX , November 26, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet

The U.S. gov is a criminal organization ran by criminal for criminals and sexual perverts and pedophiles , if interested, read these two books , THE FRANKLIN COVERUP by the late John DeCamp and THE TRANCE FORMATIO of AMERICA by Cathy Obrien and see their interviews on YouTube, the books can be had on amazon.com.

The books reveal a shocking look at the top ones in the demonrat and republicon parties, and I do mean shocking.

Anon , Disclaimer November 26, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT
@Carroll Price

The US, Russian Federation, and the Nuland-Kagan revolution in Kiev in 2014:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hidden-truth-about-ukraine-italian-documentary-bombshell-evidence-kiev-euromaidan-snipers-kill-demonstrators/5619684

"The interviews with three snipers of Georgian nationality, conducted by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin and aired as a breathtaking documentary on Milan-based Canale 5 (Matrix program) last week, still have not paved its way to the international mainstream media.

The documentary features Alexander Revazishvili, Koba Nergadze and Zalogi Kvaratskhelia, Georgian military officers They claim that on Jan 15, 2014 they landed in Kiev equipped with fake documents Having received 1000 USD each one and being promised to be paid 5000 USD after the "job is done", they were tasked to prepare sniper positions inside the buildings of Hotel Ukraine and Conservatory, dominant over the Maidan Square. Along with other snipers (some of them were Lithuanians) they were put under command of an American military operative Brian Christopher Boyenger. The coordinating team also included Mamulashvili and infamous Segrey Pashinsky, who was detained by protesters on Feb 18, 2017 with a sniper rifle in the boot of his car The weapons came on stage on February 18 and were distributed to the various Georgian and Lithuanian groups. "There were three or four weapons in each bag, there were Makarov guns, AKM guns, rifles, and a lot of cartridges." – witnesses Nergadze.

The following day, Mamulashvili and Pashinsky explained to snipers that they should shoot at the square and sow chaos.
"I listened to the screams," recalls Revazishvili. "There were many dead and injured downstairs. My first and only thought was to leave in a hurry before they caught up with me. Otherwise, they would tear me apart."

Four years later, Revazishvili and his two companions report they have not yet received the promised 5000 USD bills as a payment and have decided to tell the truth about those who "used and abandoned" them."

Well that was a clear picture of a sausage-making during the US-sponsored regime change in Ukraine. The neo-Nazi in the US-supported "government" in Kiev came about naturally.

Anon , Disclaimer November 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@Carroll Price

An addition to the previous post.
The Maidan revolution and its neo-Nazi consequence makes an amazing monument to the Kagans' clan:

"Thousands of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists marched in Kiev, Thursday, celebrating the 106th birthday of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) leader Stepan Bandera [famous Nazis collaborator]. Among the main organisers were representatives of Right Sector and Svoboda." https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6a7_1420142767#gDHooVSL6b0yQ1SG.99

"Members of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov volunteer battalion and their ultranationalist civilian sympathizers have conducted a torchlit procession in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, held under the slogan "coming after you!" http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_72571.shtml

"A leader of Ukrainian Jewry condemned the hosting in Lviv of a festival celebrating a Nazi collaborator on the anniversary of a major pogrom against the city's Jews." http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Ukraine-city-to-hold-festival-in-honor-of-Nazi-collaborator-498159

The wide-spread desecration of Jewish cemetries by Ukrainian thugs (a post-Maidan phenomenon) has spilled to Poland: "Yet another case of vandalism by Ukrainian nationalists is on the record in Poland. This time, an old Jewish cemetery in Kraków became the target of thugs from the neighboring state. The graves of Polish Jews who died over a century ago were destroyed by those hot-blood Ukrainians." https://www.reddit.com/r/antisemitism/comments/5npnj5/ukrainian_nationalists_stand_behind_desecration/

"Vandals desecrated the Korinovskaya Jewish Cemetery in Kiev. They destroyed two entire sections: 27 and 28. These acts of vandalism are very systematic: every night they destroy one or two headstones. According to the elderly women who look after the place, these vandals are usually drunken youths who come there to wreak destruction. The Zaddik of Chernobyl is buried in this cemetery. These vandals destroyed his gravestone, smearing Satanic Cult symbols on it."

http://antisemitism.org.il/article/58386/ukraine-8211-desecration-jewish-cemetery-kiev

[Nov 28, 2017] The Duplicitous Superpower by Ted Galen Carpenter

Highly recommended!
At some point quantity of duplicity turns into quality. and affect international relations. Economic decline can speed this process up. The US elite has way too easy life since 1991. And that destroyed the tiny patina of self-restraint that it has during Cold War with negative (hugely negative) consequences first of all for the US population. Empire building is a costly project even if it supported by the dominance of neoliberal ideology and technological advances in computers and telecommunication. . The idea of "full spectrum dominance" was a disaster. But the realization of this came too late and at huge cost for the world and for the US population. Russia decimated its own elite twice in the last century. In might be the time for the USA to follow the Russia example and do it once in XXI century. If we thing about Hillary Clinton Jon McCain, Joe Biden, Niki Haley, as member of the US elite it is clear that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark).
Notable quotes:
"... How Washington's chronic deceit -- especially towards Russia -- has sabotaged U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... Unfortunately, North Korean leaders have abundant reasons to be wary of such U.S. enticements. Trump's transparent attempt to renege on Washington's commitment to the deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- which the United States and other major powers signed in 2015 to curb Tehran's nuclear program -- certainly does not increase Pyongyang's incentive to sign a similar agreement. His decision to decertify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, even when the United Nations confirms that Tehran is adhering to its obligations, appears more than a little disingenuous. ..."
"... There seems to be no limit to Washington's desire to crowd Russia. NATO has even added the Baltic republics, which had been part of the Soviet Union itself. In early 2008, President George W. Bush unsuccessfully tried to admit Georgia and Ukraine, which would have engineered yet another alliance move eastward. By that time, Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders were beyond furious. ..."
"... The timing of Bush's attempted ploy could scarcely have been worse. It came on the heels of Russia's resentment at another example of U.S. duplicity. In 1999, Moscow had reluctantly accepted a UN mandate to cover NATO's military intervention against Serbia, a long-standing Russian client. The alliance airstrikes and subsequent moves to detach and occupy Serbia's restless province of Kosovo for the ostensible reason of protecting innocent civilians from atrocities was the same "humanitarian" justification that the West would use subsequently in Libya. ..."
"... Nine years after the initial Kosovo intervention, the United States adopted an evasive policy move, showing utter contempt for Russia's wishes and interests in the process. Kosovo wanted to declare its formal independence from Serbia, but it was clear that such a move would face a certain Russian (and probable Chinese) veto in the UN Security Council. Washington and an ad-hoc coalition of European Union countries brazenly bypassed the Council and approved Pristina's independence declaration. It was an extremely controversial move. Not even all EU members were on board with the policy, since some of them (e.g., Spain) had secessionist problems of their own. ..."
"... Russia's leaders protested vehemently and warned that the West's unauthorized action established a dangerous, destabilizing international precedent. Washington rebuffed their complaints, arguing that the Kosovo situation was unique. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns made that point explicitly in a February 2008 State Department briefing. Both the illogic and the hubris of that position were breathtaking. ..."
"... This -- in the context of the long history of US and EU deceit and duplicity in their dealings with Russia is why Russia is supporting Catalan separatism (e.g. RT en Español's constant attacks on Spain and promotion of the separatists). The US and the EU effectively gave Russia permission to do this back in the 1990s. We set a precedent for their actions in Catalonia -- and, more famously, in Ukraine. ..."
"... One could scarcely ask for a better summary of why the Cold War seems, sadly, to be reheating as well as why Democratic attempts to blame it on Russian meddling are a equally sad evasion of their share of bipartisan responsibility for creating this mess. Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer for, "the courage to change the things I can," is painfully appropriate. ..."
"... "No one forced any eastern European country to join NATO and the EU – decisions that indicate these countries feared a Russian revival after the collapse of the USSR. Russia always believed that these countries were in their near abroad or backyard." ..."
"... Putin is a rationally calculating man. He has made his strategic objectives well known. They are economic. He sees Russia as the great linchpin of the pan-Eurasian One Belt/One Road (OB/OR) initiative proposed by China as well as the AIIB. In that construct, Europe and East Asia are Russia's customers and bilateral trading partners. Military conquest would wreck that vision and Putin knows it. ..."
"... He's been remarkably restrained when egged on by Big Mouth Nikki Haley, Mad Dog Mattis or that other Pentagon nutcase Phillip Breedlove (former Supreme Commander of NATO) who have gone out of their way to demonize Russia. Unfortunately, with those Pentagon hacks whispering in Trump's ear, too much war-mongering is never enough. ..."
"... U.S. foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster. The War Machine Hammer wrecks everything that it touches while sending the befuddled taxpayers the bill. ..."
"... When you meet individual Americans, they are frequently so nice and level-headed that you are perplexed trying to imagine where their leaders come from. And while we're on that subject, America does not actually have a foreign policy, as such. Its foreign policy is to bend every other living soul on the planet to the service of America. ..."
Nov 28, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How Washington's chronic deceit -- especially towards Russia -- has sabotaged U.S. foreign policy.

For any country, the foundation of successful diplomacy is a reputation for credibility and reliability. Governments are wary of concluding agreements with a negotiating partner that violates existing commitments and has a record of duplicity. Recent U.S. administrations have ignored that principle, and their actions have backfired majorly, damaging American foreign policy in the process.

The consequences of previous deceit are most evident in the ongoing effort to achieve a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis. During his recent trip to East Asia, President Trump urged Kim Jong-un's regime to "come to the negotiating table" and "do the right thing" -- relinquish the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Presumably, that concession would lead to a lifting (or at least an easing) of international economic sanctions and a more normal relationship between Pyongyang and the international community.

Unfortunately, North Korean leaders have abundant reasons to be wary of such U.S. enticements. Trump's transparent attempt to renege on Washington's commitment to the deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- which the United States and other major powers signed in 2015 to curb Tehran's nuclear program -- certainly does not increase Pyongyang's incentive to sign a similar agreement. His decision to decertify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, even when the United Nations confirms that Tehran is adhering to its obligations, appears more than a little disingenuous.

North Korea is likely focused on another incident that raises even greater doubts about U.S. credibility. Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi capitulated on the nuclear issue in December of 2003, abandoning his country's nuclear program and reiterating a commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In exchange, the United States and its allies lifted economic sanctions and welcomed Libya back into the community of respectable nations. Barely seven years later, though, Washington and its NATO partners double-crossed Qaddafi, launching airstrikes and cruise missile attacks to assist rebels in their campaign to overthrow the Libyan strongman. North Korea and other powers took notice of Qaddafi's fate, making the already difficult task of getting a de-nuclearization agreement with Pyongyang nearly impossible.

The Libya intervention sullied America's reputation in another way. Washington and its NATO allies prevailed on the UN Security Council to pass a resolution endorsing a military intervention to protect innocent civilians. Russia and China refrained from vetoing that resolution after Washington's assurances that military action would be limited in scope and solely for humanitarian purposes. Once the assault began, it quickly became evident that the resolution was merely a fig leaf for another U.S.-led regime-change war.

Beijing, and especially Moscow, understandably felt duped. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates succinctly described Russia's reaction, both short-term and long-term:

The Russians later firmly believed they had been deceived on Libya. They had been persuaded to abstain at the UN on the grounds that the resolution provided for a humanitarian mission to prevent the slaughter of civilians. Yet as the list of bombing targets steadily grew, it became obvious that very few targets were off-limits, and that NATO was intent on getting rid of Qaddafi. Convinced they had been tricked, the Russians would subsequently block any such future resolutions, including against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The Libya episode was hardly the first time the Russians concluded that U.S. leaders had cynically misled them . Moscow asserts that when East Germany unraveled in 1990, both U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher offered verbal assurances that, if Russia accepted a unified Germany within NATO, the alliance would not expand beyond Germany's eastern border. The official U.S. position that there was nothing in writing affirming such a limitation is correct -- and the clarity, extent, and duration of any verbal commitment to refrain from enlargement are certainly matters of intense controversy . But invoking a "you didn't get it in writing" dodge does not inspire another government's trust.

There seems to be no limit to Washington's desire to crowd Russia. NATO has even added the Baltic republics, which had been part of the Soviet Union itself. In early 2008, President George W. Bush unsuccessfully tried to admit Georgia and Ukraine, which would have engineered yet another alliance move eastward. By that time, Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders were beyond furious.

The timing of Bush's attempted ploy could scarcely have been worse. It came on the heels of Russia's resentment at another example of U.S. duplicity. In 1999, Moscow had reluctantly accepted a UN mandate to cover NATO's military intervention against Serbia, a long-standing Russian client. The alliance airstrikes and subsequent moves to detach and occupy Serbia's restless province of Kosovo for the ostensible reason of protecting innocent civilians from atrocities was the same "humanitarian" justification that the West would use subsequently in Libya.

Nine years after the initial Kosovo intervention, the United States adopted an evasive policy move, showing utter contempt for Russia's wishes and interests in the process. Kosovo wanted to declare its formal independence from Serbia, but it was clear that such a move would face a certain Russian (and probable Chinese) veto in the UN Security Council. Washington and an ad-hoc coalition of European Union countries brazenly bypassed the Council and approved Pristina's independence declaration. It was an extremely controversial move. Not even all EU members were on board with the policy, since some of them (e.g., Spain) had secessionist problems of their own.

Russia's leaders protested vehemently and warned that the West's unauthorized action established a dangerous, destabilizing international precedent. Washington rebuffed their complaints, arguing that the Kosovo situation was unique. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns made that point explicitly in a February 2008 State Department briefing. Both the illogic and the hubris of that position were breathtaking.

It is painful for any American to admit that the United States has acquired a well-deserved reputation for duplicity in its foreign policy. But the evidence for that proposition is quite substantial. Indeed, disingenuous U.S. behavior regarding NATO expansion and the resolution of Kosovo's political status may be the single most important factor for the poisoned bilateral relationship with Moscow. The U.S. track record of duplicity and betrayal is one reason why prospects for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomacy are so bleak.

Actions have consequences, and Washington's reputation for disingenuous behavior has complicated America's own foreign policy objectives. This is a textbook example of a great power shooting itself in the foot.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of 10 books, the contributing editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 700 articles and policy studies on international affairs.

Magdi , says: November 28, 2017 at 5:46 am

you are dead ON! I have been saying this since IRAQ
fiasco (not one Iraqi onboard on 9/11) we should have invaded egypt and saudi arabia. how the foolish american public(sheep) just buys the american propaganda is beyond me.. don't blame the Russians one spittle!!
Herbert Heebert , says: November 28, 2017 at 7:47 am
A few points:

1. I think North Korea might also be looking at the example of Ukraine, and Russia's clear violation of the Budapest Memorandum.

2. It's silly to put so much weight on Baker's verbal assurance re: NATO expansion.

3. I would suggest Mr. Carpenter make a list of Russia's betrayals. But I have the impression he is not interested.

Viriato , says: November 28, 2017 at 9:25 am
Excellent piece. The US really has destroyed its credibility over the years.

This points Ted Galen Carpenter makes in this piece go a long way toward explaining Russia's destabilizing behavior in recent years.

One point in particular jumped out at me:

"Kosovo wanted to declare its formal independence from Serbia, but it was clear that such a move would face a certain Russian (and probable Chinese) veto in the UN Security Council. Washington and an ad-hoc coalition of European Union countries brazenly bypassed the Council and approved Pristina's independence declaration. It was an extremely controversial move. Not even all EU members were on board with the policy, since some of them (e.g., Spain) had secessionist problems of their own. Russia's leaders protested vehemently and warned that the West's unauthorized action established a dangerous, destabilizing international precedent. Washington rebuffed their complaints, arguing that the Kosovo situation was unique."

This -- in the context of the long history of US and EU deceit and duplicity in their dealings with Russia is why Russia is supporting Catalan separatism (e.g. RT en Español's constant attacks on Spain and promotion of the separatists). The US and the EU effectively gave Russia permission to do this back in the 1990s. We set a precedent for their actions in Catalonia -- and, more famously, in Ukraine.

This

craigsummers , says: November 28, 2017 at 10:09 am
Mr. Carpenter

You have made a reasonable case that the US and Europe have not always been reliable, but the expansion of NATO is not one of them. No one forced any eastern European country to join NATO and the EU – decisions that indicate these countries feared a Russian revival after the collapse of the USSR. Russia always believed that these countries were in their near abroad or backyard.

The idea of a "sphere of influence" is a cold war relic which Russia invoked with the Medvedev Doctrine in 2008. This is currently on display in Ukraine. Russia is aggressively denying Ukraine their sovereignty. Who could possibly blame former Soviet Block countries for hightailing it to NATO during a lull in Russian aggression?

DOD , says: November 28, 2017 at 10:23 am
One could scarcely ask for a better summary of why the Cold War seems, sadly, to be reheating as well as why Democratic attempts to blame it on Russian meddling are a equally sad evasion of their share of bipartisan responsibility for creating this mess. Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer for, "the courage to change the things I can," is painfully appropriate.
Michael Kenny , says: November 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm
The whole weakness of the author's argument is a classic American one: very few Americans seem to be able to get their heads around the fact that the Soviet Union ceased to exist 26 years ago! They are still totally locked into their cold war mentality. He thus unquestioningly accepts Putin's pre-1789 "sphere of influence" theory in which there are "superior" and "inferior" races, with only the superior races being entitled to have a sovereign state and the inferior races being forced to submit to being ruled by foreigners. Mr Carpenter really needs to put his cold war mentality aside and come into the 21st century!

Most seriously of all, Mr Carpenter offers no solution for improving relations between the US and Russia. Saying that past US actions were wrong, even if true, says nothing about the present and offers nothing for the future. At best, Mr Carpenter's article is empty moralising.

And the unspoken, but perfectly obvious, subtext, namely that the US should "atone for its sins" by capitulating to Putin, is morally reprehensible and politically unrealistic. Since, by Mr Carpenter's own account, the problem is caused by US wrongdoing, isn't it for the US to put things right (for example, by getting Putin out of Ukraine) and not simply make a mess in someone else's country and then run for home with its tail between its legs? Who gave Americans the right to give away other people's countries?

Will Harrington , says: November 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm
Herbert Heevert

The one problem with your argument if, you are an american as I am, is that Russia is not acting in our names. If the US government, supposedly a government of, by, and for the people breaks its word, then you and I are foresworn oathbreakers as well because the government is (theoretically, at least) acting on OUR authority.

Will Harrington , says: November 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm
Craig Summers

Really?! "Russia always believed that these countries were in their near abroad or backyard."

I think that if you look at a map or a globe, you will find that this is not a belief but a fact. How you could overlook this, I don't know.

"The idea of a "sphere of influence" is a cold war relic "

If you are going to try and use history to influence opinion, it is best to check your facts. This is a very old concept.What do you think the Great Game between Imperial Russia and the British Empire in Central Asia was about? For that matter, what we call the Byzantine Commonwealth was a clearly attempt by the Romaoi to establish a political, cultural, and religious sphere of influence to support the power of the Empire, much as the United States has been doing over the past several decades.

NoldorElf , says: November 28, 2017 at 1:31 pm
You could make the case that Iraq too in 2003 is another reason why the Russians and the North Koreans distrust the US.

At this point, it is fairly certain that the Bush Administration knew that Saddam was not building nuclear weapons of mass destruction, which is what Bush strongly implied in his ramp up to the war.

One other takeaway that the North Koreans mag have from the 2003 Iraq invasion is that the US will lie any way to get what it wants.

Not saying that Russia or North Korea are perfect. Far from it. But the US needs to take a hard look in the mirror.

Jeeves , says: November 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm
What Craigsummers said.

And, Mr. Carpenter, when you have time off from your job as Russian apologist, learn the meaning of "verbal." It's not a synonym for "oral."

SteveM , says: November 28, 2017 at 1:49 pm
Re: craigsummers, "No one forced any eastern European country to join NATO and the EU – decisions that indicate these countries feared a Russian revival after the collapse of the USSR. Russia always believed that these countries were in their near abroad or backyard."

Except both here and abroad, the Global Cop Elites in Washington shape the strategy space through propaganda, fear-mongering and subversion. Moreover, the Eastern European countries are happy to join NATO when it's the American taxpayers who foot a large percentage of the bill.

Standard U.S. MO: create the threat, inflate the threat, send in the War Machine at massive cost to sustain the threat.

Rather than being broadened, NATO should have been ratcheted back after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the U.S. military presence in Europe massively reduced. Then normalized relations between Europe and Russia would have been designed and developed by Europe and Russia. Not the 800 pound Gorilla Global Cop that is good at little more than breaking things. (And perversely, after flushing TRILLIONS of tax dollars down the toilet, duping Americans to wildly applaud the "Warrior-Heroes" for a job well done.)

b. , says: November 28, 2017 at 2:33 pm
The 2008 war between Georgia and Russia was, per observers at the time, in Russian word and thought directly linked to the Balkan 's precedent.

The subtext here – of nation states, sovereignty, separatism and secessionist movements – is even more relevant with respect to US-China relationships. Since WW2 and that brief, transient monopoly on nuclear weapons, US foreign policy has eroded the Peace of Westphalia while attempting to erect an "international order" of convenience on top if it.

Both China and Russia know that nothing will stop the expansionism of US "national interests". In response to the doctrinal aspirations of the Soviets, the US has committed itself to an ideology that is just a greedy and relentless. In retrospect, it is hard to tell how many decades ago the Cold War stopped being about opposition to Soviet ideology, and instead became about "projecting" – in every sense of the word – an equally globalist US ideology.

We are the redcoats now. Now wonder the neocons and neolibs are shouting "Russia!" at every opportunity.

Janek , says: November 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm
I am amazed how many masochistic conservatives are in USA conservative circles especially in the CATO institute. Mr. T. G. Carpenter, as is clear from not only this and other articles, is a staunch defender of Yalta and proponent of Yalta 2 after the Cold War ended. As far as I remember Libya was the hatchet job of the Europeans especially the French and British. B. Obama at first didn't want to attack Libya but gave in after lobbying by the French, British and the neoliberal/neo-conservative lobby and supporters of the Arab Spring in the USA. America lost credibility after and only since the conservatives neoliberals and neocons manipulated USA and the West's foreign politics for thirty plus years. USA is still a democratic country so it is easy to blame everything on the US. In today's Putin's Russia similar critics of the Russian politics wouldn't be so "easy".

The Central Europe doesn't want Russia's sphere of influence precisely because of centuries of Russian occupation and atrocities in there especially after WW2, brutal and bloody invasion of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Cuban Crisis, Afghanistan, Chechnya etc. Now you have infiltration by Russia of the American electoral process and political system and some conservatives still can't connect the dots and see what is going on. I wonder why the western conservatives and US in particular are such great supporters of Russia. If Russia should be allowed to keep her sphere of influence after the Cold War then what was the reason to fight the Cold War in the first place. Wouldn't it be easier to surrender to Russia right after WW2.

SteveM , says: November 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm
One other observation about Russia that should be made but isn't is that the Russia-phobes can't point to an actual motive for Russian military aggression. There is no "Putin Plan" for conquest and domination by Russia like in Das Kapital or Hitler's Mein Kampf . What strategic value would Russia see from overrunning Poland and then having to perpetually suppress 35 million resistors? Or retaking the Baltic states that have only minority ethnic Russian populations?

Putin is a rationally calculating man. He has made his strategic objectives well known. They are economic. He sees Russia as the great linchpin of the pan-Eurasian One Belt/One Road (OB/OR) initiative proposed by China as well as the AIIB. In that construct, Europe and East Asia are Russia's customers and bilateral trading partners. Military conquest would wreck that vision and Putin knows it.

In the gangster movies, a mob boss often says that he hates bloodshed because it's bad for business. That's Putin. He's been remarkably restrained when egged on by Big Mouth Nikki Haley, Mad Dog Mattis or that other Pentagon nutcase Phillip Breedlove (former Supreme Commander of NATO) who have gone out of their way to demonize Russia. Unfortunately, with those Pentagon hacks whispering in Trump's ear, too much war-mongering is never enough.

U.S. foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster. The War Machine Hammer wrecks everything that it touches while sending the befuddled taxpayers the bill.

Mark , says: November 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm
"And, Mr. Carpenter, when you have time off from your job as Russian apologist, learn the meaning of "verbal." It's not a synonym for "oral."

I imagine you thought you were being funny; and you were, just not in the way you foresaw. In fact, verbal is a synonym for oral; to wit, "spoken rather than written; oral. "a verbal agreement". Synonyms: oral, spoken, stated, said, verbalized, expressed."

Of course anyone who attempts to portray the United States as duplicitous and sneaky (those are synonyms!)is immediately branded a "Russian apologist". As if there are certain countries which automatically have no rights, and can be assumed to be lying every time they speak. Except they're not, and the verbal agreement that NATO would not advance further east in exchange for Russian cooperation has been acknowledged by western principals who were present.

As SteveM implies, NATO's reason for being evaporated with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and was dead as a dodo with the breakup of the Soviet Union. Everything since has been a rationalization for keeping it going, including regular demonizations of imaginary enemies until they become real enemies. You can't just 'join NATO' because it's the in-crowd, you know. No, there are actually criteria, one of which is the premise that your acceptance materially enhances the security of the alliance. Pretty comical imagining Montenegro in that context, isn't it?

When you meet individual Americans, they are frequently so nice and level-headed that you are perplexed trying to imagine where their leaders come from. And while we're on that subject, America does not actually have a foreign policy, as such. Its foreign policy is to bend every other living soul on the planet to the service of America.

[Nov 18, 2017] How Americas Deep State Operates To Control The Message by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... The recent exchanges over the Russia-US relationship exhibit perfectly how the Deep State operates to control the message. ..."
"... Beyond twisting narratives, Russiagate is also producing potentially dangerous collateral damage to free speech, as one of the objectives of those in the Deep State is to rein in the current internet driven relatively free access to information. In its most recent manifestations, an anonymous group produced a phony list of 200 websites that were "guilty" of serving up Russian propaganda, a George Soros funded think tank identified thousands of individuals who are alleged to be "useful idiots" for Moscow, and legitimate Russian media outlets will be required to register as foreign agents. ..."
"... Hegemonic Empire always attacks those nations who are perceived to be weaker than the Empire. ..."
"... Never in my long life have I ever seen such twistedness in the mainstream media. In the days of Nixon and Watergate, there was a media agenda. But it was based in truth. This crap we get now is complete Deep State party line. ..."
"... I wonder if there ever was a time in history where the media in a country was so full of fabrication and propaganda. If there was, I would be interested in hearing how they had a downfall. It seems the media in this country can be so completely covered in deceit and lies and false claims, yet somehow not be accountable for it. ..."
"... The whole Russiagate bullshite has once again destroyed the credibility of the intel agencies and the media. Really old idiots are in charge of these things. ..."
Nov 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation

It is not possible to overstate the power of certain constituencies and corporate lobbies in the United States.

These pressure groups, joined by powerful government agencies, many of which have secret agendas that focus on national security, constitute what is increasingly being recognized as "Deep State America." Deep State is the widespread belief that there exists in many countries an entrenched and largely hidden infrastructure that really controls the national narrative and runs things. It explains why, for example, a country like the United States is perpetually at war even though the wars have been disastrous failures ever since Korea and have not made the nation more secure.

To be sure, certain constituencies have benefitted from global instability and conflict, to include defense industries, big government in general, and the national security state . They all work together and hand-in-hand with the corporate media to sustain the narrative that the United States is perpetually under threat, even though it is not.

The recent exchanges over the Russia-US relationship exhibit perfectly how the Deep State operates to control the message. American President Donald Trump briefly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. Putin reportedly told Trump that Russia "absolutely had not meddled" in the 2016 US election and Trump then told reporters that he believed the Russian leader meant what he said, "which is good." As détente with Russia is not considered desirable by the Deep State, there was an immediate explosion of a contrary narrative, namely that Trump believes a Russian "enemy" and does not trust what his own intelligence agencies have told him about 2016 because he is being "played" by Putin.

This story was repeated both on television news and in all the mainstream newspapers without exception, eventually forcing Trump to recant and say that he does believe in US intelligence.

Not a single major media outlet in the US reported that it just might be possible that Putin was telling the truth and that the intelligence community, which has been wrong many times over the past twenty years, might have to look again at what it considers to be evidence. No journalist had the courage to point out that the claims of the Washington national security team have been remarkably devoid of anything credible to support the conclusions about what the Russian government might or might not have been up to. That is what a good journalist is supposed to do and it has nothing to do with whether or not one admires or loathes either Putin or Trump.

That the relationship between Moscow and Washington should be regarded as important given the capability of either country to incinerate the planet would appear to be a given, but the Washington-New York Establishment, which is euphemism for Deep State, is actually more concerned with maintaining its own power by marginalizing Donald Trump and maintaining the perception that Vladimir Putin is the enemy head of state of a Russia that is out to cripple American democracy.

Beyond twisting narratives, Russiagate is also producing potentially dangerous collateral damage to free speech, as one of the objectives of those in the Deep State is to rein in the current internet driven relatively free access to information. In its most recent manifestations, an anonymous group produced a phony list of 200 websites that were "guilty" of serving up Russian propaganda, a George Soros funded think tank identified thousands of individuals who are alleged to be "useful idiots" for Moscow, and legitimate Russian media outlets will be required to register as foreign agents.

Driven by Russophobia over the 2016 election, a group of leading social media corporations including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have been experimenting with ways to self-censor their product to keep out foreign generated or "hate" content.

They even have a label for it: "cyberhate" . Congress is also toying with legislation that will make certain viewpoints unacceptable or even illegal, including a so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act that would potentially penalize anyone who criticizes Israel and could serve as a model for banning other undesirable speech. "Defamatory speech" could even eventually include any criticism of the government or political leaders, as is now the case in Turkey, which is the country where the "Deep State" was invented.

serotonindumptruck , Nov 17, 2017 8:14 PM

Fear is the order of the day. Be very, very afraid of that militarily-weak nation on the other side of the world, who poses no legitimate and imminent threat to the US. Hegemonic Empire always attacks those nations who are perceived to be weaker than the Empire. It represents the death knell of Empire, and is typically the final stage of economic and political collapse.

Publicus_Reanimated , Nov 17, 2017 9:07 PM

Howard Beale: "We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion. So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!"

-- Network

If you are too young to have heard of this movie, now you know.

Cherubim , Nov 17, 2017 9:53 PM

Never in my long life have I ever seen such twistedness in the mainstream media. In the days of Nixon and Watergate, there was a media agenda. But it was based in truth. This crap we get now is complete Deep State party line.

I wonder if there ever was a time in history where the media in a country was so full of fabrication and propaganda. If there was, I would be interested in hearing how they had a downfall. It seems the media in this country can be so completely covered in deceit and lies and false claims, yet somehow not be accountable for it.

The only thing in history that I know that would compare to this is the Pravda in the old Soviet days of Brezhnev. And I'm not sure how that came finally tumbling down.

wide angle tree , Nov 17, 2017 9:55 PM

The whole Russiagate bullshite has once again destroyed the credibility of the intel agencies and the media. Really old idiots are in charge of these things.

[Nov 16, 2017] McCarthyism Redux: Attacks on the Russian Media by John Wight

Notable quotes:
"... In 2017 we are witnessing the rebirth of McCarthyism across the West in response to Russia's recovery from the demise of the Soviet Union and the failed attempt to turn the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington via the imposition of free market economic shock treatment thereafter. ..."
Nov 16, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

In 2017 we are witnessing the rebirth of McCarthyism across the West in response to Russia's recovery from the demise of the Soviet Union and the failed attempt to turn the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington via the imposition of free market economic shock treatment thereafter.

In the process critical thinking and reason has been sacrificed on the altar of Pavlovian conditioning and unreason, resulting in the embrace of hysterical Russophobic nostrums by a liberal political and media class for whom Russia can only ever exist as a vanquished foe or a foe that needs to be vanquished. More

[Nov 08, 2017] The Plot to Scapegoat Russia How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin by Dan Kovalik

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Kovalik's historical excursion takes in the Soviet Union. Clearly, many of the U. S. military interventions described in this valuable book wouldn't have occurred if the Soviet Union still existed. Beyond that, Kovalik says, "the Soviet Union, did wield sizable political and ideological influence in the world for some time, due to the appeal of its socialist message as well as its critical role in winning [World War] II." ..."
"... Ultimately, Kovalik sides with Martin Luther King, who remarked that, 'The US is on the wrong side of the world-wide revolution' – and with Daniel Ellsberg's clarification: 'The US is not on the wrong side; it is the wrong side.'" ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Review " A powerful contradiction to the present US narrative of the world . . . As shown here, fake news is thriving in Washington, DC."-- Oliver Stone , Academy Award winning director and screenwriter

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia is a beautifully written, uncommonly coherent, and very compelling treatise on the issues facing America today... a troubling indictment of where we've been and where we're headed. Moreover, this book is profoundly important , and a timely retrospective review of American foreign policy misadventures since the advent of the Cold War." -- Phillip F. Nelson , author of LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination and LBJ: From Mastermind to "The Colossus"

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia underscores how the CIA's infiltration and shaping of the media, which began in the 1950s, successfully continues today. A very worthwhile account for anyone who wants to understand how 'reality' is manufactured, while 'real truth' is murdered and buried." -- Peter Janney , author of Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace

"At a time when the U.S. military budget is again soaring to enrich the oligarchs, this timely and thought-provoking book turns Orwellian 'double-think' on its head in a cogent analysis of what's really behind all the saber-rattling against Russia. In a scholarly but also deeply personal and fluidly written work , Dan Kovalik pulls no punches in dissecting the history of how America has justified its own imperialistic aims through the Cold War era and right up to the current anti-Putin hysteria." -- Dick Russell , New York Times bestselling author of Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying Life on Earth and What It Means to Our Children

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia confronts the timeliest of subjects, the effort to resuscitate the Cold War by blaming Russian president Vladimir Putin for interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign on behalf of Donald Trump, an effort pursued by CIA and the Democratic Party working in tandem. Kovalik establishes... that not a scintilla of evidence has emerged to grant credibility to this self-serving fantasy... [and he] deftly eviscerates the mainstream press . Reading [this book] will be salutary, illuminating and more than instructive ." -- Joan Mellen , author of Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas

William T. Whitney Jr on May 28, 2017

Review of "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia"

Beating up on Russia; history tells why
By William T. Whitney Jr. .

Lawyer and human rights activist Dan Kovalik has written a valuable book. He looked at a recent U. S. political development in terms of history and then skewered it. His new book, "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia," looks at mounting assaults against Russia that increased during the Obama administration and that spokespersons for the Democratic Party, among others, are promoting.

The CIA, he claims, without going into specifics, is engaged in anti-Russian activities. For Kovalik, "the CIA is a nefarious, criminal organization which often misleads the American public and government into wars and misadventures."

Kovalik devotes much of his book to what he regards as precedents for the current dark turn in U.S. – Russian relations. Toward that end, he surveys the history of U.S. foreign interventions since World War II. He confirms that the United States government is indeed habituated to aggressive adventurism abroad. That's something many readers already know, but Kovalik contributes significantly by establishing that U.S. hostility against Russia ranks as a chapter in that long story.

But what's the motivation for military assaults and destabilizing projects? And, generally, why all the wars? The author's historical survey provides answers. He finds that the scenarios he describes are connected. Treating them as a whole, he gives them weight and thus provides an intellectual weapon for the anti-imperialist cause. Kovalik, putting history to work, moves from the issue of U.S.-Russian antagonism to the more over-arching problem of threats to human survival. That's his major contribution.

His highly-recommended book offers facts and analyses so encompassing as to belie its small size. The writing is clear, evocative, and eminently readable; his narrative is that of a story – teller. Along the way, as a side benefit, Kovalik recalls the causes and outrage that fired up activists who were his contemporaries.

He testifies to a new Cold War. Doing so, he argues that the anti-communist rational for the earlier Cold War was a cover for something else, a pretext. In his words: "the Cold War, at least from the vantage point of the US, had little to do with fighting 'Communism,' and more to do with making the world safe for corporate plunder." Once more Russia is an enemy of the United States, but now it's a capitalist country.

That's mysterious; explanation is in order. Readers, however, may be hungry to know about the "plot" advertised in the book's title. We recommend patience. History and its recurring patterns come first for this author. They enable him to account for U. S. – Russian relations that are contradictory and, most importantly, for the U.S. propensity for war-making. After that he tells about a plot.

Kovalik describes how, very early, reports of CIA machinations from former agents of the spy organization expanded his political awareness, as did a trip to Nicaragua. There he gained first-hand knowledge of CIA atrocities, of deaths and destruction at the hands of the Contras, anti- Sandinista paramilitaries backed by the CIA His book goes on fully and dramatically to describe murders and chaos orchestrated by the United States and/or the CIA in El Salvador, Colombia, and in the South America of Operation Condor. Kovalic discusses the U.S. war in Vietnam, occupation and war in Korea, nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, nuclear testing and dying in the Marshall Islands, and the CIA's recruitment of the anti-Soviet Mujahedeen in Afghan¬istan. He recounts U. S. - instigated coups in Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1954; and Chile, 1973.

These projects were about keeping "the world safe from the threat of Soviet totalitarianism" – in other words, anti-communism. But then the USSR disappeared, and the search was on for a new pretext. The Clinton administration evoked "humanitarian intervention," and continued the intrusions: in Ruanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (on behalf of "US mining interests"), Yugoslavia, and Libya.

In Kovalik's telling, the U. S. government eventually settled upon the notion of "American exceptionalism," that is to say, "the belief that the US is a uniquely benign actor in the world, spreading peace and democracy." Thus armed, the U. S. military exported terror to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen (via its Saudi Arabian proxy), and Honduras, through a U. S. facilitated military coup. The book catalogues other episodes, other places. Along the way on his excursion, Kovalik contrasts U. S. pretensions and brutal deeds with the relatively benign nature of alleged Russian outrages.

Good relations with Russia, he says, would be "simply bad for business, in particular the business of war which so profoundly undergirds the US economy As of 2015, the US had at least 800 military bases in over 70 nations, while Britain, France and Russia had only 30 military bases combined." And, "under Obama alone, the US had Special Forces deployed in about 138 countries." Further, "The US's outsized military exists not only to ensure the US's quite unjust share of the world's riches, but also to ensure that those riches are not shared with the poor huddled masses in this country."

Kovalik highlights the disaster that overwhelmed Russia as a fledgling capitalist nation: life expectancy plummeted, the poverty rate was 75 percent, and investments fell by 80 percent. National pride was in the cellar, the more so after the United States backed away from Secretary of State Baker's 1991 promise that NATO would never move east, after the United States attacked Russia's ally Serbia, and after the United States, rejecting Russian priorities, attacked Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

The author rebuts U. S. claims that Russian democracy has failed and that Putin over-reached in Ukraine. He praises Putin's attempts to cooperate with the United States in Syria. The United States has abused peoples the world over, he insists, and suffers from a "severe democracy deficit."

By the time he is discussing current U. S. – Russian relations, readers have been primed never to expect U.S. imperialism to give Russia a break. The author's instructional course has taken effect, or should have done so. If readers aren't aware of what the U. S. government has been up to, the author is not to blame.

Kovalik condemns the Obama administration and particularly Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for intensifying the U. S. campaign against Russia. He extends his criticism to the Democratic Party and the media. The theme of anti – Russian scheming by the CIA comes up briefly in the book in connection with hacking attributed to Russia and with WikiLeaks revelations about the Democratic Party. Nothing is said about possible interaction between personnel of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Kovalik's historical excursion takes in the Soviet Union. Clearly, many of the U. S. military interventions described in this valuable book wouldn't have occurred if the Soviet Union still existed. Beyond that, Kovalik says, "the Soviet Union, did wield sizable political and ideological influence in the world for some time, due to the appeal of its socialist message as well as its critical role in winning [World War] II."

Kovalik acknowledges "periods of great repression." He adds, however, that "the Russian Revolution and the USSR delivered on many of their promises, and against great odds. . In any case, the goals of the Russian Revolution-equality, worker control of the economy, universal health care and social security- were laudable ones." And, "One of the reasons that the West continues to dance on the grave of the Soviet Union, and to emphasize the worst parts of that society and downplay its achievements, is to make sure that, as the world-wide economy worsens, and as the suffering of work¬ing people around the world deepens, they don't get any notions in their head to organize some new socialist revolution with such ideals."

Ultimately, Kovalik sides with Martin Luther King, who remarked that, 'The US is on the wrong side of the world-wide revolution' – and with Daniel Ellsberg's clarification: 'The US is not on the wrong side; it is the wrong side.'"

Drew Hunkins on May 30, 2017

Dissects the dangerous nonsense

The most important non-fiction work thus far of 2017 is upon us. Finally the book has arrived that cuts through all the hype, deceit, misinformation and disconcerting groupthink.

Kovalik structures TPTSR by starting at the most logical place -- the history of unilateral Washington aggression across the globe, from the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran through the Washington intell agencies' orchestrated coups and proxy wars in Latin America.

This exposition of historical Washington empire building provides a solid foundation when he ultimately addresses why the predatory military-industrial-media-complex is incessantly fomenting this dangerous contemporary Russophobic campaign. The book nails it by presenting in a crystal clear manner the two exact reasons why the demonization of Moscow never seems to subside: 1.) The corporate and Washington military empire builders are deeply threatened by the potential loss of certain markets and a sovereign Russia that desires a say over the diplomatic and military maneuvers on its borders, especially its Western region. 2.) Most importantly, the MIC/national-security state absolutely MUST HAVE a villain (real or imagined, it doesn't matter) in order to justify the trillion dollar budget and careerism that seeps into every pore of the U.S. politico-economic system. This Pentagon system of pseudo economic Keynesianism could potentially lead to nuclear war. The giant house of cards could doom us all.

D. Gordon on June 1, 2017

This book is an amazing contribution. A veritable primer on U

This book is an amazing contribution. A veritable primer on U.S. foreign policy, this book is part memoir, part history, and part analysis of current events. Kovalik makes a compelling case that U.S. policies--not Russia--are the biggest danger to world peace and human rights. The book traces Kovalik's own awakening and transformation from his conservative religious-minded youth to one of our most trenchant critics of U.S. foreign policy writing today. And he does it in his own inimitable, witty, readable, and humane style.

[Nov 08, 2017] Can Putin Survive by George Friedman

It is interesting to access George Friedman after two and half years since it was made. Looks like he is a bad forcaster.
The Us plot to move Ukraine to the "Baltic states model" was the major geopolitical victory of the Obama administration. and the EU has similar goals, so we can talk about joint invasion into traditional Russian geopolitical space by the USA and EU.
Notable quotes:
"... This week, we revisit a Geopolitical Weekly first published in July 2014 that explored whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could hold on to power despite his miscalculations in Ukraine, a topic that returned to prominence with his recent temporary absence from public view . While Putin has since reappeared, the issues highlighted by his disappearing act persist. ..."
"... Ukraine is, of course, the place to start. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West and as a route for delivering energy to Europe, which is the foundation of the Russian economy. ..."
"... Part of the reason Putin had replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 was Yeltsin's performance during the Kosovo war. Russia was allied with the Serbs and had not wanted NATO to launch a war against Serbia. Russian wishes were disregarded. The Russian views simply didn't matter to the West. Still, when the air war failed to force Belgrade's capitulation, the Russians negotiated a settlement that allowed U.S. and other NATO troops to enter and administer Kosovo. As part of that settlement, Russian troops were promised a significant part in peacekeeping in Kosovo. But the Russians were never allowed to take up that role, and Yeltsin proved unable to respond to the insult. ..."
"... Putin also replaced Yeltsin because of the disastrous state of the Russian economy. Though Russia had always been poor, there was a pervasive sense that it been a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. Under Yeltsin, however, Russia had become even poorer and was now held in contempt in international affairs. Putin had to deal with both issues. ..."
"... The breaking point came in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution of 2004. Yanukovich was elected president that year under dubious circumstances, but demonstrators forced him to submit to a second election. He lost, and a pro-Western government took office. At that time, Putin accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of having organized the demonstrations. Fairly publicly, this was the point when Putin became convinced that the West intended to destroy the Russian Federation, sending it the way of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The Ukrainian crisis has made things worse. Capital flight from Russia in the first six months stood at $76 billion, compared to $63 billion for all of 2013. Foreign direct investment fell 50 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. And all this happened in spite of oil prices remaining higher than $100 per barrel. ..."
"... The Politburo model is designed for a leader to build coalitions among factions. Putin has been very good at doing that, but then he has been very successful at all the things he has done until now. His ability to hold things together declines as trust in his abilities declines and various factions concerned about the consequences of remaining closely tied to a failing leader start to maneuver. Like Khrushchev, who was failing in economic and foreign policy, Putin could have his colleagues remove him. ..."
"... Ultimately, politicians who miscalculate and mismanage tend not to survive. Putin miscalculated in Ukraine, failing to anticipate the fall of an ally, failing to respond effectively and then stumbling badly in trying to recoup. His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least. He has colleagues who believe they could do a better job, and now there are important people in Europe who would be glad to see him go. He must reverse this tide rapidly, or he may be replaced. ..."
Mar 24, 2015 | Stratfor
Editor's Note: This week, we revisit a Geopolitical Weekly first published in July 2014 that explored whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could hold on to power despite his miscalculations in Ukraine, a topic that returned to prominence with his recent temporary absence from public view. While Putin has since reappeared, the issues highlighted by his disappearing act persist.

There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the context of recent events.

Ukraine and the Bid to Reverse Russia's Decline

Ukraine is, of course, the place to start. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West and as a route for delivering energy to Europe, which is the foundation of the Russian economy. On Jan. 1, Ukraine's president was Viktor Yanukovich, generally regarded as favorably inclined to Russia. Given the complexity of Ukrainian society and politics, it would be unreasonable to say Ukraine under him was merely a Russian puppet. But it is fair to say that under Yanukovich and his supporters, fundamental Russian interests in Ukraine were secure.

This was extremely important to Putin. Part of the reason Putin had replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 was Yeltsin's performance during the Kosovo war. Russia was allied with the Serbs and had not wanted NATO to launch a war against Serbia. Russian wishes were disregarded. The Russian views simply didn't matter to the West. Still, when the air war failed to force Belgrade's capitulation, the Russians negotiated a settlement that allowed U.S. and other NATO troops to enter and administer Kosovo. As part of that settlement, Russian troops were promised a significant part in peacekeeping in Kosovo. But the Russians were never allowed to take up that role, and Yeltsin proved unable to respond to the insult.

Putin also replaced Yeltsin because of the disastrous state of the Russian economy. Though Russia had always been poor, there was a pervasive sense that it been a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. Under Yeltsin, however, Russia had become even poorer and was now held in contempt in international affairs. Putin had to deal with both issues. He took a long time before moving to recreate Russian power, though he said early on that the fall of the Soviet Union had been the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. This did not mean he wanted to resurrect the Soviet Union in its failed form, but rather that he wanted Russian power to be taken seriously again, and he wanted to protect and enhance Russian national interests.

The breaking point came in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution of 2004. Yanukovich was elected president that year under dubious circumstances, but demonstrators forced him to submit to a second election. He lost, and a pro-Western government took office. At that time, Putin accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of having organized the demonstrations. Fairly publicly, this was the point when Putin became convinced that the West intended to destroy the Russian Federation, sending it the way of the Soviet Union. For him, Ukraine's importance to Russia was self-evident. He therefore believed that the CIA organized the demonstration to put Russia in a dangerous position, and that the only reason for this was the overarching desire to cripple or destroy Russia. Following the Kosovo affair, Putin publicly moved from suspicion to hostility to the West.

The Russians worked from 2004 to 2010 to undo the Orange Revolution. They worked to rebuild the Russian military, focus their intelligence apparatus and use whatever economic influence they had to reshape their relationship with Ukraine. If they couldn't control Ukraine, they did not want it to be controlled by the United States and Europe. This was, of course, not their only international interest, but it was the pivotal one.

Russia's invasion of Georgia had more to do with Ukraine than it had to do with the Caucasus. At the time, the United States was still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Washington had no formal obligation to Georgia, there were close ties and implicit guarantees. The invasion of Georgia was designed to do two things. The first was to show the region that the Russian military, which had been in shambles in 2000, was able to act decisively in 2008. The second was to demonstrate to the region, and particularly to Kiev, that American guarantees, explicit or implicit, had no value. In 2010, Yanukovich was elected president of Ukraine, reversing the Orange Revolution and limiting Western influence in the country.

Recognizing the rift that was developing with Russia and the general trend against the United States in the region, the Obama administration tried to recreate older models of relationships when Hillary Clinton presented Putin with a "reset" button in 2009. But Washington wanted to restore the relationship in place during what Putin regarded as the "bad old days." He naturally had no interest in such a reset. Instead, he saw the United States as having adopted a defensive posture, and he intended to exploit his advantage.

One place he did so was in Europe, using EU dependence on Russian energy to grow closer to the Continent, particularly Germany. But his high point came during the Syrian affair, when the Obama administration threatened airstrikes after Damascus used chemical weapons only to back off from its threat. The Russians aggressively opposed Obama's move, proposing a process of negotiations instead. The Russians emerged from the crisis appearing decisive and capable, the United States indecisive and feckless. Russian power accordingly appeared on the rise, and in spite of a weakening economy, this boosted Putin's standing.

The Tide Turns Against Putin

Events in Ukraine this year, by contrast, have proved devastating to Putin. In January, Russia dominated Ukraine. By February, Yanukovich had fled the country and a pro-Western government had taken power. The general uprising against Kiev that Putin had been expecting in eastern Ukraine after Yanukovich's ouster never happened. Meanwhile, the Kiev government, with Western advisers, implanted itself more firmly. By July, the Russians controlled only small parts of Ukraine. These included Crimea, where the Russians had always held overwhelming military force by virtue of treaty, and a triangle of territory from Donetsk to Luhansk to Severodonetsk, where a small number of insurgents apparently supported by Russian special operations forces controlled a dozen or so towns.

If no Ukrainian uprising occurred, Putin's strategy was to allow the government in Kiev to unravel of its own accord and to split the United States from Europe by exploiting Russia's strong trade and energy ties with the Continent. And this is where the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet is crucial. If it turns out - as appears to be the case - that Russia supplied air defense systems to the separatists and sent crews to man them (since operating those systems requires extensive training), Russia could be held responsible for shooting down the plane. And this means Moscow's ability to divide the Europeans from the Americans would decline. Putin then moves from being an effective, sophisticated ruler who ruthlessly uses power to being a dangerous incompetent supporting a hopeless insurrection with wholly inappropriate weapons. And the West, no matter how opposed some countries might be to a split with Putin, must come to grips with how effective and rational he really is.

Meanwhile, Putin must consider the fate of his predecessors. Nikita Khrushchev returned from vacation in October 1964 to find himself replaced by his protege, Leonid Brezhnev, and facing charges of, among other things, "harebrained scheming." Khrushchev had recently been humiliated in the Cuban missile crisis. This plus his failure to move the economy forward after about a decade in power saw his closest colleagues "retire" him. A massive setback in foreign affairs and economic failures had resulted in an apparently unassailable figure being deposed.

Russia's economic situation is nowhere near as catastrophic as it was under Khrushchev or Yeltsin, but it has deteriorated substantially recently, and perhaps more important, has failed to meet expectations. After recovering from the 2008 crisis, Russia has seen several years of declining gross domestic product growth rates, and its central bank is forecasting zero growth this year. Given current pressures, we would guess the Russian economy will slide into recession sometime in 2014. The debt levels of regional governments have doubled in the past four years, and several regions are close to bankruptcy. Moreover, some metals and mining firms are facing bankruptcy. The Ukrainian crisis has made things worse. Capital flight from Russia in the first six months stood at $76 billion, compared to $63 billion for all of 2013. Foreign direct investment fell 50 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. And all this happened in spite of oil prices remaining higher than $100 per barrel.

Putin's popularity at home soared after the successful Sochi Winter Olympics and after the Western media made him look like the aggressor in Crimea. He has, after all, built his reputation on being tough and aggressive. But as the reality of the situation in Ukraine becomes more obvious, the great victory will be seen as covering a retreat coming at a time of serious economic problems. For many leaders, the events in Ukraine would not represent such an immense challenge. But Putin has built his image on a tough foreign policy, and the economy meant his ratings were not very high before Ukraine.

Imagining Russia After Putin

In the sort of regime that Putin has helped craft, the democratic process may not be the key to understanding what will happen next. Putin has restored Soviet elements to the structure of the government, even using the term "Politburo" for his inner Cabinets. These are all men of his choosing, of course, and so one might assume they would be loyal to him. But in the Soviet-style Politburo, close colleagues were frequently the most feared.

The Politburo model is designed for a leader to build coalitions among factions. Putin has been very good at doing that, but then he has been very successful at all the things he has done until now. His ability to hold things together declines as trust in his abilities declines and various factions concerned about the consequences of remaining closely tied to a failing leader start to maneuver. Like Khrushchev, who was failing in economic and foreign policy, Putin could have his colleagues remove him.

It is difficult to know how a succession crisis would play out, given that the constitutional process of succession exists alongside the informal government Putin has created. From a democratic standpoint, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin are as popular as Putin is, and I suspect they both will become more popular in time. In a Soviet-style struggle, Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov and Security Council Chief Nicolai Patryushev would be possible contenders. But there are others. Who, after all, expected the emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev?

Ultimately, politicians who miscalculate and mismanage tend not to survive. Putin miscalculated in Ukraine, failing to anticipate the fall of an ally, failing to respond effectively and then stumbling badly in trying to recoup. His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least. He has colleagues who believe they could do a better job, and now there are important people in Europe who would be glad to see him go. He must reverse this tide rapidly, or he may be replaced.

Putin is far from finished. But he has governed for 14 years counting the time Dmitri Medvedev was officially in charge, and that is a long time. He may well regain his footing, but as things stand at the moment, I would expect quiet thoughts to be stirring in his colleagues' minds. Putin himself must be re-examining his options daily. Retreating in the face of the West and accepting the status quo in Ukraine would be difficult, given that the Kosovo issue that helped propel him to power and given what he has said about Ukraine over the years. But the current situation cannot sustain itself. The wild card in this situation is that if Putin finds himself in serious political trouble, he might become more rather than less aggressive. Whether Putin is in real trouble is not something I can be certain of, but too many things have gone wrong for him lately for me not to consider the possibility. And as in any political crisis, more and more extreme options are contemplated if the situation deteriorates.

Those who think that Putin is both the most repressive and aggressive Russian leader imaginable should bear in mind that this is far from the case. Lenin, for example, was fearsome. But Stalin was much worse. There may similarly come a time when the world looks at the Putin era as a time of liberality. For if the struggle by Putin to survive, and by his challengers to displace him, becomes more intense, the willingness of all to become more brutal might well increase.

[Nov 08, 2017] More 'Fake News,' Alas, From the New York Times The American Conservative by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... Third, Manafort's efforts mattered bigly. In 2010, he helped Victor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine. An unquestionably nasty piece of work, Yanukovych was, according to Farkas, "Putin's man in Kiev." Yet like it or not, he came to power as the result of democratic election. In 2013, Yanukovych opted against joining the EU, which along with NATO, had, in Farkas's words, "experienced a burst of membership expansion" right up to Russia's own borders. ..."
"... In response to Yanukovych's action, "the Ukrainian people," that is, the enlightened ones, "took to the streets," forcing him to flee the country. Rather than bowing to the expressed will of the people, however, Russia's Vladimir Putin "instigated a separatist movement" in eastern Ukraine, thereby triggering "a war between Russia and Ukraine that continues to this day." ..."
"... To accept Farkas's account as truthful, one would necessarily conclude that as Manafort was hijacking history, the United States remained quietly on the sidelines, an innocent bystander sending prayers heavenward in hopes that freedom and democracy might everywhere prevail ..."
"... Furthermore, Russia was not alone in its meddling. The United States has been equally guilty. When "the Ukrainian people took to the streets," as Farkas puts it, the State Department and CIA were behind the scenes vigorously pulling strings. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland believed it was incumbent upon the United States to decide who should govern Ukraine. ("Yats is the guy," she said on a leaked call). Nuland would brook no interference from allies slow to follow Washington's lead. ("F–k the EU," she told the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.) ..."
"... That Ukraine is, as Farkas correctly states, a torn country, did not give Nuland pause. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have assigned to themselves a magical ability to repair such tears and to make broken countries whole. The results of their labors are amply on display everywhere from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now add Ukraine to that sorry list. ..."
"... Even so, can't we at least assume Nuland's motives were morally superior to Putin's? After all, President Putin is clearly a thug whereas Nuland is an estimable product of the American foreign policy establishment. She's married to Robert Kagan, for heaven's sake. ..."
"... This is why we should disband politically oriented NGO's. In essence, a country is only a democracy if it is pro-U.S. Resistance is futile. Meddling at this level will only bring about more conflict, instability and military obligations will follow. It is good to be king but it is also quite expensive and ultimately ruinous. ..."
"... Imperialism rules other peoples against their will, necessitating for its survival the lessening of democratic accountability at home, too, since it lessens the importance of citizens' own concerns, also requiring for its warmaking security keeping voters in the dark. ..."
"... Make that, More 'Fake News,' Of Course From the New York Times. Saturated with Fake News of various manifestations, the NY Times and its rancid analog Washington Post on the other end of the Crony-Elite NY-DC axis are unreadable. ..."
"... Given a ham-fisted EU run by Elite hacks in Brussels that is white washing Europe's Christian legacy, mandating overbearing economic and social controls and absorbing millions of net negative migrants, the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Balts seem to be having second thoughts. BTW, The Russians will not and do not want to invade those countries. As the EU spins out of control and the One Belt One Road initiative develops, Russia only needs to ask them what direction they want to face in the future. ..."
"... So, having said that, on foreign policy they, all newspapers and the vast majority of magazines, are war-peddling neo-con supporters. ..."
"... Do not buy any major newspaper. Let them wither away and, it wasn't fake spun 'news' we have been getting only this year: fake agenda driven bull has been going on for decades. Go to the internet and overseas for news think what I said over and you will see ..."
"... All this social, economic and political mess is the result of deregulation in the economic, social, political spheres. The effects of those deregulations are now quite obvious in: economy, society, morality and politics that are already corrupted to the core, but the corruption is not stopping there, it is consuming everything else on its way. There is no end to it, and what is even more surprising is that people want even more of all kinds of deregulations etc. ..."
"... Wouldn't it be more logical to bring back responsibility, moral standards and decency to politics, society and economy etc? What I now see in media is the total lack of any ideas on how to correct the obvious, but instead everybody is spinning his/her lies to make them more believable to the yet unconverted. This is pure relativism and sophistry and it destroys not only the USA, but the West as well. ..."
"... If an opinion piece in NYT or other MSM blatantly distorts the facts, then it belongs to the category of "fake news." Which should probably be called "malicious rumors." So the defense of some commenters that you can blatantly lie in opinion pieces (the right NYT exercised to the full extent in this particular example and for which Bacevich criticized them) is wrong. Anti-Russian witch hunt in NYT and other MSM destroys the credibility of the USA version of neoliberalism as well as the USA foreign policy. Along with Trump election, I view it as a symptom of the crisis of neoliberalism for which the US elite is unable to find a more suitable answer than scapegoating. Also the fact that Nuland is married to neocon warmonger Kagan is a material fact. ..."
Nov 08, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Disregarding President Trump's insistent claim that the establishment press propagates "fake news" requires a constant effort -- especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I cherish the First Amendment. Mark me down as favoring journalism that is loud, lively, and confrontational. When members of the media snooze -- falling for fictitious claims about Saddam's WMD program or Gaddafi's genocidal intentions, for example -- we all lose.

So the recent decision by Times editors to publish an op-ed regarding Paul Manafort's involvement in Ukraine is disturbing. That the Times is keen to bring down Donald Trump is no doubt the case. Yet if efforts to do so entail grotesque distortions of U.S. policy before Trump, then we are courting real trouble. Put simply, ousting Trump should not come at the cost of whitewashing the follies that contributed to Trump's rise in the first place.

The offending Times op-ed, the handiwork of Evelyn N. Farkas, appears under the title "With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine." During the Obama administration, Farkas served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and Mess Kit Repair. Okay, I added that last bit, but it does seem like quite an expansive charter for a mere deputy assistant secretary.

The story Farkas tells goes like this.

First, from the moment it achieved independence in 1991, Ukraine was a divided nation, "torn between Western Europe and Russia." Ukrainians in the country's western precincts wanted to join the European Union and NATO. Those further to east "oriented themselves toward Russia, which exerted maximum influence to keep Ukraine closely aligned." In one camp were enlightened Ukrainians. In the other camp, the unenlightened.

Second, Manafort's involvement in this intra-Ukrainian dispute was -- shockingly -- never about "advanc[ing] the interests of democracy, Western Europe or the United States." Manafort's motives were strictly venal. In what Farkas describes as a "standoff between democracy and autocracy," he threw in with the autocrats, thereby raking in millions.

Third, Manafort's efforts mattered bigly. In 2010, he helped Victor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine. An unquestionably nasty piece of work, Yanukovych was, according to Farkas, "Putin's man in Kiev." Yet like it or not, he came to power as the result of democratic election. In 2013, Yanukovych opted against joining the EU, which along with NATO, had, in Farkas's words, "experienced a burst of membership expansion" right up to Russia's own borders.

In response to Yanukovych's action, "the Ukrainian people," that is, the enlightened ones, "took to the streets," forcing him to flee the country. Rather than bowing to the expressed will of the people, however, Russia's Vladimir Putin "instigated a separatist movement" in eastern Ukraine, thereby triggering "a war between Russia and Ukraine that continues to this day."

To accept Farkas's account as truthful, one would necessarily conclude that as Manafort was hijacking history, the United States remained quietly on the sidelines, an innocent bystander sending prayers heavenward in hopes that freedom and democracy might everywhere prevail .

Such was hardly the case, however. One need not be a Putin apologist to note that the United States was itself engaged in a program of instigation, one that ultimately induced a hostile -- but arguably defensive -- Russian response.

In the wake of the Cold War, the EU and NATO did not experience a "burst" of expansion, a formulation suggesting joyous spontaneity. Rather, with Washington's enthusiastic support, the West embarked upon a deliberate eastward march at the Kremlin's expense, an undertaking made possible by (and intended to exploit) Russia's weakened state. In football, it's called piling on.

That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded.

That at some point a resentful Russia would push back was all but certain. Indeed, more than a few Western observers had warned against such a response.

The proposed incorporation of Ukraine into NATO brought matters to a head. For Putin, this was an unacceptable prospect. He acted as would any U.S. president contemplating the absorption of a near neighbor into hostile bloc of nations. Indeed, he acted much as had Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when they assessed the implications of Cuba joining the Soviet bloc.

That doesn't justify or excuse Putin's meddling in Ukraine. Yet it suggests an explanation for Russian behavior other than the bitterness of an ex-KGB colonel still with his shorts in a knot over losing the Cold War. Russia has an obvious and compelling interest in who controls Ukraine, even if few in Washington or in the editorial offices of the New York Times will acknowledge that reality.

Furthermore, Russia was not alone in its meddling. The United States has been equally guilty. When "the Ukrainian people took to the streets," as Farkas puts it, the State Department and CIA were behind the scenes vigorously pulling strings. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland believed it was incumbent upon the United States to decide who should govern Ukraine. ("Yats is the guy," she said on a leaked call). Nuland would brook no interference from allies slow to follow Washington's lead. ("F–k the EU," she told the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.)

That Ukraine is, as Farkas correctly states, a torn country, did not give Nuland pause. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have assigned to themselves a magical ability to repair such tears and to make broken countries whole. The results of their labors are amply on display everywhere from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now add Ukraine to that sorry list.

Even so, can't we at least assume Nuland's motives were morally superior to Putin's? After all, President Putin is clearly a thug whereas Nuland is an estimable product of the American foreign policy establishment. She's married to Robert Kagan, for heaven's sake.

Persuade yourself that the United States is all about democracy promotion, as Farkas appears to believe, and the answer to that question is clearly yes. Alas, the record of American statecraft stretching over decades provides an abundance of contrary evidence. In practice, the United States supports democracy only when it finds it convenient to do so. Should circumstances require, it unhesitatingly befriends despots, especially rich ones that pay cash while purchasing American weaponry.

Yanukovych was Putin's man, "and therefore, indirectly, so was Mr. Manafort," Farkas concludes. All that now remains is to determine "the extent to which Mr. Manafort was Putin's man in Washington." For Farkas, the self-evident answer to that question cannot come too soon.

As to whether Russia -- or any other great power -- might have legitimate security interests that the United States would do well to respect, that's not a matter worth bothering about. Thus does the imperative of ousting Trump eclipse the need to confront the pretensions and the hubris that helped make Trump possible.

Andrew Bacevich is writer-at-large at The American Conservative

John Fargo , says: November 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm

This is why the term "fake news" is so harmful and should not be used by media outlets. The use of "bad journalism" would be much more useful as it forces the claimants to justify their reasons for doing so.
"Fake news" is just a dog whistle.
William Dalton , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:02 am
Has it not occurred to the foreign policy establishment in Washington that it is more in America's national interests for Ukraine to remain in Moscow's orbit, so as to strengthen U.S.-Russian relations, not exacerbate tensions, rather than to pull them into the EU, or, God forbid, NATO? Isn't this what any of the seasoned experts at Foggy Bottom would tell you? Why aren't they doing so?
Tiktaalik , says: November 8, 2017 at 2:49 am
Two comments in order

1) Yanukovich won in 2004 as well and the election results were hijacked by 'Maidan'

2) Yanukovich wasn't Putin man back in 2010. As a matter of fact, he and his party actively promoted EU integration deal, until they read its actual conditions. After that they backtracked and rushed to Putin for a support.

So it was classical case of sitting on two chairs simultaneously.

JonB , says: November 8, 2017 at 5:39 am
Completely agree with John Fargo. "Fake News" should be reserved for deliberate falsehoods published knowingly. This NYT op-ed amounts to "an interpretation of history Bacevich doesn't agree with." I may not agree with it either – but it's not like claiming that the Vegas shooter was anti-Trump, or creating a Facebook account for a non-existent person or organization.
Nolan , says: November 8, 2017 at 6:42 am
Mr Fargo: Disagree. "Bad journalism" implies the author is lazy yet innocent in their way. "Fake news" is more about narrative control and manipulation of the reader through reinvention or exaggeration, et cetera. Calling articles and outlets fake news is more accurate and levies much more weight against the lies and deceit than simply accusing someone or thing of bad journalism.
Christian Chuba , says: November 8, 2017 at 6:54 am
This is why we should disband politically oriented NGO's. In essence, a country is only a democracy if it is pro-U.S. Resistance is futile. Meddling at this level will only bring about more conflict, instability and military obligations will follow. It is good to be king but it is also quite expensive and ultimately ruinous.
Fran Macadam , says: November 8, 2017 at 7:30 am
If it were all about democracy promotion, they wouldn't also be so anxious to negate an election here at home. Imperialism rules other peoples against their will, necessitating for its survival the lessening of democratic accountability at home, too, since it lessens the importance of citizens' own concerns, also requiring for its warmaking security keeping voters in the dark.
SteveM , says: November 8, 2017 at 7:36 am
Re: "More 'Fake News,' Alas, From the New York Times"

Make that, More 'Fake News,' Of Course From the New York Times. Saturated with Fake News of various manifestations, the NY Times and its rancid analog Washington Post on the other end of the Crony-Elite NY-DC axis are unreadable.

Re: "That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded."

Given a ham-fisted EU run by Elite hacks in Brussels that is white washing Europe's Christian legacy, mandating overbearing economic and social controls and absorbing millions of net negative migrants, the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Balts seem to be having second thoughts. BTW, The Russians will not and do not want to invade those countries. As the EU spins out of control and the One Belt One Road initiative develops, Russia only needs to ask them what direction they want to face in the future.

Dee , says: November 8, 2017 at 8:08 am
How is it someone's "opinion" constitutes "fake News"? Trump did not win by policy issues, he rode the right-wing outrage at all things clinton/libtard better than anyone else. His policy positions were mostly promise everything to everyone, but his campaign was about Lock her up/ build the wall! After bashing Goldman Sachs during the election, once he won he promptly filled his cabinet with them and other mega donor types.
Mario Diana , says: November 8, 2017 at 9:30 am
@John Fargo – I'm in almost complete sympathy with Mr. Bacevich's essay, but you make an excellent point. "Bad journalism" is the better term. In fact, the only criticism I can make of your statement is that "dog whistle" is the wrong term. Everyone associates the term "fake news" with Donald Trump. (If it were possible, he no doubt would have trademarked it.) Using the term alienates the very people who need to hear criticisms like those in Mr. Bacevich's essay. They hear it, too; and upon hearing it, they stop listening.
Egypt Steve , says: November 8, 2017 at 11:34 am
Look, elite and non-elite self-delusion about the purity of U.S. motives abroad dates back to the Roosevelt administration at least -- and I mean the Teddy Roosevelt administration. I don't see how any of this amounts to a defense of charges of money-laundering against Manafort.
Janek , says: November 8, 2017 at 11:37 am
I disagree with John Fargo. The news that NYT, Washington Post, and other media outlets (not only liberal ) "produce" is the "Fake News". "Bad journalism" should be reserved and used in the sense Nolan explains. Besides the "Fake News" on the so called "left" in American politics in general is the problem of "double speak" and speaking with the "forked tongues". American "right" is the camp of the white flag.
Tom , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm
The op-ed page is for opinion pieces of writing and that is what this was an opinion. It isn't fake news because it isn't news.
SteveM , says: November 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm
Re: Janek:

Besides the "Fake News" on the so called "left" in American politics in general is the problem of "double speak" and speaking with the "forked tongues". American "right" is the camp of the white flag.

I've mentioned the various "flavors" of Fake News before. There is (1) the obvious – what is claimed as true is actually false. But also (2), what is claimed as important, actually isn't. And (3) what is important, is weakly or not reported at all.

An example of Type 2 is the WaPost reporting on its front page before the 2016 that Jared Kushner may have been greased into the Harvard MBA program. As if Ivy League greasing by monied Elites is unheard of. How was that front page news? And how about the acceptances of Chelsea Clinton (Stanford) and Malia Obama (Harvard)?

The cases of Type 3 Fake News are much more egregious. For example, the reasoned arguments and analysis by retired American intelligence officers and academics that the Syrian forces "chemical weapon attack" in April was almost certainly a false flag with staged recovery activity.

The NY Times and WaPost have consistently refused to acknowledge that those arguments and analysis even exist.

The linking of Russia to the DNC email leaks as factual by the Times, Post and NPR without a scintilla of published hard evidence is another example.

There are many more examples of Type 3 Fake News that could be demonstrated. Much of what claims to be journalism by the MSM is now Fake News trash.

Siarlys Jenkins , says: November 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm
Disregarding President Trump's insistent claim that the establishment press propagates "fake news" requires a constant effort -- especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I agree in principal, although I note that President Trump and his team are as guilty of fake news as anyone, and the president himself appears to be positively delusional. I might at times disagree with Bacevich as to which news is fake.

I would also agree that there has been a great deal of "fake news" out of Ukraine, and what is really going on their is a former SSR with a bitterly divided population that each has about equal numbers, proponderance in some territories compared to others, and equally opportunistic leadership showing no great commitment to anything recognizable as "democracy."

Fayez Abedaziz , says: November 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm
Say, can we refrain from using the word 'journalism' when we refer to the American media? We should.

The internet and sources overseas, such as the Independent News paper/site out of Britain, have news that is not purposely spun as is by the neo-con American news papers and magazines. Not as much, anyway. Several points here, for example of what bad news (pun intended) the joke of American media is:

1- quit calling the main stream media liberal or left. They are liberal in a 'social issues sense,' that is, to be politically correct.

2- So, having said that, on foreign policy they, all newspapers and the vast majority of magazines, are war-peddling neo-con supporters.

3-They have agendas. Do we not remember how they, at the new york times, peddled the war against Iraq and how, when you look at the editorial page you feel that these people and the guests opinion writers are soulless people that have no concern for America's 'flyover' country?

4- Yeah, isn't that ironic that these people look down on America's middle class, blue collar workers and yes, it's troops, by that constant bashing of nations here and there and pushing for aggressive stands or even military attacks? Let the people at the major newspapers like this n.y.times rag tell us when they served in the U.S. military or their when their offspring did or when they're gonna join and volunteer for combat duty. Never mind, I've got the answer-none of 'em.

Do not buy any major newspaper. Let them wither away and, it wasn't fake spun 'news' we have been getting only this year: fake agenda driven bull has been going on for decades. Go to the internet and overseas for news think what I said over and you will see

Janek , says: November 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm
@SteveM

Not everybody has the time to analyze the deluge of all the "Fake News" and categorize it into classes and/or sub-classes you or somebody else proposes. Where all that leads? Soon we will have new sociopolitical discipline and experts on "fake-newsology" that will introduce another layer of pseudo-information that will have to be translated to the uninitiated and unwashed.

All this social, economic and political mess is the result of deregulation in the economic, social, political spheres. The effects of those deregulations are now quite obvious in: economy, society, morality and politics that are already corrupted to the core, but the corruption is not stopping there, it is consuming everything else on its way. There is no end to it, and what is even more surprising is that people want even more of all kinds of deregulations etc.

Wouldn't it be more logical to bring back responsibility, moral standards and decency to politics, society and economy etc? What I now see in media is the total lack of any ideas on how to correct the obvious, but instead everybody is spinning his/her lies to make them more believable to the yet unconverted. This is pure relativism and sophistry and it destroys not only the USA, but the West as well.

nikbez

If an opinion piece in NYT or other MSM blatantly distorts the facts, then it belongs to the category of "fake news." Which should probably be called "malicious rumors."

So the defense of some commenters that you can blatantly lie in opinion pieces (the right NYT exercised to the full extent in this particular example and for which Bacevich criticized them) is wrong.

Anti-Russian witch hunt in NYT and other MSM destroys the credibility of the USA version of neoliberalism as well as the USA foreign policy. Along with Trump election, I view it as a symptom of the crisis of neoliberalism for which the US elite is unable to find a more suitable answer than scapegoating.

Also the fact that Nuland is married to neocon warmonger Kagan is a material fact.

[Nov 08, 2017] The Plot to Scapegoat Russia How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin by Dan Kovalik

Highly recommended!
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Review " A powerful contradiction to the present US narrative of the world . . . As shown here, fake news is thriving in Washington, DC."-- Oliver Stone , Academy Award winning director and screenwriter

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia is a beautifully written, uncommonly coherent, and very compelling treatise on the issues facing America today... a troubling indictment of where we've been and where we're headed. Moreover, this book is profoundly important , and a timely retrospective review of American foreign policy misadventures since the advent of the Cold War." -- Phillip F. Nelson , author of LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination and LBJ: From Mastermind to "The Colossus"

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia underscores how the CIA's infiltration and shaping of the media, which began in the 1950s, successfully continues today. A very worthwhile account for anyone who wants to understand how 'reality' is manufactured, while 'real truth' is murdered and buried." -- Peter Janney , author of Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace

"At a time when the U.S. military budget is again soaring to enrich the oligarchs, this timely and thought-provoking book turns Orwellian 'double-think' on its head in a cogent analysis of what's really behind all the saber-rattling against Russia. In a scholarly but also deeply personal and fluidly written work , Dan Kovalik pulls no punches in dissecting the history of how America has justified its own imperialistic aims through the Cold War era and right up to the current anti-Putin hysteria." -- Dick Russell , New York Times bestselling author of Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying Life on Earth and What It Means to Our Children

" The Plot to Scapegoat Russia confronts the timeliest of subjects, the effort to resuscitate the Cold War by blaming Russian president Vladimir Putin for interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign on behalf of Donald Trump, an effort pursued by CIA and the Democratic Party working in tandem. Kovalik establishes... that not a scintilla of evidence has emerged to grant credibility to this self-serving fantasy... [and he] deftly eviscerates the mainstream press . Reading [this book] will be salutary, illuminating and more than instructive ." -- Joan Mellen , author of Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas

William T. Whitney Jr on May 28, 2017

Review of "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia"

Beating up on Russia; history tells why
By William T. Whitney Jr. .

Lawyer and human rights activist Dan Kovalik has written a valuable book. He looked at a recent U. S. political development in terms of history and then skewered it. His new book, "The Plot to Scapegoat Russia," looks at mounting assaults against Russia that increased during the Obama administration and that spokespersons for the Democratic Party, among others, are promoting.

The CIA, he claims, without going into specifics, is engaged in anti-Russian activities. For Kovalik, "the CIA is a nefarious, criminal organization which often misleads the American public and government into wars and misadventures."

Kovalik devotes much of his book to what he regards as precedents for the current dark turn in U.S. – Russian relations. Toward that end, he surveys the history of U.S. foreign interventions since World War II. He confirms that the United States government is indeed habituated to aggressive adventurism abroad. That's something many readers already know, but Kovalik contributes significantly by establishing that U.S. hostility against Russia ranks as a chapter in that long story.

But what's the motivation for military assaults and destabilizing projects? And, generally, why all the wars? The author's historical survey provides answers. He finds that the scenarios he describes are connected. Treating them as a whole, he gives them weight and thus provides an intellectual weapon for the anti-imperialist cause. Kovalik, putting history to work, moves from the issue of U.S.-Russian antagonism to the more over-arching problem of threats to human survival. That's his major contribution.

His highly-recommended book offers facts and analyses so encompassing as to belie its small size. The writing is clear, evocative, and eminently readable; his narrative is that of a story – teller. Along the way, as a side benefit, Kovalik recalls the causes and outrage that fired up activists who were his contemporaries.

He testifies to a new Cold War. Doing so, he argues that the anti-communist rational for the earlier Cold War was a cover for something else, a pretext. In his words: "the Cold War, at least from the vantage point of the US, had little to do with fighting 'Communism,' and more to do with making the world safe for corporate plunder." Once more Russia is an enemy of the United States, but now it's a capitalist country.

That's mysterious; explanation is in order. Readers, however, may be hungry to know about the "plot" advertised in the book's title. We recommend patience. History and its recurring patterns come first for this author. They enable him to account for U. S. – Russian relations that are contradictory and, most importantly, for the U.S. propensity for war-making. After that he tells about a plot.

Kovalik describes how, very early, reports of CIA machinations from former agents of the spy organization expanded his political awareness, as did a trip to Nicaragua. There he gained first-hand knowledge of CIA atrocities, of deaths and destruction at the hands of the Contras, anti- Sandinista paramilitaries backed by the CIA His book goes on fully and dramatically to describe murders and chaos orchestrated by the United States and/or the CIA in El Salvador, Colombia, and in the South America of Operation Condor. Kovalic discusses the U.S. war in Vietnam, occupation and war in Korea, nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, nuclear testing and dying in the Marshall Islands, and the CIA's recruitment of the anti-Soviet Mujahedeen in Afghan¬istan. He recounts U. S. - instigated coups in Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1954; and Chile, 1973.

These projects were about keeping "the world safe from the threat of Soviet totalitarianism" – in other words, anti-communism. But then the USSR disappeared, and the search was on for a new pretext. The Clinton administration evoked "humanitarian intervention," and continued the intrusions: in Ruanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (on behalf of "US mining interests"), Yugoslavia, and Libya.

In Kovalik's telling, the U. S. government eventually settled upon the notion of "American exceptionalism," that is to say, "the belief that the US is a uniquely benign actor in the world, spreading peace and democracy." Thus armed, the U. S. military exported terror to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen (via its Saudi Arabian proxy), and Honduras, through a U. S. facilitated military coup. The book catalogues other episodes, other places. Along the way on his excursion, Kovalik contrasts U. S. pretensions and brutal deeds with the relatively benign nature of alleged Russian outrages.

Good relations with Russia, he says, would be "simply bad for business, in particular the business of war which so profoundly undergirds the US economy As of 2015, the US had at least 800 military bases in over 70 nations, while Britain, France and Russia had only 30 military bases combined." And, "under Obama alone, the US had Special Forces deployed in about 138 countries." Further, "The US's outsized military exists not only to ensure the US's quite unjust share of the world's riches, but also to ensure that those riches are not shared with the poor huddled masses in this country."

Kovalik highlights the disaster that overwhelmed Russia as a fledgling capitalist nation: life expectancy plummeted, the poverty rate was 75 percent, and investments fell by 80 percent. National pride was in the cellar, the more so after the United States backed away from Secretary of State Baker's 1991 promise that NATO would never move east, after the United States attacked Russia's ally Serbia, and after the United States, rejecting Russian priorities, attacked Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

The author rebuts U. S. claims that Russian democracy has failed and that Putin over-reached in Ukraine. He praises Putin's attempts to cooperate with the United States in Syria. The United States has abused peoples the world over, he insists, and suffers from a "severe democracy deficit."

By the time he is discussing current U. S. – Russian relations, readers have been primed never to expect U.S. imperialism to give Russia a break. The author's instructional course has taken effect, or should have done so. If readers aren't aware of what the U. S. government has been up to, the author is not to blame.

Kovalik condemns the Obama administration and particularly Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for intensifying the U. S. campaign against Russia. He extends his criticism to the Democratic Party and the media. The theme of anti – Russian scheming by the CIA comes up briefly in the book in connection with hacking attributed to Russia and with WikiLeaks revelations about the Democratic Party. Nothing is said about possible interaction between personnel of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Kovalik's historical excursion takes in the Soviet Union. Clearly, many of the U. S. military interventions described in this valuable book wouldn't have occurred if the Soviet Union still existed. Beyond that, Kovalik says, "the Soviet Union, did wield sizable political and ideological influence in the world for some time, due to the appeal of its socialist message as well as its critical role in winning [World War] II."

Kovalik acknowledges "periods of great repression." He adds, however, that "the Russian Revolution and the USSR delivered on many of their promises, and against great odds. . In any case, the goals of the Russian Revolution-equality, worker control of the economy, universal health care and social security- were laudable ones." And, "One of the reasons that the West continues to dance on the grave of the Soviet Union, and to emphasize the worst parts of that society and downplay its achievements, is to make sure that, as the world-wide economy worsens, and as the suffering of work¬ing people around the world deepens, they don't get any notions in their head to organize some new socialist revolution with such ideals."

Ultimately, Kovalik sides with Martin Luther King, who remarked that, 'The US is on the wrong side of the world-wide revolution' – and with Daniel Ellsberg's clarification: 'The US is not on the wrong side; it is the wrong side.'"

Drew Hunkins on May 30, 2017

Dissects the dangerous nonsense

The most important non-fiction work thus far of 2017 is upon us. Finally the book has arrived that cuts through all the hype, deceit, misinformation and disconcerting groupthink.

Kovalik structures TPTSR by starting at the most logical place -- the history of unilateral Washington aggression across the globe, from the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran through the Washington intell agencies' orchestrated coups and proxy wars in Latin America.

This exposition of historical Washington empire building provides a solid foundation when he ultimately addresses why the predatory military-industrial-media-complex is incessantly fomenting this dangerous contemporary Russophobic campaign. The book nails it by presenting in a crystal clear manner the two exact reasons why the demonization of Moscow never seems to subside: 1.) The corporate and Washington military empire builders are deeply threatened by the potential loss of certain markets and a sovereign Russia that desires a say over the diplomatic and military maneuvers on its borders, especially its Western region. 2.) Most importantly, the MIC/national-security state absolutely MUST HAVE a villain (real or imagined, it doesn't matter) in order to justify the trillion dollar budget and careerism that seeps into every pore of the U.S. politico-economic system. This Pentagon system of pseudo economic Keynesianism could potentially lead to nuclear war. The giant house of cards could doom us all.

D. Gordon on June 1, 2017

This book is an amazing contribution. A veritable primer on U

This book is an amazing contribution. A veritable primer on U.S. foreign policy, this book is part memoir, part history, and part analysis of current events. Kovalik makes a compelling case that U.S. policies--not Russia--are the biggest danger to world peace and human rights. The book traces Kovalik's own awakening and transformation from his conservative religious-minded youth to one of our most trenchant critics of U.S. foreign policy writing today. And he does it in his own inimitable, witty, readable, and humane style.

[Nov 07, 2017] Kamala drinks 'The Russian Meddlin' in Murica's Bizness Kool-Aid'

Notable quotes:
"... This is why the denial is happening. This is why the Russia hysteria is continuing. By using wedge politics and fear to separate the cultists from other perspectives, using approval and belonging to keep them addicted, shaming tactics to keep them from straying, and controlling the discourse on their end of the political spectrum, Democrats have created America's largest cult. ..."
"... That was a very interesting article and on the mark. But, Pence will be a good placeholder and keep the population largely complacent, But in 2020, the democratic cult MUST WIN. If the Republicans are smart, they will lay low and concede the Presidency by fielding the most ridiculous candidate possible (hard to imagine who that could be after Trump). ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , November 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

What interests me is who the Democrats have in mind as a replacement if they manage to bring down Trump. He still has quite a few supporters – amazing, I know – who would be borderline homicidal toward anyone the Democrats wanted to shove into the ring, and it absolutely could not be Hillary.
Patient Observer , November 5, 2017 at 9:35 am
If Trump does not finish his term, it will be Pence.

http://www.newsweek.com/if-trump-impeached-who-president-623219

f Trump dies, resigns or is removed from office in the next four years, Vice President Mike Pence would replace him in the White House.

I doubt Sanders would be chosen in 2020 – too many reminders of DNC corruption that denied him the nomination. It will probably be someone new and likely a woman.

marknesop , November 5, 2017 at 10:20 am
Yes, but the Democrats' efforts to bring down the government are surely not directed at replacing Trump with Pence. Obviously, they want a Republican presidency to be replaced with a Democratic one, or they would not be playing the victim so zealously. And Sanders is a milksop who plumped for party unity even after learning how soundly he had been rogered by Hillary and her coterie. There is not an American politician alive today who embodies the American values idealists like to believe prevail in America. Not one.

This is instructive . As popular lingo has it, you couldn't make it up.

This is why the denial is happening. This is why the Russia hysteria is continuing. By using wedge politics and fear to separate the cultists from other perspectives, using approval and belonging to keep them addicted, shaming tactics to keep them from straying, and controlling the discourse on their end of the political spectrum, Democrats have created America's largest cult.

Patient Observer , November 5, 2017 at 11:43 am
That was a very interesting article and on the mark. But, Pence will be a good placeholder and keep the population largely complacent, But in 2020, the democratic cult MUST WIN. If the Republicans are smart, they will lay low and concede the Presidency by fielding the most ridiculous candidate possible (hard to imagine who that could be after Trump).
Jen , November 5, 2017 at 2:06 pm
Found her already: meet California Senator Kamala Harris.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/22/kamala-harris-democratic-candidate-for-2020

Patient Observer , November 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm
I was thinking that a black woman candidate would be essentially doubling down after the Clinton debacle. My bet, if I were a betting man, would be her or someone like her as the VP pick with a simulacrum of Joe Biden or Al Gore as the presidential nominee. The Republicans would run a weenie like Paul "Ly'ng Ryan" Ryan to get the lose over with as little pain as possible.
marknesop , November 5, 2017 at 11:22 pm
Or a hope among Democrats of repeating the Obama miracle.
Patient Observer , November 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm
FYI, the Ly'ng Ryan" nickname apparently originated from his claims of being a sub-3 hour marathon runner. Marathon runners took strong exception at his casual and completely unsubstantiated claims about impressive marathon times thus his name among the runner community.

https://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/paul-ryan-has-not-run-sub-300-marathon

Northern Star , November 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Kamala drinks 'The Russian Meddlin' in Murica's Bizness Kool-Aid'

https://www.npr.org/2017/11/02/561505689/sen-kamala-harris-on-social-media-and-russian-propaganda

https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/1a4aeb27-a3c9-4e3d-b9be-ce0e7bc0ed00_1.dc96149eeae618770e7222d05f5d692a.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF

[Nov 07, 2017] There was a post a while back indicating that anyone who believed Hillary Clinton had serious health problems during her Presidential run was a dupe and fool of the non-MSM media

Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , November 6, 2017 at 8:33 am

There was a post a while back indicating that anyone who believed Hillary Clinton had serious health problems during her Presidential run was a dupe and fool of the non-MSM media (apparently referring to yours truly among others). Well, lookie here:

An excerpt from WaPo details how horrified Donna Brazile and others in the DNC were about Hillary's non-stop coughing fits and ill health. In fact, Hillary was so sick that Brazile and others discussed replacing her with Biden as the Dem nominee after she fainted.

Hillary's camp is furious with Brazile and lashed out at her over the grim picture she painted of Hillary's health and campaign.

The Clinton Cult has apparently concluded that Brazile was controlled by the Kremlin per this open letter signed by 100 of Cintons senior aides:

"We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. "It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate's health."

http://russia-insider.com/en/donna-brazile-confirms-hillary-has-severe-health-problems-delusional-clinton-camp-insists-she

You can't make this stuff up.

[Nov 07, 2017] Dem Pundits Spent Yesterday Lying About DNC Primary Rigging Document by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... Their argument, if you can call it that, rests on the claim that a document which unquestionably shows inappropriate bias and collusion does not show inappropriate bias and collusion because it contains a paragraph which says the document should not be construed as containing inappropriate bias and collusion. This is really boring and stupid, but since the Clinton cult is circulating this nonsense all over social media I figure I should probably write something for people to refute it with. ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. Reply , November 07, 2017 at 11:20 AM

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/dem-pundits-spent-yesterday-lying-about-dnc-primary-rigging-document-d60019c59c3e

Nov 4

Dem Pundits Spent Yesterday Lying About DNC Primary Rigging Document

The establishment liberal spin machine has been working overtime the last 24 hours to make it seem as though former acting DNC chair Donna Brazile had not admitted what she'd admitted in an excerpt from her book published by Politico on Thursday.

Their argument, if you can call it that, rests on the claim that a document which unquestionably shows inappropriate bias and collusion does not show inappropriate bias and collusion because it contains a paragraph which says the document should not be construed as containing inappropriate bias and collusion. This is really boring and stupid, but since the Clinton cult is circulating this nonsense all over social media I figure I should probably write something for people to refute it with.

...

[Nov 07, 2017] Donna Brazile, the Rigged Democratic Primary, and Relitigating 2016 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
"... The agreement -- signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to [DNC lawyer] Marc Elias -- specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings. ..."
"... A second difference in substance: Let's remember that for Clinton, the JFA enabled her campaign to circumvent contribution limits for large donors (Brazile: "Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400"). The Sanders campaign , by contrast, had no issue with maxed out donors: "During fall '15, 99.8% of Bernie donors could give again" (because it's awful hard to max out $27 at a time). ..."
"... That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Personnel is policy, as they say, and the Clinton campaign has made sure that the DNC's Communications Director and new hires in the senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments will be acceptable to it. The Clinton campaign will also review all mass email and communcations (which explains why Brazile, as interim DNC chair, couldn't send out a press release without checking with Brooklyn. Since the notorious debate schedule was already controlled by Wasserman Schultz, there was no point messing about with it, I assume.) There is one place in this passage where the general election is mentioned, so let's look at it: ..."
"... Second, the DNC itself does not ..."
"... But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved. ..."
"... It has been a while since I handled a criminal defense case, but I am not sure that the agreement is not in fact, criminal. When the Sanders for President campaign signed an agreement and paid money in consideration of getting access to the voter file and when the state parties agreed to merge their fundraising efforts with the DNC and HFA, the commercial fraud laws applied to that relationship. Since the fundraising was done using interstate phone calls, letters, and emails and the voter file access was provided by electronic transmissions from servers in DC to end users in Burlington, Vermont that includes 18 USC 1341, 1343 and 1346 (mail, wire and honest services fraud). These laws do not just ban outright lying, but also the concealment of material facts that one has a duty to disclose. ..."
"... The DNC got into the position of selling themselves to the Clintons as they were $20 million in debt, right? I have read that the major reason for these debts was that the DNC had not shrunk itself since the last campaign and was paying out a ton of money for consultants doing Christ knows what. In fact, Obama also used the DNC to support a stack of his consultants as well as grifters gotta grift, right? ..."
"... My question is whether this was a deliberate ploy on Obama and the Clinton factions to put the DNC into such a vulnerable position before 2016 came along that when the time came, they had to take up an offer that they could not refuse. I have not heard if Obama has made any comments on this fiasco that took place on his watch and it seems nobody wants to call him out on it. In the Brazile case, it is not a matter of following the money but following the lack of money. ..."
"... "Both sides in the Democratic Party's current faction fight, as I see it, are in denial about the true nature and scope of the problem "Both responses are essentially utopian: They rest on the premise that the Democratic Party is still a functioning political organization and that the United States is still a functioning democracy." ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donna Brazile, the "Rigged" Democratic Primary, and Relitigating 2016 Posted on November 6, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Long-time Democratic[1] operative Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was defenestrated[2], has, like two other participants in the 2016 Presidential election and at least one set of observers , written a book, Hacked , and published a long excerpt from it four days ago, in Politico . Here is the key passage, in which Brazile paraphrases and quotes a conversation with Gary Gensler, former of Goldman Sachs and the CFTC, and then the chief financial officer of the Clinton campaign:

[Gensler] described the party as fully under the control of Hillary's campaign , which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party's national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund -- that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states' parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement -- $320,000 -- and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.

Yes, you read that right. Although the Hillary Victory Fund was billed as aiding the states, in fact the states were simply pass-throughs, and the money went to the Clinton campaign. (This is not news; Politico covered the Victory Fun in 2016 : "The Democratic front-runner says she's raising big checks to help state committees, but they've gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised.")

"Wait," I said. "That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You're telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?"

Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.

"That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie," he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. "It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election."

After some research, Brazile finds a document ("the agreement") that spells out what "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign" meant operationally:

The agreement -- signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to [DNC lawyer] Marc Elias -- specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn't write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

(Importantly, Gensler has not disputed this account, of which, assuming he's not vacationing Antarctica, he must have been aware of, given the media uproar. We can therefore assume its accurate). Note two aspects of this passage, which I'm quoting at such length to ensure we know what Brazile actually charged. I've helpfully underlined them: (1) Brazile leads with the money; that is, the Clinton Victory Fund, and (2) Brazile describes the DNC as "fully under the control" of the Clinton campaign.

Predictably, an enormous controversy erupted, much of it over the weekend just passed, but I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow of the talking points. (Glenn Greenwald provides an excellent media critique in "Four Viral Claims Spread by Journalists on Twitter in the Last Week Alone That Are False "; all four have to do with this controversy[3].) I think the following three quotes are key, the first two being oft-repeated talking points by Clinton loyalists:

First, from the current DNC chair, Tom Perez :

"The joint fundraising agreements were the same for each campaign except for the treasurer, and our understanding was that the DNC offered all of the presidential campaigns the opportunity to set up a JFA and work with the DNC to coordinate on how those funds were used to best prepare for the general election."

Question: Were the agreements "the same" for each campaign? (Perez focuses only on the JFA, but that omits a separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, as we shall see below.)

Second, from 2005-9 DNC chair Howard Dean:

Question: Did the agreement apply only to the general election, and not the primary? (Dean says "this memo," but he also omits the distinction between the MOU and the JFA.)

Third, from Elizabeth Warren. CNN :

"We learned today from the former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile that the Clinton campaign, in her view, did rig the presidential nominating process by entering into an agreement to control day-to-day operations at the DNC," Tapper said, continuing on to describe specific arms of the DNC the Clinton camp had a say over, including strategy and staffing, noting that the agreement was "entered into in August of 2015," months before Clinton won the nomination .

Tapper then asked, "Do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?" And Warren responded simply: "Yes."

Question: Can we say that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged? (Tapper uses the word "rigged," and Warren adopts it, but a careful reading of Brazile's article shows that although she uses the word, she does not actually make the claim.[4])

In this post, I'm going to answer each of these three questions by looking at the documents, plural, in question (Spoiler: My answers are "No," "No," and "Yes," respectively.) Here is a timeline of the documents:

In summary, the Clinton JFA set up the Hillary Victory Fund scam , the MOU gave Clinton control of (much of) the DNC apparatus, and ( according to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver ) the Sanders JFA bought their campaign access to the DNC voter list, and was never used for fundraising because the DNC never asked the campaign to do any. So to answer the our first question, we'll look at the JFA. To answer the second, we'll look at the MOU. And to answer the third, we'll see how all the evidence balances out.

Were the Agreements "the Same" for Each Campaign?

Perez is wrong. The agreements were not at all the same, either formally or substantively.

Formally, the agreements were not the same because the Clinton JFA had an MOU (the "side deal") and the Sanders JFA did not. ABC :

[T]he Clinton campaign Friday afternoon confirmed the existence of a memo between the DNC and their campaign, which specifically outlines an expanded scope and interpretation of their funding agreement . [R]epresentatives from Sanders' former campaign say they only signed a basic, formulaic fundraising agreement that did not include any additional language about joint messaging or staffing decision-making [as does the MOU].

Substantively, the agreements weren't the same either. The substance of the JFA was a scheme enable the Hillary Victory Fund to collect "big checks" (as Politico puts it), supposedly behalf of the state parties, but in reality treating them as conduits to the coffers of the Clinton campaign. Page 3:

From time to time and in compliance with FECA, after expenses have been deducted from the gross proceeds, the Victory Fund will transfer the net proceeds to the Committees according to the Allocation Formula, as modified by any reallocation required.

"[T]he Committees" being the state party political committees, into whose accounts the contributions were deposited, only to be immediately removed and transferred to the Clinton campaign (at least for the states that signed entered into the agreement; a few did not).

However, the Sanders campaign wasn't in the business of collecting "big checks," being small-donor driven. Hence the substance of the agreement could not have been the same. ABC once more :

Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told ABC News Friday night that the campaign entered the agreement with the party in November 2015 to facilitate the campaign's access to the party's voter rolls. Weaver claims the DNC offered to credit any fundraising the senator did for the party against the costs of access to the party's data costs, priced at $250,000. But, Weaver continued, the party did not follow up about fundraising appearances for the independent senator.

Instead, the Sanders campaign raised the $250,000 from small donors. WaPo :

Weaver said the Sanders campaign decided early on to ignore the joint fundraising program and raise small dollars on its own to pay for access to the voter file. "Who are the wealthy people Bernie was going to bring to a fundraiser?" Weaver asked. "We had to buy the voter file right before the primaries."

A second difference in substance: Let's remember that for Clinton, the JFA enabled her campaign to circumvent contribution limits for large donors (Brazile: "Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400"). The Sanders campaign , by contrast, had no issue with maxed out donors: "During fall '15, 99.8% of Bernie donors could give again" (because it's awful hard to max out $27 at a time).

Suppose you were comparing two mortgages on different houses: One mortgage has a side deal attached, the other does not. One is for a lavish facility and demands a complex financing arrangement involving a third party. The other is for a fixer-upper and a lump sum is paid in cash. Would you say those two mortgages are "the same," or not? Even if they both had the word "Mortage" at the top of page one?

Did the Agreement Apply Only to the General Election, and not the Primary?

We now turn our attention to the MOU. Howard Dean, sadly , is wrong. The MOU contains two key passages; the first describes the relationship between Hillary for America (HFA; the Clinton campaign) and the DNC (Brazile: "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign"), and the second is language on the general election. Let's take each in turn. On control, pages 1 and 2:

With respect to the hiring of a DNC Communications Director , the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA.

2. With respect to the hiring of future DNC senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments , in the case of vacancy, the DNC will maintain the authority to make the final decision as between candidates acceptable to HFA. 3. Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate . This does not include any communications related to primary debates – which will be exclusively controlled by the DNC. The DNC will alert HFA in advance of mailing any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature .

That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Personnel is policy, as they say, and the Clinton campaign has made sure that the DNC's Communications Director and new hires in the senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments will be acceptable to it. The Clinton campaign will also review all mass email and communcations (which explains why Brazile, as interim DNC chair, couldn't send out a press release without checking with Brooklyn. Since the notorious debate schedule was already controlled by Wasserman Schultz, there was no point messing about with it, I assume.) There is one place in this passage where the general election is mentioned, so let's look at it:

Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election[-]related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research.

At the most generous reading, the Clinton campaign has "joint authority" with the DNC over "strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures." At the narrowest reading, given that the "general-election[-]related qualifier applies only to "communications," the joint authority applies to "strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and data, technology, analytics, and research." And given that the Clinton campaign is writing the checks that keep the DNC afloat, who do you think will have the whip hand in that "joint authority" relationship?

Now to the clause that supposedly says the agreement (JFA + MOU) applies only to the general election. Here it is, from page 3:

Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC's obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary. Further we understand you may enter into similar agreements with other candidates

(Pause for hollow laughter, given Wasserman Schultz's defenestration, Brazile passing debate questions to the Clinton campaign, etc.). First, even though Hoho seems to think it's exculpatory, the clause is an obvious fig leaf. Glenn Greenwald explains :

DNC and Clinton allies pointed to the fact that the agreement contained self-justifying lawyer language claiming that it is "focused exclusively on preparations for the General," but as Fischer noted that passage "is contradicted by the rest of the agreement." This would be like creating a contract to explicitly bribe an elected official ("A will pay Politician B to vote YES on Bill X"), then adding a throwaway paragraph with a legalistic disclaimer that "nothing in this agreement is intended to constitute a bribe," and then have journalists cite that paragraph to proclaim that no bribe happened even though the agreement on its face explicitly says the opposite.

Second, the DNC itself does not believe that it has any "obligation of impartiality and neutrality" whatever. From Wilding et al. v. DNC Services Corporation, D/B/A Democratic National Committee and Deborah "Debbie" Wasserman Schultz (as cited in Naked Capitalism here ), the DNC's lawyer, Mr. Spiva:

MR. SPIVA: [W}here you have a party that's saying, We're gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we're gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have -- and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we're gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way . That's not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right, and it would drag the Court well into party politics, internal party politics to answer those questions.

Third, look at the institutional realities from point one on control. The Clinton campaign had control over the Communications Director slot and major strategic decisions from the moment the agreement was signed. Are we really to believe that they were behaving as neutral parties? (One obvious way to have shown that would have been to release the MOU either when it was signed.)

Can We Say that the 2016 Democratic Primary Was Rigged?

Brazile herself says no . She says, of "rigging":

I found no evidence, none whatsoever. 'The only thing I found, which I said, I've found the cancer but I'm not killing the patient,' was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation," Brazile added

I think Brazile is either overly charitable, or overly legalistic (perhaps confusing "rigged" with "fixed," where only in the latter case is the outcome absolutely determined). I also think she's wrong. The dictionary definition of rigged is:

to manipulate fraudulently

There's ample evidence of rigging in both the JFA and the MOU. The JFA enabled the Hillary Victory Fund, which was a fraudulent scheme to allow big donors to contribute to the Clinton campaign by using the states as passthroughs. And the MOU enabled to Clinton campaign to fraudulently manipulate the public and the press into the belief that the DNC was an independent entity, when in fact it was a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the Clinton campaign.

Conclusion

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016 campaign ; we're supposed to look forward and not back. However, the demand not to "relitigate" assumes that the case is closed; as Brazile shows, we're hardly through with the depositions, let alone prepared to render judgment. So, when you hear "relitigate," think "silencing tactic," and ask yourself who and what silence serves. And perhaps this post will provide a basis for further discussion. 119 comments

Moocao , November 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Another reason why it will be a long time until I can vote Democrat again. The betrayal of trust is enormous.

David, by the lake , November 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Likewise, confirms my decision to wash my hands of the party. If, by some miracle, a candidate acceptable to my priorities is nominated, I will still vote for him/her, but the party isn't getting any default support or any $.

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm

People need to stop conflating the DNC with the Democratic Party. I realized I was doing so and stopped.

The DNC is an organization for raising money to support Democratic Party candidates for US President; its subsidiaries are, of course, the DCCC and the DSCC. The only reason they have power to dictate to the actual party is because they hold the purse strings. That Bernie and others have run successful campaigns, to one degree or another, without their "help" is one of the reasons they're fighting so hard to maintain the status quo. If they're shown to be redundant, the power of those who currently run it evaporates.

Saying "I'll never vote Democrat again" is, as my sainted mother used to say, cutting off your nose to spite your face. Right now, if we're going to at least slow down the rocketing juggernaut that is GOP/plutocratic ownership of our governments, we need to elect progressive candidates. There's no time to create a third party that can compete, so we need to vote for the candidates who are advancing a non-neoliberal/neocon agenda whatever party they run under. It's mostly Democrats, at the moment, but a social media acquaintance spoke of a clearly progressive candidate running for a local office as a Republican because that's how she's registered.

One of the ways the GOP was so successful in conning the working people and small business owners and others into buying their hogwash was by demonizing "the Democrats." Now, their message that "Democrats" are nothing but crazy-headed hippies who want to take their money and give it to other people is so deeply ingrained it's a hard row to how convincing them just how big a lie it is. Indeed, I suspect I shocked a raging right-winger the other day when I told him we agreed about Obama and Clinton, because his Fox-muddled mind firmly believes a Democrat thinks Obama rules the heavens.

If we don't "vote Democrat" in the upcoming primaries, then the establishment local and state parties are going to throw more New Democrats against the GOP and lose. That can't happen.

Vatch , November 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Yes, thank you! People need to vote for the progressive candidates in the Democratic primaries. If they don't, then the establishment candidates will easily win, and the national government will continue to be dominated by both Republican and Democratic lap dogs of the billionaires. And if there are a few progressive Republicans out there, sure, vote for them, too.

I often wonder whether some of the people who admonish us to stop voting for Democrats are really employed by one of the many Koch brothers organizations. Not all of them, of course, and I'm not making an accusation against anyone who is commenting here. But if people don't vote for progressive Democrats, the billionaires and the corporate advocates of financialization will win.

nippersmom , November 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm

You're presupposing the presence of "progressive democrats". In many races, they don't exist.

animalogic , November 6, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Of course, appearances can be deceptive: Obama ran as a progressive candidate . As a quick ready-reckoner -- the more a candidate bloviates on Identity issues, the less likely they are (should they be elected) to be "progressive" on issues of substance: the economy, tax, war/imperialism

ArcadiaMommy , November 6, 2017 at 11:51 pm

Right! Where are these progressive democrats? I would love to support one other than Bernie Sanders (yes I know he is not perfect and he is too old). But they don't seem to exist at the national level. There seem to be mayoral and other municipal candidates on the right track – just have no idea how to move those ideas onto the state or national level. Maybe I am just cranky and pessimistic right now.

BoycottAmazon , November 7, 2017 at 6:16 am

Here, here!

TYT did several interviews of "Justice Democrats", newbies running on a progressive platform. Some of the interviews you could see Cenk Uynger almost cringing, and the usually voluble Jimmy Dore very quiet as the candidates lacked public speaking skills, and demonstrating a probable lack of political smarts necessary to maneuver any bureaucracy.

Without trial by fire at lower levels, learning how to run a government and get results, then there is no way to judge the candidates.

Unless candidates like Roza Calderon a faster learn that is apparent at this point, they the Justice Democrats can only win when "anyone but him/her" applies ,

witters , November 6, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Progressive Democrats. Square Circle. 2+2=5. "We Can Make it Happen!" All we need? "The Audacity of Hope".

witters , November 7, 2017 at 12:10 am

So it was our apathy that did it. It was our moral failure. "Really," says Algernon, in The Importance of Being Earnest, "if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility."

bronco , November 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm

no your democratic party is also a party of plutocrats . That's why it needs to be burned to the ground.

annenigma , November 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

There's an important difference between being and voting Democrat. Actually, we already have a defacto 3rd party, Independents/Unaffiliated, a larger block of voters than either Republicans or Democrats.

With even greater numbers of Independents/Unaffiliated, we could be a force to be reckoned with. Actually, we should recognize and own our power right now because we could decimate the ranks of the Duopoly and make room for an actual third party. We can still vote for Democrats of course, but they'll realize that they can't continue to take our votes for granted.

There's actually no good reason to remain a registered Democrat. You can still vote for Democrats as an Independent/Unaffiliated voter. It's only for some presidential primaries and caucuses that party registration is a limitation. If you live in one of those states, you can temporarily register as a Democrat to vote, then revert to independent/unaffiliated afterwards. Other than that, all other elections are open without regard to affiliation.

The Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same bird of prey, and we're the prey only because we haven't yet learned to fly to escape their talons. If we start owning our power as free agents/Independent voters, that can change. While deep pocketed donors may have the power to make the wheels turn for the Duopoly, those wheels can't go anywhere without our votes. Since we don't have the power of money, we can at least exercise our political power to stay out of their talons.

Independence is the way to fly. It's not just leverage, it's also the only way to clear more space and demand for official third parties. Since the Duopoly refuses to change their ways and repair the rigged system they created to keep only themselves in power, we can and should abandon them in droves.

Let's spread our wings and fly.

mrsyk , November 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

In order to vote in the New York State Democrat party primary you must be a registered Democrat. In NY the primary is where most seats are won and lost. Being registered as a Democrat is a necessary evil in some cases.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 3:53 am

It has never been clear to me why a hostile takeover of the Democrats, followed by a management purge and seizure of its assets, should be framed as "saving" the Democrat Party. I think that's what a lot of Sanders people would like to do. It's also not clear to me why people think the Democrats can simply be by-passed , and don't need to be assaulted, and if from the inside, all the better.

As readers know, my experience with the Greens was poor (as it has been with others I have talked to). This is especially sad since the GP in Maine had seemed to be viable. So, my fear of the Greens is not fear of the un known, but fear of the known ; I worked at dysfunctional non-profits before, and I don't need to do it again. Others, especially CP activists, may differ in their experience, but that's mine. (Note that I was reinforced in my priors by Stein's lawyer adopting the "Russian hacking" meme in Stein's post-election lawsuits.)

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

if Bernie's primary campaign and support had been transferred to the Green Party, he would have been a very serious contender,

I agree. But Sanders couldn't join the Green ticket, because he made a promise to support the Democratic candidate, and unlike some politicians, he tries to keep his promises. So what did the Greens do? Instead of actively trying to gain the support of Sanders primary voters, they nominated ideological purist Ajamu Baraka as their Vice Presidential candidate, and he would not back down from unrealistic insulting criticism of Sanders. In effect, the Greens chose to fail.

todde , November 7, 2017 at 10:20 am

I am not interested in keeping the two party system. Either the country breaks apart, or we will have regional parties that can compete with the Democrats and the Republicans.

Audacity of Hope , November 6, 2017 at 6:25 pm

How many clowns can dance on the head of a pin? Debating whether it feels better to have a donkey or an elephant standing on your neck is a fools errand. Neither the Democrat or Republican party is democratic or representative of any more than a handful of families from the Billionaires Club. While they may favor different individuals in the ruling class, neither faux-party has the slightest interest in the rabble who don't line their pockets and provide protection against electoral defeat.

Elections are a stage managed charade in our kleptocracy. Expecting them to change anything that matters, or alter the course of the Warfare State is pure delusion. First we must have Collapse, then Chaos before we can have Change that we can believe in.

animalogic , November 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

"First we must have Collapse, then Chaos before we can have Change that we can believe in." You are right -- although hopefully mere "crisis" will be sufficient for radical change rather than complete collapse & chaos . Collapse & chaos may void any chance of organised positive change. Having said that the signs are not good: see https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/06/the-ecosystem-is-breaking-down/ for the less than cheery news on ecosystem breakdown. Both parties must be revealed unambiguously to the whole public as the completely morally bankrupt, treasonous & vicious entities that socialists & progressives have known them to be for decades.

zapster , November 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

The big problem with the Democrats is that they just kicked all the Progressives out and actively oppose them. Voting for blue dogs doesn't get us anywhere.

Vatch , November 6, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Yes, that's a genuine problem. Here are some possible solutions:

https://www.ourrevolution.com/candidates/

https://now.justicedemocrats.com/candidates

http://brandnewcongress.org/candidates/

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:07 am

You are correct about Carter. Zbigniew Brzezinski was a creature of the Rockefellers, and he was Carter's Special Assistant for National Security. Prior to becoming President, Carter was a member of the Trilateral Commission.

sharonsj , November 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

The rigging was obvious from the start. When nearly all the super delegates declared for Clinton before a single primary was held, I read numerous reports that said the reason was quid pro quo. The super delegates were to be given campaign money in exchange for their support. The agreement proves it.

That, and what the DNC did to Bernie supporters during the convention, made me swear I'd never give them a penny. I have only donated to specific candidates directly. Meanwhile, the Dem establishment stubbornly remains clueless as to why it cannot regain the House and Senate.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm

I have seen portions of the agreement (not sure if JFA or MOU) characterized as a "slush fund" for consultants. Naturally, of course, but one might also wonder if that slush fund was used to purchase any superdelegate votes. Pure speculation I didn't have time to run down, so I left it on the cutting room floor.

SpringTexan , November 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm

G, a lot happened to Sanders supporters at the convention, too much to recap but you can probably find stories about it. Many walked out but their seats were filled by paid seat-fillers so the hall didn't look empty, also from what I understand paid seat-fillers sometimes didn't let them take their seats. Signs were blocked, white noise was used to muffle boos, etc.

Before the convention, many of the primaries had a lot of funny business (not all, I know of no problems here in Texas). But California, Arizona, New York, Puerto Rico, Nevada and others all had SERIOUS problems with things such as efforts to prevent Sanders supporters from voting, questionable vote counting (such as at Nevada caucuses), efforts to make voting difficult by having few poll places, etc., etc.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:32 am

..actually, while all you intone is accurate, we did clearly hear the boos from Senator Sanders supporters of which I was one.

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

I think there were irregularities in Illinois, too. I recall that 6 counties did not have enough Democratic ballots, and the Democratic Attorney General, a Clinton supporter, sued to prevent voters in those counties from voting after election day. In Massachusetts, Bill Clinton illegally electioneered near or in a polling place. But the authorities let him get away with it.

Steve from CT , November 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Great article Lambert. TheGreenwald article was helpful but yours is the icing on the cake. Hopefully many will read this so that they do not get confused with all of the Clintonista response to Brazile. Howard Dean must be suffering from early Alzheimer's to write such a lie. But he has done it before.

Fiery Hunt , November 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm

It's hard for me to believe anyone can, with a straight face, suggest the 2 agreements are equal.How can you have more than one agreement giving "the authority to make the final decision " ??!! Final means last, no? #corruptlosers

ChrisAtRU , November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

From no less than Joy Ann Reid w.r.t. "DNC Collusion":

"YOU CAN'T TRICK PEOPLE INTO VOTING FOR WHO THEY VOTED FOR"

I wonder if this type of logic can and should be applied to #Russian Collusion/Interference ;-)

#ProbablyNotCoolByMSNBC

hemeantwell , November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016 campaign; we're supposed to look forward and not back. However, the demand not to "relitigate" assumes that the case is closed; as Brazile shows, we're hardly through with the depositions, let alone prepared to render judgment. So, when you hear "relitigate," think "silencing tactic," and ask yourself who and what silence serves.

Well said. Regular contact with the centrist MSM recently is like being subjected to hypnotism routines from 50s movies. "You are thinking forward, forward, forward. When I snap my fingers you will feel fresh, eager to believe in the promises of the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama."

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

A case could be made that the party of FDR is not the same one as the party of Barack Obama. :-)

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:43 am

and yet FDR stood by while his own "Senator Sanders" – Henry Wallace was sidetracked from his vice-presidency and legacy as FDR's successor (to the chagrin of Eleanor, among many) by corporate dems James Byrnes, stooge for big oil and U.S. steel, who replaced Wallace with Truman at 1944 dem convention

However, there certainly is no comparison, as you note, between obama's complete lack of "transparency, oversight, accountability" regarding bush-cheney war crimes, Wall Street frauds, destabilization of entire Middle-East, leading to republican trump administration, and FDR

Most authors-historicans I have encountered believe FDR had no real idea how ill he was

jsba , November 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm

A while ago, I read a story about the DNC's misuse of unpaid interns. The story itself was barfy enough, but what really shocked me was an aside asserting that even official elected DNC members were barred from viewing the DNC's budget. ( http://paydayreport.com/unpaidinternsatdnc/ )

"Surely that can't be true," I said to myself. But it is! I looked up the DNC's charter and bylaws and the standing budget committee is specifically exempted from article 9 section 12, which says that all official meetings of the DNC and its committees must be open to the public and cannot involve voting by secret ballot. http://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.democrats.org/Downloads/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.17.15.pdf

"WTF kind of an organization is this?!" I thought. How on earth is that even legal?

Well, after the Brazile disclosure of the Clinton MOU, I went back to look at the DNC charter/bylaws. You'll note on the first page the date the current version was adopted–2 days after the MOU was signed!

Anyone wanna take a bet that the budget committee carveout was one of things that was changed?

Anonymous , November 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

jsba, suggest you use the Wayback machine or another internet archive and look at prior historical copies of DNC charter/bylaws, to identify the changes. Could be very illuminating as to (possible) criminal intent?

jsba , November 6, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I did find a 2009 dated version ( https://www.demrulz.org/wp-content/files/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.11.2009.pdf ).

I was wrong about the budget committee carveout–it's in this version as well (still completely insane!).

The fact that it was amended 2 days after the MOU is, obviously, still extremely suspicious. I don't have time to, but the 2009 version would be useful to identify possible changes.

Di Modica's Dumb Steer , November 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

As much as I'd like to switch parties (hah) so as to add to the greater numbers of fleeing formerly party faithful, I'm in one of those 'closed primary' states. My vote is already nearly worthless (though I exercise my right every chance I get); to switch to a third party would make sure I'm both excluded from the more interesting local party contests AND drowned out in national contests. Lose/lose. Maybe if something like Maine's (currently under attack) Ranked Choice Voting existed all over, I'd be less sour about the whole thing.

Donald , November 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Yeah, you need people like Lambert willing to do the work. It is exhausting keeping up with the truths, half truths and lies promulgated in the press and trying to figure out what is true and what isn't.

EricT , November 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm

I find it interesting that the agreement involved control of the IT/data infrastructure of the DNC. Doesn't the DNC administer the democratic party registry? And with that observation, wasn't there a lot of illegal party switching that caused a problem for some Democrats voting in party restricted primaries that had their registration switched, so that they couldn't take part in the primaries. Wouldn't it be interesting if the switched parties were on the DNC record as donating to Bernie's campaign? Fixed, indeed.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 1:13 am

I'm not sure I understand your scenario, but the DNC "voter file" and the state's list of registered voters are two different things.

JCC , November 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It just goes to show you

Skip in DC , November 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Manipulations of the deplorable superdelegate system, with its covert quid pro quo payoffs after the Clintons take power, was part of a seamless fix. Premature coronation by media and party wigs after primary victories in red states no Democrat would win in the general election helped ice it.

Perhaps revelations will turn up on mainstream media, from the Sabbath Gasbags to NPR, knifing Bernie with Hillary talking points at every opportunity, when he wasn't being ignored. Thomas Frank wrote persuasively on WaPo's bias in Swat Team in Harper's, and there have been tidbits on off-record Clinton media cocktail parties and such. But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved. Certainly Jeff Bezos has a Washington wish list. I marveled at how many journalists suddenly sounded like breathless valley girl propagandists. And still do. What faster way to tank journalism's credibility than that perception?

I guess that's why after catching headlines more of my reading time shifts to alternative offerings such as those presented here.

Mark P. , November 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved.

I worked as a journalist in America for over a decade. I cannot stress enough how unnecessary such a literal fix would be. (Though doubtless words were and are exchanged between concerned parties when needed.)

The hive-mind position of most U.S. journalists -- and especially of editors, who tend to be the most compliant with the power-structure and often the stupidest people in the room -- was (and is) an automatical default to unquestioning support -- even worship -- of the Democratic Party, its elite, and Clintonite neoliberalism.

I once wrote a long feature that got a crush-letter from Joe Lieberman's office. The editors at the magazine in question were ecstatic and printed that letter as its own separate feature in the next issue. Personally, I thought Leiberman was scum, but kept my qualms to myself and was glad I used a byline.

Samuel Conner , November 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

It seems to me that the HRC campaign's JFA was expressly designed to -- and succeeded in its design -- circumvent the statutory $2700 limit on direct campaign contributions. Yet I have not seen commentary that suggests any laws were violated. What am I missing?

AnnieB , November 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

To me, it seemed that the Democratic Party had already decided for clinton before the primaries, as at my local caucus the party had planted each neighborhood group with a party faithful, not from the neighborhood, who would argue for clinton and fear monger about Trump. I know this because I talked to the plant in my group, asked her where she lived, and discovered it was not in my neighborhood; it was a different town. Others reported the same.

Also, a Dem party leader came up to me and said "Sanders is not going to be the nominee" and "When this is over (meaning the primary), then you'll be supporting Hillary, right?" I told her to never assume anything.

So, thanks to Brazile, no matter her motivation, for providing proof of what we already knew.

Richard , November 6, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I think you don't see that skill set very much in party leaders because they so rarely need for the party to win elections. They do need to be able to maintain control over their parties, so they're great at being cutthroat and cheating. But apart from certain important individual elections, the success of the party as a whole isn't a big priority for them. There are spoils to divide either way.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:49 am

fyi, Lambert, the two political parties, while both far too corrupt, are different-your own false-equivalencies aside

Sam Adams , November 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm

I worked on the Sanders primary campaign in my city. I watched as the state/regional leadership consistently tanked the gotv and other Sanders ground outreach while a few local leaders working in smaller areas worked their hearts out on the ground. Surprisingly (or not) the state/ regional leadership bailed to work on the HRC campaign within hours of closing the primary office.

Nancy Sutton ,