Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Anonimous bulletin, 2018

Home 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Feb 11, 2018] A very strange story of Page surveellance extentions by Scott Ritter

Notable quotes:
"... The bottom line is that the memo exposed the ugly truth that, at least in the case of Page, the FBI and DOJ, on multiple occasions, deliberately lied to or otherwise misled the FISA court in an effort to violate Page's Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, or that the FISA court is, in fact, little more than a rubber-stamp entity incapable of adequate oversight of the enormous responsibilities it has been entrusted with---or both. ..."
"... WSJ confirms Carter Page was cooperating with FBI before he entered campaign ..."
"... 'What's notable here that seems to have evaded previous notice is that instead of being a Russian agent of influence, Page at the time he spang briefly into a prominent role within the Trump campaign in early 2016, was already an FBI informant, something the Russians would obviously know. This becomes even more crucial later that summer after Page returned from a business trip to Moscow when he was repeatedly named in the James Steele "dirty dossier" as a close confident of Russian energy officials and bankers. Page actually appears to have all the hallmarks of an FBI informant, or an agent provocateur, who was planted into the Trump campaign as part of an intelligence operation. Only, it seems apparent, the intelligence service he was actually serving was American rather than Russian. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

This presupposes that the FISA renewal left unchanged the information linked to Steele that underpinned its initial application. By January 2018, however, the FBI had terminated its relationship with Steele based on the deceit of the former British intelligence officer. As such, all Steele's reporting should have been recalled as unreliable, as well as any corroborating information that could be linked to Steele in any way (such as the Isikoff article, the Papadopoulos investigation and the CIA's information as briefed to Sen. Reid). Any sworn affidavit and application used in support of a FISA renewal that sustained the Steele reporting would have been misleading at best, and most probably false, making anyone whose signature appears in any certifying capacity open to charges of making a false statement---including both Comey and Yates.

The next application for renewal occurred in April 2017. This one would have been signed off by Comey and then-acting Attorney General Dana Boente, who took over from Yates after she was fired by Trump in January 2017---shortly after she signed off on Page's FISA warrant renewal application.

What is interesting about the April 2017 application is that the level of public scrutiny of the Steele dossier engendered by BuzzFeed's publication of it in January 2017 would seem to have at least raised the issue of Steele's credibility as a source, something that should have been reflected in the FISA renewal application.

Moreover, by the time of the renewal application, Page had met with the FBI over the course of 10 hours in March 2017, when he was questioned in depth about his interactions with Russia. Following past practice, the FBI agents conducting the interview would have relied upon FISA material to try and catch Page in a "perjury trap," where it could be proved that he made a false statement to a federal agent. No such charges have been filed, strongly suggesting that Page was honest and forthright with the FBI. To what extent, if any, the Steele dossier factored in the April 2017 application for renewal, and whether the FBI informed the FISA court about the 10 hours of questioning it conducted with Page, is not known. Nor is the context, if any, the FBI provided to any intercepted communications that would raise them to the level needed to sustain a renewal of a FISA warrant.

The final FISA renewal application was submitted and approved in July 2017. This one was signed off by McCabe and acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. By this time, the media had run with numerous stories about Page being the subject of a FISA warrant, and Page himself had appealed to both Rosenstein and Mueller to make public the application used to grant his FISA warrant. Page was unemployed, his professional life ruined by the public revelations about allegations that he had colluded with the Russians and was under active FBI investigation, the totality of which could be linked back to the information Steele provided the FBI.

And yet somehow, in the face of overwhelming evidence of Page's innocence, the FISA court saw fit to grant yet another renewal of its warrant.

... ... ...

The bottom line is that the memo exposed the ugly truth that, at least in the case of Page, the FBI and DOJ, on multiple occasions, deliberately lied to or otherwise misled the FISA court in an effort to violate Page's Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure, or that the FISA court is, in fact, little more than a rubber-stamp entity incapable of adequate oversight of the enormous responsibilities it has been entrusted with---or both.

Scott Ritter spent more than a dozen years in the intelligence field, beginning in 1985 as a ground intelligence officer with the US Marine Corps, where he served with the Marine Corps component of the Rapid Deployment Force at the Brigade and Battalion level. In 1987 Ritter was hand-picked to serve with the On Site Inspection Agency, where he was responsible for carrying out the provisions of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev. Ritter served as a Deputy Site Commander of a specialized inspection team stationed outside a Soviet missile factory. For his work, Ritter received two classified commendations from the CIA. After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Ritter was assigned to a special planning cell that reported directly to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, where he helped plan the employment of Marine Corps combat forces in response to Iraq's actions. He was later deployed to Saudi Arabia, where he served on the intelligence staff of General Norman Schwartzkopf .


truthynesslover , February 9, 2018 1:29 PM

It gets better.......Carter Page was an FBI informant.

WSJ confirms Carter Page was cooperating with FBI before he entered campaign

'What's notable here that seems to have evaded previous notice is that instead of being a Russian agent of influence, Page at the time he spang briefly into a prominent role within the Trump campaign in early 2016, was already an FBI informant, something the Russians would obviously know. This becomes even more crucial later that summer after Page returned from a business trip to Moscow when he was repeatedly named in the James Steele "dirty dossier" as a close confident of Russian energy officials and bankers. Page actually appears to have all the hallmarks of an FBI informant, or an agent provocateur, who was planted into the Trump campaign as part of an intelligence operation. Only, it seems apparent, the intelligence service he was actually serving was American rather than Russian.

That is significant for another very important reason – according to the Washington Post, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant last summer to spy on the Trump campaign under the pretext that Page was alleged to be a Russian agent.

https://www.washingtonpost.... ...

coronaoutgloria2 , February 8, 2018 9:09 PM

First!! the agony of those democrats (union rights, civil liberties, protection of the poor etc.) is understood in the light that there is no democratic party. where have you been?? the clintons and all their charm have wrecked it. bernie sanders is nothing but 'clinton lite'. look at the record and enlighten yourself. if hellary were elected in 2016 we would be in trouble more so than trump. fascism is crawling beneath the feet of both these miscreants but hellary had the mechanism of the deep state. they failed to elect her. forget about the rules and know that, now, trump is the deep state's favorite boy (look his people). trump has failed to gain the media's favoritism but that will change. given what the FBI has done (if there is no punitive action) we will have slipped another gear into grinding fascism. we are reaching an overt state. Scott Ritter did well writing about the bungling of the FBI but that is not new. Some people are welcomed to lie to agents some are not.
But most of all do not forget what Scott Ritter did in the investigation of WMD prior to Bush (deep state) and the Iraq war. Nobody listened because they did not know how.

Kronosaurus , February 7, 2018 3:14 PM

If Ritter has the correct analysis then we are all royally screwed. The Dems will be burned for a generation, Trump will be vindicated and we will all have to drag our sorry butts to Trumps military parade and lick his shoes. I am so depressed after reading this. I hope Ritter is wrong and overlooking that he may not have all the facts himself. I find it hard to believe the FISA courts would renew three times when public skepticism was in the air. That would be a major scandal. The problem is that the GOP won't get religion and start distrusting the police state they helped create. They will ignore the fact that they just passed legislation bolstering the FISA courts and go back to locking up the plebes and shielding their big money benefactors.

What's funny about this is that this piece is way more solid then the "memo". That alone makes you wonder. I'm not sure what it means. I await the counter memo with much interest.

mulga mumblebrain Kronosaurus , February 8, 2018 12:51 AM

The Nunes memo is just a precis of good deal of information, and even that is but a part of the evidence of the Demonazi, and elements of the FBI and Justice Department, conspiracy to stop Trump. If Trump is capo di tutti capi in Thanatopolis DC, it is Clinton and her incompetent fellow conspirators' fault.

truthynesslover Kronosaurus , February 7, 2018 5:24 PM

The dems deserve to be burned to the ground........next stop republicans

truthynesslover Kronosaurus , February 8, 2018 1:59 PM

Trump ran against the GOP and neo-cons like Bush.

Democrats are now the Neo-con party and far more dangerous.

Neo -cons wanted Hillary and its why they are going after Trump.Trump was never supposed to win.Trump was a anti-gop candidate.So republicans are the anti -war party now.

Ironinc no?

How Donald Trump blasted George W. Bush in S.C. -- and won ...

▶ 2:03

https://www.cnn.com/2016/02...

Feb 21, 2016At a CNN town hall in Columbia on Thursday, Trump stopped short of repeating the claim that George W. Bush ...

Breaking taboos: Donald Trump and Bush's WMD 'lie'

| USA | Al Jazeera

▶ 8:50

www.aljazeera.com/.../break... ...

Feb 22, 2016In the Republican debate in South Carolina last weekend, presidential candidate Donald Trump declared live ...

Donald Trump in 2007: Bush's War Was Based On Lies, Iraq Will ...

https://www.realclearpoliti... ...

Sep 11, 2015In 2007 in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Donald Trump spoke about the Bush administration and the Iraq War ...

RoloTomassi truthynesslover , February 8, 2018 8:48 AM

These people--and all these folks in law enforcement and corporate hierarchies and the list goes on and on--they LIE. They manipulate. Newsflash, that is human nature, despite all of the bogus, idealistic posturing made in these comments and in the world at large.

But my point is that these same people play by a set of rules that they defined for themselves, and now the conservative faction wants special treatment for their buffoon Trump. They need to suck it up and take their medicine. Trump is a vile, unintelligent cretin and a criminal, and I really don't care if the means by which they remove him doesn't rise to the level of your or others supposed BS-idealism.

The U.S. government is an unethical $hit show driven by the most heinous form of capitalism ever imagined, so what the hell do you expect? Do try to get in touch with reality and put down your tome of rightwing talking points.

truthynesslover RoloTomassi , February 8, 2018 2:05 PM

LOL!!

Im a left Sanders voter.Trump is literally doing what you say you want and your too bias to notice.

Newsflash........Trump is bringing to the forefront just how corrupted our system is.The $shitshow has just started........even MSNBC cant ignore the treason of the FBI and DOJ any more.

And did you miss Trump tweet about the wallstreet crash?

Didnt he call out the fact wallstreet bets against the US economy?

Trump tweeted Wednesday:

"In the 'old days,' when good news was reported, the Stock Market
would go up. Today, when good news is reported, the Stock Market goes down. Big mistake, and we have so much good (great) news about the economy!"

Didnt Trump just make an important criticism of capitalism?.....I think he did.Sorry you missed it.

truthynesslover Calvinius , February 7, 2018 7:55 PM

The entire corporate media is coming down with the Russia ruse....

from James Petras:

The Logic behind Mass Spying: Empire and Cyber Imperialism
https://petras.lahaine.org/...

The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America
http://petras.lahaine.org/?...

The Two Faces of a Police State: Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers and Money Launderers while Policing the Citizens
http://petras.lahaine.org/?...

The Rise of the Police State and the Absence of Mass Opposition
http://petras.lahaine.org/?...

The Great Transformation: From the Welfare State to the Imperial Police State
http://petras.lahaine.org/?...

[Feb 11, 2018] How Russiagate fiasco destroys Kremlin moderates, accelerating danger for a hot war

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The pro-Hillary warmongering media, the ones that pushed for war in Iraq and elsewhere, through big lies and false evidence, are the vanguard of this ugly machine that supports the most terrible Trump administration bills, yet, this machine can't stop accusing him for 'colluding' with Russia that 'interfered' in the 2016 US election. Of course, no evidence presented for such an accusation and no one really can explain what that 'interference' means. ..."
"... They're accusing the President of the United States of being a Russian agent, this has never happened in American history. However much you may loathe Trump, this is a whole new realm of defamation. For a number of years, there's been a steady degradation of American political culture and discourse, generally. There was a time when I hoped or thought that it would be the Democratic Party that would push against that degradation ..."
"... Now, however, though I'm kind of only nominally, a Democrat, it's the Democratic Party that's degrading our political culture and our discourse. So, this is MSNBC, which purports to be not only the network of the Democratic Party, but the network of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is now actually because this guy was a semi-anchor was asking the question to an American senator, " Do you think that Representative Nunes, because he wants the memo released, has been compromised by the Kremlin? " ..."
"... And by the way, if people will say, " Well, it's a weak capitulation of McCarthyism, " I say no, it's much more than that because McCarthy was obsessed with Communist. That was a much narrower concept than being obsessed with anybody who might be under Russian influence of any kind. The so-called affinity for Russia. Well, I have a profound affinity for Russian culture and for Russian history. I study it all the time. This is something new. And so, when you accuse a Republican or any Congressman of being a Kremlin agent, this has become a commonplace. We are degraded. ..."
"... We are building up our military presence there, so the Russians are counter-building up, though within their territory. That means the chances of hot war are now much greater than they were before. ..."
"... Every time Trump has tried with Putin to reach a cooperative arrangement, for example, on fighting terrorism in Syria, which is a necessary purpose, literally, the New York Times and the others call him treasonous. Whereas, in the old days, the old Cold War, we had a robust discussion. There is none here. We have no alert system that's warning the American people and its representatives how dangerous this is. And as we mentioned before, it's not only Nunes, it's a lot of people who are being called Kremlin agents because they want to digress from the basic narrative. ..."
"... Meanwhile, people in Moscow who formed their political establishment, who surround Putin and the Kremlin, I mean, the big brains who are formed policy tankers, and who have always tended to be kind of pro-American, and very moderate, have simply come to the conclusion that war is coming. ..."
"... The Democrats couldn't had downgrade their party further. This disgusting spectacle would make FDR totally ashamed of what this party has become. Not only they are voting for every pro-plutocracy GOP bill under Trump administration, but they have become champions in bringing back a much worse and unpredictable Cold War that is dangerously escalating tension with Russia. ..."
Feb 06, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

How Russiagate fiasco destroys Kremlin moderates, accelerating danger for a hot war with Russia globinfo freexchange

Corporate Democrats can't stop pushing for war through the Russiagate fiasco.

The party has been completely taken over by the neocon/neoliberal establishment and has nothing to do with the Left. The pro-Hillary warmongering media, the ones that pushed for war in Iraq and elsewhere, through big lies and false evidence, are the vanguard of this ugly machine that supports the most terrible Trump administration bills, yet, this machine can't stop accusing him for 'colluding' with Russia that 'interfered' in the 2016 US election. Of course, no evidence presented for such an accusation and no one really can explain what that 'interference' means.

But things are probably much worse, because this completely absurd persistence on Russiagate fiasco that feeds an evident anti-Russian hysteria, destroys all the influence of the Kremlin moderates who struggle to keep open channels between Russia and the United States.

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NY University and Princeton University, explained to Aaron Mat้ and the Real News the terrible consequences:

They're accusing the President of the United States of being a Russian agent, this has never happened in American history. However much you may loathe Trump, this is a whole new realm of defamation. For a number of years, there's been a steady degradation of American political culture and discourse, generally. There was a time when I hoped or thought that it would be the Democratic Party that would push against that degradation.

Now, however, though I'm kind of only nominally, a Democrat, it's the Democratic Party that's degrading our political culture and our discourse. So, this is MSNBC, which purports to be not only the network of the Democratic Party, but the network of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is now actually because this guy was a semi-anchor was asking the question to an American senator, " Do you think that Representative Nunes, because he wants the memo released, has been compromised by the Kremlin? "

I think all of us need to focus on what's happened in this country when in the very mainstream, at the highest, most influential levels of the political establishment, this kind of discourse is no longer considered an exception. It is the norm. We hear it daily from MSNBC and CNN, from the New York Times and the Washington Post, that people who doubt the narrative of what's loosely called Russiagate are somehow acting on behalf of or under the spell of the Kremlin, that we aren't Americans any longer. And by the way, if people will say, " Well, it's a weak capitulation of McCarthyism, " I say no, it's much more than that because McCarthy was obsessed with Communist. That was a much narrower concept than being obsessed with anybody who might be under Russian influence of any kind. The so-called affinity for Russia. Well, I have a profound affinity for Russian culture and for Russian history. I study it all the time. This is something new. And so, when you accuse a Republican or any Congressman of being a Kremlin agent, this has become a commonplace. We are degraded.

The new Cold War is unfolding not far away from Russia, like the last in Berlin, but on Russia's borders in the Baltic and in Ukraine. We are building up our military presence there, so the Russians are counter-building up, though within their territory. That means the chances of hot war are now much greater than they were before. Meanwhile, not only do we not have a discussion of these real dangers in the United States but anyone who wants to incite a discussion, including the President of the United States, is called treasonous. Every time Trump has tried with Putin to reach a cooperative arrangement, for example, on fighting terrorism in Syria, which is a necessary purpose, literally, the New York Times and the others call him treasonous. Whereas, in the old days, the old Cold War, we had a robust discussion. There is none here. We have no alert system that's warning the American people and its representatives how dangerous this is. And as we mentioned before, it's not only Nunes, it's a lot of people who are being called Kremlin agents because they want to digress from the basic narrative.

Meanwhile, people in Moscow who formed their political establishment, who surround Putin and the Kremlin, I mean, the big brains who are formed policy tankers, and who have always tended to be kind of pro-American, and very moderate, have simply come to the conclusion that war is coming. They can't think of a single thing to tell the Kremlin to offset hawkish views in the Kremlin. Every day, there's something new. And these were the people in Moscow who are daytime peacekeeping interlockers. They have been destroyed by Russiagate. Their influence as Russia is zilch. And the McCarthyites in Russia, they have various terms, now called the pro-American lobby in Russia 'fifth columnists'. This is the damage that's been done. There's never been anything like this in my lifetime.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CpVBA4OIfb8

The Democrats couldn't had downgrade their party further. This disgusting spectacle would make FDR totally ashamed of what this party has become. Not only they are voting for every pro-plutocracy GOP bill under Trump administration, but they have become champions in bringing back a much worse and unpredictable Cold War that is dangerously escalating tension with Russia.

And, unfortunately, even the most progressives of the Democrats are adopting the Russiagate bogus, like Bernie Sanders, because they know that if they don't obey to the narratives, the DNC establishment will crush them politically in no time.

[Feb 11, 2018] What We've Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com

One consequence of the Trump-Russia fixation is the overshadowing of the far-right agenda that Trump and his Republican allies are carrying out, including, inexorably, policies that undermine the narrative of Trump-Russian collusion. But as that narrative is also used as a cudgel against Trump's presidency, it is worth asking if some of those policies are now even a direct result.

In December, Trump authorized the sale of new weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists. President Obama had rejected the arms shipments, "fearing that it would only escalate the bloodshed," as The New York Times noted in 2015. Trump had also opposed such a move during the campaign, but was swayed by lobbying from advisers and congressional neoconservatives . "Overall," observed Andrew Weiss , a Russia expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "I see this discussion [on Trump-Russia] as fitting within a broader effort by people within the national security bureaucracy to box Trump in on Ukraine."

The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response.

[Feb 11, 2018] DemoRats and neoliberal MSM are using Russiagate to empower the military-security complex

Notable quotes:
"... The Apprentice ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The Atlantic ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Daily Beast ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Rachel Maddow, the top-rated cable-news host who covers Russiagate more than all other issues combined , has speculated that Putin was responsible for the hiring of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; is inducing Trump to "weaken" the State Department and " bleed out " the FBI; and, via the infamous "pee tape" alleged by Steele, may blackmail Trump into withdrawing US forces near Russia's border . ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Far beyond Israelgate, Russiagate allows them to oppose Trump while obscuring key areas where they either share his priorities or have no viable alternative. Democrats can claim to be Trump's opposition without having to confront many of the failings that handed them one of the most stunning defeats in US political history. ..."
"... The DP is a neoliberal party which has been able to distinguish itself from Republicans by campaigning like progressives, but governing as neoliberals. ..."
"... Trump ran his campaign as a populist who would "drain the swamp." He opposed trade deals, and corporations relocating their factories outside the US. The Clinton campaign ran mostly negative personal attacks at Trump's failed marriages, his university, business bankruptcies, abuse of women, and his Russian connection. ..."
"... The DP has a real problem, how can they continue to be a neoliberal party, and cooperate with the RP, while pretending to support progressive causes when more and more people realize the charade and are demanding real progressive change? ..."
"... This whole "we lost the election because of Russian interference" argument appears to be roughly on the same level as "the dog ate my homework" dodge. ..."
"... The bottom line of any Trump association is financial - whether or not an association will protect and increase his wealth. Trump most likely believed that Russians were hacking the DNC (and the RNC) and favored him over Clinton, but that is a far cry from proof that he was colluding with a foreign government that committed crimes. The Democrats knee-jerk obsession with Russia serves to inoculate Trump from any real crimes that the Mueller investigation uncovers. Mostly those crimes will be financial, money laundering being the foremost. Democrats, in a 'the sky is falling' tone, breathlessly proclaim the latest revelation that Trump wanted a reset of Russia relations, or that some Trump official actually talked to a Russian official, as proof positive that Trump is a traitor. That Russia is the enemy is a fait accompli. ..."
"... To go on any liberal forum and point out that we really do need a better foreign policy with Russia than demonizing Putin is to bring forth a cascade of vituperation. Russia is the enemy and Trump colluded with the enemy, end of story they say. It's really way more complicated than that. It goes to the heart of the financialization of governments, including ours, to the point where finance can no longer be separated from government, and everything in government becomes a business transaction. Trump views the presidency as just another tool for self-enrichment, on a continuum from his global wheeling-dealing working on the boundaries of the law. The Russian state works in much the same way, a government that is run by a confederation of oligarchs and mob figures. ..."
"... In indulging themselves in Russiagate, Democrats have solidified the current provocative foreign policy that benefits the arms industry while putting civilization in danger. They are closing out all the sane options, and engaging in the same asinine fearmongering that Republicans do. On foreign policy, both parties deserve contempt. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Originally from: What We've Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate by Aaron Mat้ ( The Nation)

... ... ...

Neither "Proven nor Disproven"

Both scenarios also call into question another foundation of Russiagate, the series of Clinton-campaign-funded intelligence reports written by former British spy Christopher Steele. The premise of the Steele dossier is of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" in which Russia has been "cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years," beginning back when Trump was hosting The Apprentice . Russia gives Trump "and his inner circle a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals." As an insurance policy, Steele contends, at least two years after their conspiracy began, the Russians collected a videotape of Trump hiring and watching prostitutes "perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show," in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room.

This questionable narrative is perhaps why, according to the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, after one year and multiple investigations, the dossier's allegations remain neither "proven nor, conversely, disproven" -- in other words, not proven. According to Fox News, "when pressed [in recent congressional testimony] to identify what in the salacious document the bureau had actually corroborated [then–FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe cited only the fact that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had traveled to Moscow." It would not have been difficult for the FBI -- or Steele -- to figure that out, given that it was reported in The Washington Post and Russian media in early July. (Steele reports it only on July 19.)

"Missing Hard Evidence"

The shaky evidentiary basis for collusion extends to Russiagate's other central pillars. It has been over a year since the release, shortly before Trump's inauguration, of a US intelligence report alleging a Russian-government campaign to elect Trump through e-mail hacking and covert propaganda. Amid the ensuing uproar, some quietly noted at the time that the public version of the report "does not or cannot provide evidence for its assertions" ( The Atlantic ); contained "essentially no new information" ( Susan Hennessy , Lawfare ); and was "missing what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims" ( The New York Times ).

If "hard evidence" is what "many Americans most eagerly anticipated" in January 2017, they have continued to wait in vain. The Russian government may well have hacked Democratic Party e-mails, but evidence of it beyond unsubstantiated claims has yet to arrive.

In its place is a bipartisan fearmongering campaign that recalls the height of the Cold War. The nation is said to face "an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process" ( Democrats Representative Adam Schiff and Senator Dianne Feinstein ); in which "Russia continues to disseminate propaganda designed to weaken our nation" ( former acting CIA director Michael Morell and former Republican Representative Mike Rogers ); which means that we cannot "simply sit back and hope that we do not face another attack by a hostile foreign power" (Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen).

A credulous national media has helped disseminate the panic. When news of Russian-linked Facebook ads (in reality, Russian troll farms ) broke open, The Daily Beast calculated that the "Russian-funded covert propaganda posts were likely seen by a minimum of 23 million people and might have reached as many as 70 million," meaning that "up to 28 percent of American adults were swept in by the campaign." National audiences were soberly informed of covert Russian attempts to dupe them via Pokemon Go . CNN reported -- and multiple outlets repeated -- that "highly sophisticated" Russian Facebook ads targeted "the states that turned out to be pivotal," including "Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump's victory last November." The New York Times consulted with "analysts" to ponder over the mysterious significance of a Russian-linked "Facebook group for animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies":

The goal of the dog lovers' page was more obscure. But some analysts suggested a possible motive: to build a large following before gradually introducing political content. Without viewing the entire feed from the page, now closed by Facebook, it is impossible to say whether the Russian operators tried such tactics.

We may never know if vulnerable American dog-lovers were compromised by the Russian puppy-gandists. But "analysis" and "exclusives" like these have drowned out the actual evidence. In brief, more than half of the relatively paltry $100,000 in Facebook ads bought by "Russian-linked" accounts ran after the election. They were mostly related not to the election but to social issues and were often juvenile and written in broken English. Those that were "geographically located" came mostly during the primaries. The ads that ran in battleground states were, as one study noted , "microscopic": Fewer than a dozen ran in Michigan and Wisconsin combined, and the majority were seen fewer than 1,000 times. Purported Russian ad spending amounted to $1,979 in Wisconsin -- all but $54 of that during the primary -- $823 in Michigan, and $300 in Pennsylvania.

Summarizing available data, The Washington Post 's Philip Bump concludes : "what we actually know about the Russian activity on Facebook and Twitter: It was often modest, heavily dissociated from the campaign itself and minute in the context of election social media efforts."

"Theories With Virtually No Fact"

The impact of Russiagate panic has been magnified by a preponderance of influential exponents wading into imaginative territory. And their audience happens to be millions of people aggrieved by Trump's presidency and seeking hope that it can be reversed.

Rachel Maddow, the top-rated cable-news host who covers Russiagate more than all other issues combined , has speculated that Putin was responsible for the hiring of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; is inducing Trump to "weaken" the State Department and " bleed out " the FBI; and, via the infamous "pee tape" alleged by Steele, may blackmail Trump into withdrawing US forces near Russia's border .

The Russian influence theory is so ingrained that Democrats see no irony in invoking it to dismiss the conspiracy theories of Republicans. Denouncing the current right-wing uproar over alleged anti-Trump bias at the FBI, Senator Chuck Schumer cautioned that in pushing "conspiracy theories with virtually no fact," the Republicans "wittingly or unwittingly are acting as allies of Russia's disinformation campaigns," ultimately "playing right into Putin's hands."

Such is our Trump-era political spectrum: a Republican Party that has graduated from birtherism to now pushing fears of an anti-Trump FBI "secret society," versus a Democratic Party whose counterattack is to accuse its foes of doing Putin's bidding.

... ... ...

As it ramps up its armed presence near Russia, the Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy declares that the US military advantage over Russia and China is "eroding," and that reversing it is now more of a priority than stopping ISIS or Al Qaeda. "Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security," Defense Secretary James Mattis declared. Russia is the top threat invoked in Trump's Nuclear Posture Review. The plan's centerpiece is the development of smaller, so-called "low-yield" nuclear weapons, small enough to ensure that Russia fears their actual use. The review attributes this to the "deterioration of the strategic environment" -- "a nod toward existing tensions with Russia in particular," The Washington Post observes .

Tensions between the world's two major nuclear powers have helped lead the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move its Doomsday Clock to its highest point since 1953. "Nuclear risks have been compounded by US-Russia relations that now feature more conflict than cooperation," the Bulletin warns . "Coordination on nuclear risk reduction is all but dead. For the first time in many years, in fact, no US-Russian nuclear arms control negotiations are under way."

The nuclear risks may also be compounded by a US opposition party that has made "more conflict than cooperation" a defining trait. "Never before has a U.S. president so clearly ignored such a grave threat, and a growing threat, to U.S. national security," declares Senator Ben Cardin . In not imposing new sanctions, Trump has "let Russia off the hook yet again," says Representative Eliot Engel . In releasing the House Republican memo, Trump has "Vladimir Putin there smiling like he gave Donald Trump the script" ( Representative Jackie Speier ) and has "just sent his friend Putin a bouquet" ( Representative Nancy Pelosi ). It is difficult to imagine Democrats leading the charge to reduce nuclear tensions with Russia when they expend more energy urging Trump to be confrontational.

With Trump's actual Russia policies receiving less attention than Russiagate, it also makes sense that his administration has begun to take advantage of the opportunities that the distraction provides. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has warned that there are "initial signs" of Russian "subversion and disinformation and propaganda" in Mexico's upcoming presidential election . McMaster did not cite any evidence, but perhaps he had in mind the multiple polls that show leftist candidate Andr้s Manuel L๓pez Obrador as the front-runner so far .

Top Priorities

The focus on still-absent evidence of Trump-Russia collusion while ignoring increasing US-Russia tensions coincides with the indifference that has greeted the most concrete case of Trump collusion with a foreign government so far: the Trump transition's effort to undermine President Obama's abstention on a United Nations Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in December 2016. Undertaken at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "derailing the vote was Mr. Trump's top priority at that time," The Wall Street Journal reports .

But for Democrats and thought leaders to oppose the Trump transition's "top priority" would mean challenging one that they uphold. "While [the UN effort] might have otherwise given the Democrats a welcome political opportunity to underscore the perfidy of the Trump team," Stephen Zunes observes , "they are hindered by the fact that the majority of Congressional Democrats opposed Obama and supported Trump's position on the vote."

It is here that Russiagate performs a critical function for Trump's political foes. Far beyond Israelgate, Russiagate allows them to oppose Trump while obscuring key areas where they either share his priorities or have no viable alternative. Democrats can claim to be Trump's opposition without having to confront many of the failings that handed them one of the most stunning defeats in US political history.

In focusing on a foreign villain, there is also little need for Democrats to challenge the powerful sectors of US society that many Trump voters were duped into thinking that they were voting against -- and whose interests many Democrats have deftly served. In fact, the outside enemy offers Democrats new opportunities to cater to powerful donors: increased militarism towards a nuclear power is a boon for the military-security establishment, and lawmakers who promote it have been duly rewarded .

Less understandable is how Democrats and partisan media outlets can continue to prioritize Russiagate over factors that likely cost their party far more votes than any stolen e-mails or Facebook ads: gerrymandering , voter suppression , declining unionization , exhaustive Trump media coverage , and the unregulated, worsening " dark-money " takeover of political campaigns. Or any number of domestic outrages around which large segments of the population, not just liberals , could be mobilized.

After more than one year of its engulfing our politics, perhaps that could be Russiagate's most helpful contribution: guiding us to the challenges that it helps us avoid.

  1. Victor Sciamarelli says: February 10, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    An interesting article especially the conclusion under "Top Priorities" where it states, "It is here that Russiagate performs a critical function for Trump's political foes. Far beyond Israelgate, Russiagate allows them [democrats] to oppose Trump while obscuring key areas where they either share his priorities or have no viable alternative."

    This is important and I largely agree, but the observation could have gone further. The DP is a neoliberal party which has been able to distinguish itself from Republicans by campaigning like progressives, but governing as neoliberals.

    Trump ran his campaign as a populist who would "drain the swamp." He opposed trade deals, and corporations relocating their factories outside the US. The Clinton campaign ran mostly negative personal attacks at Trump's failed marriages, his university, business bankruptcies, abuse of women, and his Russian connection. Jill Stein was attacked and brought before the Senate Intelligence Committee because the dossier claimed, falsely, that she accepted payment from Russia to attend a RT event in Moscow. And we all know what happened to the Sanders' campaign.

    None of this would matter because Clinton was expected to win. Trump is a hypocrite and a fake populist but the populist message resonated with voters. Bernie Sanders, the real deal populist, remains the most popular politician in America and he is the most popular democratic politician among Republican voters.

    The recent FISA reauthorization bill passed with 65 House Democrats who joined Trump and the Republicans. In 2002 the DP controlled the Senate, but 29 Dems joined Republicans to pass the Iraq War Resolution along with 82 House Dems. And was the Republican regime change in Iraq better than the Democratic regime change in Libya? And recall that Hugo Chavez, who was democratically elected, governed constitutionally, and complied with international law, and if he ever crossed a line it was trivial compared to the lines Bush crossed, was labeled a dictator and attacked much like Putin is today.

    The DP has a real problem, how can they continue to be a neoliberal party, and cooperate with the RP, while pretending to support progressive causes when more and more people realize the charade and are demanding real progressive change?

    Maintaining a neoliberal course on behalf of elite interests is more important than winning elections. Thus, while Trump is investigated, the DP and supportive media are preparing to demonize progressives and any alternative voices as nothing more than Russian puppets.

  2. Jeffrey Harrison says: February 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Articles like this one on The Nation surprise me. The Nation seems to be in the pockets of the DNC and their Hillary-bots. While this is a great article, I'm left with a sense of dissatisfaction based on what was missing from it. Nobody seems to see the forest for the trees.

    The first thing missing is the reality that Three Names won the election by about 3 million votes. Mr Mat้ does a good job of pointing out the weaknesses of the whole facebook/twitter meme but leaves out that Three Names' problem was not a lack of votes but a lack of breadth of votes. She won the major population centers but not the countryside and thus lost the state. Folks in the countryside are much less likely to be on facebook and twitter than their city cousins and thus will be relatively immune from the influence of ads on those platforms. If you want to see real meddling, take a look at what AIPAC is doing.

    The other thing that's missing is the danger behind sanctions. There's another name for sanctions - economic warfare. These are actually forbidden by the UN charter unless authorized by the UN but the US has never let its promises keep the US from doing exactly what it wanted to. In the past, sanctions have, in fact, led to shooting wars. What we are doing is perpetrating economic warfare on the only country capable of destroying the United States.

    In what way could this be considered wise?

  3. Matthew Walsh says: February 10, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I appreciate this article--and I agree with many of its arguments--but it contains some layered irony that is important to address. The author is correct in asserting that there is irony in the Democrats' claim that Republicans' opposition to the investigation is not based in fact.

    But I find it ironic that the author is accusing the Democrats of using Russiagate to empower the military-security complex. It's a highly plausible prospect, but it's certainly no more plausible than Russian collusion accusations.

  4. Dan Swanson says: February 10, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Superb article. My only quibble is that Trump probably did collude with Russians -- not over the election, but over his business interests, and that exposing this will damage his overall popularity, even among some of his supporters. But the article's major point still stands -- putting all the opposition eggs into the Russiagate basket is a big risk, especially now that the Republicans will take aim at Social Security and Medicare. Among major politicians, only Bernie Sanders has recognized that Russiagate distracts from Trump's true evils.

  5. Robert Borneman says: February 10, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Kudos to Mr. Mat้ for keeping a clear eye out on the facts and evidence of the case against Russia having thrown the election to Hillary (which is paltry at best, and falsely exculpatory of HRC's own disaster on the simple surface). Kudos to The Nation for not swallowing the same establishment DNC pill which seeks to provide cover for the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic Party by blaming Russia instead of their own (DNC's own) anti-democratic machinations and poor decisions.

  6. Philip Gerard says: February 9, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    This whole "we lost the election because of Russian interference" argument appears to be roughly on the same level as "the dog ate my homework" dodge. The democrats just can't admit that they blew the 2016 election . If they did they would have to look for answers and this is something they really do not want to do. Why? I suspect that they all ready know what they need to do to win but that would mean cutting ties with their corporate "constituents" and that is something they simply can not bring themselves to do.

  7. Michael Robertson says: February 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    The bottom line of any Trump association is financial - whether or not an association will protect and increase his wealth. Trump most likely believed that Russians were hacking the DNC (and the RNC) and favored him over Clinton, but that is a far cry from proof that he was colluding with a foreign government that committed crimes. The Democrats knee-jerk obsession with Russia serves to inoculate Trump from any real crimes that the Mueller investigation uncovers. Mostly those crimes will be financial, money laundering being the foremost. Democrats, in a 'the sky is falling' tone, breathlessly proclaim the latest revelation that Trump wanted a reset of Russia relations, or that some Trump official actually talked to a Russian official, as proof positive that Trump is a traitor. That Russia is the enemy is a fait accompli.

    To go on any liberal forum and point out that we really do need a better foreign policy with Russia than demonizing Putin is to bring forth a cascade of vituperation. Russia is the enemy and Trump colluded with the enemy, end of story they say. It's really way more complicated than that. It goes to the heart of the financialization of governments, including ours, to the point where finance can no longer be separated from government, and everything in government becomes a business transaction. Trump views the presidency as just another tool for self-enrichment, on a continuum from his global wheeling-dealing working on the boundaries of the law. The Russian state works in much the same way, a government that is run by a confederation of oligarchs and mob figures.

    To say that the Russians hacked the election is to say nothing. There is nothing that they have putatively done that we haven't done to them. The Facebook posts that are evidence of high-level psychological manipulation are indistinguishable from Republican spin. In indulging themselves in Russiagate, Democrats have solidified the current provocative foreign policy that benefits the arms industry while putting civilization in danger. They are closing out all the sane options, and engaging in the same asinine fearmongering that Republicans do. On foreign policy, both parties deserve contempt.

  8. Brian Cairns says: February 9, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Excellent job, Aaron! And thanks to The Nation for not getting swept up in the Russiagate hysteria like so many other progressive outlets have.

[Feb 11, 2018] Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts

Notable quotes:
"... These techniques are known in the intelligence community as "perception management," and have been refined since the 1980s "to keep the American people compliant and confused," as the late Robert Parry has reported . ..."
"... Population in the country was very poorly informed any how. And now, they, The Ruling Establishment which includes Media, have completely messed the people up -- making them compliant and confused. ..."
"... Does any body have idea how they are going to bring an end to this completely concocted bizarre drama? ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: 'This is Nuts' Liberals Launch 'Largest Mobilization in History' in Defense of Russiagate Probe – Consortiumnews By Coleen Rowley and Nat Parry

... ... ...

Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts.

These techniques are known in the intelligence community as "perception management," and have been refined since the 1980s "to keep the American people compliant and confused," as the late Robert Parry has reported .

We saw this in action last decade, when after months of disinformation, about 70% of Americans came to falsely believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 when the truth was the opposite – Saddam was actually an enemy of the Al Qaeda perpetrators.

... ... ...

Coleen Rowley, a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI's pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine's "Persons of the Year" in 2002.

Nat Parry is co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush . weilunion , February 9, 2018 at 5:35 pm

"Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts. These techniques are known in the intelligence community as "perception management," and have been refined since the 1980s "to keep the American people compliant and confused," as the late Robert Parry has reported. We saw this in action last decade, when after months of disinformation, about 70% of Americans came to falsely believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 when the truth was the opposite -- Saddam was actually an enemy of the Al Qaeda perpetrators."

Cognitive dissonance, lack of critical thinking, reliance on authority, in this case a former head of a criminal organization called the FBI.

People have no class consciousness. They have no idea who their enemies ar or how to organize.

This is the sad case of liberalism melting like warm butter while the fascists congeal.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Nicely put.

Dave P. , February 10, 2018 at 2:51 am

"Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts. . ."

Yes. On any bar counter, just start some conversation with the person sitting to you. With all this bizarre drama -- Russia-Gate, Iran, memos, dossier . . . going on TV, and in Washington being enacted knowingly by the the Powers who rule -- both, so called Liberals and Conservatives -- one can see how this emotional manipulation has worked to snooker just about most of the population. I just had the experience today during lunch at a bar counter. In our conversation, the person sitting next to me was ready to nuke Iran, N. Korea, and go after Russia; and go after Hillary too.

Population in the country was very poorly informed any how. And now, they, The Ruling Establishment which includes Media, have completely messed the people up -- making them compliant and confused.

Does any body have idea how they are going to bring an end to this completely concocted bizarre drama?

[Feb 11, 2018] Justice department's No 3 official to take Walmart's top legal job

Feb 11, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Revolving door in action

Brand attracted interest because of her potential to assume a key role in the Trump-Russia investigation. The official overseeing the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, has been repeatedly criticized by Trump. If Rosenstein had been fired or quit, oversight would have fallen to Brand. That job would now fall to the solicitor general, Noel Francisco.

"She felt this was an opportunity she couldn't turn down," her friend and former colleague Jamie Gorelick said. Walmart sought Brand to be head of global corporate governance at the retail giant, a position Gorelick said has legal and policy responsibilities that will cater to her strengths.
"It really seems to have her name on it," Gorelick said.

[Feb 11, 2018] Republican investigations put Blumenthal in spotlight

Notable quotes:
"... Steele also gave the dossier to Winer, who flagged to his superiors at the State Department, according to the source. Kerry was eventually briefed on its existence, and that it wasn't known how much was true. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.cnn.com

How Shearer's notes got to Steele

Shearer, an independent journalist, decided to investigate potential Trump-Russia connections after seeing stories about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the source said.

Shearer's so-called dossier is actually a set of notes based on conversations with reporters and other sources, according to the person who spoke to CNN, and he circulated those notes to assorted journalists, as well as to Blumenthal.

Blumenthal then passed the notes to Jonathan Winer, who was a State Department special envoy for Libya under former Secretary of State John Kerry, the source said. Winer had a previous relationship with Steele, and he passed it along to Steele in order to get his assessment.

Carter Page struggles to explain how he could advise both Kremlin and Trump team

Related Article: Carter Page struggles to explain how he could advise both Kremlin and Trump team

Blumenthal, according to the source, did not know that Winer would consult Steele on the Shearer document, and said Winer made that decision on his own.

After Winer gave Steele the notes from Shearer, Steele wrote that he found it interesting and it tended to corroborate some of what he found, but he also noted that it was uncorroborated, the source said.

Shearer's notes, a copy of which were obtained by CNN, make uncorroborated allegations involving Trump and Russia, and they cite unnamed Russian intelligence and Turkish sources.

Steele provided Shearer's notes to the FBI in October 2016.

What are the GOP allegations? Steele was being paid for his research by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by a law firm on behalf of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. A key allegation in last week's Nunes memo was that Steele's political connections to Democrats were not told to the FISA court, and Republicans are charging that Shearer's involvement could show Steele was receiving information from Clinton associates that went into the dossier he gave to the FBI. The criminal referral from Grassley and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham -- which was unclassified with some redactions this week -- states that Shearer's notes went to Steele through an official at the State Department and another person who was a "friend of the Clinton's." "It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele's work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele's allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility," the senators wrote in the criminal referral, which does not accuse Steele of wrongdoing but urges the Justice Department to investigate the matter. Winer worked with Steele from 2014 through 2016, according to another source familiar with their interactions. Steele provided Winer with reports related to the conflict in Ukraine and Russia as a courtesy, which was not unusual and considered one source among many used for assessing the situation on the ground in Ukraine, the source said.

Former CIA Director Brennan says Nunes 'abused his office' Steele also gave the dossier to Winer, who flagged to his superiors at the State Department, according to the source. Kerry was eventually briefed on its existence, and that it wasn't known how much was true.

Senior State Department officials showed the dossier to Kerry once it was clear the document was in wide circulation around Washington, according to the source. Kerry was not briefed on the Shearer document, the source said. Lee Wolosky, an attorney for Winer, said in a statement that Winer was "concerned in 2016 about information that a candidate for the presidency may have been compromised by a hostile foreign power." "Any actions he took were grounded in those concerns," Wolosky said.

"Today's attacks are nothing more than a further attempt to undermine the independence and credibility of special (counsel Robert) Mueller's ongoing investigation into those and related issues." What are Republicans saying? Republicans haven't come out and accused Blumenthal of any wrongdoing, but they've hinted in public appearances that raw intelligence may have been distributed for partisan purposes. Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House Oversight Committee and is a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, discussed Nunes' State Department investigation a Fox News interview Tuesday, saying he was "troubled" by the role the State Department played. Gowdy read the classified FISA documents that the Justice Department gave congressional committees access to on the condition that only one member of the majority and minority would view them. "When you hear who the source, or one of the sources of that information is, you're going to think, 'Oh, my gosh, I've heard that name somewhere before. Where could he possibly have been?'" the South Carolina Republican said.

Gowdy: Memo has no impact on Russia probe "A domestic source. I'm trying to think of Secretary Clinton defined him. I think she said he was an old friend who emailed her from time to time," Gowdy continued. "Sidney Blumenthal?" Fox News' Martha MacCallum asked. "That would be really warm," Gowdy concluded. Nunes made headlines over the weekend when he predicted more memos would be coming from his committee, but he says that the investigation into the State Department has already been in the works. "We have an active investigation into the State Department. That has been ongoing for a while now," Nunes told Fox News' Sean Hannity.

Nunes has repeatedly declined to discuss his investigations with CNN, saying he doesn't discuss committee business "in the halls." Graham declined to discuss Blumenthal's role in the committee's investigation into Steele, but said the State Department is one element of it. "There's some connections outside the Department of Justice and the dossier that we're looking at. One of them goes to the State Department," Graham told CNN. "It's clear to me he was using the dossier for political purposes and that should have been more alarming than it was."

Who are the players?

Blumenthal is no stranger to congressional investigations, playing a role in the House Benghazi Select Committee investigation that was led by Gowdy. Blumenthal testified behind closed doors as part of the Benghazi investigation, and he provided the committee with emails he exchanged with Clinton , who was secretary of state when the 2012 Benghazi attack occurred. Blumenthal sent Clinton dozens of emails while she was secretary of state on various foreign policy topics, some of which were unsolicited and others that were requested by Clinton.

A former journalist, Blumenthal has known the Clintons for more than 30 years, and he worked in the Clinton White House as senior adviser from 1997 to 2001. He's been by the family's side during difficult moments, including President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.

[Feb 11, 2018] In Afghanistan's Unwinnable War, What's the Best Loss to Hope For

Feb 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

After 16 years of war in Afghanistan, experts have stopped asking what victory looks like and are beginning to consider the spectrum of possible defeats.

All options involve acknowledging the war as failed, American aims as largely unachievable and Afghanistan's future as only partly salvageable. Their advocates see glimmers of hope barely worth the stomach-turning trade-offs and slim odds of success.

"I don't think there is any serious analyst of the situation in Afghanistan who believes that the war is winnable," Laurel Miller, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, said in a podcast last summer, after leaving her State Department stint as acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This may be why, even after thousands have died and over $100 billion has been spent, even after the past two weeks of shocking bloodshed in Kabul , few expect the United States to try anything other than the status quo.

It is a strategy, as Ms. Miller described it, to "prevent the defeat of the Afghan government and prevent military victory by the Taliban" for as long as possible.

Though far from the most promising option, it is the least humiliating. But sooner or later, the United States and Afghanistan will find themselves facing one of Afghanistan's endgames -- whether by choice or not.

[Feb 11, 2018] None Dare Call It Treason by James Kirkpatrick

Notable quotes:
"... Trump: Democrats 'Un-American,' 'Treasonous,' During State of the Union ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Is Trump Serious about 'Treasonous' Democrats? ..."
"... But Trump's "joke" really should be taken seriously. The likes of Nancy Pelosi are traitors in the most literal sense -- in that they openly and explicitly oppose the interests of American citizens ..."
"... Pelosi is entranced by 3 million 'Dreamer' illegals, insults Americans' children ..."
"... This year kicks off the new 3.8 billion yearly to Israel up from 3.1 billion and another 775 million for Israel missile defense and undoubtly more incremental aid bills as the year goes on. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

President Trump, allegedly humorously, later described the [neoliberal] Democrats' behavior during his State of the Union speech as "treasonous" and "un-American," prompting the usual hysteria [ Trump: Democrats 'Un-American,' 'Treasonous,' During State of the Union , by Jessica Taylor, NPR, February 5, 2018].

The chutzpah is breathtaking considering how journalists and their pet elected officials in the Democrat party have waged a nonstop insurgency against the President of the United States since his inauguration , accusing him of being a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Indeed, as even Never Trump cuckservatives at National Review wearily pointed out, Democrats have habitually and quite seriously called Republicans not only traitors but " terrorists " for opposing their various policies. [ Is Trump Serious about 'Treasonous' Democrats? , by Dan McLaughlin, February 5, 2018]

But Trump's "joke" really should be taken seriously. The likes of Nancy Pelosi are traitors in the most literal sense -- in that they openly and explicitly oppose the interests of American citizens and advocate their replacement with foreigners. Pelosi's ludicrous claim that the Founding Fathers (who created the Naturalization Act of 1790 ) would support the mass influx of "Dreamers" and that illegals are "more American than Americans" is as definitive a statement of hatred for American citizens as can be imagined [ Pelosi is entranced by 3 million 'Dreamer' illegals, insults Americans' children , by Neil Munro, Breitbart, February 7, 2018].

renfro , February 9, 2018 at 8:46 am GMT

Hell, they are ALL traitors here is how they spend their time in congress

That's 376 bills, more than one a day and I haven't even gotten into the trade and appropriation categories where they bury other bills for Israel that would take several days of reading. This year kicks off the new 3.8 billion yearly to Israel up from 3.1 billion and another 775 million for Israel missile defense and undoubtly more incremental aid bills as the year goes on.

Hang them all and let God sort them out.

[Feb 11, 2018] Hope Hicks: Trump s confidante finds herself center stage in scandal

Feb 11, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Throughout Donald Trump's campaign and relentlessly chaotic presidency, the single constant presence at his side, outside of his family, has been the 29-year-old former Ralph Lauren model and White House communications director Hope Hicks.

While aides and advisers fall in and out of favor, Hicks has remained Trump's Oval Office gatekeeper, companion and sounding board, offering consistent loyalty.

But now Hicks has herself been cast into two plotlines currently playing out in the presidential daytime reality-soap.

In one, Hicks features as a likely target in the special counsel Robert Mueller's effort to acquire cooperating witnesses in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Hicks has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller's investigators.

In the other, her prized judgment is being called into question over Rob Porter, the senior White House aide accused of physically abusing two ex-wives and whom Hicks has reportedly been dating.

Publicly, Trump has offered his support for Hicks, saying: "Hope is absolutely fantastic. She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all."

But in private, the president is believed to have issued rare criticism of a woman who by some estimates is the most influential figure in the administration after Trump himself.

At issue is whether Hicks, who also served as communications director during the campaign, relaxed her judgment owing to her relationship with Porter.

White House officials have said Hicks knew that an ex-girlfriend of Porter's had informed aides that both of Porter's ex-wives had said he was violent. Hicks continued to see him and did not tell the president. Porter denies the allegations against him.

If the unfolding episode calls into question the maturity of Hicks' judgement, she clearly is invaluable as a personal assistant. In his campaign memoir, Let Trump Be Trump, Corey Lewandowski, the early campaign strategist – with whom, coincidentally, Hicks also had an affair – described her steaming Trump's suit while he is wearing it.

"She's really quite talented and able," Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of the president and chief executive of the conservative website Newsmax, told the Washington Post .

But her professional experience, especially where is comes to matters that carry potentially legal consequences, is limited. Hicks came to the Trumps through a PR firm that represented the Trump Organization. The family later hired her away to work exclusively for them, furnishing her with responsibilities that included working on Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

A GQ magazine profile in June 2016 described her: "She is a hugger and a people pleaser, with long brown hair and green eyes, a young woman of distinctly all-American flavor – the sort that inspires Tom Petty songs, not riots."

But her looks and fashion background can cause people to underestimate her. She has a background in PR and is a graduate of Dallas' Southern Methodist University.

[Feb 10, 2018] The generals are not Borgists. They are something worse ...

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively. ..."
"... These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." ..."
"... If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains. ..."
"... In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them. ..."
"... Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers ..."
"... Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs. ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case. ..."
"... Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/ ..."
"... A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security? ..."
"... God help the poor people of Syria. ..."
"... thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass... ..."
"... Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups ..."
"... A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong. ..."
"... The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous. ..."
"... They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard. ..."
"... So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning ..."
"... Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well. ..."
"... I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc. ..."
"... This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well. ..."
"... Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks). ..."
"... In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix. ..."
"... That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group. ..."
"... "The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. ..."
"... Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards". ..."
"... Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII. ..."
"... We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes. ..."
"... I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(Editorial Statement)

The Borgist foreign policy of the administration has little to do with the generals. To comprehend the generals one must understand their collective mentality and the process that raised them on high as a collective of their own. The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively.

These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board."

If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains.

In Obama's time they were asked what policy should be in Afghanistan and persuaded him to reinforce their dreams in Afghanistan no matter how unlikely it always was that a unified Western oriented nation could be made out of a collection of disparate mutually alien peoples.

In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them.

Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers. pl


Jack , 09 February 2018 at 05:42 PM

Sir

IMO, this conformism pervades all institutions. I saw when I worked in banking and finance many moons ago how moving up the ranks in any large organization meant you didn't rock the boat and you conformed to the prevailing groupthink. Even nutty ideas became respectable because they were expedient.

Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs.

Fredw , 09 February 2018 at 06:26 PM
You remind me of an old rumination by Thomas Ricks:

Take the example of General George Casey. According to David Cloud and Greg Jaffe's book Four Stars, General Casey, upon learning of his assignment to command U.S. forces in Iraq, received a book from the Army Chief of Staff. The book Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned from Malaya and Vietnam was the first book he ever read about guerilla warfare." This is a damning indictment of the degree of mental preparation for combat by a general. The Army's reward for such lack of preparation: two more four star assignments.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/02/07/cmon-man-meathead-generals-and-some-other-things-that-are-driving-me-crazy-about-life-in-this-mans-post-911-army/

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 06:37 PM
"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case.
Anna , 09 February 2018 at 06:48 PM
Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/

" in 2000-2001 the Taliban government –with the support of the United Nations (UNODC) – implemented a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production which is used to produce grade 4 heroin and its derivatives declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. The production of opium in 2001 was of the order of a meager 185 tons. It is worth noting that the UNODC congratulated the Taliban Government for its successful opium eradication program. The Taliban government had contributed to literally destabilizing the multibillion dollar Worldwide trade in heroin.

In 2017, the production of opium in Afghanistan under US military occupation reached 9000 metric tons. The production of opium in Afghanistan registered a 49 fold increase since Washington's invasion. Afghanistan under US military occupation produces approximately 90% of the World's illegal supply of opium which is used to produce heroin. Who owns the airplanes and ships that transport heroin from Afghanistan to the US? Who gets the profits?"

---A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security?

J , 09 February 2018 at 07:05 PM
Colonel,

There needs to be a 're-education' of the top, all of them need to be required to attend Green Beret think-school, in other words they need to be forced to think outside the box, and to to think on their feet. They need to understand fluid situations where things change at the drop of a hat, be able to dance the two-step and waltz at the same time. In other words they need to be able to walk and chew gum and not trip over their shoe-laces.

By no means are they stupid, but you hit the nail on the head when you said 'narrow thinkers'. Their collective hive mentality that has developed is not a good thing.

divadab , 09 February 2018 at 07:16 PM
God help the poor people of Syria.
james , 09 February 2018 at 07:30 PM
thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass...

i like what you said here "conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." - that strikes me as very true - conformist group thinkers... the world needs less of these types and more actual leaders who have a vision for something out of the box and not always on board... i thought for a while trump might fill this bill, but no such luck by the looks of it now..

David E. Solomon , 09 February 2018 at 07:50 PM
Colonel Lang,

Your description of these guys sounds like what we have heard about Soviet era planners. Am I correct in my understanding, or am I missing something?

Regards,

David

DianaLC , 09 February 2018 at 07:56 PM
As a young person in eighth grade, I learned about the "domino theory" in regard to attempts to slow the spread of communism. Then my generation was, in a sense, fractured around the raging battles for and against our involvement in Vietnam.

I won't express my own opinion on that. But I mention it because it seems to be a type of "vision thing."

So, now I ask, what would be your vision for the Syrian situation?

Bill Herschel , 09 February 2018 at 09:11 PM
This has been going on for a long time has it not? Westmoreland? MacArthur?

How did this happen?

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:40 PM
Bill Herschel

Westmoreland certainly, Macarthur certainly not. This all started with the "industrialization" of the armed forces in WW2. we never recovered the sense of profession as opposed to occupation after the massive expansion and retention of so many placeholders. a whole new race of Walmart manager arose and persists. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:48 PM
DianaC

The idea of the Domino Theory came from academia, not the generals of that time. They resisted the idea of a war in east Asia until simply ordered into it by LBJ. After that their instinct for acting according to guidance kicked in and they became committed to the task. Syria? Do you think I should write you an essay on that? SST has a large archive and a search machine. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:55 PM
David E. Solomon

I am talking about flag officers at present, not those beneath them from the mass of whom they emerge. There are exceptions. Martin Dempsey may have been one such. The system creates such people at the top. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:08 PM
elaine,

Your usual animosity for non-left wing authority is showing. A commander like the CENTCOM theater commander (look it up) operates within guidance from Washington, broad guidance. Normally this is the president's guidance as developed in the NSC process. Some presidents like Obama and LBJ intervene selectively and directly in the execution of that guidance. Obama had a "kill list" of jihadis suggested by the IC and condemned by him to die in the GWOT. He approved individual missions against them. LBJ picked individual air targets in NVN. Commanders in the field do not like that . They think that freedom of action within their guidance should be accorded them. This CinC has not been interested thus far in the details and have given the whole military chain of command wide discretion to carry out their guidance. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:12 PM
J

Thank you, but it is real GBs that you like, not the Delta and SEAL door kickers. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
Gaikomainaku

"I am not sure that I understand what makes a Borgist different from a military conformist." The Borg and the military leaders are not of the same tribe. they are two different collectives who in the main dislike and distrust each other. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:27 PM
Anna. Their guidance does not include a high priority for eradicating the opium trade. Their guidance has to do with defeating the jihadis and building up the central government. pl
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:30 PM
Peter AU

Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:44 PM
james

Trump would like to better relations with Russia but that is pretty much the limit of his attention to foreign affairs at any level more sophisticated than expecting deference. He is firmly focused on the economy and base solidifying issues like immigration. pl

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 11:01 PM
The medical profession comes to mind. GP's and specialists. Many of those working at the leading edge of research seem much wider thinking and are not locked into the small box of what they have been taught.
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 11:16 PM
Peter AU

The GPs do not rule over a hierarchy of doctors. pl

J -> turcopolier ... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
Combat Applications Group and SEALS don't even begin to compare, they're not in the same league as 'real deal' GBs. The GBs are thinkers as well as doers, whereas Combat Applications Group and SEALs all they know is breach and clear, breach and clear.

There is more to life than breach and clear. Having worked with all in one manner or another, I'll take GBs any day hands down. It makes a difference when the brain is engaged instead of just the heel.

kao_hsien_chih -> Jack... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong.

The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous.

FB Ali , 09 February 2018 at 11:23 PM
Col Lang,

They are indeed "narrow thinkers", but I think the problem runs deeper. They seem to be stuck in the rut of a past era. When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now.

Of course, these policies ensure that they continue to be well-funded, even if the US is bankrupting itself in the process.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 01:03 AM
dogear

He is still the Saudi Mukhtar for the US and most of the generals are still narrow minded. pl

LondonBob , 10 February 2018 at 06:59 AM
They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard.
turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 07:55 AM
LondonBob

I think that is true but, they were able to talk him into that, thus far. pl

DianaLC said in reply to turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 09:23 AM
I've been reading this blog for some time. My question was facetious and written with the understanding of your statement about the generals not having a good grasp of "the vision thing" on their own.
Terry , 10 February 2018 at 09:25 AM
So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning. Chimps are on average more creative and have better short term memory than humans. We gave up some short term memory in order to be able to learn quickly by mimicking. If shown how to open a puzzle box but also shown unnecessary extra steps a chimp will ignore the empty steps and open the box with only the required steps. A human will copy what they saw exactly performing the extra steps as if they have some unknown value to the process. Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well.

I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc.

One nice feature of the internet allows creative thinkers to connect and watch the idiocy of the world unfold around us.

"A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216212049.htm

TV , 10 February 2018 at 10:18 AM
The military by definition is a rigid hierarchical structure. It could not function as a collection of individuals. This society can only breed conforming narrow leaders as an "individual" would leave or be forced out.
Barbara Ann , 10 February 2018 at 10:22 AM
That part of our brain responsible for the desire to be part of the 'in crowd' may affect our decision-making process, but it is also the reason we keep chimps in zoos and not the other way around. Or, to put it another way; if chimps had invented Facebook, I might consider them more creative than us.
Babak Makkinejad -> Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 10:30 AM
Do you think chimps are, per the Christian Docrine, in a State of Fall or in a State of Grace?
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 10:32 AM
This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well.

Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks).

In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix.

Homogeneity is the main culprit. A specialists tends to try to solve problems with the same knowledge-set that created these.

Not all (parts of) organizations and people suffer this fate. Innovations are usually done by laymen and not by specialists. The organizations are often heterogeneous and the people a-typical and/or eccentric.

(mainly the analytical parts of ) intelligence organizations and investment banks are like that if they are worth anything. Very heterogeneous with a lot of a-typical people. I think Green Berets are also like that. An open mind and genuine interest in others (cultures, way of thinking, religion etc) is essential to understand and to perform and also to prevent costly mistakes (in silver and/or blood).

It is possible to create firewalls against tunnel-vision. The Jester performed such a role. Also think of the Emperors New Clothes . The current trend of people with limited vision and creativity prevents this. Criticism is punished with a lack of promotion, job-loss or even jail (whistle-blowers)

IMO this is why up to a certain rank (colonel or middle management) a certain amount of creativity or alternative thinking is allowed, but conformity is essential to rise higher.

I was very interested in the Colonel's remark on the foreign background of the GB in Vietnam. If you would like to expand on this I would be much obliged? IMO GB are an example of a smart, learning, organization (in deed and not only in word as so many say of themselves, but who usually are at best mediocre)

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> gaikokumaniakku... , 10 February 2018 at 11:58 AM
Isn't the "Borg" really The Atlantic Council?
ISL , 10 February 2018 at 12:58 PM
Dear Colonel,

Would you then say that a rising military officer who does have the vision thing faces career impediments? If so, would you say that the vision thing is lost (if it ever was there) at the highest ranks? In any case, the existence of even a few at the top, like Matthis or Shinseki is a blessing.

ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to FB Ali ... , 10 February 2018 at 01:08 PM
FB Ali:
"When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now."
That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group.
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 02:03 PM
I forget an important part. I really miss an edit-button. Comment-boxes are like looking at something through a straw. Its easy to miss the overview.

Innovations and significant new developments are usually made by laymen. IMO mainly because they have a fresh perspective without being bothered by the (mainstream) knowledge that dominates an area of expertise.

By excluding the laymen errors will continue to be repeated. This can be avoided by using development/decision-making frameworks, but these tend to become dogma (and thus become part of the problem)

Much better is allowing laymen and allowing a-typical people. Then listen to them carefully. Less rigid flexible and very valuable.

kooshy , 10 February 2018 at 02:19 PM
Apparently, according to the last US ambassador to Syria Mr. Ford, from 2014-17 US has spent 12 Billion on Regime change in Syria. IMO, combinedly Iran and Russia so far, have spent far less in Syria than 12 billion by US alone, not considering the rest of her so called coalition. This is a war of attrition, and US operations in wars, are usually far more expensive and longer than anybody else's.

"The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD

J , 10 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
Colonel, TTG, PT,

FYI regarding Syria

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/sen-tim-kaine-demands-release-secret-trump-war-powers-memo-n846176

Richardstevenhack -> turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 02:56 PM
It may "demand" it - but does it get it? Soldiers are just as human as everyone else.

I'm reminded of the staff sergeant with the sagging beer belly who informed me, "Stand up straight and look like a soldier..." Or the First Sergeant who was so hung over one morning at inspection that he couldn't remember which direction he was going down the hall to the next room to be inspected. I'm sure you have your own stories of less than competence.

It's a question of intelligence and imagination. And frankly, I don't see the military in any country receiving the "best and brightest" of that country's population, by definition. The fact that someone is patriotic enough to enter the military over a civilian occupation doesn't make them more intelligent or imaginative than the people who decided on the civilian occupation.

Granted, if you fail at accounting, you don't usually die. Death tends to focus the mind, as they say. Nonetheless, we're not talking about the grunts at the level who actually die, still less the relatively limited number of Special Forces. We're talking about the officers and staff at the levels who don't usually die in war - except maybe at their defeat - i.e., most officers over the level of captain.

One can hardly look at this officer crowd in the Pentagon and CENTCOM and say that their personal death concentrates their mind. They are in virtually no danger of that. Only career death faces them - with a nice transition to the board of General Dynamics at ten times the salary.

All in all, I'd have to agree that the military isn't much better at being competent - at many levels above the obvious group of hyper-trained Special Forces - any more than any other profession.

dogear said in reply to Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 02:59 PM
That is well put.most important is the grading system that is designed to fix a person to a particular slot thereby limiting his ability to think "outside the box" and consider the many variables that exist in one particular instant.

Creative thinking allows you to see beyond the storm clouds ahead and realize that the connectedness of different realities both the visible and invisible. For instance the picture of the 2 pairs of korean skaters in the news tells an interesting story on many levels. Some will judge them on their grade of proffiency, while others will see a dance of strategy between 2 foes and a few will know the results in advance and plan accordingly

https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.nbcolympics.com/news/north-south-korean-figure-skating-teams-practice-side-side%3famp?espv=1

Mark Logan said in reply to Peter AU... , 10 February 2018 at 03:30 PM
Peter AU

"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. STEM is enormously useful to us but seems to be a risky when implanted in shallow earth.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:03 PM
Mark Logan

These narrow "but deep" thinkers were unable to grasp the nature of the Iraq War for the first couple of years. They thought of it as a rear area security problem, a combat in cities problem, anything but a popular rebellion based on xenophobia and anti-colonialism The IED problem? They spent several billion dollars on trying to find a technology fix and never succeeded. I know because they kept asking me to explain the war to them and then could not understand the answers which were outside their narrow thought. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
ISL

War College selectees, the national board selected creme de la creme test out as 50% SJs (conformists lacking vision) in Myers-Briggs terms and about 15% NTs (intellectuals). To survive and move upward in a system dominated by SJs, the NTs must pretend to be what they are not. A few succeed. I do not think Mattis is an intellectual merely because he has read a lot. pl

outthere , 10 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards".

My favorite example was a Japanese fisherman who recovered valuable ancient Chinese pottery. Everyone knew where an ancient ship had sunk, but the water was too deep to dive down to the wreck. And everyone knew the cargo included these valuable vases. And the fisherman was the first to figure out how to recover them. He attached a line to an octopus, and lowered it in the area, waited awhile, and pulled it up. Low and behold, the octopus had hidden in an ancient Chinese vase. The fisherman was familiar with trapping octopuses, by lowering a ceramic pot (called "takosubo") into the ocean, waiting awhile, then raising the vase with octopus inside. His brilliance was to think backwards, and use an octopus to catch a vase.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:24 PM
TV

By your calculation people like Joe Stilwell and George Patton should not have existed. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:31 PM
Adrestia

the original GBS were recruited in the 50s to serve in the OSS role with foreign guerrillas behind Soviet lines in th event of war in Europe. Aaron Bank, the founder, recruited several hundred experienced foreign soldiers from the likely countries who wanted to become American. By the time we were in VN these men were a small fraction of GBs but important for their expertise and professionalism. pl

ked , 10 February 2018 at 05:56 PM
Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII.

We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes.

I note many Borgs... Borgism if you will. An organizational behavior that has emerged out of human nature having difficulty adapting to rapidly accelerating complexity that is just too hard to apprehend in a few generations. If (as many commenters on STT seem to...) one wishes to view this in an ideological or spiritual framework only, they may overlook an important truth - that what we are experiencing is a Battle Among Borgs for control over their own space & domination over the other Borgs. How else would we expect any competitive, powerful interest group to act?

In gov & industry these days, we observe some pretty wild outliers... attached to some wild outcomes. Thus the boring behavior of our political industries bringing forth Trump, our promethean technology sector yielding a Musk (& yes, a Zuckerberg).

I find it hard to take very seriously analysts that define their perspective based primarily upon their superior ideals & opposition to others. Isn't every person, every tribe, team or enterprise a borglet-in-becoming? Everybody Wants to Rule the World ... & Everybody Must Get Stoned... messages about how we are grappling with complexity in our times. I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far.

Unfortunately, I would not be amazed if reckless, feckless leaders changed the status quo. I was particularly alarmed hearing Trump in his projection mode; "I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity, without a major event where people pull together, that's hard to do.

But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing." It strikes me that he could be exceptionally willing to risk a Major Event if he felt a form of unity, or self-preservation, was in the offing. I pray (& I do not pray often or easily) that the Generals you have described have enough heart & guts to honor their oath at its most profound level in the event of an Event.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
babak

As a time traveler from another age, I can only say that for me it means devotion to a set of mores peculiar to a particular profession as opposed to an occupation. pl

Barbara Ann -> outthere... , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
Great example outthere.

Another springs to mind: James Lovelock (of Gaia hypothesis fame) was once part of the NASA team building the first probe to go to Mars to look for signs of life. Lovelock didn't make any friends when he told NASA they were wasting their time, there was none. When asked how he could be so sure, he explained that the composition of the Martian atmosphere made it impossible. "But Martian life may be able to survive under different conditions" was the retort. Lovelock then went on to explain his view that the evolution of microbial life determined the atmospheric composition on Earth, so should be expected to do the same if life had evolved on Mars. Brilliant backwards thinking which ought to have earned him the Nobel prize IMHO (for Gaia). Lovelock, a classic cross-disciplinary scientist, can't be rewarded with such a box-categorized honor, as his idea doesn't fit well into any one.

Another example of cross-disciplinary brilliance was Bitcoin, which has as much to do with its creator's deep knowledge of Anthropology (why people invented & use money) as his expertise in both Economics and Computer Science.

This is they key to creative thinking in my view - familiarity with different fields yields deeper insights.

[Feb 10, 2018] That Mueller picked Dumb-Strzok and his mistress, senior FBI attorney Lisa Page -- not to mention so many other widely known supporters/defenders of Mrs. Clinton -- to run his investigation is a perfect example of the overweening, unbridled arrogance

the MSM deification of Mueller reminds me much of their similar glorification of J Edgar Hoover at that time.
Notable quotes:
"... Given the state of the law and the Russia-gate cheerleading media -- both mainstream AND progressive -- Mueller's demonstrable malfeasance of the past has not yet put a dent in the "universally respected" honorific the New York Times has bestowed on him. Not yet. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Ray McGovern , February 9, 2018 at 11:57 am

Well done, Coleen and Nat,

Against the background of the excellent article Coleen wrote last June on Mueller:

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/06/russia-gates-mythical-heroes/

and one I wrote earlier, having had a chance to question Mueller personally before a large audience at Georgetown University:

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/18/how-nsa-can-secretly-aid-criminal-cases-2/

well, in the Bronx, we would call Mueller a crook; in Manhattan, a white-collar criminal.

Given the state of the law and the Russia-gate cheerleading media -- both mainstream AND progressive -- Mueller's demonstrable malfeasance of the past has not yet put a dent in the "universally respected" honorific the New York Times has bestowed on him. Not yet.

What may do him in, rather, is the same tragic flaw that did in the main actors of the Greek tragedies of two and a half millennia ago. The Greeks called it hubris.

That Mueller picked Dumb-Strzok and his mistress, senior FBI attorney Lisa Page -- not to mention so many other widely known supporters/defenders of Mrs. Clinton -- to run his investigation is a perfect example of the overweening, unbridled arrogance that led to the downfall of many a Greek hero.

Appearance of bias be damned.

And did no one notice how Mueller' best friend forever Comey immediately admitted that the reason he had one of his sidekicks leak sensitive information to the NY Times was that he wanted a special counsel picked toot sweet. And who would that, toot sweet, turn out to be? his old joined-at-the-hip partner in crime, Bob Mueller (thank you, Jesus!)

The supreme irony is that the "universally respected" Robert Mueller is now hoisted by his own petard of hubris. The newness about Nunes -- and rowdy Gowdy -- is their willingness to take on Mueller's closest friends, despite media charges that Republicans are trying to sabotage his investigation. In reality, Mueller has done a pretty good job of that himself, thank you very much.

I'm not a politician; cannot gauge whether it a good or bad idea that Mueller, Rosenstein, et al. be fired for cause (with respect to Rosenstein, signing deceptive FISA applications is a felony). I would guess it would be best politically to leave Mueller there to stew in his own juice.

In my view, if Mueller had an ounce of integrity, he would resign -- if only because of the incredibly partisan way in which he staffed his investigation. Is he perhaps waiting for his old FBI buddies to dig up some dirt on Nunes and Gowdy? I would not put that past him, given his checkered career (see, again, Coleen's excellent article of last June).

Be prepared for things to get still uglier.

Once again, hats of to Coleen Rowley -- and Nat Parry. Like father, like son.

Ray McGovern

Bob Van Noy , February 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Mr. McGovern I was just reading some of Fletcher Prouty's on-line posts from the past. I have long admired him. Your background and ethics remind me of his. Many thanks

[Feb 10, 2018] American Think Tanks Are Hired Purveyors of Fake News by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... think tanks are essentially lobby groups for their donors. The policy analyses and reform schemes that they produce are tailored to support the material interests of donors. None of the studies are reliable as objective evidence. They are special pleading. ..."
"... Think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, and the Atlantic Council, speak for those who fund them. Increasingly, they speak for the military/security complex, American hegemony, corporate interests, and Israel ..."
"... Bryan MacDonald lists those who support the anti-Russian think tanks such as the Atlantic Council, the Center for European Policy Analysis, German Marshall Fund of the US, and Institute for Study of War. The "experts" are mouthpieces funded by the US military security complex. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48755.htm US government agencies use taxpayer dollars to deceive taxpayers. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | www.unz.com

A couple of decades or more ago when I was still in Washington, otherwise known as the snake pit, I was contacted by a well-financed group that offered me, a Business Week and Scripps Howard News Service columnist with access as a former editor also to the Wall Street Journal, substantial payments to promote agendas that the lobbyists paying the bills wanted promoted.

To the detriment of my net worth, but to the preservation of my reputation, I declined. Shortly thereafter a conservative columnist, a black man if memory serves, was outed for writing newspaper columns for pay for a lobby group.

I often wondered if he was set up in order to get rid of him and whether the enticement I received was intended to shut me down, or whether journalists had become "have pen will travel"? (Have Gun -- Will Travel was a highly successful TV Series 1957-1963).

Having read Bryan MacDonald's article on Information Clearing House, "Anti-Russia Think Tanks in US: Who Funds them?," I see that think tanks are essentially lobby groups for their donors. The policy analyses and reform schemes that they produce are tailored to support the material interests of donors. None of the studies are reliable as objective evidence. They are special pleading.

Think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, and the Atlantic Council, speak for those who fund them. Increasingly, they speak for the military/security complex, American hegemony, corporate interests, and Israel.

Bryan MacDonald lists those who support the anti-Russian think tanks such as the Atlantic Council, the Center for European Policy Analysis, German Marshall Fund of the US, and Institute for Study of War. The "experts" are mouthpieces funded by the US military security complex. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48755.htm US government agencies use taxpayer dollars to deceive taxpayers.

In other words insouciant Americans pay taxes in order to be brainwashed. And they tolerate this.

[Feb 10, 2018] Martin Armstrong Asks Is George Soros One Of The Greatest Threats Against Society

Feb 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

BobEore -> Captain Chlamydia Feb 10, 2018 12:04 PM Permalink

Soros is mid level management

The firm employs him in a variety of roles, the better to smoke screen the real agendas in play

George deals in politicians as much or more as 'currencies'

Red/blue... what's it to you. Like the man always sez|

joomanji gonna git you!

Ckierst1 -> BobEore Feb 10, 2018 2:34 PM Permalink

My guess is that he is a very highly paid lackey for the Rothschilds, much as was J. P. Morgan. The world would be better off without him, obviously, but the "darkside" globalist remain, and ultimately they are the real eminence gris control freaks working for instability, corruption, financial manipulation, fiat money, violence, strife, illegal immigration, drug epidemics, human trafficking and bad economics, such as mercantilistic, false capitalism cronyism, among other anti-middle class and anti-liberty movements/phenomena occurring around the world. G. Edward Griffin might be right! Wikipedia has one of the most negative bios of him that I've ever read, to his credit, I suppose!

Expendable Container -> OverTheHedge Feb 10, 2018 2:24 PM Permalink

Being a genuine psychopath (they are not quite human due to brain differences) Soros certainly enjoys his sense of power. They cannot experience conscience nor empathy and that emotional vacuum can only be filled by a sense of P O W E R over others. Psychopathy used for political purposes for evil is called Political Ponerology. We watch the movies and think psychos are out killing prostitutes - we never consider Snakes In Suits! Despite all this Soros is working for the Zionist World Domination plan (check out the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion).

Expendable Container -> Trader Maximus Feb 10, 2018 2:31 PM Permalink

No, Soros is not just a threat to the 'American way of life'. He organizes color revolutions around the world including Asia so he is a threat to all nations' sovereignty but then national sovereignty is to be 'removed' for the Neoliberal World totalitarian goal.

Gadfly Feb 10, 2018 1:55 PM Permalink

Soros is a front man for the Rothschilds. Plain and simple. That's where he gets the billions he needs to engage in global activities that destroy religion, morals, values, gender, nationalism and society. This is the agenda of the Rothschilds, the private central bankers, and the New World Order.

Do you really think Soros is some kind of investing genius who's made billions on his own, who is then willing to give it all away for so called "philanthropic" reasons? Bullshit. He's a hired gun. A front man. A cover for the Rothschilds who have spent two hundred years hiding in the shadows while others go about doing their dirty work to reshape society for their own selfish ends – a private, worldwide financial system they own and control.

Just like he pimped for the Nazis, Soros is now pimping for the Rothschilds. He has no moral center or compass, and has admitted as much in a televised interview. (He said if he hadn't turned in Jews to the Nazis for money, someone else would have done it.) Wake up people. Soros is the Sammy the Bull Gravano for the Rothschilds. The Luca Brasi to the Godfather. He needs to be brought to justice. And so do the Rothschilds.

[Feb 10, 2018] Canons of color revolution in action: hundreds of thousands have pledged to take to the streets if Special Counsel Robert Mueller is removed, reflecting misplaced priorities and some fundamental misunderstandings

Notable quotes:
"... What has happened in America is eerily similar to the color revolutions in targeted countries which leads me to believe the organizers of such revolutions looked at the biggest prize of all and said "Why not.'. ..."
"... Herman.I think you are right. These things are being cooked up–orchestrated to serve the current power block. The mainstream propaganda media plays a big part in that. And sadly, Americans cannot wake up fast enough ..."
"... I am familiar with the tactics of Move-On, and although they would deny it, represent the democratic party. They actually called me up asking for money to create mayhem at Trump's rallies during his run for the presidency. I told them I wouldn't give them a nickel since not only did I see it as undemocratic and contentious, but psychologically idiotic. Idiotic in the sense that the people who supported Trump perceived themselves as victims of a corrupt system who cared little about their needs, and turning Trump's rallies into mayhem would portray him as a victim as well, which would cause his supporters to more fully identify with him, and more committed to getting him elected. ..."
"... This is Jimmy Dore's take on the left falling for Russia-gate and aligning itself with the FBI. As he says, they are reacting to Trump with their lizard brain which makes them easy prey for being led to their own political slaughter. ..."
"... Does anybody ever talk about the failures of capitalism anymore or just about people and politics? ..."
"... Yes, but clearly he doesn't, and therefore he won't. He will drag out his neocon-sponsored witch-hunt as long as possible in order to do the maximum damage possible to all those who don't toe the neocon line. The very existence of Mueller's unholy inquisition constantly forces the president ever-further to the right in an effort to appease his neocon tormentors. That is, further away from détente with Russia and closer to nuclear Armageddon. ..."
"... The neocons' goal is to kill two birds, U.S. democracy and Russia, with one stone -- the Mueller "investigation." ..."
"... yes i agree that Mueller will be exposed (before congress ?) but not in the mainstream media. ..."
"... This article does point to no doubt one of our nation's most evasive, and spookiest courts, which is FISA. Yet, on tv hardly is this subject ever brought up, while instead reissuing every 90 days for permission to monitor Carter Page gets talked about to no end. So far hardly has there been, to when at least I've viewed the anchors and pundits, do they ever discuss the unconstitutionally, or break down of our democratic values, that this FISA court represents. ..."
"... Meanwhile so far what has Robert Mueller come up with? Well, we know that Manafort may be guilty of money laundering with his dealings with foreign officials, which is an easy obstacle splinter to uncover due part and parcel to his trade. We do know that the young up and coming politico operative George Papadopoulos would do well to learn a lesson from his past barroom experience of possibility talking to much to strangers, and skip the bar talk. In many ways it's hard to see to what exactly Lt General Michael Flynn is guilty of. Maybe Flynn as the newly appointed National Security Advisor is guilty of discussing the sanctions imposed onto Russia, or was he guilty of representing Bibi Netanyahu? Probably the former is prosecutable, but of course never the latter for protecting dear sweet Israel in America no matter what is the right thing to do. Protecting Israel may in some people's eyes even seem quite patriotic, as far as that goes, but talking to Russian diplomats, nay, never. ..."
"... Great point Mr. Tedesky. This creepy police-state court is rarely criticized at all in our free [sic] press and establishment media. ..."
"... Population in the country was very poorly informed any how. And now, they, The Ruling Establishment which includes Media, have completely messed the people up – making them compliant and confused. ..."
"... As a foreigner, looking from the outside, it seems Mueller will not find anything on Russia. He already found something on Israel, but he doesn't pursue that. If Americans rally, then it seems you should rally to make an objective and fair inquiry, to nail Israel for what they seem to have done. ..."
"... Many years ago in my early 20s I read 'Guns of August' that described support for the coming WWI. What was so striking about that period was how the public in every relevant European was hell bent on war. Among the major players -- Germany, France, UK, Russia and Austro-hungary -- their populations were demonstrating in the streets and assemblies for war. How was it possible for all of those people to eagerly lust for war that within a few years led to the destruction of the German, Russian and Austrian empires, the deaths of millions of their citizens and multidecade impoverishment for the survivors. The costs of the war resulted in the effective bankruptcy of the UK and French colonial empires as well as millions of dead and traumatized survivors. ..."
"... I never was able to see how so many people then could be so incredibly foolish. In the last two years I have gained some insight. Many of my respected, but now previous, political associates have just gone totally nuts over Russiagate. There was some kind of psychic break in their minds when Hillary lost and they are now little more than raging primates trapped in a cognitive dissonance loop. Not just that, but these are people who are on the verge of supporting war against Russia. ..."
"... Maybe wishful thinking on my part. The Grassley-Graham referral regarding Steele's potential violation of Title 18 Section 1001, lying to the FBI, may or may not be prosecutable depending upon where the "lies" took place and the likely lack of extra-territorial jurisdiction if they occurred in Rome. But even if no criminal violation could be prosecuted, I would think the IG should still investigate the matter for potential administrative discipline. ..."
"... That Russia "meddled in the US election" is totally without foundation and you know it. Any such attempt by them would be pointless, ineffective and detrimental if ever found out. If we had really found out any such thing, we'd all know about it rather than being fed bullshit based upon absolutely no real evidence. America would not be subjected to a year and a half of shenanigans by a thoroughly-biased politically-motivated special prosecutor given a hunting license by a frustrated deep state, a bitter political opposition and a raucous media in the service of both. ..."
"... Give the Clinton right wing credit for achieving what the Republicans had long hoped, but failed, to do. First, they split apart the Dem voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor, and the Obama years served to confirm that this split is permanent. Then they apparently plagiarized old Joe McCarthy's playbook, launching their anti-Russian crusade, splitting apart those who are not on the right wing. Divide, subdivide, conquer. ..."
"... I believe the public is getting played on Mueller. Little hints keep dropping about Trump firing him. Then the media and the left goes into a frenzy, demanding Saint Mueller stay. Mueller has literally become the symbol of hope for the left. ..."
"... Imagine Mueller now coming out and clearing Trump completely while exposing what his real investigative objective was: revealing the deep state. Remember NBC and CNN mentioning Mueller began investigating the Podestas? Then they dropped that story as fast as possible. ..."
"... The thing about liberals is, they'll only accept one result in the Mueller probe. If Trump removes him, he's hiding something. And if Mueller exposes Dem corruption instead of Rep corruption, they'll say its fixed. They want the process to play out, but they'll only accept one result, that of Trump/Russia collusion. They are blinded by their own hate. ..."
"... One of the supreme ironies of our age is how the McCarthyesque focus on Russian interference in our electoral process has completely obscured the domestic politicization of our own institutions of government, that is the damage our now rabid placement of political party party above the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the American population. ..."
"... Our slow descent into the present National Chaos might well've been birthed under McCarthy antics as cloak&cover for Operation Paperclip. One could rightly label his actions "political theater" or straight subversion. -- Whatever, US actual history is a Disappearing Act with imperious propensity. We, as a nation, have always been imperious and domineering, just as were our British forefathers. ..."
"... Is it a diversion? From what? It is obvious that Israel & Trump are on a roll. Bombing Syria on the skirtings of Iran – "oh joy of joys, one step closer," – to doomsday. Elsewhere i have recommended the Palestinian people exit Palestine ASAP. Foolhardy Israel is only the size of a postage stamp, 4 time the size of Hiroshima. when nerves fray hey! ..."
"... I was actually hoping that with Trump taking over the reigns of the war machine that the left would once again mobilize and oppose our wars and the spying state that walks all over our civil liberties. Trump certainly gives them enough legitimate areas of concern that they have plenty to go on. Sadly this really does show the power of the press to manipulate public opinion and the left-wing media loves Russia Gate. ..."
"... For myself personally, I see the threat of a confrontation with Russia as the #1 concern. We have now entered into a new cold war with all the massive spending, proxy wars and yet again the very real chance of it leading to a hot war that could be the end of all of us. Sadly the "left" in this country has once again fallen for the endless propaganda, their hatred of Trump is only part of this issue. ..."
"... With or without the Mueller investigation the Russia hatred will go on. Mueller could exonerate Trump tomorrow and the anti-Russian propaganda will continue. ..."
"... Yes, the Dem's are wasting valuable time chasing after these Russian hackers who weren't there. ..."
"... The so called liberals tried to redefined the left away from working class to LBGT, Black Lives Matter, abortion rights, etc and , in the process, dug their own graves. ..."
"... I maintain that having only two political parties is the crux of the problem, and clearly both are corporate. People don't get how they are being played. A quote attributed to Mark Twain I just read: "It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they are being fooled." ..."
"... Nuts' indeed. Before raising the temperature over the Russiagate, first. Shave off the Pentagon budget! ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: 'This is Nuts' Liberals Launch 'Largest Mobilization in History' in Defense of Russiagate Probe – Consortiumnews By Coleen Rowley and Nat Parry

Exclusive: Hundreds of thousands have pledged to take to the streets if Special Counsel Robert Mueller is removed, reflecting misplaced priorities and some fundamental misunderstandings, report Coleen Rowley and Nat Parry.

... ... ...

Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts. These techniques are known in the intelligence community as "perception management," and have been refined since the 1980s "to keep the American people compliant and confused," as the late Robert Parry has reported . We saw this in action last decade, when after months of disinformation, about 70% of Americans came to falsely believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 when the truth was the opposite – Saddam was actually an enemy of the Al Qaeda perpetrators.

Such emotional manipulation is the likely explanation for the fact that so many people are now gearing up to defend someone like Mueller, while largely ignoring other important topics of far greater consequence. With no demonstrations being organized to stop a possible war with North Korea – or an escalation in Syria – hundreds of thousands of Americans are apparently all too eager to go to the mat in defense of an investigation into the president's possible "collusion" with Russia in its alleged meddling in election 2016.

Setting aside for the moment the merits of the Russiagate narrative, who really is this Robert Mueller that amnesiac liberals clamor to hold up as the champion of the people and defender of democracy? Co-author Coleen Rowley, who as an FBI whistleblower exposed numerous internal problems at the FBI in the early 2000s, didn't have to be privy to his inner circle to recall just a few of his actions after 9/11 that so shocked the public conscience as to repeatedly generate moral disapproval even on the part of mainstream media. Rowley was only able to scratch the surface in listing some of the more widely reported wrongdoing that should still shock liberal consciences.

Although Mueller and his "joined at the hip" cohort James Comey are now hailed for their impeccable character by much of Washington, the truth is, as top law enforcement officials of the George W. Bush administration (Mueller as FBI Director and Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications used to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited stunning levels of incompetence.

Ironically, recent declassifications of House Intelligence Committee's and Senate Judiciary Committee Leaders letters ( here and here ) reveal strong parallels between the way the public so quickly forgot Mueller's spotty track record with the way the FBI and (the Obama administration's) Department of Justice rushed, during the summer of 2016, to put a former fellow spy, Christopher Steele up on a pedestal. Steele was declared to be a "reliable source" without apparently vetting or corroborating any of the "opposition research" allegations that he had been hired (and paid $160,000) to quickly produce for the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

There are typically at least two major prongs of establishing the "reliability" of any given source in an affidavit, the first – and the one mostly pointed to – being the source's track record for having furnished accurate and reliable information in the past. Even if it is conceded that Steele would have initially satisfied this part of the test for determining probable cause, based on his having reportedly furnished some important information to FBI agents investigating the FIFA soccer fraud years before, his track record for truthfulness would go right up in smoke only a month or so later, when it was discovered that he had lied to the FBI about his having previously leaked the investigation to the media. (Moreover, this lie had led the FBI to mislead the FISA court in its first application to surveil Carter Page.)

The second main factor in establishing the reliability of any source's information would be even more key in this case. It's the basis of the particular informant's knowledge, i.e. was the informant an eye witness or merely reporting double-triple hearsay or just regurgitating the "word on the street?"

If the actual basis of the information is uncertain, the next step for law enforcement would normally be to seek facts that either corroborate or refute the source's information. It's been reported that FBI agents did inquire into the basis for Steele's allegations, but it is not known what Steele told the FBI – other than indications that his info came from secondary sources making it, at best, second- or third-hand. What if anything did the FBI do to establish the reliability of the indirect sources that Steele claimed to be getting his info from? Before vouching for his credibility, did the FBI even consider polygraphing Steele after he (falsely) denied having leaked his info since the FBI was aware of significant similarities of a news article to the info he had supplied them?

Obviously, more questions than answers exist at the present time. But even if the FBI was duped by Steele – whether as the result of their naivete in trusting a fellow former spy, their own sloppiness or recklessness, or political bias – it should be hoped by everyone that the Department of Justice Inspector General can get to the bottom of how the FISA court was ultimately misled.

As they prepare for the "largest mobilization in history" in defense of Mueller and his probe into Russiagate, liberals have tried to sweep all this under the rug as a "nothing burger." Yet, how can liberals, who in the past have pointed to so many abusive past practices by the FBI, ignore the reality that these sorts of abuses of the FISA process more than likely take place on a daily basis – with the FISA court earning a well-deserved reputation as little more than a rubberstamp?

Other, more run-of-the-mill FISA applications – if they were to be scrutinized as thoroughly as the Carter Page one – would reveal similar sloppiness and lack of factual verification of source information used to secure surveillance orders, especially after FISA surveillances skyrocketed after 9/11 in the "war on terror." Rather than dismissing the Nunes Memo as a nothing burger, liberals might be better served by taking a closer look at this FISA process which could easily be turned against them instead of Trump.

It must be recognized that FBI agents who go before the secret FISA court and who are virtually assured that whatever they present will be kept secret in perpetuity, have very little reason to be careful in verifying what they present as factual. FISA court judges are responsible for knowing the law but have no way of ascertaining the "facts" presented to them.

Unlike a criminal surveillance authorized by a federal district court, no FBI affidavit justifying the surveillance will ever end up under the microscope of defense attorneys and defendants to be pored over to ensure every asserted detail was correct and if not, to challenge any incorrect factual assertions in pre-trial motions to suppress evidence.

It is therefore shocking to watch how this political manipulation seems to make people who claim to care about the rule of law now want to bury this case of surveillance targeting Carter Page based on the ostensibly specious Steele dossier. This is the one case unique in coming to light among tens of thousands of FISA surveillances cloaked forever in secrecy, given that the FISA system lacks the checks on abusive authority that inherently exist in the criminal justice process, and so the Page case is instructive to learn how the sausage really gets made.

Neither the liberal adulation of Mueller nor the unquestioned credibility accorded Steele by the FBI seem warranted by the facts. It is fair for Americans to ask whether Mueller's investigation would have ever happened if not for his FBI successor James Comey having signed off on the investigation triggered by the Steele dossier, which was paid for by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on her opponent.

In any event, please spare us the solicitations of these political NGOs' "national mobilization" to protect Mueller. There are at least a million attorneys in this country who do not suffer from the significant conflicts of interest that Robert Mueller has with key witnesses like his close, long-term colleague James Comey and other public officials involved in the investigation.

And, at the end of the day, there are far more important issues to be concerned about than the "integrity" of the Mueller investigation – one being the need to fix FISA court abuses and restoring constitutional rights.

Coleen Rowley, a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI's pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine's "Persons of the Year" in 2002.

Nat Parry is co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush .


Herman , February 9, 2018 at 9:44 am

What has happened in America is eerily similar to the color revolutions in targeted countries which leads me to believe the organizers of such revolutions looked at the biggest prize of all and said "Why not.'.

Tower of Babel , February 9, 2018 at 11:04 am

Herman.I think you are right. These things are being cooked up–orchestrated to serve the current power block. The mainstream propaganda media plays a big part in that. And sadly, Americans cannot wake up fast enough

Annie , February 9, 2018 at 10:40 am

I'm not all that familiar with the group Avaaz, but I am familiar with the tactics of Move-On, and although they would deny it, represent the democratic party. They actually called me up asking for money to create mayhem at Trump's rallies during his run for the presidency. I told them I wouldn't give them a nickel since not only did I see it as undemocratic and contentious, but psychologically idiotic. Idiotic in the sense that the people who supported Trump perceived themselves as victims of a corrupt system who cared little about their needs, and turning Trump's rallies into mayhem would portray him as a victim as well, which would cause his supporters to more fully identify with him, and more committed to getting him elected.

I discontinued my support for Move-on as a result of these kind of antics. Those I know who were viciously anti-Trump lost total perspective during his presidential run, and all supported Clinton whose policies they knew little about. They were hooked into mainstream media, and none investigated alternative news sources even though they are computer literate and could have done so. All were hooked into Russia-gate from the beginning, and have never waivered in their position. I think we have to begin to look at these people not as liberals, or progressives, but for the most part they are democrats who see their party as representing liberal causes. None I know who would support this march participated in any anti-war movement, and were basically silent on Obama's militarism, which informs me these so called liberals when it comes to war their position is more dependent on who's doing the killing.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Annie I found this statement of yours a very interesting perspective 'and turning Trump's rallies into mayhem would portray him as a victim as well'. All this noise coming from the left is never analyzed from the perspective of what would the average Trump supporter think. Yet, you did this. Pretty good analytical take on these attacks against Trump.

I thought when Trump honored the 'Natve-American code breakers' that by his doing this function while standing underneath a picture of Andrew 'Trail of Tears' Jackson was very telling. Although seen properly by many who may have a good sense of history, I thought that this was purposely done, and done to insight the Trump supporters who's racist attitude were served quite well with Trump's staging of this honorable affair.

The Left (which isn't really Left) is wandering around trying to bring down Trump, while at the same time the American Left ignores what a Trump supporter may think. Both groups of American citizenry would do well to quit with all of this name calling, and derisive contempt for each other, and they should begin with a dialog which could eventually bring them together, in order to create a more perfect union.

Then that's where you come in Annie, as to reassure they keep their eye on the ball, and to what is most important to remember, and that is because we are all together in this big crazy thing called America. We Americans should bridge our difference into making the U.S. a better nation for all to live in, and relieve the world from fears of American bombs falling on their heads.

Good take on the anti-Trump movement Annie. Joe

Jim Meeks , February 9, 2018 at 7:34 pm

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-propaganda-war-against-syria-led-by-avaaz-and-the-white-helmets/5479307

Coleen Rowley , February 9, 2018 at 10:12 pm

More background on Avaaz (and its hypocrisy) at: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/14/duping-progressives-into-wars/

Lois Gagnon , February 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

This is Jimmy Dore's take on the left falling for Russia-gate and aligning itself with the FBI. As he says, they are reacting to Trump with their lizard brain which makes them easy prey for being led to their own political slaughter. He does become more foul mouthed towards the end. I understand his increasing frustration with this insanity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYAvvAQopmQ

Nancy , February 9, 2018 at 1:46 pm

"Hoisted by his own petard of hubris"–great line. We can only hope.

weilunion , February 9, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Does anybody ever talk about the failures of capitalism anymore or just about people and politics?

floyd gardner , February 9, 2018 at 10:38 pm

Your point is NEVER off-subject. Soros may fund one branch of the Capitalist Party and Singer the other; but they both and all the rest of their ilk, belong to the same Brotherhood.

alley cat , February 9, 2018 at 4:28 pm

"I'm not a politician; cannot gauge whether it a good or bad idea that Mueller, Rosenstein, et al. be fired for cause "

Ray, thanks for not being like most politicians (and journalists) who carefully test which way the political winds are blowing to decide whether something is a good or bad idea. You do what you think is right, based on considerations more important than your career (gasp!).

"In my view, if Mueller had an ounce of integrity, he would resign "

Yes, but clearly he doesn't, and therefore he won't. He will drag out his neocon-sponsored witch-hunt as long as possible in order to do the maximum damage possible to all those who don't toe the neocon line. The very existence of Mueller's unholy inquisition constantly forces the president ever-further to the right in an effort to appease his neocon tormentors. That is, further away from détente with Russia and closer to nuclear Armageddon.

The neocons' goal is to kill two birds, U.S. democracy and Russia, with one stone -- the Mueller "investigation."

Mueller and his co-conspirators, with all their lies and smears, have been subverting our democracy long enough. Fire him already and oppose Trump democratically instead.

Zachary Smith , February 9, 2018 at 6:56 pm

Nice summary. I can't really think of anything to say to improve on that title remark of "This is Nuts.

Virginia , February 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Ray, Mueller should resign (" if Mueller had an ounce of integrity, he would resign -- if only because of the incredibly partisan way in which he staffed his investigation") because there is no there there. Just close the investigation and let Americans get on with our lives.

GEOFF TEAGUE , February 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

yes i agree that Mueller will be exposed (before congress ?) but not in the mainstream media. as long as that dog has a bone he will run with it. where's a dog catcher when you need one??

CitizenOne , February 10, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Thanks Ray,

Way to little truth out there and a whole bunch of characters involved in some modern day Shakespearean tragedy.

So Tex , February 9, 2018 at 10:48 am

These organizers are arms of or provocateurs for the failing and flailing Democratic Party.. They have staked their very lives on the Russia-gate nonsense and removing or just crippling Trump.. It's all very sad since they could be embracing the current political climate and reforming the once great Democratic Party. The unfortunate reality is that many people, including good hearted people, are falling for it.

Tower of Babel , February 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

"It is telling that the liberal establishment is mobilizing on this particular issue."

"Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts."

Ain't that the truth. Most Americans want to believe anything that authority tells them to believe. They are not worthy of the great democracy they inherited. Thank you Colleen. You are the opposite. We need to see you more often.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 11:25 am

This article does point to no doubt one of our nation's most evasive, and spookiest courts, which is FISA. Yet, on tv hardly is this subject ever brought up, while instead reissuing every 90 days for permission to monitor Carter Page gets talked about to no end. So far hardly has there been, to when at least I've viewed the anchors and pundits, do they ever discuss the unconstitutionally, or break down of our democratic values, that this FISA court represents.

Meanwhile so far what has Robert Mueller come up with? Well, we know that Manafort may be guilty of money laundering with his dealings with foreign officials, which is an easy obstacle splinter to uncover due part and parcel to his trade. We do know that the young up and coming politico operative George Papadopoulos would do well to learn a lesson from his past barroom experience of possibility talking to much to strangers, and skip the bar talk. In many ways it's hard to see to what exactly Lt General Michael Flynn is guilty of. Maybe Flynn as the newly appointed National Security Advisor is guilty of discussing the sanctions imposed onto Russia, or was he guilty of representing Bibi Netanyahu? Probably the former is prosecutable, but of course never the latter for protecting dear sweet Israel in America no matter what is the right thing to do. Protecting Israel may in some people's eyes even seem quite patriotic, as far as that goes, but talking to Russian diplomats, nay, never.

What this Russia-gate investigation has rot among so many other things, is that it has taken the weakening Left and showed it for what it is. It was one thing when the Clinton's moved the Democrates over into the Wall Street column, but now with this organized Left push to support the Mueller Investigation the Left has been moved into the police state category whether these poorly misguided liberals even realize this fact. This would be akin to Albert Einstein marching behind a Nazi flag, or his standing next to Joseph Goebbels to help usher in the sheep to slaughter under the guise of democracy, and everything that's right.

Wake up America.

Drew Hunkins , February 9, 2018 at 11:46 am

"This article does point to no doubt one of our nation's most evasive, and spookiest courts, which is FISA. Yet, on tv hardly is this subject ever brought up"

Great point Mr. Tedesky. This creepy police-state court is rarely criticized at all in our free [sic] press and establishment media.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Thank you Mr Hunkins, I've read many a comment post of yours, and hardly do I ever disagree with you. To bad there are not more of us voices for sanity, but with that there go I. Joe

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 12:46 am

I just saw this on the Duran. Duran reporter Jim Jatras details some very interesting angles of the likes you don't very often hear in regard to Russia-Gate. Be notified Mr Jatras has a typo where he says Mac Blumenthal he really means the father of Max who is Sidney.

Jatras also points to the same circumstance where many Russians assumed Hillary would be our next president, so the attraction to sabotage Hillary's campaign seemed to a fruitless proposition. I remember our own beloved Robert Parry making the same observation.

http://theduran.com/steele-dossier-full-russian-dirt-or-british/

exiled off mainstreet , February 10, 2018 at 3:35 am

The last sentence sums it up. Any former member of the left who supports this (they became former once they supported this obviously flawed fascistic phony investigation the implications of which threaten the rule of law and the stability and sustainability of life itself) has gone zombie and can be compared to Einstein backing Goebbels.

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 8:01 pm

I'm still having a hard time accepting this pseudo Left swing to the National Security State/Deep State. Nothing in life should surprise me by now, but seeing what calls itself the Left in the U.S. go the way of the CIA/FBI/NSA is hard to swallow.

The Democrates are soon going to regret spending all of this valuable time wasted on this Russia-Gate craziness, and then what will they blame? Of course they will blame Trump, and still invoke Putin's name, because that's what sells tv ratings. In the end the Democrates may wake up to the realization that they blamed Trump,for all the wrong things that should have mattered. This distraction for their bend obsession with all things Russian, is what will have sunk their boat in 2018, and unless the Dem's wise up this unneeded shadow will hover over them even into 2020. Joe

Drew Hunkins , February 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

The most disconcerting and heartbreaking thing I've witnessed in my 30 plus years of studying the politico-economic scene is the manner in which otherwise decent liberals have fallen for (or of course have been more than willing propagandists for) the hoax Russia-gate narrative. Sure, with the Schiffs (D-Israel), Schumers (D-Israel) and others in the corporate DNC, it's all to be expected, and no semi-intelligent CN fan would consider them to be otherwise decent liberals. But to see good domestic populist liberals sell this dangerous snake-oil has been illuminating and dismaying. For crying out loud -- on this particular issue Sean Hannity is better than Rachel Maddow!

It demonstrates more than any other issue the lock that Official Washington and its military driven empire builders along with the blood soaked mass media have on virtually our entire political spectrum and social discourse.

The recent Nuclear Posture Review just comes out -- putting the world closer to complete annihilation and total Armageddon -- and there isn't much of a hue and cry from the smart and most important people in our media-industrial complex. Frightening.

D.H. Fabian , February 9, 2018 at 11:49 am

An additional layer of disappointment is the fascist ideology seen in the liberal anti-Israel campaign. We really don't all agree that a "fair partitioning" in the Mideast would be: 100% for the Arabs, 0% for the Jews. For those who don't know, Israel is a tiny country (roughly the size of New Jersey). It's the sole Jewish nation, surrounded by vast, oil-rich Arab countries. Jews are, indeed, indigenous to that bit of land. Those called "Palestinians" are Arabs who are recruited to work toward the destruction of Israel, establishing a 100% "pure" Moslem Mideast.

Drew Hunkins , February 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm

"An additional layer of disappointment is the fascist ideology seen in the liberal anti-Israel campaign."

Set up a strawman much?

What you describe is a very, very marginal phenomenon in the Palestinian justice movement, marginal enough to be totally insignificant. It's interesting that you bring this disinformation into CN. The Zionist power configuration in America can be relentless, no doubt. Hasbara is ubiquitous.

Israel's a criminal state and international pariah bent on wiping out any independent pro Palestinian nation-state in the Middle East and subverting and destabilizing any independent pro Palestinian head of state. Bloodthirsty Tel Aviv militarists mow the grass in Gaza by killing and maiming roughly 2,000 women and children every 6 or 7 years. And no, it's not a "fascist ideology" to point any of this out.

Read Gilad Atzmon, Norman Finkelstein, James Petras, Mearsheimer and Walt and a few others I'm forgetting at the moment for the real dope.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 1:38 pm

I think D.H. just ran a Zionist commercial on 'the Consortium'. Should we run a pro-Palestinian commercial, just to be 'fair and balanced'?

Zachary Smith , February 9, 2018 at 6:53 pm

I've noticed the dishonest Zionist was trying to act like a "normal" person a few times recently. Probably the thought was that this would gain "credibility" for BS like this "Zionist Commercial" you speak of.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Zachary it's interesting to listen to a Zionist using the same talking points that would describe the horrible plight of the downtrodden Palestinian, and do it so easily without any conscious effort to hide the truth, of what's really going on. Joe

Lois Gagnon , February 9, 2018 at 11:22 pm

I've seen this troll on other progressive sites using the same exact wording.

Anon , February 9, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Troll alert: please do not reply to DHF comments. This is an attempt to derail the discussion and debase the participants, a extreme zionist attack, on a site known for more cautious and fair commenters.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Maybe we should aim our conversation to this maddening frustration over all things Russian, to better describe America's relationship to the Zionist Bibi Netanyahu. Do you hear me, Robert Mueller? Can you Mr Mueller lean heavily onto Flynn's Israeli heavy lifting, and why Flynn was serving the needs of the Israeli's?

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 9, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Yes, this comment is so out of touch that it must be a troll looking to discredit this site.

A previous comment making the same statement was it seems removed. Israel must be a very sensitive issue in the US.

Drew Hunkins , February 9, 2018 at 8:20 pm

It is beyond belief how sensitive it is. You have no idea. However, now it actually isn't as subversive and contentious as it was just 15 to 20 years ago. So there has been a small amount of progress, long way to go though.

floyd gardner , February 9, 2018 at 10:57 pm

There's an elephant in the room; and it's stomping on everyone's feet. But anyone who mentions it is an anti-elephant.

louis coulson , February 9, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Hey Fabian I have some refugees here so I'm taking your land for them. Pack your trash and move on.

nonsense factory , February 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

The solution is simple: Allow all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to vote in Israeli national parliamentary elections. Only then could Israel call itself a 'true democracy'. This I believe results in about a 50-50 split in the electorate on religious / ethnic lines so you could even get a Muslim leader of Israel, or at least a balanced parliament.

This of course raises the issue of the military and executive and judicial structure of Israel; land ownership and immigration policy would have to be changed so that any citizen could own land, and non-Jews would be allowed to emigrate back to the region (i.e. the Palestinian diaspora would have the same rights as the Jewish diaspora).

An even more tricky issue would be the Israeli nuclear weapons program; the first step there is for the state of Israel to publicly admit its existence and allow for IAEA inspections of the program.

Bob Van Noy , February 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Many thanks Coleen Rowley and Nat Parry. Drew Hunkins, I think your comment about "otherwise decent liberals" is prescient but I'll bet that we could have a long, extended discussion on The illiberalness of this generation of democrats (please note the small d).
I would argue that with the inception of the Clinton/Blair "Third Way" that the Democratic Party separated itself from its historic roots. In fact I think the very label of liberal opposition here used is disingenuous.

These people The Clintons and their Neoliberal constituents have never represented the Democratic Party in act or deed. The Neocons switching sides prior to the last election cycle underscored their illiberal attitude. In fact classic party alignment has little to do with this issue of criminal behavior, it is just the vehicle of divisiveness being utilized in this instance

Drew Hunkins , February 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Points well taken Mr. Van Noy.

Most of the Dem Party has been a complete dumpster fire since corporate Clinton, "New Democrats!" and DLC completely took over the entire infrastructure.

Nancy , February 9, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Sadly, those decent liberals you speak of also fell for the Clinton/Obama hoax. They are a big part of the problem -- phonies.

Gregory Herr , February 10, 2018 at 1:45 am

A big part of the problem for sure. Support for the Democrats on the basis of "liberal causes" is blind, phony. or both. We have suffered soaring housing and health care costs. Investment in Social Security has been marginalized at the same time war costs are put "off the books" and deemed a "necessity" of National Security. Public schools are now "standardized", but standards are lacking and the quality of "higher"education has taken a hit too while leaving graduates in piles of debt. The safety of our drinking water is suspect and other environmental concerns take a back seat as well while "fracking" and "drill baby drill" get passes. Civil liberties are under assault and the war drums beat on. So where are the liberal Democrats? Taking "contributions", hiding under rocks, or snickering through 3-martini lunches with their Republican cohorts but they certainly haven't been "liberals" for a long time now. Bill Clinton and Obama were nothing of the sort.
Next time a Democrat calls him/her self a "liberal", they ought to have to express a true idea of just what that's suppose to mean. And then explain what happened the last quarter-century and what in the hell their current "resistance" is really about. Don't worry there won't be any straight answers forthcoming, and likely nary a hint of embarrassment either. They are shameless traitors or fools

Bob Van Noy , February 10, 2018 at 10:07 am

Nicely done Gregory Herr. The democratic party talks a good game but manages to Never Deliver the goods. The party hierarchy (DNC) doesn't deserve support
Simply vote for a candidate that delivers. And, never donate to the party

D.H. Fabian , February 9, 2018 at 11:44 am

We saw how powerfully the Clinton "New Democrat Party" gained "influence" over the media marketed to middle class liberals, from MSNBC to online publications, pulling them well to the right. The Democrats' anti-Russian crusade does, indeed, mimic Bush's lies about "Iraq's stockpiles of WMD." What is truly "nuts" is that so much of the liberal media promote the right wing agenda while wearing their "bold progressive" lapel buttons.

Loretta , February 9, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Thank you for this piece!!

j. D. D. , February 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm

The spectacle of the Democratic Part and even the Black Caucus rallying to support the FBI is truly a wonder to behold. Have they forgotten the FBI's past in blackmailing presidents and political leaders including JFK, Robert Kennedy and Matin Luther King? Have they forgotten its Operation Frugmenschen, which means "ape man" in German to target Balck politicians and activists, or the threatening dirty tricks letter sent to MLK urging him to commit suicide? Are they prepared to see through an illegal coup against an elected president who dared suggest a positive relaitonship with Russia and China, ensuring that no future president will dare "step out of line" lest the secret files be pulled to create a cripling scandal?. Apparently not, as the Demcratic Party we knew appears quite dead, perhaps lethally shot on Nov 22, 1963 and finally buried in 2016 with the nomination of a craven Wall Street puppet and warmonger.

SeaClearly , February 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Thank you, Nat and Coleen, for this article -- as well as continuing and furthering Consortium News' reputation as one of the few remaining independent outlets that can be considered trustworthy. In this age, where even Common Dreams has lost its credibility (and posts by Caitlin Johnstone have to be taken/guarded with grains of salt) it is still a refreshing rarity.

In overall relation, the following Review is shared as representative:

Robert Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell The Truth.org" continually express, show, and Speak Truth to Power. During our times of First Draft Coalition[s], where we are subjected to 98% (?) Controlled Narratives, a predominance critically desires to hear/see those sides which are purposely and collusively repressed, banned and/or censored. In these exponentially-escalating periods of secret laws based on secret memos, secret courts acting with secret evidence (which will not be revealed to the accused), absolute torture to the point of insanity (and death) as a means of interrogation until one gives predetermined answers (truthful or not), worldwide surveillance on every inhabitant (without probable cause) that can be (and is) used as a means to instill fear, to threaten, tarnish, oppress, and silence even peaceful dissenters of basic causes while (resultantly) turning back history 500 years, we need those with (the ability of) absolute courage to Stand Up Now (more than ever).

Evolution: from Total Information Awareness (which started long before 9/11) to Total Information (and Population) Control (as a goal in the present).

Steve , February 9, 2018 at 12:19 pm

FAKE NEWS has been used to snooker the Aemnrician people and as it is gobbled up and digested and spit back with investigation or corroboration it turns decent folks into FAKE PEOPLE. Mueller is no choir boy and the mess in Washington is not going away sometime soon. As for damaging democracy, the 2 party system has taken care of that very nicely but channeling anger into something positive just wont' be allowed to happen as the media are controlled by huge moneyed interests.

Janet Zampieri , February 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm

The liberals are reacting this way because of the constant lies they are fed by the mainstream media. The corporate and CIA control of the media must be exposed and put to an end.

Bruce Dickson , February 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Being a mere paycheque away from disaster, most Americans cannot afford to take to any streets. The Powers That Be know and exploit this, having orchestrated their captives' dire straits, all along.

So, whence shall cometh these threatening troops from Camps AVAAZ and MoveOn? By process of elimination, from the minority well-enough-heeled and the Soros-paid.

FISA's Footsoldiers. Mueller's Mobs. Comey's Creatures. Hillary's Hordes.

Slavery is Freedom! War is Peace! 1984 was a cookbook; we've been reading Orwell all wrong.

johnnieandroidseed , February 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

My chuckle for the day was "1984 was a cookbook." Reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" which should be the motto of capitalists everywhere.

floyd gardner , February 9, 2018 at 11:17 pm

"We serve the workers" [to our Distinguished Diners.]

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 12:17 am

As the episodes star character Michael Chambers is taken away by the Kanamits for meal time on their far away planet, Chambers looks at the audience and says, "How about you? You still on Earth, or on the ship with me? Really doesn't make very much difference, because sooner or later, all of us will be on the menu all of us."

Yikes how true. Great comment johnnieandroidseed. Joe

Gregory Herr , February 10, 2018 at 5:36 am

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=De4u1Zz7Yt4

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 2:20 pm

That was so cool. Thanks Gregory. Joe

Bryan Hemming , February 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Though my instincts tell me there are many more people who are willing to sign a petition than to actually get out on the street, I might be proved wrong in this particular instance.

After signing a couple of petitions for this or that, in the forlorn hope they might bring about change, I began to realize they were mainly designed to make me feel good about myself; that I was doing something very important to make the world a better place.

Even worse, I saw I was being treated as nothing more than another fish in the net. My signature had hardly enough time to reach its destination before my inbox was deluged with requests to sign more petitions, each of which invited me to donate towards the great effort it takes to think up a petition and put it on the internet. For some unexplained reason, the process seemed to require highly-remunerated executives, and an awful lot more money than all the real work needed to run something as work-intensive as Consortium News.

After signing two, I'd already given up the idea of signing more petitions by the time I was urged to sign one for a no-fly zone over Syria to save hundreds of thousand of lives. With anti-Russian propaganda being heavily pushed by the corporate media at the time, it was obvious people who had no idea what a no-fly zone entailed were being manipulated.

We live at a time where, for most people, touchy-feely means engaging with the world through a screen. No man is an island being far from the state of affairs, all men have become islands. Far from bringing us together, the internet is being increasingly used to keep most of us farther and farther away from each other, and the information we need to form opinions based on facts.

Which leads me to ponder how on earth we arrived at a point where of hundreds of thousands of people are preparing to come out on the streets to demonstrate their support of an organization, which just happens to be one of several intelligence agencies, trying to remove their right to come out on the streets to demonstrate? I hope I'm not the only one who finds it perversely ironic and extremely disturbing.

Bruce Dickson , February 9, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Do those intending to demonstrate on the FBI's behalf even realize that one of that agency's most resource-intensive and mission-critical tasks is to record, identify and profile demonstrators?

"I am marching for my right to be surveilled. Democracy means Dossiers for All! FISA = Freedom. I'm guided by the beauty of my shackles. Liberty is Liability. Truth is Treason."

And Insanity is Virtue. Well played, overlords: you have set the stage well – but for the hubris you can't shake off. Lofty as you are, you don't float above the law of unintended consequences. Or that of gravity, either.

Gregory Herr , February 10, 2018 at 6:16 am

Love your comments, The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 9, 2018 at 2:21 pm

My experience with AVAAZ is similar. They petition for many good causes and seem to achieve quite a lot, but then there appear a slice of the petitions that are political and naive, like the no fly zone. Inherent problems in their brand of activism. They should probably reconsider their scope of issues.

Coleen Rowley , February 9, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Some more background information on Avaaz at: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/14/duping-progressives-into-wars/

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 10, 2018 at 1:34 am

Thank you!

Fenn , February 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

Yes, thank you for the link. I had forgot about that. It's very important that we understand NGO's roles & who they are working for.

Lethal Weapon: NGO Soft Power

"Along with military invasions and missionaries, NGOs help crack countries open like ripe nuts, paving the way for intensifying waves of exploitation and extraction" " ~ Stephanie McMillan

""The NGO 'soft power complex' is now one of the most destructive global forces. It is employed as an interface between civilians of a target nation, with government, economic or military structures of the colonialist force intent on harnessing any given nation's resources or undermining its geopolitical influence. The Democratization process, or the path to regime change is facilitated by these undercover government or corporate proxy employees who, once embedded into a society, set about producing the propaganda that will justify intervention, either economically, politically or militarily. NGO propaganda will often employ slick social media marketing which is underpinned by advance applied behavioural psychology and advanced NLP-based 'social enterprise' sales pitches.

A recent piece by researcher Eva Bartlett entitled, "Human Rights Front Groups [Humanitarian Interventionalists] Warring on Syria", provides a detailed insight into how this new breed of weaponized politics is being deployed right now in the Middle East.

The perception of a 'non profit' complex who purport to be "working for the betterment and improvement of humanity" can be a difficult nut to crack, but it must be done. In the west. charities, not-for-profits and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are seen as "do gooders" and so they rarely fall under public scrutiny. Western governments know the general public has an inherent faith in their perceived integrity and this provides an ideal cover for western government and intelligence agencies to operate through their NGO and aid organisations."

-Vanessa Beeley,
https://www.globalresearch.ca/syrias-white /5485128

welshTerrier2 , February 9, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Why all the criticism of MoveOn?

I think it's great that they are calling for massive rallies against the rape of our democracy by the one percent. It's great to see them rallying hundreds of thousands of us to protest the state of endless war. It's nice to see them putting all that muscle into the streets to oppose US foot-dragging on climate change.

Oh wait, I must have misread the article.

On a serious note, we need to see these FISA abuses only as the tools of tyranny. Far more important is who is wielding them and why.

Judy Majors , February 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Thank you Ms. Rowley and Mr. Parry for reporting honestly. If certain factions can set-up a POTUS, what can they do to "we the people"? Mr. Parry, your father would be proud of you!

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm

"Liberals?" Just another name for war mongering liars these days. "Conservatives?" Just another brand of liars and thieves. People who put stock in, and vote on the basis of these baseless tags are the real suckers that enable our whole doomed evil empire. If you vote for anyone who uses either of those labels, you are a fool, and a dangerous one at that. Come to think of it, if you vote at all you are an idiot endorsing a corrupt process.

Drew Hunkins , February 9, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Off topic.

What looks to be an outstanding brand new film is coming out soon. It's entitled, "The Young Karl Marx." This movie looks like a must-see.

The following link is to the two minute trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVTDoZLssg8

(If the link doesn't open, merely punch into the YouTube search engine ""The Young Karl Marx" trailer".)

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Thanks!

lindaj , February 9, 2018 at 11:42 pm

Looks good!

Gary , February 9, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Unfortunately for those very many invested in the Russiagate nonsense, the cold reality is that doubling down on crazy doesn't somehow magically produce sanity. We're watching the Western power structure fracture before our eyes as their propaganda operations have become not simply unbelievable, but now have entered into the world of the totally outlandish and absurd. The notion that "reality" requires some kind of rational connection to observable events in the physical world seems to have totally lost any meaning in this current climate of reality meltdown. Quite amazing to witness actually.

Eddie , February 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm

"doubling down on crazy doesn't somehow magically produce sanity."–Great phrasing!

alley cat , February 9, 2018 at 2:23 pm

The undead hands of those two zombie neocons, HRC and John Brennan, reach out from the boneyard of U.S. politics to drag democracy down with them.

The neocons' ultimate target is Russia, together with anyone who dares to utter the truth about Russia. They are drunk with power and will stop at nothing, not even nuclear war, to eliminate any rival for global domination. They are so reckless and arrogant that they think a nuclear war is winnable.

Megalomania much?

Goebbels boasted that he could play the German public like a keyboard. The neofascist neocons are using the same tactics with the so-called U.S. left, which, measured by international political metrics, corresponds to the traditional imperialist right. American so-called liberals are allowing themselves to be played, like the German public was played by the Nazis before WWII. They are attacking Trump from the reactionary right, not from the left. In their feckless hysteria, they can't even tell the difference.

Fascist tactics bring fascist results. There are multitudinous grounds to oppose Trump democratically. Impeaching him based on ginned-up, right-wing, smears would tear this country apart at the seams.

lindaj , February 9, 2018 at 11:46 pm

"American so-called liberals are allowing themselves to be played, like the German public was played by the Nazis before WWII. They are attacking Trump from the reactionary right, not from the left. In their feckless hysteria, they can't even tell the difference."

I'm afraid you are right.

Democrats are not "the left." Have they ever really been? That's why you said "so-called left" I realize. It makes me laugh when mainstream media calls it such.

Richard Hicks , February 9, 2018 at 2:36 pm

The story says: "Considering all of the threats to democracy posed by unconstitutional overreach, unfair elections, corruption, and voter suppression – not to mention environmental challenges, economic inequality, an out-of-control U.S. foreign policy, numerous foreign conflicts that the U.S. is engaged in, and the ever-present threat of nuclear war – it is telling that the liberal establishment is mobilizing on this particular issue."
Yes, it is "telling that the liberal establishment is mobilizing on this particular issue". Except it's not just this issue. Remember that Al Capone was convicted of crimes other than the crime he was arrested for. It seems that on an almost daily basis evidence is discovered that the President is/was involved in crimes other than Conspiracy and/or Obstruction of Justice. As new evidence is uncovered, it may lead the Mueller investigation in another direction, and apparently, it has. If that is the case, Mueller is doing his job. The job that The People hired him to do. If Trump were to fire Mueller, it could very well be because of newly discovered criminal activity that Trump is, or was involved in, and Trump is nervous about. Our Nation is a Nation of laws, and no one, even the President is above the law. This President has a long-standing proven reputation, of difficulty with the Truth. Based on that alone, if Mueller is fired by Trump, people would be justified taking to the streets, in protest.

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm

A riot to back up the putch against Trump? Not likely, but a disaster if performed. Is this how some dream of a new US government? It will take something much deeper and wiser to accomplish that. Again not likely, but if one has to dream, why not something truly positive?

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:06 pm

"Putin's life work is spying"? You seem to have a rather shallow estimate of someone who stands against those in the US determined to turn our planet into an ashy corpse.

Daniel C. Maguire , February 9, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Best not to lose sight of this fact: there is no liberal cause, especially the incipient climate disaster, that is not negatively affected by Trump and the legal coup-d etat achieved by the Republicans. Anyone working to stymie that,whether sinless or simon pure deserves support. Also, re Russia, Garry Kasparov the Chess Master says it would be naive to think that Putin whose life work is spying would not use his current sophisticated apparatus to work his will on any issue or election of interest.

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

"legal coup d'etat?" That's a new one on me, on the other hand the whole loony scene in Washington is illegal – so what the hey! Still, removing a sitting President on the basis of phony charges against him for colluding with Russia would really kick over the chess board and empower the crazies to do their worst. Or is there anybody still out there who believes the Russiagate nonsense has a shred of truth in it? I hope not, but I am afraid I am in danger of overestimating my fellow citizens .

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:02 pm

As for Gary Kasparov, he should rest on his fading laurels as a chess master, and stay out of politics. If he had his way Russians would raise Yeltsin from the grave, and turn their country back over to the international capitalists.

Mark Thomason , February 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Russia-gate has nothing to do with the real Russia.

It is entirely a Team Hillary attack on Trump. It is an attempt to deny the election. It is rage at losing, looking for excuses to express itself. If not Russia it would be Comey, or many other things. It has been most convenient to use Putin at the pinata, but that is a matter of internal US politics, not Putin at all.

irina , February 9, 2018 at 4:17 pm

And luckily for us, Putin not only groks that dynamic but has been brave enough
to say so in public.

What's with all the new-name trolls here today ?

Mr Boompi , February 9, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I hate the term derangement syndrome but some people surely do have Trump derangement syndrome. It's beaten into them every day on TV and certain internet sites. I believe they want Trump removed using any means possible, including illegal means. Their derangement syndrome includes the mistaken belief attempting to enforce the law regarding Clinton emails and the frauds perpetrated on the FISA court are nothing more than an attempt to obstruct justice for Trump. Even though there is no evidence Trump has done anything wrong. It's a shame actually.

Alan , February 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Let's take a step or two back and try to see the current state of chaos in a broader perspective. People are angry. The Trump administration is without question aberrant. Where is true leadership today? Certainly not with Trump or his administration. The real issue isn't specifically "Russiagate", but what lies beneath.

We have been mislead, lied to, manipulated by virtually every administration to greater and lesser degrees. Of relevance here is that both Nixon and Reagan manipulated the American people through their backchannel negotiations with foreign powers prior to inauguration.

While this Consortiumnews article can shine some light on potential abuses which takes place through the FISA court we must recognize that we form an imperfect union. This particular article seems to be like arguing for changes to the fire codes while Rome burns!

Any mobilization of the "liberal establishment" is far more about the egregious threats to our democracy than whatever "Russiagate" means. An imperfect Mueller seems to represent our best way forward to finding the hidden truths behind all of Trump's malfeasance. Let the people be heard!

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm

The people have been heard! They voted for Trump

WheresOurTeddy , February 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Damn the people in this country are easy to manipulate. Pathetic.

If the activists of the last generation could see the sellout pieces of garbage that call themselves democrats today, they'd roll over in their unmarked graves they were dumped into by the same alphabet agencies of oppression the stooges are standing up for.

Late stage empire in decline.

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Amen.

Maxim , February 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm

They don't want Trump, they want Russia. That's why Trump was "elected". So they could use Trump to get to Russia. In 2020 Clinton will finally get elected and everyone will be begging for WWW3 against the Russian Threat. Another false Pearl Harbor is coming. Syria, N.Korea, Iran or Ukraine are all potential flash points. We're sheep being led to slaughter.

Far , February 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm

In one ponit you are wrong. The orange clown is uninhibited in starting a war. Read just the new disclosure that pentagon had been resisting requests from the White House to provide military options for Iran. In his first speach in the UN Trump has threatened to destroy North Korea totally. This crazy man doesn't deserve to be the president of the US!

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Mostly correct, but the Deep State emphatically did NOT want Trump elected. Too unpredictable. The DS thought Hillary had a lock on the election. Just goes to show that the DS is not as smart as they like to think they are.

Realist , February 10, 2018 at 4:47 am

For sure, Mike, the DS pulled out all the stops to help Hillary both before and after the election to no avail. They are still doing it. The most influential insiders in America couldn't alter the results of the election, yet they would have you believe that Putin merely snaps his fingers, "meddles in our democracy" and has his way. Yet most people cannot see the absurdity of that claim because the corporate media, which is part of the real conspiracy orchestrated by the DS, spews nothing but propaganda full bore 24/7 changing apparent reality right in front of your own lying eyes.

Now the History Channel is coming out with an extra special demonisation of Putin extravaganza!!! Be sure to watch if you wanna stay free! These people could rehabilitate Hitler if it suited their purposes. The American people are putty in their hands. There is no opposition but those few of us who fail to be hypnotized by the svengalis that represent the interests of the string puller elites on the boob tube and internets, who and which they totally own and control. There are so few of us who can still see the truth, I suspect they could house us all in a single detention camp if it comes to that.

Gregory Herr , February 10, 2018 at 6:49 am

I couldn't suppress a derisive laugh reading an above comment about Putin's ability "to work his will on any issue or election of interest." Yep, those snapping fingers are rife with ability not to mention speculation about Putin's desires. What a mad genius he must be!

Snookered and bamboozled, the show must go on.

Far , February 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm

I would support any measure that tends to an impeachment of a crazy, impulsive and retarded president. This president is a misfortune for the US and for the world. One can criticise the actions to support the current investigations in the Russiagate. But if it helps to get rid of a mentally ill clown then why not!

mike k , February 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Good reasoning, but it fails to consider what's next? Believe it or not, there will probably be a lot worse in store for us than President Donald Trump. Things just tend to get worse and worse in a collapsing empire ..

Far , February 9, 2018 at 4:39 pm

What's next is a good question. I hope that Clinton leave finally the political world. She was one of the main reasons that many of voters elected the bad option instead of the worst option. Collapsing of the system can not be an option. But Trump is well under way to shake the political system and polarize the civil society more than ever before

Realist , February 10, 2018 at 4:59 am

That's what Susan Sarandon foresaw as the "good" outcome of a Trump victory–the collapse of the system would be advanced. However, how do we benefit from that opportunity for change when the only announced candidates for Trump's job are the same ilk (Clinton, Biden, Kerry) or their even shallower accolytes (Booker, Harris ) that caused all the damage in the first place? All those idiots are still about fooling and fleecing the American public and warring upon the rest of the world–friends and foes alike. They offer no peace, no prosperity, and no future whatsoever, only a bleak struggle for existence in a nuclear winter by the few survivors of their promised handiwork. You nailed it, Mike, things will only get worse because our leaders (from both of these two abominable parties) insist upon it.

irina , February 9, 2018 at 4:22 pm

"Why not ?" Because such 'measures' only serve to destroy what little remains of our
democracy. Here's a thought experiment for you : would you support similar 'measures'
if they 'tended to an impeachment' of crazy, impulsive, mentally ill Hillary had she been
elected ? (As co-president with Bill, who she promised to 'put in charge' of the economy).

Because "We came, we saw, he Died" Hillary is arguably even farther off the rails than
The Donald. And probably more dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is
that so many people look at her and see someone 'sane'.

Far , February 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Crooked Hillary was never be an option. And Trump is definitive not fit for the oval office. Trump will bury the democracy finally. Damages to the reputation of the US in the world community is immense. With Trump there is no chance to make a real change. Quit in contrary the US will face serious social, economic and security challenges without a glimmer of hope to change the things. My father said that a great ship could be sunk. And if it sinks it will be just slower than a little one. Trump is not an option anymore to steer the ship.

louis coulson , February 9, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Have a look at the less than vigorous investigations run by Mueller into BCCI (Bush crime family "intelligence" op) pre 911. Mueller can run coverups or smear campaigns. Wonder what his corporate offshore bank accounts look like

lindaj , February 9, 2018 at 11:50 pm

bank accounts. good question.

weilunion , February 9, 2018 at 5:35 pm

"Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts. These techniques are known in the intelligence community as "perception management," and have been refined since the 1980s "to keep the American people compliant and confused," as the late Robert Parry has reported. We saw this in action last decade, when after months of disinformation, about 70% of Americans came to falsely believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 when the truth was the opposite – Saddam was actually an enemy of the Al Qaeda perpetrators."

Cognitive dissonance, lack of critical thinking, reliance on authority, in this case a former head of a criminal organization called the FBI.

People have no class consciousness. They have no idea who their enemies ar or how to organize.

This is the sad case of liberalism melting like warm butter while the fascists congeal.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Nicely put.

Dave P. , February 10, 2018 at 2:51 am

"Social psychologists have long talked about how emotional manipulation can work effectively to snooker a large percentage of the population, to get them, at least temporarily, to believe the exact opposite of the facts. . ."

Yes. On any bar counter, just start some conversation with the person sitting to you. With all this bizarre drama – Russia-Gate, Iran, memos, dossier . . . going on TV, and in Washington being enacted knowingly by the the Powers who rule – both, so called Liberals and Conservatives – one can see how this emotional manipulation has worked to snooker just about most of the population. I just had the experience today during lunch at a bar counter. In our conversation, the person sitting next to me was ready to nuke Iran, N. Korea, and go after Russia; and go after Hillary too.

Population in the country was very poorly informed any how. And now, they, The Ruling Establishment which includes Media, have completely messed the people up – making them compliant and confused.

Does any body have idea how they are going to bring an end to this completely concocted bizarre drama?

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm

Dave the same stupid asses you speak of will still be the same stupid asses long after these foreign affairs take any turn for the better. The dumb butts are easy to control. It's like you point and say bad, and these morons growl, as their faces contort in macho anger. Although, if one day the U.S. should make friends with Iran, N Korea, or Russia, these silly little stupid puppies will just go back to work. If you tell them it will be exciting to play the Russians at hockey, well this might get them going a little bit again, but not to worry because it's just hockey. Oh, easy on the beer, and make sure the refreshment stands have plenty of nachos and tip. The jackasses like to eat and drink a lot, what can I say? Joe

Jessika , February 9, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Both MoveOn and Avaaz get major funding from George Soros.

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 9, 2018 at 6:30 pm

As a foreigner, looking from the outside, it seems Mueller will not find anything on Russia. He already found something on Israel, but he doesn't pursue that. If Americans rally, then it seems you should rally to make an objective and fair inquiry, to nail Israel for what they seem to have done.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Now your talking. Good idea.

ToivoS , February 9, 2018 at 7:11 pm

"This is nuts" is a great headline for our current problem.

Many years ago in my early 20s I read 'Guns of August' that described support for the coming WWI. What was so striking about that period was how the public in every relevant European was hell bent on war. Among the major players -- Germany, France, UK, Russia and Austro-hungary -- their populations were demonstrating in the streets and assemblies for war. How was it possible for all of those people to eagerly lust for war that within a few years led to the destruction of the German, Russian and Austrian empires, the deaths of millions of their citizens and multidecade impoverishment for the survivors. The costs of the war resulted in the effective bankruptcy of the UK and French colonial empires as well as millions of dead and traumatized survivors.

I never was able to see how so many people then could be so incredibly foolish. In the last two years I have gained some insight. Many of my respected, but now previous, political associates have just gone totally nuts over Russiagate. There was some kind of psychic break in their minds when Hillary lost and they are now little more than raging primates trapped in a cognitive dissonance loop. Not just that, but these are people who are on the verge of supporting war against Russia.

Reading other comments here it seems my experience has been shared by others.

Joe Tedesky , February 9, 2018 at 7:49 pm

Yes ToivoS, many of us here have been watching our family, friends, and fellow citizens lose their minds in mass over the election of Donald J Trump. It's with his Electoral College win that I noticed the psychic break in many a citizens mind. So now here we are, where this psychic break has moved good thinking people to the side of the field where the Deep State, or National Security State if you will, has replaced critical thinking people by turning them into 'useful idiots', if that is enough of a suitable label to pin on these stray pseudo liberals.

These misguided liberal thinkers ought to move out of the way, drop this Russia-Gate travesty, and allow the real Left to emerge so as justice maybe served upon the Trump Administration. And if these limousine liberal hacks don't wish to travel a different avenue, as to confront what the Trump team does, then for the love of mike please dear almost liberals quit getting so cozy with the National Security State. This kind of stuff gives reason to believe that 'Nightmare on Elm Street' was a documentary, as Freddy Krueger is a nice guy in real life. Now I'm afraid to go to sleep .take care ToivoS. Joe

Zachary Smith , February 9, 2018 at 11:35 pm

Regarding Guns of August , it's a book I won't be reading. Anything by Barbara Tuchman connected with WW1 is automatically suspect with me. I've kept many of her other history books, but will maintain a distinct level of skepticism while reading them. That's necessary because she was a fanatical Zionist, and lying about Israel-related issues is just something that type does.

Lois Gagnon , February 10, 2018 at 12:32 am

The term psychic break I think is dead accurate. It made me think of Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" in that people who are traumatized by natural or man made disasters are taken advantage of by powerful interests intent on imposing policies that are against the public interest.

People who are in a state of shock are not equipped to make rational decisions. Trump's surprise (at least to Clinton voters) win left Democratic Party voters in shock leaving them vulnerable to the Establishment's agenda of increasing tensions with Russia. Enter Russia-gate which serves many purposes at once. As we have seen, it worked like a charm. Those falling for the psy-op have left all reason behind. They are singularly focused. It is virtually impossible to introduce evidence that contradicts the narrative. It's as frustrating as talking to a religious fanatic.

Pandas4peace , February 10, 2018 at 11:48 am

In an ironic twist, Naomi Klein today has completely lost her mind due to Trump Derangement Syndyome.

Larco Marco , February 10, 2018 at 3:34 am

The Ottoman Empire was also destroyed, with the UK subsequently claiming Palestine as a piece of their own empire.

Sam , February 9, 2018 at 8:26 pm

"[I]t should be hoped by everyone that the Department of Justice Inspector General can get to the bottom of how the FISA court was ultimately misled."

Is the IG even looking at this? The current investigation by the IG, the one due to report soon, is looking at the investigation into Clinton's email server. I'm not aware of an IG investigation on this matter. It would certainly be a good idea – assuming that the IG is not compromised, which is a big assumption.

Coleen Rowley , February 9, 2018 at 11:20 pm

Maybe wishful thinking on my part. The Grassley-Graham referral regarding Steele's potential violation of Title 18 Section 1001, lying to the FBI, may or may not be prosecutable depending upon where the "lies" took place and the likely lack of extra-territorial jurisdiction if they occurred in Rome. But even if no criminal violation could be prosecuted, I would think the IG should still investigate the matter for potential administrative discipline.

GEOFF TEAGUE , February 9, 2018 at 9:05 pm

the so called liberals need god on their side so they can tear down the constitution (at least what is left of it) and then put trump's head on a pike. the most fearful thing in this country is watching ignorance in action.

Pandas4peace , February 10, 2018 at 11:45 am

Yes! Stop and think about the consequences of a COUP of a legitimately ELECTED U.S. President by the Deep State and his political opponents. It's a dangerous game and a slippery slope. It's frightening to imagine where this could go.

ThomasGilroy , February 9, 2018 at 9:13 pm

To a liberal, the worst possible scenario was the election of Trump – especially because they are "liberals". That cannot be difficult to see. They rightly see that Russian inference in the election could have made a significant difference in the swing states.

Whether that is true or not, is irrelevant. There cannot be closure without the investigation going forward. That Russia meddled in the US election is certainly without question. Whether Trump colluded or not still needs to be answered.

Finally, future election need to be safeguarded against foreign powers attempting to influence our system of democracy. Russia had a lot to gain potentially helping to elect Trump. Trump had a lot to gain by colluding. We need to find out the truth.

Zachary Smith , February 10, 2018 at 1:00 am

"swing states" – do you suppose that Hillary taking several of them for granted had anything to do with "influencing" the election?

That Russia meddled in the US election is certainly without question.

Without Question! This sounds very much like a religious belief to me. Something like this 1950 declaration by the pope at the time:

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Change a few words in that, and we'd have the Tragedy of Saint Hillary.

Finally, future election need to be safeguarded against foreign powers attempting to influence our system of democracy. Russia had a lot to gain potentially helping to elect Trump.

And how do you suggest this "safeguarding" happen? Shut down the internet? Imprison anyone who says a favorable word about Russia?

ThomasGilroy , February 10, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Zachary

HRC was the second worse candidate in US history – just behind Trump. She is definitely the one most responsible for her loss in the election. None the less, very few votes separated a significant amount of electoral votes so the Russian influence could have made a difference. If you view all of the evidence beginning when US intelligence first identified Russian-related hackers in 2015, followed by Crowdstrike in 2016 (and at least five other cybersecurity firms which confirmed Crowdstrike's conclusions) , social media and the obvious reasons that Putin favored Trump over the anti-Russia candidacy of HRC (motive), then it becomes much more logical that Russia meddled. Assange served the Russian government as well (mostly with the aid of the Russian government-funded RT). He clearly looked to undermine the HRC candidacy despite his denials (lies).

The Daily Beast does a nice job with the time line in the current Mueller investigation (Trump-Russia Isn't About the Cover-Up. It's About the Crime. http://thebea.st/2slKBBE?source=twitter&via=desktop via @thedailybeast) and Marcie Wheeler (at Empty Wheel) also does a good job presenting evidence of Russian perfidy. Mueller probably knows a lot more than he is sharing so it's just a matter of time before the evidence becomes much more difficult to ignore.

Realist , February 10, 2018 at 5:23 am

That Russia "meddled in the US election" is totally without foundation and you know it. Any such attempt by them would be pointless, ineffective and detrimental if ever found out. If we had really found out any such thing, we'd all know about it rather than being fed bullshit based upon absolutely no real evidence. America would not be subjected to a year and a half of shenanigans by a thoroughly-biased politically-motivated special prosecutor given a hunting license by a frustrated deep state, a bitter political opposition and a raucous media in the service of both.

What's the point in dragging out the process if the object is justice and the removal of a putative pretender to the presidency? The aforementioned insurrectionists cannot pull off their desired miracle because the evidence doesn't exist and it doesn't exist because the purported crime was never committed.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans undoubtedly each cheated to win the election in their own ways, but not in any way involving the Russians who have just served as unwitting targets by our own domestic villains. Russia has gained NOTHING by seeing Trump in office. During the election Putin would not even play favorites, stating the obvious: that he could not predict the future and that he would have to deal with whomever was elected. Your scenarios are all delusions, Gilroy.

Dave P. , February 10, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Realist – Excellent summation of this whole false, delusionary, bizarre concocted drama being enacted on the American people, and on people beyond in the World.

Paul Easton , February 9, 2018 at 9:29 pm

The article mentions "perception management" and I think it is well to generalize. Ever since 9/11 the permanent government has kept the population in line by playing on their fears, in Trump's case fear of fascism. (And quite possibly the events of 9/11 were planned and executed for this very purpose.) As it turned out the perception management was all too effective and by now most of the population is freaking out, in one way or another, and our society is disintegrating. Personally I am cheering it on. Goodbye USA Thank God!

Charles Leone , February 9, 2018 at 9:46 pm

Liberals getting behind the most racist government agency in a pathetic display of supporting the "enemy of my enemy" Donald Trump gives further proof they are as unprincipled as any of history's other "national socialists".

Zachary Smith , February 10, 2018 at 1:02 am

What the hell is this endless repetition of the word "Liberals"? Try "Corporate Democrats" and you'd be a LOT closer to reality.

Realist , February 10, 2018 at 5:31 am

To be sure. The other biggest mischaracterisation is to call the ring leaders of this witch hunt "the left" or "leftists." The genuine left (what little still exists of it) are the few who rail against this nonsense, largely on this or similar sites (e.g., ICH).

Dave P. , February 10, 2018 at 3:40 pm

I completely agree, Zachary. The true democratic party adherents – which includes lot of us – should have split from the Corporate Democrats long ago during Clinton presidency.

Bandrui , February 9, 2018 at 10:27 pm

We live in a hall of mirrors. This is yet another example of how easily most Americans are manipulated, dumbest populace on the planet apparently. I see no hope for us at all.

D.H. Fabian , February 10, 2018 at 12:36 am

Give the Clinton right wing credit for achieving what the Republicans had long hoped, but failed, to do. First, they split apart the Dem voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor, and the Obama years served to confirm that this split is permanent. Then they apparently plagiarized old Joe McCarthy's playbook, launching their anti-Russian crusade, splitting apart those who are not on the right wing. Divide, subdivide, conquer.

RandyLee , February 10, 2018 at 9:55 am

so the democrats are going for mob rule now? and they have willing accomplices in liberals who have no idea why they hate Trump, they just know they are supposed to hate Trump. well I say take to the streets then! give it your best shot! cry and scream and threaten your little butts off. when you have no real idea why you are doing something, it won't take long before you realize how stupid you are and will stop listening to those who encourage you from the sidelines to attack american principles but aren't actually on the streets with you. its ok for you to take that bullet but they sure as hell won't be taking one for the cause.

Martin S , February 10, 2018 at 10:19 am

The nefarious results of the Left propaganda: CRUSH THE TRUTH AND THE SHEEP WILL SWALLOW

William Thrash , February 10, 2018 at 10:55 am

I believe the public is getting played on Mueller. Little hints keep dropping about Trump firing him. Then the media and the left goes into a frenzy, demanding Saint Mueller stay. Mueller has literally become the symbol of hope for the left.

Imagine Mueller now coming out and clearing Trump completely while exposing what his real investigative objective was: revealing the deep state. Remember NBC and CNN mentioning Mueller began investigating the Podestas? Then they dropped that story as fast as possible.

I think we're witnessing the absolute genius of the deep state getting taken down. My hunch is that Mueller is part of the team and the media is getting outsmarted.

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 1:11 pm

One can only wonder to where all of this may go. Read this .

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-08/fbi-informant-testifies-moscow-routed-millions-clinton-foundation-russian-uranium

robert , February 10, 2018 at 11:24 am

The thing about liberals is, they'll only accept one result in the Mueller probe. If Trump removes him, he's hiding something. And if Mueller exposes Dem corruption instead of Rep corruption, they'll say its fixed. They want the process to play out, but they'll only accept one result, that of Trump/Russia collusion. They are blinded by their own hate.

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Remember when the Dem's hated Comey? Boy, those were the days, weren't they?

Pandas4peace , February 10, 2018 at 11:35 am

Robert Mueller is leading an open-ended investigation that can cover any potential crime uncovered during the course of the investigation. He has unlimited resources, no deadlines, and no oversight. He can't be fired, except by the President. He reports to noone. His targets have no idea what their crimes may be. His team is stacked with partisan hacks. He uses heavy-handed tactics intended to break his adversaries, even if they haven't been charged with a crime. He refuses to consider contrary evidence or to examine the DNC computers. He won't interview witnesses. The Constitutional and human rights abuses are alarming.

Douglas Mailly , February 10, 2018 at 11:43 am

Great article, but too bad about the polygraph reference, it just perpetuates the myth that they are useful

https://antipolygraph.org

Howard Mettee , February 10, 2018 at 12:11 pm

One of the supreme ironies of our age is how the McCarthyesque focus on Russian interference in our electoral process has completely obscured the domestic politicization of our own institutions of government, that is the damage our now rabid placement of political party party above the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the American population.

Corporations have taken over our legislatures under the guise of "free speech", and the country's foreign policy is controlled by a military-industrial-security complex that sees perpetual war as the answer to domestic economic well being and American world hegemony.

While Russians have no doubt used the internet to sow dissent here via "perception management", as we no doubt have done there and elsewhere around the globe, what we Americans as masters of Madison Avenue techniques have done to ourselves pales in comparison. Can we come to grips with this and then get on to building a more cooperative world? It's a cause worth fighting for.

Mild -ly - Facetious , February 10, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Well said, Howard Mettee.

Our slow descent into the present National Chaos might well've been birthed under McCarthy antics as cloak&cover for Operation Paperclip. One could rightly label his actions "political theater" or straight subversion. -- Whatever, US actual history is a Disappearing Act with imperious propensity. We, as a nation, have always been imperious and domineering, just as were our British forefathers.

The present personification of our historical arrogance is this trenchantly self-approving / self-adoring Trump; (Mala Mens Malus Animus), whose wanton path of destruction is largely more perverse than any of his predecessors. His path of DECONSTRUCTION is the portent of a free-radical DISORGANIZATION of the world structure as we've known it. ( Poe aptly depicted this in his short story, "The Descent Into The Maelstrom")

The foreboding actions from Mr. Trump foreshadow Perilous Times predicted first in First Timothy 6: 9-10, Trump as forerunner and Second Timothy 3: 1-5 -- either and both apt descriptions of Donald Trump.

– – – – – – "mala mens malus animus"

R Davis , February 10, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Is it a diversion? From what? It is obvious that Israel & Trump are on a roll. Bombing Syria on the skirtings of Iran – "oh joy of joys, one step closer," – to doomsday. Elsewhere i have recommended the Palestinian people exit Palestine ASAP. Foolhardy Israel is only the size of a postage stamp, 4 time the size of Hiroshima. when nerves fray hey!

Brad Smith , February 10, 2018 at 2:22 pm

I was actually hoping that with Trump taking over the reigns of the war machine that the left would once again mobilize and oppose our wars and the spying state that walks all over our civil liberties. Trump certainly gives them enough legitimate areas of concern that they have plenty to go on. Sadly this really does show the power of the press to manipulate public opinion and the left-wing media loves Russia Gate.

For myself personally, I see the threat of a confrontation with Russia as the #1 concern. We have now entered into a new cold war with all the massive spending, proxy wars and yet again the very real chance of it leading to a hot war that could be the end of all of us. Sadly the "left" in this country has once again fallen for the endless propaganda, their hatred of Trump is only part of this issue.

With or without the Mueller investigation the Russia hatred will go on. Mueller could exonerate Trump tomorrow and the anti-Russian propaganda will continue. It was already ramping up well before our elections and much of it was targeted at the left then as well. Remember Pussy Riot? Remember the stories about how homophobic Russians are? The left has been primed to hate Putin for a long time by this propaganda and they fell for it well before Trump ran for office. Think about it this way, before we had the American "Deplorables" we had "Russians". They were shown as nothing but drunken, wife beating, homophobic, Religious, white, gun nuts, etc. etc. etc. This Extreme form of stereotyping was meant to invoke hatred by the left and it worked.

Joe Tedesky , February 10, 2018 at 8:33 pm

Brad you got it right. Yes, the Dem's are wasting valuable time chasing after these Russian hackers who weren't there. Brad you also got it right, that these so called liberals are blinded by their hatred of Trump, and in my estimation these kool-aid liberals are passing up any golden opportunity they may have to go after Trump for what they should be going after him for. Talk about misdirected, the Dem's aren't even close. Joe

Erelis , February 10, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Well, there was middle last year a nationally organized "March for Truth" which called for investigation of Trump and any Russian ties. The march by newspaper reports got "hundreds" in Chicago and NYC. I saw a live stream of the Portland march. Maybe just maybe cracked a hundred. Basically the march attendees looked like older party partisans. I would expect the same for any pro-Mueller rallies in that they will be pretty much be democratic party rallies. As the leadership of groups like Planned Parenthood, unions, and other organizations are aligned with establishment democrats, I am not sure they can convince their bases to march.

On the electoral side. Sure some people will show up, and show up in democratic dominated cities, but in the rest of America, more of a yawn. Establishment democrats think that Russiagate will win them elections. I think not.

dee , February 10, 2018 at 3:48 pm

The so called liberals tried to redefined the left away from working class to LBGT, Black Lives Matter, abortion rights, etc and , in the process, dug their own graves.

Jessika , February 10, 2018 at 6:47 pm

So far these "liberals" have not dug their own graves, because media supports their position now despite having primed Trump for winning during campaigning. I maintain that having only two political parties is the crux of the problem, and clearly both are corporate. People don't get how they are being played. A quote attributed to Mark Twain I just read: "It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they are being fooled."

Dave Sullivan , February 10, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Yet another "analysis " of russia-gate without mentioning organized crime. The trump cronies are mobbed up from top to bottom, and the right is shocked they would be looked at by the FBI. Talk about snookered. Then the author, denigrates FISA, blames liberals, but doesn't mention the lockstep GOP vote to continue it, or, the majority of dems who opposed .check your own cognitive dissonance at the door before you sit to "write" again.

Jessika , February 10, 2018 at 7:15 pm

No reason for foul language, doesn't enlighten just plays into the already coarse society we have. Colleen Rowley in the past has written on Mueller's harmful coverups of FBI behavior including 9/11 collusion with Bush to ignore Saudi complicity, if I remember correctly.

Yoshi Shimizu , February 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm

Nuts' indeed. Before raising the temperature over the Russiagate, first. Shave off the Pentagon budget!

[Feb 10, 2018] More on neoliberal newspeak of US propaganda machine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The "Newspeak" we experience is straight out of Orwell's 1984. From Wikipedia: Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a controlled language created by the totalitarian state Oceania as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. Any form of thought alternative to the party's construct is classified as "thoughtcrime". ..."
"... It is truly scary how Orwellian our current situation has become reminding me that there are always two two takeaways from any story or historical record. Those that view it as a cautionary tale and those who use it as an instruction manual. ..."
"... We are also controlled through Doublespeak another Orwellian concept. From Wikipedia: Doublespeak is a language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Some common examples are the branding of liberals by pundits in the media as Fascists in order to eliminate the historical understanding of exactly what that word refers to. Another example is the appearance of the term Alt Right which is used to confuse and obscure the true nature of these groups. A great example of the doublespeak the media exercises in service to the state is the instantaneous adoption of the term Alt Right and nary ever a mention of its former names such as White Supremacist, Neo Nazi, Racist, Hate Group etc. They just rename these movements and hide all the other terms from sight. Another example is scapegoating the same group of people but under a different term. Today the term is Liberal but in the past, the Nazi movement called them Jews, Communists, Intellectuals etc. Whatever the term, the target of these attacks are always the ones that threaten the Power Structure. ..."
"... Joseph Goebbels was in charge of the war propaganda for the Nazis during WWII. He said: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

CitizenOne , February 10, 2018 at 11:58 am

The reason we are in the pickle barrel is exactly the reasons stated in the article and by Annie. We are exposed to exactly what they want to show us and are blinded by other narratives which do not support the group think. It is as if the politicians, the intelligence community and the media are all involved in a conspiracy. Remember that word means a plan by two or more people. No tin foil hat required. But anyone suggesting conspiracy is instantly branded a nut hence the universal use of the term conspiracy nut as a derogatory term to label anyone with a different message that somehow captures the attention of a wider audience. It is not so much that all Holly Wood stars are liberal socialists. They are a diverse group. However they all have one thing in common which is they have the public's ear. They are also not on point with the approved messaging and so must be continuously branded as conspiracy nuts and socialist subversives. We all have seen the 24/7 bashing of these folks. Control is the reason.

The "Newspeak" we experience is straight out of Orwell's 1984. From Wikipedia: Newspeak is the fictional language in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell. It is a controlled language created by the totalitarian state Oceania as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. Any form of thought alternative to the party's construct is classified as "thoughtcrime".

It is truly scary how Orwellian our current situation has become reminding me that there are always two two takeaways from any story or historical record. Those that view it as a cautionary tale and those who use it as an instruction manual.

I am appalled by how the media at first put Trump in the game in the first place for economic gain (see Les Moonvies article) and then created another fictional fantasy which serves the goal of permawar and control of the citizenry through fear, confusion and ignorance. We are all exposed to the Daily Two Minutes of Hate another Orwellian concept. From Wikipedia: The Two Minutes Hate, from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, is a daily period in which Party members of the society of Oceania must watch a film depicting the Party's enemies (notably Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers) and express their hatred for them for exactly two minutes. The difference is we can find it 24/7 on our technological wonder machines.

Another Orwellian concept is The Ministry of Truth: The Ministry of Truth (in Newspeak, Minitrue) is the ministry of propaganda. As with the other ministries in the novel, the name Ministry of Truth is a misnomer because in reality it serves the opposite: it is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events. From Wikipedia: As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, "truth" is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. In keeping with the concept of doublethink, the ministry is thus aptly named in that it creates/manufactures "truth" in the Newspeak sense of the word. The book describes the doctoring of historical records to show a government-approved version of events.

We are also controlled through Doublespeak another Orwellian concept. From Wikipedia: Doublespeak is a language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Some common examples are the branding of liberals by pundits in the media as Fascists in order to eliminate the historical understanding of exactly what that word refers to. Another example is the appearance of the term Alt Right which is used to confuse and obscure the true nature of these groups. A great example of the doublespeak the media exercises in service to the state is the instantaneous adoption of the term Alt Right and nary ever a mention of its former names such as White Supremacist, Neo Nazi, Racist, Hate Group etc. They just rename these movements and hide all the other terms from sight. Another example is scapegoating the same group of people but under a different term. Today the term is Liberal but in the past, the Nazi movement called them Jews, Communists, Intellectuals etc. Whatever the term, the target of these attacks are always the ones that threaten the Power Structure.

Joseph Goebbels was in charge of the war propaganda for the Nazis during WWII. He said: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

If these things seem eerily similar to what is going on today then we probably have a power structure which is a grave threat for peace. Okay, we do have a power structure that is a grave threat to peace but oddly not democracy. Noam Chomsky wrote about propaganda stating, "it's the essence of democracy" This notion is contrary to the popular belief that indoctrination is inconsistent with democracy. The point is that in a totalitarian state, it doesn't much matter what people think because you can control what they do. But when the state loses the bludgeon, when you can't control people by force and when the voice of the people can be heard, you have to control what people think. And the standard way to do this is to resort to what in more honest days used to be called propaganda. Manufacture of consent. Creation of necessary illusions.

The folks who contribute here on this website are few indeed and what lies beyond the haven of the oasis is a vast barren dessert filled with scorpions, snakes and a whole bunch of lies.

Well said for Annie and the authors.

Democracy may be the ultimate tool of control of the masses.

More wisdom from Goebbels:

I like that last one a lot but unfortunately it will not come to pass until things get bad.

CitizenOne , February 10, 2018 at 11:59 am

Link to article: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-trump-moonves-snap-htmlstory.html

Elaine Sandchaz , February 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Citizen One – You have beautifully & precicely nailed the means ( "how" ) the USA has gotten in such a mess : Newspeak, Daily Two Minutes of Hate, The Ministry of Truth, DoubleSpeak and the way and why of how Propaganda actually works. George Orwell was a seer.

AND now it would be helpful to understand "why" the USA has gotten in such a mess. The polarity of American politics tells a very long story but in short, polarity means there are only two ways and when the going gets tough, each way is in the extreme – the right way or the wrong way, it flips depending on each individual's political persuasion. When the going gets tough the extremes become the tail that wags the dog.

So my question is : WHY after the seemingly happy years under Obama did the going get so tough so fast?
My pet theory is that Trump threatened to "drain the swamp" which was understood – seemingly now quite rightly – that he was going to expose some very significant wrong doing in very high places. I believe that he was on "NYC/DC" friendly terms with the Clintons and both parties knew each other for the true devil they were. Thus the big red flag he waved in her face brought about what is turning in to a multi billion dollar ongoing attempt to discredit him in the eyes of the people, in the eyes of the World and in the eyes of the highest courts " America be damned".

And politically this is quite necessary because she is not only an icon of all that is American,"apple pie and motherhood"; she is to the under 45 age group the great white mother of democracy via Democrat rule. And the bad part of that iconography is that if she goes down so does the party. It was also critical for her to win because of all the swamp people who had chosen to compromise their life's work, thus had to continue in that compromise in the hope that they would come out clean since they believed that both Trump and the ordinary American were so naive, thus would be easily played for fools.

So all this crap to destroy Trump is about saving her hide to save the party. Things are so desperate now because there is nothing yet in place to replace her in the mind's eye of the Democratic half the voting public. All who might have been in 2nd place were kept diminished to raise her higher. It now is quite obvious that she has been told to shut up and lie low, to come out only when she is in safe company – as at the Golden Globes. So the big picture today as is being painted and hyped to intensify mass hysteria is that Mueller needs to be protected from Trump where really what is needed are the names and numbers to be called on for more $$$, more social media propaganda pages and to vote in November 2018.

Why only that? Because Trump is not going to fire Mueller; remember Mueller was a Bush man and so was Comey. They have a long history of going both ways. Survival is tricky business – especially in DC. The scapegoats are already cornered; possibly the new "lie" is already in draft form. Remember – "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

It is going to be an interesting next few months!! But we can hope that, from this one of many previous American political exercises in democracy, the ordinary defenders of those democratic values (the voters) will learn some significant truths about governance, transparency and the rule of law. The guys at the top are not gods and are not above the law; they must not only do right but be seen to do right.

CitizenOne , February 10, 2018 at 7:57 pm

The only thing I can tell you is that the conspirators who concocted Russia Gate have figured out all the pieces to the puzzle of how to control events via the means I mentioned and many other means. We are as manipulated as a light switch. One way we are all fired up about some BS and flip the switch and we are all calm and mellow. Hopefully if you follow the threads here you will find out a lot of alternative information much of it thoroughly researched by highly respected and qualified individuals who are in a position to know the truth.

Mariam , February 10, 2018 at 7:11 pm

I agree with you wholeheartedly. They call themselves "liberals" in fact they are "new liberals."
Alas, these false ("new) liberals" are very well represented by the Obamas, the Clintons, the Trudeaus, the Macrons and so on.
If you truly believe in the "left" and call yourself "progressive" you couldn't stand for useless and pointless wars, period.

[Feb 09, 2018] Professor Stephen F. Cohen Rethinking Putin – A critical reading, by The Saker - The Unz Review

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As a young and inexperienced leader placed at the helm of a collapsing state: He rebuilt, stabilized and modernized Russia in a way to prevent future collapses He had to restore the "vertical" of power: "managed democracy" (i.e. restored order) He needed a consensual history patching up Czarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras without imposing one, single, version of history He needed Western support to modernize the Russian economy He wanted Russia to be a great power, but not a super-power He never favored iron-curtain isolationism; he is an internationalist (more European than 90% of Russians, at least in the beginning). ..."
"... The key thesis is this: Putin began as a pro-Western, European leader and with time he realigned himself with a much more traditional, Russian worldview. He is more in line with Russian voters today. ..."
"... "by any reckoning, be it flourishing inside Russia or relations with Israel, by general consent of all, nobody denies this, Jews under Putin in Russia are better off than they had ever been in Russian history. Ever. They have more freedom, less official anti-Semitism, more protection, more official admiration for Israel, more interaction, more freedom to go back and forth". ..."
"... The Soviet KGB was first and foremost a huge bureaucracy with completely different, and separate, directorates, departments, and sections. Yes, one such Directorate did deal with dissidents and anti-Soviet activists (mainly the 9 th Department of the 5 th Directorate) but even within this (infamous) 5 th Directorate there were some Departments which, in coordination with other KGB Directorates and Departments, dealt with more legitimate tasks such as, for example, the early detection of terrorist organizations (7 th Department). Other Directorates of the KGB dealt with economic security (6 th Directorate), internal security and counter-intelligence (2 nd Directorate) or even protection of officials (9 th Directorate). ..."
"... My most important objection to Saker is that Putin does not know what to do about Ukraine and does not have a policy on Ukraine. ..."
"... The collapse of the Soviet Union was arranged by the Nomenklatura for their own benefit as a massive asset grab. ..."
"... On the plus side, Western sanctions have been a net benefit to Russia over the last three years – keeping capital in the country and giving the agricultural, food processing and light manufacturing industries some room to breathe and develop free from Western competition. ..."
"... I've heard a few of Grudinin's speeches, and they were very disappointing, to put it mildly. It is nice to say that you want to confiscate oligarch's money (after all, they just stole it), stop capital flight, nationalize natural resources, etc. It might sound good for the electorate, but without specifying means of achieving these goals, this is pure demagoguery. ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

I have recently had the pleasure of watching a short presentation by Professor Stephen F. Cohen entitled "Rethinking Putin" which he delivered on the annual Nation cruise on December 2, 2017 (see here for the original Nation Article and original YouTube video). In his short presentation, Professor Cohen does a superb job explaining what Putin is *not* and that includes: (but, please do watch the original video before proceeding).

Professor Cohen ended his talk by suggesting a few things which might form a part of a future honest biography:

As a young and inexperienced leader placed at the helm of a collapsing state: He rebuilt, stabilized and modernized Russia in a way to prevent future collapses He had to restore the "vertical" of power: "managed democracy" (i.e. restored order) He needed a consensual history patching up Czarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras without imposing one, single, version of history He needed Western support to modernize the Russian economy He wanted Russia to be a great power, but not a super-power He never favored iron-curtain isolationism; he is an internationalist (more European than 90% of Russians, at least in the beginning).

The key thesis is this: Putin began as a pro-Western, European leader and with time he realigned himself with a much more traditional, Russian worldview. He is more in line with Russian voters today.

Professor Cohen concluded by addressing two topics which, I presume, his audience cared deeply about: he said that, contrary to Western propaganda, the so-called 'anti-gay' laws in Russia are no different from the laws of 13 US states. Secondly, that "by any reckoning, be it flourishing inside Russia or relations with Israel, by general consent of all, nobody denies this, Jews under Putin in Russia are better off than they had ever been in Russian history. Ever. They have more freedom, less official anti-Semitism, more protection, more official admiration for Israel, more interaction, more freedom to go back and forth".

This is all very interesting important stuff, especially when delivered to a Left-Liberal-Progressive US audience (with, probably, a high percentage of Jews). Frankly, Professor Cohen's presentation makes me think about what Galileo might have felt when he made his own "presentations" before the tribunal of Inquisition (Cohen's articles and books are now also on the modern equivalent of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum) . In truth, Professor Cohen is simply true to himself: he opposed the crazies during the old Cold War and now he is opposing the same crazies during the new Cold War. His entire life Professor Cohen was a man of truth, courage, and integrity – a peacemaker in the sense of the Beatitudes (Matt 5:9). So while I am not surprised by his courage, I am still immensely impressed by it. Some might think that delivering a short presentation on a cruise-ship is hardly a sign of great courage, but I would vehemently disagree. Yes, nobody would shoot Cohen in the back of the neck like, say, the Soviet ChK-GPU-NKVD would have done, but I submit that these methods of "enforcing" a single official consensus were far less effective than their modern equivalents: the conformity imposition techniques (see: Asch Conformity Experiment ) so prevalent in the modern Western society. Just look at the results: there was far more reading and thinking (of any kind) going on in the Soviet society than there is today in the modern AngloZionist Empire (anybody who remembers the bad old USSR will confirm that to you). As one joke puts it: in a dictatorship, you are told to "shut up", while in a democracy you are encouraged to "keep talking". QED.

Turning to Professor Cohen's talking points, numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are basic facts. Nothing to be debated here – Cohen is plainly setting the factual record straight. Number 5 is much more interesting and controversial. For one thing, we are talking views/intentions, which are hard to judge. Was Putin ever pro-Western? Who knows? Maybe his closest friends know? My own belief is that this question must be looked at in combination of issue #8: Putin's service in the KGB.

There is still a huge amount of misinformation about the old Soviet KGB in the West. To the average American a "KGB agent" is a guy called Vladimir, with steel gray-blue eyes, who beats up dissidents, steals Western technological secrets, and spies on the wives of politicians (and even beds them). He is a hardcore Communist who dreams about nuking or invading the US and he speaks with a thick Russian accent. Alternatively, there is Anna Kushchenko (a.k.a. Anna Chapman ) – a devious sex doll who seduces Western men into treason. These prototypes are as accurate as James Bond is an accurate representation of MI6. The reality could not be more different.

The Soviet KGB was first and foremost a huge bureaucracy with completely different, and separate, directorates, departments, and sections. Yes, one such Directorate did deal with dissidents and anti-Soviet activists (mainly the 9 th Department of the 5 th Directorate) but even within this (infamous) 5 th Directorate there were some Departments which, in coordination with other KGB Directorates and Departments, dealt with more legitimate tasks such as, for example, the early detection of terrorist organizations (7 th Department). Other Directorates of the KGB dealt with economic security (6 th Directorate), internal security and counter-intelligence (2 nd Directorate) or even protection of officials (9 th Directorate).

Putin was an officer (not an "agent" – agents are recruited from outside the KGB!) of the First Main Directorate (PGU) of the KGB: foreign intelligence. Putin himself has recently revealed that he was working inside the most sensitive Department of the PGU, the "Department S" which are "illegals". This is very important. The PGU was so separate from all the other Directorates of the KGB that it had its own headquarters in the south of Moscow. But even inside the PGU, the Department S was the most secret and separated from all the other PGU Departments (no less than 10). As somebody who has spent many years as an anti-Soviet activist and who has had personal, face to face, dealings with KGB officers (of various Directorates) I can confirm that not only did the KGB as a whole get some of the best and brightest in Russia, but the PGU got the best ones of those and only the very best ones from that select group ever made it to the legendary Department S. Now let's look at what kind of skill-set was required from PGU officers in general (besides the obvious two: being very bright and very trustworthy).

First and foremost, a PGU officer has to be a top-notch specialist of his area of expertise (in Putin's case: Germany, of course, but also the rest of Europe and, since Western Europe was – and still is – a US colony, the US). While Soviet people were told that the West was the enemy, the PGU officers had to understand why and how the West was that enemy.

In practical terms, this implies not only knowing and understanding the official cultural, political, social and economic realities of the enemy's polity, but also the real power relations inside that polity. Such an understanding is not only useful to approach and evaluate the potential usefulness of each person you interact with, but also to be able to understand in what environment this person has to operate. The notion of PGU officers being bigoted commies is laughable as these men, and women, were very well read (they had unlimited access to all the Western information sources, including anti-Soviet ones, classified reports, and all the anti-Soviet literature imaginable) and they were ultimate realists/pragmatists. Of course, like in any organization, the top leaders were often political appointees and the bureaucrats and counter -intelligence officers were much less sophisticated. But for officers like Putin to really understand the reality of the Western society was a vital skill.

Second, a good PGU officer had to be likable; very, very likable. Being liked by others is also a crucial skill for a good intelligence officer. In practical terms, this means that he/she has to not only understand what makes the other guy tick but how to influence him/her in the right direction. When dealing with 'illegals' that also meant being their best friend, confessor, moral support, guide and protector. You can't do that if people don't like you. So these intelligence officers are masters of being good friends and companions; they are good listeners and they know a lot about how to make you like them. They also understand exactly what you like to hear, what you want to see and what words and actions place you in a relaxed and trusting mode.

Now combine these two: you have a man who is top notch specialist of the West and who is superbly trained to be liked by Western people. How likely is it that this man had many illusions about the West, to begin with? And what if a man like that did have misgivings – would he have shown them?

My own gut feeling is that this is not very likely at all.

What is far more likely is this: Putin played the "West best's friend" role for as long as possible and he dumped it when it was clearly not productive any longer. And yes, in doing that he did realign himself to the mainstream Russian public opinion. But that was just a useful side-effect, not the cause or the goal of that realignment.

Look at the Professor Cohen's points 9-13 above (I would summarize them as "fix Russia"). They all make sense to me, even that " he was a young and inexperienced leader ". There is a huge difference between being a skilled PGU officer and being the man who rules over Russia. And even if Putin did lose some of his illusions, it would have been primarily because the West itself changed a great deal between the 1980s and the 2010s. But Putin must have indeed always known that to implement Cohen's points 10-13 he needed the West's help, or, if that was not possible, at least the West's minimal interference/resistance. But to believe that a man who had full access to the real information about the two Chechen wars would have any kind of illusions left about the West's real feelings about Russia is profoundly misguided. In fact, anybody living in Russia in the 1990s would have eventually come to the realization that the West wanted all Russians to be slaves, or, more accurately, and in the words of Senator McCain – " gas station " attendants. Putin himself said so when he declared , speaking about the US, " they don't want to humiliate us, they want to subjugate us. They want to solve their problems at our expense, they want to subordinate us to their influence ". Putin then added, " nobody in history has ever succeeded in doing this and nobody will ever succeed ". First, I submit that Putin is absolutely correct in his understanding of the West's goals. Second, I also submit that he did not suddenly "discover" this in 2014. I think that he knew it all along, but began openly saying so after the US-backed coup in the Ukraine. Furthermore, by 2014, Putin had already accomplished points 9-13 and he did not need the West as much anymore.

Now let's look at points 6 (Putin's view of the Soviet period), 12 (consensual history) and 14 (Russia as a great power but not a super-power). And again, let's consider the fact that officers of the PGU had total access to any history books, secret archives, memoirs, etc. and that they were very free to speak in pragmatic analytical terms on all historical subjects with their teachers and colleagues. Here I submit that Putin had no more illusions about the Soviet past then he had about the West. The fact that he referred to the breakup of the Soviet Union (which, let's remember, happened in a totally undemocratic way!) as a " catastrophe " which was " completely unnecessary " does in no way imply that he was not acutely aware of all the horrors, tragedies, waste, corruption, degradation and general evil of the Soviet regime. All this shows is that he is also aware of the immense victories, achievements, and successes which also are part of the historical record of the Soviet era. Finally, and most importantly, it shows that he realizes what absolute disaster, a cataclysm of truly cosmic proportions the break-up of the Soviet Union represented for all the people of the former USSR and what an absolute nightmare it was for Russia to live a full decade as a subservient colony of Uncle Sam. I am certain that Putin studied enough Hegel to understand that the horrors of the 1990s were the result of the internal contradictions of the Soviet era just as the Soviet era was the result of the internal contradictions of Czarist Russia. In plain English, this means that he fully understood the inherent dangers of empire and that he decided, along with the vast majority of Russians, that Russia ought to never become an empire again. A strong, respected and sovereign country? Yes. But an empire? Never again. No way!

This fundamental conclusion is also the key to Putin's foreign policy: it is "reactive" by nature simply because it only acts in response to when (and what) something affects Russia. You could say that all "normal" nations are "reactive" because they have no business doing otherwise. Getting involved everywhere, in every fight or conflict, is what empires based on messianic ideologies do, not normal countries regardless of how big or powerful they are. For all the sick and paranoid hallucinations of Western Russophobes about a "resurgent Russia" the reality is that Russian diplomats have often mentioned what the goals of Russian foreign policies truly are: to turn enemies into neutrals, neutrals into partners, partners into friends and friends into allies. And this is why Professor Cohen is absolutely correct, Putin is no isolationist at all – he wants a new, multi-polar, international order of sovereign countries; not because he is a na๏ve wide-eyed idealist, but because this is what is pragmatically good for Russia and her people. You could say that Putin is a patriotic internationalist.

And now to the homosexuals and Jews. First, both assertions made by Professor Cohen are correct: homosexuals and Jews are doing great in modern Russia. I would even agree that they are doing better than ever before. Of course, both Professor Cohen and I are being factual and very superficial when we say that. And since I discussed both of these topics in some detail in the past (see here and here ) I won't discuss them here. Rather, I would simply state that in both cases we are talking about a rather small minority of whose treatment is, for some reason or other, considered as THE measure of humanity, kindness, civilization, and modernity in the West. Well, okay, to each his own. If in the West, the treatment of these two minorities is The One And Only Most Important Topic In The Universe – fine. I personally don't care much (especially since I don't feel that I owe any special consideration to either one of them). This being said, I would also claim that Putin's number one concern is also not for any specific minority. However, and that is where this is indeed very interesting, his concern for the majority does not at all imply any kind of disregard or disrespect for the fundamental freedoms and rights of the minorities but includes his concern for all minorities (and, in this case, not just two minorities which are treated as "more equal than others").

This is where various right-wingers and assorted Alt-Righters completely "lose" Putin. The very same Putin who told an assembly of Orthodox Jews in Moscow that 80-85% of Bolshevik leaders were Jews (see subtitled video here ), the same Putin who crushed the (overwhelmingly Jewish) oligarchs of the Eltsin era as soon as he came to power, and the same Putin who completely ignored all the hysterics of Bibi Netanyahu about the Russian role in Syria is also the same Putin who went out of his way to protect Russian Jews inside Russia and who considers that Jews and Russians are forever joined in their common memory of the horrors of WWII.

[Sidebar: I personally wish that Russia would denounce Israel for what it is, an illegitimate racist rogue state hell-bent on genocide and expansion, but I don't have relatives there. Neither am I the President of a country with very strong ties to the Russian-speaking Jewish communities worldwide. In my opinion, I am accountable to nobody else but my conscience and God, whereas Putin is accountable to those who elected him and still support him].

Guilt by association, the punishment of all for the actions of some, scapegoating, the vicious persecution of minorities in the name of some ideal – this has all been tried in the past, both in Russia and in the West. The Nazis did that and so did the Soviets. And both the Nazis and the Soviets inflicted untold horrors upon the many peoples of the Soviet Union and beyond. Putin is acutely aware of the dangers of nationalism, just as much as he is aware of the dangers of imperialism, and he said so many times: Russia cannot afford any more nationalistic conflicts as they almost completely destroyed Russia in the 1990s. Just look at modern Ukraine and you will see what a Russia torn apart by nationalist ideologies could have looked like had Putin not cracked down, hard, on various nationalists (including and mostly Russian ones).

Far from catering to (an admittedly powerful) Jewish lobby in Russia, Putin is, in fact, trying to assemble as many different peoples and minorities as possible to his project of a New Russia; and that project includes Russian Jews, not only for the sake of these Jews, but mainly for the sake of Russia . The same goes for another crucial minority in Russia – Muslims. They also very much form a key part of the project Putin has for Russia. Of course, racists, nationalists and other less than bright folks in Russia will still dream about expelling all Jews (or Muslims) from Russia. Simply put – that ain't happening (for one thing this would be physically impossible) and Putin and those who support him will fight such projects with every legal tool at their disposal. Here again, you could say that Putin is a patriotic internationalist.

In the meanwhile, the West is still stuck in its old, ideological ways: imperialism, nationalism and messianic exclusivism on one hand, and a complete surrender to post-modernism, cultural self-hatred, petty minority politics and moral relativism on the other. It is, therefore, no surprise whatsoever that both mainstream camps in the West completely misread Putin and can't figure out what he is up to.

Professor Cohen is right: the real Putin has absolutely nothing, nothing at all, in common with the pseudo-Putin the Western media presents to its infinitely gullible and zombified audience. Alas, nobody will listen to Cohen, at least not until the regime in Washington DC and the power structure which supports it, and whose interests it represents, come crashing down. But I do believe that Professor Cohen will eventually go down in history as the most intellectually honest and courageous Russia expert in the US.


exiled off mainstreet , February 8, 2018 at 5:41 am GMT

I respect this commentator and respect Mr. Cohen and detest the power structure they are resisting. This seems to be a realistic appraisal of Putin's role.
Cyrano , February 8, 2018 at 6:57 am GMT

Guilt by association, the punishment of all for the actions of some, scapegoating, the vicious persecution of minorities in the name of some ideal – this has all been tried in the past, both in Russia and in the West. The Nazis did that and so did the Soviets.

Saker, I know you want to sound egalitarian and fair, but comparing Nazi's and Soviet treatment of minorities – come on man. Nazi's mistreated minorities because of the fact that they were of different ethnicity, and that treatment was reserved for them only, and not for the Germans.

In the Soviet Union, the mistreatment of minorities had more equal opportunity flavor – they didn't want to make the minorities feel left out of the mistreatment that the ethnic Russians were receiving themselves.

In other words, the USSR didn't want to discriminate against the minorities by treating them differently than the ethnic Russians.

Imagine how it would have felt from the minorities perspective if the USSR authorities refrained from sending them to the Gulag. They would have felt unloved and unworthy of receiving the same treatment as the Russians. Like they are not good enough to be sent to the Gulag.

yurivku , February 8, 2018 at 9:14 am GMT
Thank you Saker. It was an interesting reading.

Both of you – The Saker and prof. Cohen probably are right in yours conclusions about Putin and its role in world and Russia's history. But: - he was appointed by Yeltsin, as I.Shamir ( http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-rich-also-cry/ ) said to guard Old Money; - he did alot for our country and really saved it from final crushing, but he could have done much more and he had not.

I mean corruption questions when he behaves very selectively (keeping some corruptioners while fight with others, this looks like undercover fight), economy (thanks US imbeciles with sanctions which forced him to support internal productions and agriculture), he did almost nothing to get those oligarchs's money work for country, he does invest to different unneeded projects (like football champ etc) not trying to help poorest part of our society, he still does nothing (even supports) 5th column (Chubais, Kudrin, Shuvalov, Gref ), building stupid Eltsin center .

So I, as well as many Russian, have a very contradictory feelings to him. After Crimea joined Russia we all gave him a big credit. Most than 90% of Russians happy of this, when root and lovely part of Russia returned home not to say about strategic meaning of that. But now credit is over and if we could see someone good enough to be compared with Putin – quite a significant part of a society is ready to vote for for such person. Unfortunately not now. Grudinin doesn't seem to be real alternative, others are just clowns appointed to be faked alternatives.

And the future of Russia is very vague.

Alas, nobody will listen to Cohen, at least not until the regime in Washington DC and the power structure which supports it, and whose interests it represents, come crashing down.

But, thanks to US neocons, it's probably no future at all going to happen, just getting back to stone age. Hope it's a joke. Alas.

Renoman , February 8, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
Putin is the leader of the free World. A sensible man with a real set of nuts, he stands almost alone.
Ludwig Watzal , Website February 8, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
There are still some voices of reason left in the US. The most aggressive, dangerous and trigger-happy country in the world is the US Empire.

http://www.newspronto.com/opinion/45229-the-demonization-of-president-vladimir-putin-must-stop

Randal , February 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT

Professor Cohen is right: the real Putin has absolutely nothing, nothing at all, in common with the pseudo-Putin the Western media presents to its infinitely gullible and zombified audience. Alas, nobody will listen to Cohen, at least not until the regime in Washington DC and the power structure which supports it, and whose interests it represents, come crashing down. But I do believe that Professor Cohen will eventually go down in history as the most intellectually honest and courageous Russia expert in the US.

It's very encouraging for me to get the impression that a genuine expert, such as Cohen is on Russia and on Putin, has reached the same broad conclusions about Putin as I have as a mere amateur (albeit long-time) observer of world events.

It's vaguely discouraging that on the particular issues of homosexuals and jewish influence Cohen is able to "reassure" the worst parts of his leftist and presumably political correctness-hobbled audience on Putin, but it's not really a big concern for me. It would be better imo if Putin had wise views on those topics – "gays" are not a "minority" but rather just people who choose to engage in sexual perversion which ought, at the least, to not be officially encouraged, and Jewish people are a recognizable ethnic/national/religious group, with broadly clear identity interests and external loyalties not necessarily congruent with those of the nations they live in, but it's mostly not really any of my business or concern, except insofar as it plays into politics and international policy over here, since he's the Russian president and I'm not Russian.

anonymous Disclaimer , February 8, 2018 at 5:47 pm GMT
Anyone who would bother to examine the issue would arrive at the same conclusions as Mr Cohen. Most Americans won't but just rely on what the mass media transmits to them. The propaganda campaign against Putin depends on repeating the same themes over and over again hence the constant use of the term "thug" to influence the minds of the audience. The campaign against Putin is so vehement and shrill because of his effectiveness in building up the Russian state. Contrast it to the treatment Yeltsin received in the western media as a brave fighter for democracy with pics of him standing on top of a tank. Name calling can't harm Putin or Russia even if it creates an unpleasant environment. After all, they have their army and can't be aggressed against no matter any wishful thinking. The toxic haze is to get the western mind used to the idea that conflict with the Russians, or Putin, in inevitable and desirable to free the world of a dictator. Clinton appeared to want a no-fly zone over Syria and thus military confrontation was on the horizon over that and over other places. We were being prepared for that. That seems to have dissipated for the moment but the internal dynamic of US expansionism remains. What we don't want to do is start believing our own baloney and blunder into any conflict that could cause a catastrophe.
bluedog , February 8, 2018 at 9:20 pm GMT
@yurivku

As they say you can't make everyone happy, for they could have always in their limited view and knowledge of what's going on behind the scenes could always have done more, but the fact remains that Putin was the right person at the right time for Russia

Anon Disclaimer , February 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
@Renoman

Anon from TN
You wrote: "Putin is the leader of the free World. A sensible man with a real set of nuts, he stands almost alone".

In my view, you grossly overestimate Putin. He is a normal man, capable and intelligent, but he is not by any means that larger-than-life leader and savior of the free World. He looks much greater than he is because you subconsciously compare him with pathetic nonentities that the Western world sees as leaders now. In fact, the leadership of the US Empire and all its vassal countries visibly degenerated in the last decades. Just compare De Gaulle with sad excuses La Belle France had for presidents lately. Or compare Nixon (he might have been a nasty person, but he was a great President of the country) with various Clintons, bushes, obamas, and trumps. Or compare Chancellor Kohl with that poor excuse for a chancellor that Germany has today. You get the drift.

Putin's Russia punches much more than its economic power warrants for the simple reason that he plays chess, seeing many moves ahead, whereas Western leaders he deals with don't even have enough brains to play checkers. He is often winning the game with weak hand not so much because he is great, but because his opponents are clueless. I'd say he, Chinese Xi, and Israel's Bibi look so smart not because they are geniuses, but because they are dealing with morons.

Anon Disclaimer , February 8, 2018 at 11:04 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Anon from TN.
Sorry to disappoint you, but when the Russians saw the example of Ukraine after 2014 they understood the destructive power of primeval tribal nationalism. That's why after the Ukrainian coup popular support for Russian nationalists nosedived. Let me remind you that neither Kadyrov, nor Shoigu, nor Lavrov are ethnic Russians, yet they are perceived by many in the country as super-Russians. Many in today's Russia hold the view that Russian is not a nationality, but a state of mind. Let me remind you the words of former commander of Gorlovka (Donetsk Republic) Bezler: "My mother is Ukrainian, my father German, so who am I? A Russian!"

Dan Hayes , February 9, 2018 at 12:00 am GMT
The Saker,

For the last four years I have listened to Prof Steve Cohen being interviewed on the John Batchelor radio show. In those discussions I have always been struck by Cohen's equanimity, scholarship and sense of fair play. (As an aside, I have also been struck by his seemingly fond regard for being reared and educated in Kentucky which at that time was still semi-segregated.)

Cohen oftentimes contrasts the Old Cold War where various viewpoints were on the table versus the one-sidedness of the New Cold War. And he especially castigates his fellow left wingers for failing to consider alternative viewpoints. Note that Cohen is associated with The Nation magazine, a leftist publication edited and subsidized by his wife.

As of now Cohen is a lone voice crying out in the wilderness. I concur with your judgement and it is my hope that history will honor him for his efforts.

polskijoe , February 9, 2018 at 12:10 am GMT
@anonymous

Amongst people who tend to really distrust, dislike people, where we are called Russian agents, or Russians. I have studied lots about Russia, especially since 1990 plus.

I also came to similar over years as Cohen. There is no plan for USSR rebirth, or tanks rolling to Poland and Berlin, or even returning to super power status (at least unlikely).

In 1990 the Russians were in very poor state, and now they have returned to world power status. I think its important to have bipolar world. (even multipolar would be better).

Now I dont love Russians, Im still mixed on Putin, but I think Russians and Putin have made some positive changes. I can respect that. Average Russian, morals are similar to mine (and the same can be said of most Slavics).

Anon Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 12:15 am GMT
@AP

Anon from TN. Well, current Ukrainian regime is a lot more "Sovok" than those who resist it. At least if by "Sovok" you mean rampant corruption, widespread unprofessionalism, and obsession with a totally loony ideology.

RobinG , February 9, 2018 at 1:00 am GMT
@Dan Hayes

"Cohen is a lone voice crying out in the wilderness." Feels that way, but he's not totally alone. For example, I believe most members of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) feel about the same. And he's a board member of the American Committee for East-West Accord.

https://eastwestaccord.com/

nebulafox , February 9, 2018 at 1:05 am GMT
I neither like nor dislike Putin. He is what he is, he's in charge of Russia, he needs to be dealt with.

>He is not the man who de-democratized Russia (Elstin and the White House did)

When was Russia ever democratic to begin with? Tsarism, civil war, Communism, oligarchy, Putin. That's pretty much been it. And that's OK. Russia is a massively different culture. But the US isn't to blame.

>He is not the leader who created corruption and kleptocracy in Russia (Elstin and the White House did)

No. Corruption began to really take off in the 1970s under Brezhnev, and that's when the Russian mafia began to strongly collaborate with the government, breaking the old vor code. The KGB remained above it all, but Putin was the product of a corrupt society from the get-go.

Following the collapse of the USSR, yes, everything got a lot more explicit and out-there. But the rot didn't just appear overnight.

>He is not a criminal leader who ordered the murder of opponents or journalists (no evidence)

I don't find it hard to believe, but I don't care enough to find out one way or the other. What Putin does in his own country is, or should be, his own business. Properly conducted foreign policy cares about the external actions of foreign nations, not their internal ones, but that's anathema to American political culture-on both sides of the political spectrum.

Besides, I can't really label a single group in society I could care less about than journalists.

>He did not order the hacking of the DNC servers (no evidence)

Again: I don't find it hard to believe he did, but I don't think it is as relevant as the Democrats would like it to be. Intelligence services can exacerbate political conditions. They cannot create them. Putin did not force Hillary to run arguably the most inept campaign in American political history, losing in spite of the near uniform backing of everything "official" in the US. Unless you believe Moscow magically spawned millions of pissed off downscale white voters in the Rust Belt, try again.

Moreover, Putin definitely wanted Trump to create political chaos in the US. Whether he wanted him in the White House is an open matter. Though he's friendlier than Hillary on a lot of foreign policy issues, he's surrounded by standard issue GOP hawks who influence everything, and he must be disappointed. Furthermore, like all authoritarian rulers, Putin wants stability. (That's why, prior to Bush II, most authoritarian governments in the world-especially Russia and China-openly preferred Republicans in charge.) Trump is anything but.

>He was not anti-US or anti-West from the get-go (Putin changed over time)

Correct. He's changed over the years.

>He is not a neo-Soviet leader (he is very critical of Lenin and Stalin)

Very critical of Lenin, which should surprise no one given that Lenin himself was far more fond of Western culture-specifically German -- than Russia, who he thought of as a backward, "Asiatic" place. As I've said, the KGB following Stalin's purges was arguably the least ideologically Communist place in the USSR, at least compared to their major two rivals-the military and party -- in the ever ongoing three-war political struggle that characterized post-Stalin Russia.

More ambiguous with Stalin. He's been making noises about replacing Volgograd's name around the anniversary of the battle back to the old Stalingrad. I think he holds the standard views that Russians his age hold of Stalin. I think they'll readily agree that he's probably in hell if it exists right now, and showed there was such a thing as being too fond of law and order, but he was *their* SOB and got them through the war.

>He is not an aggressive foreign policy leader (he has been a reactive leader)

He is primarily defensive, yes. Partially by necessity-his Russia just can't project power like the USSR could-but also because, unlike the USSR, his Russia is not governed by an ideology that necessarily implies eventual expansionism.

>He is not somehow defined by his years at the KGB.

He's partially defined by them, but not in the way people think. The KGB was, by the time Putin was in the organization, far and away the least ideologically Communist place in the USSR and saw their main function as protecting what was essentially an old-style Muscovite imperium with Marxist trappings from the spoiled, corrupt party princelings-who they did not allow into the organization. The KGB was the only place someone like Putin could have accelerated, given that 1970s USSR had one of the lowest social mobility rates in the world, contrary to the propaganda. Chekist thinking is very evident in his public pronouncements, his actions, and his beliefs about how life works. It's pretty obvious. Putin's regime is the first in history to be dominated by former security and intelligence professionals to this extent. Most of his inner circle-former intelligence officers.

However, equally important is old-style Tsarist Orthodox-laden Slavophilism, and just plain greed and venality. The third one is overlooked. I think Putin's real first goal, all things balanced, is staying in charge, on top, and wealthy. That means keeping the various turf lords in check and satisfied. It works for now. What happens to the sand-castle when he dies is a different matter.

That's it. Goodbye Unz.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 6:28 am GMT
@bluedog

Got to PC, writing from smartphone is unhandy

As they say you can't make everyone happy, for they could have always in their limited view and knowledge of what's going on behind the scenes could always have done more

Exactly, but I think you know not more that me here in Russia "what's going on behind the scenes".
And yes, probably there are hidden reasons for his behaviour, but I've written what many (I beleive the majority) of Russians think. Of cource not all, there are some absolute fans of him and absolute enemies, BTW mainly latter are jews for unknown reasons.

but the fact remains that Putin was the right person at the right time for Russia

bold assertion – "the fact". It's not the fact, – it's your opinion, not more. Yes, It could have been much worse person, but could have been much better. Or you think he's an ideal? Nobody denies his achievements, but I mentioned also his (actually ours) losses or mistakes.

bluedog , February 9, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
@yurivku

Who would you have recommended?

Vlad , February 9, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT
Saker did a great job of explaining Cohen's position on Putin that had been misunderstood in mainstream Western media. Cohen has basically been trying to show that Putin is a normal leader, ready to cooperate with the US and defend his country's national interests. His posture has been defensive. Cohen is trying to reason with the liberals and New York Jews. He is trying to convince them that the mainstream media is lying. Fine.

But that does not explain what Putin's agenda is. Saker goes further. He does explain most of Putin's past and present. But still there is room for disagreement. Saker argues that Putin knew all along the wicked intentions of the US and openly revealed that knowledge after the Ukraine take over by the US. Here I disagree. When Bush came to Russia Putin greeted him with genuine enthusiasm. Putin then did hope that Russia and US could turn the page and begin a new relationship. That did not happen. Expansion of NATO happened instead. And that is when Putin began to reconsider. My difference with Saker is that I believe that Putin still does not know what his policy to the US should be. He still hopes that Trump will live up to his pre-election promise. Putin is still beholden to the moment of 2003 when Russia Germany France and Italy were together in opposition to US Iraq war. He still craves for the days when the German Chancellor and Italian leader were his personal friends. He hoped then and still hopes today to draw Europe to Russia and undermine NATO from within.

However, the Ukraine conflict has completely messed up that dream project. My most important objection to Saker is that Putin does not know what to do about Ukraine and does not have a policy on Ukraine. He puts up with what no Russian leader would put up with. Americans are arming Ukrainian neo-Nazies for a war with Russia. And Putin does nothing. Americans openly arm terrorists on Syria who shoot a Russian airplane and Russia does nothing. Basically Putin's policy of turning enemies into partners and partners into friends and friends into allies has partially succeeded in Syria but failed in Ukraine. Is he going to wait until US missiles are established in Ukraine? Is he going to accept de facto NATO membership of Ukraine. Where is the red line beyond which he would not go?

Peter Akuleyev , February 9, 2018 at 11:24 am GMT
Cohen is a Communist and reflexive hater of the United States in the Noam Chomsky mold. He is either naive or a fool if he believes half of what he is saying.

Russia never had a decent shot at democracy. The collapse of the Soviet Union was arranged by the Nomenklatura for their own benefit as a massive asset grab. The fight between Yeltsin and the Russian Parliament was basically a fight between two factions, and the Yeltsin/KGB faction beat the CPSU/Red Manager faction. Putin is very much a product of and continuation of the Yeltsin/KGB team (notice, for example, the role that Chubais continues to play in government policy), but the current team realizes how hated Yeltsin is and are smart enough to create plausible distance for public consumption.

For the most part the Putin years have been a failure, and these last two decades will be seen as squandered. Very little economic growth, continuing deterioration of the education and health systems, increasing dependence on China and massive transfers of wealth abroad. Those are Putin's primary achievements. On the plus side, Western sanctions have been a net benefit to Russia over the last three years – keeping capital in the country and giving the agricultural, food processing and light manufacturing industries some room to breathe and develop free from Western competition.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT
@bluedog

Who would you have recommended?

Good question. Probably it was a sarcasm and you think you proved I'm wrong?
After all the answer depends on what you trying to get. For US probably Sobchak will be just fine, for people of Russia who want peace and prosperity the answer will be certainly other.

I put it quite clear

But now credit is over and if we could see someone good enough to be compared with Putin – quite a significant part of a society is ready to vote for for such person. Unfortunately not now.

Unfortunately I see no specific person

Grudinin doesn't seem to be real alternative, others are just clowns appointed to be faked alternatives.

But as for me personally I ( probably , I'm still watching for his electoral company) will vote for Grudinin cause he's representing patriotic block, not himself only.

Anon Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm GMT
@yurivku

Anon from TN
You are free to vote any way you want. However, I'd like to remind you that Russia already had one Director of Sovkhoz as president (Gorbachev), and nothing good came out of it.

Shemp , February 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT
Cohen could go further. One of the curious fixations of US public discourse is reducing the country to a leader, when the most comprehensive standard of governance assigns duties to the state as a whole. Anyone can compare Russia and the USA point by point.

Comparing US and Russian human rights protections, it's evident that Putin's Russia undertakes to meet world human rights standards in good faith, and the USA does not. Russians get a better deal than we do.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
@bluedog

If my opinion really matters i'll write more later, now from phone its abit difficult.
I can only say that we need clever, honest patriotic person which is not easy task u know. Especially if u are from US, every elections believe that most stupid people we already seen and its cant be worst, but I'm mistaken. Compare for ex Samanta Power and N. Haley or Obama and Trump

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm GMT
@Anon

Yes we need to isolate those cause they will do their dirty job with childs and u have no enough police to watch. They aggressively set theirs habits remember lgbt parades etc

bluedog , February 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm GMT
@yurivku

Yes I would be interested in your opinion, and yes I do live in the U.S. and yes your right that just when you think the worse has arrived then on the scene one always worse arrives to makes you out as a lair

Anon Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@yurivku

Anon from TN
You are right, this is not a scientific conclusion. Politics are not science.

I agree that Putin is not a perfect leader. His foreign policy is smart and successful (hence the US hysterics). But his internal policies are far from admirable: he allows oligarchs to plunder the country and even transfer their loot abroad. A big chunk of state budget is stolen by those close to the trough, but you have to keep in mind that even greater chunk of state budget is stolen by "contractors" in the US and other countries (F35 program and Zumwalt are the best known examples, but there are many more). Thing is, the politics are the game of the possible. I am not sure Putin can maintain his international stance and his position in Russia and antagonize the whole ruling class at the same time. I disapprove of his "vertical" – Russia is not Lichtenstein, it's a huge country that cannot be directly ruled by one person. I also believe that Russia cannot afford to have a total nonentity as a Prime Minister, with only one redeeming (from Putin's standpoint) quality: loyalty.

However, I've heard a few of Grudinin's speeches, and they were very disappointing, to put it mildly. It is nice to say that you want to confiscate oligarch's money (after all, they just stole it), stop capital flight, nationalize natural resources, etc. It might sound good for the electorate, but without specifying means of achieving these goals, this is pure demagoguery. There is only one way to do all of it, and this way is called "socialism", like in the USSR. Problem is, this comes in a package: you must make rouble not freely convertible into other currencies, you must strictly control the movement of people across the border, you must introduce planned or at least semi-planned economy, etc.

You cannot pick and choose, no more than you can be a little bit pregnant: it is a yes or no thing. If Grudinin does not understand that, he is not smart enough to be president. If he understands it, but does not acknowledge, he is simply dishonest. Many of the other candidates are just clowns supported by the Kremlin to play this role (think Zhirinovsky). Besides, Russia should have as the president someone who cares about the country more than about him/herself (this excludes Sobchak: she is smart, but she cares only about her precious self), and certainly not a traitor running to the US Embassy for money and marching orders (you should know who I mean). Thus, in my humble opinion, Putin, warts and all, is still the best president Russia can have at the moment.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 6:07 pm GMT
@bluedog

From phone..
Well, its funny, I just dont understand who are the God sake US people here on UNZ, from different sources I see Americans happy with one more Russian killed in Syria. You know we call Americans "pindosy" ( пиндосы ) I actually not sure what its mean, but its clear that its a most degree of disgust. And further its going the more our disgust. And its between two most powerful countries in the world. Are u Americans have any feelings of selfdefence? Actually all red lines crossed and everything ready for apocalypse

Sergey Krieger , February 9, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
@yurivku

Very good post. Agree.

yurivku , February 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm GMT
@Anon

Pbone.
I'll answer,later. But just understand that for us its a live question, well probably for the whole world also, but this stupid world doesn't know it yet

Sergey Krieger , February 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm GMT
@yurivku

People of Lenin and Stalin caliber do not happen often. I think Putin is sort of transitional figure. However the main issue since Stalin times seems to be lack of systematic approach in bringing up and then putting in power capable leaders and in reality lots of fools getting up there. I believe fools essentially destroyed Ussr as saying goes fool is more dangerous than enemy. Long topic but it is really a murky question as to where Russia is going with 70% of everything in few hands and stolen funds siphoned offshore.

bluedog , February 10, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
@yurivku

Oh I don't think most Americans are glad to see another Russian killed, at least not the sane ones that is, or anyone else for that matter but our so called leadership is quite a different matter, and the farther down the rabbit hole we go the worse it becomes as the best government money can buy goes into overdrive, for I suspect it will get a whole lot worse before it even starts to get and better

[Feb 09, 2018] Nunes Duels the Deep State by Pat Buchanan

Notable quotes:
"... But not only did Rosenstein discuss with Trump the firing of Comey, he went back to Justice to produce the document to justify what the president had decided to do. ..."
"... How can Rosenstein oversee Mueller's investigation into the firing of James Comey when he was a witness to and a participant in the firing of James Comey? ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

The most plausible hypothesis is that Steele was simply telling Fusion and the DNC what they wanted to hear to collect the money. When you go on a witch hunt you're going to find witches.

From the Nunes memo, there was, at the highest level of the FBI, a cabal determined to derail Trump and elect Clinton. Heading the cabal was Comey, who made the call to exonerate Hillary of criminal charges for imperiling national security secrets, even before his own FBI investigation was concluded.

Assisting Comey was Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose wife, running for a Virginia state senate seat, received a windfall of $467,000 in contributions from Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.

Last week, McCabe was discharged from the FBI. Seems that in late September 2016, he learned from his New York field office that it was sitting on a trove of emails between Anthony Weiner and his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, which potentially contained security secrets.

Not until late October did Comey inform Congress of what deputy McCabe had known a month earlier.

Other FBI plotters were Peter Strzok, chief investigator in both the Clinton email server scandal and Russiagate, and his FBI girlfriend, Lisa Page. Both were ousted from the Mueller investigation when their anti-Trump bias and behavior were exposed last summer.

Filling out the starting five was Bruce Ohr, associate deputy attorney general under Loretta Lynch. In 2016, Ohr's wife was working for Fusion GPS, the oppo research arm of the Clinton campaign, and Bruce was in direct contact with Steele.

Now virtually all of this went down before Robert Mueller was named special counsel. But the poisoned roots of the Russiagate investigation and the bristling hostility of the investigators to Trump must cast a cloud of suspicion over whatever charges Mueller will bring.

Now another head may be about to fall, that of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

If Mueller has given up trying to prove Trump collusion with the Kremlin and moved on to obstruction of justice charges, Rosenstein moves into the crosshairs.

For the heart of any obstruction scenario is Trump's firing of James Comey and his boasting about why he did it.

But not only did Rosenstein discuss with Trump the firing of Comey, he went back to Justice to produce the document to justify what the president had decided to do.

How can Rosenstein oversee Mueller's investigation into the firing of James Comey when he was a witness to and a participant in the firing of James Comey?

The Roman poet Juvenal's question comes to mind. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchmen?

Consider where we are. Mueller is investigating alleged Trump collusion with Russia, and the White House is all lawyered up.

The House intel committee is investigating Clinton-FBI collusion to defeat Trump and break his presidency. FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz is looking into whether the fix was in to give Hillary a pass in the probe of her email server.

Comey has been fired, his deputy McCabe removed, his chief investigator Strzok ousted by Mueller for bigoted anti-Trump behavior, alongside his FBI paramour, Page. Bruce Ohr has been demoted for colluding with Steele, who was caught lying to the FBI and fired, and for his wife's role in Fusion GPS, which was being paid to dig up dirt on Trump for Clinton's campaign

If Americans are losing confidence in the FBI, whose fault is that? Is there not evidence that a hubristic cadre at the apex of the FBI -- Comey, McCabe, Strzok foremost among them -- decided the Republic must be saved from Trump and, should Hillary fail, they would step in and move to abort the Trump presidency at birth?

To the deep state, the higher interests of the American people almost always coincide with their own.


Rurik , February 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm GMT

a hubristic cadre at the apex of the FBI -- Comey, McCabe, Strzok foremost among them -- decided the Republic must be saved from Trump and, should Hillary fail, they would step in and move to abort the Trump presidency at birth?

Beautifully written article Mr. Buchanan

To the deep state, the higher interests of the American people almost always coincide with their own.

What it always looks like to me, is that the interests of the deep state never coincide with the actual interests of the American people, and that indeed, they are mutually incompatible.

It seems to me that one of, if not the main motivation of the deep state is to dismantle the American people's Constitutional rights, disarm then, and set about creating an Orwellian dystopia for the purpose of exerting total power over them.

Who doubts that Hillary's very grotesque existence is one big collective desire of a certain bent of people to wield total power over others? Why else would she publically cackle at the torture/murder of a man she disliked unless she figured her audience agreed that his murder was a good thing, and that once she came to power, that she's really get to the business of putting it to those deplorables but good! Not for anything they ever did, but for what they were – irredeemable.

In fact, I see the deep state today as an exact incarnation of Orwell's Ingsoc, with it's total surveillance police state, and all the other tyrannical state power abuses over every aspect of our lives. (Even with the ubiquitous televisions with the microphones and cameras monitored by the Ministry of Love)

we have the Newspeak speech codes on our universities. The places where our young and brightest are supposed to be taught to think, and they're doing the opposite- by creating mindless drones who parrot doubleplus good PC bromides.

we have the Eternal Wars

we have the ((inner party))

we have the two minute hate for the Hitler du jour, (Osama, Saddam, Gadhafi, Assad, now Putin )

we have the Ministry of Truth = msm fake news 24/7 lies and more lies

we have the Ministry of Love = Gitmo

we have the all pervasive fear that governs our conversations and alters our behavior. How many dare to discuss the inner party at dinner parties or at work? How many dare to flout the speech codes?

1984 was the most prescient book ever written, with a nod to The Protocols, as runner up. And the deep state today is nothing more than what Orwell was writing about. Men and women who seek power for its own sake. And have a deep-seated imperative to wield that power over others.

That's what the memo is about. Power-crazed assholes hell bent on putting their boot on our collective faces. And mashing it in.

who doubts, for one second, that John Brenan

(or Hillary or John McCain ) would relish the opportunity to put the metaphorical 'deplorable' in this chair?

for some reason, when I look at that photo, (a peek into the id of the deep state personality) I see Ron Paul in that chair, with Rudy Giuliani standing there, but it could just as easily be Edward Snowden in the chair, with Dick Cheney presiding..

But the reason I'm belaboring this Orwellian theme is because it is quintessentially salient to this subject of the deep state.

George really laid it all out for us, with the motivations and methods and thoughtcrimes and doublethink and all the rest

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 6, 2018 at 7:39 pm GMT
@Rurik

"George really laid it all out for us, with the motivations and methods and thoughtcrimes and doublethink and all the rest "

True enough, but it was Huxley who nailed the underlying theme that made it all possible; the people will trade all of their other rights for complete sexual freedom.

Rurik , February 7, 2018 at 12:36 am GMT
@Anonymous

on them, and embraced their own genocide? No, no, no. That simply would not due!

There has to be some fun to it, and so you don't want them all to embrace their submission to the police state, since then what's the point?

They have to want to be free, and want to persevere, if enslaving them and replacing them is going to be any fun at all. You see?

And that's why Orwell's methods will win out over Huxley's. Because what fun is wielding power, unless your victims writhe under your lash?

Miro23 , February 7, 2018 at 4:53 am GMT
@Rurik

I agree, and you put it very clearly.

Orwell's 1984 was an exposition of Totalitarianism, with the Inner Party using these mechanisms because they work. Like you say, the whole package is now present in the US, although the Inner Party doesn't yet have sufficient power to use full state violence against the public.

But at some point they'll have to , since the system is based on the implicit threat of violence against dissidents, and it has to become explicit (social exclusion is not enough). So, realistically, the cabal needs a National Emergency with an official suspension of Democracy, probably using the framework for emergency rule already in place under Reagan era COG (Continuity of Government) legislation.

The 9/11 Coup was a failed attempt to activate a COG dictatorship under Cheney (halted by the events in Florida that morning), but the same planners will inevitably try again. Their private security depends on public insecurity, allowing them to turn the mechanisms of state power against the public, while paradoxically, they live by the integrity of this same hijacked state structure.

If the state should melt away in generalized anarchy, then the levers of power would no longer work, and they would face the fate of Ceausescu or Gaddafi – hence the deceptive Doublespeak of the "Patriot Act" and "Homeland Security".

Z-man , February 7, 2018 at 6:02 am GMT
I'm not following this story much because it's boring but I will always be a fan of Nunes by the enemies he keeps. Ana Navarro, the 'Latina' battle-axe who is a 'Never Trump' 'Republitard' was on TV and made sure to let everybody know that Nunes was not an Hispanic. He's of Portugese decent, racial politics. LOL Devin Nunes is ok in my book. Hopefully he's not an Israeli firster.
KenH , February 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm GMT
@Corvinus

Your information is wrong as always, Corvinky. The leftist "Russian collusion" narrative is collapsing and (((Seth))) and other lefties are desperate to keep it alive with spin and fake facts. That's why it's quietly changed from claims of collusion to obstruction of justice since there's no evidence of the former.

If there was other corroborating evidence then why absolutely no mention of it until now? If the (((lamestream media))) knew and sat on it then they are colluding with the Democrat party on how and what to report which we already know they do. And it proves that the (((media)) is hyper partisan and not independent but anyone with half a brain already knows that also.

If there was really any evidence of Trump collusion the NSA would have it, but they don't. In fact, it was the NSA that threatened to spill the beans on the origins of the Steele dossier if the FBI and DOJ failed did not come clean to the FISA court.

Miro23 , February 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Rurik

remember reading about this "suicide"

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. "Science is our best witness in this case. It is not biased and it doesn't lie."

According to police, Zahau bound her own hands and feet with a thick red rope and hanged herself naked off the second-floor balcony of a guest bedroom. She appeared to have secured one section of the rope to the footboard of the bed before she bound her feet, wrapped the rope around her neck, tied her hands behind her back, walked to the balcony, and propelled herself over the railing.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/rebecca-zahau-death-ruled-a-suicide-shacknai-mysterys-sad-ending

indeed, I suspect that it is because they so often get away with such things that this mega-wealthy Hollywood insider figured he'd also get away with it.

"Well, then," he said to the police, "I guess you'll have to find out who did it."

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/murder-mayhem-torture-sunset-strip-tragic-story-budding-director-his-dead-girlfriend-1068725

MarkinLA , February 7, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@Corvinus

Doesn't work that way in a criminal investigation. Man, you really have little clue how our legal system works.

Obviously, you don't either. As someone who was against the Clinton witch hunt that created a perjury trap when they couldn't get him on real charges related to Whitewater, I can see perfectly well that this is similar – drag this on and on until they can create some process crime.

Rurik , February 7, 2018 at 9:37 pm GMT
@Miro23

There's now a mountain of evidence that shows that they are lying, and the only way for US society to stabilize, is to pull every thread of the 9/11 shroud until the whole rotten enterprise is revealed, and the US public can see the plotters in daylight.

[Robert] Mueller took over the FBI one week before the 9/11 attacks

His protestations helped the Bush administration railroad the Patriot Act through Congress, vastly expanding the FBI's prerogatives to vacuum up Americans' personal information

http://thehill.com/opinion/criminal-justice/371206-robert-muellers-forgotten-surveillance-crime-spree

whoever pulls down the "Democratic" facade will be doing the US a favour.

not just the US. They'll be doing the whole planet a favor. 9/11 has been the pretext for serial wars of aggression against nations that have done us no harm. It has been used as the pretext for the total police / surveillance state that has eviscerated our constitution, and rendered it a worthless piece of toilet paper, all to the bovine cud-chewing apathy of the dumbed down Americanus Bovinus. Who can't wait for the next Hollywood movie based on cartoon characters to come out on the big screen.

I was poised to leave this country if Hillary became potus, and still wonder if there's any hope at all.

These psychopaths are as bad as they get. These Straussian neocons and tribalist Jewish supremacists are bad news, man. Very, very bad news. They're ideologically driven by a Satanic imperative to dominate, and they will never, ever stop. Until they are stopped. And that would require a resolve that the Americanus Bovinus is endemically incapable of, because it necessitates a spiritual mettle that's been systematically bred out of them.

They'd rather embrace their smart device chains, than suffer the egregious enormity of breaking a societal taboo or politically correct norm. And this has all been very systematically constructed with schools that dumb them down, and universities that create slavish fealty to virtue signaling uber alles.

It's all so very tragic, because for one thing, these people had it made! They're the most wealthy and powerful demographic in the country. They enjoy assess and perks wildly out of proportion to their fellow Americans. But that is not enough! Then want that boot on everyone's neck and they want it now, God damn it!

So the world is driven to the brink to sate an insatiable appetite for grandiose megalomaniacal power. And once they have the power, what fun is that unless you use it?

George Soros doesn't want his son to see the fall of Europa and Western civilization, HE wants to see it! He wants to cackle like Hillary was able to over the murder of Gadhafi, only he want the stake though the heart of Hungary in particular.

It's this psychotic need of these people to see everyone else suffer, while they laugh at the misery, knowing that they caused it all. Whether it's in Palestine or Libya or Ferguson. Hate all day long, and with a bottomless pit of rancor and bile tossed in for good measure.

Hell, when I contemplate them and their obsession to hate, all day, every day, I almost feel pity. Almost.

Ilyana_Rozumova , February 8, 2018 at 1:50 am GMT
@Rurik

It is not lying.
It is damage control.

Rurik , February 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Cassandra

hatred of Trump is such that a huge slice of the country would support his removal by extralegal, unconstitutional means. This is bigger than Watergate, a conspiracy at the highest levels, and before it's over, will decide the fate of the nation. I just hope Trump is up to the task.

I very much agree.

I know of liberals who're despondent, and nearly catatonic over Trump. I've heard it said they're psychologically in the fetal position, unable to cope with the ascendancy of Les Deplorables. Or, more precisely, the altering trajectory that doesn't have a demographic dagger being plunged into the necks of 'the irredeemables' and their children as we speak.

They've been so rapturous over the looming evisceration of heritage America for so long, that having to wait a few more extra years until that glorious day when the 'patriarchy' is dead and in its grave- is existential for them. Of course! they'd subvert our 'democracy' and Constitution and all notions of decency in their butt-hurt quest, since they've never had a shred of integrity to begin with. They don't even know what the word means, except as something to mock.

... ... ...

MarkinLA , February 8, 2018 at 10:01 pm GMT
@Corvinus

I wonder why when I replace Mueller with Starr in your post I seem to get the same conclusion?

However, I will give you this, Mueller is a POS protecting the Deep State against somebody he deems not worthy of a seat at the table. Starr was a sanctimonious POS thinking he was leading a crusade to keep an uncouth lowbrow sleazeball out of an exalted position.

Liberty Mike , February 8, 2018 at 10:14 pm GMT
@Rurik

Rurik -

Excellent.

However, I would suggest that some in the cabal have understood, all along, that in order for their dreams and plans to materialize, there would have to be a Long March through the institutions and while they were conquering the institutions, the masses would have to be given their breads and circuses.

A fellow traveler of our cause once said to me, words to the effect that, "they'll let you go on your football trips, and they'll let the drunks enjoy their Budweiser, and of course they'll let people go to the movies and out to dinner."

[Feb 08, 2018] Did British Intelligence Try to Destroy the Trump Presidency by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... The Grassley/Graham memo is devastating for Jim Comey. We can entertain only two possibilities--Jim Comey is a monumental dunce or he is a liar. One need only read the Michael Isikoff piece from 23 September 2016 to realize that Christopher Steele was a primary source for Isikoff. We are asked to believe that Comey is a naive, trusting soul bereft of curiosity, who refused to entertain the possibility that Steele was double dealing intel. ..."
"... First, Steele is resisting efforts to face a deposition in a lawsuit over his infamous dossier. Steele's lawyers argued in a court in London this week that a deposition would endanger the former spy's dossier sources as well as harm U.K. national security interests. If the Judge buys this claim then we will not have to speculate anymore about whether or not Steele was acting on his own or had a "wink-and-a-nod" from his MI-6 bosses. ..."
"... So much for our special relationship. As the evidence of British intelligence meddling in the U.S. election piles up it will create some strains in our bi-lateral ties. It has the potential to harm cooperation on military, law enforcement and intelligence fronts. I suspect there is some scrambling going on behind the scenes to come up with a strategy to contain the damage while rooting out the sedition. Stay tuned. ..."
"... Russia was unlikely to have been the only nation to break the unwritten rule that only Israel is allowed to interfere in US politics - Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Ukraine etc were almost certainly doing it too. ..."
"... Steele became the "go-to person on Russia in the commercial sector" following his retirement from the Secret Intelligence Service. He described the reputations of Steele and his business partner, fellow intelligence veteran Christopher Burrows, as "superb." ..."
"... London-Russian "oligarchy" there, with a very specific outlook on Russia-UK's track record in anti-Russian activities---> hence Steele's sources. Anything Russia-related in Anglo-American IC can not be treated as "superb" or even moderately "good" at all. ..."
"... I am waiting for Nunes memo on State Department. I am in no position to pass judgements on any legal, let alone operational "superbity" of, say MI-6 but and if it had intentions of influencing US elections (which is scandalous in itself) it is one thing, but in circles it all comes back to this Dossier which stunk to heaven from the get go. In circles less sophisticated than MI-6 it is known as disinformation, which, of course, the first indication of operation of influence. The decision to "believe" in this cocktail of rumors, lies and hearsay was made in Washington, not London. ..."
"... Trump had planned to visit UK this month but cancelled it a few weeks ago. Any possibility that might not just be due to expected protests and lack of British enthusiasm, but also as retaliation after he learned the MI6 and/or GCHQ involvement in this affair? ..."
"... can we all agree that if the STEELE intel was a genuine attempt to ensure Trump's failure in the election then the effort was the most inept operation in a long time? ..."
"... I am simply not seeing the connection between spying on Page and spying on Trump. There has been no evidence released that even suggests it happened. I watched Tucker Carlson and Hannity this week and both are saying that the FBI spied on a POTUS candidate and on a sitting president (Trump in both instances, of course). I had to stop myself, clear my head and think for minute. I don't see it. They spied on Page and most likely anyone he talked to/met with, but that's not Trump nor anyone in Trump's inner circle. ..."
"... However, at this point, I see a lot of smoke and mirrors on both sides. The GOP is using the Page warrant to damage the FBI (well deserved, apparently) and Mueller's investigation. The dems are using the existence of the warrant on Page to insinuate that Trump campaign needs to be investigated b/c they had a Ruskie mole amongst them and a bunch of other stuff about collusion that Clinton and Steele pulled out of their asses. ..."
"... I think it was more reactive, they had all been complicit in a number of illegal activities and they were worried they would all go down if Trump won. They obviously got more and more desperate, digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole. ..."
"... Only two ways in which Trump candidacy could be destroyed once he was nominated. Official: Trump is charged with conspiring with a foreign government to materially damage America. Public: Trump is maligned as being an tool of the Russians. ..."
"... Official is unlikely as no evidence to date has any chance of being used for an indictment. Not saying that the charges are false just that what was released prior to election was insufficient. ..."
"... Public: most likely avenue. But the details released were not impressive or determinative to the majority of Trump supporters who I see as being more anti-establishment than anti-Russian. True, you could expect the GOP elite to be disturbed but they were anti-Trump before his nomination and wedded to him after. ..."
"... The Steele dossier is central to the public meme that Trump was colluding with the Russians. All of the major news stories on the subject were based on what Steele told them. ..."
"... "Did British Intelligence Try to Destroy the Trump Presidency?" Yes. That is why Steele is trying so hard to keep the Russian lawyers from deposing him in a London court. The Russians are on the scent, and Steele and his MI6 handlers know it. ..."
"... Are British Intelligence 'Still' Trying to Destroy the Trump Presidency? Yes. ..."
"... Trey Gowdy says Sidney Blumenthal is the 'domestic' source of the information in the Steele Dossier. Gowdy doesn't say the Steele Dossier is illegal, but it appears it was obtained by illegal conspiracy of DJT's political enemies. ..."
"... Thank you for this important post, PT. You've really captured some arresting details. The Grassley/Graham document is impressive, isn't it? I have been highly critical of both men in the past but credit where credit is due: good work, specific, particular, devastating. And at a tough time when taking sides makes enemies and draws fire. ..."
"... So Steele named some names and Simpson "did that work" of what appears to have been -- simply looking 'em up on the internet. There he saw some "scholars" and "learned" experts saying some of the same things Steele had said -- and so he believed it was all true. I guess world class journalist Simpson, who once worked for the Moonie Insight Magazine, had never heard of the disinformation tactic of mixing a dash of true with a pound of false. It would be sad -- if I believed he was actually such a babe in the woods. ..."
"... But hoo boy, wish I could get paid $50k a month to look things up on the internet! ..."
"... "The trouble with the Trump Dossier is that it's a recognizable product of a specific milieu: If you spend an evening or two in the bars where Moscow's chattering classes hang out, you'll hear an equal complement of political tall tales about Putin and his presidential administration. The kind of gossip that fills the Trump Dossier is common currency in Moscow, even if very little of it has any authority behind it aside from the speaker's own imagination. Any experienced observer learns to filter gossip for the stray useful clues that are sometimes hidden within curlicues of fantasy. The author of the Trump Dossier, though, appears enthusiastically to have transcribed every bit of tittle-tattle that fit the overarching narrative of a grand Kremlin scheme to elevate Donald Trump to the presidency." ..."
"... Here is some more The Russians are coming garbage coming out of DHS https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-07/dhs-russia-penetrated-voter-rolls-21-states-no-evidence-alterations And there is a lot of big money behind the Anti -Russia campaign. http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/february/07/your-guide-to-top-anti-russia-think-tanks-in-us-who-funds-them/ ..."
"... Basically Hillary bought herself a FISA warrant... ..."
"... The sudden resignation of the head of GCHQ, Hannigan, coupled with UK PM May's precipitate trip to Washington to meet Trump, leads me to speculate that GCHQ was an enabler of surveillance of the Trump team. ..."
"... My guess, based on my belief in the languid behaviour of British Intelligence professionals (which I acknowledge may be utterly unfounded) is that neither GCHQ or MI6 gave much thought to either Steeles machinations (which they may have known about in passing) or an American request for surveillance on a Trump team member, if in fact they even knew he was part of the team. They knew what was going on, but it was club chit chat until Trump won the election, then the enormity of their actions was made plain. ..."
"... Hilary bought a FISA warrant and then trolled for dirt on Trump. ..."
"... Graham and Grassley: "Thus, the FISA applications are either materially false in claiming that Mr. Steele said he did not provide dossier information to the press prior to Oct. 2016 or Mr. Steele made materially false statement to the FBI when he claimed he only provided the dossier info to his business partner and the FBI." ..."
"... If it turned out that the UK authorities had been in lockstep with the US authorities throughout before the election result, and had fed them every bit of nonsense they had relating to the US election, then what would that prove? Nothing. I'd hope they are in lockstep when it comes to passing on information from one country that might be of interest to the other. It would look very odd had it turned out later that the UK had been sitting on material that should have been passed across. I've no doubt that half the material the two sides pass across to each other is arrant nonsense - but they're more likely to find out what is nonsense and what is serious if they share it. ..."
"... Then it all blows up in their faces. Suddenly they find that the UK is associated with a very public down-market smear campaign against a US president. ..."
"... Not only large elements of the American and British intelligence services, but the 'Borgistas' in both countries, now including large elements of the academic/research apparatus and most of the MSM, really are joined at the hip. ..."
"... A relevant element of such collusion has to do with the creation of the Yeltsin-era Russian oligarchy. On this, a crucial source are interviews given by Christian Michel and Christopher Samuelson, who used to run a company called 'Valmet', to Catherine Belton, then with the 'Moscow Times', later with the 'Financial Times', in the days leading up to the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in May 2005. ..."
"... I think every reason to believe that, from first to last, the intrigues in which he has been involved have involved close collusion between them and elements in American intelligence – including the FBI. As a result, a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic have repeatedly got into complex undercover contests in the post-Soviet space which ran right out of control, creating a desperate need for cover-ups. A similar pattern applies in relation to the activities of such people in the Middle East. ..."
"... I don't understand what the big deal is here. British intelligence (or anybody else for that matter - remember Al Gore's soliciting Chinese money?) is welcome to meddle in US elections, as long as it is on behalf of the establishment/Deep State candidate. ..."
"... The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble. ..."
"... Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced. ..."
"... What 'StratCom' means in practical terms is propaganda, usually involving the creation of a 'narrative' – in which the complexities of the world are elided in favour of a simplistic picture of 'good guys' versus 'bad guys.' Commonly it is difficult to know how far the people doing this are deliberately dishonest, how far they have simply succumbed to 'double think' and 'crimestop.' ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Last night's release of the memo by Senator's Grassley and Graham asking the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation of Christopher Steele for possible violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 provides critical confirmation of charges presented in the HPSCI memo prepared under the leadership of Devin Nunes, but it also confirms that Christopher Steele was not just some random guy offering good gossip to the FBI. He was an official intelligence asset. He was, in John LeCarre's parlance, our "Joe." At least we thought so. But, there is growing circumstantial evidence that Steele was acting on behalf of Britain's version of the CIA--aka MI-6. If true, we are now faced with actual evidence of a foreign country trying to meddle in a direct and significant way in our national election. Only it was not the Russians. It was our British cousins.

Here are the key take aways from the Grassley/Graham memo :

The Grassley/Graham memo is devastating for Jim Comey. We can entertain only two possibilities--Jim Comey is a monumental dunce or he is a liar. One need only read the Michael Isikoff piece from 23 September 2016 to realize that Christopher Steele was a primary source for Isikoff. We are asked to believe that Comey is a naive, trusting soul bereft of curiosity, who refused to entertain the possibility that Steele was double dealing intel.

One of the most surprising revelations from the Grassley/Graham memo is in footnote 7. I'm surprised this was not redacted because it is drawn from a redacted/blacked out paragraph. Here is a critical bit of intel:

This means Steele was a signed up intelligence asset for the FBI. He was our spy. A FD-1023 is an FBI form used to document meetings between FBI and sources. It is also called a CHS Report--CHS aka Confidential Human Source. Here is an example posted by a Trump supporter on Twitter :

DSQFvkCX4AA1I5u.jpg-large

With this confirmation the next move is in the hands of the Brits. If Steele became an FBI asset without the knowledge of his former colleagues and chain of command, he faces legal risk. But two development in the last two days suggest that British intelligence officials, at least some key officials, were witting of Steele's activities in gathering information for the FBI.

First, Steele is resisting efforts to face a deposition in a lawsuit over his infamous dossier. Steele's lawyers argued in a court in London this week that a deposition would endanger the former spy's dossier sources as well as harm U.K. national security interests. If the Judge buys this claim then we will not have to speculate anymore about whether or not Steele was acting on his own or had a "wink-and-a-nod" from his MI-6 bosses.

Second, in my mind more telling, were the comments made this week by former MI-6 Chief, Richard Dearlove, on behalf of his former protege:

Among those who have continued to seek his expertise is Steele's former boss Richard Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004. In an interview, Dearlove said Steele became the "go-to person on Russia in the commercial sector" following his retirement from the Secret Intelligence Service. He described the reputations of Steele and his business partner, fellow intelligence veteran Christopher Burrows, as "superb."

But we do not have to rely solely on Dearlove's glowing remarks about Steele. There is other information indicating that the Brits played a substantial, if not leading, role in spying on Trump and building the Russian meddling meme. The Guardian reported in April 2017 that:

Britain's spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump's campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious "interactions" between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump's inner circle and Russians, sources said.

So much for our special relationship. As the evidence of British intelligence meddling in the U.S. election piles up it will create some strains in our bi-lateral ties. It has the potential to harm cooperation on military, law enforcement and intelligence fronts. I suspect there is some scrambling going on behind the scenes to come up with a strategy to contain the damage while rooting out the sedition. Stay tuned. Reply 07 February 2018 at 04:20 PM


Prem , 07 February 2018 at 04:22 PM

If it happened, the motivation would have been to curry favour with HRC, whom everybody assumed would be elected.

Of course, we are only getting a partial view of what happened. Clinton family retainers also had contacts with Russia; it's just not been reported much. And Russia was unlikely to have been the only nation to break the unwritten rule that only Israel is allowed to interfere in US politics - Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Ukraine etc were almost certainly doing it too.

SmoothieX12 , 07 February 2018 at 04:25 PM

Steele became the "go-to person on Russia in the commercial sector" following his retirement from the Secret Intelligence Service. He described the reputations of Steele and his business partner, fellow intelligence veteran Christopher Burrows, as "superb."

London-Russian "oligarchy" there, with a very specific outlook on Russia-UK's track record in anti-Russian activities---> hence Steele's sources. Anything Russia-related in Anglo-American IC can not be treated as "superb" or even moderately "good" at all.

I am waiting for Nunes memo on State Department. I am in no position to pass judgements on any legal, let alone operational "superbity" of, say MI-6 but and if it had intentions of influencing US elections (which is scandalous in itself) it is one thing, but in circles it all comes back to this Dossier which stunk to heaven from the get go. In circles less sophisticated than MI-6 it is known as disinformation, which, of course, the first indication of operation of influence. The decision to "believe" in this cocktail of rumors, lies and hearsay was made in Washington, not London.

Clueless Joe , 07 February 2018 at 04:38 PM
Trump had planned to visit UK this month but cancelled it a few weeks ago. Any possibility that might not just be due to expected protests and lack of British enthusiasm, but also as retaliation after he learned the MI6 and/or GCHQ involvement in this affair? (apparently he's considering a visit late this year, in which case he might have got some assurances that British agencies will stop messing up, or UK authorities will now collaborate with his team)
BLL , 07 February 2018 at 04:50 PM
Couldn't help but notice the FBI form you used as an example disclosed the sex of the "he/she" informant.
Virginia Slim , 07 February 2018 at 04:58 PM
Quite an intrigue, isn't it? It reminds one rather of the Tukhachevsky affair.
John Minnerath , 07 February 2018 at 05:02 PM
All,
An endlessly convoluted can of worms impossible for anyone not completely up to speed on subjects like this to get a grip on.
Cvillereader said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 07 February 2018 at 05:14 PM
Reportedly, the Democrat House Intelligence Committee memo contains a great deal of information on Page's background. It will be interesting to see if it survives the declassification process.

From the Grassley letter, it doesn't sound like a lot of this information was included in the FISA warrant. If that is the case, one has to wonder why it wasn't.

SmoothieX12 -> Virginia Slim... , 07 February 2018 at 05:15 PM
Quite an intrigue, isn't it? It reminds one rather of the Tukhachevsky affair.

In procedural terms, yes. On substance, no--most of it is as clear as a day. Per Tukhacevsky--his affair is not even in the same league as what is transpiring now in the US. The stakes here are immense since American statehood is under attack. As per Tuchachevsky--he wasn't that good of a general to start with (certainly technologically not astute). Plus, there is a whole other dimension to his, and others, story which should not be discussed in this thread.

Navsteva , 07 February 2018 at 05:26 PM
Excellent summary. Obvious reasons for British meddling in U.S. elections: Trump's pre-election statements on NATO, desire to improve relations with Russia, related Russian sanctions, etc.
The Twisted Genius -> blue peacock... , 07 February 2018 at 05:31 PM
blue peacock,

I don't think a Title 1 FISA warrant gives the FBI any additional surveillance capability beyond what could be gained by surveilling a controlled source. In either case the FBI would be listening to all those who came in contact with Page. That's why I have serious doubts about Page being a controlled FBI source/informant. A FISA warrant is just not necessary if the target is already a controlled source/informant. I believe I read somewhere Comey had the FBI surveil himself in order to listen in on conversations he had with White House officials. It didn't take a FISA warrant for that. (Actually, I'm surprised we haven't heard more outrage about this.) In either case I don't think the FBI gets access to retroactive surveillance except for the specific target of the surveillance.

As I mentioned in our earlier conversation, I'm surprised the SVR would try to recruit Page after their earlier experience with him. He's the reason they lost three SVR officers. He was a witness for the Federal prosecution rather than a controlled informant. Years later he looked like a dangle with his trips to Moscow. He's either a clueless idiot or an operator worthy of the title, ace of spies. The questions about his true status are legitimate and worth pursuing.

Was that compliance review you refer to the same one that was released by Coats earlier this year? That long (99 pages or so) report was an annual review conducted by the FISC of all NSA, CIA and FBI FISA activities. It wasn't anything specific initiated by Rogers.

Why was Page let go by the Trump campaign? Perhaps the FBI did tip the campaign off to his Russian connections. Obama warned Trump not to get involved with Flynn.

Cvillereader said in reply to blue peacock... , 07 February 2018 at 05:37 PM
He may have been an accomplice for someone other than the FBI.

It might be a mistake to think that state actors would have been the only folks interested in obtaining intelligence about Trump.

It has been reported that he worked on the Clinton transition team in 1992. He was also some kind of liaison to Congress under Les Aspin. His specialty involved nuclear weapons.

The Twisted Genius -> Eric Newhill... , 07 February 2018 at 05:41 PM
Eric Newhill,

reference your comment at #6

You make a good point about Page not having access to Trump or the Trump campaign or transition team when he was under the FISA warrant and three renewals. I think this was because the target of the Page surveillance was the Russian connection, not Trump himself. An investigation should proceed from established facts rather than some presumed and unsubstantiated conclusion. And I'm pretty sure there are other warrants. Whether they're based on the Steele material I don't know.

Jack , 07 February 2018 at 05:49 PM
PT
We can entertain only two possibilities--Jim Comey is a monumental dunce or he is a liar.

All these guys were certain Hillary would win the election. They were convinced their lawlessness would be rewarded and their subterfuge would be conveniently buried.

Unfortunately for them the voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin decided otherwise. So they tried to create the casus belli for impeachment. That has now failed. Where this leads to is anyone's guess.

wisedupearly Ceo , 07 February 2018 at 05:52 PM
So, the Brits passing GCHQ intel that they are seeing suspicious indicators re. TRUMP - Russian contacts to us via long-established channels is now seen as "interfering with our elections"? Not realistic. Preliminary intel is always 99% uncorroborated. Sad, but true.

Should the Brits have waited for full corroboration before informing us? Hell, no. As I understand it we get everything automatically. Nothing is withheld, that is the nature of the special relationship.

So to answer the title, if Brit intel fabricated the indicators then yes, they did try to destroy the Trump Campaign. Otherwise no.
Is Steele an FBI spy or is he a source? Unclear.

If Steele is a still active Brit spy then he should have been declared as such under existing MOA. Could he be NOC for the Brits? Unlikely given his direct involvement with IC on intel matters.

Did Steele leak the story to Yahoo News? Steele says he briefed several newspapers, only Yahoo published.

The Yahoo article, written by Isikoff September 24, states "The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. "

So the number of people read into the STEELE reports is significant.

So the questions should be

Barbara Ann -> Navsteva ... , 07 February 2018 at 05:53 PM
And equally obvious that getting caught meddling in US elections would have catastrophic consequences for all involved, as we may shortly witness. If the British IC did have anything to do with this, it begs the question; what was worth the colossal risk?
wisedupearly Ceo , 07 February 2018 at 06:01 PM
Addendum: can we all agree that if the STEELE intel was a genuine attempt to ensure Trump's failure in the election then the effort was the most inept operation in a long time?

The only STEELE memo that had any chance of doing any material damage was the pee-pee tapes. Trump supporters thought it was "cute". As Trump himself said "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally. He was not joking and who knows his supporters better than Trump.

Eric Newhill said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 07 February 2018 at 06:17 PM
TTG #20

Thx for the reply. As you know I like Trump a lot and I don't like all I have seen going on to subvert his presidency (e.g. the MSM 24/7 fake news bashing on him, Soros organized riots). That said, I try to be as objective as possible.

I am simply not seeing the connection between spying on Page and spying on Trump. There has been no evidence released that even suggests it happened. I watched Tucker Carlson and Hannity this week and both are saying that the FBI spied on a POTUS candidate and on a sitting president (Trump in both instances, of course). I had to stop myself, clear my head and think for minute. I don't see it. They spied on Page and most likely anyone he talked to/met with, but that's not Trump nor anyone in Trump's inner circle.

Maybe it will come out that Trump and his inner circle were spied on. Maybe the FISA warrant was construed to permit that. Maybe they just did it regardless of legality. Maybe that's what all these GOP releases are leading up to.

However, at this point, I see a lot of smoke and mirrors on both sides. The GOP is using the Page warrant to damage the FBI (well deserved, apparently) and Mueller's investigation. The dems are using the existence of the warrant on Page to insinuate that Trump campaign needs to be investigated b/c they had a Ruskie mole amongst them and a bunch of other stuff about collusion that Clinton and Steele pulled out of their asses.

In the midst of this is Carter Page, an obviously self-absorbed/self-promoting goofy homosexual that is always trying to get close to power and failing, who never met Trump and who never has yet been shown to have contributed anything to the Trump campaign - and who has an annoying habit of pretending to connections and knowledge that he doesn't really have; and getting himself in hot water in the course of doing so.

Until more is revealed - or someone explains how it could be otherwise - I am beginning to think that the entire focus on Page means nothing more than the exposure of a corrupt FBI playing fast and loose w/ FISA. All of the recently revealed FBI invective toward Trump and talk of "insurance policies" is highly suggestive, but that's it [at this point].

My spider sense says it will be revealed that Trump himself was sureveilled - that and a buck 50 gets me a ride on the cross town bus.

LondonBob said in reply to Clueless Joe... , 07 February 2018 at 06:24 PM
Joe I think such things would have been discussed when PM May rushed to see Trump after his election. I have always assumed that was the reason for the rushed visit. Due to his mother Trump is desperate to see the Queen and will do so when the time is right.

Plausible but I still think any activities would have been done with the approval of, or more likely at the behest of, Brennan, Clapper et al. After all it is the former British Foreign Secretary who heads up the International Rescue Committee, rather than say John Kerry being the overpaid head of an NGO in London with MI6 links.

james said in reply to Barbara Ann ... , 07 February 2018 at 06:27 PM
going after russia is considered being worth the risk... that is what it looks like to me.. just imagine a multi polar world when you are so used to viewing it as a unipolar one.... i see the ''''us-led''' coalition is now bombing the syrian army again, this time under the guise they, or the sdf - were under attack... whether the usa imposes words like democatic on the name tag, or does much more - is not in question.. does the usa have a right to be in syria? not really.. they are said to be going after isis, but that looks as phony as a 2$ bill to me personally..
https://www.rt.com/news/418164-coalition-airstrikes-syrian-forces/
Cvillereader said in reply to wisedupearly Ceo ... , 07 February 2018 at 06:37 PM
I have noticed that you keep posing the same question about Gowdy, as have some prominent twitterers. Since a Gowdy is an attorney and was a federal prosecutor, I wonder whether there are professional restrictions on him in terms of declaring a person's guilt. Do congressional investigations ever pronounce that someone is guilty of a crime? Or is it customary for such investigations to make a referral to the Justice Department?
SmoothieX12 -> Jack... , 07 February 2018 at 06:39 PM
All these guys were certain Hillary would win the election. They were convinced their lawlessness would be rewarded and their subterfuge would be conveniently buried. Unfortunately for them the voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin decided otherwise.

Exactly, one of those cases when what we broadly define as democracy actually worked and very effectively at that. You see, it is one thing to give it a lip service, totally another live with the consequences of democracy actually working. Many people in Washington still cannot resign themselves to the fact that people can actually have their own voice--what a novel concept for them.

LondonBob said in reply to Jack... , 07 February 2018 at 06:39 PM
I think it was more reactive, they had all been complicit in a number of illegal activities and they were worried they would all go down if Trump won. They obviously got more and more desperate, digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole.
wisedupearly Ceo , 07 February 2018 at 06:42 PM
Addendum: can we all agree that if the STEELE intel was a genuine attempt to ensure Trump's failure in the election then the effort was the most inept operation in a long time?

Only two ways in which Trump candidacy could be destroyed once he was nominated. Official: Trump is charged with conspiring with a foreign government to materially damage America. Public: Trump is maligned as being an tool of the Russians.

Official is unlikely as no evidence to date has any chance of being used for an indictment. Not saying that the charges are false just that what was released prior to election was insufficient.

Public: most likely avenue. But the details released were not impressive or determinative to the majority of Trump supporters who I see as being more anti-establishment than anti-Russian. True, you could expect the GOP elite to be disturbed but they were anti-Trump before his nomination and wedded to him after.

Cortes said in reply to wisedupearly Ceo ... , 07 February 2018 at 06:43 PM
A court may err due to failings of its judges in interpretation or application of the law, but it doesn't act illegally. The article at The Duran by Alexander Mercouris previously referred to by richardstevenhack exploring how the officers of court (lawyers) in the DOJ/FBI were somewhat economical in making their pitches for the Page warrants may have disadvantaged the judge or judges who, with fuller information, may have reached a different determination, might provide answers to your other questions. Due process should apply to all, not at whim.
Publius Tacitus -> The Twisted Genius ... , 07 February 2018 at 08:12 PM
The Steele dossier is central to the public meme that Trump was colluding with the Russians. All of the major news stories on the subject were based on what Steele told them.
wisedupearly Ceo -> Cvillereader... , 07 February 2018 at 08:24 PM
I keep posting it because if stated it is an extremely powerful indicator. I believe that Gowdy can make a statement as to legality with no constraint other than not exposing national secrets. If he was constrained I would expect him to make reference to said constraint. Before we waste time with rabbit holes of choice we need to agree on what is known.
J , 07 February 2018 at 08:39 PM
"Did British Intelligence Try to Destroy the Trump Presidency?" Yes. That is why Steele is trying so hard to keep the Russian lawyers from deposing him in a London court. The Russians are on the scent, and Steele and his MI6 handlers know it.

Are British Intelligence 'Still' Trying to Destroy the Trump Presidency? Yes.

Cvillereader said in reply to wisedupearly Ceo ... , 07 February 2018 at 08:45 PM
It has been suggested that Trey Gowdy be appointed as a special prosecutor to look into how the DOJ/FBI handled the Steele dossier. Would not an accusation of guilt by Gowdy disqualify him from that job?

Also, I don't think we understand yet what records the HPSCI has been given access to. Fox News is reporting that Nunes may go the FISC court and ask them to release all records and transcripts related to the Page FISA warrants. If that is the case, then it is too early for any one on the HPSCI to make conclusions about illegality.

I think you are also ignoring what is happening with respect to both Grassley's and Goodlatte's investigations.
It appears that the committees may be working in tandem to destroy the Democrats' narrative. The idea is not to put all your cards on the table at once.

jpb said in reply to wisedupearly Ceo ... , 07 February 2018 at 08:51 PM
Trey Gowdy says Sidney Blumenthal is the 'domestic' source of the information in the Steele Dossier. Gowdy doesn't say the Steele Dossier is illegal, but it appears it was obtained by illegal conspiracy of DJT's political enemies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzkOaHTkDpU (12:00 minutes in)

Rhondda , 07 February 2018 at 09:59 PM
Thank you for this important post, PT. You've really captured some arresting details. The Grassley/Graham document is impressive, isn't it? I have been highly critical of both men in the past but credit where credit is due: good work, specific, particular, devastating. And at a tough time when taking sides makes enemies and draws fire.

This is all rather depressing, seeing how rotten things are. And worse to come, I think. So I wanted to share with the Committee something that made me laugh, albeit in a rather black comedy sort of way.

To that end, here follows some "glowing remarks" about Steele's dossier and sources, from Mark Galeotti, the man that Simpson, in his testimony has called "very learned" and a "distinguished scholar":

When asked what efforts he had made to "corroborate or verify" the dossier's assertions, Simpson seems to have Googled the name Ivanov:
"As I dug into some of the more obscure academic work -- how the Kremlin operates by some of the more distinguished scholars of the subject, I found that Ivanov is, in fact, or was at the time, in fact, the head of a sort of internal kind of White House plumber's operation for the Kremlin and that he seemed to have the kind of duties that were being described in this memo. "

In his August testimony, providing an example as to what effort had been made to "corroborate or verify" the dossier's assertions, Glenn Simpson references Galeotti in re Sechin: "In particular I remember reading a paper by a superb academic expert whose name is Mark Galeotti, G-A-L-E-O-T-T-I, who's done a lot of work on the Kremlin's black operations and written quite widely on the subject and is very learned. So that would have given me comfort that whoever Chris is talking to they know what they're talking about."

He must be talking about this: http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR_169_-_PUTINS_HYDRA_INSIDE_THE_RUSSIAN_INTELLIGENCE_SERVICES_1513.pdf

I wouldn't call publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations "obscure." It was on page 2 of my Google search results. Just sayin'. And call me unrepentant foil-hatter, but Galeotti strikes me as about as much scholar as Simpson is journalist.

So Steele named some names and Simpson "did that work" of what appears to have been -- simply looking 'em up on the internet. There he saw some "scholars" and "learned" experts saying some of the same things Steele had said -- and so he believed it was all true. I guess world class journalist Simpson, who once worked for the Moonie Insight Magazine, had never heard of the disinformation tactic of mixing a dash of true with a pound of false. It would be sad -- if I believed he was actually such a babe in the woods.

But hoo boy, wish I could get paid $50k a month to look things up on the internet!

OK. Now for the amusing part. The 'very learned scholar' Mr. Mark Galeotti has since offered his opinion of the Steele dossier and it's rather more a radioactive kind of glowing remarks.

"The trouble with the Trump Dossier is that it's a recognizable product of a specific milieu: If you spend an evening or two in the bars where Moscow's chattering classes hang out, you'll hear an equal complement of political tall tales about Putin and his presidential administration. The kind of gossip that fills the Trump Dossier is common currency in Moscow, even if very little of it has any authority behind it aside from the speaker's own imagination. Any experienced observer learns to filter gossip for the stray useful clues that are sometimes hidden within curlicues of fantasy. The author of the Trump Dossier, though, appears enthusiastically to have transcribed every bit of tittle-tattle that fit the overarching narrative of a grand Kremlin scheme to elevate Donald Trump to the presidency."

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/237266/trump-dossier-russia-putin

Ouch! I found this quite amusing, I hope it adds some levity to your day, as well.

J , 07 February 2018 at 10:16 PM
PT,

FYI

Here is some more The Russians are coming garbage coming out of DHS https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-07/dhs-russia-penetrated-voter-rolls-21-states-no-evidence-alterations And there is a lot of big money behind the Anti -Russia campaign. http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/february/07/your-guide-to-top-anti-russia-think-tanks-in-us-who-funds-them/

Tyler , 07 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
Basically Hillary bought herself a FISA warrant...
Fred -> wisedupearly Ceo ... , 07 February 2018 at 10:27 PM
wisedupearly,

From comment 31: "Only two ways in which Trump candidacy could be destroyed once he was nominated... Official; ... Public; Trump is maligned as being an tool of the Russians."

Wrong. The second didn't work and after over a year there's zero evidence of the other. The obvious way for Trump to lose the election was for the voters of the Democratic Party - that's the party whose executives rigged the DNC Primary for Hilary - to nominate someone who could have beaten him.

"can we all agree .... was the most inept operation in a long time?"

No. You repeat this meme twice, comment 24 and 31. It only has the appearance of ineptness because they got caught. The obvious question is how many other times did political appointees/operatives within FBI/CIA/intellegence agencies succeed in doing the same thing? Then follow up and ask whether this was only done in Presidential elections or did they also do this in House and Senate races? My take is that this was done before and Trump is going to appoint Trey Gowdy as a speical prosecutor and we'll all have fun watching as he goes all Ethan Edwards on finding the bad guys.

Walrus , 07 February 2018 at 11:11 PM
The sudden resignation of the head of GCHQ, Hannigan, coupled with UK PM May's precipitate trip to Washington to meet Trump, leads me to speculate that GCHQ was an enabler of surveillance of the Trump team.

My guess, based on my belief in the languid behaviour of British Intelligence professionals (which I acknowledge may be utterly unfounded) is that neither GCHQ or MI6 gave much thought to either Steeles machinations (which they may have known about in passing) or an American request for surveillance on a Trump team member, if in fact they even knew he was part of the team. They knew what was going on, but it was club chit chat until Trump won the election, then the enormity of their actions was made plain.

To put that another way, I would prefer to believe in a stuff up rather than a concerted plan by the fiendish British to influence the U.S.

Walrus said in reply to Tyler... , 08 February 2018 at 01:08 AM
Hilary bought a FISA warrant and then trolled for dirt on Trump.
Jack said in reply to Rhondda... , 08 February 2018 at 01:09 AM
Rhondda

Rep. Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has written FISC presiding judge Rosemary Collyer to provide him all the documentation around the Page FISA application and warrant. Let's see what she does. FISC has been taken for a ride by the DOJ and FBI. Ball's in their court.

IMO, we need another Church Committee to have a broad mandate to investigate mass surveillance, secret courts and the entire national security apparatus and if our Constitution has been shredded by the Patriot Act and FISA and the GWOT. Is there anyone like Sen. Frank Church around?

wisedupearly Ceo , 08 February 2018 at 04:27 AM
Fred, Fred, my post discussed the possible avenues for the destruction of the Trump candidacy as related to the Steele memos.
As I wrote, both possible attacks, official and public, failed for fairly obvious reasons.
wisedupearly Ceo , 08 February 2018 at 07:21 AM
Graham and Grassley: "Thus, the FISA applications are either materially false in claiming that Mr. Steele said he did not provide dossier information to the press prior to Oct. 2016 or Mr. Steele made materially false statement to the FBI when he claimed he only provided the dossier info to his business partner and the FBI."

As Isikoff writes in Yahoo, September 24 2016: "The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. "
It should be clear that several if not many people in Washington were privy to the Page meeting Russians. I note also that, as far as I can see, there is nothing in the Isikoff article that is unambiguously attributable to the Steele memos. Maybe the experts can find a clear indicator.

Page himself is headlined in a Reuters article July 8 2016 (referenced by Isikoff) after he gave a pro-Russian lecture to students at the New Economic School in Moscow. The article titled "Trump adviser, on Moscow visit, dodges questions about U.S. policy on Russia" says "Page declined to say whether he was planning to meet anyone from the Kremlin, the Russian government or Foreign Ministry during his visit."

dogear , 08 February 2018 at 07:22 AM
Wrong heading, should read...did the British labour party use its connections in British intelligence to try oust trump.
English Outsider -> Eric Newhill... , 08 February 2018 at 07:44 AM

Eric Newhill - Though from a far less well-informed point of view than yours I'd concur heartily with your "All of the recently revealed FBI invective toward Trump and talk of "insurance policies" is highly suggestive, but that's it [at this point]."

It's all of it highly suggestive at this point but what it suggests seems to depend entirely on the convictions of the observer.

I'm not sure that's going to change. When one looks at the contacts between UK and US Intelligence BEFORE the Presidential election results material is starting to come out that also could be suggestive either way but could also prove nothing at all. From what I've seen it proves nothing at all.

If it turned out that the UK authorities had been in lockstep with the US authorities throughout before the election result, and had fed them every bit of nonsense they had relating to the US election, then what would that prove? Nothing. I'd hope they are in lockstep when it comes to passing on information from one country that might be of interest to the other. It would look very odd had it turned out later that the UK had been sitting on material that should have been passed across. I've no doubt that half the material the two sides pass across to each other is arrant nonsense - but they're more likely to find out what is nonsense and what is serious if they share it.

No smoking gun there then. All that's happened so far is that a spotlight has been shone in the US on areas where it doesn't usually get shone. That spotlight might find only hordes of intelligence officers running around trying to do the right thing when they find that they've got caught up in something intensely political. It could well show that and no more. The spotlight will inevitably show errors in procedure sometimes. Normal, unless all involved are prodigies. It does show a few people in the two Intelligence Communities who are pretty close to freaks. Disturbing - maybe they could tighten up on selection procedures - but irrelevant in this context. You work with what you've got. What I don't think it does or will show is a top down conspiracy on both sides to get Trump.

And as the comment above from John Minnerath says, it's an "endlessly convoluted can of worms impossible for anyone not completely up to speed on subjects like this to get a grip on", so whatever any investigation shows most of us won't even grasp what that "whatever" is.

I don't think either that Trump will ever escape suspicion from those who want to suspect him. He's come to the Presidency from a suspect world, the world of the New York property and construction business. Hot money looking for a bolthole, international contacts with people who are no better than crooks, lawyers everywhere smoothing out bent deals, politicians and officials on the take - spend a few decades in that world and there are always going to be episodes that can be made to look sufficiently suggestive of criminal activity to keep the never-Trumpers happy for ever.

So what. Sending a man in to drain the swamp who comes from the swamp looks like a good move. Who better to sort out the poachers than one who's turned gamekeeper. And to me he looks straight and the only question is whether he can keep straight in the Washington snake pit. A long shot, maybe, but the only one going and therefore rational. Those who think as I do on that will continue to hope he gets somewhere. Those who don't will continue to find in everything they come across proof that he's a crook. That won't alter.

Not so much a nothingburger then as a make whatever you like of it burger. Can we leave it at that? Almost. I'm sorry to keep harping on about this but there's just one thing. That dossier, and in particular the post-result response to it in the UK.

"CEO" keeps our feet on the ground about that dossier - "The only STEELE memo that had any chance of doing any material damage was the pee-pee tapes. Trump supporters thought it was 'cute'.

"As Trump himself said "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally. He was not joking and who knows his supporters better than Trump."

Shoddy rather than cute, this long-distance observer thought, but that observation from "CEO" must be accurate. Those of us in the UK too who don't believe the nonsense that gets put out by the media didn't believe this nonsense. I think it harmed Trump in the eyes of those who do believe the nonsense though, is all I'd add.

Please look at this from the perspective of a UK politician or official. The UK IC has been following the rules, passing material over to the US and leaving the US authorities to make what they want of it. They've been allowing the US authorities to make what use they wish of an ex-operative, again happy to leave the US to decide on what that use is.

Then it all blows up in their faces. Suddenly they find that the UK is associated with a very public down-market smear campaign against a US president. Associated by accident, that's accepted, but associated. What do they do? They rush to mend fences. They disavow Steele and they make it clear that it's nothing to do with the UK. Had that happened then there would, from the UK perspective, be no more to be said. It didn't happen. Instead they backed Steele to the hilt, publicly and continuously. It's that, from the UK side, that needs an explanation.

Babak Makkinejad -> Walrus... , 08 February 2018 at 07:53 AM
"A concerted plan by the fiendish British to influence US" will be of no surprise to many old school Iranians.
turcopolier , 08 February 2018 at 08:17 AM
jack

I testified in Collyer's district court in Washington several times and recollect that she is a she. pl

Harry said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 08 February 2018 at 08:35 AM
My understanding is different. Page had left the campaign but remained in contact. I also understand that Page had been on the FBI radar much earlier after SVR attempted to recruit him. I am surprised that no one saw fit to warn the Trump campaign that asdociating with Page would put the entire campaign under surveillance. I guess they couldn't, but its very convenient. From what i gather it was an open secret and treated as part of the Trump campaigns general cluelessness.
semiconscious said in reply to John Minnerath... , 08 February 2018 at 09:31 AM
& the mainstream media likes it, & wants to keep it, that way! :) ...
David Habakkuk , 08 February 2018 at 09:57 AM
All,

A number of points.

1. Not only large elements of the American and British intelligence services, but the 'Borgistas' in both countries, now including large elements of the academic/research apparatus and most of the MSM, really are joined at the hip.

It is thus an open question how far it is useful to speak of British intelligence intervening in the American election, rather than the American section of the 'Borg' and their partners in crime 'across the pond' colluding in an attempt to mount such an intervention with a greater appearance of 'plausible deniability.'

2. A relevant element of such collusion has to do with the creation of the Yeltsin-era Russian oligarchy. On this, a crucial source are interviews given by Christian Michel and Christopher Samuelson, who used to run a company called 'Valmet', to Catherine Belton, then with the 'Moscow Times', later with the 'Financial Times', in the days leading up to the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in May 2005.

(See http://mikhail_khodorkovsky_society_two.blogspot.co.uk .)

This describes the education in 'Western banking practices' given to him and his Menatep associates by Michel and Samuelson, starting as early as 1989, and also their crucial involvement with Berezovsky.

We are told by Belton that: 'With the help of British government connections, Valmet had already built up a wealthy clientele that included the ruling family of Dubai.' As to large ambitions which Michel and Samuelson had, she tells us: 'Used to dealing with the riches of Arab leaders, they found Menatep, by comparison still relatively small fry. By 1994, however, Menatep had started moving into all kinds of industries, from chemicals to textiles to metallurgy. But for Valmet, which by that time had already partnered up with one of the oldest banks in the United States, Riggs Bank, and for Menatep, the real prize was oil.'

Try Googling 'Riggs Bank' – a lot of interesting information emerges, on matters such as their involvement with Prince Bandar. So, what we are dealing with is a joint Anglo-American attempt to create a 'comprador' oligarchy who could loot Russia's raw materials resources.

3. On the subject of the competence of MI6, what seems to me a total apposite judgement was provided by the man whom Steele and his associates framed over the death of Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi.

In the press conference in May 2007 where he responded to the request for his extradition submitted by the Crown Prosecution Service, he claimed that: 'Litvinenko used to say: They are total retards in the UK, they believe everything we are telling them about Russia.'

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

It seems to me quite likely, although obviously not certain, that this did indeed represent the view of many of the 'StratCom' operators around Berezovsky of people like Steele.

Throughout life, I have repeatedly come across a game played on certain kinds of élite Westerners, which, in honour of Kipling, who gave brilliant depictions of it, I call 'fool the stupid Sahib.'

Both people from other societies, and their own, often play this game, and the underlying mentality not infrequently involves a combination of a sense of inferiority and contempt for the gullibility of people who are thought of – commonly with justice – as not knowing how the world really works, and thus being open to manipulation if one tells them what they want to hear.

Some fragments of a mass of evidence that this was precisely what Litvinenko did were presented by me in a previous post.

Irrespective of whether Lugovoi was accurately reporting what Litvinenko said, however, a mass of 'open source' evidence testifies to the extreme credulity with which officials and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic treat claims made by members of the 'StratCom' groups created by the oligarchs whose initial training was done by Valmet. (One good example is provided by the way that Sir Robert Owen and his team took what the surviving members of the Berezovsky group told them on trust. Another is the extraordinary way MSM figures continue to claim made by Khodorkovsky and his associates seriously.)

Accordingly, when I read of anyone treating practically anything that Steele claims as plausible, I try to work out how much of a 'retard' they must be, starting with a baseline of about 50%.

4. In the light of the way that the reliance on the dossier in the FISA applications absent meaningful corroboration is being defended by Comey and others on the basis that Steele was 'considered reliable due to his past work with the Bureau', the question is how many people in the FBI must be considered to have a 'retard' rating somewhere over 90%.

When I discover that John Sipher is a 'former member of the CIA's Clandestine Service', who also worked 'on Russian espionage issues overseas, and in support of FBI counterintelligence investigations domestically,' then his apologetics for Steele seem not only to suggest he may be another 'total retard' – but to point towards how the Anglo-American collaboration actually worked.

(See https://www.politico.eu/article/devin-nunes-donald-trump-the-smearing-of-christopher-steele/ .)

5. Another characteristic of these 'retards' is that they seem unable to get their story straight. In his piece last September defending the dossier, Sipher wrote that 'While in London he worked as the personal handler of the Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko.' Apparently he didn't know that the 'party line' had changed – that when Steele emerged from hiding in May, his mouthpiece, Luke Harding of the 'Guardian', had explained:

'As head of MI6's Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko's polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.'

(See http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/09/a_lot_of_the_steele_dossier_has_since_been_corroborated.html ; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/07/former-mi6-agent-christopher-steele-behind-trump-dossier-returns-to-work .)

6. In his attempts to defend the credibility of the dossier, Sipher also explains that its – supposed – author was President of the Cambridge Union. Here, two profiles of Steele on the 'MailOnline' site are of interest.

In one a contemporary is quoted:

"'When you took part in politics at the Cambridge Union, it was very spiteful and full of people spreading rumours," he said. "Steele fitted right in. He was very ambitious, ruthless and frankly not a very nice guy."

The other tells us that he born in Aden in 1964, and that his father was in the military, before going on to say that contemporaries recall an 'avowedly Left-wing student with CND credentials', while a book on the Union's history says he was a 'confirmed socialist'.

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4115070/Chris-Whatsit-brilliant-Cambridge-spy-spent-life-battling-KGB-MI6-agent-wife-s-high-heels-stolen-Kremlin-spooks-revealed-Litvinenko-poisoned-Putin-s-thugs.html ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4115070/Chris-Whatsit-brilliant-Cambridge-spy-spent-life-battling-KGB-MI6-agent-wife-s-high-heels-stolen-Kremlin-spooks-revealed-Litvinenko-poisoned-Putin-s-thugs.html .)

From my own – undistinguished and mildly irreverent – Cambridge career, I can testify that there was indeed a certain kind of student politician, whom, if I may mix metaphors, fellow-students were perfectly well aware were going to arse-lick their way up some greasy pole or other in later life.

It was a world with which I came back in contact when, after living abroad and a protracted apprenticeship in print journalism, I accidentally found employment with what was then one of the principal television current affairs programmes in Britain. In the early 'Eighties I overlapped with Peter – now Lord – Mandelson, who became one of the principal architects of 'New Labour.'

7. Given that at this time British intelligence agencies were somewhat paranoid about CND, there is a small puzzle as to why on his graduation in 1986 Steele should have been recruited by MI6. In more paranoid moments I wonder whether he did not already have intelligence contacts through his father, and served as a 'stool pigeon' as a student.

But then, people like Sir John Scarlett and Sir Richard Dearlove may simply have concluded that someone with 'form' in smearing rivals at the Union was ideally suited for the kind of organisation they wanted to run.

8. From experience with Mandelson, and others, there are however other relevant things about this type. One is that they commonly love Machiavellian intrigue, and are very good at it, within the worlds they know and understand.

If however they have to try to cope with alien environments, where they do not know the people and where such intrigues are played much more ruthlessly, they are liable to find themselves hopelessly outclassed. (This can happen not simply with the politics of the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, but with some of the murkier undergrowths of local politics in London.)

Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.

9. So it is not really so surprising that, when Berezovsky's 'StratCom' people told them that the Putin 'sistema' really was the 'return of Karla', people like Steele believed everything they said, precisely as Lugovoi brought out.

There is I think every reason to believe that, from first to last, the intrigues in which he has been involved have involved close collusion between them and elements in American intelligence – including the FBI. As a result, a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic have repeatedly got into complex undercover contests in the post-Soviet space which ran right out of control, creating a desperate need for cover-ups. A similar pattern applies in relation to the activities of such people in the Middle East.

Fred said in reply to wisedupearly Ceo ... , 08 February 2018 at 10:49 AM
wisedupearly,

No, you are just making some deflecting comments to try and drive people to the desired narrative of what's in the memo rather than discussing the criminal conduct of Obama holdover appointees and corrupt career federal employees.

Sid Finster , 08 February 2018 at 10:56 AM
I don't understand what the big deal is here. British intelligence (or anybody else for that matter - remember Al Gore's soliciting Chinese money?) is welcome to meddle in US elections, as long as it is on behalf of the establishment/Deep State candidate.
Sid Finster said in reply to Prem... , 08 February 2018 at 11:05 AM
The intelligence agencies believed the dossier, or at least were willing to suspend disbelief, go along with the deception, because it told them what they wanted to hear. Remember "Curveball", AKA the "defecting Iraqi WMD scientist who told us every lurid thing he knew"? Anyone with the depth of understanding that God gave a housecat could tell that Curveball was not a super-scientist, he was a C student at best, and that he was embellishing his stories. In other words, he was lying shamelessly about things he knew nothing about.

The investigators lapped it up. Even the German intelligence, less emotionally invested in finding some justification, any justification for a war on Iraq, warned the Americans that Curveball was a fabricator. No matter. Curveball told the CIA and FBI what they wanted to hear, so they took his stories at face value, then passed their "intelligence" up the food chain and out to their loyal stenographers working in the press, none of whom questioned not a word of it at the time.

Joe100 , 08 February 2018 at 11:13 AM
Another question - possibly for TTG: why (as reported) did Nellie Ohr recently get an amateur radio license? This does not sound to me like a plausible later-life hobby to take up -which leads me to wonder if amateur radio traffic is well outside of NSA's "we collect everything" net?
Sid Finster said in reply to Jack... , 08 February 2018 at 11:15 AM
Why do you think that this effort has failed?

Of course, factually, russiagate is nonsense, everyone knows that. Russiagate is merely an excuse.

It reminds me of Malcolm Muggeridge's observation of the fate of businessmen and diplomats from the Baltic states travelling in the 1930's Soviet Union. They would be arrested, imprisoned on laughably false pretexts, the NKVD wouldn't even bother to follow their own procedures in doing so.

The embassies of their unfortunates' home countries would file protest after protest, legal objection after objection, all of which were duly ignored. Why? Because the Baltic statelets had no other leverage, no friends to call upon who would make the USSR recognize their rights and those of their citizens.

One might also look at the United States' presence in Syria. We are not invited there, we are not wanted there, we have no mandate to be there. Yes, our presence there is illegal, by any standard of international law.

Yet we refuse to leave. Why? Because noone is able to force us to leave.

This is, quite frankly, the logic of pirates.

Sid Finster said in reply to james... , 08 February 2018 at 11:17 AM
ISIS is an excuse. The United States is in Syria, looking for any excuse to go to war against the government there.
SmoothieX12 -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 February 2018 at 11:28 AM
Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.

It is not just "can" it very often does. The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble.

Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced. I

n case of Iraq, as an example, it is a tragedy but at least the world is relatively safe. With Russia, as I stated many times for years--they simply have no idea what they are dealing with. None. It is expected from people who are briefed by "sources" such as Russian fugitive London Oligarchy or ultra-liberal and fringe urban Russian "tusovka". Again, the level of "Russian Studies" in Anglophone world is appalling. In fact, it is clear and present danger since removes or misinterprets crucial information about the only nation in the world which can annihilate the United States completely in such a light that it creates a real danger even for a disastrous military confrontation. I would go on a limb here and say that US military on average is much better aware of Russia and not only in purely military terms. In some sense--it is an exception. But even there, there are some trends (and they are not new) which are very worrisome.

JOHN SHREFFLER -> turcopolier ... , 08 February 2018 at 11:45 AM
The East StratCom Team is a part of the administration of the European union, focused on proactive communication of EU policies and activities in the Eastern neighbourhood (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine)[1] and beyond[2] (Russia itself).[1] The Team was created as a conclusion of the European Council meeting on 19 and 20 March 2015, stressing the need to challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns."[3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_StratCom_Team
The Twisted Genius -> Joe100... , 08 February 2018 at 12:31 PM
Joe100,

My older son has been a HAM radio operator for years. He and his fellow HAM operators are getting a good laugh out of this Nellie Ohr conspiracy theory. Radio operators are not only subject to NSA interception, but also FCC interception. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is also vigilant in policing its members' activities. If Ohr intended to use radio communications clandestinely, the last thing she would do is become a licensed operator.

Amateur radio is very much a later in life hobby. My son is an outlier in that respect. They support all manner of community activities from weather emergencies to the Marine Corps Marathon. They were involved in a major volunteer effort to support communications in Puerto Rico last year. They're an impressive bunch of nerds.

I had CI folks talk to me because of my son's radio license. Both he and I speak Russian. He has a degree in Russian literature. I had HF antennas under the eaves of my house. We both spent a lot of time researching hacking, especially Russian hacking. His online activities in college led my coworkers into jokingly calling him Erik the Red. Some jackass in CI didn't find this at all funny and called me in with their suspicions. I didn't make any friends among these CI folks with my reaction.

David Habakkuk -> turcopolier ... , 08 February 2018 at 12:32 PM
In response to #63.

Colonel Lang,

My apologies – it was sloppy of me to use the term.

I was using it interchangeably with 'propaganda.' One reason for this is that I have been looking at the website of the 'Department of War Studies' at King's College London. This has a 'Centre for Strategic Communications', which 'aims to be the leading global centre of expertise on strategic communications.'

(See https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/warstudies/kcsc/experts.aspx .)

An 'Associate Fellow' is my sometime BBC Radio colleague Mark Laity, who, according to his bio on the site, 'is the Chief Strategic Communications at SHAPE, the first post holder, and as such he has been a leading figure in developing StratCom within NATO.' In this capacity, he produces presentations with titles like ' "Bocca della veritas" or "Perception becomes Reality."

(See http://www.natoschool.nato.int/Media/News/2015/20150910_StratCom .)

The same ethos penetrates other parts of the War Studies Department – Eliot Higgins is involved, as also Thomas Rid, who backed up the claims made by Dmitri Alperovitch of 'CrowdStrike', along with the former GCHQ person Matt Tait. (It appears that Rid, who has now moved to SAIS at Johns Hopkins, is a German who has earlier worked at IFRI in Paris, RAND, and in Israel.)

What 'StratCom' means in practical terms is propaganda, usually involving the creation of a 'narrative' – in which the complexities of the world are elided in favour of a simplistic picture of 'good guys' versus 'bad guys.' Commonly it is difficult to know how far the people doing this are deliberately dishonest, how far they have simply succumbed to 'double think' and 'crimestop.'

It has become amply apparent that with MI6, and other intelligence and indeed law enforcement agencies, the activity of attempting to understand the world has become inextricably involved with that of trying to shape it by covert action and 'perception management', or 'StratCom.'

The structures involved, moreover, are inextricably linked with ostensibly non-governmental institutions, like King's College and the Atlantic Council, and related organisations in a range of countries, as Rid's career strongly suggests.

It has also however become amply apparent that these structures create ample opportunities for 'information operations' groups such as those which were associated with the late Boris Berezovsky and the Menatep oligarchs.

So in describing what these people got up to I sloppily used 'StratCom', when I should have said propaganda.

Cvillereader said in reply to wisedupearly Ceo ... , 08 February 2018 at 12:59 PM
As I suspected, there are rules of professional conduct that prohibit attorneys from making public statements that are likely to have a material prejudicial impact on an adjudicative hearing in which they have been involved.

https://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/ethics/email/summer2012/summer2012-0712-ethical-rules-litigating-court-public-opinion.html

You are going to have to come up with a new talking point.

Publius Tacitus , 08 February 2018 at 01:02 PM
Great commentary as always Sir Hababkkuk. Also worth noting that the largest block of students at the university of Missouri school of journalism is strategic communications. But they don't consider it propaganda (though it is).
Fred said in reply to Cvillereader... , 08 February 2018 at 02:14 PM
Cvillereader,

What is the American Bar's ethic rule for an Attorney General meeting with the spouse of someone under investigation by the FBI?

cato iii , 08 February 2018 at 02:26 PM
It's worth pointing out that no one in the administration publicized any of this information during the election. Unlike the Clinton emails case, which they made very public in the days immediately before the election, against policy.

Even if you believe there was nothing to the idea of Russian interference, there was enough to make damning insinuations about. If the FBI or the intel community was corrupt and wanted to interfere against Trump, why didn't they?

Barbara Ann -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 February 2018 at 02:30 PM
David Habakkuk

Re your point 7. I am surprised at the level of robustness you expect of MI6's recruitment due diligence process - especially in respect of a Cambridge alumnus with a leftist background.

Harry said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 08 February 2018 at 02:51 PM
From my own – undistinguished and mildly irreverent – Cambridge career, I can testify that there was indeed a certain kind of student politician, whom, if I may mix metaphors, fellow-students were perfectly well aware were going to arse-lick their way up some greasy pole or other in later life.

I am very familiar with the lessor spotted cantab hack. Particular in its Trinity form.

Publius Tacitus -> cato iii... , 08 February 2018 at 02:54 PM
Are you really that obtuse? Government officials were leaking this info from August on and it was in the news. Most of the media ignored it because they did not think Trump had a chance
an occasional reader , 08 February 2018 at 03:03 PM
The LaRouche people have always said it was London.
I agree considering the center of the Trans-Atlantic financial empire is London and the currency of said empire is the petro-dollar which Russia, along with others, is slowing undermining.
In other words, they have motive.
Joe100 said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 08 February 2018 at 03:09 PM
TTG - Thanks! I got my general HAM license back about 1959 (while living in Quantico and spending alot of time at the base "HAM shack") but let it lapse once I hit college. Interesting to know that NSA monitors ham radio.

Nice to have your calming insight on the conspiracy theories.

Jack , 08 February 2018 at 03:09 PM
All

What is Mueller up to these days? Haven't heard much from him other than to delay Flynn's sentencing.

I'm also curious why Cater Page hasn't been charged with anything despite all the surveillance. Was he a Russian spy as Comey believed?

[Feb 08, 2018] Charge of neoliberal MSM brigade against Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Only two ways in which Trump candidacy could be destroyed once he was nominated. Official: Trump is charged with conspiring with a foreign government to materially damage America. Public: Trump is maligned as being an tool of the Russians. ..."
"... Official is unlikely as no evidence to date has any chance of being used for an indictment. Not saying that the charges are false just that what was released prior to election was insufficient. ..."
"... Public: most likely avenue. But the details released were not impressive or determinative to the majority of Trump supporters who I see as being more anti-establishment than anti-Russian. True, you could expect the GOP elite to be disturbed but they were anti-Trump before his nomination and wedded to him after. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

wisedupearly Ceo , 07 February 2018 at 06:42 PM

Addendum: can we all agree that if the STEELE intel was a genuine attempt to ensure Trump's failure in the election then the effort was the most inept operation in a long time?

Only two ways in which Trump candidacy could be destroyed once he was nominated. Official: Trump is charged with conspiring with a foreign government to materially damage America. Public: Trump is maligned as being an tool of the Russians.

Official is unlikely as no evidence to date has any chance of being used for an indictment. Not saying that the charges are false just that what was released prior to election was insufficient.

Public: most likely avenue. But the details released were not impressive or determinative to the majority of Trump supporters who I see as being more anti-establishment than anti-Russian. True, you could expect the GOP elite to be disturbed but they were anti-Trump before his nomination and wedded to him after.

[Feb 08, 2018] The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate by Ray McGOVERN

Feb 08, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

But the "assessment" served a useful purpose for the never-Trumpers: it applied an official imprimatur on the case for delegitimizing Trump's election and even raised the long-shot hope that the Electoral College might reverse the outcome and possibly install a compromise candidate, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the White House. Though the Powell ploy fizzled, the hope of somehow removing Trump from office continued to bubble, fueled by the growing hysteria around Russia-gate.

Virtually all skepticism about the evidence-free "assessment" was banned. For months, the Times and other newspapers of record repeated the lie that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had concurred in the conclusion about the Russian "hack." Even when that falsehood was belatedly acknowledged , the major news outlets just shifted the phrasing slightly to say that U.S. intelligence agencies had reached the Russian "hack" conclusion. Shane's blunt initial recognition about the lack of proof disappeared from the mainstream media's approved narrative of Russia-gate.

Doubts about the Russian "hack" or dissident suggestions that what we were witnessing was a "soft coup" were scoffed at by leading media commentators. Other warnings from veteran U.S. intelligence professionals about the weaknesses of the Russia-gate narrative and the danger of letting politicized intelligence overturn a constitutional election were also brushed aside in pursuit of the goal of removing Trump from the White House.

It didn't even seem to matter when new Russia-gate disclosures conflicted with the original narrative that Putin had somehow set Trump up as a Manchurian candidate. All normal journalistic skepticism was jettisoned. It was as if the Russia-gate advocates started with the conclusion that Trump must go and then made the facts fit into that mold, but anyone who noted the violations of normal investigative procedures was dismissed as a "Trump enabler" or a "Moscow stooge."

The Text Evidence

But then came the FBI text messages, providing documentary evivdence that key FBI officials involved in the Russia-gate investigation were indeed deeply biased and out to get Trump, adding hard proof to Trump's longstanding lament that he was the subject of a "witch hunt."

[Feb 08, 2018] Ex-British spy on leading a double life as a famous author

So John le Carry books were MI6 propaganda. Nice...
Notable quotes:
"... Alec Leamus: What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They're not. They're just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me. Little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell balancing right against wrong? ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | www.cbsnews.com

Alec Leamus: What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They're not. They're just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me. Little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell balancing right against wrong?

The book would make John le Carré, a famous and much in-demand author, but for months only British intelligence knew who and where he was and it did not want to blow Cornwell's cover in Germany.

[Feb 08, 2018] Control of narrative means that creation of the simplistic picture in which the complexities of the world are elided in favor of 'good guys' vs. 'bad guys' dichotomy

Highly recommended!
StratCom is a new synonym of propaganda.
Notable quotes:
"... What 'StratCom' means in practical terms is propaganda, usually involving the creation of a 'narrative' -- in which the complexities of the world are elided in favour of a simplistic picture of 'good guys' versus 'bad guys.' Commonly it is difficult to know how far the people doing this are deliberately dishonest, how far they have simply succumbed to 'double think' and 'crimestop.' ..."
"... It has become amply apparent that with MI6, and other intelligence and indeed law enforcement agencies, the activity of attempting to understand the world has become inextricably involved with that of trying to shape it by covert action and 'perception management', or 'StratCom.' ..."
"... The structures involved, moreover, are inextricably linked with ostensibly non-governmental institutions, like King's College and the Atlantic Council, and related organisations in a range of countries, as Rid's career strongly suggests. ..."
"... It has also however become amply apparent that these structures create ample opportunities for 'information operations' groups such as those which were associated with the late Boris Berezovsky and the Menatep oligarchs. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Habakkuk -> turcopolier ... , 08 February 2018 at 12:32 PM

In response to #63.

Colonel Lang,

My apologies -- it was sloppy of me to use the term.

I was using it interchangeably with 'propaganda.' One reason for this is that I have been looking at the website of the 'Department of War Studies' at King's College London. This has a 'Centre for Strategic Communications', which 'aims to be the leading global centre of expertise on strategic communications.'

(See https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/warstudies/kcsc/experts.aspx .)

An 'Associate Fellow' is my sometime BBC Radio colleague Mark Laity, who, according to his bio on the site, 'is the Chief Strategic Communications at SHAPE, the first post holder, and as such he has been a leading figure in developing StratCom within NATO.' In this capacity, he produces presentations with titles like ' "Bocca della veritas" or "Perception becomes Reality."

(See http://www.natoschool.nato.int/Media/News/2015/20150910_StratCom .)

The same ethos penetrates other parts of the War Studies Department -- Eliot Higgins is involved, as also Thomas Rid, who backed up the claims made by Dmitri Alperovitch of 'CrowdStrike', along with the former GCHQ person Matt Tait. (It appears that Rid, who has now moved to SAIS at Johns Hopkins, is a German who has earlier worked at IFRI in Paris, RAND, and in Israel.)

What 'StratCom' means in practical terms is propaganda, usually involving the creation of a 'narrative' -- in which the complexities of the world are elided in favour of a simplistic picture of 'good guys' versus 'bad guys.' Commonly it is difficult to know how far the people doing this are deliberately dishonest, how far they have simply succumbed to 'double think' and 'crimestop.'

It has become amply apparent that with MI6, and other intelligence and indeed law enforcement agencies, the activity of attempting to understand the world has become inextricably involved with that of trying to shape it by covert action and 'perception management', or 'StratCom.'

The structures involved, moreover, are inextricably linked with ostensibly non-governmental institutions, like King's College and the Atlantic Council, and related organisations in a range of countries, as Rid's career strongly suggests.

It has also however become amply apparent that these structures create ample opportunities for 'information operations' groups such as those which were associated with the late Boris Berezovsky and the Menatep oligarchs.

So in describing what these people got up to I sloppily used 'StratCom', when I should have said propaganda.

[Feb 08, 2018] The Nunes Memo and the Death of American Journalism

Notable quotes:
"... Here's the real deal: FISA, the notion of what is essentially a Federal secret police force, most of our post-9-11 infrastructure and our pathetic lack of regulation of information technology has been a problem built by both parties for decades. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

BCZ February 6, 2018 at 3:40 am

We know that FISA knew the dossier was politically motivated and unconfirmed. Even Nunes acknowledges this . now.

And this is the issue, and the irony of this article. 'Wasn't it nice before journalists stopped reporting and pushing narratives?' Yes, it was narrative pusher.

Here's the real deal: FISA, the notion of what is essentially a Federal secret police force, most of our post-9-11 infrastructure and our pathetic lack of regulation of information technology has been a problem built by both parties for decades. I find it literally impossible that the most scandal free 'weak kneed' administration was doing anything other than business as usual in this increasingly dystopian context .

. but now here comes the GOP to try to turn this in to a partisan weapon, and journalists like you to help them do it increasing division over an issue that should be the people versus the elites into democrats versus republicans.

And, frankly that was so blatantly the intent given the manner this whole thing has been handled that only a true hack wouldn't note it in the context of an article like this.

But here's the thing I think deep down you are just too blind to acknowledge that all this security apparatus, tough on terror, 'freedom-isn't-free-but-I'll-sell-it-for-a-security-from-attacks-less-likely-than-lightning-strikes' cowardice is the problem.

OF COURSE FISA'S BEING ABUSED (along with the whole intelligence apparatus) it was custom designed by decades of elites to be so!

What fits the facts more? That the FBI simultaneously conspired to help, and then hurt the Clinton campaign, all the while saying that they are all just doing their jobs .

Or

That they were just doing their jobs, and this kind of stuff happens all the time.

I'm going door number two.

https://www.washingtonpost.com

[Feb 08, 2018] We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus

Notable quotes:
"... We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 6:57 pm

We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input.

Through critical thinking, we can overcome these emotional impulses, but only with effort, and a pre-existing skepticism of all information sources. And even still, I have no doubt that all of us who are aware of the propaganda still accept some falsehoods as true.

It could be that having former Intelligence Agency Directors as "news" presenters, and Goldman Sachs alum and Military/Industrial complex CEOs running important government agencies makes clear to some the reality that we live in an oligarchy with near-tyrannical powers. But most people seem too busy surviving and/or being diverted by the circus to notice the depths of the propaganda.

[Feb 07, 2018] CIA False Flag Likely in Drone Attack on Russia's Syrian Bases by Finian CUNNINGHAM

Notable quotes:
"... What's more the Russian government appears to have the incriminating evidence on who sanctioned the drone attacks against the Russian air base at Hmeimim and its naval port at Tartus on January 6. ..."
"... Furthermore, the drones were unlikely to have been made by Syrian militants. Russian analysis of the explosive PENT substance indicates that Ukraine was the source. That points to the Americans as the bridging agency between Ukraine and Syria. ..."
"... Another key factor is that at the time of the attacks, Russian military detected a US Poseidon surveillance aircraft in proximity over the Syrian coastal area. The Poseidon would have the ability to guide the drones to the precise location of the Russian bases. Although the plane is commonly thought of as part of the US Navy fleet, that does not preclude the CIA having their own Poseidon aircraft. ..."
"... It is also significant that Crimean lawmaker Ruslan Balbek has recently claimed that American Poseidon aircraft are being used to mount drone attacks by the US-backed Kiev regime. Balbek went further and said be believes the objective is to conduct a false flag attack on the minority Tatar community in Crimea. The "atrocity" would then be pinned on the Crimean authorities which the Western media would in turn amplify as condemnation of Russia. ..."
"... "Those aircraft were only camouflaged – I want to emphasize this – to look like handicraft production. In fact, it is quite obvious that there were elements of high-tech nature there," Putin said. ..."
"... For its part, the Pentagon has categorically denied US involvement in the drone incidents. At a press conference in Washington DC last week, Marine Corps Lieutenant General Kenneth F McKenzie Jr said: "The United States was not involved in any way with the drone attack on Russian bases at any time." ..."
"... If so then that points to the other candidate being the CIA. After all, as US-based political analyst Randy Martin commented for this column, it is the CIA which has been the main driver behind the entire American drone weapon and surveillance program around the world, from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Ukraine to a swathe of African countries. ..."
"... Given the routine clandestine and autonomous nature of the CIA, it is conceivable that neither the Pentagon nor even the Trump White House would be aware of all the agency's operations. The agency is apt to go rogue at any time, and the lack of knowledge among other branches of government in Washington affords the all-important foil of "plausible denial". ..."
"... Here is a speculative, but credible scenario: CIA operatives on the ground in Syria launch a swarm of armed drones on the Russian bases. The rickety design of the UAVs is aimed at giving the appearance of Turkish-backed militants in Idlib province. As Putin remarked, the objective was to scapegoat Turkey as complicit. If that worked, then relations between Moscow and Ankara, as well as Tehran, would become acutely strained. Washington is known to be unhappy with the rapprochement between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ..."
"... The hi-tech navigation equipment and explosives onboard the drones, plus the telltale presence of an American Poseidon surveillance aircraft in the skies above suggest the involvement of a US state agency – the CIA. ..."
Jan 17, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

The audacious multiple-drone attack on Russia's military bases in Syria is increasingly looking like a false flag carried out by the American Central Intelligence Agency. Sophisticated technology and a Ukrainian connection indicate that the swarm attack with 13 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was not the work solely of Syrian anti-government militants.

What's more the Russian government appears to have the incriminating evidence on who sanctioned the drone attacks against the Russian air base at Hmeimim and its naval port at Tartus on January 6.

The weapons failed to execute their deadly mission. Of the 13 drones used, seven were shot down by Russian Pantsir S-1 air defenses and six were safely landed by Russian electronic jamming technology. Those captured intact UAVs will have provided forensic information about what agency authored the plot. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said coyly, "We know who did it", without as of yet specifying the culprit.

Images of the UAVs released by the Russian Ministry of Defense showed rudimentary construction from what appeared to be plywood.

However, the navigation technology and explosives onboard were sophisticated and professionally made. This was no amateurish mission, as might have been expected if militants alone had carried it out.

Furthermore, the drones were unlikely to have been made by Syrian militants. Russian analysis of the explosive PENT substance indicates that Ukraine was the source. That points to the Americans as the bridging agency between Ukraine and Syria.

Another key factor is that at the time of the attacks, Russian military detected a US Poseidon surveillance aircraft in proximity over the Syrian coastal area. The Poseidon would have the ability to guide the drones to the precise location of the Russian bases. Although the plane is commonly thought of as part of the US Navy fleet, that does not preclude the CIA having their own Poseidon aircraft.

It is also significant that Crimean lawmaker Ruslan Balbek has recently claimed that American Poseidon aircraft are being used to mount drone attacks by the US-backed Kiev regime. Balbek went further and said be believes the objective is to conduct a false flag attack on the minority Tatar community in Crimea. The "atrocity" would then be pinned on the Crimean authorities which the Western media would in turn amplify as condemnation of Russia.

On the Syrian attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week at a meeting with senior Russian media executives that the culprit was not Turkey even though the drones were initiated from the northern Syrian province of Idlib where Turkish military forces are associated with militant groups.

"The attacks were provocations to destroy relations between Russia, Turkey and Iran. They were provocateurs, but they were not Turks," said Putin.

Russia has yet to publicly attribute explicit blame for who was behind the drone operation. But the Kremlin appears to be confident in its incriminating information.

"Those aircraft were only camouflaged – I want to emphasize this – to look like handicraft production. In fact, it is quite obvious that there were elements of high-tech nature there," Putin said.

The Russian president appeared to address the culprit with a cryptic remark: "You know that I know," he said.

For its part, the Pentagon has categorically denied US involvement in the drone incidents. At a press conference in Washington DC last week, Marine Corps Lieutenant General Kenneth F McKenzie Jr said: "The United States was not involved in any way with the drone attack on Russian bases at any time."

Another Pentagon spokesmen said accusations of American complicity were "ridiculous" and "reckless".

The US military chiefs may be genuinely speaking honestly – as far as they know about the circumstances. In other words, it is plausible that the Pentagon was not involved in the drone attacks.

If so then that points to the other candidate being the CIA. After all, as US-based political analyst Randy Martin commented for this column, it is the CIA which has been the main driver behind the entire American drone weapon and surveillance program around the world, from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Ukraine to a swathe of African countries.

Given the routine clandestine and autonomous nature of the CIA, it is conceivable that neither the Pentagon nor even the Trump White House would be aware of all the agency's operations. The agency is apt to go rogue at any time, and the lack of knowledge among other branches of government in Washington affords the all-important foil of "plausible denial".

Here is a speculative, but credible scenario: CIA operatives on the ground in Syria launch a swarm of armed drones on the Russian bases. The rickety design of the UAVs is aimed at giving the appearance of Turkish-backed militants in Idlib province. As Putin remarked, the objective was to scapegoat Turkey as complicit. If that worked, then relations between Moscow and Ankara, as well as Tehran, would become acutely strained. Washington is known to be unhappy with the rapprochement between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The hi-tech navigation equipment and explosives onboard the drones, plus the telltale presence of an American Poseidon surveillance aircraft in the skies above suggest the involvement of a US state agency – the CIA.

Washington's agenda in Syria has nothing to do with defeating terrorism. It is to propagate instability and chaos to undermine the Syrian government of President Assad and allied Russian achievement in overcoming the US regime-change plot. Nothing would please the American agenda more than for Russia, Turkey and Iran to bust up their detente in Syria.

The CIA has the expertise and technological capability to mount the sophisticated drone attack on the Russian bases. It also has the motivation to carry it out to further its regime-change intrigues. Who gains?

Still, there is another wild card in the pack, as analyst Randy Martin posits. He says: "The swarm drone attack was probably the first time that such a tactic was ever used in military records. It may have been carried out not only as a false flag to blame Turkey, but also as a way for the operatives to test Russian air defenses and signals intelligence."

Martin added: "The danger is that we can expect more such attacks, perhaps with deadly consequences, against Russian forces in Syria as well as against Crimea and separatists in Eastern Ukraine."

The implications are grave. If it is confirmed that the CIA were behind the drone attack on Russian bases in Syria, then that is tantamount to an act of war by the Americans – regardless of it being actioned by a rogue agency.

That might explain why the Kremlin is holding its cards very close to its chest on the matter. This is explosive.

[Feb 07, 2018] Epochal Stock Market Flash Crash Reconnects Stocks and Bonds, Portends End of Fake Recovery

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, fundamentally, a lot of flaws are built in to how the markets operate in a "financially engineered" manner, but it blew for the simple reason that interest rates nudged upward at the end of January as soon as the Federal Reserve got serious about its quantitative squeezing. That strongly supports my central thesis of this blog that this economy, built on caverns of debt and riddled with market design flaws, is too fragile to absorb any reduction in the Fed's balance sheet. ..."
"... Carl Icahn says he expects stock markets to bounce back after the massive sell-off Friday and Monday, while warning that current market volatility is a harbinger of things to come . The volatility of recent weeks is cause for concern, Icahn said, adding that he doesn't remember a two-week period as turbulent as this one. He said the problem is that too much money is flowing into the index funds, where investors don't know what they're actually investing in. ..."
"... "Passive investing is the bubble right now, and that's a great danger," he said. Eventually, that will implode and could lead to a crisis bigger than in 2009, he added. ..."
"... Risk parity funds. Volatility-targeting programs. Statistical arbitrage. Sometimes the U.S. stock market seems like a giant science project, one that can quickly turn hazardous for its human inhabitants. ..."
"... You didn't need an engineering degree to tell something was amiss Monday. While it's impossible to say for sure what was at work when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 1,597 points, the worst part of the downdraft felt to many like the machines run amok. For 15 harrowing minutes just after 3 p.m. in New York a deluge of sell orders came so fast that it seemed like nothing breathing could've been responsible. ..."
"... The result was a gut check of epic proportion for investors . "We are proactively calling up our clients and discussing that a 1,600-point intraday drop is due more to algorithms and high-frequency quant trading than macro events or humans running swiftly to the nearest fire exit ." ..."
"... "What was frightening was the speed at which the market tanked," said Walter "Bucky" Hellwig, Birmingham, Alabama-based senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management . " The drop in the morning was caused by humans, but the free-fall in the afternoon was caused by the machines. It brought back the same reaction that we had in 2010, which was 'What the heck is going on here?" ..."
"... Particular suspicion landed on trading programs tied to volatility , mathematical measures of which exploded as the day progressed . ( Newsmax ) ..."
"... The machines that now run the stock market are out of control. They do the bidding for us, but their algorithms have been designed by college sprouts who have never seen a falling market. ..."
"... Most dangerous of all, they're self-programming. They rewrite their own algorithms based on their successes and failures so that even their programmers no longer know why the machines are doing what they are doing. Even if one group of programmers does know exactly what its own algorithms are doing, they certainly don't know what is in all the others and, therefore, how they might interact to self-reinforce wrong actions. ..."
"... They don't exist in one room where you can pull a circuit breaker and disconnect them from the market. They exist in office buildings by the hundreds of thousands all over the world. Even the decisions and bids that are made by humans doing their own thinking are placed through the machines, so there is usually no way to know if a single bid coming through is by a human or is machine generated. ..."
"... The fifteen-minute, 900-point drop on Friday was a mere foreshock of that, too. We've already had a few flash-crash foreshocks that none of the experts can understand, but it hasn't slowed us from moving deeper and deeper into the machines' labyrinth. Nor have we even begun to try to work out some of the design flaws that caused those initial flash crashes. ..."
"... If the market technowizards have actually managed to get all the robo-traders unplugged or quickly reprogrammed, maybe the slide will stabilize before it becomes an all-out crash. They attempted that with some success today by stopping all volatility trading before the market opened, which I'll get into below. But, even if they've gotten the ill-programmed robots off to the side or have fixed their sizzling little heads, the market that opens tomorrow will be a whole new market -- no longer one that hyperventilates on the fumes of hope, but one that has relearned how to fear risk. ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Yes, fundamentally, a lot of flaws are built in to how the markets operate in a "financially engineered" manner, but it blew for the simple reason that interest rates nudged upward at the end of January as soon as the Federal Reserve got serious about its quantitative squeezing. That strongly supports my central thesis of this blog that this economy, built on caverns of debt and riddled with market design flaws, is too fragile to absorb any reduction in the Fed's balance sheet.

And that's why I was able to time when the first crash would be likely to hit. It's simple: When is the Fed scheduled to start getting serious in its Great Unwind? January. What week did they actually do it in? The last week of January. Kaboom!

The Fed cannot ever unwind. It will try because it believes it can, but kaboom! We'll find ways to recover from this first shock over what happens to interest when they stop rolling over government debt. The government will adapt. It will find other buyers. But the cost will go up. And the kabooms will keep happening. I've always maintained that the failure of the recovery is baked in by design and will show when the Fed's artificial life support is actually withdrawn. (Whether it is there by intentional design or design flaw, I'll leave up to one's conspiratorial imagination, as it doesn't matter to me; both get you to the same place: kaboom!)

Some bigger voices than mine are saying the same thing:

Carl Icahn says he expects stock markets to bounce back after the massive sell-off Friday and Monday, while warning that current market volatility is a harbinger of things to come . The volatility of recent weeks is cause for concern, Icahn said, adding that he doesn't remember a two-week period as turbulent as this one. He said the problem is that too much money is flowing into the index funds, where investors don't know what they're actually investing in.

"Passive investing is the bubble right now, and that's a great danger," he said. Eventually, that will implode and could lead to a crisis bigger than in 2009, he added.

"When you start using the market as a casino, that's a huge mistake," Icahn said. (" Carl Icahn Says Market Turn Is 'Rumbling' of Earthquake Ahead ")

The fact that the market has completed its de-evolution into a casino, rather than a place to buy ownership in a company, is part of the rickety framework I've described for our economy -- part of what makes it easy to shove over with a nudge in interest because the entire economy has been made utterly dependent on low interest.

... ... ...

The mechanized meltdown -- machines rule and drool

"Dow Drops 900 Points in 10 Minutes as Machines Run Amok on Wall Street"

Risk parity funds. Volatility-targeting programs. Statistical arbitrage. Sometimes the U.S. stock market seems like a giant science project, one that can quickly turn hazardous for its human inhabitants.

You didn't need an engineering degree to tell something was amiss Monday. While it's impossible to say for sure what was at work when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 1,597 points, the worst part of the downdraft felt to many like the machines run amok. For 15 harrowing minutes just after 3 p.m. in New York a deluge of sell orders came so fast that it seemed like nothing breathing could've been responsible.

The result was a gut check of epic proportion for investors . "We are proactively calling up our clients and discussing that a 1,600-point intraday drop is due more to algorithms and high-frequency quant trading than macro events or humans running swiftly to the nearest fire exit ."

"What was frightening was the speed at which the market tanked," said Walter "Bucky" Hellwig, Birmingham, Alabama-based senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management . " The drop in the morning was caused by humans, but the free-fall in the afternoon was caused by the machines. It brought back the same reaction that we had in 2010, which was 'What the heck is going on here?"

It may never be clear what accelerated the tumble -- people still aren't sure what caused the flash crash on May 6, 2010. Unlike then, most of the theorizing about today's events centered not on the market's plumbing or infrastructure, but on the automated quant strategies that gained popularity with the advent of electronic markets last decade. Particular suspicion landed on trading programs tied to volatility , mathematical measures of which exploded as the day progressed . ( Newsmax )

There is some basis for saying, "this looks like a technically driven selloff," but this is another problem for which there is no solution, and one I've written about here in the past. No solution because they cannot even identify the problem back in 2010! You cannot solve what you cannot identify.

The machines that now run the stock market are out of control. They do the bidding for us, but their algorithms have been designed by college sprouts who have never seen a falling market. They try to trick each other, and try to bid the market up. They're an accelerant. Most dangerous of all, they're self-programming. They rewrite their own algorithms based on their successes and failures so that even their programmers no longer know why the machines are doing what they are doing. Even if one group of programmers does know exactly what its own algorithms are doing, they certainly don't know what is in all the others and, therefore, how they might interact to self-reinforce wrong actions.

They don't exist in one room where you can pull a circuit breaker and disconnect them from the market. They exist in office buildings by the hundreds of thousands all over the world. Even the decisions and bids that are made by humans doing their own thinking are placed through the machines, so there is usually no way to know if a single bid coming through is by a human or is machine generated. Therefore, there is not really any way to shut the machines entirely off if they get out of control because their disjointed, convoluted, false-bidding, intentionally tricking, interacting and over-reacting zillions of intercommunications per second all around the world add up to a sum that is far more evil than its innumerable mischievously and deviously conceived parts. The system is built from the core out factious parts intended to trick each other upward, but what happens if this amalgamated beast starts tricking itself downward? Who has the authority or the controls to stop the collapse in the microseconds in which it may originate and climax?

So, FUNDAMENTALLY, the market system, itself, is deeply and inexorably flawed by intentional human design. It wasn't designed to destroy the world. It was merely designed with its own sinful machinations because of the flaws of its designers. The whole beastly thing is of a corrupted nature because of all the people who hoped to use their machines to out-game all the other people's machines. It is a network of sparks and tricks. However, because it can multiply its devilish intentions millions of times per nanosecond, we have no idea how much market carnage it might create if all the algos one day just happen to line up in the wrong direction (wrong direction for humans, anyway).

The fifteen-minute, 900-point drop on Friday was a mere foreshock of that, too. We've already had a few flash-crash foreshocks that none of the experts can understand, but it hasn't slowed us from moving deeper and deeper into the machines' labyrinth. Nor have we even begun to try to work out some of the design flaws that caused those initial flash crashes.

Other problems with the machines emerged when trading became so frantic that the sheer volume was frying the brains of many computer networks, causing the financial services of several trading companies to go offline.

Investment firms T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Vanguard Group apologized to customers for sporadic outages on their websites during the Dow industrials' 1600-point downturn . Online brokerages TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab also experienced issues. ( Newsmax )

The computers couldn't handle all the other computers.

If the market technowizards have actually managed to get all the robo-traders unplugged or quickly reprogrammed, maybe the slide will stabilize before it becomes an all-out crash. They attempted that with some success today by stopping all volatility trading before the market opened, which I'll get into below. But, even if they've gotten the ill-programmed robots off to the side or have fixed their sizzling little heads, the market that opens tomorrow will be a whole new market -- no longer one that hyperventilates on the fumes of hope, but one that has relearned how to fear risk.


Iconoclast421 Feb 7, 2018 1:26 PM Permalink

All this talk about crashes when the DOW is still up YTD...

Eman Laer -> Iconoclast421 Feb 7, 2018 2:51 PM Permalink

Right. Who would find it interesting or useful to discuss a market crash because the market is up for the year? *wipes drool*

Son of Loki Feb 7, 2018 1:36 PM Permalink

At some point when things actually do correct (or crash as some call it), bond yields will soar.

taketheredpill Feb 7, 2018 2:11 PM Permalink

me feelings on how this ends....

So far haven't seen anything that makes me expect US 10's to break the top of the 30-year yield downtrend channel (driven by 30+ dis-inflationary years of borrowing growth from the future).

So if no break-out on US 10s, then what happened in previous years when US 10s touched the top of the channel?

Equities break down, slowly at first then OMG faster. Bonds rally.

The Fed makes noises about cutting rates but markets ignore.

Fed cuts rates and markets ignore. US 10s test previous yield lows again.

Fed goes "all in" with Helicopter money. End of $ and US Treasury market.

Bye!

Bemused Observer Feb 7, 2018 2:48 PM Permalink

Everything will hit the wall. Try to 'time' it if you must, but just be aware that those last few yards come up on you real quick...that's why people always get nailed by these events. (I'm always amused by the ones who seem to think that they can and will time it right...do they really believe all the folks who got nailed in the past were just stupid?...What kind of over-inflated ego would even entertain that idea?)

If it WERE possible to do that, there would BE no downturns, ever. These things do the damage they do because you CAN'T time them. Predict, yes, but not time.

Haitian Snackout Feb 7, 2018 3:16 PM Permalink

Regardless of what marky is doing, Dave's quite correct. The longtime flooring of interest rates has created a world dependent on it continuing. Maybe if it had something more going for it things would be different. The unwinding of the fed balance sheet was always just a theory. No one knew if or when it would happen. Or more important if it was even possible. But the car has no reverse gear and many people have spoken about this. That we will only hear a grinding noise if they try to shift into reverse. For myself, I'm certainly no expert, but I know enough about the housing market to know that somewhere around 2.80 on the ten year the increase will certainly be felt. And that once margin interest rates reaches parity with dividend yields, or sooner, that one goes pear shaped as well. The engine that has propelled housing prices to several times their real value ( granted, not everywhere ) is now in reverse. And that, as Dave has noted, is only the tip of the iceberg of total debt. And even if they reverse course, the debt saturation is so widespread the patient would only barely limp forward from here. There also are likely pension funds and others in the ICU. We won't know about everything right away.

Wild tree -> Haitian Snackout Feb 7, 2018 4:47 PM Permalink

Yes HS, Dave called it out correctly IMHO. Here is what he wrote in three sentences that is the sum of the whole article, and why the seeds of our destruction as a country, and world have been fervently watered since 2008.

"No, the fundamentals do not provide reason for optimism. They provide reason for grave concern. As I've been writing all along, the greatest fundamental that is exerting pressure right now is the massive debt that the entire global economy is built on."

The steam train is on the track, clickety-clack, clickety-clack,

Picking up speed as it heads down the mountain, clickety-clack, clickety-clack.

People are hanging on for dear life, clickety-clack, clickety-clack,

Won't matter none when the train runs out of track, clickety-clack, clickety-clack.

[Feb 07, 2018] Is the Stock Market Loaded for Bear by Dambisa Moyo

She completely missed the importance of automatic trading algorithms.
Notable quotes:
"... Winner Take All ..."
"... How the West Was Lost ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org

Market participants could easily be forgiven for their early-year euphoria. After a solid 2017, key macroeconomic data – on unemployment, inflation, and consumer and business sentiment – as well as GDP forecasts all indicated that strong growth would continue in 2018.

The result – in the United States and across most major economies – has been a rare moment of optimism in the context of the last decade. For starters, the macro data are positively synchronized and inflation remains tame. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund's recent upward revision of global growth data came at precisely the point in the cycle when the economy should be showing signs of slowing.

Moreover, stock markets' record highs are no longer relying so much on loose monetary policy for support. Bullishness is underpinned by evidence of a notable uptick in capital investment. In the US, gross domestic private investment rose 5.1% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2017 and is nearly 90% higher than at the trough of the Great Recession, in the third quarter of 2009.

This is emblematic of a deeper resurgence in corporate spending – as witnessed in durable goods orders. New orders for US manufactured durable goods beat expectations, climbing 2.9% month on month to December 2017 and 1.7% in November.

Other data tell a similar story. In 2017, the US Federal Reserve's Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization index recorded its largest calendar year gain since 2010, increasing 3.6%. In addition, US President Donald Trump's reiteration of his pledge to seek $1.5 trillion in spending on infrastructure and public capital programs will further bolster market sentiment.

All of this bullishness will continue to stand in stark contrast to warnings by many world leaders. In just the last few weeks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that the current international order is under threat. French President Emmanuel Macron noted that globalization is in the midst of a major crisis, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the unrest we see around the world is palpable and "isn't going away."

Whether or not the current correction reflects their fears, the politicians ultimately could be proved right. For one thing, geopolitical risk remains considerable. Bridgewater Associates' Developed World Populism index surged to its highest point since the 1930s in 2017, factoring in populist movements in the US, the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Italy. So long as populism lingers as a political threat, the risk of reactionary protectionist trade policies and higher capital controls will remain heightened, and this could derail economic growth.

Meanwhile the market is mispricing perennial structural challenges, in particular mounting and unsustainable global debt and a dim fiscal outlook, particularly in the US, where the price of this recovery is a growing deficit. In other words, short-term economic gain is being supported by policies that threaten to sink the economy in the longer term.

The Congressional Budget Office, for example, has forecast that the US deficit is on course to triple over the next 30 years, from 2.9% of GDP in 2017 to 9.8% in 2047, "The prospect of such large and growing debt," the CBO cautioned, "poses substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges."

The schism in outlook between business and political leaders is largely rooted in different time horizons. For the most part, CEOs, hemmed in by the short termism of stock markets, are focused on the next 12 months, whereas politicians are focusing on a more medium-term outlook.

As 2018 progresses, business leaders and market participants should – and undoubtedly will – bear in mind that we are moving ever closer to the date when payment for today's recovery will fall due. The capital market gyrations of recent days suggest that awareness of that inevitable reckoning is already beginning to dawn.

Dambisa Moyo, an economist and author, sits on the board of directors of a number of global corporations. She is the author of Dead Aid , Winner Take All , and How the West Was Lost .

[Feb 07, 2018] Steve Keen Why Did It Take So Long For This Crash To Happen

Might be harbinger of things to come. It's 12 years since the financial crash of 2007. And neoliberalism can't exist without stock market crashes.
Notable quotes:
"... Everyone who's asking "why did the stock market crash Monday?" is asking the wrong question; the real question, Keen exclaims, is "why did it take so long for this crash to happen? " ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Originally written at RT, outspoken Aussie economist Steve Keen points out

Everyone who's asking "why did the stock market crash Monday?" is asking the wrong question; the real question, Keen exclaims, is "why did it take so long for this crash to happen? "

The crash itself was significant - Donald Trump's favorite index, the Dow Jones Industrial (DJIA) fell 4.6 percent in one day. This is about four times the standard range of the index - and so according to conventional economics, it should almost never happen.

Of course, mainstream economists are wildly wrong about this, as they have been about almost everything else for some time now. In fact, a four percent fall in the market is unusual, but far from rare: there are well over 100 days in the last century that the Dow Jones tumbled by this much.

Crashes this big tend to happen when the market is massively overvalued, and on that front this crash is no different.

It's like a long-overdue earthquake. Though everyone from Donald Trump down (or should that be "up"?) had regarded Monday's level and the previous day's tranquillity as normal, these were in fact the truly unprecedented events. In particular, the ratio of stock prices to corporate earnings is almost higher than it has ever been.

More To Come?

There is only one time that it's been higher: during the DotCom Bubble, when Robert Shiller's "cyclically adjusted price to earnings" ratio hit the all-time record of 44 to one. That means that the average price of a share on the S&P500 was 44 times the average earnings per share over the previous 10 years (Shiller uses this long time-lag to minimize the effect of Ponzi Scheme firms like Enron). The S&P500 fell more than 11 percent that day, so Monday's fall is minor by comparison. And the market remains seriously overvalued: even if shares fell by 50 percent from today's level, they'd still be twice as expensive as they have been, on average, for the last 140 years.

After the 2000 crash, standard market dynamics led to stocks falling by 50 percent over the following two years, until the rise of the Subprime Bubble pushed them up about 25 percent (from 22 times earnings to 28 times). Then the Subprime Bubble burst in 2007, and shares fell another 50 percent, from 28 times earnings to 14 times.

This was when central banks thought The End of the World Is Nigh, and that they'd be blamed for it. But in fact, when the market bottomed in early 2009, it was only just below the pre-1990 average of 14.5 times earnings.

Safe Havens

That valuation level, before central banks (staffed and run by people with PhDs in mainstream economics) decided that they knew how to manage capitalism, is where the market really should be. It implies a dividend yield of about six percent in real terms, which is about twice what you used to get on a safe asset like government bonds -- which are safe, not because the governments and the politicians and the bureaucrats that run them are saints, but because a government issuing bonds in its own currency can always pay whatever interest level it promises. There's no risk that it can't pay, and it can't go bankrupt, whereas a company might not pay dividends, and it can go bankrupt.

Now shares are trading at a valuation that implies a three percent return, as if they're as safe as government bonds issued by a government which owns the bank that pays interest on those bonds. That's nonsense.

And it's a nonsense for which, ironically, central banks are responsible. The smooth rise in stock market prices which led to the levels that preceded Monday's crash began when central banks decided to rescue the economy by "Quantitative Easing (QE)." They promised to do "whatever it takes" to drive shares up from the entirely reasonable values they reached in late 2009, and did so by buying huge amounts of government bonds back from private banks and other financial institutions (pension funds, insurance companies, etc.). In the USA's case, this amounted to $1 trillion per year -- equal to about seven percent of America's annual output of goods and services (GDP or "gross domestic product"). The Bank of England brought about £200 billion worth, which was an even larger percentage of GDP.

With central banks buying that volume of bonds, private financial institutions found themselves awash with money, and spent it buying other assets to get yields - which meant that QE drove up share prices as banks, pension funds and the like bought them with money created by QE.

Blind Oversight

So this is the first central bank-created stock market bubble in history, and central banks have just had the first stock market crash where the blame is entirely theirs.

Were this a standard, private hysteria and leverage driven bubble, we could well be facing a further 50 percent fall in the market -- like what happened after the DotCom crash. This would bring shares back to the long-term average of 17 times earnings.

Instead, what I believe will happen is that central banks, having recently announced that they intend to end QE, will restart it and try to drive shares back to what think are "normal" levels, but which are at least twice what they should be.

As I said in my last book 'Can we avoid another financial crisis ?' QE was like Faust's pact with the Devil: once you signed the contract, you could never get out of it. They'll turn on their infinite money printing machine, buy bonds off financial institutions once more, and give them liquidity to pour back into the markets, pushing them once more to levels that they should never rightly have reached.

This, of course, will help to make the rich richer and the poor poorer by further increasing inequality. Which is arguably the biggest social problem of the modern era. So, as well as being incompetent economists these mainstreamers are today's Marie Antoinette. Let them eat cake, indeed.


DennisR Feb 7, 2018 6:57 PM Permalink

What crash? Every 3% dip is met with money printing, secret QE, etc. You can't expect to have a free market in 2018...

Arrowflinger Feb 7, 2018 6:59 PM Permalink

It is too low on the scale to be a "crash"

Yet.

Dilluminati Feb 7, 2018 7:01 PM Permalink

http://quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA

What crash?

[Feb 07, 2018] Capitalism Collapsing from Inequality... Blame Russia! by Finian CUNNINGHAM

Nov 11, 2017 | www.strategic-culture.org

New figures published this week on obscene inequality show how the capitalist economic system has become more than ever deeply dysfunctional. Surely, the depraved workings of the system pose the greatest threat to societies and international security. Yet, Western leaders are preoccupied instead with other non-existent threats – like Russia.

Take British prime minister Theresa May who this week was speaking at a posh banquet in London. She told the assembled hobnobs, as they were sipping expensive wines, that "Russia is threatening the international order upon which we depend". Without providing one scrap of evidence, the British leader went to assert that Russia was interfering in Western democracies to "sow discord".

May's grandstanding is a classic case study of what behavioral scientists call "displacement activity" – that is, when animals find themselves in a state of danger they often react by displaying unusual behavior or making strange noises.

For indeed May and other Western political leaders are facing danger to their world order, even if they don't openly admit it as such. That danger is from the exploding levels of social inequality and poverty within Western societies, leading to anger, resentment, discontent and disillusionment among increasing masses of citizens. In the face of the inherent, imminent collapse of their systems of governance, Western leaders like May seek some relief by prattling on about Russia as a threat.

This week European bank Credit Suisse published figures showing that the wealth gap between rich and poor has reached even more grotesque and absurdist levels. According to the bank, the world's richest 1% now own as much wealth as half the population of the entire planet. The United States and Britain are among the top countries for residing multi-millionaires, while these two nations have also emerged as among the most unequal in the world.

The data calling out how dysfunctional the capitalist system has become keeps on coming. It is impossible to ignore the reality of a system in deep disrepair, yet British and American politicians in particular – apart from notable exceptions like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders – have the audacity to block out this reality and to chase after risible phantoms. (The exercise makes perfect sense in a way.)

Last week, a report from the US-based Institute of Policy Studies found that just three of America's wealthiest men – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett – own the same level of wealth as the poorest half of the entire US population. That is, the combined monetary worth of these three individuals – reckoned to be $250 billion – is equivalent to that possessed by 160 million citizens.

What's more, the study also estimates that if the Trump administration pushes through its proposed tax plans, the gap between rich elite and the vast majority will widen even further. This and other studies have found that over 80% of the tax benefits from Trump's budget will go to enrich the top 1% in society.

All Western governments, not just May's or Trump's, have over the past decades overseen an historic trend of siphoning wealth from the majority of society to a tiny elite few. The tax burden has relentlessly shifted from the wealthy to the ordinary workers, who in addition have had to contend with decreasing wages, as well as deteriorating public serves and social welfare.

To refer to the United States or Britain as "democracies" is a preposterous misnomer. They are for all practical purposes plutocracies; societies run by and for a top strata of obscenely wealthy.

Intelligent economists, like the authors at the IPS cited above, realize that the state of affairs is unsustainable. Morally, and even from an empirical economics point of view, the distortion of wealth within Western societies and internationally is leading to social and political disaster.

On this observation, we must acknowledge the pioneering work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who more than 150 years ago identified the chief failing of capitalism as being the polarization of wealth between a tiny few and the vast majority. The lack of consumption power among the masses owing to chronic poverty induced by capitalism would result in the system's eventual collapse. Surely, we have reached that point in history now, when a handful of individuals own as much wealth as half the planet.

Inequality, poverty and the denial of decent existence to the majority of people stands out as the clarion condemnation of capitalism and its organization of society under private profit. The human suffering, hardships, austerity and crippled potential that flow from this condition represent the crisis of our time. Yet instead of an earnest public debate and struggle to overcome this crisis, we are forced by our elites to focus on false, even surreal problems.

American politics has become paralyzed by an endless elite squabble over whether Russia meddled in the presidential elections and claims that Russian news media continue to interfere in American democracy. Of course, the US corporate-controlled news media, who are an integral part of the plutocracy, lend credibility to this circus. Ditto European corporate-controlled media.

Then we have President Donald Trump on a world tour berating and bullying other nations to spend more money on buying American goods and to stop cheating supposed American generosity over trade. Trump also is prepared to start a nuclear war with North Korea because the latter is accused of being a threat to global peace – on the basis that the country is building military defenses. The same for Iran. Trump castigates Iran as a threat to Middle East peace and warns of a confrontation.

This is the same quality of ludicrous distraction as Britain's premier Theresa May this week lambasting Russia for "threatening the world order upon which we all depend". By "we" she is really referring to the elites, not the mass of suffering workers and their families.

May and Trump are indulging in "perception management" taken to absurdity. Or more crudely, brainwashing.

How can North Korea or Iran be credibly presented as global threats when the American and British are supporting a genocidal blockade and aerial slaughter in Yemen? The complete disconnect in reality is testimony to the pernicious system of thought-control that the vast majority of citizens are enforced to live under.

The biggest disconnect is the obscene inequality of wealth and resources that capitalism has engendered in the 21 st century. That monstrous dysfunction is also causally related to why the US and its Western allies like Britain are pushing belligerence and wars around the planet. It is all part of their elitist denial of reality. The reality that capitalism is the biggest threat to humanity's future.

Do we let these mentally deficient, deceptive political elites and their media dictate the nonsense? Or will the mass of people do the right thing and sweep them aside?

[Feb 07, 2018] The fact that they are talking about talking points to Comey to brief Obama is the big cookie

Feb 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

3-fingered_chemist Feb 7, 2018 9:20 AM Permalink

Wow, the fact that they are talking about talking points to Comey to brief Obama is the big cookie. Obama's legacy is destroyed completely.

That implements Comey and Obama as traitors. Why does Comey keep tweeting shit? Dude should be lawyering up and perhaps thinking about getting out of the country.

Hey, Dems? Do we have a Constitutional Crisis yet? LOL at these fuckers.

J2nh -> 3-fingered_chemist Feb 7, 2018 9:24 AM Permalink

The best defense is a strong offense. For Comey this worked for a while but I think those days are over. If he was smart he would lawyer up and shut the fuck up.

Clinton emails found on September 28 and Comey didn't know until October 28, who believes that load of crap.

Burn them all.

Fishthatlived -> 3-fingered_chemist Feb 7, 2018 9:25 AM Permalink

'I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations. ... I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation.'

Obama

rent slave Feb 7, 2018 9:26 AM Permalink

As soon as I heard in 2007 that the NY Times couldn't find anyone at Columbia who knew Obama,I knew something was up.Columbia seems to be the default college for frauds with Van Doren,"Dr."Bob Harris,and Meadow Soprano.

Bastiat -> rent slave Feb 7, 2018 11:53 AM Permalink

. . .yeah and I recall the professor of Political Science who said: never saw him and I knew EVERY student who studied Poli-sci. It is impossible that I would not have known him. -- or words to that effect.

[Feb 07, 2018] FBI lovers texts show Obama wanted info on Clinton probe

A comment to the article "
"
Feb 07, 2018 | dailymail.co.uk

An FBI lawyer wrote in a text to her lover in late 2016 that then-president Barack Obama wanted updates on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Two months before the presidential election, Lisa Page wrote to fellow FBI official Peter Strzok that she was working on a memo for then-FBI director James Comey because Obama 'wants to know everything we're doing.'

Obama had said five months earlier during a Fox News Channel interview that he could 'guarantee' he wouldn't interfere with that investigation.

'I do not talk to the attorney general about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations. We have a strict line,' he said on April 10, 2016.

'I guarantee it. I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department or the FBI, not just in this case but in any case. Full stop. Period,' he said.' --> --> -->

The September 2, 2016 text message was among more 50,000 texts the pair sent during a two-year extramarital affair.

Fox News was first to report on the latest batch, which is to be released by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

The committee members will soon publish a report titled 'The Clinton Email Scandal and the FBI's Investigation of it.'

President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday: 'NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!'

Comey testified to Congress in June 2017: 'As FBI director I interacted with President Obama. I spoke only twice in three years, and didn't document it.'

He didn't address possible memos or other written reports he may have sent to the Obama White House.

But Comey did document his 2017 meetings with President Donald Trump, he said, because he feared Trump would interfere with the Russia probe.

Strzok was the lead investigator on the probe examining Clinton's illicit use of a private email server to handle her official State Department messages while she was America's top diplomat.

He was later a member of special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating alleged links betwen Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.

Comey was to give Obama an update on the Clinton email investigation before the 2016 election, according to Page; he testified before Congress in 2017 that he only spoke to Obama twice as FBI director – but didn't mention whether he had sent him written reports

Comey announced in July 2016 that he had cleared Clinton of criminal wrongdoing in the email probe, saying that 'we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information.'

On October 28, 2016, Comey said in a letter to Congress that the FBI was reviewing new emails related to Clinton's tenure as secretary of State.

That revelation threw the presidential election into chaos.

On November 6, 2016, Comey told lawmakers that a review of those newly discovered emails had not altered the agency's view that Clinton should not face criminal charges.

The text messages between Page and Strzok that emerged earlier showed their hatred for Donald Trump.

In August 2016 Strzok wrote to her that he wanted to believe '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.' --> --> -->

It's unclear what that 'insurance policy' was, but the Justice Department was at the time debating an approach to a federal court for a surveillance warrant against Trump adviser Carter Page.

Strzok was elevated to overseeing the Trump Russia probe a month earlier.

In a text sent on October 20, 2016, Strzok called the Republican presidential nominee a 'f***ing idiot.'

On Election Day, Page wrote to him: 'OMG THIS IS F***ING TERRIFYING.'

Strzok replied, 'Omg, I am so depressed.'

Five days later, Page texted him again: 'I bought all the president's men. Figure I need to brush up on watergate.'

[Feb 07, 2018] When the rest of the world's wages go up to six dollar per hour and the USA come down to six dollar per hour, globalization will end

Notable quotes:
"... Things "should" be made locally. There's no reason, especially with declining energy resources, that a toaster should be shipped from thousands of miles away by boat, plane, truck, rail. That's simply ridiculous, never mind causing a ton of extra pollution. We end up working at McDonald's or Target, but, yay, we just saved $5.00 on our toaster. ..."
"... I don't know how you know about the so-called safety net. I know because I had to use it while undergoing treatment for 2 types of stage 4 breast cancer the past 4 years. It is NOT what people think. It beats the already vulnerable into the ground -- -- this is not placating -- -- it is psychological breaking of human minds until they submit. The paperwork is like undergoing a tax audit -- - every 6 months. "Technicians" decide one's "benefits" which vary between "technicians". ..."
"... Food stamps can be $195 during one period and then $35 the next. The technicians/system takes no responsibility for the chaos and stress they bring into their victims' lives. It is literally crazy making. BTW: I am white, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, have a masters' degree, formerly owned my own business and while married lived within the top 10%. ..."
"... In addition, most of those on so-called social programs are children, the elderly, chronically ill, veterans. You are correct that the middle class is falling into poverty but you are not understanding what poverty actually looks like when the gov holds out its beneficial hand. It is nothing short of cruelty. ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Yes, but increasingly there is no "working class" in America due to outsourcing and automation.

I hear that Trump wants to reverse all of that and put children to work in forward-to-the-past factories (versus back-to-the-future) and mines working 12 hours a day 7 days a week as part of his Make America Great Again initiative.

With all the deregulation, I can't wait to start smoking on airplanes again. Those were great times. Flying bombs with fifty or more lit fuses in the form of a cigarette you can smoke. The good old days.

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Cold N. Holefield -- it's like Ross Perot said re NAFTA and globalization: "When the rest of the world's wages go up to $6.00/hour and our's come down to $6.00/hour, globalization will end." That's what's happening, isn't it? Our wages are being held down, due in large part to low-skilled labor and H-1B's flooding into the country, and wages in Asia are rising. I remember Ross Perot standing right beside Bill Clinton when he said this, and I also remember the sly smile on Bill Clinton's face. He knew.

Our technology was handed to China on a silver platter by the greedy U.S. multinationals, technology that was developed by Western universities and taxpayer dollars, technology that would have taken decades for China to develop on their own.

Trump is trying desperately to bring some of these jobs back. That's why he handed them huge corporate tax breaks and cut some regulations.

Things "should" be made locally. There's no reason, especially with declining energy resources, that a toaster should be shipped from thousands of miles away by boat, plane, truck, rail. That's simply ridiculous, never mind causing a ton of extra pollution. We end up working at McDonald's or Target, but, yay, we just saved $5.00 on our toaster.

Trump is trying to cut back on immigration so that wages can increase, but the Left want to save the whole world, doing themselves in in the process. He wants to bring people in with skills the country can benefit from, but for that he's tarred and feathered.

P.S. I remember sitting behind a drunk on a long flight, and I saw him drop his cigarette. It rolled past me like it knew where it was going, and I couldn't find it. I called the stewardess, and she and I searched for a few anxious seconds until we found it. Yes, the good old days.

Diana Lee , February 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm

I don't know how you know about the so-called safety net. I know because I had to use it while undergoing treatment for 2 types of stage 4 breast cancer the past 4 years. It is NOT what people think. It beats the already vulnerable into the ground -- -- this is not placating -- -- it is psychological breaking of human minds until they submit. The paperwork is like undergoing a tax audit -- - every 6 months. "Technicians" decide one's "benefits" which vary between "technicians".

Food stamps can be $195 during one period and then $35 the next. The technicians/system takes no responsibility for the chaos and stress they bring into their victims' lives. It is literally crazy making. BTW: I am white, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, have a masters' degree, formerly owned my own business and while married lived within the top 10%.

In addition, most of those on so-called social programs are children, the elderly, chronically ill, veterans. You are correct that the middle class is falling into poverty but you are not understanding what poverty actually looks like when the gov holds out its beneficial hand. It is nothing short of cruelty.

backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Diana Lee -- I hope you are well now. It breaks my heart what you went through. No, I cannot imagine.

I didn't mean the lower class were living "well" on food stamps and welfare. All I meant was that it helped, and without it all hell would break loose. If you lived in the top 10% at one point, then you would surely notice a difference, but for many who have been raised in this environment, they don't notice at all. It becomes a way of life. And, yes, you are right, it is cruelty. A loss of life.

[Feb 07, 2018] Due to automation, offshoring and transnational communications/internet, the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages

Feb 07, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Due to automation, offshoring and transnational communications/internet, the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages. That is likely the reason that every Administration since Slick Willy have sought to reduce illegal immigration.

After all, it was the Obama Administration that deported more undocumented immigrants than any other in history, and it was in those years after the 2008 economic crash that saw net migration from Mexico hit zero, or even negative numbers.

What the MSM is telling us is that the Trump Administration is more draconian in carrying out practices that have been US policy for decades. That might even be true.

backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Daniel -- " the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages."

Oh, sure, that's why corporations and the Chambers of Commerce are fighting so hard to keep chain migration, legal and illegal immigration numbers up! Because they don't need them. Yeah, right.

And technology companies are clamoring for more H-1B's so they can pay them less.

Come on, Daniel.

Daniel , February 7, 2018 at 12:22 am

backward,
Please provide evidence that the "Chambers of Commerce are fighting so hard.." Please try to keep your rebuttal to my statement that "elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers" and not various forms of legal migration. Because I do agree that there is a market for "skilled labor" who are legal. Part off the reason for this labor market is the drop in STEM-educated USAmericans.

Meanwhile, I spent 30 seconds to find proof that what I wrote about net migration was true in 2012 and 2015.
h
http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/

http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/h

Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm

I'm afraid the population has been so thoroughly incapacitated via a Dumbing Down Education System coupled with 24/7 Media Misinformation and the Stultifying Effects of Social Media that there will be no Revolution. Instead, it looks like it will be a steady capitulation and acquiescence of personal sovereignty all the way to the Gas Chambers and no doubt when or if that time comes, there will be an a nifty Application from Silicon Valley to guide you through your Final Processing.

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Cold N. Holefield -- a "Dumbing Down Education System", but also lots of benefits on the lower end: food stamps, disability, subsidized housing, free cell phones, etc. If these things were removed (no, I'm not saying they should be), things would be completely different. There'd be a riot in a fortnight.

If your stomach is empty, it doesn't really matter how dumbed down you've become, you are going to feel fear and react. That's why they keep the lower end placated.

It is the middle class who is slipping down into the lower class, and these are the people who are getting angry and fearful, mainly for their children. Those people have actually lost something.

[Feb 07, 2018] Why do you, dummy, not believe this junk? ...because Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow said so?

Feb 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

vofreason Feb 7, 2018 9:56 AM Permalink

Why do you dummies believe this junk? ...because Hannity said so? The "memo" is an altogether ridiculous idea, it's just a piece of paper of what all these liars thought about something,....it has no weight on anything anymore than if someone came on tv and gave their opinion..........and in this case it's just the opinion, like all the rest, of an incompetent group of people that have no business being in their positions.

This isn't the usual Dems' vs Repuplican stuff where they fight about issues ........ this is our government taken over by reality tv personalities, rich housewives and greedy leeches of the worst kind.

They're the dummy at the McDonalds counter that can't understand your order and should all be working some harmless minimum wage job where they aren't responsible for anything important or that requires any sort of intellect.

Stan522 -> vofreason Feb 7, 2018 10:15 AM Permalink

Why do you, dummy, not believe this junk? ...because Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow said so?

The "memo" is an altogether review of the evidence at hand that uses what has been derived from evidence found much through the Inspector General's report and the testimony from witnesses (that means documented in writing), both in the House and Senate, plus what has been released by the DOJ and FBI through both lawsuits and Congressional requests... Again, it's all documented and irrefutable.

The dem memo is just a piece of paper of what all these dem liars thought about something,....it has no weight on anything anymore than if someone came on tv and gave their opinion..........and in this case it's just the opinion, like all the rest, of an incompetent group of people that have no business being in their positions in the dem party and the left leaning dem carrier pigeons in the MSM.

This isn't the usual Dems' vs Repuplican stuff where they fight about issues ........ this is the democrat party desparately trying to block EVERYTHING because they fully realize what the outcome will be if all id disclosed.

It will be the end of their party for decades (similar to republicans during Watergate - I was in DC then and I know). The dem sycophants like you are the dummy at the McDonalds counter that can't understand your order and should all be working some harmless minimum wage job where they aren't responsible for anything important or that requires any sort of intellect.

[Feb 07, 2018] 'Deep State' Veterans find New Homes in Mainstream Media by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... purchase of the Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ..."
"... Trump doesn't wear the pretty face mask that most recent Presidents had. In that, he is showing that the Emperor has no clothes (and the Empire no morals). This could be a good thing as people realize the one truth he campaigned on – "the system is rigged" is still true. But this Administration's faux "war" with the Establishment is serving to blind many from the reality that it is continuing and even expanding the horrible NeoCon foreign policies and Neoliberal economic policies that the Establishment desires. ..."
"... This Reality TV Show Presidency is sweeping up most USAmericans. Like all Reality TV Shows, we in the audience cheer our favorites and jeer their opponents as if it was real, and not a fully-scripted performance. ..."
"... I feel your pain cmp thank you for your post. For you and others interested in this combination of Student Anti-War activism and Government Surveillance, I'd like to recommend a truly insightful book entitled, "Subversives": The FBI's War On Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise To Power by Seth Rosenfeld. Matt Taibbi remarked in a review of this book which now seems understated, that "Domestic intelligence forces will tend to use all the powers they're given (and even some that they're not) to spy on people who are politically defenseless, irreverent from a security standpoint and targeted for all the wrong reasons". ..."
"... "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's push to force the DOJ to open a criminal investigation into ex-British spy and 'Trump dossier' author Christopher Steele is being met with resistance from the bureau, the latest sign that it doesn't want information about its relationship with Steele to be shared with the public." ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

'Deep State' Veterans find New Homes in Mainstream Media February 5, 2018

NBC News' hiring of former CIA Director John Brennan is the latest in a wave of intelligence community stalwarts being given jobs in the media, raising concerns over conflicts of interests, reports Caitlin Johnstone.

"Former CIA director John Brennan has become the latest member of the NBC News and MSNBC family, officially signing with the network as a contributor," chirps a recent article by The Wrap, as though that's a perfectly normal thing to have to write and not a ghastly symptom of an Orwellian dystopia. NBC reports that the former head of the depraved , lying, torturing , propagandizing , drug trafficking , coup-staging , warmongering Central Intelligence Agency "is now a senior national security and intelligence analyst."

Brennan, who played a key role in the construction of the establishment's Russia narrative that has been used to manufacture public consent for world-threatening new cold war escalations , is just the latest addition in an ongoing trend of trusted mainstream media outlets being packed to the gills with stalwarts from the U.S. intelligence community. Brennan joins CIA and DoD Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash on the NBC/MSNBC lineup, who is serving there as a national security analyst, as well as NBC intelligence/national security reporter and known CIA collaborator Ken Dilanian.

Former Director of National Intelligence, Russiagate architect, and known Russophobic racist James Clapper was welcomed to the CNN "family" last year by Chris " It's Illegal to Read WikiLeaks " Cuomo and now routinely appears as an expert analyst for the network. Last year CNN also hired a new national security analyst in Michael Hayden , who has served as CIA Director, NSA Director, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and an Air Force general.

Former CIA analyst and now paid CNN analyst Phil Mudd, who last year caused Cuomo's show to have to issue a retraction and apology for a completely baseless claim he made on national television asserting that WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is "a pedophile", is once again making headlines for suggesting that the FBI is entering into a showdown with the current administration over Trump's decision to declassify the controversial Nunes memo.

More and more of the outlets from which Americans get their information are being filled not just with garden variety establishment loyalists, but with longstanding members of the U.S. intelligence community. These men got to their positions of power within these deeply sociopathic institutions based on their willingness to facilitate any depravity in order to advance the secret agendas of the U.S. power establishment, and now they're being paraded in front of mainstream Americans on cable news on a daily basis. The words of these "experts" are consistently taken and reported on by smaller news outlets in print and online media in a way that seeds their authoritative assertions throughout public consciousness.

The term "deep state" does not refer to a conspiracy theory but to a simple concept in political analysis which points to the undeniable reality that (A) plutocrats, (B) intelligence agencies, (C) defense agencies, and (D) the mainstream media hold large amounts of power in America despite their not being part of its elected government. You don't need to look far to see how these separate groups overlap and collaborate to advance their own agendas in various ways. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, for example, is deeply involved in all of the aforementioned groups : (A) as arguably the wealthiest person ever he is clearly a plutocrat, with a company that is trying to control the underlying infrastructure of the economy ; (B) he is a CIA contractor ; (C) he is part of a Pentagon advisory board ; and (D) his purchase of the Washington Post in 2013 gave him total control over a major mainstream media outlet.

Bezos did not purchase the Washington Post because his avaricious brain predicted that newspapers were about to make a profitable resurgence; he purchased it for the same reason he has inserted himself so very deeply into America's unelected power infrastructure – he wants to ensure a solid foundation for the empire he is building. He needs a potent propaganda outlet to manufacture support for the power establishment that he is weaving his plutocratic tentacles through. This is precisely the same reason other mass media-controlling plutocrats are stocking their propaganda machines with intelligence community insiders.

Time and again you see connections between the plutocratic class which effectively owns America's elected government , the intelligence and defense agencies which operate behind thick veils of secrecy in the name of "national security" to advance agendas which have nothing to do with the wishes of the electorate, and the mass media machine which is used to manufacture the consent of the people to be governed by this exploitative power structure.

America is ruled by an elite class which has slowly created a system where money increasingly translates directly into political power , and which is therefore motivated to maintain economic injustice in order to rule over the masses more completely. The greater the economic inequality, the greater their power. Nobody would willingly consent to such an oppressive system where wealth inequality keeps growing as expensive bombs from expensive drones are showered upon strangers on the other side of the planet, so a robust propaganda machine is needed.

And that's where John Brennan's new job comes in. Expect a consistent fountain of lies to pour from his mouth on NBC, and expect them to all prop up this exploitative power establishment and advance its geopolitical agendas . And expect clear-eyed rebels everywhere to keep calling it all what it is.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Follow her work on Facebook , Twitter , or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .


Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 10:29 am

Yeah, I noticed this too and it disgusts me. It doesn't surprise me, though. Ever since Oliver North got his own show and has been a regular contributor at Fox News, this has been the trend. CNN also gives plenty of Air Time to the disgraced John Dean of Watergate Infamy.

It underscores how vital it is We The People take back The Media from the Corporate Thieves who now own it. We need to reverse consolidation in the Media Industry and in fact, reverse the trend of Media as an Industry.

Ol' Hippy , February 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm

There appears to be two types of media these days. The first type plays by the "rules" of the corporate/banking/military state and gets prestigious jobs with all the perks, i.e. Nice house, good salary, steady work, etc. The second type works independent from the power structures. They have integrity; Robert Parry being a prime example. They also become media pariahs. They work hard for less pay, get denigrated, marginalized, called liars, etc. Without them we would all be as clueless as those that only read and watch MSM. Thank goodness for these brave people.

Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm

They work hard for less pay, get denigrated, marginalized, called liars, etc. Without them we would all be as clueless as those that only read and watch MSM. Thank goodness for these brave people.

Yes, I agree. Thank goodness for the few of us who still remain and persist against all odds with no support.

Joe Tedesky , February 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

The culture in DC being described recently as 'critters in the swamp', does not nearly come close to describing the choking filth that has taken our government over. To be clear, this coup toke place a very longtime ago, but don't announce that to any good red blooded American Patriot, that is unless you want to be titled 'un-American'.

My hesitation to get excited over the 'Nunes Memo', is my frustration over what all is missing from this Congressional members flaming Memo. Like where is Brennan, Clapper, or any DNC Operatives, as if we should have expected the MSM to be mentioned? Why, just go after a couple of cheating lovers?

Seeing Brennan join the NBC staff, is like watching him walk across the hall at Langley only to start his mischief in another CIA department. I'd love to wish the old spook good luck on his first day at his new job, but then that would be like condoning that pain be inflicted upon more unsuspecting poor souls, so I won't.

Joe Tedesky , February 5, 2018 at 11:49 am

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/05/will-conspiracy-trump-american-democracy-go-unpunished/

Realist , February 5, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Inserting guys like that into the center of the storm within the corporate media whose job it *should* be to expose the truth to the public is clearly a conflict of interest (because they themselves are prime suspects in the purported criminal activities) and obvious obstruction of justice because we know they are actually snow-jobbing the public and hiding the truth to protect themselves and their puppetmasters.

In all fairness, when does General Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page or Jared Kushner get to have a regular segment on the Rachel Maddow show? Why doesn't the media interview Barack Obama himself to find out what he knows and when he first knew it, or to force him into self-incriminating or at least highly-suspicious obfuscations? It was his justice department that targeted the Trump campaign on highly problematic grounds. Or, put a microphone in front of Hillary's face and ask her how the administration (of which she was an organic outgrowth) interfaced with the FISA court, allegedly on her behalf to spy on the competition.

This caper is not only worse than Watergate (Watergate was conducted in the shadows), this crime and subsequent cover-up are being carried out in broad daylight with the full complicity of the media. They don't care who knows because those people, regardless of their substantiated facts, will never get a hearing in the media which now creates our moment-to-moment reality, as far as 99% of Americans know or care about.

Joe Tedesky , February 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Our MSM is lacking the honor and truthfulness of Robert Parry.

Realist, I always like reading your comments, and with this comment of yours you don't disappoint. I too would like to know when the truth will be broadcast over our airways, and printed in our national news outlets. Although, I could watch the grass grow, or the snow melt, and have better results to jump up and down about, before the MSM will shoot straight with us viewers. I have come to the conclusion that what hurts our nation most, is we have to much corporate control, like our infamous corporate owned MSM. These pundits, and news anchors only do what they do best, and that is they promote themselves. I mean, the omissions of facts, and the over the top characterizations of world leaders and national political opponents goes to the degree of slander, and yet life goes on. I know it would be an impossible task, but wouldn't it be great to if we news junkies could sue the MSM for fraud?

Realist , February 5, 2018 at 8:44 pm

I could have been more strident than I was, Joe. I might have called the FISA court outright illegal and unconstitutional like Jimmy Dore did yesterday. I mean, what the hell is its role in America today? It serves as a SECRET COURT which gives permissions to intelligence agencies to SPY without limits on any American citizen they choose to target, including, apparently, their supposed boss, the president of the United States. As if the carte blanch, full spectrum eavesdropping done by DARPA on every American weren't enough of a violation of our constitutional rights, they have to dress up some of their spying with special judicial privilege. Useful tools like Brennan, Clapper, Mueller and Comey have been justifying or fallaciously LYING about this imposition on our citizens for years now. Remember when the KGB was disbanded and folks were publicly rooting through the files in a carnival atmosphere after the Soviet Union collapsed? This country needs a dose of the same thing. We need more of our freedoms back and less of the so-called "order" imposed by the Deep State and its string pullers. I don't believe for a moment that the Russians, the Chinese, ISIS, Al Queda, Kim Yung-Un, the Ayatollahs or a squadron of Klingon battle cruisers are waiting just outside our borders preparing to attack the United States and we all must be defended by the "Intelligence Community" by living like Winston Smith.

Joe Tedesky , February 5, 2018 at 9:57 pm

The U.S. is so shallow at even their attempting to address its citizens with the appropriate truth, that after 50 years to prepare for the public more information on the JFK Assassination that when the time come the government wasn't even ready for the release. What an insult to the nation.

The purge you spoke of Realist is a dream in this purist eye. I really do welcome a much broader investigation of panoramic proportions of our nation's massive bureaucracy, and the discovery of the elements who only conspire to enact their agendas could then be exposed.

You are right about our freedoms. We Americans are in the end going to need to put our foot down to our governments police state rules, and all of us will need to brave it out when going into public places. (Oh boy what false flag bate) At some point it will be necessary to say, enough is enough, and hopefully catch them while at their game. Joe

Ps that last part I doubt will ever happen.

Gregory Herr , February 6, 2018 at 12:52 am

I think you touched upon something really important referring to the "moment-to-moment reality" that media "creates". A big problem with television "news" and the funny papers is the failure to.contextualize what's going on today with related events or issues–even from the relatively recent past. It's almost always about a myopic and usually distorted focus on just one particularly vexing item that generates competing opinions that must be paired and parsed to death–until there's something else to "talk" about. Yeah, yeah! Pick a team–partisanship is entertaining don't ya know! Rachel's got ratings and Hannity's one of us!

Just one for instance:
Obama relaxed constraints on sharing of NSA raw data as a parting blow to privacy that also makes it easier to "leak" and cover up the leaking. He signed a Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act which essentially is a way for government to make it harder to "counter" their disinformation and propaganda. Google and Facebook are are all in on the filter and censor project. Yet with all this and much more there isn't a peep of a national discussion about the First Amendment and the value of protecting free and diverse expression. Oh, I know why. The Court says money is speech so all the "important" people can buy their freedom of expression. Guess that will leave me out.

Bob Van Noy , February 5, 2018 at 11:16 am

Thank you Caitlin Johnstone!

I'm going to refer readers to an off-guardian article running now and specifically to the comment pages where one can see Noam Chomsky's (as a young researcher) explain cointelpro. This is an exceptional explination

I will attempt a link below

Bob Van Noy , February 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

Here is the link mentioned above:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/02/05/bought-journalists-postscript-to-udo-olfkottes-suppressed-book/#comments

Bob Van Noy , February 5, 2018 at 11:49 am

Here is the link to Wikipedia on COINTELPRO https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

Virginia , February 5, 2018 at 11:51 am

Thanks, Caitlin. People need to learn more about Deep State and and also the One World Order. There are lots of videos on the Internet, including some featuring former CIA (whistleblower-type) agents who feel impelled to divulge the hidden government. Thanks for your links, Bob. I'll take a look.

Erin , February 5, 2018 at 11:51 am

Don't watch, don't watch, don't watch!

Skip Scott , February 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Erin-

I agree. I think people need to turn off their TV sets. They are mind numbing. People like Brennan belong in jail, not on television.

Nancy , February 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm

I don't think the majority of people are watching this crap anymore. It's mainly a bunch of circle jerks mouthing off in an echo chamber. Problem is, the rest of the population is either preoccupied with making a living or playing with their gadgets to find out what's really going on. People seem to have given up on the idea of democracy, justice and fairness and in a way I don't blame them.
It's kind of a curse to still have this notion that a better world is possible.

Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Good points. I agree. It's as though "The News" is intended for the Oligarchs and the Political Class. The ads are a dead giveaway that's the target market. The products they are selling are not for the Average Joe who can't afford such luxuries.

Bob Van Noy , February 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Now finally for the most adventurous of you I'll introduce you to a man I discovered in an agonizingly slow way over the course of years. His name is Carl Oglesby and as a young worker at a defense industry job he started doing research on the Vietnam War. He ultimately wrote a book called "The Yankee and Cowboy Wars" that surprisingly accurately describes our current condition. It is one of those books long out of print worth thousands of dollars in resale.
I will post a link to Spartacus
Educational below but you can find it on your own..
I promise to now shut-up and listen

Bob Van Noy , February 5, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Here is the link:
http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKoglesby.htm

geeyp , February 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I saw that recent Mudd comment regarding President Trump = 13 months vs. Hoover Org. = since 1908. The President needs to eliminate this agency. Then we can watch this asshole cough up his spleen LIVE on t.v.! I guess these creatures have license to claim anything they want and get away with it. His Assange accusation falls out of his mouth and gets repeated endlessly. Then when the weak retraction occurs, it never gets the same press/traction and the damage is already done.

Babyl-on , February 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Nothing particularly new here, this has been established practice for decades. What is new about this issue and so many others now is that it is done openly, without any pretense that there is a constitution. The Imperial institutions housed in the US now act openly for the interests of an overarching transnational oligarchy.

Trump has destroyed the dominate narrative this is by far the deepest wound I have seen the Empire receive. No one really believes Clapper any more – whether it is a plurality or a majority is not the point, enough people don't believe them that the Empire has lost control of the message. That is the source of their panic. Trotting out their apparatchiks once worked and worked for decades but – "It's all over now baby blue."

Trump has exposed much of the ways things have been done behind the seines for many years and unwittingly forced them into the open – this has been his biggest contribution to the weakening of the Imperial structures. Leaving them naked in their policies of slaughter. The Empire has nothing now but a huge military which it can't use without destroying civilization so it goes around the world destroying countries and cities in its helpless thrashing around slaughtering innocent people as it looses on every front. The last gasp of Empire – kill them all if they will not submit. In its death throws the Empire will do untold damage and create vast human suffering, it might very well destroy civilization with its nuclear weapons rather that accept a place as one part of the human community not the ruler of humanity.

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Trump doesn't wear the pretty face mask that most recent Presidents had. In that, he is showing that the Emperor has no clothes (and the Empire no morals). This could be a good thing as people realize the one truth he campaigned on – "the system is rigged" is still true. But this Administration's faux "war" with the Establishment is serving to blind many from the reality that it is continuing and even expanding the horrible NeoCon foreign policies and Neoliberal economic policies that the Establishment desires.

This Reality TV Show Presidency is sweeping up most USAmericans. Like all Reality TV Shows, we in the audience cheer our favorites and jeer their opponents as if it was real, and not a fully-scripted performance.

exiled off mainstreet , February 5, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Yankee media has degenerated into an echo chamber for the deep state structure. This is just further proof of that salient fact.

No More Neos , February 5, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Maybe we should view this as a good sign that they need to "call in the National Guard" for corporate media back-up reinforcements. The propaganda machine is sputtering and sparking, overheated from working OT to push flimsy narrative, which only accentuates the cartoonish spectacle of it all.

Neoliberalism rests on a fragile foundation of financial myths that are beginning to come crashing down, aside from shooting itself in the foot in the 2008 crash. They had to admit that:

Global banks are global in health and national in death. ~ Mervyn King

A growing number of economics students are demanding to be taught economic history and not just neoclassical economics. Hayek, Friedman, Greenspan and the Apostles of Doublespeak in the academic and corporate media realm have lost all credibility. Heterodox economists like Steve Keen, Michael Hudson, Bill Mitchell and Stephanie Kelton are gaining popularity in their blinders-off clarity of how the economy actually works, sans the political spin.

Even Russia and China have decided to not allow Monsanto to control the world's food supply, have no desire to continue working with the IMF and World Bank and are wise enough to see the futility in acquiescing to a unipolar world view. Ultimately, the US will be the bigger loser by going it alone and not accepting the vast multipolar opportunities that await, based on faulty principle. But that won't deter them from continuing provocations in Ukraine, Venezuela (and other Latin American countries), etc., even though Western agenda's neoliberal offerings are now considered to be an appalling joke internationally.

But this has been known for some time. It was just a matter of time before the "market society" experiment crashed and burned:

"To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment would result in the demolition of society." ~ Karl Polanyi, 1944

"In 1945 or 1950 if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today's standard neo-liberal toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage or sent off to the insane asylum." ~ Susan George

Do not confuse the economic -- oikos nomia -- the norms of running home and community with chrematistics -- krema atos -- the accumulation of money. ~ Aristotle

Bob Van Noy , February 6, 2018 at 8:50 am

Many thanks No More Neos. I was unaware of most of what you wrote. I have noted the names that you mentioned and I will pay more attention to them. I do know of Michael Hudson and admire his work.

It has occurred to me that there will be Rich academic histories written about the organized management of subject matter by TPTB. See my Response To cmp below.

Stephen J. , February 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Re, The Deep State and the "media."Do: "Birds of a feather produce propaganda together?
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
December 25, 2015
Are the Corporate Media and Others Covering Up The Treachery of The War Criminals?

There is plenty of evidence that people in positions of power planned and plotted a number of "illegal" wars [1] in "defiance of international law." Unfortunately, this information is suppressed and censored in most of the corporate monopoly media. Instead we are fed propaganda that attempts to disguise the truth, and covers up the massive human suffering caused by the warmongering criminals of these 21st century war crimes. This has resulted in the creation of millions of refugees, [1a] many soldiers dead and maimed, countries destroyed, millions dead, children dead and contaminated, and the war criminals are FREE. [2]
[read more at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2015/12/are-corporate-media-and-others-covering.html

Bob Van Noy , February 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Thank you Stephan J. Here is a link that you provided from a Robert Parry piece.

If one goes through the commentary, you will see that comments have always been decent, informative and educational on this truly wonderful site.

Man oh man I miss Robert Parry and F. G. Sanford where are you?
(Caitlin Johnstone you're our new leader, and apparently another fine journalist. Thank You)

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/12/19/neocons-object-to-syrian-democracy/

Ol' Hippy , February 5, 2018 at 2:09 pm

This article by Caitlin just helps me to be glad that I never bought cable TV. I didn't realize how many former government criminals/ex-officials populated their polluted networks. Former head spook Mike Morell on CBS doesn't seem like an anomaly any more. The hens are fattening the foxes guarding the air and cable waves. No wonder those with little time, due to work and family matters, know so little about what's actually going on.

j. D. D. , February 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Looks like the Obama/British connected warmongering intel agents have decided to eliminate the "middle-men" (and women) and go directly on record. Rachel, Chris, Jim and Wolfe, your jobs are in jeopardy, Not to be left out, I expect that Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and perhaps Mueller, are filling out their own applications right now.

, , February 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Johnstone tells it like it is. It's a pure pleasure to read her ripping out the guts of the oligarchic monster creating our present deepening dystopia. Wouldn't it be nice if every American could read her little piece, and think about what it says? Maybe I can get a few of my friends to read it. You have to start somewhere to wake people up. If enough of us gently encourage our friends to take a brief dip into reality, who knows what might come from it?

Realist , February 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Mainstream liberal pundits used to talk like this, blasting the privileged insiders "feeding at the trough" and such. Now they have become just a bunch of crybaby spoilers and haters because their push for power via the Hildebeast movement came crashing down. If they can't have it, they'd rather break it. They couldn't beat the warmongering neocons or the rapacious neoliberals, so they joined 'em. They became what they always professed to hate.

Their followers, being just mindless tribalists rather than the perspicacious philosophers they are told they are, leap in lockstep over the precipice. They can never give you a coherent or logical reason why, just vapid slogans usually diametrically at odds with any real truth. All that matters to them is receiving daily affirmation from their fellow ranks of sloganeering nincompoops. In their newfound McCarthyism they've morphed into the lost boys from "Lord of the Flies" who went so far as to kill Piggy, Piggy's counterpart being Al Franken and his career as a champion of liberal causes in the U.S. senate.

But, in a world where one can purportedly choose any identity one pleases with no basis in reality, these self-immolations merely win accolades from the right-thinking media clerics as society in general goes into a death spiral. Living the "theatre of the absurd" has become the new "American way of life." Now, if we could just quickly get out of the way of the rest of the world, things might turn out all right for the rest of humanity. Unfortunately, they've designed an "app" to prevent that, it's called the MIC, and it's not user friendly.

Tom K. , February 5, 2018 at 3:05 pm

As exposed by Julian Assange: https://swprs.org/the-american-empire-and-its-media/

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 6:57 pm

We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input.

Through critical thinking, we can overcome these emotional impulses, but only with effort, and a pre-existing skepticism of all information sources. And even still, I have no doubt that all of us who are aware of the propaganda still accept some falsehoods as true.

It could be that having former Intelligence Agency Directors as "news" presenters, and Goldman Sachs alum and Military/Industrial complex CEOs running important government agencies makes clear to some the reality that we live in an oligarchy with near-tyrannical powers. But most people seem too busy surviving and/or being diverted by the circus to notice the depths of the propaganda.

Chris , February 5, 2018 at 3:43 pm

"America is ruled by an elite class which has slowly created a system where money increasingly translates directly into political power, and which is therefore motivated to maintain economic injustice in order to rule over the masses more completely. The greater the economic inequality, the greater their power. " This is backwards. The elite does not create economic injustice to maintain and solidify their power for then there would have been no French, Russian, Cuban, Chinese revolutions. The capitalist system leads to economic injustice because it steals unpaid labour power from the working class and puts into the hands of the capitalists. The reason they keep wages lower is to increase the rate of profit not to keep power thought they try to hold on to the power to maintain that system. And the more that inequality is produced the weaker they become because the working class then realises it has nothing to lose and revolts. This is basic marxism which the writer seems to be unaware of. The greater the economic inequality, the greater the distress of the working class is and greater the motivation to change their condition.

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Chris – you are right, conditions must be favorable for any action to take place. It is when the crowd gets a taste of fear that they move.

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Cold, you may know that the original use of the term "American Exceptionalism" was Stalin's description of how the USAmerican working classes seem incapable of revolting against capitalist exploitation, no matter how egregious it becomes. We are "the exception" to Marx's theories about the tipping points for revolutions.

cmp , February 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Just what does democracy look like to these cowards who sell prejudice, discrimination, hate and violence?

Here is an example of how much they think of their (our) own kids, if they even dare to speak to the teachers & preachers:

On May 2nd 1970, Governor James A. Rhodes (R-OH), says of student protesters at Kent State University:
"They're worse than the brown shirts and the communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes. They're the worst kind of people we harbor in America. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America. We're going to eradicate the problem, we're not going to treat the symptoms." Two days later, on May 4th, National Guardsmen kill four unarmed students on the Kent State campus and wounded nine others.
~ Jim Hunt; 'They Said What?'; 9/1/ 2009

On May 5th 1970, Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) says of the efforts to stop student protests on university campuses:
"If it takes a bloodbath, then let's get it over with.."
~ Jim Hunt; 'They Said What?'; 9/1/ 2009

.. And, 10 years later, in 1980, America elected who??

Who will the sellers offer up in 2024? Are we closing in on the end of the era of the puppet?

Perhaps it will be a pro. (with media experience on the resume, to boot) .. A John Brennan-ite?

If there is a hell, then certainly there must be a special spot reserved for those who are the worst of the guru's in greed. But, in the meantime, for America's own good, maybe someday soon, the International Community will close Guantanamo.. .. And, do all of the citizens of the planet a great justice by reopening it in the middle of the Mohave Desert. These cowards that corporatize & commercialize prejudice, discrimination, hate and violence, they can be the honorary members. And since it is they who have long killed their conscience, then maybe that desert heat will serve as a small reminder for what a little heat really feels like.

Bob Van Noy , February 6, 2018 at 8:31 am

I feel your pain cmp thank you for your post. For you and others interested in this combination of Student Anti-War activism and Government Surveillance, I'd like to recommend a truly insightful book entitled, "Subversives": The FBI's War On Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise To Power by Seth Rosenfeld. Matt Taibbi remarked in a review of this book which now seems understated, that "Domestic intelligence forces will tend to use all the powers they're given (and even some that they're not) to spy on people who are politically defenseless, irreverent from a security standpoint and targeted for all the wrong reasons".

cmp , February 6, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Bob, "Thank You!" I have made a note to look for Lansdale, Carl Oglesby, and now Seth Rosenfeld. All of this I know, will be such great reading for me!

I also sent you some follow up on the 28th. Did you receive those two? Would you like for me to send them again?

I look forward to all of your posts – Keep up all of your great work Bob!

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Sean Hannity on Fox is doing a stellar job of exposing the Department of Justice, FBI, and all of the other characters re the Steele dossier and Russiagate. Every night more information is revealed; it's like a spy novel. None of the other outlets are even talking about this stuff. Crickets. If you want the latest on criminality, go there. Meanwhile, Zero Hedge says:

"Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's push to force the DOJ to open a criminal investigation into ex-British spy and 'Trump dossier' author Christopher Steele is being met with resistance from the bureau, the latest sign that it doesn't want information about its relationship with Steele to be shared with the public."

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC had paid Steele for his dossier. But the FBI also hired Steele, and just before they paid out $50,000.00 to Steele for his work, they discovered he lied, didn't pay him, but still continued to spy on Trump and his team. With Steele's dossier now discredited in the eyes of the FBI, they should have stopped their spying, but they didn't. Russiagate has been based on this Steele dossier, and yet there was "no there there", and the DOJ and the FBI knew it.

Zero Hedge goes on:

"Furthermore, a section on a second memo by Steele says he received information from the State Department, which in turn got it from a foreign source who was in touch with 'a friend of the Clintons.'

'It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele's work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility,' Grassley and Graham wrote in their criminal referral."

So Steele was receiving information from the State Department and a friend of the Clinton's? How impartial is that?

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Link for the above Zero Hedge piece:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-05/grassley-graham-blast-fbi-censoring-memo-calling-criminal-probe-trump-dossier

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 7:16 pm

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,

~ The Bard

The Reality TV Show Presidency has great ratings.

Do you think Nikki Haley got the red rose? Apparently Michael Wolf, the author of "Fire and Fury," is backing down on that bit of salacious gossip "news."

backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Daniel – and a line I like to quote from Shakespeare applies so well to the Clinton's:

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 4:36 pm

John Brennan – "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." That guy is evil, and nothing good will come of this.

Mark Thompson , February 5, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Really happy to see Caitlin writing on this forum. Keep up the good work Caitlin. You'll never be short on material to write about. If what we're witnessing in this point in time is any barometer, we're in for a world of hurt. Orwell is in his grave wishing he had two more hands. He has to choose whether to cover his eyes or ears. What a sad state of affairs

Lois Gagnon , February 5, 2018 at 11:18 pm

It becomes more evident by the day that we live in a military dictatorship. One of the incidents that brought this realization home to me was when John Kerry had negotiated a deal with the Russians regarding military operations in Syria. The military took it upon themselves to nullify that deal when it purposely attacked and killed 60 Syrian soldiers. That was a clear case of insubordination that should have led to firings of the military brass who ordered that strike. Instead, Obama just carried on as if nothing happened except that the negotiated deal was null and void.

And of course the press said nothing about the blatant criminality of the military action.

What president is willing to stand up to the military and the Department of Skullduggery AKA the CIA anymore? Who is really calling the shots?

Diana Lee , February 6, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Thank you Caitlin! Good job! I especially like: "Nobody would willingly consent to such an oppressive system where wealth inequality keeps growing as expensive bombs from expensive drones are showered upon strangers on the other side of the planet, so a robust propaganda machine is needed." I agree! NO ONE is "willfully ignorant". NO ONE chooses to be under the influence of government mass mind control/propaganda. Mind control is something that is "done to" people -- – whether the perpetrator is a psychopathic spouse or cult leader; religious indoctrinator, military boot camp sargeant, and/or the voice of government control of the media. Blaming victims of mind control for being mind controlled and therefore being "willfully ignorant" is just another form of mind control used to discount the reality of mind control.

[Feb 07, 2018] I don't talk to parasites and pressitutes

Notable quotes:
"... You even had Eleanor Clift and Clarence Page on The McLaughlin Group emphatically stating that the Steele Dossier was 90% factual which is just repeating what Steele said just after the release of the dossier. The veracity has since tumbled as questions arose about the allegations and their sources. But, there is a Cabal that still hang their hopes on the "90%". ..."
"... Seriously, explain to me the difference between the two things. Trump may have sought out dirt on Hillary from Russia and Hillary may have sought out dirt on Trump from an former British spy. ..."
"... We will see what the other memo says but simply as speculation I think the chances are that Democrats probably would be better off cutting ties with Steele, GPS Fusion, Comey, Page, Ohr, Strzok, Lynch even and maybe more, than to parse out why this FISA warrant was not a bad idea. It really is never, ever too late to turn back, but the animus against Donald Trump is clouding a lot of otherwise clear thinking Democrats. "Yeah, that whole mess sure was a screw-up and now let's talk about how terrible Trump's immigration policies would be for the country." ..."
"... the Wall Street Journal calls "disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath." ..."
"... When is somebody going to read United states vs Leon that stands for the rule of law that if a cop (fbi) knowingly or recklessly includes facts in an application for a warrant that the cop knows are false or recklessly includes, then the warrant is quashed and and all evidence is suppressed ..."
"... This whole thing stinks to high heaven. The left is deliberately trying to steer discussion away from the elephant in the room -- the FBI under Obama was no longer neutral but was being used as a political tool to undermine the opposition. This is a serious threat to our democratic process and cannot be taken lightly. Jeff Sessions needs to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Nunes Memo allegations. Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller and Christopher Wray all need to be suspended while the investigation is ongoing. ..."
"... The NYT and the [neo]liberal media in general have lost all their journalistic integrity in the way they've been covering up for all of Democrats' corruption and abuse of power the last two decades. The way they fawned over Obama was downright sickening. Watergate was billed as the greatest scandal ever because it was done by a Republican president. What Obama did not just with the 2016 election meddling but with covering for Clinton's Uranium One pay to play scheme was far, far worse. ..."
"... The people aren't as stupid as the liberal elites think we are. That's why the fake news media is losing their stranglehold on news as people turn to alternative news sources thanks to the internet. The Times can print whatever they want, they are only further discrediting themselves as a legitimate news source with each passing day. The delirious, foam at the mouth reader comments that they deemed fit to print just show how hysterical and out of touch the left have become. ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Jay Dee February 6, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Some years ago, my father-in-law was pursued by the press after witnessing an armed robbery. His response? "I don't talk to parasites."
ArtR , says: February 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm
You even had Eleanor Clift and Clarence Page on The McLaughlin Group emphatically stating that the Steele Dossier was 90% factual which is just repeating what Steele said just after the release of the dossier. The veracity has since tumbled as questions arose about the allegations and their sources. But, there is a Cabal that still hang their hopes on the "90%".
Terence Kivlan , says: February 6, 2018 at 1:02 pm
NYT reporters have always been part of the [neo]liberal Democratic flea circus. They are just more open about it now.
MM , says: February 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm
ArtR: "You even had Eleanor Clift and Clarence Page on The McLaughlin Group emphatically stating that the Steele Dossier was 90% factual which is just repeating what Steele said."

Yeah, I caught that doozy over the weekend. Clift, a so-called journalist, also claimed that Steele and the dossier had been funded by the GOP, which is a false statement that's still widely circulated, for no good reason.

Katy Tur, another so-called journalist, was calling Nunes "treasonous" on par with Snowden before the memo release, and is now laughing about it after the fact. When the press acts like that, not in the public interest but in defense of government secrecy, you can bet something rotten is going on in the bureaucracy.

Add to that Senators Blumenthal and Booker claiming the release of this memo, and by extension the public's right to know, would constitute "obstruction of justice" and "treason", essentially repackaging claims by the intelligence agencies that the release would jeopardize national security. And again, this was all before the memo release.

Why so much fear-mongering and lying? It suggests there's something to hide. But that could describe Trump's behavior, too.

Donald (the left leaning one) , says: February 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm
"That you CAN'T combine the two speaks of a deeper rot. The opposition researcher was working with agents of the exact same country and they knew it."

This makes sense to me. I am and continue to be somewhat agnostic and bemused by this whole russiagate thing. Without defending Trump, who I just assume is corrupt and surrounded by corrupt people, it is more than a little hard to believe that Steele and the Clinton side was entirely innocent. On the one hand we are supposed to be scared to death of the mighty Russian propaganda machine and yet on the other hand people on the left don't stop and ask whether someone sent to Russia to gather dirt on Trump might have had contact, witting or not, with Russian intelligence. If they wanted to sow confusion, wouldn't they try to do it on both sides? Wouldn't they know what Steele was up to? It wasn't like anyone thought Trump had a good shot of winning, so why wouldn't they play both sides if they wanted to sow confusion?

Personally, I don't give a crap about any of this. Much of the outrage, I think, is being fueled by people who want a new Cold War with Russia. Russiagate, true or false, helps keep the all important fear and loathing of Russia on the front page.

Roman Reigns , says: February 6, 2018 at 1:36 pm
"The brilliant conservative mind at work.

One side collaborating with an adversary nation (Russia) that harms our national interests is a threat to national security.

The other side is hiring an opposition researcher.

The fact that you can combine the two and compare them speaks of deep the rot is."

Well, I'm not a conservative, so there's that. Second, Russia wasn't an adversary nation up until about two seconds ago when Democrats suddenly needed a scapegoat for Hillary's flame-out. Russia wasn't an adversary nation for nearly the entirety of 20th century while they were being run by a series of despots, but now they're an adversary nation. I think it was Obama who said, "The 80's called and they want their foreign policy back."

Seriously, explain to me the difference between the two things. Trump may have sought out dirt on Hillary from Russia and Hillary may have sought out dirt on Trump from an former British spy.

Eric377 , says: February 6, 2018 at 1:41 pm
We will see what the other memo says but simply as speculation I think the chances are that Democrats probably would be better off cutting ties with Steele, GPS Fusion, Comey, Page, Ohr, Strzok, Lynch even and maybe more, than to parse out why this FISA warrant was not a bad idea. It really is never, ever too late to turn back, but the animus against Donald Trump is clouding a lot of otherwise clear thinking Democrats. "Yeah, that whole mess sure was a screw-up and now let's talk about how terrible Trump's immigration policies would be for the country."
MikeJC , says: February 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm
The entire episode brings three possibilities.

1. All reporters, FBI agents, intel agents and congressional investigators -- Dem and GOP are so incompetent that they can't find "collusion" after nearly 20 months.

2. Trump is a master genius who has engineered the most successful cover-up in US history -- keeping all direct evidence of collusion hidden. or

3. Hillary hated Trump so much she paid for phony Russian dirt and then spread it to law enforcement and media to ensure that there would not a repeat of Obama snatching the Presidency away from her.

Since no evidence of collusion has shown up, #3 is most obvious. Of course, Democrats think "evidence" is "Joe lied about the perfectly legal act of drinking milk, so that means he must have stolen some milk." Actually, they don't care; any old lie will do.

balconesfault , says: February 6, 2018 at 3:02 pm
what the Wall Street Journal calls "disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath."

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

ADBrooks , says: February 6, 2018 at 3:25 pm
When is somebody going to read United states vs Leon that stands for the rule of law that if a cop (fbi) knowingly or recklessly includes facts in an application for a warrant that the cop knows are false or recklessly includes, then the warrant is quashed and and all evidence is suppressed
KD , says: February 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm
It really does seem like an alternate reality.

The FBI should not be conducting political surveillance on opposition candidates in national elections. If you want to talk about the real Putinization of America, that would be it.

Further, the fact that the FBI was conducting political surveillance based on unvetted opposition research which was so badly concocted even the media wouldn't run it for libel fears, combined with a drunk quip, that is really pathetic.

On the other hand, Machiavelli noted something to the effect that the ends sometimes justify the means, and its not clear that democracy dies in darkness, it dies in the kind of anti-constitutional partisanship we are witnessing today, with the media in the Amen corner.

b. , says: February 6, 2018 at 4:29 pm
"If the FBI obtained permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Trump aide Carter Page based on information from the Christopher Steele dossier, that in itself is a monumental scandal." If the FBI knew that the allegations of Steele's now-famous dossier remained unverified and used them anyway, that would constitute an abuse of power and an effort to manipulate the FISA court [..] what the Wall Street Journal calls "disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath."

Dodgy "intel" stovepiped through "dodgy intelligence?
FBI discredited for unconstitutional searches?
FISA secret court revealed as abuse of government power?

This whole affair must be a cunning liberal plot to turn Republicans against themselves

I will never understand what satisfaction any citizen could draw from the joys of being a "partisan" of either collection of half-wits that make for our schizoid duopoly of political "parties". Those "parties", thrown – always – at our expense, are a lot more educational and even entertaining if you have no dog in this fight, given the inbreeding on the two lousy, rapid dogs involved.

Tempest in a sh*thole.

The media fails , says: February 6, 2018 at 5:16 pm
This whole thing stinks to high heaven. The left is deliberately trying to steer discussion away from the elephant in the room -- the FBI under Obama was no longer neutral but was being used as a political tool to undermine the opposition. This is a serious threat to our democratic process and cannot be taken lightly. Jeff Sessions needs to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Nunes Memo allegations. Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller and Christopher Wray all need to be suspended while the investigation is ongoing.

The NYT and the [neo]liberal media in general have lost all their journalistic integrity in the way they've been covering up for all of Democrats' corruption and abuse of power the last two decades. The way they fawned over Obama was downright sickening. Watergate was billed as the greatest scandal ever because it was done by a Republican president. What Obama did not just with the 2016 election meddling but with covering for Clinton's Uranium One pay to play scheme was far, far worse.

The people aren't as stupid as the liberal elites think we are. That's why the fake news media is losing their stranglehold on news as people turn to alternative news sources thanks to the internet. The Times can print whatever they want, they are only further discrediting themselves as a legitimate news source with each passing day. The delirious, foam at the mouth reader comments that they deemed fit to print just show how hysterical and out of touch the left have become.

[Feb 07, 2018] Their future, their legacy, their WORLD depends on getting Trump out of there. Nothing else matters

Feb 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Noktirnal -> Thought Processor Feb 7, 2018 11:57 AM Permalink

These are what they want. Chaos is one way to get there. Unity is another.

onewayticket2 -> holdbuysell Feb 7, 2018 9:11 AM Permalink

MIA. They want NOTHING to do with these crimes. Their future, their legacy, their WORLD depends on getting Trump out of there. Nothing else matters.

Sharyl Attkison on Fox: This goes WELL beyond the 2016 FISA applications....it's been going on for much longer.

gatorengineer -> onewayticket2 Feb 7, 2018 9:23 AM Permalink

This is all for the entertainment of the masses..... If you believe otherwise you are foolish. Just because we are just seeing these texts, doesnt mean that Grandpa sessions hasnt had them for months... And...... CRICKETS....

Donald J. Trump -> gatorengineer Feb 7, 2018 9:31 AM Permalink

They tried to squash the FISA memo but the people relentlessly got it released. The people will not settle for crickets on this.

herbivore -> Butifldrm Feb 7, 2018 9:31 AM Permalink

The absence of prosecutions will prove they were correct in their assessment that they were/are above the law. No one is more above the law than Barack Obama and it does not matter how complicit he was in all of this. Half the country worships him. With HRC, maybe 20% of the population worships her but that's enough to give her immunity from prosecution too, not to mention her assassins who will eliminate anyone who might pose a threat to her freedom. We are not a country of laws, we are a country of fame and fortune. The more fame and fortune you acquire, the more above the law you become.

[Feb 06, 2018] The War That Never Ends (for the U.S. Military High Command), by Danny Sjursen - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... On Strategy : A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, ..."
"... In his own work, Summers marginalized all Vietnamese actors (as would so many later military historians), failed to adequately deal with the potential consequences, nuclear or otherwise, of the sorts of escalation he advocated, and didn't even bother to ask whether Vietnam was a core national security interest of the United States. ..."
"... A more sophisticated Clausewitzian analysis came from current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in a highly acclaimed 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty ..."
"... McMaster is a genuine scholar and a gifted writer, but he still suggested that the Joint Chiefs should have advocated for a more aggressive offensive strategy -- a full ground invasion of the North or unrelenting carpet-bombing of that country. In this sense, he was just another "go-big" Clausewitzian who, as historian Ronald Spector pointed out recently, ignored Vietnamese views and failed to acknowledge -- an observation of historian Edward Miller -- that "the Vietnam War was a Vietnamese war." ..."
"... The Army and Vietnam ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... A Better War : The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ..."
"... Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... David Petraeus and current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, co-authors in 2006 of FM 3-24, the first ( New York Times ..."
"... On Strategy ..."
"... Dereliction of Duty ..."
"... The Army and Vietnam ..."
"... Most of the generals leading the war on terror just missed service in the Vietnam War. They graduated from various colleges or West Point in the years immediately following the withdrawal of most U.S. ground troops or thereafter: Petraeus in 1974 , future Afghan War commander Stanley McChrystal in 1976 , and present National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in 1984 . Secretary of Defense Mattis finished ROTC and graduated from Central Washington University in 1971 , while Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly enlisted at the tail end of the Vietnam War, receiving his commission in 1976 . ..."
"... Petraeus, Mattis, McMaster, and the others entered service when military prestige had reached a nadir or was just rebounding. And those reading lists taught the young officers where to lay the blame for that -- on civilians in Washington (or in the nation's streets) or on a military high command too weak to assert its authority effectively. They would serve in Vietnam's shadow, the shadow of defeat, and the conclusions they would draw from it would only lead to twenty-first-century disasters ..."
"... Meanwhile, President Trump's hearts-and-minds faction consists of officers who have spent three administrations expanding COIN-influenced missions to approximately 70% of the world's nations. Furthermore, they've recently fought for and been granted a new "mini-surge" in Afghanistan intended to -- in disturbingly Vietnam-esque language -- "break the deadlock ," "reverse the decline," and "end the stalemate " there. Never mind that neither 100,000 U.S. troops (when I was there in 2011) nor 16 full years of combat could, in the term of the trade, "stabilize" Afghanistan. The can-do, revisionist believers atop the national security state have convinced Trump that -- despite his original instincts -- 4,000 or 5,000 (or 6,000 or 7,000) more troops (and yet more drones , planes , and other equipment) will do the trick. This represents tragedy bordering on farce. ..."
"... The hearts and minders and Clausewitzians atop the military establishment since 9/11 are never likely to stop citing their versions of the Vietnam War as the key to victory today; that is, they will never stop focusing on a war that was always unwinnable and never worth fighting. None of today's acclaimed military personalities seems willing to consider that Washington couldn't have won in Vietnam because, as former Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak (who flew 269 combat missions over that country) noted in the recent Ken Burns documentary series, "we were fighting on the wrong side." ..."
"... Today's leaders don't even pretend that the post-9/11 wars will ever end. In an interview last June, Petraeus -- still considered a sagacious guru of the Defense establishment -- disturbingly described the Afghan conflict as " generational ." ..."
"... Vietnam lost in the end. Its greedy corrupt elites are now puppets of US. They allow open prostitution in Ho Chi Minh city. They allow Vietnamese women to be a bunch of hookers again. ..."
"... "America tends to gain from commerce what it thinks it will get by warfare. Not so much the other way around" Rather like 20th century Germany, don't you think? ..."
"... The Vietnam war killed the draft. The draft is involuntary servitude, slavery in a sense. For ordinary Americans this was the only positive thing to come from the war. ..."
"... Ultimately, the victory of WW2 due to sheer weight of industrial productivity ramp and hence massive output of planes, tanks, submarines, etc. made defense a large part of the US economy. Since that time, too many entrenched interests just never want the military to downsize. Hence, the US has to keep invented new demand for a product that otherwise would not have such demand, but keeps some major entrenched interests powerful. ..."
"... The BIGGEST lesson to come out of the illegal and immoral War against Vietnam is that the draft was impeding the MIC's effort to sell Americans on the idea of supporting endless war. ..."
"... The same generals who let 911 happen and started the Iraq war still run the show. All of them should have faced a firing squad for that, but instead, the grossly incompetent General Kelly runs the White House and the grossly incompetent Mattis runs the military. ..."
"... The warhawk imperialists – some of them Clausewtizians and most COINdinistas – rule everything. No matter how many lives are lost, no matter how much money is wasted, they demand we remain on the same path of playing world hegemon. George Washington fought the British Empire for our freedom, so our subsequent leaders, starting most importantly with Lincoln, could remake the country into the British Empire 2.0. ..."
"... No; it's psychotic, psychopathic mayhem and mass-murder. Lemma: At any crime-scene, there are one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and/or 'idle' bystanders. It is incumbent upon *all* witnesses to attempt to a) restrain malefactors and where possible b) rescue victims from harm. *All* present and not in active resistance to the crime attract proportional guilt. Addendum: Any person profiting from crime also makes him/herself an accessory, like all residents in the 'illegitimate entity' and/or the puppet executives, manufacturers of the means and their enablers = the whole MIC[*] plus all their dependents, say. ..."
"... The US rogue regime = US-M/I/C/4a†-plex, with dog-wagging-tail, its illegitimate sprog the Zionist/Israeli rogue regime + Js = I/J/Z-plex, all components rife with corruption. ..."
"... Save the BS for your fellow geezer drunks at the VFW lounge. Vietnam featured a complete collapse of the conscripted US military, rampant drug use, fragging, insubordination, faked injuries, disintegration of the chain of command, mass murder of civilians, and finally TOTAL DEFEAT after turning tail and running following the negotiation of a charitable "decent interval" allowing the yanks to save some face. Pathetic. ..."
"... Wars fought to make countries like Vietnam open to big corporations to move American jobs there. Corporate money backed by the fist of the Marines has worked all their lives, all their parents' lives, and all the modern history of America. "Why not now?", the sheep ask. ..."
"... According to Bobbie McNamara, American efforts resulted in the murder of over 4 million Vietnamese and the maiming of millions of others .MOSTLY CIVILIANS. ..."
"... If the war mongers had had an all-volunteer army like the one they have today, they could have and would have kept the Vietnam War going indefinitely. But, since they didn't, draftees and their parents wised-up to the Pentagon's money-making scam and put a stop to it by refusing to participate. ..."
"... Very rich families and corporatists started their own think tanks after World War II. This is when the looting began for RAND. These are the bastards Eisenhower was afraid of. Abe Lincoln feared the large corporations born of business profiteering during the U.S. Civil War -- the military industrial complex of the day -- easily constituted the greatest threat to the American republic. ..."
"... Remember that Eisenhower's definition of the complex included among the bastards, not only the military defense industry corporations, but also right alongside them the news media and the university and private research establishments. ..."
"... That war was a cluster fuck and a crime against humanity. It's only purpose was to make a few rich men richer. The murder and destruction in the MENA is just more of the same. ..."
Feb 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

Vietnam: it's always there. Looming in the past, informing American futures.

A 50-year-old war, once labeled the longest in our history, is still alive and well and still being refought by one group of Americans: the military high command. And almost half a century later, they're still losing it and blaming others for doing so.

Of course, the U.S. military and Washington policymakers lost the war in Vietnam in the previous century and perhaps it's well that they did. The United States really had no business intervening in that anti-colonial civil war in the first place, supporting a South Vietnamese government of questionable legitimacy, and stifling promised nationwide elections on both sides of that country's artificial border. In doing so, Washington presented an easy villain for a North Vietnamese-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) insurgency, a group known to Americans in those years as the Vietcong.

More than two decades of involvement and, at the war's peak, half a million American troops never altered the basic weakness of the U.S.-backed regime in Saigon. Despite millions of Asian deaths and 58,000 American ones, South Vietnam's military could not, in the end, hold the line without American support and finally collapsed under the weight of a conventional North Vietnamese invasion in April 1975.

There's just one thing. Though a majority of historians (known in academia as the "orthodox" school) subscribe to the basic contours of the above narrative, the vast majority of senior American military officers do not. Instead, they're still refighting the Vietnam War to a far cheerier outcome through the books they read, the scholarship they publish, and (most disturbingly) the policies they continue to pursue in the Greater Middle East.

The Big Re-Write

In 1986, future general, Iraq-Afghan War commander, and CIA director David Petraeus penned an article for the military journal Parameters that summarized his Princeton doctoral dissertation on the Vietnam War. It was a piece commensurate with then-Major Petraeus's impressive intellect, except for its disastrous conclusions on the lessons of that war. Though he did observe that Vietnam had "cost the military dearly" and that "the frustrations of Vietnam are deeply etched in the minds of those who lead the services," his real fear was that the war had left the military unprepared to wage what were then called "low-intensity conflicts" and are now known as counterinsurgencies. His takeaway: what the country needed wasn't less Vietnams but better-fought ones. The next time, he concluded fatefully, the military should do a far better job of implementing counterinsurgency forces, equipment, tactics, and doctrine to win such wars.

Two decades later, when the next Vietnam-like quagmire did indeed present itself in Iraq, he and a whole generation of COINdinistas (like-minded officers devoted to his favored counterinsurgency approach to modern warfare) embraced those very conclusions to win the war on terror. The names of some of them -- H.R. McMaster and James Mattis, for instance -- should ring a bell or two these days. In Iraq and later in Afghanistan, Petraeus and his acolytes would get their chance to translate theory into practice. Americans -- and much of the rest of the planet -- still live with the results.

Like Petraeus, an entire generation of senior military leaders, commissioned in the years after the Vietnam War and now atop the defense behemoth, remain fixated on that ancient conflict. After all these decades, such "thinking" generals and "soldier-scholars" continue to draw all the wrong lessons from what, thanks in part to them, has now become America's second longest war.

Rival Schools

Historian Gary Hess identifies two main schools of revisionist thinking.

Both schools, however, agreed on something basic: that the U.S. military should have won in Vietnam.

The danger presented by either school is clear enough in the twenty-first century. Senior commanders, some now serving in key national security positions, fixated on Vietnam, have translated that conflict's supposed lessons into what now passes for military strategy in Washington. The result has been an ever-expanding war on terror campaign waged ceaselessly from South Asia to West Africa, which has essentially turned out to be perpetual war based on the can-do belief that counterinsurgency and advise-and-assist missions should have worked in Vietnam and can work now.

The Go-Big Option

The leading voice of the Clausewitzian school was U.S. Army Colonel and Korean War/Vietnam War vet Harry Summers, whose 1982 book, On Strategy : A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, became an instant classic within the military. It's easy enough to understand why. Summers argued that civilian policymakers -- not the military rank-and-file -- had lost the war by focusing hopelessly on the insurgency in South Vietnam rather than on the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. More troops, more aggressiveness, even full-scale invasions of communist safe havens in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam, would have led to victory.

Summers had a deep emotional investment in his topic. Later , he would argue that the source of post-war pessimistic analyses of the conflict lay in "draft dodgers and war evaders still [struggling] with their consciences." In his own work, Summers marginalized all Vietnamese actors (as would so many later military historians), failed to adequately deal with the potential consequences, nuclear or otherwise, of the sorts of escalation he advocated, and didn't even bother to ask whether Vietnam was a core national security interest of the United States.

Perhaps he would have done well to reconsider a famous post-war encounter he had with a North Vietnamese officer, a Colonel Tu, whom he assured that "you know you never beat us on the battlefield." "That may be so," replied his former enemy, "but it is also irrelevant."

Whatever its limitations, his work remains influential in military circles to this day. (I was assigned the book as a West Point cadet!)

A more sophisticated Clausewitzian analysis came from current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in a highly acclaimed 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty . He argued that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were derelict in failing to give President Lyndon Johnson an honest appraisal of what it would take to win, which meant that "the nation went to war without the benefit of effective military advice." He concluded that the war was lost not in the field or by the media or even on antiwar college campuses, but in Washington, D.C., through a failure of nerve by the Pentagon's generals, which led civilian officials to opt for a deficient strategy.

McMaster is a genuine scholar and a gifted writer, but he still suggested that the Joint Chiefs should have advocated for a more aggressive offensive strategy -- a full ground invasion of the North or unrelenting carpet-bombing of that country. In this sense, he was just another "go-big" Clausewitzian who, as historian Ronald Spector pointed out recently, ignored Vietnamese views and failed to acknowledge -- an observation of historian Edward Miller -- that "the Vietnam War was a Vietnamese war."

COIN: A Small (Forever) War

Another Vietnam veteran, retired Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Krepinevich, fired the opening salvo for the hearts-and-minders. In The Army and Vietnam , published in 1986, he argued that the NLF, not the North Vietnamese Army, was the enemy's chief center of gravity and that the American military's failure to emphasize counterinsurgency principles over conventional concepts of war sealed its fate. While such arguments were, in reality, no more impressive than those of the Clausewitzians, they have remained popular with military audiences, as historian Dale Andrade points out , because they offer a "simple explanation for the defeat in Vietnam."

Krepinevich would write an influential 2005 Foreign Affairs piece , "How to Win in Iraq," in which he applied his Vietnam conclusions to a new strategy of prolonged counterinsurgency in the Middle East, quickly winning over the New York Times 's resident conservative columnist, David Brooks, and generating "discussion in the Pentagon, CIA, American Embassy in Baghdad, and the office of the vice president."

In 1999, retired army officer and Vietnam veteran Lewis Sorley penned the definitive hearts-and-minds tract, A Better War : The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam . Sorley boldly asserted that, by the spring of 1970, "the fighting wasn't over, but the war was won." According to his comforting tale, the real explanation for failure lay with the "big-war" strategy of U.S. commander General William Westmoreland. The counterinsurgency strategy of his successor, General Creighton Abrams -- Sorley's knight in shining armor -- was (or at least should have been) a war winner.

Critics noted that Sorley overemphasized the marginal differences between the two generals' strategies and produced a remarkably counterfactual work. It didn't matter, however. By 2005, just as the situation in Iraq, a country then locked in a sectarian civil war amid an American occupation, went from bad to worse, Sorley's book found its way into the hands of the head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, and State Department counselor Philip Zelikow. By then, according to the Washington Post 's David Ignatius, it could also "be found on the bookshelves of senior military officers in Baghdad."

Another influential hearts-and-minds devotee was Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl. (He even made it onto The Daily Show with Jon Stewart .) His Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam followed Krepinevich in claiming that "if [Creighton] Abrams had gotten the call to lead the American effort at the start of the war, America might very well have won it." In 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported that Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker "so liked [Nagl's] book that he made it required reading for all four-star generals," while the Iraq War commander of that moment, General George Casey, gave Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a copy during a visit to Baghdad.

David Petraeus and current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, co-authors in 2006 of FM 3-24, the first ( New York Times -reviewed ) military field manual for counterinsurgency since Vietnam, must also be considered among the pantheon of hearts-and-minders. Nagl wrote a foreword for their manual, while Krepinevich provided a glowing back-cover endorsement .

Such revisionist interpretations would prove tragic in Iraq and Afghanistan, once they had filtered down to the entire officer corps.

Reading All the Wrong Books

In 2009, when former West Point history professor Colonel Gregory Daddis was deployed to Iraq as the command historian for the Multinational Corps -- the military's primary tactical headquarters -- he noted that corps commander Lieutenant General Charles Jacoby had assigned a professional reading list to his principal subordinates. To his disappointment, Daddis also discovered that the only Vietnam War book included was Sorley's A Better War . This should have surprised no one, since his argument -- that American soldiers in Vietnam were denied an impending victory by civilian policymakers, a liberal media, and antiwar protestors -- was still resonant among the officer corps in year six of the Iraq quagmire. It wasn't the military's fault!

Officers have long distributed professional reading lists for subordinates, intellectual guideposts to the complex challenges ahead. Indeed, there's much to be admired in the concept, but also potential dangers in such lists as they inevitably influence the thinking of an entire generation of future leaders. In the case of Vietnam, the perils are obvious. The generals have been assigning and reading problematic books for years, works that were essentially meant to reinforce professional pride in the midst of a series of unsuccessful and unending wars.

Just after 9/11, for instance, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers -- who spoke at my West Point graduation -- included Summers's On Strategy on his list. A few years later, then-Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker added McMaster's Dereliction of Duty . The trend continues today. Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller has kept McMaster and added Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger (he of the illegal bombing of both Laos and Cambodia and war criminal fame). Current Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley kept Kissinger and added good old Lewis Sorley. To top it all off, Secretary of Defense Mattis has included yet another Kissinger book and, in a different list , Krepinevich's The Army and Vietnam .

Just as important as which books made the lists is what's missing from them: none of these senior commanders include newer scholarship , novels , or journalistic accounts which might raise thorny, uncomfortable questions about whether the Vietnam War was winnable, necessary, or advisable, or incorporate local voices that might highlight the limits of American influence and power.

Serving in the Shadow of Vietnam

Most of the generals leading the war on terror just missed service in the Vietnam War. They graduated from various colleges or West Point in the years immediately following the withdrawal of most U.S. ground troops or thereafter: Petraeus in 1974 , future Afghan War commander Stanley McChrystal in 1976 , and present National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in 1984 . Secretary of Defense Mattis finished ROTC and graduated from Central Washington University in 1971 , while Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly enlisted at the tail end of the Vietnam War, receiving his commission in 1976 .

In other words, the generation of officers now overseeing the still-spreading war on terror entered military service at the end of or after the tragic war in Southeast Asia. That meant they narrowly escaped combat duty in the bloodiest American conflict since World War II and so the professional credibility that went with it. They were mentored and taught by academy tactical officers, ROTC instructors, and commanders who had cut their teeth on that conflict. Vietnam literally dominated the discourse of their era -- and it's never ended.

Petraeus, Mattis, McMaster, and the others entered service when military prestige had reached a nadir or was just rebounding. And those reading lists taught the young officers where to lay the blame for that -- on civilians in Washington (or in the nation's streets) or on a military high command too weak to assert its authority effectively. They would serve in Vietnam's shadow, the shadow of defeat, and the conclusions they would draw from it would only lead to twenty-first-century disasters .

From Vietnam to the War on Terror to Generational War

All of this misremembering, all of those Vietnam "lessons" inform the U.S. military's ongoing "surges" and "advise-and-assist" approaches to its wars in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Representatives of both Vietnam revisionist schools now guide the development of the Trump administration's version of global strategy. President Trump's in-house Clausewitzians clamor for -- and receive -- ever more delegated authority to do their damnedest and what retired General (and Vietnam vet) Edward Meyer called for back in 1983: "a freer hand in waging war than they had in Vietnam." In other words, more bombs, more troops, and carte blanche to escalate such conflicts to their hearts' content.

Meanwhile, President Trump's hearts-and-minds faction consists of officers who have spent three administrations expanding COIN-influenced missions to approximately 70% of the world's nations. Furthermore, they've recently fought for and been granted a new "mini-surge" in Afghanistan intended to -- in disturbingly Vietnam-esque language -- "break the deadlock ," "reverse the decline," and "end the stalemate " there. Never mind that neither 100,000 U.S. troops (when I was there in 2011) nor 16 full years of combat could, in the term of the trade, "stabilize" Afghanistan. The can-do, revisionist believers atop the national security state have convinced Trump that -- despite his original instincts -- 4,000 or 5,000 (or 6,000 or 7,000) more troops (and yet more drones , planes , and other equipment) will do the trick. This represents tragedy bordering on farce.

The hearts and minders and Clausewitzians atop the military establishment since 9/11 are never likely to stop citing their versions of the Vietnam War as the key to victory today; that is, they will never stop focusing on a war that was always unwinnable and never worth fighting. None of today's acclaimed military personalities seems willing to consider that Washington couldn't have won in Vietnam because, as former Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak (who flew 269 combat missions over that country) noted in the recent Ken Burns documentary series, "we were fighting on the wrong side."

Today's leaders don't even pretend that the post-9/11 wars will ever end. In an interview last June, Petraeus -- still considered a sagacious guru of the Defense establishment -- disturbingly described the Afghan conflict as " generational ." Eerily enough, to cite a Vietnam-era precedent, General Creighton Abrams predicted something similar. speaking to the White House as the war in Southeast Asia was winding down. Even as President Richard Nixon slowly withdrew U.S. forces, handing over their duties to the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) -- a process known then as "Vietnamization" -- the general warned that, despite ARVN improvements, continued U.S. support "would be required indefinitely to maintain an effective force." Vietnam, too, had its "generational" side (until, of course, it didn't).

It's not that our generals don't read. They do. They just doggedly continue to read the wrong books.

In 1986, General Petraeus ended his influential Parameters article with a quote from historian George Herring: "Each historical situation is unique and the use of analogy is at best misleading, at worst, dangerous." When it comes to Vietnam and a cohort of officers shaped in its shadow (and even now convinced it could have been won), "dangerous" hardly describes the results. They've helped bring us generational war and, for today's young soldiers, ceaseless tragedy.

Major Danny Sjursen, a TomDispatch regular , is a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . He lives with his wife and four sons in Lawrence, Kansas. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet and check out his new podcast Fortress on a Hill .

[Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]


The Alarmist , January 29, 2018 at 9:35 am GMT

The book that needs to be written is the one that explores the question, "Does this war need to be fought by us?"

The guys running the show now were mid-grade officers when I served in the '80s. They know we already were waging a war on terror, but it was a quiet one, e.g "low-intensity conflict," the kind that doesn't pump up budgets or put lots of ribbons and badges on the chests of more than a few of them, much less punch the ticket for promotion.

The problem here is one of governance: Civilians who should be reigning in and questioning the military leadership (including the senior civilian leadership at DoD and apparently State) when it wants to take us on yet another foreign adventure seem instead to be be captive to them, because the spoils of war accrue to their benefit via procurement in their districts.

Vietnam and the GWOT are merely symptoms of a bigger problem.

The Alarmist , January 29, 2018 at 1:24 pm GMT
@The Alarmist

BTW, re Vietnam: Vietnam went through its Communist phase, but in a rather short time came back to pseudo-capitalism, much like China, so aside from nearly 60k US troops and a few million Viets killed and 20 years of lost time, what did we gain from fighting there?

America tends to gain from commerce what it thinks it will get by warfare. Not so much the other way around.

Anon Disclaimer , January 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm GMT
Didn't US realize that it can win any war with bribes and trade?

Vietnam lost in the end. Its greedy corrupt elites are now puppets of US. They allow open prostitution in Ho Chi Minh city. They allow Vietnamese women to be a bunch of hookers again.

And Vietnam even has homo parades because it comes with more gibs and bribes.

US won. It just spread the money around.

Carlton Meyer , Website January 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm GMT
They established a myth that we almost won in Vietnam but the politicians wouldn't let us finish the job, claiming we never lost a battle in Vietnam. That is false, so I posted a list of 104 "Lost Battles of the Vietnam War" that squashed this myth.

http://www.g2mil.com/lost_vietnam.htm

Carlton Meyer , Website January 30, 2018 at 5:39 am GMT
The entire conflict can be understood in this two minute video clip:
Grandpa Charlie , January 30, 2018 at 6:39 am GMT
A great article by Sjursen, with major implications for what's happening now, and several excellent comments. Thank you.
dearieme , January 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT
@The Alarmist

"America tends to gain from commerce what it thinks it will get by warfare. Not so much the other way around" Rather like 20th century Germany, don't you think?

Sandmich , January 30, 2018 at 8:21 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Thanks for that link. I agree, whitewashing those tragedies is a grave disservice to our soldiers who had to fight in those conditions (how are we supposed to learn from our mistakes if we can't even come to terms with what we did wrong?).

Sean , January 30, 2018 at 9:54 pm GMT
No the JCS initially said SE Asia was strategically a backwater and not worth the concentrating of America's limited resources. But military high command were operating within longstanding army protocols of subordinating the military to civilian policymakers. It was the CIA's job to say whether the war could be won and they were always skeptical.

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/97unclass/vietnam.html

That skepticism was not what any politician wanted to hear so they listened to a civilian adviser.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/David-Milne-13964/americas-rasputin/

America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War makes clear who was responsible for pressing for escalation and bombing in Vietnam, who was the optimist, and who continued to insisted after it had finished that the war had stabilized a domino.

CK , January 30, 2018 at 9:55 pm GMT
If one's fundamental image of the world is as a place full of Quislings, McCains and assorted dual nationals; then it follows that one will be militarily a Coindinista. If only third world citizens were like American pols and stayed bought, but they aren't and they don't. If one's fundamental image is that it is a world full of nationalists, patriots and Churchills: then the bomb them back to non-existence; then it follows that one is a Summer's soldier.

Unfortunately, if one wishes to debate other nuanced alternatives to this dichotomy; the enemy gets to shoot first. A policeman walks a beat in his city because he is paid to do it, the "world's indispensable policeman" is unnecessary to the rest of the world but inevitable to himself.

George Taylor , January 31, 2018 at 12:49 am GMT
@The Alarmist

America tends to gain from commerce what it thinks it will get by warfare. Not so much the other way around.

Because we are here to help the Vietnamese because inside every go*k is an American trying to get out

anon Disclaimer , February 2, 2018 at 5:17 am GMT
The Vietnam war killed the draft. The draft is involuntary servitude, slavery in a sense. For ordinary Americans this was the only positive thing to come from the war.
WorkingClass , February 2, 2018 at 6:26 am GMT
Blah blah blah. That war was a cluster fuck and a crime against humanity. It's only purpose was to make a few rich men richer. The murder and destruction in the MENA is just more of the same.
Singh , February 3, 2018 at 4:43 pm GMT
It's also weird that the idea of Vietnam War as a missionary conflict is never discussed. The colonial Vietnam & later South Vietnam government gave preference to christians in governmental positions, bureaucracy & had a monopoly on education. The prevailing narrative in the west, is that somehow christianity is better & that people flock to it due to this, just like their ancestors did. Mosmaiorum.org/persecution_list.html

For example, the anti Buddhist discriminatory laws in Korea are never discussed, neither is the flooding of Japan with bibles post ww2. In the present age you have missionaries following closely behind the USA army & organizations like the US council on religious freedom being headed by missionaries sic. soul vultures.

From that pov, if white nationalists cannot control the predatory instincts of 'their' people nor disavow them by becoming Pagan; then, they deserve their fate & should expect no support from outsiders. As others have remarked, tariffs & protectionism help accrue capital as do socially conservative views. The pushing of free trade & social liberalism on 2nd/3rd world countries is akin to kicking the ladder. It's probably in everyone's interest for the Protestant west to collapse under Afro-Islamic demographic pressure so the great clean up can begin. Tldr yes state power leads to liberalism & liberal views but, if you view that as the legacy of your people, fuck your people.

EliteCommInc. , February 5, 2018 at 6:04 am GMT
Well Major,

we are deeply at odds. We did not lose the Vietnam conflict. I am confident that billions of dollars have been spent drilling that myth into the minds of well everyone. I remember being a young poli-sci student in KS. And as I listened to the lecture on Vietnam, did the reading my conclusion was so distant from his as to cause me no small amount of turmoil. The contention that we lost Vietnam is so counter to the data -- it makes the Twilight Zone look like Gilligan's Island, the twists on reality are directionless -- but conclude we lost, when nothing could be further from the truth.

I have another theory, the reason that Vietnam remains etched in the psyche is because the analysis was political as opposed to what actually occurred. This kind of hyperventilated self flagellating recriminations will distort truth. Perception over reality -- then becomes self fulling history.
_________________

But to the point. The US has lost two wars: The war of 1812 and in my view, the Iraq conflict -- no direct fault of those on the ground doing the fighting. And we may lose the Afghanistan gambit. It's a loss because it fell apart during our occupation. The guerrilla warfare (asymmetrics) was not the issues for that failure. The failure was in

1. unjustifiable cause
2. poor implementation
3. under resourced
4. an inability to maintain order among communities -- (1-3)
5. and just a lot of bad decisions

Trying compare Vietnam to Iraq is like trying compare a stone to water in similarity. You might be able to some generic references and very tiny specifics, but overall: the environment politically and strategically, just never mesh. We didn't invade Vietnam. They had a functioning government. There were clear lines of who was who based on borders (I am not ignoring the insurgency -- Vietcong, etc.

It was the cold war and unlike Iraq there were not six varying countries throwing a myriad of combatants into the fray with varying agendas and varying religious convictions. Even the physical environment demanded a different strategy, insurgents or no insurgents.

One has to plan for insurgent warfare as invading any country is bound to have those who get the best defense is one of stealth when your foe is as large a target as the US was in Iraq. But for all of the complaints about Counter-Insurgency the one that no one seems willing to state is the simplest. Don't invade countries for which there is no clean or clear motive to do so. It's that simple. There was never a need to invade Iraq, if anything we should have readjusted our dynamic and began a process of easing sanctions for their aide in countering terrorism.

There was no reason to invade Afghanistan -- even to distribute more bikinis and advance killing children in the womb. We wanted twenty guys and instead we stirred a hornet's nest . . . ok well, more than one.

Vietnam really was an act of selflessness, we wanted to shore up a small republic seeking a different course to communism. It bolstered our own ideas against the grand schema of the Soviet Union, rightly or wrongly. Now you are not the only one who has a gripe with counterinsurgency.

And I think it's a debate/discussion worth having, and while it may be useful to examine COIN as to Vietnam strategically -- I think it can be done minus the incorrect and yet incessant sack cloth and ashes built on mountains of liberal psychological faux trauma as if the trauma of war is somehow unique to Vietnam,. It is not. As you know war is a nasty filthy business, best left alone. But on occasion one gets pushed into a fight as did S. Vietnam and when that screw is turned -- well history is replete of the consequences, the waste, the blood, the brokenness . . . The tragedy of war does not mean one loses a war.

Kweli , February 5, 2018 at 6:17 am GMT
@Anon

How true! If only the US had recognized the power of man's baser instincts and did what the US does best -- continue selling its culture of consumerism and hedonism, Vietnam would have arrived at the point much sooner and with virtually no loss of life.

Thomm , February 5, 2018 at 7:32 am GMT
Ultimately, the victory of WW2 due to sheer weight of industrial productivity ramp and hence massive output of planes, tanks, submarines, etc. made defense a large part of the US economy. Since that time, too many entrenched interests just never want the military to downsize. Hence, the US has to keep invented new demand for a product that otherwise would not have such demand, but keeps some major entrenched interests powerful.

I mean, the Korean war started just 5 years after WW2 ended. They could barely wait for a new crop of boys to turn 18 and become cannon fodder. 50,000 in Korea right after the 300,000 in WW2.

When casualties became politically incorrect (after VietNam), the focus shifted towards lengthy 'nation building', that was not meant to succeed, but just to cost a lot for a long time. In theory, the Iraq War could have worked, IF the true objective was the installation of a moderate regime in Iraq, coupled with no extended US occupation. But that was not the true objective after all, so it did not work.

Greg Bacon , Website February 5, 2018 at 12:08 pm GMT
The BIGGEST lesson to come out of the illegal and immoral War against Vietnam is that the draft was impeding the MIC's effort to sell Americans on the idea of supporting endless war.

Get rid of the draft and there will be no protests hell raised back home by people of draft age–and their families and friends–who don't want to get drafted to fight wars so colonels can become generals; Wall Street can make a killing on the killing and so the Pentagon can try out its new 'gee-whiz' weapons in the field on actual people.

The next biggest lesson was that the media must be tamed and brought under control with embedding, so they'll push the Pentagon's and Wall Street message of duty, honor, Mom and apple pie onto gullible Americans, who now damn near get orgasmic when they see a multi-billion dollar killing machine–the B-2–fly over the upcoming gladiator battle in the newest billion dollar coliseum and go into the State-mandated 'Two Minutes Hate' whenever they see or hear the word Muslim or Islam.

For the record, I did my time in the US Army with the 82nd Airborne.

Wyatt Pendleton , Website February 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
So America worships Ares/Mars and doesn't expect the god of War to want to eat them too? There shall be wars and rumors of wars .I so look forward to watching this love of war spread itself from sea to shining sea.
n230099 , February 5, 2018 at 12:50 pm GMT
Until the young wise up and realize that the military operations in other countries have nothing to do with the freedoms we have here and that they're being used as fodder for the investments that the MIC has in the companies that make the tools of war, we will keep having this nonsense. The kids need to wise up. The government has at its disposal all it needs to 'win' if it wants to. But if you 'win' , the sales and manufacturing of the goodies is curtailed. They'd rather send the kids into the meat grinder all pumped up thinking they're 'preserving freedom' LOL!
augusto , Website February 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm GMT
@CK

Nice, thank U. I´d never before had figured out, never outlined such a precise conceptual sight of the two still remaining American mindsets on HOW to win.
Yes, cause for them Amerika must obviously must always win. So there are two viewpoints, that in plain clear English we citizens of the shitholin´ countries wherever -- express as follows:

augusto , Website February 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm GMT
@Singh

Yes, you say tariffs and proteccionism help accrue capital.

Have you got any objection against a large, populous but still poor country (like Nigeria, Indonesia, India or Brazil) sticking to higher (though not sky high) tariffs and protectionism to raise their production, their income and their living standards?

That was PRECISELY HOW the US, Uk, Germany and the Meiji era Japan, not to mention China from 1949 to Chu enLai) acted and because of it rose the heights of the present status and well being societies.

Yes, you naive repeater, let´s us first protect ourselves from the globalist wolves and THEN, we can sit down and talk but from a firm solid position, not the other way round. cut the frack! We southern people are fed up with that northern hemispheric sales talk – it ´s so convenient to you – but the web exists and times change.

another fred , February 5, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT

It's not that our generals don't read. They do. They just doggedly continue to read the wrong books.

It's not just the generals. The whole idea of the state is to control the uncontrollable in order to continue "growing". That's why we conducted Vietnam as we did and why we conduct operations as we do all over the world. Rather than Total War that produces winners and losers we are trying to keep a lid on behavioral sinks and modify behavior so that economic "growth" can continue.

I am not advocating Total War, but I am predicting that horrible war is coming.

How many dead men will it take
To build a dike that will not break?

DESERT FOX , February 5, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT
The Zionists have been the root cause of every war that America has been in since WWI and right on through the wars in the Mideast and the wars in the Mideast were perpetrated by the Israeli and Zionist controlled deep state attack on 911.

America is under Zionist control and if anyone doubts this, just remember Israel did the attack on 911 and got away with and every thinking American knows that Zionist Israel did the attack which killed 3000 Americans, that is control.

Don Bacon , Website February 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
. . .supporting a South Vietnamese government of questionable legitimacy

Actually the US created the "Republic of Vietnam" within Vietnam, which was rather unusual, and then fought Vietnam. The US grabbed a Christian out of a New Jersey seminary (Ngo Dinh Diem) to run the Buddhist "country," that didn't help. More recently the US has overthrown governments (Iraq and Afghanistan) and then fought the natives. Whatever, it doesn't work. The citizens (AKA dissidents, insurgents, terrorists, etc.) so effected don't want US troops in their countries, and who can blame them.

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
Why do credulous Americans read anti-war books written by war criminals? Only brainwashed people support the troops. Most Americans hated soldiers after Vietnam. They had seen soldiers raping wives and daughters, burning houses and huts and crops and wiping out entire villages. They knew that men who agree to kill for a paycheck do other bad things like raping and looting and then writing books about it later.

The cons put a stop to all those "incorrect" ideas American slaves had developed by ramping up the propaganda in the 1980s. Movies kicked in and "learned" the zombies about the wonderfulness of war and killing and how American soldiers kill with love in their hearts and the tragedy of the boy baby killers left behind – probably by "communists in the US Government."

jacques sheete , February 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm GMT

The United States really had no business intervening

That's a, maybe "the," key concept. The US has always had enough internal problems of its own to deal with and it should always have tended to its own interest first. Damned know-it-all, brainless busybodies!

jacques sheete , February 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm GMT
@n230099

The kids need to wise up.

I suspect most of them would wise up if their elders did so first, and would teach 'em. One of the most annoying sights to me is to see some ancient fart wearing some sign that he's a vet. Even though I was once a sucker too, I always make it a point to remind them that we had no business in whatever war they happen to be glorifying and still wallowing in. How old does one have to be to get a clue?

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm GMT
Nothing quite says freedom like heavily armed soldiers on the streets demanding papers. Soon the US will have the same situation, with the "freedom loving" Americans willingly surrendering all their freedoms for "safety." Today the US government spies on everyone's communications, conducts over 80,000 SWAT raids a year, locks over 2 million people in actual slavery, and lets the cops execute people on the street. Nothing quite says Freedom when cops can execute poor people without any repercussions. Nothing quite says Freedom when opiate casualties in one year exceed the American total in Vietnam. Nothing quite says zombie when Americans can't see the war that is being waged on them right now.
Anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

Is that true? The Military simply harvested the poors out of the hills, the South and other rural areas the same way they would have drafted 'em. All the kids respond once the Government offers them a way out of potential starvation and hopeless poverty. That's just a better way to draft people, although they won't call it that.

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 4:07 pm GMT
The same generals who let 911 happen and started the Iraq war still run the show. All of them should have faced a firing squad for that, but instead, the grossly incompetent General Kelly runs the White House and the grossly incompetent Mattis runs the military.
Jake , February 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm GMT
"The danger presented by either school is clear enough in the twenty-first century."

Apparently it is not close to clear. The warhawk imperialists – some of them Clausewtizians and most COINdinistas – rule everything. No matter how many lives are lost, no matter how much money is wasted, they demand we remain on the same path of playing world hegemon. George Washington fought the British Empire for our freedom, so our subsequent leaders, starting most importantly with Lincoln, could remake the country into the British Empire 2.0.

Jake , February 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm GMT
@George Taylor

"Because we are here to help the Vietnamese because inside every go*k is an American trying to get out." Replace 'Vietnamese' with 'Middle Easterners' and 'gook' with 'Arab' or 'Moslem,' and you have the Neocon position. Replace 'Vietnamese' with 'the world' and replace 'gook' with 'dark skinned non-Christian' and place the word "liberal' before 'American,' and you have the Liberal/Leftist position.

anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm GMT
As a youth during that time it seemed like a strange idea that they were pushing. How could Vietnamese be invading Vietnam? They already live there. The Americans had to travel thousands of miles to prevent this. Years later I realize my youthful intuition was right; Vietnamese can't invade Vietnam. This North-South dichotomy was just a made up propaganda tool. The South was an artificial concoction set up by the West to divide someone else's country. This question of how could we have won is absurd nonsense. What would 'winning' have looked like? The South would just have been a multi-billion millstone around our neck.
skrik , February 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm GMT

The can-do, revisionist believers atop the national security state have convinced Trump that -- despite his original instincts -- 4,000 or 5,000 (or 6,000 or 7,000) more troops (and yet more drones, planes, and other equipment) will do the trick. This represents tragedy bordering on farce.

No; it's psychotic, psychopathic mayhem and mass-murder. Lemma: At any crime-scene, there are one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and/or 'idle' bystanders. It is incumbent upon *all* witnesses to attempt to a) restrain malefactors and where possible b) rescue victims from harm. *All* present and not in active resistance to the crime attract proportional guilt. Addendum: Any person profiting from crime also makes him/herself an accessory, like all residents in the 'illegitimate entity' and/or the puppet executives, manufacturers of the means and their enablers = the whole MIC[*] plus all their dependents, say.

[*] The US rogue regime = US-M/I/C/4a†-plex, with dog-wagging-tail, its illegitimate sprog the Zionist/Israeli rogue regime + Js = I/J/Z-plex, all components rife with corruption.

a = academic = econ, psy, leg et al.; 4 = MSM+PFBCs, † = churches

add a few significant stragglers like $ = banksters & ¿ = spies

=====

It's a lot, and here I point for emphasis to all the citizens of the two named entities; silence is acquiescence. Take a look at the result, not 'just' in Afghanistan but Libya, Syria etc., the WC7in5 [fortunately not yet Iran]; wherever the US/Zs deploy their 'hammers.'

In the fewest words: The US/Zs including their 'ordinary people' are all true monsters, with the only exception being the actively objecting few.

Not so BTW, from the above [but not only] I conclude that there can be no 'god' – for surely, any such would strike all the US/Z villains down.

Again a 'special case' for emphasis, the intellectuals and academics who really should know better but where again, silence is acquiescence.

*Guilty, your honour; may they all hang by the neck until dead!* rgds

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 4:44 pm GMT
American sheep can't see war even though they are in one. What better weapon than to have a group of writers spreading disinformation and colorful propaganda that revolves around discrediting the other propaganda with falsehoods and romanticization of the war that came before. Let's have yet another debate about the thing that happened half a century ago because driving the flock in circles gets them no where closer to resistance.

Meanwhile the real war. If the financial crisis wasn't a terrorist attack because the press never told you, what will you believe? If more men and women die in one year because of opiates than in the entire Vietnam effort, will the real owners tell you in their newspapers that they do it because they want to win?

Alden , February 5, 2018 at 5:08 pm GMT
@n230099

I think the kids are more pumped up with college tuition, VA health , a chance to learn a civilian applicable skill , citizenship and something to do other than competing with illegal Indios for low wages.

nsa , February 5, 2018 at 6:19 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

Save the BS for your fellow geezer drunks at the VFW lounge. Vietnam featured a complete collapse of the conscripted US military, rampant drug use, fragging, insubordination, faked injuries, disintegration of the chain of command, mass murder of civilians, and finally TOTAL DEFEAT after turning tail and running following the negotiation of a charitable "decent interval" allowing the yanks to save some face. Pathetic.

anarchyst , February 5, 2018 at 6:36 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

The Vietnam war was not a "civil-war" but was an INVASION by the North Vietnamese communists, who were not amenable to letting people decide for themselves what political system they chose to live under. They wanted "the whole pie". The South Vietnamese and American military fought courageously, with one hand tied behind their backs, as they were not permitted to attack the supply lines, logistics and staging areas of the North Vietnamese communists. The American news media played a large part in the sympathetic attitudes they had towards the communists, taking every chance to denigrate American and South Vietnamese troops, a prime example was communist sympathizer Walter Cronkite reporting that the 1968 "Tet offensive" was a "major loss" for Americans and south Vietnamese, despite it being a total slaughter of North Vietnamese communists and the Viet Cong. In fact, the Viet Cong operating in the South were almost all totally decimated.

Yes, the final result of the Vietnam war was communist control, BUT, it was not due to the efforts of South Vietnamese and American troops. The Vietnamese "boat people" who risked life and limb to escape that communist "paradise" have a totally different story to tell, but which had been rarely reported. Ken Burns is a communist sympathizer whose "documentary" on the Vietnam war was so one-sided, even the communists admitted that his whole premise on the Vietnam war was one-sided and false. Communist sympathizer Ken Burns inadvertently "let it slip" that "re-education" by the communists was not a "six month deal" (as he claimed) in which those in positions of power in South Vietnam would be "re-educated", but were actually prisons, in which "enemies of the (communist) state were to be interned for as long as 20 years. It is interesting to note that the communists could not exert the same harsh level of control as was the case in the North, to the people in the South.

Norcal , February 5, 2018 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

So much for The Domino Theory". This clip from "The Fog Of War". Thanks

EliteCommInc. , February 5, 2018 at 8:19 pm GMT
@anarchyst

Apparently unfamiliar with my long and detailed discussions here and at TAC about the Vietnam War. I don't think you will find a single suggestion in mt two or more years of discussion on Vietnam , that it was a civil war -- it was not. In every way, the North Vietnamese were the aggressors. And if anyone looking at the political issues and objectives of what happened in Vietnam – those who protested got nearly every aspect about Vietnam wrong, nearly every contention they make was predicated on the incorrect information, except one.

war is a nasty filthy affair in which a lot hoes wrong – because that is part and parcel to the nature of war so many moving pieces on so many potential unpredictable planes. The entire enterprise is best avoided, but sometimes as in the case of S. Vietnam, you are left little choice but to defend yourself. Boys and girls afraid to fight screaming "Give peace a chance" at the defenders like pushing a drowning men under the waves and telling him all he need do is swim.

You are preaching to the choir and the preacher.

I am going to avoid rehashing the conflict, I think the data sets are on my side in tons. But I think the authors intentions are to really dismantle the cadre and their advocacy of COIN. Given that the current President has reneged on his campaign agenda to avoid needless wars violating the territory of others to regime change. The issue of counter insurgency is relevant. Because it looks like we are in for more than we bargained for. No doubt, SAS, the French Legionaries, CIA and a spec ops contingents are pre-prepping for insurgencies of our own.

A brief look suggests that the only effective response to counter insurgency is intelligence and brutal response. though intended to suggest finesse, in the end -- it's root them out and destroy them. I think this is one those the cure is worse than the illness, because without indigenous support for your political and strategic goals in country -- brutal reprisals eventually reignite acts of terror as a means of self defense.

EliteCommInc. , February 5, 2018 at 8:31 pm GMT
For those who are not familiar with COIN here are some articles, those from TAC include lengthy discussions which you may find interesting. http://ready4itall.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Counterinsurgency-Warfare-Theory-and-Practice.pdf https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG595.pdf https://www.fs.blog/2017/06/counterinsurgency/ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/coin-is-a-proven-failure/ https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/counterinsurgency/ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/revenge-of-the-coin-doctrine/ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/2012/06/15/the-cnas-annual-confab-aloof-and-irrelevant-as-ever/ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/savior-general-petraeus-gave-us-the-wrong-bible/ http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/petraeuss-coin-gets-flipped/
bluedog , February 5, 2018 at 8:51 pm GMT
@anarchyst

What are you a troll playing the same old broken record spewing forth the same old line, for there was a vote coming up by the Geneva Accord, to decide just what kind of government the two Vietnam's wanted, a vote that would'nt go the way we wanted thus the false flag to get us involved.

FDR had made a deal with Ho that if they would rise up and drive out the Japs that Vietnam could choose their own destiny, colonialism was dead he said, well until that little man in the to big a house got into office and then once again America's word wasn't worth a mouth full of warm spit and its never changed

EliteCommInc. , February 5, 2018 at 8:56 pm GMT
A thorough review and discussion about Mr. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick film concerning our defense of South Vietnam. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-best-way-to-honor-a-vet-is-with-the-truth/
Auntie Analogue , February 5, 2018 at 9:04 pm GMT
Today's officer corps would spare us all a great deal of cost, blood and grief and we Americans would all do much better if the cadets', midshipmen's, officer candidates' and officer corps' reading list began with the Bernard Fall book Rue Sans Joie .
Anonymous Disclaimer , February 5, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

Rand? American Conservative? Tom's Dispatch? All fake news for the sheep, i.e COIN. If people want change, they have to refuse to cooperate. That means no voting. Voting means you agree with the basic trends and just want to tweak the system. All of us have gotten cheated by the Government all of our lives. Destruction of schools so people can't learn. Wars fought to make countries like Vietnam open to big corporations to move American jobs there. Corporate money backed by the fist of the Marines has worked all their lives, all their parents' lives, and all the modern history of America. "Why not now?", the sheep ask.

wayfarer , February 5, 2018 at 10:48 pm GMT

Vietnam War U.S. Military Fatal Casualty Statistics

source: https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics

nsa , February 5, 2018 at 11:22 pm GMT
The religious aspect of the Vietnamese CIVIL WAR is overlooked by the senile VFW geezers posting here. The patriots were mostly Buddhists the quislings were mostly Catholics (inherited from the French). In between perving little kids, American Cardinals and Bishops demanded even more war and Vietnamese blood. The bloodthirsty homo, Cardinal Spellman, would even visit the troops in person and exhort them to create more carnage and mayhem. According to Bobbie McNamara, American efforts resulted in the murder of over 4 million Vietnamese and the maiming of millions of others .MOSTLY CIVILIANS. The role of the vile bloodthirsty Homo Cult of the Seven Hills has been mostly overlooked.
ElitecommInc. , February 5, 2018 at 11:52 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Note, I list of sites is not definitive. There are articles critical and article supportive of COIN. Some articles are just descriptive of what COIN means. COIN has been a subject of a good deal of debate for a very long time. Most articles are from TAC because that is the site I most frequently read and comment. And as Dr. Unz will tell you, they invite a host of articles by a host of authors -- with varying view points.

About Rand, they are one of the most noteable contributors to government policy via research and while one may not appreciate their advocacy, it's not a bad idea to read what they are presenting on issues, in this case COIN. Even considering broad definitions of fake news -- it is unlikely that Rand would be included as such an outlet.

One of the advances launched in the late sixties -- forward was that Vietnam was a MIC windfall and in fact manufactured by the MIC.

I don't think there is much evidence of that. Pres Johnson and most of the leadership actually saw it as a case for democracy against the Chinese, the Soviets -- etc. You are not going to be able to escape the private sector profiting from war. Sure had democracy and capitalism actually won the day , I don't think there is any question money would have been made -- capitalism is a very healthy system -- if operated minus manipulation/unfair dealings. But that is not unique. One does business where business is. but cold war strategic aims made money for lots of people -- that doesn't deny that there was actually a system of proxy engagements for democracy and communism.

ElitecommInc. , February 6, 2018 at 12:29 am GMT
@nsa

I am not a member of the VFW. I don't drink and have never been drunk. There was drug use how prevalent it was is unclear. not enough to prevent mission readiness, it appears.

A lot has been made of fragging, but if you can find the numbers -- The evidence is very sparse that this practice was anywhere close to a staple. Here's an estimate 800 such incidents attempted. But given that there are only about 13 confirms that estimations is suspect. Some 3 million service members service in Vietnam that's a percentage of 0.026666666666% attempted. The actual number of men who died as the result of fragging 0.0005% and i used the highest number of fifteen actuals.

There were tragic incidents of mass killings, but those two were rare. The next series of complaints are hard to quantify -- but suffice it to say, whatever the complaints -- when push came to shove the US service member repeatedly got the job done. And contrary to your comments, the process of the US withdrawal is well documented. More than anything, they secured a line of defense, and the situation at home was the most pressing. There is no evidence that the US ran from the battle field.

OI think the evidence is clear that we should maintained support via air and sea power to ensure the victory was maintained on behalf of the S. Vietnamese who fought and died to defend their country. kudos to the Aussie's for their loyal support.

Carroll Price , February 6, 2018 at 1:12 am GMT
If the war mongers had had an all-volunteer army like the one they have today, they could have and would have kept the Vietnam War going indefinitely. But, since they didn't, draftees and their parents wised-up to the Pentagon's money-making scam and put a stop to it by refusing to participate.
Art , February 6, 2018 at 1:18 am GMT
Westmoreland and McNamara are awaiting Kissinger in hell. Think Peace -- Art
p.s. Every US general supports Israel – how sick is that?
Carroll Price , February 6, 2018 at 1:26 am GMT
@Thomm

Money's made fighting wars not winning them. 1945 was the last time the US made the mistake of winning a war, and may not have made that one had Russia not been on the verge of invading and occupying Japan, thus forcing the US into bringing the war to a close.

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 6, 2018 at 1:53 am GMT
@ElitecommInc.

Very rich families and corporatists started their own think tanks after World War II. This is when the looting began for RAND. These are the bastards Eisenhower was afraid of. Abe Lincoln feared the large corporations born of business profiteering during the U.S. Civil War -- the military industrial complex of the day -- easily constituted the greatest threat to the American republic.

Remember that Eisenhower's definition of the complex included among the bastards, not only the military defense industry corporations, but also right alongside them the news media and the university and private research establishments.

Tom Jefferson thought periodic revolution against wealth and authority was desirable to keep these bastards in check. Which implies that he figured they would inevitably get us by the throat down on the floor from time to time.

EliteCommInc. , February 6, 2018 at 2:11 am GMT
Sounds like a good reason to know what they are advocating. And Pres Eisenhower was talking about --

raytheon
GD/EB
Hughes
etc, ect

Here's a list of the MIC many were not around during the Eisenhower years -- but Rand was but a single player among many.

https://www.militaryindustrialcomplex.com/companies.asp

JVC , February 6, 2018 at 2:20 am GMT
@EliteCommInc.

I don't think that you understand at all the history of the USG involvement in VietNam–an act of selflessness??? What a crock.

The entire foreign policy of the united states has been controlled by the military/industrial/security/espionage etc etc complex since, at least, the end of WWII. that group doesn't really care about victory–on going conflict somewhere is the only goal. Personally, I doubt that the USG has ever committed a selfless act in it's entire history. VietNam was just one stop in a long line of USG aggression.

EnriiqueCardovaa , February 6, 2018 at 3:01 am GMT
Danny Sjursen says:

Of course, the U.S. military and Washington policymakers lost the war in Vietnam in the previous century and perhaps it's well that they did.

LOL.. True enough. Yet an assortment of "Church of Rambo" true believers in civilian life, including several here on Unz, continue to insist that that the US never lost the war, hell, never even lost a battle -- claims all debunked by credib