#25 Time to ‘fess up

 

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Stephen Cohen has another excellent article out about Russiagate (from December 15).  Stephen Cohen is an editor at The Nation and professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University.  Cohen advised George H.W. Bush in the late 80s when the latter was vice president.  The conclusion of this Russia expert’s piece, focusing on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is interesting:

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?

Source:  The Scary Void Inside Russia-gate

obama hillary russia

Any time that you read Consortium News, you should probably take a glance at the comments.  There are intelligent people in there.  I read an interesting comment by Bill.  Below, I have excerpted a portion of it and added a note:

Bill comment on Stephen Cohen article2.jpg

 

The best way to get up to speed on all the alternative voices that RT gives a platform to is to watch the following clip by American comedian Lee Camp.  While Redacted Tonight is supposed to be funny, it can also be pretty darn oppressive–  because the truth hurts.  But do not fear, in this clip Camp is in fine form and pretty darn amusing the whole time (one of the best since the Syria episode):

 

Since Russiagate’s substantive claims against Russia as a country are now essentially that Russian media (e.g. RT) has given a platform to anti-Establishment American voices, I guess we have no choice but to admit that the Russiagaters are right.

Time to ‘fess up and admit that “the Russians” sowed discord in our society. But then, so did teleSUR with Abby Martin’s Empire Files, so did Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Flint Michigan’s drinking water, FDR, fracking, the French Revolution, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, every philosopher after Hegel including Marx, every rebellious punk and heavy metal band ever, weed, Alan Watts, Timothy Leary & co., magic mushrooms, every poet and artist who ever existed, morality, Plato, ideas, words, thoughts, transgender chicks from Brazil, the human race in general, humanity as an abstract concept, dolphins, the Earth’s magnetic core, and every Green and Libertarian party independent who has ever run.

To anyone who I forgot, which undoubtedly includes almost all other concepts, countries, people, interesting rock formations, geometric shapes, pie charts, Chinese food, Robert Parry, investigative journalism, quasars, acid rain, love as a phenomenological experience, astrology written by far-left anti-Capitalists, every philosopher before Hegel,  celestial objects including but not limited to gas giants (shout out to guitarist Trey Azagthoth), Freedom Fries for being so stupid, political cartoonists, and the billions and billions served, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

When you define “election” as the American status quo and “Russian interference” as anything that doesn’t reflexively support the status quo, yeah, you can argue “Russian interference affected the election.” X affected Y. According both to Leibniz and strains of modern quantum physics, you can put literally anything in that formula and it will work!

But maybe we should ask “why” the Russians (e.g. RT) try to educate the American masses by giving a voice to America’s own exiled-from-MSM thinkers and pundits.  Maybe we should ask whether “sowing discord” is really a fair phrase to use here.  Are they are not doing their small part, as any decent citizen of Earth would, to get the American populace to wake up before they die in their sleep (meanwhile the MSM sits back like Walter White)?

On October 31, 2017, ex-Army officer Clint Watts (a “dubious Russia ‘meddling’ expert,” as Max Blumenthal calls him) testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee that social media needed to be censored, because “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words:”

“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.”

Source:  Max Blumenthal at Alternet

It’s possible that Watts really believes what he is doing is virtuous, but then again, a lot of people are reaping fame and fortune today by blowing the Red Scare out of proportion.  At any rate, Watts’ scaremongering about “civil war” seems disingenuous when the guy is currently tweeting about how the Mueller probe needs to be protected:

clint re-tweet on Mueller

Protected?!  More like it should be splintered into a thousand pieces!  See, to a more or less neutral observer, the Mueller probe is starting to look like a deep state coup, which, if successful, would cause those well-armed Trump supporters to lose their minds.  And the FOX news folk (and the Wall Street Journal and many others) are on to it.

But we are supposed to believe it’s the Russians that are inciting “civil war” here?!

Consider the following theory about the Strzok demotion, which Alexander Mercouris calls “the true scandal of the 2016 election” or “Strzok-Gate.”  Peter Strzok was a member of Mueller’s team who was demoted to an HR role when some of his virulently pro-Hillary / anti-Trump texts were discovered.  Mercouris argues that Strzok probably did more than say some mean things about Trump.  He may have been the guy responsible for using the “p.p. Dossier” (Steele Dossier)– which he must have known was bogus– as the basis for a wiretap on Trump’s team:

“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 Donald Trump.”

Source:  “Strzok-gate and the Mueller Cover-Up” @ Lee Rockwell

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal says:

“[T]he public [should] know if, and how, America’s most powerful law-enforcement agency was influenced by Russia or partisan U.S. actors. All the more so given Mr. Comey’s extraordinary intervention in the 2016 campaign, which Mrs. Clinton keeps saying turned the election against her. The history of the FBI is hardly without taint.”

Source:  “Mueller’s Credibility Problem,” WSJ, Dec. 4, 2017

When it asks if the FBI was “influenced by Russia,” the WSJ is asking whether the FBI used the bogus intel in the Steele Dossier (which was actually provided by Russian contacts) as the basis for a wiretap.  The WSJ continues:

“[T]he FBI have continued to defy legal subpoenas for documents pertaining to both surveillance warrants and the infamous Steele dossier that was financed by the Clinton campaign and relied on anonymous Russian sources.

While there is no evidence so far of Trump-Russia collusion, House investigators have turned up enough material to suggest that anti-Trump motives may have driven Mr. Comey’s FBI investigation. The public has a right to know whether the Steele dossier inspired the Comey probe, and whether it led to intrusive government eavesdropping on campaign satellites such as Carter Page [former Trump foreign policy adviser].”

Meanwhile, other commentators are speculating as to whether Adam Schiff (D-CA), a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating “Russian influence,” leaked classified information to the media.

The leaked information turned out to be false, even though it initially appeared to show collusion between Trump Jr. and Wikileaks.  The inestimable Glenn Greenwald says of the events of Friday, Dec. 8, 2017:

“The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, and countless pundits, commentators, and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.”

Source:  “The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages and Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened” @ The Intercept

The Greenwald article is brilliant and everyone should read it.  Multiple news outlets reported the fake news, bringing into mind the question of how they all received the same fake intel.  None have been willing to give up the source(s) who fed them the false information.  Was the intel fed to Schiff or one of his compatriots by a secret counterintelligence unit to see if he would leak it?

We can only hope.

It would not be surprising that the desperate Schiff would leak something that he thought would justify his own non-stop “Russia!” babble.  As James Freeman puts it in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece:

“[N]early nine months later, he’s still going on talk shows and making accusations. He’s still declining to back them up. And he’s still finding friendly news organizations to broadcast his claims, even though by this time a fact-free Schiff accusation of collusion with Russians can hardly be considered news.”

Source:  James Freeman, “Is CNN Protecting Adam Schiff?” (Opinion) WSJ, Dec. 11, 2017

As Greenwald says,

“Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump-Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.”

With the spying on a rival political campaign and all, Russiagate is really starting to live up to its name.  As always in the perverse psychology of Russiagate, the accuser turns out to be the actual perp.*  If folk like Clint Watts are sincerely worried about a civil war, maybe they should worry less about a few lefties on RT and worry more about the obvious-coup-is-obvious against the President.

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*but when I accuse people of babbling ceaselessly about Russia and then babble ceaselessly about Russia, it’s for a good reason.

 

 

 

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#24 Why I am Not Afraid of Russian Trolls Taking Over My Mind

When I was all of 9 or 10 years old, I told my aunt, who was visiting us out in the country, that we should all stock up on toy guns.  At that time you could get a realistic all-black toy M-16 or Uzi at practically any department store. The trend towards plastic toy guns coming tipped with orange muzzles was very disturbing to my young mind.  It wasn’t necessarily that I thought Western civilization was being eroded, but I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a toy gun with an orange tip.

toy mp5

Modern toy MP5.  I fired the real version in full auto at Battlefield Vegas, and while the MP5 lacks the tactile and olfactory pleasures of a classic, steel .45 Tommy Gun or a 9mm Nazi MP40, it handles nicely.

 

We never did stock up, and I suppose I regret it to this day.  My nephew will need to rip his toy guns apart, or slap them with paint, to make them look realistic.

You know, it just occurred to me that I don’t remember owning a toy AK-47.  I wonder if that was a consequence of anti-Soviet bias on the part of toy manufacturers in the 80s, or if I just never happened upon one.

I get a similar feeling of cultural degeneration when, driving across the windswept plains, my eyes are assaulted by the piercing blue of those unnatural LED Christmas lights.  I don’t like any LED Christmas lights, but I suspect the blue lights in particular of being a Chinese or possibly alien plot to destroy America.  And really, there is no escape from them unless you are living like the Unabomber; an ubiquitous feature of household electronics, even my crappy new coffee maker sheds enough light to give the appearance of a TV being on in the kitchen when the other lights are out.

I long for the warm light of incandescent bulbs, which are hard to find these days.  I sincerely do not think that the electricity that is saved using fluorescent lights in the home is worth the decrease in our quality of life.  Light is, of course, very literally the image of life.

Each of us has our own pet peeves about modern life, and most will seem ridiculous to our peers.  But we do need to ask, in our “liberal” quest for a safer, more efficient society:  is the cost worth the benefit?

One of the most disturbing trends on the modern political scene is the rehabilitation of the neocon architects of the Iraq War.  The guilty parties are very often Democrat-voting liberals, which frustrates me tremendously because those people should know better.

Kristol pumpkin pie

I asked the people in the above thread if they were being serious, and the only one who replied said “I am.”  Even if the people above were putting on a satire, there were literally thousands of others who most definitively were not.  This is all in the name of fighting Donald Trump, whose coarse speech and vulgar tweets have offended liberal sensibilities.

I am especially pained to say anything good about Trump today (December 6, 2017), when people woke up to find out that he is moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with an acknowledgment that the latter city is the true capital of Israel.  This is bound to set Israeli and Palestinian relations back decades, and has already ignited the ire of the entire Middle East.

I suppose the good news is that the White House and Capitol Hill will not be moved to Israel.

Amir on Israel

Some commentators have speculated that the move by President Trump may have a positive impact by drawing international attention back to the plight of the Palestinians.  But that is a long shot.

msnbc palestine

Also on this day (December 6, 2017), Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he will run for re-election this Spring.  Witnessing the many tweets about Putin’s alleged control of Trump, I was compelled to troll a few people, pointing out that Trump’s Israel bombshell should be the nail in the coffin of the Russia Collusion conspiracy theory.  Unlike the U.S. government, Putin has absolutely no desire to see the Middle East destabilized.  Russia is allies with Syria and Iran, both of whom have been in U.S. crosshairs for quite some time.  There is speculation that the embassy move is part of a neocon plot to incite Muslim attacks on Israel, which, depending on how it turns out and how it can be spun, might give the U.S. an “excuse” to attack Iran.

Sadly, the brilliance of the Russiagate narrative is that it has generated support for censorship, increased defense spending, and military aggression among the normally recalcitrant liberal crowd, the nominal foes of such policies.  As we have been seeing, these so-called liberals have been reveling in their newfound ability to reach across the aisle and cozy up to unrepentant neocons like Bill Kristol.  But I would be remiss if I did not confess that simultaneously, leftists like me have been discovering new friends of our own among nationalists, libertarians, and even some true conservatives.

I will say right now that if people are enjoying the spectacle of the Trump investigation, more power to them.  I hereby consent to my tax dollars being spent on this quixotic mission, for it entertains you like a football game.  I’ll give it the go-ahead even if the investigation’s success would be the biggest Pyrrhic victory since 279 B.C., seeing as how I can’t imagine evangelical neocon President Pence as any improvement.

What I will not consent to is the indictment of an entire country on false charges.

In my last few posts, I have made a clumsy effort to point out the unprecedented internet censorship and abuse of FARA that the new Cold War has heralded.  I will not belabor that particular point here.  Since my last post, the Washington Post has dutifully published pieces of bigoted anti-Russian propaganda at every opportunity.  They are now claiming that Russia went back in time to collude with Hitler in order to throw the 2016 election:

“What Russian collusion with Hitler reveals about interference in the 2016 election”

Well, it is possible I summarized that article incorrectly… but such a claim does not require more sci-fi suppositions than the one actually posited to this day.  That is, that Putin had the power and foresight to get Trump elected, but his crystal ball malfunctioned before it could foretell how the Clintonist camp and globalist media would subsequently put so much pressure on Trump that détente with Russia would be impossible.  (As far as I know, the legendary Caitlin Johnstone was the first person who illustrated the absurdity of the conspiracy theory in the aforesaid manner.)

Dissecting pieces like the WaPo gem above is child’s play and I can’t resist.

1)  All this is not “to tempt people to entertain yet another ill-judged Hitler-Trump comparison.” = With this inoculation, surely no one can accuse us of making ridiculous historical analogies!

2)  Headline itself: “What Russian collusion with Hitler reveals about interference in the 2016 election.” Dumb much?  This should be case-closed already.  But the article goes on to describe desperate Russian dissidents and Tsarist exiles in the ’20s who attempted to ally themselves with Hitler.

3)  Article’s conclusion: “The graveyards holding more than 20 million Soviet citizens killed by Hitler’s men should act as somber warning about the dangers of the pursuit of a hazardous geopolitical strategy.”  But the article has the gall to say that the “secret collusion” of a few Russian dissidents in the ’20s laid the groundwork!

4)  Desperate commentators try to make connections out of the nonsense:

Putin tsarist

The commentator’s analogy is inverted. The “least” ridiculous historical analogy to be drawn here would be between the dissidents in the ’20s and the current domestic anti-Putin “Russian liberals” who “collude” with NATO. But they are all ridiculous comparisons, and frankly the article is brazen propaganda and insulting, on a jaw-dropping level, to the sacrifice made by the Russians during WWII.

Unfortunately, the repetitive chanting of the “hate Russia” crowd is hypnotizing a huge portion of the U.S. population.  Everything the intelligence community has offered as proof that Russia “threw” the election turns out to be laughable (Pikachu, puppy ads airing after the election, etc), but the Red Scare warmongers are not interested in giving up the narrative.  The reason for that is obvious.  It’s working, and people are gullible enough to go along with it, just as a lot of the same people went along with the “WMD” narrative in ’02-’03.  The Russians are being crucified right now for sharing their “ideas” with us.  That is the threat.

I don’t find that argument compelling.  I acknowledge the power of ideas, but I am not afraid of them.  If I suspect someone on twitter might be a foreign agent of some sort, I have the choice to mute, unfollow, or block that person.  In reality, I don’t even do that, because again, I am not afraid of ideas.  Can you say the same for yourself?

The hour grows late and I don’t have the time here to pontificate on the seemingly-intractable problems that our nation faces.  I don’t have time tonight to talk about the tragic farce of the International Olympics Committee (I.O.C.) banning Russia from the 2018 Winter games, presumably under pressure from Western governmental forces– but the great Phil Butler tackles the lurid affair at the independent outlet Russia Insider.

But domestically, it would help if the Democrats would take a look at themselves in the mirror, man up, and take responsibility for Clinton’s loss.  I did.  I’ll admit it was painful, but I am glad to have my head out of the sand.  For anyone who is still teetering on the edge, I recommend the following segment from comedian Jimmy Dore, who absolutely nails the stunning deceit at the core of Russiagate.  If you are not afraid of ideas, give it a chance.