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MSM as an attack dog of anti-Trump color revolution

Media's Trump coverage has radicalized me. That's why this set of pages about color revolution against Trump was created despite the fact that I am a programmer, not a reporter.  Looking at WaPo and NYT I can only say Wow! That proves the CIA were not joking when their spokesman said: "We shall know we have done our job when everything the public believes is false." It's like the editorial desk of every major MSM has a talking points written personally by Brennan.

News NeoMcCartyism Recommended Links US and British media are servants of security apparatus Purple revolution against Trump Strzok-gate Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier Wolff revelations and slander
Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Trump vs. Deep State Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin Hillary Clinton email scandal Anti Trump Hysteria Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations FBI Mayberry Machiavellians
The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Corporatist Corruption  Media-Military-Industrial Complex Doublespeak The Deep State National Security State Nation under attack meme
Deception as an art form The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Neoliberalism History of American False Flag Operations Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
   

A Suffolk University poll last month showed Fox News viewers have an unfavorable view of the media by a margin off 64-24. Another survey showed 76 percent of Republicans think the media makes up stories about Trump. And a Quinnipiac poll in November showed 91 percent of Republicans disapproved of how the media covered Trump and just 10 percent trusted the media more than Trump.

"Every president gets pounded by the press," Kurtz wrote. "But no president has ever been subjected to the kind of relentless ridicule, caustic commentary and insulting invective that has been heaped on Trump. I have a name for this half-crazed compulsion to furiously attack one man. It's called Trump Trauma

Howard Kurtz Media's Trump coverage has 'radicalized me'

One more comment here about Michael Wolff and his claim that everybody in the White House thinks that Trump’s a child, that he’s a moron, he doesn’t like to read, he’s mentally unbalanced, all this. This is really irresponsibly absurd. And for this claim to be 100% of the people around Trump, and Wolff is the guy saying that he can’t guarantee everything in his book is right, and he’s also admitting that he did anything to get his story, including not tell people they were on the record when he was talking to ’em.

Nuking the Wolff Book The Rush Limbaugh Show

In East Germany, Stasi leader Markus Wolfe took things a step further with the “zersetzung” tactic. The idea was to *induce* a “personal crisis” through clandestine harassment, including at the hands of acquaintances secretly recruited by the Stasi. In other words, ... trying to cause *real* mental illness by relentlessly gaslighting selected individual dissidents until they cracked.

John Grudlos, January 26, 2018 at 9:49 am

 

President Trump accuses critics, the media of with hunt. And he is right. It is witch hunt of neoliberal MSM against the President  who have the courage (at least during his election campaign) to call things with their proper names and to question neoliberal globalization and redistribution of wealth up, leaving Rust Belt without jobs and without perspectives.  but witch hunt is not the whole story.  This witch hunt is just a part of color Revolution against Trump.

President Trump accuses critics, the media of with hunt. And he is right. It is witch hunt of neoliberal MSM against the President  who have the courage (at least during his election campaign) to call things with their proper names and to question neoliberal globalization and redistribution of wealth up, leaving Rust belt without jobs and without perspectives.

Wolff book  is just a recent example of unrelenting campaign to discredit Trump and force him to abandon his  position. And look at all those "kid gloves" interviews with Wolff in neoliberal MSM. And there are other in pipeline -- such  as Kurtz book which will be published at the end of January (see preview at  The Washington Post, Jan 22, 2018)

Media's treatment of Trump is a classic, textbook case of demonization of the elected leader of country, an essential part of preparation by intelligence agencies of a color revolution against him. Paradoxically this american Don_Quixote Trump fought back and managed to shred the neoliberal MSM credibility, especially CNN and MSNBC.

A Suffolk University poll last month showed Fox News viewers have an unfavorable view of the media by a margin off 64-24. Another survey showed 76 percent of Republicans think the media makes up stories about Trump. And a Quinnipiac poll in November showed 91 percent of Republicans disapproved of how the media covered Trump and just 10 percent trusted the media more than Trump.

This new Trump book could do even more damage than Michael Wolff’s. Here’s why., WaPo, Jan 22, 2018

One tell sign of a color revolution  is when the media use too many anonymous sources when detailing what happens behind the scenes at the White House:

Unnamed sources are way overused, especially by major news outlets. People are allowed to take cheap shots without their names attached. They are empowered to engage in political sniping from behind a curtain of anonymity. And top news executives know this.

This abuse of anonymous sources hiding under the curtain of anonymity and weak slander laws which require public figure to prove malicious intent to win in court is a trademark feature of witch hung against Trump.

The media and Hollywood are fully behind this “Resistance to Trump” smear campaign. This would be rather hilarious, if it was not for all gravitas with which the neoliberal MSM are trying to reverse the last election results (in close cooperation with the intelligence agencies).

Actually the USA media coverage of Trump after elections reminds us once again, that key MSM in the USA used to be controlled by CIA. And  this might still be the case. So theoretically we can suspect who is behind  the curtain  and who is paying for all this dirty show. As well as who is organizing this stream of leaks and salacious detail (Steele dossier via FBI contractor Fusion GPS and Wolff's book via former Iraq War reporter turned sleazy gossip columnist ( look at his interview  to Bill Maher Jan 18, 2018 ) are two nice examples of the genre. As somebody said about Christopher Steele, the author of Stele dossier "former MI6 agents are never ex" And they are using their full bag of tricks they learned at the agencies.

This "war with the reality" of neoliberal MSM, which are ready to defend neoliberalism and globalization against nationalism and isolationalism to the last American,  will continue tot he last day of Trump presidency.  This #neverTrump campaign also reveals several ugly truths about neoliberal MSM and neoliberal "aversion to the truth". And  first of all that MSM does not act independently but in close cooperation with (and individual journalist often with funding by) intelligence agencies. This is very true about the color revolution against Trump:

SethPoor -> BennyBoy Jan 22, 2018 9:47 AM Permalink

For example, now it is known that FBI contractor Fusion GPS paid some  journalists to blackmail Trump  (redstate.com, Jan 07, 2018):

Why is Fusion GPS fighting so hard to resist the subpoena? Because the redacted records already released showed Fusion GPS paying money to journalists and to media organizations.

We don’t know if these payments were for pushing the totally irrelevant Trump dossier but we can be very sure that we will soon know the names of the journalists and organizations involved.

Being Trotskyism for the rich, neoliberalism not only reuses all Soviet propaganda tricks on a new technological level, it also inevitably creates a new nomenklatura, part of which can be called "national security parasites". Along with  fincancial "masters of the universe" or top 0.1%) they controls a leion share of national wealth (redistribution of wealth up is the goal of neoliberalism).  so huge military expences feed greedy "national security elite" which in the level of greed does not differ much from the financial elite.  This formation of a cast of "national security parasites" is part of parcel of the more general process of the gradual corruption and degeneration of the political elite.  Or how it is now called the "Washington swamp." or simple the swamp. 

This new role of "national security parasites" -- a deeply entrenched in Washington caste of bureaucrats with exorbitant (for government) salaries who are essentially "enjoying their life" in Washington, DC, while understaffed and underfunded field personnel during all the heavy lifting is a completly new phenomenon.  the level of infestation of intelligence againces is such they they now are capable to influence elections.  Worries of this caste were increased by Trump promises to cut Washington bureaucracy and send some of those Washington "fat cats" to field positions. This perspective might be yet another trigger points of the color revolution against him.

In this sense it looks  like the US political situation after Trump victory is starting to mirror the Eastern European situation under Communism with the security agencies representing  independent and formidable political force.

This is poorly understood but this political change with the intelligence agencies assuming a political role is the key to understanding of the current witch hunt against Trump. It is this development that made launching a color revolution against Trump possible.

And while public stopped trusting neoliberal MSM like CNN and MSNBC, the atmosphere was successfully poisoned.

In this sense that only reliable source of new remain foright sites on Internet (including some maligned by neoliberal MSM) and small web sites, as well as YouTube broadcasts.

They are now a new Samizdat. And this trend clearly worries the establishment (see comments to Are the Clintons Israeli Agents - The Unz Review). 

There are clear analogies here between Trump victory and Brexit and most US voters understand that they need to fight “big banks and hell-bent on neoliberal globalization financial elite” like UK voters did:

...the British politician, who was invited by Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, will draw parallels between what he sees as the inspirational story of Brexit and Trump’s campaign. Farage will describe the Republican’s campaign as a similar crusade by grassroots activists against “big banks and global political insiders” and how those who feel disaffected and disenfranchised can become involved in populist, rightwing politics. With Trump lagging in the polls, just as Brexit did prior to the vote on the referendum, Farage will also hearten supporters by insisting that they can prove pundits and oddsmakers wrong as well.

This message resonates with the Trump campaign’s efforts to reach out to blue collar voters who have become disillusioned with American politics, while also adding a unique flair to Trump’s never staid campaign rallies.

... ... ...

“I am going to say to people in this country that the circumstances, the similarities, the parallels between the people who voted Brexit and the people who could beat Clinton in a few weeks time here in America are uncanny,” Farage told Super Talk Mississippi. “If they want things to change they have get up out of their chairs and go out and fight for it. It can happen. We’ve just proved it.”

“I am being careful,” he added when asked if he supported the controversial Republican nominee. “It’s not for me as a foreign politician to say who you should vote for ... All I will say is that if you vote for Hillary Clinton, then nothing will change. She represents the very politics that we’ve just broken through the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.”

What they do not understand is that intelligence agencies also have  their own elite and it is no less dangerous then the financial elite. They also tent to control MSM competing and allying in this task with the financial elite (CIA was actually created by a Wall Street lawyers, such as Allen Dulles) .  A more general question that arise in this context is: "Can any country with powerful intelligence agencies be  a republic or a democracy?"

And another related question is "Can MSM in a country with powerful intelligence agencies exist outside of their control?".


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Old News ;-)

[Jun 18, 2018] There was a strong commercial component in the sense that the accounts that the Russians are accused of creating were used to essentially, as a scheme in which vendors would pay them money for retweets at sometimes $25 to $50 a pop. It seems to me that there is both a commercial motive here as well as a political

Jun 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

UserFriendly | Jun 17, 2018 10:52:26 PM | 18

Re Aaron Mate
It's entirely possible he reads you regularly and saw your post when you first published, but on 2/20/18 :

AARON MATÉ: Let's talk about the indictment, Max. Reading through it, the prosecution alleges some clear political motives, a preference, basically, for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and a strong distaste for Hillary Clinton, also support for some, also, the encouragement of Russian trolls to disparage Republicans like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

There does appear to be some political motives there in whatever the Russians, whatever these alleged suspects were doing. But also, there's a strong commercial component in the sense that the accounts that the Russians are accused of creating were used to essentially, as a scheme in which vendors would pay them money for retweets at sometimes $25 to $50 a pop.

It seems to me that there is both a commercial motive here as well as a political imperative, as well. I'm wondering your thoughts on what this indictment tells us.

So your Tweet on 6/5/18 wasn't telling him anything he hadn't already said publicly.

[Jun 13, 2018] The trial was postponed because the defendant planed to show up to his own trial

I can't believe in the USA the prosecutor is asking the judge not to let the defendant see the evidence against them .
From comments: "Mueller's face [on the photo] looks like he is out on a limb and badly needs to take a restroom break."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:22 Permalink

The trial was postponed because the defendant planed to show up to his own trial. That just sounds wrong.

ebear -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:12 Permalink

"In this case it's a euphemism for sleaze."

Oh it's way more than that. That is the kind of language Oliver Wendell Holmes would have used back in the day. It also brings to mind Samuel Clemens. This is a very sharp team indeed.

Ristretto X4 -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

*Definition of pettifogger. 1 : a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable : shyster. 2 : one given to quibbling over trifles.

So, pretty much every bar member?

OverTheHedge -> apocalypticbrother Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

To quote the immortal Derek and Clive:

"Laugh? I nearly shat!"

...and that is all the comment necessary on tnis.

The Man from Uncle -> y3maxx Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:59 Permalink

Mule-er basically drew to an inside straight, and got busted. The Russkies called his bluff, and his hand is 7-8-10-Jack-four. Sorry, Ereberto, no nine, just a "nein." Discovery is a bitch! I suspect that further developments are going to be highly entertaining. Judge: "can we see your evidence of wrongdoing." Mule-er: "That's highly classified."

IOW, "We got nuthin'."

platyops -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:55 Permalink

In its earliest English uses, "pettifogger" was two separate words: "pettie fogger." "Pettie" was a variant spelling of "petty," a reasonable inclusion in a word for someone who is disreputable and small-minded.

That is Meuller!

Keep Stacking

Versengetorix -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Actually this is the third time a Federal Judge has used the term against the Mueller team. It's accurate and it is beginning to stick.

ironmace -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

pettifog:

  1. to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
  2. to carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
  3. to practice chicanery of any sort.

I had to look it up.

archaic: to practice legal deception.

good word.

Gaius Frakkin' -> Zip_the_Zap Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

Maybe if Mueller resigned and spent some time away from DC to travel the country he'd realize the division in America is real and not a Russian ploy.

He's either incompetent for not knowing or a complete shill for pushing a narrative he knows is false. Pick one.

nidaar -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

"After indicted Russians actually show up in court"

Puhahahaha

No one could see that comin' right Mueller?

Shift For Brains -> BarkingCat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

Who would have believed decent Americans would ever applaud Russians kicking the shit out of federal law enforcement? Do I hear "The World Turned Upside Down" in the distance? Should Mueller change his name to Cornwallis?

aelfheld -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

Why can't he be a complete, incompetent, shill?

i poop pink ic -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

How about "corrupt" shill? Remember, Mueller headed the FBI before and after the 9/11 attacks. Did Mueller's FBI investigate? No; they covered up for 9/11 perpetrators. Thanks a lot Mueller.

I Am Jack's Ma -> Bastiat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

but what's the crime?

political speech? conspiring to engage in political speech?

clickbait ads on the internet?

Being Russian?

Being against Hillary Clinton?

I'm waiting for someone to explain what the alleged actual crime is - and why Mueller isn't prosecuting the 1st Amendment?

jin187 -> Bastiat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

If I were the judge, I would refuse any motion Mueller makes to avoid releasing evidence, and if he doesn't do it within a matter of hours, his entire staff would be getting perp walked for contempt. Let Mueller manage his investigation from a prison cell, like some drug kingpin.

shortonoil -> jin187 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

The US government has already wasted $200 million on this stupid "pettifoggery". Some one, any one, put an end to this ridiculous dog and pony show. Mueller, and the Justice Dept. are now the laughing stock of the world. We need to save a little face, and have this SOB shot for the good of the nation. This Prick doesn't give two shits for the American people, or the nation that he is paid to serve.

The_Dude -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:14 Permalink

These guys were likely just pushing click-bait on Facebook. And since it is election season, it is easy for them to riff off the candidates.

Mueller giving it any legitimacy shows he is either out of touch with how the internet works or has his own special case of Trump derangement syndrome.

Rufus Temblor -> MoreFreedom Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

If producing propaganda to change the outcome of an election is a crime, then the entire democrat party should be put in jail.

ChargingHandle -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:49 Permalink

Accuse others for which you are guilty is in the dnc handbook. The only illegal activity involved the DNC, team Hillary, and operatives in the FBI, CIA, DOJ, and the IRS.

Unknown User -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

Apparently Mueller has a novel legal theory that Russians are not protected under the 1st Amendment in US.

are we there yet -> gmrpeabody Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

Mueller's face looks like he is out on a limb and badly needs to take a restroom break.

Rufus Temblor -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:24 Permalink

This indictment is a total fujkin joke. In Mueller's world he can charge you with a crime but refuse to show the evidence. Proves that he has no interest in serving justice. His goals are to defame and bankrupt enemies of the deep swamp.

Thordoom -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

When the truth comes out and i was Russian company or individual affected by this assholes i would sue US for lost business and for defamation and demand reparations and let THe black Jesus and Clinton Killer Gang and their lackies pay for it.

PlayMoney -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

Last thing in the world ole Bobby wants is to go to trial. This is going to be quite entertaining.

Buster Cherry -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:57 Permalink

A summons is a summons. It is an ORDER by a court to be present.

Since when does a court need to have a summons be " formally accepted???"

This shit needs to seriously blow up in Mueller's face, hopefully decapitating him in the process.

Scipio Africanuz -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:05 Permalink

Is this how the Republic dies? Via strangulation of the First Amendment?

When JFK called himself a Berliner, was he a German citizen?...

When Reagan interfered in German affairs, by proclaiming "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", was he a German citizen?

When Obama advised Britain not to exit the EU, was he a British citizen?

Folks, what's sauce for the goose, is same for the gander!...

I Am Jack's Ma -> nmewn Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:39 Permalink

malicious prosecution?

malicious prosecution - SCOTUSblog

http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/Kossis_Book.pdf

nmewn -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:44 Permalink

Yes, very good links but, this is different in my opinion.

Mueller attempted to bring a criminal domestic case against international personas that he is now unwilling to go through the discovery process with (his claim) because of...wait for it...national security.

He never intended or wanted for this case to go to trial (but he had to show "something" for his efforts) it is malpractice (at the American bar level) and he knew it when he filed it.

When a prosecutor files charges against anyone (here) he is in essence saying "We have the evidence to prosecute your honor and we are going to show it to you." now he is saying he can't or will not produce that evidence in the venue he chose to prosecute in.

Probably because he (and his crack Hillary lawyers) didn't do the homework required until after filing charges (idiot fucktard that he and they are...lol) as Concord's new CEO is none other than one Dimitry Utkin, founder of the Wagner Group, a Rodnover, for whatever thats worth ;-)

whosyerdaddy -> Countrybunkererd Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:03 Permalink

It's not just embarrassing it's criminal. He wants unlimited scope to find "something". He indicts Russians knowing they won't show up for court or so he thought and now he wants to limit the evidence because he has no hand. Don't interfere with your enemy when he's mucking it up. Mueller is going to be indicted for all of this, Uranium One being the least of his problems. If Mr. Mueller wants to question me the first thing I say is how much money did you give Whitey Bulger?

currency Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:58 Permalink

Muller got caught, tried to make headlines with Real Russians thinking they would not show up and one did he is now in a PANIC - Muller needs to produce the evidence or shut up and go away with his band of 13 anti Trump staff.

Do us a favor Muller RESIGN

SmittyinLA Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:00 Permalink

"The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters."

Cough cough, none of that is illegal, 1st Amendment, even for Russians

[Jun 13, 2018] Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court Zero Hedge

Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, according to Bloomberg .

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters .

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

"The substance of the government's evidence identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in interference operations like those charged in the present indictment," prosecutors wrote.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations ," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors wrote. - Bloomberg

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

And Concord Management decided to fight it...

As Powerline notes, Mueller probably didn't see that coming - and the indictment itself was perhaps nothing more than a PR stunt to bolster the Russian interference narrative.

I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys -- Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm -- filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting . Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico here . - Powerline Blog

Politico' s Gerstein notes that by defending against the charges, " Concord could force prosecutors to turn over discovery about how the case was assembled as well as evidence that might undermine the prosecution's theories ."

In a mad scramble to put the brakes on the case, Mueller's team tried to delay the trial - saying that Concord never formally accepted the court summons related to the case , wrapping themselves in a "cloud of confusion" as Powerline puts it. "Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained."

The Judge, Dabney Friedrich - a Trump appointee, didn't buy it - denying Mueller a delay in the high-profile trial.

The Russians hit back - filing a response to let the court know that " [Concord] voluntarily appeared through counsel as provided for in [the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure], and further intends to enter a plea of not guilty . [Concord] has not sought a limited appearance nor has it moved to quash the summons. As such, the briefing sought by the Special Counsel's motion is pettifoggery. "

And the Judge agreed ...

A federal judge has rejected special counsel Robert Mueller's request to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a brief order Saturday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich offered no explanation for her decision to deny a request prosecutors made Friday to put off the scheduled Wednesday arraignment for Concord Management and Consulting, one of the three firms charged in the case . - Politico

In other words, Mueller was denied the opportunity to kick the can down the road, forcing him to produce the requested evidence or withdraw the indictment , potentially jeopardizing the PR aspect of the entire "Trump collusion" probe.

And now Mueller is pointing to Russian "interference operations" in a last-ditch effort .

Of note, Facebook VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, tossed a major hand grenade in the "pro-Trump" Russian meddling narrative in February when he fired off a series of tweets the day of the Russian indictments. Most notably, Goldman pointed out that the majority of advertising purchased by Russians on Facebook occurred after the election, were hardly pro-Trump, and they was designed to "sow discord and divide Americans", something which Americans have been quite adept at doing on their own ever since the Fed decided to unleash a record class, wealth, income divide by keeping capital markets artificially afloat at any cost.

me title=


gmrpeabody -> Arnold Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:58 Permalink

The charges are redacted, your Honor.., but he sure is guilty just the same.

I Am Jack's Ma -> gmrpeabody Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:05 Permalink

The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters .

...

"knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Wait a minute, hold on - what exactly is the 'crime' here? Facebook ads that said Clinton sucks? That's a crime now? I'm missing something obviously - I just don't know what. Anyone willing and able to shed light on the crime alleged here?

How about CNN and NYT absolutely slanted and biased coverage? [And no - 'the press' in the 1st Amendment meant and means still the written word, not news corporations].

So far as I know "meddling" isn't a crime outside of Scooby Doo cartoons and MSNBC

Bastiat -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:12 Permalink

The nerve of them to: a) show up; and b) demand to see the evidence against them. What they hell to those damn Russians think this is?

philipat -> Oliver Klozoff Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

I believe that Mueller is, rightly, being told to "Put up or shut up"? The discovery phase should be very interesting and the only way to avoid that is to drop the charges, which will indeed completely destroy Mueller's PR strategy. And with it, what remains of his credibility...

Mr. Universe -> Leakanthrophy Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

I can picture Mueller sitting at the poker table with a huge stack. As he looks over his hand, with a sly look on his face and a wink, he goes all in. Surprise suprise, they call his bet. Now we wait for the reveal except that Bobby is screaming, wait, no fair, it was an accident, I didn't mean to go all in. Turn those machines back on! The dealer then looks him dead in the eye and says "Tough shit" as he turns over Mueller's losing hand.

JRobby -> Mr. Universe Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:15 Permalink

"Laugh Track Deafening !!!!!"

Called Mueller's bluff. Discovery could be a "back breaker".

janus -> JRobby Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:37 Permalink

mueller, you are so screwed. so supremely and royally screwed. now your investigation is coming to a crashing halt without POTUS having to step in. all that was ever needed is transparency. and now the good guys will have the IG report, Session's investigation, the declassification of spy-gate materials and discovery from your Keystone cop operation all at once.

best timeline ever.

take it from janus, extracting a troll from the interwebs and thinking you can crush him IRL ALWAYS blows up in your face.

the only way you can win the game is with the deck stacked like a tower in your favor and warping the rules to effect a desired outcome. tptb, you are up against superior people with superior minds animated by an indomitable will. devastating defeat is inevitable.

surrender now,

janus

monkeyshine -> janus Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:12 Permalink

They have a right to a speedy trial. They have a right to see the evidence against them. They have a right to interview witnesses.

Pettifoggers will pettifogger, but they will be pasquinaded by the defense and the court will show its disapprobation.

bh2 -> monkeyshine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

"the government believes"

Whatever happened to "the government will prove " as a basis of conviction?

The government "believes". But we don't have any actual evidence we can provide the court. You'll just have to take our word for it.

Good grief. How perfectly Star Chamber.

These people should be embarrassed to even show up before an honest judge.

monkeyshine -> bh2 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

That is part of the defense's argument. Many are asking "what is the actual crime" being charged. Mueller charged them with campaign finance violations and failing to register as a foreign agent. These crimes have a high burden of proof in that they require the state to prove that the defendant knowingly broke the laws. No foreign corporation has ever been charged with these crimes before. And the defense argues that there is nothing in the indictment to show that they knew they were breaking these laws - hence no way to prove the case against them. They also raise the 1st Amendment as defense saying political speech is protected.

SybilDefense -> monkeyshine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 23:06 Permalink

Did/do these companies have any other function besides buying $500 worth of "I Like Trump" ads like selling something? So only Americans can have free speech in America, unless you identify you and your coworkers as foreign free speech speaker-people? It sounds too tricky. Only a progressive could figure out the legalities involved, as they are the free speech professionals. The rest of us must get permission first, and then it will only be grafted IF we say things that are officially approved by the free speech Nazi party.

Just think if these Ruskies could have voted! It would have been 30-40 more Trump votes and he would have really really won bigly.

Can't Mueller be prosecuted himself if he knows there is no collusion or whatever... No Russian anything, yet he continues to steal tax payer monies to fabricate false leads? He has no incentive to be honest or to limit the investigation and if having the case remain open benefits his party affiliates and he himself financially. If I got hired to do a one day job and lied to make it a one year job, wouldn't that be theft of services?? The cuss must show or he must go!

The pettifoggin dickbrain bitchfuck!

are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:09 Permalink

Kangaroo...Mueller...Kangaroo...
Kangaroo Mueller is a good nickname....surprised Trump has not used it.

[Jun 03, 2018] Amid Russiagate Hysteria, What Are The Facts

Jun 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Sat, 06/02/2018 - 18:45 Authored by Jack Matlock via The Nation,

We must end this Russophobic insanity...

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

That saying - often misattributed to Euripides - comes to mind most mornings when I pick up The New York Times and read the latest "Russiagate" headlines, which are frequently featured across two or three columns on the front page above the fold. This is an almost daily reminder of the hysteria that dominates our Congress and much of our media.

A glaring example, just one of many from recent months, arrived at my door on February 17. My outrage spiked when I opened to the Times' lead editorial : "Stop Letting the Russians Get Away With It, Mr. Trump." I had to ask myself:

"Did the Times' editors perform even the rudiments of due diligence before they climbed on their high horse in this long editorial, which excoriated 'Russia' (not individual Russians) for 'interference' in the election and demanded increased sanctions against Russia 'to protect American democracy'?"

It had never occurred to me that our admittedly dysfunctional political system is so weak, undeveloped, or diseased that inept internet trolls could damage it. If that is the case, we better look at a lot of other countries as well, not just Russia!

The New York Times, of course, is not the only offender. Their editorial attitude has been duplicated or exaggerated by most other media outlets in the United States, electronic and print. Unless there is a mass shooting in progress, it can be hard to find a discussion of anything else on CNN. Increasingly, both in Congress and in our media, it has been accepted as a fact that "Russia" interfered in the 2016 election.

So what are the facts?

  1. It is a fact that some Russians paid people to act as online trolls and bought advertisements on Facebook during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Most of these were taken from elsewhere, and they comprised a tiny fraction of all the advertisements purchased on Facebook during this period. This continued after the election and included organizing a demonstration against President-elect Trump.
  2. It is a fact that e-mails in the memory of the Democratic National Committee's computer were furnished to Wikileaks. The US intelligence agencies that issued the January 2017 report were confident that Russians hacked the e-mails and supplied them to Wikileaks, but offered no evidence to substantiate their claim. Even if one accepts that Russians were the perpetrators, however, the e-mails were genuine, as the US intelligence report certified. I have always thought that the truth was supposed to make us free, not degrade our democracy.
  3. It is a fact that the Russian government established a sophisticated television service (RT) that purveyed entertainment, news, and -- yes -- propaganda to foreign audiences, including those in the United States. Its audience is several magnitudes smaller than that of Fox News. Basically, its task is to picture Russia in more favorable light than has been available in Western media. There has been no analysis of its effect, if any, on voting in the United States. The January 2017 US intelligence report states at the outset, "We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election." Nevertheless, that report has been cited repeatedly by politicians and the media as having done so.
  4. It is a fact that many senior Russian officials (though not all, by any means) expressed a preference for Trump's candidacy. After all, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had compared President Putin to Hitler and had urged more active US military intervention abroad, while Trump had said it would be better to cooperate with Russia than to treat it as an enemy. It should not require the judgment of professional analysts to understand why many Russians would find Trump's statements more congenial than Clinton's. On a personal level, most of my Russian friends and contacts were dubious of Trump, but all resented the Clinton's Russophobic tone, as well as those made by Obama from 2014 onward. They considered Obama's public comment that "Russia doesn't make anything" a gratuitous insult (which it was), and were alarmed by Clinton's expressed desire to provide additional military support to the "moderates" in Syria. But the average Russian, and certainly the typical Putin administration official, understood Trump's comments as favoring improved relations, which they definitely favored.
  5. There is no evidence that Russian leaders thought Trump would win or that they could have a direct influence on the outcome. This is an allegation that has not been substantiated. The January 2017 report from the intelligence community actually states that Russian leaders, like most others, thought Clinton would be elected.
  6. There is no evidence that Russian activities had any tangible impact on the outcome of the election. Nobody seems to have done even a superficial study of the effect Russian actions actually had on the vote. The intelligence-community report, however, states explicitly, "the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying." Also both former FBI director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers have testified that there is no proof Russian activities had an effect on the vote count.
  7. There is also no evidence that there was direct coordination between the Trump campaign (hardly a well-organized effort) and Russian officials. The indictments brought by the special prosecutor so far are either for lying to the FBI or for offenses unrelated to the campaign such as money laundering or not registering as a foreign agent.

So, what is the most important fact regarding the 2016 US presidential election?

The most important fact, obscured in Russiagate hysteria, is that Americans elected Trump under the terms set forth in the Constitution. Americans created the Electoral College, which allows a candidate with the minority of popular votes to become president. Americans were those who gerrymandered electoral districts to rig them in favor of a given political party. The Supreme Court issued the infamous Citizens United decision that allows corporate financing of candidates for political office. (Hey, money talks and exercises freedom of speech; corporations are people!) Americans created a Senate that is anything but democratic since it gives disproportionate representation to states with relatively small populations. It was American senators who established non-democratic procedures that allow minorities, even sometimes single senators, to block legislation or confirmation of appointments.

Now, that does not mean that Trump's presidency is good for the country just because Americans elected him. In my opinion, the 2016 presidential and congressional elections pose an imminent danger to the republic. They have created potential disasters that will severely try the checks and balances built into our Constitution. This is especially true since both houses of Congress are controlled by the Republican Party, which itself represents fewer voters than the opposition party.

I did not personally vote for Trump, but I consider the charges that Russian actions interfered in the election, or - for that matter - damaged the quality of our democracy ludicrous, pathetic, and shameful.

" Ludicrous " because there is no logical reason to think that anything that the Russians did affected how people voted. In the past, when Soviet leaders tried to influence American elections, it backfired -- as foreign interference usually does everywhere. In 1984, Yuri Andropov, the then Soviet leader made preventing Ronald Reagan's reelection the second-most-important task of the KGB. (The first was to detect US plans for a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union.) Everything the Soviets did -- in painting Reagan out to be a warmonger while Andropov refused to negotiate on nuclear weapons -- helped Reagan win 49 out of 50 states.

" Pathetic " because it is clear that the Democratic Party lost the election. Yes, it won the popular vote, but presidents are not elected by popular vote. To blame someone else for one's own mistakes is a pathetic case of self-deception.

" Shameful " because it is an evasion of responsibility. It prevents the Democrats, and those Republicans who want responsible, fact-based government in Washington, from concentrating on practical ways to reduce the threat the Trump presidency poses to our political values and even to our future existence. After all, Trump would not be president if the Republican Party had not nominated him. He also is most unlikely to have won the Electoral College if the Democrats had nominated someone -- almost anyone -- other than the candidate they chose, or if that candidate had run a more competent campaign. I don't argue that any of this was fair, or rational, but then who is so naive as to assume that American politics are either fair or rational?

Instead of facing the facts and coping with the current reality, the Russiagate promoters in both the government and the media, are diverting our attention from the real threats.

I should add "dangerous" to those three adjectives. "Dangerous" because making an enemy of Russia, the other nuclear superpower -- yes, there are still two -- comes as close to political insanity as anything I can think of. Denying global warming may rank up there too in the long run, but only nuclear weapons pose, by their very existence in the quantities that are on station in Russia and the United States, an immediate threat to mankind -- not just to the United States and Russia and not just to "civilization." The sad, frequently forgotten fact is that since the creation of nuclear weapons, mankind has the capacity to destroy itself and join other extinct species.

In their first meeting, President Ronald Reagan and then General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev agreed that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought." Both believed that simple and obvious truth and their conviction enabled them to set both countries on a course that ended the Cold War. We should think hard to determine how and why that simple and obvious truth has been ignored of late by the governments of both countries.

We must desist from our current Russophobic insanity and encourage Presidents Trump and Putin to restore cooperation in issues of nuclear safety, non-proliferation, control of nuclear materials, and nuclear-arms reduction. This is in the vital interest of both the United States and Russia. That is the central issue on which sane governments, and sane publics, would focus their attention. Vote up! 8 Vote down! 2

ebworthen Sat, 06/02/2018 - 18:47 Permalink

Witch hunt.

Stan522 -> ebworthen Sat, 06/02/2018 - 18:56 Permalink

The facts are whatever the media wants to make em....

[May 24, 2018] Most probably Veselnitskaya was a false flag operation to entrap Trump campaign played by British intelligence

Notable quotes:
"... FUsion GPS arranged the meeting at trump tower. ..."
"... IF Misfud told papaD that he had access to Hillary's emails, why did they not bother looking for him for 9 months and then let him walk free? Because he was a set up. ..."
May 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Merasmus , May 21, 2018 at 12:36 am

'Collusion' would mean actively conspiring with a foreign government. To this day there is no evidence that the Russian lawyer was working for the Russian government (I have seen some media simply assert that she has Kremlin 'connections', whatever that's supposed to mean). Also, why exactly would the Trump campaign have any need to meet with someone promising dirt if, as the Steele Dossier claims, Trump had been a Russian agent for 5 years? The Kremlin would surely have already been providing any possible dirt, and more besides.

And is this really where we are now? Is this what we've come to? Russia is a country of 144 million people. Is simply being Russian, or talking to a Russian, now a crime? Because that's what our current atmosphere seems to think. It's shocking to see so many people, especially supposedly tolerant and multicultural liberals, ignore any distinction between a government and private citizens, and engage in what can only be called bigotry about 'Russians'. Replace 'Russian' with 'Jew', or a slur like 'Jap', and how incredibly ugly the atmosphere has become in the last 18 months or so becomes obvious.

That Trump is comically corrupt is a given. But the two central claims of Russiagate were that a. Trump is a Russian agent (or at least being blackmailed by Russia), and that b. Russia in some way hacked or interfered in the election to get Trump elected. There is, to this day, exactly zero evidence for either.

No, his son meeting with a Russian citizen promising political dirt (even if dirt had been exchanged, which it wasn't because she was lying and just wanted to get a meeting to lobby for some business interests), doesn't constitute 'collusion', or interference by a foreign government.

Nor does some St. Petersburg company spending a paltry amount of money to run a clickbait ad revenue scheme on Facebook. Nor do Macedonian teenagers running troll accounts (Macedonia isn't even in Russia, and to this day I've never seen any evidence that any Russian, much less the Russian government, is behind their activities).

The above two are especially damning, because they make it painfully obvious that Russiagate has exactly nothing. In the absence of any evidence that Russia hacked the election, proponents have been forced to venture far and wide to find something, anything, they can remotely pin on Russia. A few hundred thousand dollars spent on social media ads, including ads for Clinton and Sanders, many of which were seen by literally no one, and half of which didn't run until AFTER the election? Are you freaking kidding me?

As for 'shady Russian money', maybe Trump has taken some. It certainly wouldn't surprise me that he's done something like launder money for Russian oligarchs. Now prove to me took money from the Russian government. Because, again, those are two very different prospects. And if you think the Kremlin and Russian oligarchs are interchangeable or in lockstep with each other, you clearly don't know much about recent Russian history.

The Russiagate claim wasn't that Trump is skeevy and corrupt. Of course he is. The claim is that he is corrupt in very specific ways, ways that constitute treason.

Vivian O'Blivion , May 21, 2018 at 6:30 am

Marasmus.

Difficult to argue with any of your points.

Mueller has filed charges against some of the staff in the St Petersburg operation, if you can connect Trump to this entity then cooperation becomes criminal collusion. As charges have already been filed it matters not whether the St Petersburg staff are private or state employees.

The fact that America has laws prohibiting foreign interference in its elections is I guess understandable, but hypocritical and exceptionalist in the extreme given the cart blanch attitude America takes to interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.

The Donald Jr meeting with Russians is just a rats nest of conflicting stupidities. If as many others state (and I don't disagree) everyone tries to get dirt on the opposition and foreign sources of information are regularly tapped, then the secret is not to get caught. The Democrats have a plausible cut out (or two) in place between the Russian sources for the Steele dossier and themselves.

As Steve Bannon has stated, meeting directly with the Russians was weapons grade stupid, but hey it's Don Jr. and Jared Kushner we're talking about.

The really odd part is that the Russians would attend given that they must have known that their names would be logged by the Secret Service detail providing security for the Republican candidate. To me, this does not suggest an attempt to help Trump as "their man", but rather to dirty by association a candidate that could become President. This interpretation would concur with analysis of the activities of the St Petersburg operation, which was to sow chaos into American social and political discourse.

andy--s , May 23, 2018 at 12:13 am

Heres the problem with that.
FUsion GPS arranged the meeting at trump tower. The Russians paid them to connect with the trump campaign in order to discuss the magnitsky act. They did not come to the meeting with any notion of DIRT. Trump Jr was told they had DIRT.

THe problem the FBI has, is that they never investigated the Russian contacts to the extent that they investigated the Americans being contacted. Dig? :) IF Misfud told papaD that he had access to Hillary's emails, why did they not bother looking for him for 9 months and then let him walk free? Because he was a set up.

PapaD got nailed for not being able to remember if the meeting was the tuesday prior or after joing the trump Campaign. It doesnt make sense unless the FBI was looking to spy

Homer Jay , May 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Let's all assume for one second that all the fantasies of Russia gate are true. That every Russian that Trump and his associates/family ever had any contact with are directed by Putin himself. Who believes for one second that this collusion has had more of a negative impact 2016 election then the collusion that occured between Clinton and the DNC to subvert Sanders, Clinton and the media to 1st subvert Sanders and then Trump (side note, why doesn't Clinton/MSM collusion against Trump balance with the Trump/Russian collusion for Trump?) How about the collusion between Wall Street and the DNC to such an extent that Citi Group was exposed as having picked Obama's cabinet. And then let's remember that the Trump collusion with Kremlin has alot of guilt by association through 6 degrees of separation and the Clinton/DNC/MSM/Wall Street collusion was proven in black and white through the publication of Clinton/DNC/Podesta emails in Wikileaks.

That this point gets ignored by the MSM, is proof to me that they have lost all objectivity.

andy--s , May 23, 2018 at 12:16 am

MOre so.. Homer If Clintons personal server was a nothing burger not worthy of a single indictment, then why was it a national security issue when some stranger offered the emails to Papadopoulos? They didnt bother investigating the stranger. they investigated Papadopoulos!

Nobody will touch that with a ten foot poll in the main stream media.

[May 24, 2018] Let us consider the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian delegation. As Steve Bannon stated, meeting with the Russians at a venue under Secret Service control was monumentally stupid. The Russians intelligence can't have been that dumb.

May 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Vivian O'Blivion , May 19, 2018 at 8:09 am

strngr
You cite quite a number of examples, presumably without detailed knowledge of few, if any. I will not fall into the same trap.

The Brexit vote was an outbreak of mass hysteria amongst English and Welsh working class voters. The sentiment that powered the grass roots "rebellion" against the perceived wisdom of the ruling elite was understandable frustration at social and economic neglect. My guess is that in this regard it was a mirror of the rise of Trumpism. Interestingly Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a substantially stronger margin than England voted to leave, because there was already established a vivid, informed, grass roots political discourse mainly based on Scottish social media. The Brexit outcome was influenced by some pretty underhand digital media manipulation, but those doing the manipulation were domestic and hard right wing, not Russian. The Guardian cannot be considered a source of untainted information, it is increasingly Atlantasist and Zionist.

The Scottish independence vote in 2014 was heavily influenced by digital media but it was entirely indigenous and grass roots. There was no credible claim of Russian interference then or since. The Daily Express is a far right rag owned at the time of the article you cite by a pornographer, and deeply unpleasant Zionist.

Over to a more general discussion.

Is there on any level a Russian state programme using a digital platform to influence politics and social cohesion in other states? Frankly I would be astonished if there wasn't.

The UK has had the British Council working out of its embassies since the beginning of time.

The American State Department has been creating and financing Atlantasist think tanks and associations for decades to skew British politics to meet American ends.

I doubt there is a country on the planet that has not felt the malign influence of the State Department or CIA.

In the circumstances, Russia would be entirely justified in operating troll factories and similar vehicles.

Next, what would the objectives of a Russian cyber operation be in the run up to the American Presidential election? All academic evaluation of content believed to originate in Russia and to be presented as domestic American input, suggests that the goal of the intervention was to sew discord and chaos in society. That is to say that the Kremlin did not have a favoured candidate.

How effective would the efforts of the St Petersburg troll factory be in exasperating social divisions? My guess is that it would have been analogous with taking a hair dryer outside in a category 5 hurricane.

Let us consider the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian delegation. As Steve Bannon stated, meeting with the Russians at a venue under Secret Service control was monumentally stupid. Monumentally stupid is entirely believable of Donald Jr., Jared Kushner and possibly Manafort, but the Russians can't have been that dumb. By meeting at a venue where their names would be openly logged by the State, they would be sabotaging any serious attempt to "get their man into the White House", if that was their true goal. Taking this into account, the object of the meeting from a Russian perspective can only have been to generate chaos. Seventeen months on in the new administration and if I were them I would be awarding myself an A+.

Try this though experiment and subdue your moral indignation at Russian interference for a minute. In the circumstances is Russia entitled to do that which it you accuse it of? I will not offer an answer to the question I pose, I am genuinely asking that you try and project to see an alternative perspective.

[May 16, 2018] 'No focus on Russian activities' - Donald Jr. on Trump Tower meeting in interview transcripts -- RT US News

Notable quotes:
"... "hear them out." ..."
"... "no focus on Russian activities" ..."
"... "the most embarrassing thing you've ever asked me to do" ..."
"... "complete loss of time" ..."
"... "answered every question asked" ..."
"... "I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry," ..."
"... "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the Committee." ..."
May 16, 2018 | www.rt.com

The 2016 Trump Tower meeting set up to reveal dirt on Hillary Clinton "infuriated" Jared Kushner, was a "waste of time" and had nothing to do with Clinton, according to transcripts of interviews with the meeting's participants. The US Senate Judiciary Committee has released more than 1,800 pages of transcripts, which provide new insight into the controversial meeting during which Donald Trump Jr, along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was expecting to receive "dirt" on Hillary Clinton from Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Overall, the newly-released documents seem to indicate that a short 20-minute meeting resulted in hours of interviews and thousands of pages of documents for little reason.

In the transcripts, Trump Jr. said that he was skeptical that Rob Goldstone, the publicist who had been the first to contact him about a meeting, had colleagues who possessed incriminating information about Clinton, but said felt he should at least "hear them out." Read more © RT 'Wasting taxpayers' money': Lawyer Veselnitskaya talks Trump's dossier & Fusion GPS

He also said that it was important to note that when he accepted the invitation to go to the meeting there was "no focus on Russian activities" surrounding the campaign and claimed that Goldstone had not even confirmed the names of the attendees who would join them at the meeting.

Goldstone had set up the meeting on behalf of Russian musical artist Emin Agaralov, the son of a wealthy Russian businessman, but revealed in his interview that he later told Agaralov that the meeting was "the most embarrassing thing you've ever asked me to do" given that it ended up having nothing to do with Clinton. Goldstone also revealed that Veselnitskaya's apparently Clinton-free presentation in the meeting had "infuriated" Kushner.

In another indication that the meeting was not supposed to be a top-secret attempt for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia, Goldstone also revealed that he "checked in" to Trump Tower on Facebook when he arrived.

In a supplemental interview, Goldstone also told investigators that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not able to meet Trump during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, but invited him through a phone call with his spokesman Dmitry Peskov, organized by Agaralov, to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi instead. According to Goldstone, Peskov said Putin would be happy to meet him there -- but that meeting did not end up happening.

Anatoli Samochornov, a Russian translator who attended the meeting, said that no one present had said the Russian government either supported Trump or opposed Clinton for president. He also said there were no offers from the Russian side to release hacked emails, hack voting totals or anything else.

The other translator present, Ike Kaveladze, said he spoke to Agaralov about two hours after the meeting and told him it was a "complete loss of time" and a "useless" meeting.

The committee released the thousands of pages of transcripts along with hundreds of additional pages of related material, including the interviews with Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and translators Samochornov and Kaveladze.

Read more A woman passes by the Al Jazeera America broadcast center in New York City, January 13, 2016 © Brendan McDermid 'Weapon of mass suppression': Russiagate now used to target any dissent in US – Max Blumenthal

The meeting has been the subject of controversy, particularly the question of whether then-candidate Trump knew about it. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has looked closely at the meeting as part of his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which has not yet turned up any evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia.

Following the publication of the documents, Trump Jr. said they showed that he "answered every question asked" by the committee.

"I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry," he said in a statement. "The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the Committee."

Those who were present at the meeting said Veselnitskaya did not provide any 'dirt' on Clinton and instead focused on discussing the overturning of US sanctions placed on Russia under the Magnitsky Act. Those sanctions, which impose US entry bans and asset freezes on Russians alleged to have been involved in human rights abuses, are still in place and have since been expanded , most recently in December 2017 when five more Russian nationals were added to the Magnitsky List. 'No focus on Russian activities' - Donald Jr. on Trump Tower meeting in interview transcripts Democrats & Russians 'laughing' at 'witch hunt' collusion probe – Trump 'No focus on Russian activities' - Donald Jr. on Trump Tower meeting in interview transcripts 'Story of my meeting with Trump Jr. has been manipulated' - Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya

[May 16, 2018] Documents Show Promise, and Letdown, Around Trump Tower Meeting

Note how NYT try to hide the fact that the meeting was most probably yet another a false flag operation (along with Steele dossier) to implicate Russia staged with the help of a person connected to British intelligence service, Mr. Goldstone, a British music promoter. That in an interesting fact in additional to CIA mode within Trump campaign.
Notable quotes:
"... The intermediary, Rob Goldstone, told the committee that he proposed a second meeting between the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and members of Mr. Trump's team in November 2016. He said he contacted Mr. Trump's longtime executive assistant at the behest of Aras Agalarov, a Russia-based billionaire who knows Mr. Putin. ..."
May 16, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Most of the participants in the meeting have already publicly described their version of events. Nonetheless, the records reveal some new details about the players involved and what happened after the meeting was reported by The New York Times last summer.

Among them: Six months after the Trump Tower meeting , an intermediary contacted Donald J. Trump's office asking for a follow-up, the newly released documents showed.

The intermediary, Rob Goldstone, told the committee that he proposed a second meeting between the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and members of Mr. Trump's team in November 2016. He said he contacted Mr. Trump's longtime executive assistant at the behest of Aras Agalarov, a Russia-based billionaire who knows Mr. Putin.

The second session never took place. But the invitation shows the determination of Russians with close Kremlin connections to convince the Trump team that the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on a host of Russian officials for human rights abuses, was a mistake. The 2012 law, which froze the bank accounts of some Russian officials and barred them from entering the United States, infuriated Mr. Putin.

In a late November 2016 email to Mr. Trump's assistant, Mr. Goldstone, a British music promoter, attached a three-page document marked "confidential" that called for "the launch of a congressional investigation into the circumstances of passing the Magnitsky Act." He wrote that Mr. Agalarov hoped the document would be delivered to "the appropriate team." Ms. Veselnitskaya also attacked the law in the June meeting.

The transcripts also highlight how lawyers for the Trump Organization tried to manage the fallout by coordinating the statements of Mr. Goldstone and others.

In testimony, Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged that his father may have helped draft the statement that he put out to the press after the meeting became public, but he said that they had not discussed the meeting when it happened.

[May 13, 2018] Trump's Penis Is It Presidential by Douglas Valentine

Notable quotes:
"... According to Giuliani, setting up shell companies is a trick people of wealth learned from either the Israeli Mafia or the CIA. Though it could be the other way around. ..."
"... Rhetorical question: What could somebody do with $250,000? Answer: pay off two prostitutes! ..."
May 11, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Donald Trump's sex life is nobody's business but his own. And maybe Melania's, if her Pre-Nuptial Agreement (PNA) stipulates that she can sue his fat ass for divorce and receive a huge percentage of his rumored wealth if he cheats on her, too often.

Like the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Trump's fixer, Michael Cohen, signed with porn star Stormy Daniels (who had a quickie with Trump in 2006), prenups and private goon squads are standard fare for people of wealth.

But is Trump wealthy? And if so, where did he get his cash?

Some people say he laundered about $400 million in drug money for the Israeli Mafia's Russian franchise back in the early 1990's, in exchange for everything he ever wanted. I don't know if that's a fact. That's what I hear. People say it. Maybe somebody like Robert Mueller should investigate?

Fox News says the president isn't mobbed up, that everyone in New York City has to work with the Mafia if they want a hotel constructed on time. And that could be true.

But what is Truth? It's impossible to tell anymore.

The Truth could be that either the Deep State or the Israeli Mafia is forcing Trump to do many terrible things he doesn't really want to do. Like deep-sixing the Iran deal. Somebody's fingerprints are all over that baby's behind. Maybe Michael Cohen knows? Somebody should ask him.

Trump is obviously a victim of either the Deep State or the Israeli Mafia and its American franchise. You choose. But consider this: On the same day Trump scrapped the Iran deal, someone said that Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg (who just happens to be Putin's BFF) wired $500,000 into a bank account that hatchet man Cohen (who doubles as Trump's real estate broker) set up for the purpose of issuing the $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels.

I don't know if that's true. Sean Hannity says it isn't true. Rudy Giuliani says it might be true, and that it doesn't matter even if it is True, because people of wealth often set up shell companies to hide their business dealings from the Public Eye, which is their right as people of wealth.

According to Giuliani, setting up shell companies is a trick people of wealth learned from either the Israeli Mafia or the CIA. Though it could be the other way around.

Another one of Trump's prerogatives as a person of wealth is the right to charge people money to play with him. Trump's business consultant, Michael Cohen (who may work for the Israeli Mafia, I don't know), funnels such "pay to play" money into the same bank accounts he, Cohen, uses to pay off the women Trump has casual and unsatisfactory (for them ) sex with.

BTW, I forgot to mention it, but Vekselberg's cousin, American citizen Andrew Intrater, donated $250,000 to Trump's inauguration fund.

Rhetorical question: What could somebody do with $250,000? Answer: pay off two prostitutes!

Somebody in the Deep State (which, according to Hannity, is the code name for the Justice Department) knows about this, but let's it happen, because Trump is, after all, a person of wealth with certain rights to privacy.

... ... ...

Stormy, who whipped Trump's fat ass with a copy of Trump Magazine back in 2006, is an eyewitness to The Thing. When asked by Penthouse to compare his penis size to "his fingers," Daniels said, "I don't want to shame anybody."

... ... ...

[May 04, 2018] Attention Hookers: Special Counsel urgently needs your stories. We pay top dollar.

May 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

XXX -> IntercoursetheEU Fri, 05/04/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

Attention Hookers : Special Counsel urgently needs your stories. We pay top dollar. Big tits, role-play, and lying required. Television experience preferred. No drug screening. No background check. Transportation included.

Call 1-800-George-Soros or contact the Law Offices of Wray, Mueller, and Rosenstein, LLC.

[May 04, 2018] Mueller's team questioned Russian billionaire who attended Trump inauguration report TheHill

Any witch hunt has its own dynamics.
May 04, 2018 | thehill.com
Robert Mueller s team of investigators interviewed a Russian billionaire earlier this year, according to a New York Times report .

Investigators stopped the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg at a New York-area airport after he stepped off a private plane, according to the Times. They proceeded to search his electronic devices and question him.

There is no indication that Vekselberg is suspected of wrongdoing. But the search and interview suggests that Mueller's team is homing in on the Trump campaign and inauguration committee's potential ties with Russians.

[May 01, 2018] Smut Night at the Press Dinner by Pat Buchanan

May 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, billed as a celebration of the First Amendment and a tribute to journalists who "speak truth to power," has to be the worst advertisement in memory for our national press corps.

Comedian Michelle Wolf, the guest speaker, recited one filthy joke after another at the expense of President Trump and his people, using words that would have gotten her kicked out of school not so long ago.

Media critic Howard Kurtz said he had "never seen a performance like that," adding that Wolf "was not only nasty but dropping F-bombs on live television." Some of her stuff was grungier than that.

The anti-Trump media at the black-tie dinner laughed and whooped it up, and occasionally "oohed" as Wolf went too far even for them, lending confirmation to Trump's depiction of who and what they are.

While the journalistic elite at the black-tie dinner was reveling in the raw sewage served up by Wolf, Trump had just wrapped up a rally in Michigan.

The contrast between the two assemblies could not have been more stark. We are truly two Americas now.

"Why would I want to be stuck in a room with a bunch of fake-news liberals who hate me?" said Trump in an email to supporters, adding that he would much rather "spend the evening with my favorite deplorables who love our movement and love America."

[Apr 30, 2018] Stormy Daniels Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Trump Zero Hedge

Apr 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Stormy Daniels' legal team - led by lawyer Michael Avenatti - must be getting bored since a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered a 90-day delay of her lawsuit against President Trump and his former personal attorney Mike Cohen (who has promised to plead the fifth during the proceedings). Because Stormy has filed another defamation lawsuit, this time exclusively against President Trump, as Reuters reports.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in New York on Monday, seeks damages from Trump for a tweet he sent earlier this month where he criticized a composite sketch that, Daniels said, depicted a man who had threatened her in 2011. He reportedly demanded that she stay quiet about her sexual encounter with Trump. That would've been around the time she gave an interview about her affair with Trump to In Touch magazine which wasn't published until recently.

Her previous lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, sought to have her released from an NDA she signed shortly before the 2016 vote where she also accepted a $130,000 "hush money" payment from Cohen.

"A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!," Trump said.

me title=

According to the filing, cited by the Associate Press and Reuters, the tweet was "false and defamatory" arguing that Trump knew what he was saying out Daniels' claim was false and also disparaging.

The lawsuit also claims Daniels has been exposed to death threats and other threats of "physical violence."

Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.

"We intend on teaching Mr. Trump that you cannot simply make things up about someone and disseminate them without serious consequences," Avenatti said.

As the Associated Press points out, Daniels, aided by Avenatti, has sought to keep her case in the public eye. She revealed the sketch that Trump mocked during an appearance on the View earlier this month. Trump is facing another defamation lawsuit in New York, this one filed by Summer Zervos, a former "The Apprentice" contestant who says Trump made unwanted sexual contact with her in 2007. She sued him after Trump dismissed her claims. 0


Slippery Slope -> JimmyJones Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:23 Permalink

When does her 15 minutes end?

bobbbny -> Bitchface-KILLAH Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:24 Permalink

Just like herpes she won't go away.

beepbop -> bobbbny Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:25 Permalink

The LAWSUITS will keep on coming

until Trump agrees to Satanyahoo's ULTIMATUM

of destroying SYRIA and IRAN.

TheWholeYearInn -> beepbop Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:29 Permalink

" Now, that your tastes at this time should incline towards the juvenile is understandable; but for you to marry that boy would be a disaster. Because there's two kinds of women. There are two kinds of women and you, as we well know, are not the first kind. You, my dear, are a slut. "

~Komarovsky

Ghost of Porky -> TheWholeYearInn Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:33 Permalink

Stormy's parents are Trump supporters and Stormy hates them.

This is all a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Shitonya Serfs -> Ghost of Porky Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:34 Permalink

"you cannot simply make things up about someone and disseminate them without serious consequences"

#MeToo

Bitchface-KILLAH -> Stan522 Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:27 Permalink

Monica Lewinsky... good family, intern... major credibility problems according to MSM.

Stormy Daniels... washed up porno actress... MSM "sure we'll roll with that"

tmosley Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:22 Permalink

She literally sketched her old boyfriend.

That will happen when you are describing what someone who doesn't exist looks like. You picture someone you know and make them look like that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy9Z-Tg6ufU

ZH FNG Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

On an earlier Stormy story, someone posted these words of wisdom about intimacy:

A gentleman never talks,

And a whore never shuts up.

jmack Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

"We intend on teaching Mr. Trump that you cannot simply make things up about someone and disseminate them without serious consequences," Avenatti said.

oh the irony.

sister tika Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

This cow makes me nauseous. She's a pathetic, has-been punch whose only motivation is (more) money.

Mzhen Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

Communication purportedly from Stormy to a friend, where she again denied the sex ever happened.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbtS8LdTUfI&t=336s

Fox-Scully Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

"We intend on teaching THE PRESS that you cannot simply make things up about someone and disseminate them without serious consequences," Avenatti said.

Now it is correct.

Stevious Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:34 Permalink

To prove damages under defamation first someone must believe the defamatory content and second, more importantly, damage must have been done.

Damage what, to the reputation of a stripper?

JoeTurner Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:39 Permalink

Who's paying this filthy whore ? Where are the "journalists" to follow the money ?

wally_12 Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:40 Permalink

Sold out performance at the strip club in Detroit. Trying to squeeze out as much as possible before her boobs and butt sag lower.

NYC80 Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:47 Permalink

It has to be really, really hard to defame a porn star.

Hikikomori Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:49 Permalink

Interesting that the Great White Hope of the Democrats in 2018 is a blackmailing prostitute. On the other hand, probably better than Hillary....

SmittyinLA Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:55 Permalink

Damages? What damages? Her income has no doubt spiked.

No case, no damages, nobody givesashit.

Al Huxley Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:56 Permalink

That's why they're called gold digging whores.

[Apr 30, 2018] NBC tried to eliminate and may be sunk Kelly

Trump is definitely not an idiot: Donald Trump, 1998 - BBC HARDtalk - YouTube
Notable quotes:
"... "He doesn't even understand what DACA is. He's an idiot," Kelly said in one meeting, according to two officials who were present. "We've got to save him from himself." ..."
"... According to NBC's sources, Kelly has been hiding behind his public image as a four-star, while in truth operating in an "undisciplined and indiscreet" manner. "The private manner aides describe may shed new light on why Kelly now finds himself -- just nine months into the job -- grappling with diminished influence and a drumbeat of questions about how long he'll remain at the White House . ..."
Apr 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
"Total BS" - Kelly Slams "Pathetic Smear Attempt"; Trump Blasts NBC's "Totally Unhinged" 'Idiot' Report by Tyler Durden Mon, - 16:56 156 SHARES

* * *

White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly been undermining morale in the West Wing in recent months - commenting to aides that President Trump is an idiot, while touting himself as the "savior of the country," reports NBC News , citing "eight current and former White House officials."

The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe , curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as "an idiot" multiple times to underscore his point , according to four officials who say they've witnessed the comments. - NBC News

NBC notes that three White House spokespeople say the "idiot" thing just isn't true, and he may have spoken in jest about saving the country.

In one heated exchange between the two men before February's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Kelly strongly -- and successfully -- dissuaded Trump from ordering the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula , according to two officials.

For Kelly, the exchange underscored the reasoning behind one of his common refrains, which multiple officials described as some version of " I'm the one saving the country. "

"The strong implication being ' if I weren't here we would've entered WWIII or the president would have been impeached ,'" one former senior White House official said. - NBC News

"He doesn't even understand what DACA is. He's an idiot," Kelly said in one meeting, according to two officials who were present. "We've got to save him from himself."

According to NBC's sources, Kelly has been hiding behind his public image as a four-star, while in truth operating in an "undisciplined and indiscreet" manner. "The private manner aides describe may shed new light on why Kelly now finds himself -- just nine months into the job -- grappling with diminished influence and a drumbeat of questions about how long he'll remain at the White House ."

"He says stuff you can't believe," one senior White House official tells NBC News . " He'll say it and you think, 'That is not what you should be saying. '"

According to presidential historian Michael Beschloss, Kelly's comments about Trump vs. prior White House chiefs of "suggest a lack of respect for the sitting president of a kind that we haven't seen before," adding that the closest would have to be President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, Don Regan, who "somewhat looked down on" The Gipper, and eventually lost Reagan's support - having been replaced after two years by Howard Baker.

Meanwhile, insults or not, Trump is said to have soured on Kelly - and is aware of some, "though not all" of Kelly's comments. And as NBC News points out, " The last time it became public that one of Trump's top advisers insulted his intelligence behind his back, it didn't go over well with the president . White House aides have said Trump never got over former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling him a "moron" in front of colleagues , which was first reported by NBC News. Trump later challenged Tillerson to an IQ test and fired him several months after the remark became public."

Current and former White House officials said Kelly has at times made remarks that have rattled female staffers . Kelly has told aides multiple times that women are more emotional than men , including at least once in front of the president, four current and former officials said.

And during a firestorm in February over accusations of domestic abuse against then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter, Kelly wondered aloud how much more Porter would have to endure before his honor could be restored , according to three officials who were present for the comments. He also questioned why Porter's ex-wives wouldn't just move on based on the information he said he had about his marriages, the officials said.

So in addition to Kelly allegedly calling Trump an idiot, he's also a misogynist, according to NBC.

Kelly is expected to leave by July - his one-year mark, according to sources, however others say it's anyone's guess. That said, "what's clear is both Trump and Kelly seem to have tired of each other."

" Kelly appears to be less engaged, which may be to the president's detriment ," a second senior White House official said. If NBC is correct, we're about to once again play White House Musical Chairs.

That said, when reached for comment, Kelly that it's all more fake news:

"He and I both know this story is total BS. I am committed to the president, his agenda, and our country. This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump... "

One hopes that is the case, then again one also remembers the Rex Tillerson incident...

[Apr 13, 2018] No, the FBI's Michael Cohen Raid Did Not Violate Attorney-Client Privilege by Bruce Fein

Notable quotes:
"... Cohen acknowledged that he paid porn star "Stormy Daniels" $130,000 two weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her staying silent about her 2006 affair with Trump. No one pays for silence unless there is something to hide. The payment was made 10 years after the alleged dalliance. ..."
"... The obvious purpose was to influence the outcome of the election by concealing damaging information about Mr. Trump's character. That made Mr. Cohen's payment an undisclosed campaign "contribution" to Mr. Trump vastly exceeding the individual statutory limit of $2,700. ..."
"... Maybe you should have picked an example where the defendant wasn't acquitted. It's easy to see how an expansive definition of the term "campaign contribution" could be dangerous. ..."
Apr 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

So what of these charges against Cohen and could they really hurt the president?

Federal election laws define a campaign contribution as "anything of value given to influence a Federal election." It is common knowledge that Mr. Cohen acknowledged that he paid porn star "Stormy Daniels" $130,000 two weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her staying silent about her 2006 affair with Trump. No one pays for silence unless there is something to hide. The payment was made 10 years after the alleged dalliance.

The obvious purpose was to influence the outcome of the election by concealing damaging information about Mr. Trump's character. That made Mr. Cohen's payment an undisclosed campaign "contribution" to Mr. Trump vastly exceeding the individual statutory limit of $2,700.

Similarly, Democrat John Edwards was prosecuted (later acquitted) for soliciting and spending nearly $1 million in his 2008 presidential campaign to conceal his affair with Rielle Hunter, so this is not a crime normally brushed under the rug. The public record also establishes probable cause to believe Cohen was behind the payment of $150,000 to Playboy Bunny Karen McDougall to kill her story about a protracted extramarital relationship with Mr. Trump that could have torpedoed his presidential ambitions. The question remains, of course, how much this will implicate and hurt Trump, who has denied the affair with Daniels and any other "wrongdoing." Cohen said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and was not reimbursed by Trump or the campaign.

JK April 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm

John Edwards was acquited on one charge and a mistrial on five others w/o retrial. So there was no conviction there, these actions are not business as usual, and the DOJ lesson from that case should have been to cease such abusive prosecutorial misconduct, not to repeat it. These examples show why campaign finance restrictions are an unconstitutional burden on freedom of association. Trump is a rich man, so could afford to pay the hush money if he believed it necessary without it being a crime. As it appears, Cohen believed it important to pay w/o asking Trump, thinking he's helping a friend. Now what of Edwards? Maybe Edwards couldn't afford to pay hush money, so he needed and solicited help from friends. By making it a crime for friends to help him, the law favors rich candidates like Trump that can afford to do things others can't without breaking the law.

There is zero chance of a jury conviction here, so DOJ shouldn't have pursued it given the incendiary effect of conducting raids on someone's attorney. Furthermore, there's zero chance of Muller getting jury convictions on the pile of horse manure prosecutions he's pursuing. The only convictions Muller is getting is from people buckling under the fiduciary extortion inherent in his tactics and copping a plea even though a jury would never convict them.

curri , says: April 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm
So who do we believe, Dershowitz or Fein?

Similarly, Democrat John Edwards was prosecuted for soliciting and spending nearly $1 million in his 2008 presidential campaign to conceal his affair with Rielle Hunter, so this is not a crime normally brushed under the rug.

Maybe you should have picked an example where the defendant wasn't acquitted. It's easy to see how an expansive definition of the term "campaign contribution" could be dangerous.

[Apr 11, 2018] History repeats itself. An investigation motivated by some alleged abuse deploys drift nets, finds nothing so it changes the focus to the sexual history of the target.

Apr 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman | Apr 11, 2018 10:28:34 AM | 76

Re: the fate of Trump.

History repeats itself. An investigation motivated by some alleged abuse deploys drift nets, finds nothing so it changes the focus to the sexual history of the target. Hush money for consensual sex is legal as far as I know -- I do not know the law, but it became known and studiously ignored by the special prosecutor. So he tries to discover any possible past deal that is somehow illegal, and recorded as illegal? A bit of a fat chance.

[Apr 10, 2018] Federal probe into Trump's lawyer seeks records about two women who alleged affairs with the president by Devlin Barrett at all

Looks like Rosenstein is after Trump. he authorized this action.
Notable quotes:
"... Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who personally approved the move to seek a search warrant for Cohen's records, which included raids Monday on his home and office, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation. ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com

Federal prosecutors investigating President Trump's personal attorney, Michael D. Cohen, are seeking records related to two women who received payments in 2016 after alleging affairs with Trump years ago -- adult-film star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The interest in both Daniels and McDougal indicates that federal investigators are trying to determine whether there was a broader pattern or strategy among Trump associates to buy the silence of women whose accounts could harm the president's electoral chances and whether any crimes were committed in doing so, the person said.

... ... ...

The high stakes of the case were underscored by the involvement of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who personally approved the move to seek a search warrant for Cohen's records, which included raids Monday on his home and office, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

Rosenstein's role has infuriated Trump, who was left "stunned" and "livid" by the aggressive move by prosecutors Monday, according to an outside adviser in frequent touch with the White House.

Cohen, Trump's longtime attorney, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, The Washington Post reported Monday.

[Apr 01, 2018] All the President s Women by Andrew Levine

This is probably the most vicious attack on Trump trangressions that i encountered so far...
Notable quotes:
"... The problem for Trump is that what his accusers are saying puts him in legal and political jeopardy. They are claiming, in effect, that he has committed a variety of unlawful and impeachable offenses – from obstruction of justice to violations of campaign finance laws. ..."
"... The Clinton-Lewinsky dalliance led to a series of events that prevented Clinton from doing even more harm to our feeble welfare state institutions than he would otherwise have done. ..."
"... Fire and Fury ..."
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

There is no doubt about it: Stormy Daniels is a formidable woman. Karen McDougal is no slouch either, though she is hard to admire after that riff, in her Anderson Cooper interview, about how religious and Republican she is; she even said that she used to love the Donald. Stormy Daniels is better than that.

How wonderfully appropriate it would be if she were to become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.

Even in a world as topsy-turvy as ours has become, there has to be a final straw.

To be sure, evidence of Trump's vileness, incompetence, and mental instability is accumulating at breakneck speed, and there are polls now that show support for him holding fast or even slightly rising. Trump's hardcore "base" seems more determined than ever to stand by their man.

But even people as benighted as they are bound to realize eventually that they have been had. Many of them already do, but don't care; they hate Clinton Democrats that much. This is understandable, but foolish; so foolish, in fact, that they can hardly keep it up indefinitely.

To think otherwise is to despair for the human race.

What, if anything, can bring them to their senses in time for the 2018 election?

Stormy Daniels says she only wants to tell her story, not bring Trump down. But her political instincts seem decent, and she is one shrewd lady. Therefore, I would not be the least surprised if that is not quite true. It hardly matters, though, what her intentions are; I'd put my money on her.

A recession might also do the trick. A recession is long overdue, and Trump's tax cut for the rich and his tariffs are sure to make its consequences worse when it happens.

To turn significant portions of Trump's base against him, a major military conflagration might also do -- not the kind Barack Obama favored, fought far away and out of public view, but a real war, televised on CNN, and waged against an enemy state like North Korea or Iran. It would have to go quickly and disastrously wrong, though, in ways that even willfully blind, terminally obtuse Trump supporters could not fail to see.

Or the gods could smile upon us, causing Trump's exercise regimen (sitting in golf carts) and his fat-ridden, cholesterol rich diet to catch up with him, as it would with most other sedentary septuagenarians. The only downside would be that a heart attack or stroke might elicit sympathy for the poor bastard. No sane person could or should hope for a calamitous economic downturn or for yet another devastating, pointless, and manifestly unjust war, especially one that could become a war to end all wars (along with everything else), on the off-chance that some good might come of it. And if the best we can do is hope that cheeseburgers with fries will save us, we are grasping at straws.

These are compelling reasons to hope that the accusations made by Daniels and McDougal and Summer Zervos – and other consensual and non-consensual Trump victims and "playmates" – gain traction. If the several defamation lawsuits now in the works can get the president deposed, this is not out of the question.

The problem for Trump is not that his accusers' revelations will cause his base to defect; no matter how salacious their stories and no matter how believable they may be. Trump's moral turpitude is taken for granted in their circles; and they do not care about the myriad ways his words and deeds offend the dignity of the office he holds or embarrass the country he purports to put "first." If any of that mattered to them, they would have jumped ship long ago.

Except perhaps for unreconstructed racists and certifiable sociopaths, white evangelicals are Trump's strongest supporters. What a despicable bunch of hypocrites they are! As long as Trump delivers on their agendas, his salacious escapades don't faze them at all. Godly folk have evidently changed a good deal since the Cotton Mather days.

What has not changed is their seemingly limitless ability to believe nonsense.

And in case light somehow does manage to shine through, Trump has shown them how to restore the darkness they crave. When cognitive dissonance threatens, all they need do is scream "fake news."

The problem for Trump is that what his accusers are saying puts him in legal and political jeopardy. They are claiming, in effect, that he has committed a variety of unlawful and impeachable offenses – from obstruction of justice to violations of campaign finance laws.

In this case as in so many others, it is the cover-up, not the underlying "crime," that could lead to his undoing – especially if the stories Daniels and the others are telling shed light upon or otherwise connect with or meld into Robert Mueller's investigation of (alleged) Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election.

Trump could and probably will survive their charges. His base is such a preternaturally obdurate lot that there may ultimately be no last straw for them. We may have no choice, in the end, but to despair for a sizeable chunk of the human race.

Stormy Daniels would not be any less admirable on that account. She took Trump on and came out on top. For all the world (minus the willfully blind) to see, she, the porn star, is a strong woman who has her life together, while he, the president, is a discombobulated sleaze ball who is leading himself and his country to ruin.

***

It was different with Monica Lewinsky, another presidential paramour who, almost two decades ago, also held the world's attention.

There was nothing sleazy or venal about Lewinsky's involvement with Bill Clinton; and, for all I know, unless chastity counts, she is as good and virtuous a person as can be. But personal qualities are not what made her affair with our forty-second president as historically significant as it turned out to be.

It would be fair to say that of all the women who have ever had intimate knowledge of that old horn dog's private parts, there is no one who did more good for her country. If only for that, if there were a heaven, there would be special place in it just for her.

The Clinton-Lewinsky dalliance led to a series of events that prevented Clinton from doing even more harm to our feeble welfare state institutions than he would otherwise have done.

Who knows how much progress he would have turned back had he and Monica never done the deed or at least not been found out. Building on groundwork laid down by Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush, he and his wife had already terminated Aid to Families With Dependent Children, one of the main government programs aimed at relieving poverty. This was to be just the first step in "ending welfare as we know it."

With their "donors" pushing for more austerity, those two neoliberal pioneers were itching to begin privatizing other, more widely supported social programs, including even Social Security, the so-called "third rail" of American politics.

The "Lewinsky matter" put the kybosh on that idea, leaving the American people forever in Monica's debt.

Back in the Kennedy days, Mel Brook's two-thousand year old man got it right when he said: presidents "gotta do it," to which he added – " because if they don't do it to their wives and girlfriends, they do it to the nation."

Stormy Daniels made much the same point ten years ago, while flirting with the idea of running against Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Vitter's political career had been almost ruined when his name turned up in the phone records of the infamous "DC Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Daniels told voters that, unlike Vitter, she would "screw (them) honestly."

What then are we to make of the fact that Trump screws both the nation and his wife (maybe) and his girlfriends (or whatever they are)?

Blame it on arrested development, on the fact that despite his more than seventy-one years, Trump still has the mind of a teenage boy, one with money and power enough to live out his fantasies.

The contrast with Bill Clinton is stark. Clinton is a philanderer with eclectic tastes, a charming rascal with a broad and mischievous mind. Honkytonk women from Arkansas appeal to him as much as zaftig MOTs from the 90210 area code.

Trump, on the other hand, goes for super-models, Playboy centerfolds, and aspiring beauty queens -- standard teenage fantasy fare.

He seems to have had little trouble living his dreams – not thanks to his magnetic face, form and figure, and certainly not to his refinement, wit or charm, but to his inherited and otherwise ill-gotten wealth.

It is money and the power that follows from it that draws women to his net.

Henry Kissinger understood; recall his musings on the aphrodisiacal properties of power. Even in his prime, that still unindicted war criminal (and later-day Hillary Clinton advisor) was even more repellent than Trump. But that never kept him from having to fight the ladies off.

This fact of life puts a heavy responsibility on the women with whom presidents hook up.

Consider Melania. She made a Faustian bargain when she agreed to become Trump's trophy bride; in return for riches and a soft life in a gilded tower, she sold her soul. She might have thought better of it had she taken the burdens she would incur as First Lady into account, but why would she? The prospect was too improbable.

She has, it seems, a very practical, old world view of marriage, and is therefore tolerant of her husband's womanizing. At the same time, as a mother and daughter, she is, like most immigrants, a strong proponent of old world "family values."

Too much of a proponent perhaps; insofar as her idea was to "chain migrate" her parents out of Slovenia and onto Easy Street, or to raise a kid who would never want for anything, there were less onerous ways of going about it. After all, there are plenty of rich Americans lusting after supermodels out there, and it is a good bet that many of them are less repellent than Trump.

She was irresponsible as well. She ought to have realized that the man she married had already spawned two idiot sons, along with other fruit from the poisonous tree, and that four bad apples in one generation are enough.

And so now she finds herself a single mother – not in theory, of course, but very definitely in practice. Unlike most women in that position, she is not wanting for resources. But it must be a hard slog, even so. To her credit, Melania seems to be handling the burden well. More power to her!

She also deserves credit for her body language when the Donald is around; the contempt she shows for him is wonderful to behold. Best of all is her sense of the absurd. The way she plagiarized from Michelle Obama had obvious comic validity, and making childhood bullying her First Lady cause – all First Ladies have causes -- was a stroke of genius.

On balance, therefore, it is hard not to feel sorry for her. Of all the women in Trump's ambit, she deserves humiliation the least.

The rumor mill has it that with all the publicity about Daniels and the others , she has finally had enough. This may be the case; the old world ethos requires discretion and a concern with appearances. That is not the Donald's way, however, and now she is paying the price.

What a magnificent humiliation it would be if she and Trump were to split up on that account. This could happen soon. I would expect, though, that through a combination of carrots and sticks, Trump and his fixers will find a way to minimize the political effects. More likely still, they will channel Joe Kennedy and Jackie O, and figure out a way to head the problem off.

Then there is poor forgotten Tiffany. Her Wikipedia entry lists her as both a law student and a "socialite." I hope her studious side wins out and that, despite the genes from her father's side, she is at least somewhat decent and smart.

I'd be more confident of that if she would do what Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti, did: use her mother's, not her father's, name. Unless she is a sleaze ball too, a Trump in the Eric and Don Junior mold, that would be a fine way to make a political point.

It would also pay back over the years. With the Trump administration on its current trajectory, who, in a few years' time, would take a Tiffany Trump seriously? A Tiffany Maples would stand a better chance.

Her half-sister, the peerless Ivanka, the Great Blonde Hope, is, of course, her father's sweetie. Let's not go there, however. Her marriage to Jared Kushner is already enough to process.

What a pair those two make; and what a glorious day it will be when the law finally catches up with Jared, as it did with his Trump-like father, Charles. Perhaps he will take Ivanka down a notch or two with him. Despite an almost complete lack of qualifications, Trump made his son-in-law his minister of almost everything; a pretty good gig for a feckless, airhead rich kid. Among other things, Trump enabled him to become Benjamin Netanyahu's ace in the hole. Netanyahu is a Kushner family friend. Netanyahu has more than his share of legal troubles too. Let them all go down together!

Ivanka and Jared are well matched – they share a "business model." It has them exploiting their daddies' connections and money.

Jared peddles real estate; his efforts have gotten his family into serious debt, while putting him in solid with Russian and Eastern European oligarchs, Gulf state emirs, and Mohammad bin Salman – people in comparison with whom his father-in-law seems almost virtuous.

Ivanka sells trinkets and schmatas to people who think the Trump name is cool. There actually are such people; at two hundred grand a pop, Mar-a-Lago is full of them. Ivanka's demographic is made up mostly of their younger set.

Two other presidential women bare mention: Hope Hicks and Nikki Haley. Surely, they both have tales to tell, but it looks, for now, as if their stories would be of little or no prurient interest. Neither of them appear to have been propositioned or groped.

Even though Hicks is said to be like a daughter to the Donald – we know what that could mean! – it is a safe bet that there was nothing of a romantic nature going on between them. For one thing, Hicks seems too close to Ivanka; for another, she is known to have dallied with two Trump subordinates, Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter. The don is hardly the type to let his underlings have at his women.

Haley had to quash a spate of rumors that flared up thanks to some suggestive remarks Michael Wolff made while hawking Fire and Fury . The rumor caught on because people who hadn't yet fully realized what a piece of work Trump is, imagined that something had to be awry inasmuch as her main qualification for representing the United States at the United Nations was an undergraduate degree in accounting. Abject servility to the Israel lobby also helped.

But the Trump administration is full of ambitious miscreants whose views on Israel and Palestine are as abject and servile as hers, and compared to many others in Trump's cabinet she is, if anything, over qualified. Think of neurosurgeon Ben Carson heading the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is qualified because, as a child, he lived in public housing.

With the exception of Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Summer Zervos and whoever else comes forward with a juicy and credible tale to tell, the women currently in the president's ambit, though good for gossip and interesting in the ways that characters on reality TV shows can be, are of little or no political consequence.

This could change if any of them decides to "go rogue," to use an expression from the Sarah Palin days. But, while neither Melania nor Tiffany can yet be judged hopeless, it would be foolish to expect much of anything good to come from either of them.

Stormy, Karen, Summer, and whoever else steps forward are a better bet. They are the only ones with any chance of doing as much for their country and the world as Monica Lewinsky did a generation ago.

Among the president's women, they are a breed apart. This is plainly the case with Stormy Daniels; it is already clear that she deserves what all Trump's money can never buy – honor and esteem. To the extent that the others turn out to be similarly courageous, they will too.

[Apr 01, 2018] Does the average user care if s/he is micro-targetted by political advertisements based on what they already believe?

Highly recommended!
Apr 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

BigJim -> MusicIsYou Sat, 03/31/2018 - 10:20 Permalink

The furor is all about the "illegitimate" victories of Brexit and Trump's campaign. Does the average user care if s/he is micro-targetted by political advertisements based on what they already believe?

No, because they already believe they're right, so what's wrong with a little confirmation bias? Most of us spend significant amounts of energy seeking out sources of information confirming what we already believe; micro-targetting just makes our lives that little bit less effortful.

[Mar 28, 2018] Forget policies, the Stormy Daniels affair shows how far US politics has sunk by Ben Jakobs

Mar 28, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

As the porn star's allegations show, discourse in Washington is shifting to something more tawdry and celebrity-oriented

... The idea of a porn star appearing on network television to share details of a sexual encounter with the US commander in chief would have been intellectually confounding at any other moment in time. Instead, the interview, which took place only few days after a former Playboy playmate, Karen McDougal , talked about her affair with Trump, seemed a part of the everyday political landscape in 2018.

... Trump may seem like an aberration but instead he may be an inflection point. It's possible that after over two centuries of presidential campaigns with governors, senators and the occasional general, American politics is shifting to something more tawdry and more celebrity-oriented. The often spoken and rarely met ideal in the United States is that political debates should be about issues. But, after a political campaign where candidates debated penis size on a debate stage, it may be the legacy of Trump that politics has permanently descended to locker-room talk.

[Mar 27, 2018] The Stormy Daniels scandal Political warfare in Washington hits a new low by Patrick Martin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Celebrity Apprentice ..."
"... National Enquirer ..."
Mar 27, 2018 | www.wsws.org

The "60 Minutes" broadcast on Sunday night, devoted to rehashing allegations of sexual impropriety and bullying against Donald Trump, marked a new level of degradation for the US political system. For nearly half an hour, an audience of 23 million people tuned in to a discussion of a brief sexual encounter between Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) in 2006.

Trump was then a near-bankrupt real estate and casino mogul, best known for reinventing himself as a television personality. By her account, the proffer of a possible guest appearance on Celebrity Apprentice was the only attraction the 60-year-old Trump had for Daniels, then 27. Trump made promises, but as usual did not deliver.

Earlier in the week, the same interviewer, Anderson Cooper, appearing on CNN instead of CBS, held an hour-long discussion with Karen McDougal, a former Playboy magazine centerfold, who described a year-long relationship with Trump, also in 2006, the year after his marriage to Melania Knauss.

White House officials flatly denied both accounts, but Trump himself has been conspicuously and unusually silent, even on Twitter. His lawyers filed papers with a Los Angeles court, in advance of the "60 Minutes" broadcast, claiming that Daniels was in violation of a confidentiality agreement and could be liable for damages of up to $20 million.

Last Tuesday, a New York state judge turned down a motion by lawyers acting for Trump and refused to dismiss the lawsuit for defamation brought against him by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on another Trump "reality" show, The Apprentice . One of nearly a dozen women who made public charges of sexual harassment against Trump during the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, Zervos alone has sued Trump over his repeated public claims that the women were all liars.

There is little doubt that the accounts by Zervos, McDougal and Daniels are substantially true. Trump has already demonstrated this by attempting to suppress their stories, either through legal action or by purchasing their silence, directly or indirectly. A Trump ally, David Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer tabloid, bought the rights to McDougal's account of her relationship with Trump in 2016 for $150,000, in order not to publish it. Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted last month that he had paid $130,000 to Daniels in October 2016, only weeks before the election, to guarantee her silence.

The bullying tactics of Cohen and other Trump allies add credibility to the claim by Daniels, during her "60 Minutes" interview, that a thug, presumably sent by Cohen, had threatened her with violence in 2011, when she first sought to sell her story about Trump to the media. Daniels offered no evidence to back her claim, but her attorney Michael Avenatti dropped broad hints that Daniels would be able to corroborate much of her account.

Cohen may himself face some legal jeopardy due to his public declaration that he paid Daniels out of his own funds. Given the proximity of the payment to the election, this could well be construed as a cash contribution to the Trump campaign far beyond the $3,500 legal limit for an individual.

The Zervos suit, however, may present the most immediate legal threat, since the next step, after New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer G. Schecter rejected Trump's claim that he has presidential immunity, is to take discovery. In other words, Trump and his closest aides could be required to give sworn depositions about his actions in relation to Zervos and many of the other women.

Justice Schecter cited the precedent of the Paula Jones case against President Bill Clinton, in which the US Supreme Court held that a US president had no immunity from lawsuits over his private actions. While cloaked in democratic rhetoric at the time ("No one is above the law"), that decision actually gave a green light to an anti-democratic conspiracy by ultra-right forces who used the Jones lawsuit to trap Clinton into lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Unlike the 1998-1999 conflict over impeachment, there is no issue of democratic rights involved in the sexual allegations against Trump. Some of the same legal tactics (using sworn depositions to set a perjury trap), are being employed as weapons in an increasingly bitter conflict within the US ruling elite, in which both factions are equally reactionary.

Trump is a representative of the underworld of real estate, casino gambling and reality television, elevated to the presidency because he had the good fortune to run against a deeply unpopular and reactionary shill for Wall Street and the military-intelligence agencies, Hillary Clinton. Under conditions of mounting discontent among working people with the Democratic Party, after eight years of the Obama administration, Trump was able to eke out a narrow victory in the Electoral College.

The Democratic "opposition" to Trump is focused not on his vicious attacks on immigrants, his promotion of racist and neo-fascist elements, his deregulation of business and passage of the biggest tax cut for the wealthy in decades, or his increasingly violent and unhinged foreign policy pronouncements. The Democrats have sought to attack Trump from the right, particularly on the question of US-Russian relations, making use of the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Trump has sought to mollify his critics within the US national security establishment with measures such as a more aggressive US intervention in Syria, the elevation of Gina Haspel, the CIA's chief torturer, to head the agency, and, most recently, the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats as part a NATO-wide campaign aimed at whipping up a war fever against Moscow.

As Trump has made concessions on foreign policy, his opponents have shifted their ground, attacking his behavior towards women. They have sought to link these exposures with the broader #MeToo campaign, which is aimed at creating a witch-hunt atmosphere in Hollywood, the US political system, and more generally throughout American society, in which gender issues are brought forward to conceal and suppress more fundamental class questions.

In both the Russia investigation and now the allegations of sexual misconduct, the Democrats have sought to hide their real political agenda, which is just as reactionary and dangerous as that of Trump and the Republicans. While Trump is pushing towards war with North Korea or Iran, and behind them China, the Democrats and their allies in the national security apparatus seek to maintain the focus on Russia that was developed during the second term of the Obama administration, particularly in Syria, Ukraine and Eastern Europe as a whole, posing the danger of a war between the world's two main nuclear powers.

Beyond the immediate foreign policy issues, the whipping up of sexual scandals is invariably a hallmark of reactionary politics. Such methods appeal to social backwardness, Puritanical prejudices or prurient interest. They contribute nothing to the political education of working people and youth, who must come to understand the fundamental class forces underlying all political phenomena. The political basis for a struggle against Trump is not in designating him as a sexual predator, but in understanding his class role as a front man for the American financial oligarchy, which treats the entire working class, including the female half, as objects of exploitation.

[Mar 27, 2018] US Media Sings A Happy Song That is Why We Should Be Afraid New Eastern Outlook by Caleb Maupin

"The happy song of the US media accompanies another oddly totalitarian trend, the constant blaming of discontent on foreign powers. In the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, Russia was blamed for allegedly fomenting what was already probably the biggest political gap among the US public, the question of gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Russia was accused of both opposing and promoting gun ownership, in order to sew confusion among the public."
" the US [MSM] ... accuses those who disagree at home of being Russian bots"
Notable quotes:
"... the commercially-owned mainstream American press has always had another role: crafting public opinion. A huge amount of US government funds are devoted to handling and managing the media. The government and the political establishment is deeply worried about making sure that the US public thinks in ways that are conducive to their overall goals and strategies. The CIA's project mockingbird, and the cozy relationship between reporters, newspaper owners, and various Presidential administrations is the most blatant example. US Military intelligence agencies have sponsored over 1,800 hollywood films. School textbooks in California and Texas have their academic standards set in a highly politicized process. ..."
"... it also serves a political purpose as a public relations wing of the American elite, a recent trend in US mainstream mass media should be quite disturbing, when carefully analyzed. ..."
"... A dull "everything is OK, calm down" message is suddenly being put forth in an American media that has nothing to gain from it in terms of ratings or newspaper sales. A lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Review by Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker criticized both the political left-wing and right-wing in the USA for their pessimism, and argued in terms of "the big picture" across centuries, that the western liberal democratic capitalist system has proved itself to be very successful. ..."
"... Not only is the US media singing a happy song, but it is now demanding, along with elected officials, that everyone else do the same thing. Russia isn't accused of putting out a particular position, but rather of simply "sewing discord." ..."
"... the US whistles a happy tune, and accuses those who disagree at home of being Russian bots ..."
"... In our high tech world, framing international economic policies as a zero sum game cannot be be expected to have fruitful results. ..."
"... Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook" . ..."
"... https://journal-neo.org/2018/03/05/us-media-sings-a-happy-song-that-is-why-we-should-be-afraid/ ..."
Mar 03, 2018 | journal-neo.org

The understanding that the American press, both TV and print media, thrives on negativity is deeply embedded in the culture, so much so that the theme music to the popular 1990s American TV sit-com "Family Matters" began with the couplet:

Its a rare condition this day and age,
to read any good news on a newspaper page

The US media is a for-profit industry. TV outlets depend on advertising revenue, the value of which depends on ratings. The drive of mainstream American TV news networks is to increase ratings, and make profits. Bad news, scandal, and sensationalism is a way to do that.

However, the commercially-owned mainstream American press has always had another role: crafting public opinion. A huge amount of US government funds are devoted to handling and managing the media. The government and the political establishment is deeply worried about making sure that the US public thinks in ways that are conducive to their overall goals and strategies. The CIA's project mockingbird, and the cozy relationship between reporters, newspaper owners, and various Presidential administrations is the most blatant example. US Military intelligence agencies have sponsored over 1,800 hollywood films. School textbooks in California and Texas have their academic standards set in a highly politicized process.

So, with the understanding that negativity and sensationalism are US media's focus, while it also serves a political purpose as a public relations wing of the American elite, a recent trend in US mainstream mass media should be quite disturbing, when carefully analyzed.

The US media, long known for its negativity intended to grab ratings, is suddenly printing articles, publishing widely circulated books, and featuring commentators all echoing the message: "Don't worry, everything is going to be OK."

This uncharacteristic behavior of American media almost perfectly fits the stereotypical portrayal of government propaganda in supposedly "totalitarian states." Many dystopian science fiction films feature some dark, high tech police state where the controlled press harps on with the message: "Things are going very well, don't worry, just obey."

A dull "everything is OK, calm down" message is suddenly being put forth in an American media that has nothing to gain from it in terms of ratings or newspaper sales. A lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal Weekend Review by Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker criticized both the political left-wing and right-wing in the USA for their pessimism, and argued in terms of "the big picture" across centuries, that the western liberal democratic capitalist system has proved itself to be very successful.

Meanwhile, on February 20th, Public Affairs Books has released a text by Gregg Easterbrook entitled "Its Better Than It Looks." The book has been widely reviewed by the US press. The text assures us that we need to be more positive in our assessment of world events. National Public Radio described the book's message: "Between threats of nuclear war, devastating natural disasters, violence and political division at home, it might feel like things are really bad right now. But not necessarily so, says Gregg Easterbrook. He argues that by a lot of important measures, the United States and the world are on an upward trajectory."

Similar messages have been dancing across American TV screens and radio waves in recent weeks, in a pattern that any careful observer would find peculiar.

A Growing Economic Bubble

Meanwhile, economic news continues to be selectively reported. For example, retail stores across the USA are closing. While US media was previously reporting on the decline of suburban malls and the elimination of retail jobs, suddenly the press is reporting about a rise in retail profits, and hope for the retail sector.

However, all the reports saying that the retail sector is doing well admit that the increase in retail purchases is not taking place at stores, but rather in online sales. The glowing reports about an increase in retail spending all point toward facts that have no bearing on saving the jobs of retail workers, as stores continue to close down. Despite all the talk of a retail boom (on the internet), stores continue to close across the USA, the latest being H&M clothing which closed scores of outlets across the country. Thousands of retail workers have lost their jobs.

Household debt is at record levels, and a lot of purchasing now taking place in the retail market is being done with credit cards. Furthermore, student debt is rising, and with a number of students unable to repay their debt. The student debt markets now face a specter of a potential crash.

Positive numbers on the stock market are certainly a good economic indicator, however, as the stock numbers rise, the population is not seeing an overall rise in its spending power. If Wall Street and Main Street are not rising together, a rise on the stock market simply indicates that the gap between the financialized, fictional Wall Street Casino, and the actual economy is getting larger.

Real economic growth involves the financial sector getting stronger as the population gets richer along with it. The USA hasn't experienced real, sustainable financial growth since the 1950s. "Jobless Recoveries" and other peculiar anomalies show the extent to which Wall Street has insulated itself from the actual conditions of the American people. The result has been the gap between the financial and the real economy expanding for much longer than in the natural boom-bust cycle, making downturns far larger and dramatic.

Artificial growth only lasts so long, and these bubbles tend to burst. As Trump deregulates Wall Street, and rolls back government oversight of the financial sector, all while lowering taxes on corporations, another financial bubble is emerging.

The tone of the press, echoing the mantra of "everything is alright" is oddly reminiscent of 2007 and 2008 as the US economy was moving toward catastrophe. Desperate attempts by the press, politicians, and others to assure us that the economy is fine, while urging us to keep spending money we do not have, should have millions of Americans shouting "We've seen this movie before!"

Blaming Russia for Dissent

The happy song of the US media accompanies another oddly totalitarian trend, the constant blaming of discontent on foreign powers. In the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, Russia was blamed for allegedly fomenting what was already probably the biggest political gap among the US public, the question of gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Russia was accused of both opposing and promoting gun ownership, in order to sew confusion among the public.

Not only is the US media singing a happy song, but it is now demanding, along with elected officials, that everyone else do the same thing. Russia isn't accused of putting out a particular position, but rather of simply "sewing discord." The message behind the endless talk of "bots" and "trolls" is that it is disloyalty and treason to hold dissident or negative assessments of the US political or economic situation. Doing so is allegedly aiding the Russians efforts to harm loyalty and confidence. The insinuation is that all nay-saying and complaint can be traced, somehow, back to Moscow. In order to be a good American, one is expected to simply repeat the media's upbeat and positive message.

Meanwhile, the US media is giving voice to oddly pointed FBI announcements that Americans shouldn't buy Chinese cellphones, and should be suspicious of Chinese University students as potential spies. While China is establishing strong economic ties with France and other countries, the United States is imposing steel tariffs and increasingly cutting itself off from the second largest economy in the world.

At the UN Security Council, the USA and its allies are desperately attempting to prevent the Syrian government from reclaiming the city of Eastern Ghouta. This enclave of Islamic extremists is very near the capital city of Damascus, which is densely populated with pro-government Syrians, many of whom have fled from other parts of the country.

Now that ISIS has been driven from Syria, there is a real fear that the government could win the war, and the longstanding US regime change operation could end in defeat.

As the US whistles a happy tune, and accuses those who disagree at home of being Russian bots , those they deem competitors on the global stage are getting stronger.

The Chinese state controlled machinery of production is marching ahead. Oil prices, a key factor in securing state revenue in Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Angola and Ecuador, are rising.

Political Fallout of a Potential Crash?

If a new financial crisis erupts, as is likely based on indicators, the political implications most likely would mean the demise of the Trump administration. Trump would be voted out of office in 2020, or perhaps even impeached, blamed for the mismanagement that created the fallout.

However, the slim possibility remains that Trump could make such a catastrophic economic situation work in his favor. If Trump were to respond to a financial crash by swiftly pushing his base of supporters into action, pushing forward his proposals for infrastructure, and giving a free hand to his allies in the policing agencies, as he often publicly advocates, the results could be a very swift resolution of the crisis.

In the event of a financial crash, a combination of street authoritarianism and economic arm-twisting, both of which Trump clearly does not oppose, could ultimately let him come out of the rubble looking like a savior. Trump could utilize a crash to become a figure like France's Louis Bonaparte and his "Party of Order" who seized power in 1851.

Regardless of hypotheticals, the "don't be afraid, everything is alright" tone in American media is not a good sign. It indicates that we should all be concerned about what will happen in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the absence of China's concept of "win-win" relations in global trade, and human centered development is deeply disturbing. In our high tech world, framing international economic policies as a zero sum game cannot be be expected to have fruitful results.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook" .

https://journal-neo.org/2018/03/05/us-media-sings-a-happy-song-that-is-why-we-should-be-afraid/

[Mar 26, 2018] Melania Trump was 'furious' after Stormy Daniels reports

Jan 29, 2018 | nypost.com

First lady Melania Trump was reportedly "furious" after the news broke about President Trump's alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Sources close to the couple told the New York Times that Melania was "blindsided" by the reports of her husband's supposed cover-up -- which included $130,000 in hush money, paid out to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election.

She has been trying to stay out of the public eye ever since, the sources said.

Trump's alleged tryst with Daniels, if true, would have taken place just months after Melania gave birth to their son, Barron, in March 2006.

It was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 18. In Touch magazine published a follow-up piece a day later, featuring an interview with the porn vixen from 2011, in which she confessed to the hookup.

Since then, Melania has canceled an overseas trip with the president, made an unplanned visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and even enjoyed some R&R at Mar-a-Lago.

The first lady was reportedly in Florida on Friday while Trump was in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. The impromptu stop in the Sunshine State wound up costing taxpayers about $64,000, according to the Times.

see also Team Trump paid porn star $130K to keep quiet about extramarital affair Team Trump paid porn star $130K to keep quiet about extramarital affair A lawyer for Donald Trump arranged to fork over $130,000... Melania has said very little in the days following the WSJ article.

Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, blasted the affair allegations, saying, "The laundry list of salacious & flat-out false reporting about Mrs. Trump by tabloid publications & TV shows has seeped into 'main stream media' reporting She is focused on her family & role as FLOTUS -- not the unrealistic scenarios being peddled daily by the fake news."

The first lady is expected to reappear alongside her husband Tuesday during his State of the Union address.

"That is the plan," Grisham said.

[Mar 25, 2018] CNN would use any opportunity to smear Trump. Even publishing revelations of a porno star. That does not apply to Bill Clinton behaviour thouth.

I guess there are many women who would provide more explosive evidence about Bill clinton. CNN is just not interested ;-)
Mar 25, 2018 | www.cnn.com

Washington (CNN)

Stormy Daniels was "truthful about having unprotected vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump in July 2006," according to a polygraph test report from 2011.

The report states that the "probability of deception was measured to be less than 1%." It was given to CNN by Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney, and contains three pertinent questions: "Around July 2006, did you have vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump?," "Around July 2006, did you have unprotected sex with Donald Trump?" and "Did Trump say you would get on 'The Apprentice'?"

Another Trump attorney involved in Stormy Daniels case Daniels replied yes to all three questions. The first two were analyzed to be truthful and the third question was "inconclusive," according to the polygraph examiner, Ronald Slay. Polygraphs are generally inadmissible in court.

The polygraph was performed at the request of Bauer Publishing, which owns Life & Style and InTouch magazines, according to the reporter who interviewed Daniels in 2011. Reporter Jordi Lippe-McGraw initially interviewed Daniels for Life & Style magazine. The interview was not published at the time, but Bauer Publishing released it in InTouch magazine earlier this year.

Woman named in Stormy Daniels' document accused Trump of unwanted advances

Avenatti confirmed to CNN that he purchased the video and file of the polygraph test for $25,000. "We did so to ensure that it would be maintained and kept safely during the litigation and not be altered or destroyed," Avenatti said in a statement. "We did so after learning that various parties, including mainstream media organization, were attempting to acquire the video and the file and either destroy it or use it for nefarious means." RELATED: The shaky science of lie detectors Daniels tweeted about the encounter Tuesday afternoon following the release of the polygraph, defending herself and saying she's "not going anywhere."

"Technically I didn't sleep with the POTUS 12 years ago. There was no sleeping (hehe) and he was just a goofy reality TV star. But I digress...People DO care that he lied about it, had me bullied, broke laws to cover it up, etc.

And PS...I am NOT going anywhere. xoxoxo," she wrote.

Technically I didn't sleep with the POTUS 12 years ago. There was no sleeping (hehe) and he was just a goofy reality TV star. But I digress...People DO care that he lied about it, had me bullied, broke laws to cover it up, etc.

And PS...I am NOT going anywhere. xoxoxo https://t.co/Js9sEnanIk

-- Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) March 20, 2018
Lippe-McGraw told CNN on Tuesday that Daniels passed the test in a broader sense. "Based off of the interview, we had her take the polygraph test to confirm the details of what she was telling us. There wasn't much in the way of physical evidence, per se," Lippe-McGraw said, adding that the big-picture question they wanted to confirm was that the affair happened, and that Daniels passed.

Lippe-McGraw said that Daniels told her she had unprotected sex with Trump, because Daniels is allergic to latex and didn't have condoms at the time. Earlier Tuesday, Avenatti tweeted out a photograph of Daniels being administered the test.

The Wall Street Journal first released the details of the polygraph questions and answers. Also on Tuesday, Daniels' friend Alana Evans told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that she and Daniels have received threats over the allegations from people who had previously been in the adult industry. "I have not been made aware that Cohen had physically threatened her. I know in the last few weeks, and the last couple of months, that Stormy and myself have received threats from people in the outside world completely trying to defend Trump and Cohen and calling us liars and threatening us with physical harm, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's stemming from there as well," Evans said. Evans said this included threatening emails, threats to their families and their safety, and threats to release private information.

CNN's Sara Sidner contributed to this report.

[Mar 25, 2018] Stormy Daniels, Trump's Unlikely Foe, Is 'Not Someone to Be Underestimated' by MATT FLEGENHEIMER , REBECCA R. RUIZ and KATIE VAN SYCKLE

NYT became a yellow publication. And their hate of Trump is really visceral (Not that Trump is an ideal President). Which is strange because Trump folded and with hiring of Bolton now is really Hillary in foreign policy (the only difference is sex, but that can be fixed with the sex change operation)
They write about this prostitute with such a sympathy that I suspect that they are involved in the industry too.
Mar 25, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

She is the actress in pornographic films who is suing a sitting president , with whom she said she had a consensual affair, in order to be released from a nondisclosure agreement she reached with his lawyer just before the 2016 election. Over the past two months, she has guided the story of her alleged relationship with President Trump -- and the $130,000 she was paid to keep silent -- into a full-fledged scandal. If Ms. Clifford's court case proceeds, Mr. Trump may have to testify in depositions, and her suit could provide evidence of campaign spending violations. She is scheduled to appear on "60 Minutes" on Sunday.

And if her name has seemed ubiquitous -- repeated on cable television and in the White House briefing room, and plastered on signs outside nightclubs, where her appearance fees have multiplied -- there is this to consider: Unlike most perceived presidential adversaries, about whom Mr. Trump is rarely shy, Ms. Clifford has not been the subject of a single tweet.

To many in the capital, Ms. Clifford, 39, has become an unexpected force. It is she, some in Washington now joke, and not the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who could topple Mr. Trump.

... ... ...

The false-start campaign coincided with a turbulent moment in her personal life, exposing her to scrutiny in the mainstream press. In July 2009, Ms. Clifford was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence after hitting her husband, a performer in the industry, and throwing a potted plant during a fight about laundry and unpaid bills, according to police records. The husband, Michael Mosny, was not injured, and the charge was later dropped. Ms. Clifford had previously been married to another pornographic actor.

She has since married another colleague in the business, Brendon Miller, the father of her now 7-year-old daughter. He is also a drummer and has composed music for her films.

... ... ...

Ms. Clifford has not shown up at competitions since news broke in January that she accepted a financial settlement in October 2016 -- weeks before the election -- agreeing to keep quiet about her alleged intimate relationship with Mr. Trump. She has said the affair, which representatives of Mr. Trump have denied, began in 2006 and extended into 2007, the year she married Mr. Mosny.

Earlier this month, she escalated public attention by filing suit, calling the 2016 contract meaningless given that Mr. Trump had never signed it and revealing that the president's personal lawyer had taken further secret legal action to keep her silent this year.

[Mar 25, 2018] The masses don't care about Stormy Daniels. Who cares? It preceded him being Prez

Mar 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Muppet Sun, 03/25/2018 - 15:40 Permalink

The masses don't care about Stormy Daniels. Of course, Trump used his "art of the deal" to score with likely a hundred of bimbos. Who cares? It preceded him being Prez.

Is like the Facebook article about privacy... most people know the truth and don't need the media view. We know Trump cheated. We know FB is corrupt. By far, Trump is better than the corrupt criminal Clinton's.

[Mar 25, 2018] Melania 'staying in hotel' after Stormy Daniels scandal

Mar 25, 2018 | dailymail.co.uk

Me lania Trump has spent a number of nights at a posh D.C. hotel away from President Trump following allegations of a fling with porn star Stormy Daniels, White House sources told DailyMail.com.

[Mar 25, 2018] Melania Trump Fears More Allegations Of Affairs With Donald Will Emerge After '60 Minutes' Special by Beth Shilliday

Rumors, damaging leaks from anonymous sources. that what neoliberal press is about...
Mar 19, 2018 | hollywoodlife.com

Melania , 47, is terrified that more women could emerge with tales of her husband's infidelity. "Melania is unprepared for more women to come forward with allegations of affairs with Donald. Melania wants to leave, but she is paralyzed with fear. She is bracing the worst and is unsure how to move forward," a Washington D.C. insider tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. Barron , now 11.

"Melania feels stuck with a sinking presidency and she wants to get out before Trump's house of cards comes crashing down around her. She fears what embarrassing revelations Stormy might reveal in her 60 Minutes interview and Melania's greater worries is what impact the revelations may have on the presidency," our source reveals.

...

Trump himself crudely joked about Melania being the next person to leave the White House during a speech at the Gridiron Club Dinner on March 3. Unfortunately, divorcing a sitting president would be unheard of and history making. Melania's pretty much stuck with him as long as he's in the White House, and she still fears he could be cheating on her to this day! "Melania has wanted to divorce Donald, over fidelity issues, since before they landed in the White House. She has long suspected that he has used, and continues to use, Mar-a-Lago as a rendezvous spot for his secret affairs. The Florida location is completely under Donald's control, he is always there, and it is much easier for him to enjoy private meetings at the resort rather than try to meet his mistresses at the White House or around DC or NYC. Melania has pleaded with Donald to stay away from his many trips to Mar-a-Lago , disguised as golfing holidays, but he refuses to give in to her requests," our insider adds.

[Mar 25, 2018] Melania Trump Reportedly Declines Divorce While Donald Is In Office Because Of Their Son Barron

One more rumor from anonymous source propagated by neoliberal MSM
Notable quotes:
"... Jimmy Kimmel Live ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | www.inquisitr.com

Thanks to Barron Trump his parents are not heading for divorce just yet.

When the news broke that U.S. President Donald Trump had an affair with adult star Stormy Daniels, many people assumed that his wife, first lady Melania Trump was going to divorce him. The FLOTUS has been noticed for allegedly refusing to hold her husband's hand in public. Others also spotted her rolling her eyes while the POTUS was greeting a few cheerleaders during the Super Bowl party on February 4. However, the Slovenia native is far from divorcing her husband of 13 years while he is still in the presidential seat for a good reason.

An insider close to Melania Trump recently told Hollywood Life that she is not thinking about making a move to divorce her husband while he is in office because of their son Barron .

According to the source, the 47-year-old former model wants to focus only on the young boy and his well-being. She doesn't want to get distracted with the alleged affair between the POTUS and Stormy Daniels. She apparently wants her family intact for the sake of her 11-year-old son.

... ... ...

Because of her recent actions that didn't go unnoticed, many people believe that Melania Trump is only trying to save her marriage for her son and not just because of being the first lady of the United States. The alleged extramarital affair of her husband and Daniels in 2006 may have caused their marriage to hit a snag. The adult star, though, has been inconsistent with her statements, which is one reason that some Republicans are not convinced that the president had an affair with the 38-year-old Louisiana native.

An alleged statement from Daniels surfaced on January 30 with her signature, saying that she denies the affair. Howbeit, during her interview during Jimmy Kimmel Live , the adult film star said that she is not aware of the denial statement that surfaced earlier that day.

[Mar 25, 2018] Stormy Daniels, Porn Star And Possible Senate Candidate, Arrested For Domestic Violence

Jul 29, 2009 | talkingpointsmemo.com
Stormy Daniels, an adult entertainer who's considering running for Senate from Louisiana, was arrested Saturday on a domestic violence charge in Tampa, Fla.

Daniels was charged with battery after she allegedly hit her husband, Michael Mosny, over the head with her hands. According to the police report , she was angry about a bill Mosny hadn't paid and about the way his father had done the laundry. She broke a flower pot and a few glass candle holders, threw their wedding album on the floor and allegedly hit her husband while struggling to get the car keys from him. She denied hitting him intentionally.

https://cdn.districtm.io/ids/index.html

Neither Mosny nor Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, were injured. Daniels was held overnight and released on $1,000 bond.

The porn star formed an exploratory committee in May, the first step in a possible Senate run against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), whose social conservative reputation was tarnished by the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal.

[Mar 25, 2018] Playboy model Karen McDougal I did OK in Trump affair interview

Looks like she is pretty calculating woman...
Amazing neoliberal MSM interest in any dirt that can hurt Trump ;-)
Mar 25, 2018 | www.nydailynews.com
detailing an alleged 2006 romance with Donald Trump , then flew home to celebrate her 47th birthday with friends in Arizona, sources told the Daily News.

On Thursday, the former Playboy Playmate sat down with Anderson Cooper at 6 Columbus Hotel and poured her heart out in a detailed account of what she says was a 10-month fling with the President.

His reps have denied the affair.

McDougal said in the interview that she and Trump had been in love -- and that she now deeply regrets helping him cheat on his wife.

When cameras stopped rolling, she was asked how she felt about the confessional.

"Well, aside from the fact I have a headache and a cold -- I'm my own worst critic -- I think I came across as credible," she said, according to a source. "But I'm not an attorney."

When assured by her handlers that she'd done a great job, a source who was present said McDougal argued she could have been more succinct in explaining why she decided to come forward more than a decade later.

"A friend of mine leaked the story and now that it's out I want to tell my side," she explained.

McDougal also wasn't expecting a marathon grilling.

"I thought this was going to be 20 minutes, I didn't know it would be over an hour," she admitted.

McDougal and her team watched a playback of the interview, which featured an old photo of her that was taken prior to her breast implant removal in January. The model told People magazine in February that the implants were causing her illness.

"That's me on the end," she pointed. "That's when I had breasts."

McDougal cried when watching the part of the interview where Cooper asked what she'd say to Melania, sources told The News. "I'm sorry," she told Cooper. "I wouldn't want it done to me." Tears turned to laughter when a member of the production asked McDougal if she was aware that Hillary Clinton taped an interview in the same hotel suite.

"I didn't know that, but I can tell you I didn't have the questions in advance," she joked.

One member of the production crew asked McDougal if she'd met porn star Stormy Daniels, who also claims she had an affair with the President and is hoping to be released from a confidentiality agreement that could see her punished for speaking up. She said that she has not, nor does she plan to.

[Mar 25, 2018] When Trump goes low, go low by Richard Cohen

They definitely can ruin his marriage, but not much other then that.
Mar 19, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com

Michelle Obama had it all wrong. " When they go low, we go high " is no way to deal with Donald Trump.

A porn star, a playmate and a contestant who washed out on his reality TV show have become exemplars for doing battle with a president for whom practically nothing is out of bounds. They are showing that the most effective way to deal with him is on his own terms.

The three -- Stormy Daniels , Karen McDougal and Summer Zervos -- are suing for the right to tell their stories about him. The headaches and unforeseeable turns that these legal fights present would be well understood by a man who, according to a USA Today tally, has filed at least 3,500 lawsuits of his own, for grievances real and imagined. When Trump goes low, go low - The Washington Post

Adult entertainer Daniels has outmaneuvered the president and his inept lawyer Michael Cohen at nearly every turn. They apparently believed they had bought her silence about the year-long extramarital affair she claims to have had with the future president a decade ago.

But it turns out they had only rented it. When Trump goes low, go low - The Washington Post

When Daniels signed a nondisclosure agreement in the weeks before the 2016 election, hardly anyone thought Trump had much chance of winning, especially after the furor over comments he had made about women on the now-famous "Access Hollywood" tape . So $130,000 to stay quiet must have looked too good for Daniels to pass up. (Cohen said the money came from his personal home equity line of credit.)

With her alleged paramour in the Oval Office, however, there is surely much more to be gained from her account, so she is trying to slip free from the agreement on the technicality that Trump never signed it.

Backing out of a deal if there's a better one to be had? Trump did it for decades. "I've made a fortune by using debt, and if things don't work out I renegotiate the debt. I mean, that's a smart thing, not a stupid thing," he boasted to CBS during his presidential campaign. As president, he has reversed himself so many times that his befuddled allies on Capitol Hill are never sure where or if he will land on most issues.

Now, instead of Daniels, it is Trump who is remaining silent -- conspicuously so. No tweets, no vicious nicknames, no threats. She, meanwhile, is going on "60 Minutes," where viewership is likely to be some of its highest ever. Count that as another blow to a president who measures the import of every event by its television ratings.

Daniels seems to be having a great time. She has become a ninja master in Trump's own medium, smiting trolls on Twitter with a verve that my colleague Monica Hesse compared to "a very smart cat batting off a series of very dumb mice, who come at her under the delusion that the relationship is reversed." When one man tweeted that she was a "scank," she responded by correcting his spelling.

McDougal, who was Playboy's 1998 Playmate of the Year, claims to have had an affair with Trump around the same time as Daniels. But in her case, the arrangement that she is trying to escape is the one she made with the National Enquirer's parent company, whose chief executive, David Pecker, is close to Trump. In her lawsuit, McDougal claims American Media was working secretly with Cohen to keep her quiet; the company says it contacted Trump's lawyer only to vet her story.

A takedown by a former playmate would be a sour endnote indeed, given how assiduously Trump styled himself as Playboy's ideal of libidinous masculinity. In 1990, the magazine's cover featured the married real-estate developer posing with another playmate, Brandi Brandt. She wore only his tuxedo jacket.

When Trump goes low, go low - The Washington Post

He hung a framed copy of that Playboy in his Trump Tower office. "I was one of the few men in the history of Playboy to be on the cover," Trump once boasted to a Post reporter.

Zervos, a former contestant from "The Apprentice," presents a different kind of threat, and potentially the most serious one. She is one of more than a dozen women who have accused the president of unwanted sexual advances, in her case that he kissed her and groped her breasts when she met with him to discuss a job. During his presidential campaign, Trump called them all liars, and threatened to sue.

But Trump never did, empty threats being another of his favorite tactics. It was Zervos who went to court, charging defamation.

On Tuesday, the same day McDougal filed her lawsuit, a New York judge ruled that Zervos's case can go forward. It was lost on no one that the precedent cited was the one in the sexual harassment lawsuit that ultimately led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton .

The Zervos lawsuit opens the possibility that Trump's other accusers, and maybe even more women, will return to tell their stories under oath. And that the president himself will have to as well.

When Zervos was on the fifth season of "The Apprentice," Trump fired her because she interrupted him. It turns out she may get in a last word after all.

xxx

Scratch #2 is the playmate lawsuit. Scratch #3 is Summer Zervos.

xxx

What's up with powerful men who can't keep it in their pants? Then they lie... What cowards!

xxx

The blame must be shared evenly... if the men cant keep it in their pants, why are women allowing it to happen? Are they being forced against their will? If so, call the police!

xxx

Wow! What a savage piece! And very well written.

xxx

Yawwwwnn..

Why even bother with this. It just makes everyone look bad. Daniels is a low-life. The media lowers its standards by reporting it. Nobody believes Trump didn't have sex with Daniels but nobody cares. It's actually expected of someone like Trump to have an affair now and then.

You might find it unfortunate that a guy named Cohen was involved. I suggest its also unfortunate that a guy named Cohen got stuck reporting this.

xxx

Trump is a dirtbag, but the last time I checked, having an affair was not criminal offense. I don't care who he slept with, but I do care who he is screwing - which in this case is 99% of the American people. The other 1% are doing well thanks to him.

xxx

(Edited) What has stormy Daniels done for America????? Just some porn movies for money for herself and now she is blackmailing the US president. And these readers actually enjoy it????? Trump must be protected. He is our President.

xxx

Now any hooker can come and sue any guy she has slept with for money.......is this what men want???? I dont think so.

xxx

People can't arbitrarily sue people for no reason. His lawyer paid her $130,000. She obviously has something on him. And most sane men want her to win so Trump can be impeached and sent out to spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement... in Antarctica.

xxx

Cant believe men are siding with adult porn actor......... a hooker.... Daniels.........who is out to make money by hook or crook. Men in America are doomed.

xxx 4 days ago

If the U.S. is such that this horrifically warped man and his monstrously greedy and incompetent cabinet are taken down by a stupid sex scandal rather than being judiciously removed by responsible people for being criminals, then the U.S. is in even more serious trouble than even rational thinkers would want to believe.

XXX 3 days ago

"How Trump avoided paying taxes on nearly $1 billion"
http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/01/news/trump-tax-strategy-theory/index.html

"[Trump] deducted somebody else's losses," said John L. Buckley, who served as the chief of staff for Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation in 1993 and 1994. Since the [stiffed] bondholders were likely declaring losses for tax purposes, Trump shouldn't be able to as well. "He is double dipping big time," Buckley told the Times.

Surely, the IRS can't be too happy about multiple taxpayers taking the same ~$1 billion-loss deduction? I therefore look forward to Mueller's audit of Trump's tax returns.

And now the Dumpster finds his yacht "Trumpy!" is caught in "Stormy Weather" off the Seychelles -- LOL

But, never fear Dumpsters, we all know that the usual rules don't and never have applied to the "bouffanted buffoon" -- or so he thinks! -- LOL

Doubtless, the results of Mueller's investigations into Trump's various activities will make this crass, arrogant charlatan (and his family/associates) sorely regret he ever threw his "bouffanted hairpiece" into the political ring. Hopefully, he will ultimately be indicted and convicted for egregious financial/taxation crimes and the courts will penalize him to the extent that all of his and his family's ill-gotten assets will be expropriated, and he'll get to wear one of those ill-fitting orange jump suits too

Still, the thought of the Rev. Pence becoming POTUS fills me with equal dread.

[Mar 25, 2018] Obama sex accuser panned as a liar urges Stormy Daniels scrutiny

Mar 25, 2018 | www.washingtonexaminer.com
A man who claimed without evidence that he had sex with former President Barack Obama says the media is showing a "sickening" double standard with coverage of an alleged affair between President Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels.

Larry Sinclair's allegations involving Obama, cocaine, and a limo -- set in 1999, when Obama was a state senator -- failed to gain broad coverage for a variety of reasons, including lack of corroboration and Sinclair's record of crimes involving deceit.

But Sinclair says the media is giving too much attention and too little skepticism to claims of a 2006 affair between Daniels and Trump.

"Stormy Daniels is being pimped and pimping the media now and it's lining her pockets," Sinclair told the Washington Examine r. "I believe she had sex with him. Do I believe she's trying to twist and add to it to benefit her interests? You're damn right I do."

An interview with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is set to air Sunday on the CBS program "60 Minutes." The performer staging a national strip club tour has given other recent interviews, including to "Inside Edition" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Sinclair said he views Daniels' coyness about details -- as she sues to invalidate a $130,000 nondisclosure agreement -- as well as her attempt to sidestep the deal, as reasons to doubt her truthfulness. He said he watched with suspicion as she declined to say if a signature was hers.

"I do believe that there are enough contradictions by Ms. Daniels to justify questioning her motive and truthfulness," Sinclair said, citing "her statements or nonstatements in subsequent interviews implying that her signature was not her signature [and] her back-and-forth on whether Trump paid her."

"I find this whole double standard sickening, and no I am not a bigger supporter of Trump, but I am a supporter of fair and unbiased media coverage," he said. "I find the whole NDA and accepting money and then later coming back and using a completely legal incident for political and personal gain questionable."

Michael Avenatti, an attorney for Daniels, declined to address Sinclair's suggestion that the media be more skeptical of her claims.

"Is this a joke? Am I being punked?" Avenatti wrote in an email.

Sinclair -- who runs a neighborhood revitalization nonprofit in Cocoa, Fla., where he's considering a run for mayor -- said he believes the media also gives too much credence to affair claims by ex-Playboy bunny Karen McDougal and women alleging misconduct by Trump.

There are many distinctions between the allegations made by Sinclair and those made by Clifford and McDougal. For example, Sinclair lacks a photo of himself with Obama, who was married to future first lady Michelle Obama at the time of the alleged two-day relationship.

Trump has denied cheating on first lady Melania Trump, but he did pose for photos with Daniels and McDougal.

Daniels passed a polygraph in 2011, her team said this week. Sinclair allegedly failed a polygraph in 2008, but he says the tests don't mean much.

Daniels told her story to some journalists, including from Slate and In Touch magazine, before signing the October 2016 NDA, though neither published her account. She and McDougal do have a degree of corroboration from friends who attest to contemporaneous conversations or, in the case of McDougal, provided the media with a letter she allegedly wrote documenting the claims.

Sinclair's allegations, by contrast, lack documentary evidence or corroboration from third parties. And whereas Trump has a decadeslong history of romantic relationships with women, Sinclair's gender does not match Obama's reported preference.

"It seems to me that there is a world of difference between the two stories and that there is no double standard," said Joel Kaplan, associate dean for professional graduate studies at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

"Sinclair is making a singular allegation without any support," Kaplan said. "Ms. Daniels' allegation is backed up by the fact that there was a settlement and a nondisclosure agreement, which certainly lends credibility to her allegations. If Mr. Sinclair was just one of 14 men making these allegations against President Obama that would be one thing and probably worthy of a story. In President Trump's case, there are multiple women who came forward. So, no I see no double standard."

The high point of Sinclair's press exposure came when he rented a room at the National Press Club in June 2008, prompting an unsuccessful campaign to block the event by journalists fearful that the venue would lend credibility to his claims.

A dueling press conference was planned by Whitehouse.com, then a pornographic website whose owner Dan Parisi had paid Sinclair $20,000 to take the polygraph that Sinclair allegedly failed. Parisi later sued Sinclair unsuccessfully for libel for saying the results were doctored.

"It wasn't until after the fact I was told the Whitehouse.com press conference didn't take place," Sinclair said, recalling that police arrested him at the press club and sent him to Delaware to face theft charges. He also had an open warrant for his arrest in Colorado for allegedly signing someone else's tax return check.

Sinclair said the Delaware and Colorado cases were misunderstandings, but admits he was convicted in Arizona for forgery in 1981, then in Florida for using a friend's credit card before getting a 16-year sentence in Colorado in the late '80s in a similar case. He was released in 1999, the same year he allegedly met Obama through a limo driver in Chicago.

In one similarity between Sinclair's allegations and those made by Daniels and McDougal, significant amounts of money changed hands, resulting in legal action and claims of wrongful gagging of the accuser.

Sinclair negotiated a deal in which he ultimately was paid $20,000 by Parisi to consent to a polygraph. A copy of the check is an exhibit in the libel case Parisi brought against Sinclair. At one point, another $10,000 was supposed to be split between two charities.

Daniels is suing to get out of nondisclosure agreement prepared by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who like the president says Daniels is lying about an affair, and McDougal is suing to get out of an NDA in which she was paid $150,000 for the rights to her story by the company that publishes the Trump-friendly National Enquirer, which didn't print the claims.

Sinclair said his Whitehouse.com deal required that he give exclusive rights for polygraphing to the company for a period of four weeks during the 2008 campaign, a claim that appears to be consistent with an email cited in court documents, and he suggests Parisi may not have acted independently in the libel lawsuit, which was dismissed by a federal judge in 2012.

Sinclair said he lost money on his 2009 book Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, Lies & Murder? in which he associates a Chicago-area killing with his affair claims.

"To journalists I would say take your time, compare statements and call out contradictions in statements and previous interviews," Sinclair said. "When it comes to polygraphs be very sure you vet the examiners conducting them and always ask for the computer scoring results as well as the examiners findings."

Parisi did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Obama's office.

[Mar 25, 2018] Ex-Playboy Model Suing To Break Silence On Affair With Trump

Mar 20, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
A former Playboy model who says she had an affair with President Trump is suing the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media, so that she can be released from a legal agreement barring her from discussing the relationship.

Karen McDougal filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to the New York Times , after she claims the Enquirer paid her $150,000 for the story of her nine-month-long affair between 2006 and 2007, but did not publish it when she gave the account in August 2016, several months before the 2016 U.S. election.

McDougal says that Trump's personal attorney, Michael D. Cohen, was secretly involved in her negotiations with A.M.I., and that both the media company and her lawyer at the time misled her about the arrangement. After speaking with The New Yorker last month after it obtained notes she kept on her alleged affair, McDougal said she was warned by A.M.I. that " any further disclosures would breach Karen's contract," and "cause considerable monetary damages ."

Cohen reportedly paid another Trump accuser, adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels), $130,000 in exchange for signing an NDA barring her from discussing her experiences with Trump.

Trump joined a legal effort last week suing Clifford for $20 million over what they claim is a breach of her NDA. Meanwhile, both women's claims against Trump are being construed by federal watchdog group Common Cause as illegal campaign contributions - arguing that they could constitute in-kind contributions to the Trump campaign.

Ms. Clifford and Ms. McDougal tell strikingly similar stories about their experiences with Mr. Trump, which included alleged trysts at the same Lake Tahoe golf tournament in 2006, dates at the same Beverly Hills hotel and promises of apartments as gifts.

Their stories first surfaced in the The Wall Street Journal four days before the election , but got little traction in the swirl of news that followed Mr. Trump's victory. The women even shared the same Los Angeles lawyer, Keith Davidson, who has long worked for clients who sell their stories to the tabloids . - NYT

"The lawsuit filed today aims to restore her right to her own voice," McDougal's attorney, Peter K Stris told the Times . "We intend to invalidate the so-called contract that American Media Inc. imposed on Karen so she can move forward with the private life she deserves ."

As the Wall Street Journal reported in November, 2016;

The tabloid-newspaper publisher reached an agreement in early August with Karen McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the Year. American Media Inc., which owns the Enquirer, hasn't published anything about what she has told friends was a consensual romantic relationship she had with Mr. Trump in 2006. At the time, Mr. Trump was married to his current wife, Melania.

Quashing stories that way is known in the tabloid world as "catch and kill." - WSJ

In a written statement, American Media Inc. claims it wasn't buying McDougal's story for $150,000 - rather, they were buying two years' worth of her fitness columns, magazine covers and exclusive life rights to any relationship she has had with a then-married man. "AMI has not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump," reads the statement.

American Media Inc. CEO David J. Pecker is a long-standing friend of President Trump.

[Mar 25, 2018] Stormy Daniels -- not Robert Mueller -- might spell Trump's doom by Richard Cohen

Mar 25, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com

It was just a little thing, a scratch, that he failed to treat and gangrene set in and it was killing him. They were on safari, in Africa, and their truck had broken down and the rescue plane was never going to make it in time. This is the way Harry died in Ernest Hemingway's " The Snows of Kilimanjaro ." I reread it the other day because of President Trump. I think of him as Harry. Stormy Daniels is the scratch.

The saga of the adult-film star and the juvenile president has become a rollicking affair. Each step of the way, Daniels has out-Trumped Trump. She is as shameless as he, a publicity hound who adheres to the secular American religion that, to be famous, even for nothing much, is to be rich. By and large, that's not true, but then there is Kim Kardashian to prove otherwise.

Daniels alleges she and Trump had an affair beginning in 2006. The president's lawyer and his press secretary allege that the allegations are not true. The lawyer, Michael Cohen, does admit to paying Daniels $130,000 , apparently to keep her silent about an affair that, according to Cohen, did not happen. To do this, Cohen set up a private Delaware company and concocted false names for everyone involved -- the allegation-maker and the allegation-denier. Only the name Delaware is legit.

[Mar 24, 2018] CNN's Anderson Cooper had an exclusive interview with former Playboy model Karen McDougal

Media promotion of old Trump affairs in full swing. Part of the demonization campaign which is essential for color revolution. What you can expect with Brennan hired as analyst for NBC ?
Mar 24, 2018 | www.dailywire.com

On Thursday, CNN's Anderson Cooper had an exclusive interview with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims that she had a 10-month relationship with Donald Trump a decade before he became President.

CNN, which is always anxious to paint Trump in the worst possible light, most likely did not get quite the response they were looking for from McDougal. While affairs cannot and should not be ever cast in a positive light, it is worth noting that McDougal spoke highly about the way Trump treated her and her friends noticed the same thing.

Speaking of Trump's "Access Hollywood" tape, McDougal said, "I had not seen that in him at all... [that's] not the man that I knew." McDougal said that her friends would tell her how they were impressed with how respectful he was toward her when they were out in public.

WATCH:

Former Playboy model McDougal on Trump's "Access Hollywood" tape: "Not the man that I knew" https://t.co/xjzeDwyHyi https://t.co/Pf6izrZDjg

-- Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) March 23, 2018

On the issue of whether or not she is coming out to hurt Trump, McDougal said, "I voted for Donald. Why would I want to damage him? That's my party, Republican Party. That's my president. I did not want to damage him or hurt him in any way, shape, or form but I also didn't want to put out the story because I didn't want my reputation to be damaged."

McDougal suggested that the reason she came forward is, according to her lawsuit , because she claims she was paid off to keep quiet and was given a "false promise to jumpstart her career as a health and fitness model."

WATCH:

"I voted for Donald. Why would I want to damage him?" Former Playboy model Karen McDougal says her intention in telling her story isn't to damage President Trump https://t.co/fpLyorn15C pic.twitter.com/V6tLUOVDkw

-- CNN (@CNN) March 23, 2018

[Mar 24, 2018] Melania Trump refuses to be bullied by anyone

The main problem for Melania is Trump. Not so much attacks by the media.
Notable quotes:
"... "What can you say except I'm sorry?" [McDougal] told CNN's Anderson Cooper , apologizing for the alleged affair to Melania Trump. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me." ..."
"... McDougal admitted that she knew Donald Trump was married during the alleged affair, saying she was reluctant to bring it up because "she felt guilty." ..."
"... She also said that Donald Trump offered to pay her after they had been intimate for the first time in 2006 and that it made her cry. ..."
"... "After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that," McDougal said. "I've never been offered money like that. I looked at him and said, 'I'm not that type of girl." ..."
"... "And he said, 'Oh,' and he said, 'You're really special,'" McDougal said, adding: "It hurt me that he saw me in that light." ..."
"... According to McDougal, the relationship lasted for about 10 months. She says she broke it off in April 2007 because she felt guilty. She recalled traveling to meet Trump at his properties in New York, New Jersey and California and said she had sex with him "many dozens of times." ..."
"... McDougal had feelings for Trump, but the affair was "just tearing me apart," she said. "There was a real relationship there. There were real feelings," she added. "He would call me baby or he would call me beautiful Karen." ..."
"... quite simply efforts to publicly humiliate and shame of Melania, not to mention attacking the very essence of her marriage to her husband itself. ..."
"... Oh, wait. Isn't that also media bullying? ..."
"... I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic. I have been criticized for my commitment to tackling this issue, and I know that will continue. But it will not stop me from doing what I know is right. I am here with one goal: helping children and our next generation." ..."
Mar 24, 2018 | theduran.com

Media sets double standards for itself as it tries to condemn the First Lady for standing up against bullying, all the while bullying her and her husband through infidelity allegations

... ... ...

In seemingly unrelated stories through the rest of the week attack pieces were printed by various women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with the President during the time of his marriage to Melania. The headlines are anything from accusatory to salacious. Here are some examples:

The attack is the basest sort of hit possible, as these pieces highlight the accusation and "apology" offered by former Playmate model Karen McDougal. In the pieces this lady offers an apology to Melania for the affair with her husband, with the core of the story essentially as shown here (this is from the USA Today version):

"What can you say except I'm sorry?" [McDougal] told CNN's Anderson Cooper , apologizing for the alleged affair to Melania Trump. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me."

McDougal admitted that she knew Donald Trump was married during the alleged affair, saying she was reluctant to bring it up because "she felt guilty."

She also said that Donald Trump offered to pay her after they had been intimate for the first time in 2006 and that it made her cry.

"After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that," McDougal said. "I've never been offered money like that. I looked at him and said, 'I'm not that type of girl."

"And he said, 'Oh,' and he said, 'You're really special,'" McDougal said, adding: "It hurt me that he saw me in that light."

According to McDougal, the relationship lasted for about 10 months. She says she broke it off in April 2007 because she felt guilty. She recalled traveling to meet Trump at his properties in New York, New Jersey and California and said she had sex with him "many dozens of times."

McDougal had feelings for Trump, but the affair was "just tearing me apart," she said. "There was a real relationship there. There were real feelings," she added. "He would call me baby or he would call me beautiful Karen."

Okay, so here we have a great way to humiliate a devout Slovenian Roman Catholic, who is actually quite a traditional woman, even while she was a red-hot model, by making "apologies" that are not apologies at all, but quite simply efforts to publicly humiliate and shame of Melania, not to mention attacking the very essence of her marriage to her husband itself.

Oh, wait. Isn't that also media bullying?

It would seem so. And on Tuesday, Mrs. Trump wasn't having it. She fought back with her own gifts, those being her characteristic elegance, but with her amazing personal strength. But, praise aside, this is what the First Lady had to say:

I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic. I have been criticized for my commitment to tackling this issue, and I know that will continue. But it will not stop me from doing what I know is right. I am here with one goal: helping children and our next generation."

[Mar 24, 2018] Did Trump cut a deal on the collusion charge by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
The idea the Russians " "had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States" which in reality in the result of deep crisis on neoliberalism, which started in 2008 is a typical scapegoating. The essence of neo-McCarthyism if you wish.
"... But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out: ..."
"... It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. ..."
"... Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. ..."
"... The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable. ..."
"... We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter: ..."
"... Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface? ..."
"... I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory: ..."
"... What's wrong with that? If Trump's enemies want to provide him with a Get-Outta-Jail-Free card, then why shouldn't he snatch it up and put this whole goofy probe behind him? That's what most people would do. ..."
"... The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him. ..."
"... These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team? ..."
"... There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime. ..."
"... Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is. ..."
"... Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie. ..."
"... So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president ..."
"... So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both. ..."
"... The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people. ..."
"... That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants ..."
"... I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity. ..."
"... US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work. ..."
"... Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down. ..."
"... The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation. ..."
"... The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out: ..."
"... It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. ..."
"... Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. ..."
"... The indictment states that the organization that employed the trolls "had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States." This seems to be a recurrent theme that has popped up frequently in the media as well. The implication is that the Russians are the source of the widening divisions in the US that are actually the result of growing public angst over the lopsided distribution of wealth that naturally emerges in late-stage capitalism. ..."
"... The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable. ..."
"... We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter: ..."
"... Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface? ..."
"... I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory: ..."
"... Hmmm? So Trump now Trump is okay with blaming Russia as long as he's not included too? Is that what he's saying? ..."
"... Okay, so now Trump is turning the tables and saying, 'Yeah, maybe Russia has been 'sowing discord', but the Democrats are the ones you should be blaming not me.'So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him. ..."
"... These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team? ..."
"... Trump's backers hope that he is principled and pugnacious enough to go nose-to-nose with these Intel agency serpents and give them the bloody whooping they so richly deserve. Unfortunately, I don't see any evidence that that's what he has in mind ..."
"... Goldman, an executive at Zucc's Book, displayed evidence at a House Committee hearing of Russian bots trolling the US by portraying Sanders as 'sexy' and Trump as a hero. These memes were generally amusing but largely ineffectual. The idea of election meddling by Russia to elect Trump has largely been debunked, and both the Left and the Right now see it as a distraction to the real issue: Deep State malfeasance. ..."
"... Trump has to realize that he would be neutered by the continuance of the Mueller witchhunt, so I think that if it is a deal, it is tactical for the present. ..."
"... in my view, the Democrats overplayed their hand by calling this clickbait scam the "equivalent of Pearl Harbor" and make pushback more likely. ..."
"... Whitney can't bring himself to say Mueller has been, for decades, 'historically, criminally corrupt with longtime habit of maintaining a DoJ cover for CIA.' As well, why does Mike exclude mentioning Seymour Hersh and Kim Dotcom concerning the proposed fact Seth Rich leaked the DNC mails? He sticks with a weak 'we really don't know' line of bs. ..."
"... Grassley wants the DoJ personalities to fall on their swords while Feinstein is besides herself, going crazy, as the investigation into President Skunk implodes around the Steele Dossier. It's like an exclusive 'serial-killers only' swingers' club where everybody is tired of the limited opportunity at couplings, yet their sex addiction requires everyone screwing everyone out of habit and everyone hates everyone's guts. At some point, the entire crew will resort to some new mass murder, like allowing war in Korea, to get it all back on track ..."
"... There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime. ..."
"... Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is. ..."
"... Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie. ..."
"... So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president ..."
"... So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line. ..."
"... Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both. ..."
"... The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people. ..."
"... That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants ..."
"... I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity. ..."
"... US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work. ..."
"... Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down. ..."
"... The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation. ..."
"... The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Here's your legal koan for the day: When is an indictment not an indictment?

Answer– When there is no intention of initiating a criminal case against the accused. In the case of the 13 Russian trolls who have just been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, there is neither the intention nor the ability to prosecute a case against them. (They are all foreign nationals who will not face extradition.)

But, if that's the case, than why would Mueller waste time and money compiling a 37-page document alleging all-manner of nefarious conduct when he knew for certain that the alleged perpetrators would never be prosecuted? Why?

Isn't is because the indictments are not really a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but a vehicle for political grandstanding? Isn't that the real purpose of the indictments, to add another layer of dirt to the mountain of unreliable, uncorroborated, unproven allegations of Russian meddling. Mueller is not acting in his capacity as Special Counsel, he is acting in his role of deep state hatchet-man whose job is to gather scalps by any means necessary.

Keep in mind, the subjects of the indictment will never be apprehended, never hire an attorney, never be in a position to defend themselves or refute the charges, and never have their case presented before and judge or a jury. They will be denied due process of law and the presumption of innocence. Mueller's ominous-sounding claims, which were the centerpiece of his obscene media extravaganza, made sure of that. In most people's minds, the trolls are guilty of foreign espionage and that's all there is to it. Case closed.

But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller's narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to "click on" advertisements. Check it out:

"Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist."

That sounds like a money-making scheme to me not an attempt to subvert US democracy. So why is Mueller in such a lather? Isn't this all just an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Nunes' investigation has produced proof that senior-level officials at the FBI and DOJ were "improperly obtaining" FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump Campaign? Isn't that what's really going on?

If we can agree that the indictments were not intended to bring the "accused" to justice, then don't we also have to agree that there must have been an ulterior motive for issuing them? And what might that ulterior motive be? What are the real objectives of the investigation, to cast a shadow on an election that did not produce the results that powerful members of the entrenched bureaucracy wanted, to make it look like Donald Trump did not beat Hillary Clinton fair and square, and to further demonize a geopolitical rival that has blocked Washington's imperial ambitions in Syria and Ukraine? Which of these is the real driving force behind Russiagate or is it 'all of the above?'

Nothing will come of the indictments because the indictments were not designed reveal the truth or bring the accused to justice. They were written to shape public perceptions and to persuade the American people that Trump cheated in the elections and that Russia poses a serious threat to US national security. The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people.

It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails.

Mueller hasn't done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the "hacking" allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. Nor has he interviewed California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who met with Assange personally and who has suggested that Assange may reveal the name (of the DNC "leaker") under the right conditions. Instead of questioning witnesses, Mueller has spent a great deal of time probing the online activities Russian trolls who were engaged in a money-making scheme that was in no way connected to the Russian government, in no way connected to the Trump campaign, and in no way supportive of the claims of hacking or collusion. None of this reflects well on Mueller who, by any stretch, appears to be either woefully incompetent or irredeemably biased.

The indictment states that the organization that employed the trolls "had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States." This seems to be a recurrent theme that has popped up frequently in the media as well. The implication is that the Russians are the source of the widening divisions in the US that are actually the result of growing public angst over the lopsided distribution of wealth that naturally emerges in late-stage capitalism. Moscow has become the convenient scapegoat for the accelerated parasitism that has seen 95% of the nation's wealth go to a sliver of people at the top of the foodchain, the 1 percent. (But that's another story altogether.) Here's a brief clip from the portentous-sounding indictment:

"The general conspiracy statute creates an offense "[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose .

The intent required for a conspiracy to defraud the government is that the defendant possessed the intent (a) to defraud, (b) to make false statements or representations to the government or its agencies in order to obtain property of the government, or that the defendant performed acts or made statements that he/she knew to be false, fraudulent or deceitful to a government agency, which disrupted the functions of the agency or of the government. It is sufficient for the government to prove that the defendant knew the statements were false or fraudulent when made."

The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable.

There are a couple interesting twists and turns regarding the indictments that could be significant, but, then again, maybe not. We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter:

"I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."

Then there are the puzzling comments by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who said on Friday:

"There's no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge. And the nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on a virtual private network here in the United States so, if anybody traced it back to that first jump, they appeared to be Americans ."

Do you notice anything unusual about Rosenstein's remarks? There's no mention of Trump at all, which is a striking omission since all of previous public announcements have been used to strengthen the case against Trump. Now that's changed. Why? Naturally, Trump picked up on Rosenstein's omission and blasted this triumphant message on Twitter:

"Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: "There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election." Donald Trump

So, what's going on here? Mueller and Rosenstein are smart guys. They must have known that Trump would use the dates and the absence of anything remotely suggesting collusion as vindication. Was that the purpose, to let Trump off the hook while the broader propaganda campaign on Russia continues?

This is the great mystery surrounding the indictments, far from helping to establish Trump's culpability, they appear to imply his innocence. Why would Mueller and his allies want to do that? Are the Intel agencies and the FBI looking for a way to end this political cage-match before a second Special Counsel is appointed and he starts digging up embarrassing information about the involvement of other agencies (and perhaps, the White House) in the Russiagate fiasco?
Just think about it for a minute: There is nothing in the indictments that suggests that Trump or anyone in his campaign was involved with the Russian trolls. There is nothing in the indictments that suggests Trump was acting as a Russian agent. And there's nothing in the indictments that suggests the Russian government helped Trump win the election. Also, the timeline of events seems to favor Trump as does Rosenstein's claim that the online activity did not have "any effect on the outcome of the election."

Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface?

I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That's what he's wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here's one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory:

"I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said "it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer." The Russian "hoax" was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!" Donald Trump

Hmmm? So Trump now Trump is okay with blaming Russia as long as he's not included too? Is that what he's saying? Here's more in the same vein:

"If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!" Donald Trump

Okay, so now Trump is turning the tables and saying, 'Yeah, maybe Russia has been 'sowing discord', but the Democrats are the ones you should be blaming not me.'So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line.

What's wrong with that? If Trump's enemies want to provide him with a Get-Outta-Jail-Free card, then why shouldn't he snatch it up and put this whole goofy probe behind him? That's what most people would do.

The problem is that Trump's biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against "The Swamp". They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below. That's what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple's pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him.

These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team?

All of these questions need to be answered in order to clear the air, hold the guilty parties accountable and restore confidence in the government. Trump's backers hope that he is principled and pugnacious enough to go nose-to-nose with these Intel agency serpents and give them the bloody whooping they so richly deserve. Unfortunately, I don't see any evidence that that's what he has in mind . We'll see.


ChrisD , February 22, 2018 at 5:48 am GMT

Goldman, an executive at Zucc's Book, displayed evidence at a House Committee hearing of Russian bots trolling the US by portraying Sanders as 'sexy' and Trump as a hero. These memes were generally amusing but largely ineffectual. The idea of election meddling by Russia to elect Trump has largely been debunked, and both the Left and the Right now see it as a distraction to the real issue: Deep State malfeasance.

Those Never Trumpers in the Dems and McCain camps are now left disgraced and humiliated and their only allies are WaPo, NYT, CNN and a few other fake news outlets. The test for Trump will be whether he can take a wrecking ball to the FBI and Department of State and to truly cleanse the bureaucracy of ne'er-do-wells who have constantly been undermining him from the beginning.

exiled off mainstreet , February 22, 2018 at 6:25 am GMT
I think the author is correct in his assumptions. One area of hope, though, is that the allegations are so ridiculous and others have pointed out, for instance, that the Australian Labor party sent operatives to the US to help defeat Trump, and Trump has to realize that he would be neutered by the continuance of the Mueller witchhunt, so I think that if it is a deal, it is tactical for the present.

As the article indicates, Trump would lose a lot of his support if he follows through on the deal. Also, pro-Trump websites are continuing on with the drumbeat against Mueller, and in my view, the Democrats overplayed their hand by calling this clickbait scam the "equivalent of Pearl Harbor" and make pushback more likely.

I think that one thing the indictment has accomplished is to reveal to anybody not paid to think otherwise that the yankee imperium entered the post-legal era years ago, and that the legitimacy of the yankee state has totally evaporated.

Ronald Thomas West , February 22, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT

Isn't is because the indictments are not really a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but a vehicle for political grandstanding? Isn't that the real purpose of the indictments, to add another layer of dirt to the mountain of unreliable, uncorroborated, unproven allegations of Russian meddling. Mueller is not acting in his capacity as Special Counsel, he is acting in his role of deep state hatchet-man whose job is to gather scalps by any means necessary [...] It's worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails.[sic][...] None of this reflects well on Mueller who, by any stretch, appears to be either woefully incompetent or irredeemably biased

Misdirection here by Mike Whitney. Whitney can't bring himself to say Mueller has been, for decades, 'historically, criminally corrupt with longtime habit of maintaining a DoJ cover for CIA.' As well, why does Mike exclude mentioning Seymour Hersh and Kim Dotcom concerning the proposed fact Seth Rich leaked the DNC mails? He sticks with a weak 'we really don't know' line of bs.

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2017/09/16/incompetent-espionage-wikileaks-iii/ https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/02/07/bob-manson-charlie-mueller/

These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham "criminal referral" are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself. What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team?

Yeah, well Mike, 'hope springs eternal' is the apropos folk wisdom. Why not look at this instead:

"Of course, none of this will be brought out by the Congressional intelligence committees, to collapse the credibility of 'three amigos' Special Counsel Mueller, fired Director Comey & present FBI boss Wray to help kill the 'Russia collusion' farce; because all parties are complicit and tainted in the cover-up. Grassley wants the DoJ personalities to fall on their swords while Feinstein is besides herself, going crazy, as the investigation into President Skunk implodes around the Steele Dossier. It's like an exclusive 'serial-killers only' swingers' club where everybody is tired of the limited opportunity at couplings, yet their sex addiction requires everyone screwing everyone out of habit and everyone hates everyone's guts. At some point, the entire crew will resort to some new mass murder, like allowing war in Korea, to get it all back on track " (See second link, preceding.)

Ron West

Backwoods Bob , February 22, 2018 at 7:32 am GMT
There is no crime called "collusion". So Trump cannot be "acquitted", let alone be charged with something that is not a crime. Apparently the deep state and media's repetition of "collusion" has duped not just the public, but this author with thinking it is some kind of crime.

That's the purpose of endlessly repeating this vague term in pejorative rhetoric, without ever referencing a criminal statute like the Foreign Agent Registration Act or whatever.

This gigantic diversionary twaddle has worked because the seditionists have still not been stopped. I'm not real optimistic about it, but there are some positive developments. There is a big disappointment in the offing with the Inspector General report coming out soon. Horowitz is a deep state operative who has covered for the Clintons in the past. They have to do something, so expect a limited hangout or partial whitewash. That way the drug and weapons ratlines can continue to fund our unconscionable acts across the globe.

Ma Laoshi , February 22, 2018 at 9:42 am GMT
Trump needs the swamp to produce politicized intel for his campaigns against Iran and Venezuela (plus a dozen other countries which don't threaten the US). He needs the hated MSM (not much more than the swamp's media branch) to sell the Iran war to his voters, who are supposed to pay for it. He needs his shady relatives to stay OUT of prison, where several of them seem to belong (of course, papa Kushner has already spent time inside). So appeasement it is.

Sorry, but on the whole Trump voters are too dumb to pose much of an obstacle. They like the campaigns against Iran because of religion, and against Venezuela because of "socialism". They didn't raise a peep when it became clear that THEIR money would all go to the Armies of Mordor. That this is "Saddam-WMD-9/11″ all over again just hasn't registered with them, and never will. Just like Trump winning his primary running against outside money, and immediately afterwards selling out for Adelson's shekels–it exceeds the deplorables' attention span, so it never happened. Keep harping on immigrants and it's all good; razzle-dazzle them, as it was called in the Chicago movie.

So on the whole, yes, already since his inauguration it has been clear that The Donald is mostly playing along, as long as he'll be allowed to stay president . The question remains if (just like Putin in Syria) he isn't trying to appease something which won't be appeased–maybe Trump thinks he has a deal, but his enemies, while technically backing off from the collusion claim, will still squeeze his relatives so hard on their finances and other shenanigans that something breaks. I say: would serve Trump right for sleeping with the dogs.

Jim Christian , February 22, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
Intriguing if these 13 Russians turned up at US District Court for a chat with a Federal Prosecutor with the International press in tow. It would be lovely to have Vlad present his people for investigation and trial. Mueller set these 13 up, again, 'knowing' he would never have to prove a damned thing and so, there are many embellishments. Mueller 'knows' he'll never try them, but he also 'knew', as they ALL did, that Hillary was getting in and so these crimes would never come to light.

Love to have Putin blow up yet another thing these folks thought they 'knew'. I'd contribute to the GoFundMe for the best lawyers there are..

Seamus Padraig , February 22, 2018 at 10:32 am GMT

So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he's just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That's where he draws the line.

Bingo. Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both.

It's all up to Nunes now. Let's hope he doesn't sell us out, too:

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/19/nunes-fbi-and-doj-perps-could-be-put-on-trial/

jacques sheete , February 22, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT

The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people.

That's pretty much what this banana republic's government is all about. One way or another, everything they do is designed to ultimately squeeze something out of us dumb 'Merkin proles and peasants , especially us stupid goyim.

The rest is mere detail. Understanding that saves a lot of time and energy.

Twodees Partain , February 22, 2018 at 1:38 pm GMT
@ChrisD

"The test for Trump will be whether he can take a wrecking ball to the FBI and Department of State "

He could have done that a year ago. Trump has left more people loyal to Obama in their jobs than would have thought possible. His advisors are all seemingly pushing their own agendas and haven't clued him in on the fact that he has Obama's bureaucracy snapping at his ankles and he needs to go on a firing rampage.

I doubt that he even knows who he can fire outright and who would have to be moved into another department.

Twodees Partain , February 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
The Duran has another article that busts Mueller's game:

http://theduran.com/13-russian-trolls-indictment-debunked-by-journalist-profiled-the-operation-in-2015/

According to the author, this troll farm had 90 employees assigned to the American market who designed clickbait ads using titles that would attract doofuses wanting to read articles on their favorite subjects related to the election.

If you surf the net without a good adblocker, you'll see all these clickbait ads with titles like "Defeat Trump with one weird trick", or "What Trump said to Hillary off stage will astonish you" in an attempt to get the reader to go to their site and buy something.

That's what these trolls were doing, and it had nothing to do with influencing voters.

lavoisier , Website February 22, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

Bingo. Well guys, if there's anyone here who still abides by the '5-D chess' theory, I think it's time to face facts: Trump has thrown us all under the bust to save himself. Expect a war in Syria, or Ukraine, or maybe both.

It does really look like this is true. I was expecting more of a profile in courage under the tutelage of someone smarter than Trump; instead we are seeing another profile in venality and stupidity.

ante , February 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT
there have been thousands of such people in Balkans, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, who set up web pages and made money on advertising, who used the presidential election, as honey pot. Mueller is such an idiot, that he does not know it. Sorry, he is so clever, to go only after russian trace. you can start here:

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/veles-macedonia-fake-news/

Beckow , February 22, 2018 at 2:55 pm GMT
@The Alarmist

send a couple of the indictees over to stand trial, and hire some lefty-lawyer like Dershowitz to defend them

That was my initial reaction. But that assumes that a Washington court would not be a show trial with emphasis on process minutia, e.g. 'identity theft' and some financial violations. With media in overdrive proving their hyper-patriotism.

US has too many laws that are ambiguous beyond belief, almost anything can be declared a 'crime'. Plus you have limited disclosure due to national security ('methods and sources subterfuge always works). Volunteering for a political show trial doesn't work.

We just have to let it go, it is now a 'crime' for foreigners to criticise US politicians without first registering with Washington. Quite a beacon of freedom for the world.

Jingo Starr , February 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm GMT
Indicting foreign election interference trolls sets a precedent for prosecuting domestic election interference trolls. The domestic election interference trolls spent hundreds of millions and left very prolific financial and digital footprints. Jim Messina shouldn't be sleeping easy.
Bill , February 22, 2018 at 3:19 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain

Trump's failure to fire people by the truckload during the first week of his presidency is a topic worth exploring. Probably we won't know why he failed to do this until after his presidency sometime, but it is a curious choice given how widespread and intense was the hatred of him.

Ronald Thomas West , Website February 22, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Bill

We can know why now. Trump was kneecapped from day one in the Oval Office and he's surrounded by treasonous people who'll either keep him in line or step out of the way of Trump's political enemies. Pence and his ideologically (theologically, actually) aligned Christian Zionist generals have it under control:

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/02/11/president-held-hostage/

Meanwhile Trump is the perfect idiot to take the heat and end up holding the bag. The momentary big, inside fight, is fundamentalist Christian Pentagon vs neoliberal CIA for upper hand at the White House with Bibi (via AIPAC) solidly on the side of Pence, probably not if, but much more likely when, Trump is taken down.

That fool actually believed he would be allowed to become President. Well, he was wrong. He got the title, he gets the heat, but he'll never be allowed to exercise the power.

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Bill

Trump belongs to the Ruling Class. If he didn't, the rulers never would have selected him as president. I thought the producers had brought in the Trump character to change the direction of the play. But no, still the same old Empire first, the rich second, and everything else later. How much did the Trump family save from the new tax law? That's another story all together.

edNels , February 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm GMT
Back in the day, when knights were bold, prosecutors for real, laws were understood by all , they laid their turds beside the road, and walked away contented!

Sheesh anyhow, This Comey, and his side kick Mueller are doing pretty good job of what they are charged with, (to do that is charged with a task.) of charging Russians, those dirty Boris's and Natashia's over there in the dark forrest somewhere.

A ticket a tasket, the case is in a basket, (basket case, of course) and Comey and Mueller are excellent in their roles, playing to a tough crowd, masterful impressions of Lerch and Herman Munster.

What is the real job? could it be to extend childhood and adelescence (strike that) wrong thought . dupdada here it is: could it be that the real job is to extend the election process FOOD FIGHT, indeterminately, thus displacing the expectations normally accruing to a change of administrations. That is a serious sounding term for adults, not for the kids. ADMINISTRATION suit wearing mthfrkrs all around, all dry fake talk masking every possible meaning and to what end?

That boat left the pier now the population is only to be amused, more of the same Food Fight please!

You have an evolution of pollution of the process of regress into the abstraction/distraction. Mad Hatter's Tea Party, now the new norm, and it seems to work,

We've grown too cynical for the likes of Columbo, or Perry Mason, etc.

EliteCommInc. , February 22, 2018 at 6:44 pm GMT
The investigation like the Sword of Damocles may indeed get Pres Trump to further compromise his agenda as per the campaign. However, those who lost the election have no intention of of giving an inch. if at all possible, they intend to get rid of Pres Trump because he waylaid there plans. Unfortunately they are incorrect, it was Pres Trump, it was their agenda and and a solid opposition to it that defeated them during the election.

Since the attempt to remove him includes the Russia investigation and it various tentacles I intend to defend the current President as much possible.

Major Sjursen and Dr. Bacivich – ya ya ya I know . . . he's a this and a that . . . ) seem to have reached the same conclusion – once in it's "heck to fight" the preordained agenda.

annamaria , February 22, 2018 at 7:40 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet

The RussiaGate affairs and collusion charge are the obvious "Banksters United" coup run with a stunning degree of incompetence. Russia must be demonized because of her mineral resources, which are still not available for free, and because of her "wrong" behavior in Syria. Bansksters need this war. Arm producers and dealers need this war. Only the apparent danger of suicide by nuclear answer stops the banksters and other war profiteers from an immediate attack against Russian Federation.

The moneyed and powerful psychopaths-in-charge are enraged that the wealth of other nations is still outside their reach becasue of Russian "stubborness." The US/UK banking section is the main engine behind the supreme crimes of aggression in the Middle East and Ukraine (the ongoing civil war there had been initiated on the CIA instructions in 2014; see Brennan "secret" visit to Kiev on the eve of military actions against the civilian populations of Eastern Ukraine: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-media-report-cia-director-held-secret-consultations-in-kiev-33897 ).

The FBI and the CIA are the hired gangster organizations for the banksters. If the FBI and the CIA cared about national security, the US would not suffer the infamy of Awan affair, CrowdStrike "conclusions," and the US support for Daesh/ISIS/Al Qaida in the Middle East, as well as the US support for neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The US taxpayers have been financing both ISIS and neo-Nazis because banksters decided so.

annamaria , February 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm GMT
"Banksters United" conference in Munich: http://www.voltairenet.org/article199781.html

"The Middle East as seen by Berlin

Germany invested a lot in the US project for the Middle East (the strategy of the destruction of societies and states, conceived by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, but noticeably less in the British-US project for the " Arab Springs ". Since the Cold War, it has housed and supported several headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood, including that of the Syrians in Aix-la-Chapelle. Germany took a part in the assassination of ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri. In 2012, it co-wrote the Feltman plan for the total and unconditional capitulation of Syria. At present, Volker Perthes, director of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, the state think-tank, is advisor to Jeffrey Feltman at the UNO. [Jeffrey David Feltman is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Feltman was born to Jewish parents in the US he speaks Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, and Hungarian.]

For several years, the internal documents of the European External Action Service (EEAS) are copied and pasted from Volker Perthes' notes for the German government. Volker Perthes was at Munich with Jeffrey Feltman and their friends, Lakdhar Brahimi, Ramzi Ramzi, Steffan de Mistura, Generals David Petraeus (the KKR was also represented by Christian Ollig) and John Allen (Brookings Institution), as well as Nasser al-Hariri, the President of the High Authority for Negotiations (pro-Saudi Syrian opposition), Raed al-Saleh, director of the White Helmets (Al-Qaïda) and their Qatari sponsors, including Emir Thamim."

There were also "three bosses – German BND (Bruno Kahl), British MI6 (Alex Younger) and the French DGSE (Bernard Emié), who explained in a private room, in front of an audience chosen for their naïveté, how nervous they were about the Turkish operation in Syria. The three men pretended to believe that the combatants of the YPG constitute the safest barrier against Daesh. Yet they were supposed to create the Frontier Security Force with certain ex-members of Daesh . It's clear that the job of these three super-spies is to know to whom they owe the truth, and to whom they can lie. Sustaining their momentum, they hinted that the Syrian Arab Army uses chemical weapons – profiting from the absence in the room of the US Secretary for Defence, Jim Mattis, who had testified a few days earlier that proof of this claim is inexistent."

-- Lies, obfuscations, and crimes. The "three bosses" [of national security services] are in service to Banksters, corporations, and arm dealers and producers. On the public dime, of course And is not it touching that Jeffrey Feltman [a veritable Israel-firster] designs the US military support for ISIS/Daesh in Syria?

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 22, 2018 at 8:04 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

The Government exists for the rich to control the slaves. The rich choose one of their own to be President. The patriotic slaves, aka zombie morons left and right, vote for the slave masters every four years. And argue over their merits. Oh, the Trump has a much nicer touch with the lash than Obama.

SunBakedSuburb , February 22, 2018 at 8:43 pm GMT
The DNC data was leaked by an insider -- some say by the murdered Seth Rich. The Podesta emails were hacked. And what that hack revealed was a network of wealthy pedophiles that included both Podesta brothers, John and Tony, and other D.C. notables like Maeve Luzzatto and James Alefantis. It's true that the PizzaGate conspiracy theory has been promoted by Twitter nutcases, but that doesn't mean there isn't truth in it.

Obama CIA Director James Brennan's heavy involvement in the Russia/election conspiracy theory might be a clue that the D.C. pedophile network might be a CIA blackmail operation, much as Jeffrey Epstein's private Caribbean island was used as a Mossad honey trap.

SunBakedSuburb , February 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@lavoisier

"No greater friend of the Zionists than the fundamentalist Christians."

True. And thanks for using the term "Zionist" because not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews. Most American Jews, while supportive of Israel, are not Zionists. Most American Jews are a benefit to the communities they call home. Zionism is a globalist cult that must be unmasked and destroyed.

[Mar 23, 2018] It's amazing what obomber left around for the trumpster to use.

Mar 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 22, 2018 5:55:35 PM | 21

jo6pac , Mar 22, 2018 5:55:35 PM | 21
#4
It's amazing what obomber left around for the trumpster to use.

http://thehill.com/opinion/technology/379245-whats-genius-for-obama-is-scandal-when-it-comes-to-trump

[Mar 22, 2018] Trump's National Security Chief Calls Russian Interference 'Incontrovertible'

Mar 22, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

MUNICH -- Just hours after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians in what it charged was a broad conspiracy to alter the 2016 election, President Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, accused Moscow of engaging in a campaign of "disinformation, subversion and espionage" that he said Washington would continue to expose.

The evidence of a Russian effort to interfere in the election "is now incontrovertible," General McMaster said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of European and American diplomats and security experts, including several senior Russian officials. On Friday, just hours before the indictment, the top White House official for cyberissues accused Russia of "the most destructive cyberattack in human history," against Ukraine last summer.

Taken together, the statements appeared to mark a major turn in the administration's willingness to directly confront the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo also attended the Munich conference, and while they did not speak publicly, in private meetings with others here they reiterated similar statements.

The comments highlighted a sharp division inside the administration about how to talk about the Russian covert efforts, with only Mr. Trump and a few of his close advisers holding back from acknowledging the Russian role or talking about a larger strategy to deter future attacks.

The indictment characterized the cyberattacks and social media fraud as part of a larger effort by Russia to undermine the United States. A senior administration official called the effort to confront Russia "a significant point of contention" within the administration.

After the indictment on Friday Mr. Trump declared in a Twitter post that "the results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong -- no collusion!" He made no mention of Russia as a "revisionist power," the description used in his own National Security Strategy, or of the elaborate $1.2 million-a-month effort that the indictment indicated Russia's Internet Research Agency spent in an effort to discredit the election system and ultimately to support his candidacy.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking this past week in Washington, misstated American intelligence conclusions about the election hacking, arguing "it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any effect on the outcome of the 2016 election." The intelligence chiefs have said they have not, and cannot, reach such a conclusion.

Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, cited Mr. Pence's comments during the session here Saturday to make the case that Russia did nothing wrong. "So until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber," he said.

The man who served as the Russian ambassador to the United States during the period covered by the indictments, Sergey I. Kislyak, picked up on a favorite theme of Mr. Trump's: questioning the credibility of the F.B.I. and intelligence agency assessments.

"I have seen so many indictments and accusations against Russians," Mr. Kislyak said on Saturday afternoon. "I am not sure I can trust American law enforcement to be the most truthful source against Russians." He added, "The allegations being mounted against us are simply fantasies."

Mr. Kislyak, who has been caught up in the investigation because of meetings with Trump campaign officials during his time as ambassador, went on to cite a study, which he said he was keeping in his briefcase, that proved the "main source of computer attacks in the world is not Russia. It is the United States."

[Mar 21, 2018] This russiagate soap opera as you called it, is running by the US MSM for almost two years now; and it has completely messed up the majority of the US people.

Notable quotes:
"... An antidote to all my Dem liberal Clinton-supporting "friends" on FB who insanely slaver for Russiagate nonsense because they hate Trump. Nevermind that his impeachment would get us Pence. They pat themselves on the back for being good, liberal Trump-hating, Russia-gate believers. ..."
"... Nary a word from them while Obama cowardly ducked prosecuting torturers or banksters -- or started new illegal wars and drone-murdered so many innocent people. Much less the bogus ACA handout to Big Insurance. So much for American Values. ..."
"... They all believe in all this nonsense about Russia-Gate which is being fed nonstop on major networks; and also this latest incident in U.K. I was the only one who was questioning it and it can become unpleasant. ..."
"... It is sad to see all this happening. It is very dangerous. Newspapers, L.A. Times here, keep the public completely in the dark about the consequences that it may accidentally or knowingly lead to nuclear war with Russia. ..."
Mar 21, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Joe Tedesky , March 19, 2018 at 10:43 am

Here is something worth reading. https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/19/us-empire-on-decline/

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , March 19, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Thanks for that link, Joe. The article's authors, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, are long-time political activists, codirectors of PopularResistance.org. https://popularresistance.org/ That organization seems to be taking a very determined approach to social change, supplying not only articles tightly focused on issues but also organizing resources for activists.

I've been watching the group closely because I'm seeing signs that its anti-war work just may become the tip of the spear of a revitalized anti-war movement. (It's been a very long time since the anti-war movement in the U.S. had effective leadership.)

Kevin knows how to play the long game. He was for at least two decades director of NORML and can now watch his earlier work come to fruition as state after state legalizes marijuana.

Typingperson , March 20, 2018 at 12:36 am

Thanks, Paul, for flagging that Kevin Zeese is the former head of NORML. I remember him well from this role -- and how effective he was.

I will check out PopularResistance.org.

An antidote to all my Dem liberal Clinton-supporting "friends" on FB who insanely slaver for Russiagate nonsense because they hate Trump. Nevermind that his impeachment would get us Pence. They pat themselves on the back for being good, liberal Trump-hating, Russia-gate believers.

Nary a word from them while Obama cowardly ducked prosecuting torturers or banksters -- or started new illegal wars and drone-murdered so many innocent people. Much less the bogus ACA handout to Big Insurance. So much for American Values.

Dave P. , March 20, 2018 at 2:29 am

Joe, you are right. I do not have to go too far to see what it has done to the citizens of this country, I just look in my own home. This soap opera as you called it, is going on almost two years now; and it has completely messed up the people. We had a visitor, somebody very close to me, a week before this weekend, and invited some other friends. They all believe in all this nonsense about Russia-Gate which is being fed nonstop on major networks; and also this latest incident in U.K. I was the only one who was questioning it and it can become unpleasant.

It is sad to see all this happening. It is very dangerous. Newspapers, L.A. Times here, keep the public completely in the dark about the consequences that it may accidentally or knowingly lead to nuclear war with Russia.

[Mar 12, 2018] State Department's War on Political Dissent

Highly recommended!
Mar 12, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

The US State Department is spending millions of dollars spreading its own disinformation and propping up NGOs to destroy any individual or organization that does not toe the official US government line on the US global military empire. Through its "Global Engagement Center" the State Department establishes in fact -- in the open -- what it accuses the Russian government of doing without any evidence. Social media companies are colluding with the US government to make organizations who oppose the US global military empire disappear.

RPI's Daniel McAdams joins the Corbett Report to discuss the neocon/Washington war on dissent in America:

Inside the State Department's Troll Farm - Daniel McAdams on The Corbett Report - YouTube

[Mar 11, 2018] America's Troll Farm Media

Notable quotes:
"... A recent Gallup poll found that while 84% of Americans see media as "critical" or "very important" to democracy, only 28% see the corporatist mainstream news media (MSM) as actually supporting democracy. They're right on both counts of course. The quality of a democracy is only as good as the information people have to make informed judgments about public policy and politicians. ..."
"... Even as the mainstream news media continue to lose street cred, they persist in a rumor-saturated full court press against the "Trump-Putin presidency," which only further exposes their lack of professionalism and increasing vulgarity. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... But it's not a new game, because despite their "free press" claims, American major news media have long been instruments of state propaganda. In the 1970s, Carl Bernstein exposed the fact that the overseas branches of US MSM had long served as eyes and ears of the CIA's "Operation Mockingbird," and it's very likely than many amongst their ranks remain agency assets. ..."
"... During the GW Bush presidency, the Pentagon recruited over 75 military generals to spread propaganda in the mass media, fed in camera ..."
"... In February 2018, former CIA director John Brennan, the man who fed the Russian "hacking" story to the House Intelligence Committee, became a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC and MSNBC in what has become standard revolving door practice between government and the corporate world. ..."
"... And he certainly knows something about hacking, as he was forced to admit, after first lying about it, that his CIA hacked the computers of Senate staffers who were investigating the agency's role in torturing prisoners. A man the MSM apparently regard as having impeccable credentials for truth telling. ..."
"... Facebook's vice president for advertising Rob Goldman said that in fact most of the total Russian ad buys occurred after ..."
"... The Peacemaker, The Saint, Rambo III, Red Dawn, Red Heat, the James Bond flicks, and the 2018 Oscar for documentaries, Icarus. ..."
"... There are a few signs of life in mainstream journalism. New York Times ..."
"... pledge to be truthful ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
"... The intelligence agencies "have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here." It was likely no more than a USB transfer, he said. ..."
"... Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS, spoke for the media establishment: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS . The money's rolling in . It's a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald." ..."
"... Gerald Sussman is professor of urban studies and international and global studies at Portland State University. He is the author and editor of several books, including The Propaganda Society: Promotional Culture and Politics in Global Context (2011). ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Despite all the smoke and mirrors, most Americans seem to see where the stenographers of corporate capitalism are taking us. A recent Gallup poll found that while 84% of Americans see media as "critical" or "very important" to democracy, only 28% see the corporatist mainstream news media (MSM) as actually supporting democracy. They're right on both counts of course. The quality of a democracy is only as good as the information people have to make informed judgments about public policy and politicians.

Even as the mainstream news media continue to lose street cred, they persist in a rumor-saturated full court press against the "Trump-Putin presidency," which only further exposes their lack of professionalism and increasing vulgarity. MSM management and their boardroom bosses have long understood that as long as they spice up their "nothing burger" news, ratings and advertising rates will keep them in business and please their commercial and government clients. Tabloid journalism, which can describe most American mainstream media these days, even when wrapped up as "all the news that's fit to print," is in constant search of sensation, scandal, gossip, and profit – and only occasionally in public-oriented investigative integrity.

What else does the citizenry have to say? A mere 18% have "a lot" of trust in the MSM, while 74% see them as "biased" (Pew Research, July 2016). A study by the Harvard-Harris polling organization in May 2017 confirmed this, finding that 65 percent of Americans consider the so-called "free press" biased, obsessed with scandal, and full of "fake news" and therefore cannot be trusted. Among the concurring are a majority of both Democrats (53%) and Independents (60%) as well as 80% of Republicans. Amongst the "informed public," trust in American institutions in general, that is, the government, business, NGOs, and the MSM, is going through the worst crisis in recorded history, according to the marketing firm Edelman in 2018. The US is the lowest rated of the 28 countries surveyed by the firm on this measure. This is not consistent with the image of a serious "democracy."

On the MSM coverage of national politics, Americans are equally skeptical. A June 2017 Rasmussen survey of likely American voters indicated that 50% think most reporters are prejudiced against the president, and only 4% believe most reporters are biased in Trump's favor. Although this is weighted by the 76% of Republicans who support this view, the study also found that 51% of independent voters and even 24% of Democrats also agree. Aided by the billions of dollars of free, almost all negative, publicity the MSM provided, with apparent reverse effect during the presidential campaign, Trump's standing is also supported by the 47 million American shock troops that faithfully follow him on Twitter.

On January 27, 2018, the Washington Post editorial board issued this statement: "A foreign power interfered in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. law enforcement is trying to get to the bottom of that story. Congress should be doing everything possible to make sure the investigation can take place." Obviously referring to Russia, the Post's declaration, as the late investigative journalist Robert Parry and many other independent and respected writers have pointed out, was and remains without a shred of evidence. It's WMD time all over again, only this time the propaganda is being trumpeted mainly by the Democrats. It would better serve the cause of democracy to investigate the Post for its covert coalition and collusion with the deep state and the Clinton (right) wing of the Democratic Party. The Post and the rest of their pack have constructed a wicked Russia foil in order to undermine Moscow's presumed ally Trump and boost bigger Pentagon budgets. It's an extremely dangerous game that is headed toward military confrontation and massive annihilation by the yahoos in government and the liberal media.

But it's not a new game, because despite their "free press" claims, American major news media have long been instruments of state propaganda. In the 1970s, Carl Bernstein exposed the fact that the overseas branches of US MSM had long served as eyes and ears of the CIA's "Operation Mockingbird," and it's very likely than many amongst their ranks remain agency assets. Back then, Philip Graham, publisher of the Post , ran the agency's media industry operations, a fact not mentioned in the currently showing eponymous film. During the GW Bush presidency, the Pentagon recruited over 75 military generals to spread propaganda in the mass media, fed in camera by leaders at the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, and the White House. Their responsibilities included their employment as "objective" foreign policy and war analysts for major network and cable news channels, many of them concurrently receiving pay by military contracting firms. The Pentagon referred to the on-air military propagandists as "surrogates" and "message force multipliers."

The Russians are Coming

In February 2018, former CIA director John Brennan, the man who fed the Russian "hacking" story to the House Intelligence Committee, became a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC and MSNBC in what has become standard revolving door practice between government and the corporate world. Brennan was a well-known advocate for the CIA's rendition and torture program, spying on its critics, and its use of drone bombings and assassinations in the Middle East. And he certainly knows something about hacking, as he was forced to admit, after first lying about it, that his CIA hacked the computers of Senate staffers who were investigating the agency's role in torturing prisoners. A man the MSM apparently regard as having impeccable credentials for truth telling.

If the Russia "hacking" story has no legs, the more interesting piece of news is the organized efforts of the Democrats and some Republicans to bring down Trump and turn over the White House to theocrat Mike Pence. Mainstream pundits and reporters are churning out unsubstantiated speculations about Russia and Trump by the hour. A number of Democrats, military brass, and mercenary journalist (and former country club caddy) Thomas Friedman have characterized alleged Russian intervention as a new "Pearl Harbor" or "9/11," thereby building a case for war and for treason against the president. There's no downside to making even the most absurd claims about Russia and Trump, no penalty for fabrications, misrepresentations, or getting facts wrong. If they were honest, their ledes might read: "This fictional news report is loosely based on a true story." Or: "Any resemblance in this story to real people and events is merely coincidental."

There's room in the inferno for the Democrats' deep state allies. Starting in mid-2015, Peter Strzok, the FBI's H. Clinton personal email scandal investigator before taking the lead in the probe of Russian election interference, sent emails to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which clearly revealed that both of them were actively working for the Clinton campaign to undermine Trump in any way possible. The pair also exchanged references to a "secret society" that was operating within the Department of Justice and the FBI to block a Trump victory. Until their exposure, Strzok had been Robert Mueller's right hand man on the Trump-Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, two years later, the hunt for the smoking Kalashnikov continues. The best the MSM have come up with is that a St. Petersburg outfit called Internet Research Agency (IRA) placed $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to the $81 million Facebook ad spending by the Trump and Clinton campaigns), some of the Russian ads actually directed against Trump. As Jeffrey St. Clair pointed out in the pages of CounterPunch, in the key states where Clinton lost the election, the traditional Democrat strongholds of Michigan ($832 spent on token IRA buy ads), Pennsylvania ($300), and Wisconsin ($1,979), all but $54 of this amount was spent before the party primaries even started.

Facebook's vice president for advertising Rob Goldman said that in fact most of the total Russian ad buys occurred after the presidential election. "We shared that fact," he tweeted, "but very few [news] outlets have covered it because it doesn't align with the main media narrative" about Trump's election victory. Winning the election for Trump was simply not the Russian objective, Goldman says. Alex Stamos, Facebook chief security officer, concurred. The ads, he said, were more about sowing discord, with messages about guns, immigrants, and racial strife, than on pushing a particular candidate. Think about all the blockbuster American (and British) movies that portray Russians as sinister, violent, and criminal. For starters, remember über-teutonic Ivan Drago, Sgt. Yushin, the many sadistic "Russian" mafia nogoodniks, along with the Cold War-for-children cartoon characters, Boris Badanov and Natasha Fatale? Among the many Russophobic films and TV shows over the decades: The Americans , Air Force One , The Peacemaker, The Saint, Rambo III, Red Dawn, Red Heat, the James Bond flicks, and the 2018 Oscar for documentaries, Icarus. Soviet and Russia-era films, not well tutored in ethnic caricatures, have no comparable stereotypical American counterparts.

There are a few signs of life in mainstream journalism. New York Times correspondent Scott Shane was one of the few journalists who happened to notice that the US intelligence agency (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) report of January 6, 2017 on Russian "hacking" actually offered no evidence. "Instead," he said, "the message from the agencies essentially amounts to 'trust us.'" It took the mainstream media 6 months before they acknowledged that the Obama administration claim that 17 intelligence agencies backed the hacking claim was false, the real number was only 3, and even the NSA had only "moderate confidence" in the finding. Last January, the NSA made a significant alteration in its mission statement: it removed the words "honesty" and the pledge to be truthful from its list of priorities.

Even if there were genuine evidence that Russian officials had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta emails, as originally claimed by the intelligence agencies, one should put this in context of the long history of the CIA's efforts to overthrow many democratically elected leaders who had the temerity to stand up to the superpower. These would include Allende, Arbenz, Mossadeq, Lumumba, Chavez, Goulart, Ortega, and others. The list of US interventions in foreign elections just since 1948 (Italy) is voluminous. Do the mainstream media suffer amnesia about Victoria Nuland and John McCain's presence in the Maidan, egging on the coup against Yanukovych or her infamous leaked phone call to the US ambassador in Kiev in which she dictated the ousted president's successors? And is it reasonable to expect Russia to be passive about a hostile NATO putting troops along its borders and reacting to efforts to install an anti-Russian regime next door in the Ukraine? In this recent historical context, US accusations of Russian political interference smack of complete hypocrisy.

A study by Carnegie Mellon professor Dov Levin found that between 1946 and 2000 alone, the US intervened in foreign elections 81 times, which does not include its invasions, blockades, sanctions, assassination attempts, and other regime change initiatives. "The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries," he wrote. In 1996, the US intervened in the Russian election to prevent the Communist Party from returning to power. Have the MSM also forgotten the lies the government and the CIA told about Saddam Hussein's WMD and connections to terrorist movements? Or that, thanks to Edward Snowden's exposés, we know that Obama's NSA bugged the phones of 35 foreign political leaders?

If the MSM are still confused, perhaps they should listen to former CIA director James Woolsey. Interviewed by Fox News' Laura Ingraham, Woolsey was asked directly whether the US ever interfered with other countries' elections. He initially said, "probably, but it was for the good of the system in order to avoid the communists from taking over." Ingraham followed up with the question, "We don't do that now?" To this Woolsey responded, "nyum, nyum, nyum, nyum, nyum, only for a very good cause," a rather frank admission that merely amused Ingraham, who failed to follow up with this obvious statement of US double standards. After leaving the CIA, Woolsey became chairman of Freedom House, a right-wing government-supported private NGO that putatively supports human rights causes and has been active in regime change operations around the world – far more actively than merely doing Facebook postings.

William Binney, formerly with NSA as a high-level intelligence operative, subsequently becoming a whistleblower on the agency's illegal surveillance operations, called the alleged Russian attacks on the DNC "a charade." Speaking to Daniel Bernstein at Consortium News , Binney said that had any bulk transmissions come from across the Atlantic, the NSA would have known about it, as they tap every communication from abroad. The data from "Guccifer 2.0," was a download "not a transfer across the Web," which "won't manage such high speed." The intelligence agencies "have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here." It was likely no more than a USB transfer, he said.

Is there any hope for the mainstream media to change? It would take a revolution to get the MSM to become more democratic. A Harvard Shorenstein Center report found that media coverage of the 2016 US party conventions contained almost no discussion of policy issues and instead concentrated on polling data, scandals, campaign tactics, and Trump and Russia bashing. Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS, spoke for the media establishment: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS . The money's rolling in . It's a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald."

As Walter Cronkite would say, "And that's the way it is." Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Gerald Sussman

Gerald Sussman is professor of urban studies and international and global studies at Portland State University. He is the author and editor of several books, including The Propaganda Society: Promotional Culture and Politics in Global Context (2011).

[Mar 10, 2018] Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in Obama policy and HRC campaign long before any Steele s Dossier. This was a program ofunleashing cold War II

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Especially, once American policy-makers who saw and experienced war (Ike, George Marshall's generation) departed things started to roll down hill with Reagan bringing on board a whole collection of neocons. ..."
"... Unawareness is always dangerous, a complete blackout in relations between two nuclear powers is more than dangerous--it is completely reckless. Again, the way CW 1.0 is perceived in the current US "elites" it becomes extremely tempting to repeat it. Electing Hillary was another step in unleashing CW 2.0 by people who have no understanding of what they were doing. ..."
"... Obama started crushing US-Russian relations before any campaigns were launched and before Trump was even seriously considered a GOP nominee, let alone a real contender. New confrontation hinged on HRC being elected. In fact, she was one of the major driving forces behind a serious of geopolitical anti-Russian moves. Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in HRC campaign long before any Steele's Dossier. This was a program. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

As chickenhawks related those who experienced war in the USA elite that slide to neocon dominance became inevitable.

SmoothieX12 -> Anna... , 04 February 2018 at 01:39 PM

- If they have read the important books at all... The ongoing scandal has been revealing a stunning incompetence of the "deciders." Too often they look comical, ridiculous, undignified. This is dangerous, considering their power.

My coming book is precisely about that. Especially, once American policy-makers who saw and experienced war (Ike, George Marshall's generation) departed things started to roll down hill with Reagan bringing on board a whole collection of neocons.

Unawareness is always dangerous, a complete blackout in relations between two nuclear powers is more than dangerous--it is completely reckless. Again, the way CW 1.0 is perceived in the current US "elites" it becomes extremely tempting to repeat it. Electing Hillary was another step in unleashing CW 2.0 by people who have no understanding of what they were doing.

Obama started crushing US-Russian relations before any campaigns were launched and before Trump was even seriously considered a GOP nominee, let alone a real contender. New confrontation hinged on HRC being elected. In fact, she was one of the major driving forces behind a serious of geopolitical anti-Russian moves. Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in HRC campaign long before any Steele's Dossier. This was a program.

kooshy said in reply to SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 04:10 PM
John McCain is a war veteran and a policy maker, who has seen war closer than Marshal or Ike still he will shy away from any war even with nuclear Russia.
Joe100 said in reply to kooshy... , 04 February 2018 at 04:40 PM
While McCain is a war veteran, his career was not in any way distinguished - rather he pretty clearly was given "hall pass" after "hall pass" given his father and grandfather. It also seems pretty clear his time as a POW has probably significantly influenced his view of the world.

"The Nightingale's Song" has an excellent treatment of his Naval Academy and service time, along with and in contrast to Ollie North, Jim Webb, admiral Poindexter and Bud MacFarlane. Not a pretty picture..

SmoothieX12 -> kooshy... , 04 February 2018 at 05:00 PM
John McCain is a war veteran and a policy maker, who has seen war closer than Marshal or Ike still he will shy away from any war even with nuclear Russia.

Seeing generations of your close and remote relatives killed and your property destroyed as a result of war is usually a very sobering collective experience. McCain, apart from being a rather exceptional warmonger, doesn't know what it is, despite experiencing some serious trials while being a POW. Ike saw, for starters, concentration camps and, unlike, McCain was mostly on the ground. This is a crucial distinction.

kooshy , 04 February 2018 at 05:15 PM
"It also seems pretty clear his time as a POW has probably significantly influenced his view of the world."
I agree, and, that was the point I tried to make, not all veterans are necessary qualified MINDS for deciding future of the coming generations. I have the same suspicion for General Kelly, having lost a son in Afghanistan and having power to influence the war in Afghanistan, I think is this situation, like judges, one has to recuse him/herself to be part of planers.

[Mar 08, 2018] Mueller determines the US foreign policy toward Russia; The Intel Community Lies About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
The sad but reasonable conclusion from all those Russiagate events is that an influential part of the US elite wants to balance on the edge of war with Russia to ensure profits and flow of taxpayer money. that part of the elite include top honchos on the US intelligence community and Pentagon (surprise, surprise)
The other logical conclusion is that intelligence agencies now determine the US foreign policy and control all major political players (there were widespread suspicions that Clinton, Bush II and Obama were actually closely connected to CIA). Which neatly fits into hypotheses about the "deep state".
This "can of worms" that the US political scene now represents is very dangerous for the future on mankind indeed.
Notable quotes:
"... Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle. ..."
"... "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." ..."
"... More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release ..."
"... If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist. ..."
"... "We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing." ..."
"... The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people. ..."
"... Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved ..."
"... This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies. ..."
"... That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions ..."
"... Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations. ..."
"... We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. ..."
"... We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. ..."
"... We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. ..."
"... It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document. ..."
"... The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged. ..."
"... "The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged. ..."
"... Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it? ..."
"... Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup. ..."
"... To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC ..."
"... Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence. ..."
"... In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich. ..."
"... My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected ..."
"... Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling." ..."
"... His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government. ..."
"... It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already. ..."
"... Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating. ..."
"... But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." ..."
"... Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. ..."
"... Re 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance. ..."
"... "We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found. ..."
"... Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that. ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Intel Community Lie About Russian Meddling by Publius Tacitus

Americans tend to be a trusting lot. When they hear a high level government official, like former Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, state that Russia's Vladimir ordered and monitored a Russian cyber attack on the 2016 Presidential election, those trusting souls believe him. For experienced intelligence professionals, who know how the process of gathering and analyzing intelligence works, they detect a troubling omission in Clapper's presentation and, upon examining the so-called "Intelligence Community Assessment," discover that document is a deceptive fraud. It lacks actual evidence that Putin and the Russians did what they are accused of doing. More troubling -- and this is inside baseball -- is the fact that two critical members of the Intelligence Community -- the DIA and State INR -- were not asked to coordinate/clear on the assessment.

You should not feel stupid if you do not understand or appreciate the last point. That is something only people who actually have produced a Community Assessment would understand. I need to take you behind the scenes and ensure you understand what is intelligence and how analysts assess and process that intelligence. Once you understand that then you will be able to see the flaws and inadequacies in the report released by Jim Clapper in January 2017.

The first thing you need to understand is the meaning of the term, the "Intelligence Community" aka IC. Comedians are not far off the mark in touting this phrase as the original oxymoron. On paper the IC currently is comprised of 17 agencies/departments:
  1. Air Force Intelligence,
  2. Army Intelligence,
  3. Central Intelligence Agency aka CIA,
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence,
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency aka DIA,
  6. Energy Department aka DOE,
  7. Homeland Security Department,
  8. State Department aka INR,
  9. Treasury Department,
  10. Drug Enforcement Administration aka DEA,
  11. Federal Bureau of Investigation aka FBI,
  12. Marine Corps Intelligence,
  13. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency aka NGIA or NGA,
  14. National Reconnaissance Office aka NRO,
  15. National Security Agency aka NSA,
  16. Navy Intelligence
  17. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But not all of these are "national security" agencies -- i.e., those that collect raw intelligence, which subsequently is packaged and distributed to other agencies on a need to know basis. Only six of these agencies take an active role in collecting raw foreign intelligence. The remainder are consumers of that intelligence product. In other words, the information does not originate with them. They are like a subscriber to the New York Times. They get the paper everyday and, based upon what they read, decide what is going on in their particular world. The gatherers of intelligence are:

Nine of the other agencies/departments are consumers. They do not collect and package original info. They are the passive recipients. The analysts in those agencies will base their conclusions on information generated by other agencies, principally the CIA and the NSA.

The astute among you, I am sure, will insist my list is deficient and will ask, "What about the FBI and DEA?" It is true that those two organizations produce a type of human intelligence -- i.e., they recruit informants and those informants provide those agencies with information that the average person understandably would categorize as "intelligence." But there is an important difference between human intelligence collected by the CIA and the human source intelligence gathered by the FBI or the DEA. The latter two are law enforcement agencies. No one from the CIA or the NSA has the power to arrest someone. The FBI and the DEA do.

Their authority as law enforcement agents, however, comes with limitations, especially in collecting so-called intelligence. The FBI and the DEA face egal constraints on what information they can collect and store. The FBI cannot decide on its own that skinheads represent a threat and then start gathering information identifying skinhead leaders. There has to be an allegation of criminal activity. When such "human" information is being gathered under the umbrella of law enforcement authorities, it is being handled as potential evidence that may be used to prosecute someone. This means that such information cannot be shared with anyone else, especially intelligence agencies like the CIA and the NSA.

The "17th" member of the IC is the Director of National Intelligence aka DNI. This agency was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for the ostensible purpose of coordinating the activities and products of the IC. In theory it is the organization that is supposed to coordinate what the IC collects and the products the IC produces. Most objective observers would concede that the DNI has been a miserable failure and nothing more than a bureaucratic boondoggle.

An important, but little understood point, is that these agencies each have a different focus. They are not looking at the same things. In fact, most are highly specialized and narrowly focused. Take the Coast Guard, for instance. Their intelligence operations primarily hone in on maritime threats and activities in U.S. territorial waters, such as narcotic interdictions. They are not responsible for monitoring what the Russians are doing in the Black Sea and they have no significant expertise in the cyber activities of the Russian Army military intelligence organization aka the GRU.

In looking back at the events of 2016 surrounding the U.S. Presidential campaign, most people will recall that Hillary Clinton, along with several high level Obama national security officials, pushed the lie that the U.S. Intelligence agreed that Russia had unleashed a cyber war on the United States. The initial lie came from DNI Jim Clapper and Homeland Security Chief, Jeb Johnson, who released the following memo to the press on 7 October 2016 :

"The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."

This was a deliberate deceptive message. It implied that the all 16 intelligence agencies agreed with the premise and "evidence of Russian meddling. Yet not a single bit of proof was offered. More telling was the absence of any written document issued from the Office of the DNI that detailed the supposed intel backing up this judgment. Notice the weasel language in this release:

If there was actual evidence/intelligence, such as an intercepted conversation between Vladimir Putin and a subordinate ordering them to hack the DNC or even a human source report claiming such an activity, then it would have and should have been referenced in the Clapper/Johnson document. It was not because such intel did not exist.

Hillary Clinton helped perpetuate this myth during the late October debate with Donald Trump, when she declared as fact that:

"We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," Clinton said. "I find that deeply disturbing."

What is shocking is that there was so little pushback to this nonsense. Hardly anyone asked why would the DEA, Coast Guard, the Marines or DOE have any technical expertise to make a judgment about Russian hacking of U.S. election systems. And no one of any importance asked the obvious -- where was the written memo or National Intelligence Estimate laying out what the IC supposedly knew and believed? There was nothing.

It is natural for the average American citizen to believe that something given the imprimatur of the Intelligence Community must reflect solid intelligence and real expertise. Expertise is supposed to be the cornerstone of intelligence analysis and the coordination that occurs within the IC. That means that only those analysts (and the agencies they represent) will be asked to contribute or comment on a particular intelligence issue. When it comes to the question of whether Russia had launched a full out cyber attack on the Democrats and the U.S. electoral system, only analysts from agencies with access to the intelligence and the expertise to analyze that intelligence would be asked to write or contribute to an intelligence memorandum.

Who would that be? The answer is simple -- the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, State INR and the FBI. (One could make the case that there are some analysts within Homeland Security that might have expertise, but they would not necessarily have access to the classified information produced by the CIA or the NSA.) The task of figuring out what the Russians were doing and planned to do fell to five agencies and only three of the five (the CIA, the DIA and NSA) would have had the ability to collect intelligence that could inform the work of analysts.

Before I can explain to you how an analyst work this issue it is essential for you to understand the type of intelligence that would be required to "prove" Russian meddling. There are four possible sources -- 1) a human source who had direct access to the Russians who directed the operation or carried it out; 2) a signal intercept of a conversation or cyber activity that was traced to Russian operatives; 3) a document that discloses the plan or activity observed; or 4) forensic evidence from the computer network that allegedly was attacked.

Getting human source intel is primarily the job of CIA. It also is possible that the DIA or the FBI had human sources that could have contributed relevant intelligence.

Signal intercepts are collected and analyzed by the NSA.

Documentary evidence, which normally is obtained from a human source but can also be picked up by NSA intercepts or even an old-fashioned theft.

Finally there is the forensic evidence . In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked.

What Do Analysts Do?

Whenever there is a "judgment" or "consensus" claimed on behalf to the IC, it means that one or more analysts have written a document that details the evidence and presents conclusions based on that evidence. On a daily basis the average analyst confronts a flood of classified information (normally referred to as "cables" or "messages"). When I was on the job in the 1980s I had to wade through more than 1200 messages -- i.e., human source reports from the CIA, State Department messages with embassies around the world, NSA intercepts, DIA reports from their officers based overseas (most in US embassies) and open source press reports. Today, thanks to the internet, the average analyst must scan through upwards of 3000 messages. It is humanly impossible.

The basic job of an analyst is to collect as much relevant information as possible on the subject or topic that is their responsibility. There are analysts at the CIA, the NSA, the DIA and State INR that have the job of knowing about Russian cyber activity and capabilities. That is certain. But we are not talking about hundreds of people.

Let us move from the hypothetical to the actual. In January of 2017, DNI Jim Clapper release a report entitled, " Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections " (please see here ). In subsequent testimony before the Congress, Clapper claimed that he handpicked two dozen analysts to draft the document . That is not likely. There may have been as many as two dozen analysts who read the final document and commented on it, but there would never be that many involved in in drafting such a document. In any event, only analysts from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI were involved :

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

Limiting the drafting and clearance on this document to only the CIA, the NSA and the FBI is highly unusual because one of the key analytical conclusions in the document identifies the Russian military intelligence organization, the GRU, as one of the perpetrators of the cyber attack. DIA's analysts are experts on the GRU and there also are analysts in State Department's Bureau of INR who should have been consulted. Instead, they were excluded.

Here is how the process should have worked in producing this document:

  1. One or more analysts are asked to do a preliminary draft. It is customary in such a document for the analyst to cite specific intelligence, using phrases such as: "According to a reliable source of proven access," when citing a CIA document or "According to an intercept of a conversation between knowledgeable sources with access," when referencing something collected by the NSA. The analyst does more than repeat what is claimed in the intel reports, he or she also has the job of explaining what these facts mean or do not mean.
  2. There always is an analyst leading the effort who has the job of integrating the contributions of the other analysts into a coherent document. Once the document is completed in draft it is handed over to Branch Chief and then Division Chief for editing. We do not know who had the lead, but it was either the FBI, the CIA or the NSA.
  3. At the same time the document is being edited at originating agency, it is supposed to be sent to the other clearing agencies, i.e. those agencies that either provided the intelligence cited in the draft (i.e., CIA, NSA, DIA, or State) or that have expertise on the subject. As noted previously, it is highly unusual to exclude the DIA and INR.
  4. Once all the relevant agencies clear on the content of the document, it is sent into the bowels of the DNI where it is put into final form.

That is how the process is supposed to work. But the document produced in January 2017 was not a genuine work reflecting the views of the "Intelligence Community." It only represented the supposed thinking (and I use that term generously) of CIA, NSA and FBI analysts. In other words, only three of 16 agencies cleared on the document that presented four conclusions:

Sounds pretty ominous, but the language used tells a different story. The conclusions are based on assumptions and judgments. There was nor is any actual evidence from intelligence sources showing that Vladimir Putin ordered up anything or that his government preferred Trump over Clinton.

How do I know this? If such evidence existed -- either documentary or human source or signal intercept -- it would have been cited in this document. Not only that. Such evidence would have corroborated the claims presented in the Steele dossier. But such evidence was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified."

It is genuinely shocking that DNI Jim Clapper, with the acquiescence of the CIA, the FBI and NSA, would produce a document devoid of any solid intelligence. There is a way to publicly release sensitive intelligence without comprising a the original source. But such sourcing is absent in this document.

That simple fact should tell you all you need to know. The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.


LeaNder , 07 March 2018 at 05:59 PM

Good summary argument, PT. Thanks. Helpful reminder.

But, makes me feel uncomfortable. Cynical scenario. I'd prefer them to be both drivers and driven, somehow stumbling into the chronology of events. They didn't hack the DNC, after all. Crowdstrike? Steele? ...

********
But yes, all the 17 agencies Clinton alluded to in her 3rd encounter with Trump was a startling experience:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/19/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-blames-russia-putin-wikileaks-rele/

turcopolier , 07 March 2018 at 06:10 PM
LeaNder

One other point on which Tacitus and I differ is the quality of the analysts in the "minors." The "bigs" often recruit analysts from the "minors" so they can't be all that bad. And the analysts in all these agencies receive much the same data feed electronically every day. There are exceptions to this but it is generally true. I, too, read hundreds of documents every day to keep up with the knowledge base of the analysts whom I interrogated continuously. "How do you know that?" would have been typical. pl

Flavius , 07 March 2018 at 06:19 PM
Well done.

"The Intelligence Community was used as a tool to misinform the public and persuade them that Russia was guilty of something they did not do. That lie remains unchallenged.'" Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged.

Conjectural garbage appears first to have been washed through the FBI, headquarters no less, then probably it picked up a Triple A rating at the CIA, and then when the garbage got to Clapper, it was bombs away - we experts all agree. There were leaks, but they weren't sufficient to satisfy Steele so he just delivered the garbage whole to the Media in order to make it a sure thing. The garbage was placed securely out there in the public domain with a Triple A rating because the FBI wouldn't concern itself with garbage, would it?

Contrast this trajectory with what the Russian policy establishment did when it concluded that the US had done something in the Ukraine that Russia found significantly actionable: it released the taped evidence of Nuland and our Ambassador finishing off the coup.

The whole sequence reminds me in some ways of the sub prime mortgage bond fiasco: garbage risk progressively bundled, repackaged, rebranded and resold by big name institutions that should have known better.

I have only two questions: was it misfeasance, malfeasance, or some ugly combination of the two? And are they going to get away with it?

Richardstevenhack , 07 March 2018 at 06:23 PM
Re this: " In the case of Russian meddling there is no forensic evidence available to the IC because the Democratic National Committee did not permit the FBI to investigate and examine the computers and the network that was allegedly attacked."

To be precise, CrowdStrike did provide the FBI with allegedly "certified true images" of the DNC servers allegedly involved in the alleged "hack." They also allegedly provided these images to FireEye and Mandiant, IIRC.

All three allegedly examined those images and concurred with CrowdStrike's analysis.

Of course, given the CrowdStrike itself is a massively compromised organization due to its founder and CEO, those "certified true images" are themselves tainted evidence.

In addition, regardless of whether the images were true or not, the evidence allegedly contained therein is painfully inadequate to confirm that APT28 or APT29 were involved, nor that the Russian government was involved, or even that there was a real hack involved, and even less evidence that any emails that might have been exfiltrated were given to Wikileaks as opposed to another leak such as that alleged by Sy Hersh to have been done by Seth Rich.

The "assessment" that Putin ordered any of this is pure mind-reading and can be utterly dismissed absent any of the other evidence Publius points out as necessary.

The same applies to any "estimate" that the Russian government preferred Trump or wished to denigrate Clinton. Based on what I read in pro-Russian news outlets, Russian officials took great pains to not pick sides and Putin's comments were similarly very restrained. The main quote from Putin about Trump that emerged was mistranslated as approval whereas it was more an observation of Trump's personality. At no time did Putin ever say he favored Trump over Clinton, even though that was a likely probability given Clinton's "Hitler" comparison.

As an aside, I also recommend Scott Ritter's trashing of the ICA. Ritter is familiar with intelligence estimates and their reliability based on his previous service as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and in Russia implementing arms control treaties.

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exposing-the-man-behind-the-curtain_us_5877887be4b05b7a465df6a4

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

His analysis of the NSA document leaked by NSA contractor Reality Winner which supposedly supported the Russia theory is also relevant.

Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in 'Russiagate' Case
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/leaked-nsa-report-is-short-on-facts-proves-little-in-russiagate-case/

ann , 07 March 2018 at 11:22 PM
This is a wonderful explanation of the intelligence community. And I thank you for the explanation. My interpretation is: In 1990 +- Bush 41 sold us the 1st Iraq war using fudged intelligence, then Bush 43 sold us the second Iraq war using fabricated intelligence. And now the Obama Administration tried to sell us fake intelligence in regard to Russia in order to get Clinton elected. However inadequate my summary is it looks like the Democrats are less skilled in propaganda than the Repubs. And what else is the difference?
Richardstevenhack , 08 March 2018 at 03:02 AM
Mueller has had 18 months and has proceeded to reveal exactly nothing related to either Trump "collusion" with Russia nor Russia as a state actually doing anything remotely described as "meddling."

His expected indictment of some Russians for the DNC hack is going to be more of the same in all likelihood. I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 or that they had any direct connection with either the alleged DNC hack or Wikileaks or the Russian government.

It's a witch hunt, nothing more. People holding their breath for the "slam dunk" are going to pass out soon if they haven't already.

blue peacock , 08 March 2018 at 04:12 AM
GZC #12

Mueller is investigating some aspects. But there is another aspect - the conspiracy inside law enforcement and the IC. That is also being investigated. There are Congressional committees in particular Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. Then there is the DOJ IG. And today AG Sessions confirms there is a DOJ prosecutor outside Washington investigating.

IMO, the conspiracy is significantly larger in scale and scope than anything the Russians did.

Yes, indeed we'll have to wait and see what facts Mueller reveals. But also what facts these other investigations reveal.

English Outsider , 08 March 2018 at 05:57 AM
Thank you for setting out the geography and workings of this complex world.

Might I ask how liaison with other Intelligence Communities fits in? Is intelligence information from non-US sources such as UK intelligence sources subject to the same process of verification and evaluation?

I ask because of the passage in your article -

"But such evidence (corroborating the Steele dossier) was not forthcoming. If it had existed than Jim Comey could have claimed in his June 2017 testimony before Congress that the parts of the "Dossier" had been verified. He did not do so. Testifying under oath Comey described the "Dossier" as "salacious and unverified." "

Does this leave room for the assertion that although the "Dossier" was unverified in the US it was accepted as good information because it had been verified by UK Intelligence or by persons warranted by the UK? In other words, was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:53 AM
EO,

" ... was UK Intelligence, or an ex-UK intelligence officer, used to get material through the US evaluation process, material that would not have got through that US evaluation process had it originated within the US itself?" I would say yes and especially yes if the contact for this piece of data was conducted at the highest level within the context of the already tight liaison between the US IC and Mi-6/GCHQ. PT may think differently. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 07:54 AM
GZC

A lot of smoke? Only if you wish to place a negative value on everything the Trump people did or were. pl

jsn -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:20 AM
The CIA appears to be trying to right the wrongs done them with the creation of the DNI:
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/08/dems-m08.html
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 08:54 AM
jsn

The wrongs done them? I hope that was irony. pl

turcopolier -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:01 AM
GZC

Was it Hitler or Stalin who said "show me the man and I will find his crime?" As I have said before, Trumps greatest vulnerability lies in his previous business life as an entrepreneurial hustler. If he is anything like the many like him whom I observed in my ten business years, then he has cut corners legally somewhere in international business. they pretty much all do that. Kooshy, a successful businessman confirmed that here a while back. These other guys were all business hustlers including Flynn and their activities have made them vulnerable to Mueller. IMO you have to ask yourself how much you want to be governed by political hacks and how much by hustlers. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 09:24 AM
jsn

hy this socialist pub would fing it surprising that former public servants seek elected office is a mystery to me. BTW, in re all the discussion here of the IC, there are many levels in these essentially hierarchical structures and one's knowledge of them is conditioned by the perspective from which you viewed them. pl

DH , 08 March 2018 at 09:50 AM
Re 'baby adoption' meeting between Trump, Jr. and Veselnitskaya, I recall a comment here linking to an article speculating the email initiating the meeting originated in Europe, was set up by the playboy son of a European diplomat, and contained words to trip data-gathering monitors which would have enabled a FISA request to have Trump, Jr. come under surveillance.

Also, the Seymour Hersh tape certainly seems authentic as far as Seth Rich being implicated in the DNC dump.

Publius Tacitus -> Green Zone Café ... , 08 March 2018 at 09:53 AM
GZC,

Are you really this obtuse?

You insist (I guess you rely on MSNBC as your fact source) that Manafort, Page, etc. all "have connections to Russia or Assange." You are using smear and guilt by association. Flynn's so-called connection to Russia was that he accepted an invite to deliver a speech at an RT sponsored event and was paid. So what? Nothing wrong with that. Just ask Bill Clinton. Or perhaps you are referring to the fact that Flynn also spoke to the Russian Ambassador to the US after the election in his capacity as designated National Security Advisor. Zero justification for investigation.

Stone? He left the campaign before there had even been a primary and only had text exchanges with Assange.

Your blind hatred of Trump makes you incapable of thinking logically.

jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:15 AM
Sir,

The most sarcastic irony was intended. This is what the real left looks like, its very different from Clintonite Liberals, not that I agree with their ideological program, though I believe parts have their place.

Liberals have, I believe, jumped the shark: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/07/progressive-journalists-jump-the-shark-on-russiagate/

If the get their way with the new McCarthyism, the implications for dissent, left or right, seem to me to be about the same:
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/federalist-68-the-electoral-college-and-faithless-electors.html#intelligence

jsn , 08 March 2018 at 10:25 AM
Sir,

And to your second comment, yes I agree about the complexity of institutions and how situationally constrained individual experiences are, if that was the point.

I'll also concede my brief comments generalize very broadly, but it's hard to frame things more specific comments without direct knowledge, such as the invaluable correspondents here. I try to avoid confirmation bias by reading broadly and try to provide outside perspectives. My apologies if they're too far outside.

I suppose it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of how many former IC self affiliated with which party in choosing to run. I'm just guessing but I'll bet there's more CIA in the D column and more DIA among the Rs.

LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 10:40 AM
love this coinage Flavius: Yes it was and so remains the lie unchallenged

a lie "circumstantial"? http://recycledknowledge.blogspot.de/2005/05/seven-degrees-of-lie.html

Sid Finster , 08 March 2018 at 11:06 AM
"We don't have the evidence yet because Mueller hasn't found it yet!" is a classic argument from ignorance, in that is assumes without evidence (there's that pesky word again!) that there is something to be found.

That said, I have no doubt that Mueller will find *something*, simply because an aggressive and determined prosecutor can always find *something*, especially if the target is engaged in higher level business or politics. A form unfiled, an irregularity in an official document, and overly optimistic tax position.

If nothing else works, there's always the good old standby of asking question after question until the target makes a statement that can be construed as perjury or lying to investigators.

Sarah B said in reply to turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:27 AM
My perspective, after reading that linked article by the WSWS, is that both, the IC and the DoD, are trying to take over the whole US political spectrum, in fact, militarizing de facto the US political life....

Now, tell me that this is not an intend by the MIC ( where all the former IC or DoD people finally end when they leave official positions )to take over the government ( if more was needed after what has happened with Trump´s ) to guarantee their profit rate in a moment where everything is crimbling....

Btw, have you read the recently released paper, "WorldWide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" by Daniel R. Coats ( DNI )? You smell fear from the four corners....do not you?

Barbara Ann -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:35 AM
Those immortal words are attributed to Lavrentiy Beria, Colonel and you are not the first to draw the comparison re Mueller's investigation. For those who do not know Beria was head of the NKVD under Stalin.
Barbara Ann -> Sid Finster... , 08 March 2018 at 11:36 AM
Only if you were discussing BDS.
Sarah B , 08 March 2018 at 11:38 AM
Here is the paper in question I am mentioning above: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/2018-ATA---Unclassified-SSCI.pdf Some neutral analyst is saying that from 28 pages, 24 are dedicated to Russia and China, then Iran and NK, in this order...and that it is an official recognition of the new multipolar order....
Peter VE said in reply to johnf... , 08 March 2018 at 11:55 AM
The BBC reported this morning that a police officer who was amongst the earliest responders to the "nerve gas" poisoning of Col. Skripal is also being treated for symptoms. How was it that many "White Helmets" who were filmed where the sarin gas was dropped on Khan Sheikhoun last April suffered no symptoms?
Jack -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 11:59 AM
Sir

That's a good way to present it political hacks vs hustlers. The fact is Flynn has pled guilty to perjury. Nothing else like collusion with the Russians. And his sentencing is on hold now as the judge has ordered Mueller to hand over any exculpatory evidence. Clearly something is going on his case for the judge to do that.

Manafort has been indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, etc for activities well before the election campaign. Sure, it is good that these corrupt individuals should be investigated and prosecuted. However, this corruption is widespread in DC. How come none of these cheering Mueller on to destroy Trump care about all the foreign money flowing to K Street? Why aren't they calling for investigations of the Clinton Foundation or the Podesta brothers where probable cause exist of foreign money and influence? What about Ben Cardin and all those recipients of foreign zionist money and influence? It would be nice if there were wide ranging investigations on all those engaged in foreign influence peddling. But it seems many just want a witch hunt to hobble Trump. It's going to be very difficult to get the Senate to convict him for obstruction of justice or tax evasion or some charge like that.

The Twisted Genius , 08 March 2018 at 12:59 PM
The select group of several dozen analysts from CIA, NSA and FBI who produced the January 2017 ICA are very likely the same group of analysts assembled by Brenner in August 2016 to form a task force examining "L'Affaire Russe" at the same time Brennan brought that closely held report to Obama of Putin's specific instructions on an operation to damage Clinton and help Trump. I've seen these interagency task forces set up several times to address particular info ops or cyberattack issues. Access to the work of these task forces was usually heavily restricted. I don't know if this kind of thing has become more prevalent throughout the IC.

I am also puzzled by the absence of DIA in the mix. When I was still working, there were a few DIA analysts who were acknowledged throughout the IC as subject matter experts and analytical leaders in this field. On the operational side, there was never great enthusiasm for things cyber or info ops. There were only a few lonely voices in the darkness. Meanwhile, CIA, FBI and NSA embraced the field wholeheartedly. Perhaps those DIA analytical experts retired or moved on to CYBERCOM, NSA or CIA's Information Operations Center.

LeaNder said in reply to Richardstevenhack ... , 08 March 2018 at 01:01 PM
I predict there will be next to zero evidence produced either that the Russians named are in fact members of APT28 or APT29 ...

Richard, over here the type of software is categorized under Advanced Persistent Threat, and beyond that specifically labeled the "Sofacy Group". ... I seem to prefer the more neutral description 'Advanced Persistent Threat' by Kaspersky. Yes, they seem to be suspicious lately in the US. But I am a rather constant consumer, never mind the occasional troubles over the years.

APT: Helps to not get confused by all the respective naming patterns in the economic field over national borders. APT 1 to 29 ...? Strictly, What's the precise history of the 'Bear' label and or the specific, I assume, group of APT? ...

Kasperky pdf-file - whodunnit?
https://tinyurl.com/APT-Avanced-Persitent-Treat

Ever used a datebase checking a file online? Would have made you aware of the multitude of naming patterns.

******
More ad-hoc concerning one item in your argument above. To what extend does a standard back-up system leave relevant forensic traces? Beyond the respective image in the present? Do you know?

Admittedly, I have no knowledge about matters beyond purely private struggles. But yes, they seemed enough to get a vague glimpse of categories in the field of attribution. Regarding suspected state actors vs the larger cybercrime scene that is.

LeaNder said in reply to Fred... , 08 March 2018 at 02:29 PM
Even mentioning those is just further evidence that something really did happen.

I appreciate you are riding our partially shared hobby horse, Fred. ;)

But admittedly this reminds me of something that felt like a debate-shift, I may be no doubt misguided here. Nitwit! In other words I may well have some type of ideological-knot in the relevant section dealing with memory in my brain as long-term undisciplined observer of SST.

But back on topic: the argument seemed to be that "important facts" were omitted. In other words vs earlier times were are now centrally dealing with omission as evidence. No?

Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:18 PM
Ask National Security Advisor General McMaster.
Even Trump now says Putin meddled.
What more evidence do you need
Dave -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:20 PM
General McMaster has seen the evidence and says the fact of Russian meddling can no longer be credibly denied.
That doesn't stop the right-wing extremists from spinning fairy tales.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 03:34 PM
Dave

It is politically necessary for Trump to say that. Tell me, what is meant by "Russian meddling"in this statement by McMaster? pl

Dave -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 03:50 PM
Russian meddling is hacking our election systems.

The right wing (re: Hannity and Limbaugh) have been trying mightily to discredit this investigation by smearing Mueller's reputation, even though he is a conservative republican.

They are doing this so that if Mueller's report is damning, they can call it a "witch hunt."

I would think that if Trump is innocent, he would cooperate with this investigation fully.

You are insinuating that McMaster is a liar even though he has access to information that you don't.

Publius Tacitus -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:02 PM
Just because trump is stupid is not an excuse for you. You accept a lie without one shred of actual evidence. You are a lemming
Fred -> LeaNder... , 08 March 2018 at 04:04 PM
LeaNder,

"omission as evidence. " Incorrect. Among the omissions was the fact that the dossier was paid for by a political campaign and that the wife of a senior DOJ lawyer's wife was working for Fusion GPS. Then there's the rest of the political motivations left out.

Fred -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 04:07 PM
Dave,

Putin hired Facebook. That company seems to do well helping out foreign governments.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/technology/facebook-censorship-tool-china.html

Linda , 08 March 2018 at 04:16 PM
If you have seen the classified information that would be necessary to back up your conclusions, it should not be discussed in this forum. As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publically done. Having said that, I pretty much agree with your conclusion except for the indication that the analysts lied.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:26 PM
Dave

What does "hacking our elections" mean? Does it means breaking into voting systems and changing the outcome by altering votes? Or does it mean information operations to change US voters' minds about for whom they would vote? If the latter you must know that we (the US) have done this many times in foreign elections, including Russian elections, Israeli elections, Italian elections, German elections, etc., or perhaps you think that a different criterion should be applied to people who are not American. As for McMasters, I am unimpressed with him. He displays all the symptoms of Russophobia. He has special information? Information can be interpreted many ways depending on one's purpose. pl

turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:36 PM
Linda

PT does not have access to the classified information underlying but your argument that "As you are well aware sources and methods cannot be made public so I fail to see how you believe this should have been publicly done." doesn't hold water for me since I have seen sources and methods disclosed by the government of the US many times when it felt that necessary. One example that I have mentioned before was that of the trial of Jeffrey Sterling (merlin) for which I was an expert witness and adviser to the federal court for four years. In that one the CIA and DoJ forced the court to allow them to de-classify the CIA DO's operational files on the case and read them into the record in open court. I had read all these files when they were classified at the SCI level. IMO the perpetrators in the Steel Memo case are and were merely hiding behind claims of sources and methods protection in order to protect themselve. pl

JamesT -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 04:37 PM
I continue to learn things around here that I could never learn anywhere else. It is a privilege to read the Colonel, TTG, and Publius Tacitus.
turcopolier , 08 March 2018 at 04:47 PM
Dave

If you use denigrating language like "wild eyed" to attack your interlocutors you will not be welcome here. pl

LeaNder said in reply to Flavius... , 08 March 2018 at 04:49 PM
Mueller cleared his ridiculous indictment relating to the Russian troll farm, a requirement that at one time would have been SOP for any FBI Office or USAtty Office bringing an indictment of this kind.

Not aware of this. Can you help me out?

No doubt vaguely familiar with public lore, in limited ways. As always.

Sid Finster said in reply to Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 05:09 PM
So now we are supposed to believe unquestioningly the word of torturers, perjurers and entrapment artists, all talking about alleged evidence that we are not allowed to see?

Did you learn nothing from the "Iraqi WMD" fiasco or the "ZOMG! Assad gassed his own peoples ZOMG!" debacle?

Funny how in each of these instances, the intelligence community's lies just happened to coincide with the agenda of empire.

LeaNder said in reply to Fred ... , 08 March 2018 at 05:10 PM
Ok, true. I forgot 'Steele'* was used as 'evidence'.

Strictly, Pat may have helped me out considering my 'felt' "debate-shift". Indirectly. I do recall, I hesitated to try to clarify matters for myself.

* ...

m -> turcopolier ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:29 PM
Depends on what crime the "hack" committed. Fudging on taxes or cutting corners? Big whoop. Laundering $500 mil for a buddy of Vlad's? Now you got my attention and should have the voters' attention.

This is a political process in the end game. Clinton lied about sex in the oval Office and was tried for it. Why don't we exercise patience in the process and see if this President should be tried?

m -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:33 PM
I ain't a lawyer but don't prosecutors hold their cards (evidence) close to their chests until the court has a criminal charge and sets a date for discovery?
Publius Tacitus -> Linda ... , 08 March 2018 at 06:45 PM
Linda,
You betray your ignorance on this subject. You clearly have not understood nor comprehended what I have written. So i will put it in CAPS for you. Please read slowly.

THIS TYPE OF DOCUMENT, IF IT HAD A SOURCE OR SOURCES BEHIND IT, WOULD REFERENCE THOSE SOURCES. AN ANALYST WOULD NOT WRITE "WE ASSESS." IF YOU HAVE A RELIABLE HUMAN SOURCE OR A RELIABLE PIECE OF SIGINT THE YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ASSESS. YOU SIMPLY STATE, ACCORDING TO A KNOWLEDGEABLE AND RELIABLE SOURCE.

GOT IT. And don't come back with nonsense that the sources are so sensitive that they cannot be disclose. News flash genius--the very fact that Clapper put out this piece of dreck would have exposed the sources if they existed (but they do not). In any event, there would be reference to sources that provided the evidence that such activity took place at the direction of Putin.

IT DOES NOT EXIST.

J , 08 March 2018 at 07:08 PM
Colonel,

The granddaddy of them all is #16, and what have they contributed?

Steve McIntyre -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:41 PM
I'm eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the Skripal poisoning. I'm sure I'm not alone in the hope that you will write on it.
The Twisted Genius -> Publius Tacitus ... , 08 March 2018 at 07:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

I notice other Intelligence Community Assessments also use the term "we assess" liberally. For example, the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment and the 2012 ICA on Global Water Security use the "we assess" phrase throughout the documents. I hazard to guess that is why they call these things assessments.

The 2017 ICA on Russian Interference released to the public clearly states: "This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment. This document's conclusions are identical to the highly classified assessment, but this document does not include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence on key elements of the influence campaign. Given the redactions, we made minor edits purely for readability and flow."

I would hazard another guess that those minor edits for readability and flow are the reason that specific intelligence reports and sources, which were left out of the unclassified ICA, are not cited in that ICA.

The Twisted Genius -> Dave... , 08 March 2018 at 08:26 PM
Dave,

As far as I know, no one has reliably claimed that election systems, as in vote tallies, were ever breached. No votes were changed after they were cast. The integrity of our election system and the 2016 election itself was maintained. Having said that, there is plenty of evidence of Russian meddling as an influence op. I suggest you and others take a gander at the research of someone going by the handle of @UsHadrons and several others. They are compiling a collection of FaceBook, twitter and other media postings that emanated from the IRA and other Russian sources. The breadth of these postings is quite wide and supports the assessment that enhancing the divides that already existed in US society was a primary Russian goal.

https://medium.com/@ushadrons

I pointed this stuff out to Eric Newhill a while back in one of our conversations. He jokingly noted that he may have assisted in spreading a few of these memes. I bet a lot of people will recognize some of the stuff in this collection. That's nothing. Recently we all learned that Michael Moore did a lot more than unwittingly repost a Russian meme. He took part in a NYC protest march organized and pushed by Russians. This stuff is open source proof of Russian meddling.

Publius Tacitus -> The Twisted Genius ... , 08 March 2018 at 08:55 PM
TTG
Nice try, but that is bullshit just because recent assessments come out with sloppy language is no excuse. Go back and look at the assessment was done for iraq to justify the war in 2003. Many sources cited because it was considered something Required to justify going to war. As we have been told by many in the media that the Russians meddling was worse or as bad as the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9-11. With something so serious do you want to argue that they would downplay the sourcing?

[Mar 07, 2018] 'Progressive' Journalists Jump the Shark on Russiagate Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... According to Mayer, Trump defenders argue that Steele is "a dishonest Clinton apparatchik who had collaborated with American intelligence and law enforcement officials to fabricate false charges against Trump and his associates, in a dastardly (sic) attempt to nullify the 2016 election. According to this story line, it was not the President who needed to be investigated, but the investigators themselves." ..."
"... I could not help but think that Mayer wrote her piece some months ago and that she and her editors might have missed more recent documentary evidence that gives considerable support to that "dastardly" story line. But seriously, it should be possible to suspect Steele of misfeasance or malfeasance – or simply telling his contractors what he knows they want to hear – without being labeled a "Trump supporter." I, for example, am no Trump supporter. I am, however, a former intelligence officer and I have long since concluded that what Steele served up is garbage. ..."
"... Mayer reports that Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, described Steele as "superb." Personally, I would shun any "recommendation" from that charlatan. Are memories so short? Dearlove was the intelligence chief who briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 23, 2002 after a quick trip to Washington. The official minutes of that meeting were leaked to the London Times and published on May 1, 2005. ..."
"... Worse still, he displays a distinct inclination toward the remarkable view of former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who has said that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever." If Mayer wanted to find some ostensibly authoritative figure to endorse the kind of material in Steele's dossier, she surely picked a good one in Sipher. ..."
"... Mayer notes, "It's too early to make a final judgment about how much of Steele's dossier will be proved wrong, but a number of Steele's major claims have been backed up by subsequent disclosures. She includes, as flat fact, his claim that the Kremlin and WikiLeaks were working together to release the DNC's emails, but provides no evidence. ..."
"... It was, of course, WikiLeaks that published the very damaging Democratic information, for example, on the DNC's dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remained to be demonstrated was that it was "the Russians" who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community could not honestly say. ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

'Progressive' Journalists Jump the Shark on Russiagate March 7, 2018

A lack of skepticism has characterized much of the reporting on Russiagate, with undue credibility being given to questionable sources like the Steele dossier, and now progressives like Jane Mayer and Cenk Uygur are joining the bandwagon, Ray McGovern observes.

By Ray McGovern

Russiagate reporting has increasingly taken on a tabloidish and sensationalist character.

Jane Mayer of The New Yorker and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks are the latest progressives to jump on the anti-Trump, pro-Russiagate bandwagon. They have made it crystal clear that, in Mayer's words, they are not going to let Republicans, or anyone else, "take down the whole intelligence community," by God.

Odd? Nothing is too odd when it comes to spinning and dyeing the yarn of Russiagate; especially now that some strands are unraveling from the thin material of the "Steele dossier."

Before the 2016 election, British ex-spy Christopher Steele was contracted (through a couple of cutouts) by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee to dig up dirt on candidate Donald Trump. They paid him $168,000. They should ask for their money back.

Mayer and Uygur have now joined with other Trump-despisers and new "progressive" fans of the FBI and CIA – among them Amy Goodman and her go-to, lost-in-the-trees journalist, Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. All of them (well, maybe not Cenk) are staying up nights with needle and thread trying to sew a silk purse out of the sow's-ear dossier of Steele allegations and then dye it red for danger.

Monday brought a new low, with a truly extraordinary one-two punch by Mayer and Uygur .

A Damning Picture?

Mayer does her part in a New Yorker article, in which she – intentionally or not – cannot seem to see the forest for the trees.

In her article, Mayer explains up front that the Steele dossier "painted a damning picture of collusion between Trump and Russia," and then goes on to portray him as a paragon of virtue with praise that is fulsome, in the full meaning of that word. For example, a friend of Steele told Mayer that regarding Steele, "Fairness, integrity, and truth, for him, trump any ideology."

Now, if one refuses to accept this portrait on faith, then you are what Mayer describes as a "Trump defender." According to Mayer, Trump defenders argue that Steele is "a dishonest Clinton apparatchik who had collaborated with American intelligence and law enforcement officials to fabricate false charges against Trump and his associates, in a dastardly (sic) attempt to nullify the 2016 election. According to this story line, it was not the President who needed to be investigated, but the investigators themselves."

Can you imagine!

I could not help but think that Mayer wrote her piece some months ago and that she and her editors might have missed more recent documentary evidence that gives considerable support to that "dastardly" story line. But seriously, it should be possible to suspect Steele of misfeasance or malfeasance – or simply telling his contractors what he knows they want to hear – without being labeled a "Trump supporter." I, for example, am no Trump supporter. I am, however, a former intelligence officer and I have long since concluded that what Steele served up is garbage.

Character References

Mayer reports that Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, described Steele as "superb." Personally, I would shun any "recommendation" from that charlatan. Are memories so short? Dearlove was the intelligence chief who briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 23, 2002 after a quick trip to Washington. The official minutes of that meeting were leaked to the London Times and published on May 1, 2005.

Dearlove explained to Blair that President George W. Bush had decided to attack Iraq for regime change and that the war was to be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." Dearlove added matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

Another character reference Mayer gives for Steele is former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin (from 2000 to 2004) who, with his boss George Tenet, did the fixing of intelligence to "justify" the war on Iraq. State Department intelligence director at the time, Carl Ford, told the authors of "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War" that both McLaughlin and Tenet "should have been shot" for what they did.

And then there is CIA veteran spy John Sipher who, Mayer says, "ran the Agency's Russia program before retiring, in 2014." Sipher tells her he thinks the Steele dossier is "generally credible" in "saying what Russia might be up to." Sipher may be a good case officer but he has shown himself to be something of a cipher on substance.

Worse still, he displays a distinct inclination toward the remarkable view of former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who has said that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever." If Mayer wanted to find some ostensibly authoritative figure to endorse the kind of material in Steele's dossier, she surely picked a good one in Sipher.

Mayer notes, "It's too early to make a final judgment about how much of Steele's dossier will be proved wrong, but a number of Steele's major claims have been backed up by subsequent disclosures. She includes, as flat fact, his claim that the Kremlin and WikiLeaks were working together to release the DNC's emails, but provides no evidence.

Major Holes

Mayer, however, should know better. There have been lots of holes in the accusation that the Russians hacked the DNC and gave the material to WikiLeaks to publish. Here's one major gap we reported on Jan. 20, 2017: President Barack Obama told his last press conference on Jan. 18, that the U.S. intelligence community had no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks.

Using lawyerly language, Obama admitted that "the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked."

It is necessary to carefully parse Obama's words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs. He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: "based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks."

Note the disconnect between the confidence about hacking and the stark declarative sentence about the information ending up at WikiLeaks. Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would be a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presented the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap.

It was, of course, WikiLeaks that published the very damaging Democratic information, for example, on the DNC's dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remained to be demonstrated was that it was "the Russians" who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community could not honestly say.

Saying it now, without evidence, does not make it true.

Cenk Also in Sync

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks at once picked up , big time, on the part of Mayer's article that homes in on an "astonishing" report from Steele in late November 2016 quoting one "senior Russian official." According to that official, "The Kremlin had intervened to block Trump's initial choice for secretary of state, Mitt Romney." Steele's late November memo alleged that the Kremlin had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions and cooperate on security issues like Syria.

Mayer commented, "As fantastical as the memo sounds, subsequent events could be said to support it." Fantastical or not, Uygur decided to run with it. His amazing 12-minute video is titled: "New Steele Dossier: Putin PICKED Trump's Secretary of State." Uygur asks: "Who does Tillerson work for; and that also goes for the President."

Return to Sanity

As an antidote to all the above, let me offer this cogent piece on the views of Joseph E. diGenova, who speaks out of his unique experience, including as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Church Committee). The article is entitled: "The Politicization of the FBI."

"Over the past year," diGenova wrote, "facts have emerged that suggest there was a plot by high-ranking FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in the Obama administration, acting under color of law, to exonerate Hillary Clinton of federal crimes and then, if she lost the election, to frame Donald Trump and his campaign for colluding with Russia to steal the presidency."

He pointed out that nearly half of Americans, according to a CBS poll, believe that Mueller's Trump-Russia collusion probe is "politically motivated." And, he noted, 63 percent of polled voters in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll believe that the FBI withheld vital information from Congress about the Clinton and Russia collusion investigations.

This skepticism is entirely warranted, as diGenova explains, with the Russiagate probe being characterized by overreach from the beginning.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served in Army and CIA intelligence analysis for 30 years and, after retiring, co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

[Mar 07, 2018] The disproportionate ongoing emphasis on the fake story that Russia meddled in the US election serves to stir up suspicions and fears regarding Russia in the generally brain-numbed population

Notable quotes:
"... The deep state (the oligarchs, MIC, and intelligence community, which controls the media and most politicians) whether or not it actually helped Trump by harming Hillary is immaterial. The election is over and there was never any real resolve in the deep state to impeach Trump or to jail Hillary and their never will be. The reason should be obvious. ..."
"... The only thing consistent in the Russian collusion and election rigging nonsense is the groundless and unrelenting vilification of Russia, blaming Putin for everything. Just as we see grandiose deep state theatrics for the US to obtain access to strategic rare-earth resources in North Korea, we see the similar deep state orchestrated theatrics falsely alleging that Russians rigged or interfered in the US Presidential election. Russia's Putin is the main obstacle to the Western bankster-corporate cabal obtaining resource and geopolitical hegemony over the entire planet. That is the main fact. It is the main reason to subject that nation to constant vilification, sanctions, and military aggression and provocation. ..."
"... The deep state cabal will likely spend tens, if not hundreds, of billions of US dollars interfering in the Russian election. Presently they are most likely bribing, blackmailing, and intimidating thousands of people to swing and rig the election to ensure Putin does not win. "You did it to us." Will be their justification when Putin complains. ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

teolawki -> Joe Davola Wed, 03/07/2018 - 11:19 Permalink

Well of course there are. We've been told repeatedly that the Obama administration was on the job and focused like a laser on Russia collusion and meddling.

Unfortunately, the hard drive all that was stored on crashed and it was all lost.

FBaggins -> Joe Davola Wed, 03/07/2018 - 11:45 Permalink

If we really want the truth then we have to stop relying on what people say just because we like them, or we think they are on our side, and instead we have to examine the interests of the various sources. Only then we can make better decisions. At this stage of the game the deep state can no longer blame with any credibility Russian hacking as the source of the alleged leak. The know it came directly from the DNC. However, the deep state has a priority (a very strong interest) to keep the heat on Russia.

The deep state (the oligarchs, MIC, and intelligence community, which controls the media and most politicians) whether or not it actually helped Trump by harming Hillary is immaterial. The election is over and there was never any real resolve in the deep state to impeach Trump or to jail Hillary and their never will be. The reason should be obvious.

The only thing consistent in the Russian collusion and election rigging nonsense is the groundless and unrelenting vilification of Russia, blaming Putin for everything. Just as we see grandiose deep state theatrics for the US to obtain access to strategic rare-earth resources in North Korea, we see the similar deep state orchestrated theatrics falsely alleging that Russians rigged or interfered in the US Presidential election. Russia's Putin is the main obstacle to the Western bankster-corporate cabal obtaining resource and geopolitical hegemony over the entire planet. That is the main fact. It is the main reason to subject that nation to constant vilification, sanctions, and military aggression and provocation.

The disproportionate ongoing emphasis on the fake story that Russia meddled in the US election, not only serves to stir up suspicions and fears regarding Russia in the generally brain-numbed population, but mainly at this stage, and by the sheer fact that the deep state has carried this rouse so far down the field, the only rational conclusion one can make is that the deep state is going to interfere in the Russian elections in a very major way to ensure that Putin and his cronies - those wicked oil and gas nationalizers, those heinous enemies of the Rothschild banksters and their plans for an expanded US Fed to the auspices of their proposed One World Bank; those upstart renegades who support nations which choose to trade oil without US petrodollars; those evil monsters who oppose globalism and defend their own nation's sovereignty and other nations like Syria which call for help.

The deep state cabal will likely spend tens, if not hundreds, of billions of US dollars interfering in the Russian election. Presently they are most likely bribing, blackmailing, and intimidating thousands of people to swing and rig the election to ensure Putin does not win. "You did it to us." Will be their justification when Putin complains.

Good luck Vlad and F the deep state.

[Mar 06, 2018] Is MSNBC Now the Most Dangerous Warmonger Network by Norman Solomon

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The evidence is damning. And the silence underscores the arrogance. ..."
"... More than seven weeks after a devastating report from the media watch group FAIR, top executives and prime-time anchors at MSNBC still refuse to discuss how the network's obsession with Russia has thrown minimal journalistic standards out the window. ..."
Mar 03, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Originally from Truthdig 1 March 2018 Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation

The evidence is damning. And the silence underscores the arrogance.

More than seven weeks after a devastating report from the media watch group FAIR, top executives and prime-time anchors at MSNBC still refuse to discuss how the network's obsession with Russia has thrown minimal journalistic standards out the window.

FAIR's study, " MSNBC Ignores Catastrophic U.S.-Backed War in Yemen ," documented a picture of extreme journalistic malfeasance at MSNBC:

Meanwhile, MSNBC's incessant "Russiagate" coverage has put the network at the media forefront of overheated hyperbole about the Kremlin. And continually piling up the dry tinder of hostility toward Russia boosts the odds of a cataclysmic blowup between the world's two nuclear superpowers.

In effect, the programming on MSNBC follows a thin blue party line, breathlessly conforming to Democratic leaders' refrains about Russia as a mortal threat to American democracy and freedom across the globe. But hey -- MSNBC's ratings have climbed upward during its monochrome reporting, so why worry about whether coverage is neglecting dozens of other crucial stories? Or why worry if the anti-Russia drumbeat is worsening the risks of a global conflagration?

FAIR's report, written by journalist Ben Norton and published on Jan. 8, certainly merited a serious response from MSNBC and the anchors most identified by the study, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes . Yet no response has come from them or network executives. (Full disclosure: I'm a longtime associate of FAIR.)

In the aftermath of the FAIR study, a petition gathered 22,784 signers and 4,474 individual comments -- asking MSNBC to remedy its extreme imbalance of news coverage. But the network and its prime-time luminaries Maddow and Hayes refused to respond despite repeated requests for a reply.

The petition was submitted in late January to Maddow and Hayes via their producers, as well as to MSNBC senior vice president Errol Cockfield and to the network's senior manager in charge of media relations for "The Rachel Maddow Show" and "All In with Chris Hayes."

Signers responded to outreach from three organizations -- Just Foreign Policy, RootsAction.org (which I coordinate), and World Beyond War -- calling for concerned individuals to "urge Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and MSNBC to correct their failure to report on the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and the direct U.S. military role in causing the catastrophe by signing our petition." (The petition is still gathering signers.)

As the cable news network most trusted by Democrats as a liberal beacon, MSNBC plays a special role in fueling rage among progressive-minded viewers toward Russia's "attack on our democracy" that is somehow deemed more sinister and newsworthy than corporate dominance of American politicians (including Democrats), racist voter suppression, gerrymandering and many other U.S. electoral defects all put together.

At the same time, the anti-Russia mania also services the engines of the current militaristic machinery.

It's what happens when nationalism and partisan zeal overcome something that could be called journalism.

"The U.S. media's approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda," the independent journalist Robert Parry wrote at the end of 2017 , in the last article published before his death. "Does any sentient human being read the New York Times' or the Washington Post's coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts?"

Parry added that

"to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a 'Putin apologist' or 'Kremlin stooge.' Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many 'liberals' who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we're told to accept the assertions on faith."

Across a U.S. media landscape where depicting Russia as a fully villainous enemy is now routine, MSNBC is a standout. The most profound dangers from what Rachel Maddow and company are doing is what they least want to talk about -- how the cumulative effects and momentum of their work are increasing the likelihood that tensions between Washington and Moscow will escalate into a horrendous military conflict.

Even at the height of the Cold War during the 1960s, when Soviet Communists ruled Russians with zero freedom of speech or press, most U.S. political and media elites recognized the vital need for détente. They applauded the " Spirit of Glassboro " when the top leadership of the United States and Russia met at length. Now, across most of the U.S. media spectrum, no such overtures to the Kremlin are to be tolerated.

The U.S. government's recently released " Nuclear Posture Review " underscores just how unhinged the situation has become.

Consider the assessment from the head of a first-rate research organization in the nuclear weapons field, the Los Alamos Study Group. Its executive director, Greg Mello, said :

"What is most 'missing in action' in this document is civilian leadership. Trump is not supplying that. In part the fault for this comes from Democrats -- who, allied with the intelligence community and other military-industrial interests, insist that the U.S. must have an adversarial relationship with Russia. There is no organized senior-level opposition to the new Cold War, which is intensifying week by week. This document reflects, and is just one of many policies embodying, the new and very dangerous Cold War."

But -- with everyone's survival at stake -- none of that seems to matter much to those who call the shots at MSNBC.

*

Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org.

[Mar 03, 2018] The poisonous Guardian about Hope Hicks by Tom McCarthy

So this pro-Hillary bastion of Neoliberal innuentndo -- Guardian -- does not not like Hicks. As onecommneter noted " The poisonous Guardian which is so toxic I would advise folks not to use it even as an ass wipe, did not allow comments as is their custom now." Source
Mar 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

What is despicable pressitute is this guy: "The Washington Post has found that "members of the Trump campaign interacted with Russians at least 31 times throughout the campaign" in "at least 19 known meetings"."

Hicks, 29, had the high-pressure job last summer of crafting , with the president, an explanation for his son Donald Trump Jr's secret meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in New York in 2016 – an explanation later revealed as false. More recently, Hicks was said to have run the botched White House response to domestic abuse allegations against former aide Rob Porter, with whom she has been linked romantically.

... ... ...

Hicks aggressively defended the president-elect and his team against charges of inappropriate ties to Russian figures.

"The campaign had no contact with Russian officials," she said. Two days after the election, she said: "We are not aware of any campaign representatives that were in touch with any foreign entities before yesterday, when Mr Trump spoke with many world leaders."

The Washington Post has found that "members of the Trump campaign interacted with Russians at least 31 times throughout the campaign" in "at least 19 known meetings".

Discrepancies such as those have perhaps accelerated Hicks' political education. On Tuesday, the House intelligence committee questioned her for close to nine hours about the campaign's Russia ties.

Hicks refused to answer some of the most sensitive questions, including about the explanation for Trump Jr's meeting with Russians, according to House Democrat Adam Schiff.

But Hicks was said to have made one concession, admitting to having told, on an unspecified number of occasions, certain "white lies" on the president's behalf.

[Mar 03, 2018] From Russia with Trepidation The Rocky Ride of Edward G. Robinson

Notable quotes:
"... Moscow Strikes Back ..."
"... I am an American ..."
"... Miss V from Moscow ..."
Mar 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

In the darkest days of World War II, Hollywood went to bat for Russia -- our ally then -- by adapting Soviet propaganda films for the American audience and making some of its own on their behalf. This amazing documentary, a paean to the heroism of the Russian people and the Red Army, was shot before, during, and after Hitler's siege of Moscow. Filmed between October 1941 and January 1942 during a time of invasion, privation, agony and death in the depths of the Russian winter, Moscow Strikes Back (Russian version here ) may be a little hard to take in spots, but is well worth an hour of your time. Should the following video start in the middle, rewind by dragging the red button all the way to the left. Makes me think: wouldn't it be nice to be able to rewind America away from the right?

... ... ...

Hollywood's famous tough guy (also fine art collector and philanthropist) Edward G. Robinson narrates over a sound track featuring spirited scores by Russian composers. Directed by Leonid Varlamov and Ilya Kopalin, it won the 1942 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Then, as soon as the war ended, along with thousands of government and private employees, Hollywood directors and screenwriters were purged for suspect loyalties. Robinson was among those who paid a steep price's for their idealism and activism.

Now fascism is back in fashion. Who has the temerity advocate for Russian-American solidarity, given that Russia is once again on our rulers' shit list and World War III wish list? We aren't allowed to say good things about it or even that our countries once worked together, however mistrustfully. Thanks to several generations of hawkish propagandists, few of our countrymen remember or appreciate what the Russian people suffered in that war and how thankful they were for the goods the US shipped to them that helped them struggle through it, but it was their own fortitude that won the day. That and a regime that took civil defense seriously and directed the public's efforts.

As Nazi forces encircled Moscow, Marshal Zhukov mobilized Moscow's women to fortify the city. According to the WWII Multimedia Database , the women had to slog and dig through freezing muck to excavate their redoubts. With little more than shovels and wheelbarrows, they "emplaced or dug 201 miles (323.4 kilometers) of anti-tank obstacles and ditches, 158 miles (254.2 kilometers) of anti-infantry obstacles, and laid minefields. 3,800 prepared bunkers and fire bases were built. 37,500 metal 'hedgehogs' were set up to stop vehicles." I hope they at least got medals.

Could today's Americans match Russia's Greatest Generation or even our own? Take it on the chin and go on to collectively mobilize ourselves to prevail? We have sufficient tools and wealth, but have we enough will and leadership? Anesthetized by the H-Bomb, our government let preparedness and civil defense institutions wither. Lacking action plans for what to do in an extreme emergency, we're apparently expected to tough it out (use firearms responsibly and no looting, please). Of course, the government stocks bunkers for top officials and members of Congress, and our moneyed elites will repair to their hideaways and lock the gates at the first sign of mortal danger. Those of us who aren't armed preppers will go first. As civil society collapses, militias will battle over whatever resources are left. And then, depopulated, America will be great again.

But I digress. Back to Eddy Robinson's politics . In 1952, HUAC (the House Un-American Activities Committee) plunged into ignominy Edward Goldenberg Robinson for being duped by fifth-columnists into assailing fascism and advocating peace and cooperation among the great powers. The anti-fascist Jewish Romanian immigrant film star had served in two world wars. Fluent in six languages, he narrated Allied propaganda broadcasts for which the American Legion honored him. His anti-fascist bona fides, left-wing Hollywood connections, and support and advocacy for several hundred civic, cultural, philanthropic, and political organizations only served to target him as postwar red-baiting and housecleaning proceeded apace.

On April 30, 1952, Robinson sat before HUAC for the third time. He hadn't been subpoenaed; just harassed until he decided the time had come to clear his name. Through 20 pages of testimony (plaintext here ), he states his opposition to communism over and over:

My conscience is clear. My loyalty to this Nation I know to be absolute. No one has ever been willing to confront me under oath free from immunity and unequivocally charge me with membership in the Communist Party or any other subversive organization. No one can honestly do so. I now realize that some organizations which I permitted to use my name were, in fact, Communist fronts. But their ostensible purposes were good, and it was for such purposes that I allowed use of my name and even made numerous financial contributions. The hidden purposes of the Communists, in such groups, was not known to me. Had I known the truth, I would not have associated with such persons, although I would have and intend to continue to help to the extent of my ability in worth-while causes, honestly calculated to help underprivileged or oppressed people, including those oppressed by Communist tyranny.

Robinson closed his prepared testimony by saying:

Anyone who understands the history of the political activity in Hollywood will appreciate the fact that innocent, sincere persons were used by the Communists to whom honesty and sincerity are as foreign as the Soviet Union is to America. I was duped and used. I was lied to. But, I repeat, I acted from good motives, and I have never knowingly aided Communists or any Communist cause.

I wish to thank the committee for this opportunity to appear and clarify my position. I have been slow to realize that persons I thought sincere were Communists. I am glad, for the sake of myself and the Nation, that they have been exposed by your committee.

While you have been, exposing Communists, I have been fighting them and their ideology in my own way. I just finished appearing in close to 250 performances of "Darkness at Noon" all over the country. It is, perhaps, the strongest indictment of communism ever presented. I am sure it had a profound and lasting effect on all who saw it.

During questioning, he doubled down on his anti-communism:

To me, communism is abhorrent. Certainly I supported Russia during the war but, as an ally, and no more than as an ally. What I did for Russia was relatively negligible, compared to what I did for our other allies.

Upon being pressed, he named film industry colleagues he had come to believe were communists: Albert Maltz; Dalton Trumbo; John Howard Lawson; Donald Ogden Stewart. This of course was not news to anyone, but as he had "named names," the witch-hunters refrained from branding him with the Red Star label. But when Robinson asked members of the committee why they shouldn't certify him as a loyal American, the best he could get was Rep. Morgan Molder (R-MO) telling him:

Mr. [Donald L.] Jackson [R-CA16] has made the statement that this committee is not in a position to exonerate or to vindicate any person who has been wrongfully accused of being a Communist or who has been smeared as a result of such false accusations. I will agree with him to a certain extent. However, I believe that when, as a result of any proceedings or functions of this committee, someone has been unjustly smeared or injured it is our duty to aid that person and give that person an opportunity to appear before the committee to explain and defend himself as you have done.

In other words, he was potentially guilty until proven innocent, which the committee refused to do. Instead, they treated him like a student in a dunce cap scratching out "I will not be a commie dupe" over and over. His penitence extended to publishing "How the Reds Made a Sucker Out of Me," in American Legion Magazine (October 1952), paraphrased in 2011 by USC historian Steven J. Ross:

Robinson told readers that while he had "never paid much attention to communism in the past," he now knew how they went about duping loyal Americans. "They do not reveal themselves as communists," but pose "as fine American citizens who are for 'peace,' or 'decent working conditions,' or 'against intolerance.' " These were lies; their real aim was "world domination, oppression, and slavery for the working people and the minorities they profess to love." The contrite actor ended by swearing, "I am not a communist, I have never been, I never will be – I am an American ."

It must have been soul-crushing for someone so allergic to fascism to prostrate himself before that jingoist tribunal. Thank Mother of Mercy, that wasn't the end of Rico . Robinson returned to the stage for several years and then went on to act in more than 40 films. Somehow befittingly, his last role came in the cult classic b-movie Soylent Green ( 1973 ). He died soon after in Mount Sinai Hospital and was buried in Brooklyn. He was 79.

In that article, Little Caesar and the McCarthyist Mob , Ross observes, "The internationalist pronouncements of Robinson and other Hollywood activists soon came to haunt them as HUAC began portraying anti-fascists as the allies of Communists bent on destroying America." And so it is today as anti-Russia hysteria paves the way to a fascist-style America-first militarism, cheered on by compliant corporate media and political opportunists from both sides of the aisle. Whoever objects to the gathering storm is apt to be fingered as soft on Putin and entered into watch lists.

Meanwhile, the corporate takeover of the Federal Government and more than several states is nearly a fait accompli . Our elections are rigged, not by Russian trolls but minions of the GOP. The First Family mixes governing with business and pleasure and the Bozo-in-Chief can't get his wealth-addled mind around anything for more than a New York minute. Generals and billionaires have been placed in charge of arming and corrupting the republic, respectively. Democrats won't take on the Electoral College or Republican stratagems to rig elections, even though reforms would be win-win for them.

We're going down folks, and if Edward G. were around and still in the game he would understand where we're heading. The old anti-fascist would be plunging right in to keep America safe for democracy. Since he can't, I reckon we've got to.

Bonus Feature

Another pro-Soviet propaganda production from 1942, this one all-American, is Miss V from Moscow . Directed by Albert Herman and starring Lola Lane and Noel Madison, it is regarded as one of the cheesiest spy films ever to grace the silver screen. Lane plays Vera Marova, an untrained Soviet spy apparently fluent in German, French, and English. She slips into occupied France pretending to be a dead German spy whom she closely resembles. In an absurd sequence of implausible events, she and Steve Worth, a downed American airman, hook up and collaborate with Free French partisans in Paris. After she romances a Gestapo Captain and worms war plans from him, they send secret radio messages to Moscow from the back room of a bistro that enable American convoys bound for Russia to elude German submarines. As the film ends, instead of having Vera and her plucky American comrade Steve romantically embrace (that would be a bit too much bilateral solidarity) we get to cheer on American supply ships steaming through the Baltic to deliver the goods.

Geoff Dutton is an ex-geek turned writer and editor. He hails from Boston and writes about whatever distortions of reality strike his fancy. Currently, he's pedaling a novel chronicling the lives and times of members of a cell of terrorists in Europe, completing a collection of essays on high technology delusions, and can be found barking at progressivepilgrim.review.

[Mar 03, 2018] The Grammar of Russiagate

Notable quotes:
"... thief, rapist ..."
"... Sheldon Richman , author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited , keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute. ..."
Mar 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Closely observing the grammar of the Official Russiagate Narrative is revealing and instructive. It provides clues to the (language-)game being played.

Consider what I call the insidious article, the . In the public prints and official pronouncements, it's not enough to say Russians tried to muck around in the American election. It's almost always the Russians . This is a subtle way to convey the idea that Vladimir Putin and his intel agencies were responsible. If a second-tier Russian oligarch who wishes to help Putin hires, on his own initiative, "a bunch of subliterate-in-English trolls," in Masha Gessen's words, and pays them the minimum wage to (again Gessen) "post[] mostly static and sort of absurd advertising," that is treated as the equivalent of Putin's executing a plan to destroy the American political system.

There's a big difference between Russians and the Russians , even if the grammar seems inconsequential.

Then there's the similar case of synecdoche , "a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa." This is one of the few things I learned in college that I actually remember. (Thank you Mark Isaacs, professor of journalism at Temple University, who also introduced me to the work of H. L. Mencken.)

When you read in the newspaper or hear it said on CNN that Russia or Moscow or the Kremlin did such and such, you should call out, "Who exactly?" Countries, cities, and citadels cannot act. Only individuals do. Moreover, there's a big difference between the GRU (Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije) and the IRA (Internet Research Institute), between Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin. But their acts are equally attributed to Russia . St. Petersburg (where the IRA is located) even becomes subsumed by Moscow . The Kremlin could refer to someone directly ordered by Putin or a rogue actor. But those distinctions are of little interest to those formulating or promulgating the Official Narrative.

Finally, let's turn to the word alleged . I can't stress how important this word figured in my journalism training in the 1960s and 70s, both in school and on the job. It was drilled into me by teachers and editors that an allegation is just an allegation until it is confirmed. And to drive this home, my teachers' favorite line was, "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Alleged was the obligatory qualifier before murderer , thief, rapist , kidnapper , etc. -- until the suspect was convicted or his guilty plea was accepted by a judge. We'd never dream of not using it before that point. News organization were of course protecting themselves from libel actions, but it was more than that, namely, fairness and acknowledgment of the presumption of innocent/burden of proof. Even an initial confession was not proof of guilt: people sometimes confess to offenses they did not commit, and sometimes people think their actions are illegal when they are not.

At least one young newsman either learned the lesson about alleged too well or thought it would be fun to mock the obsession with the word. Don Folsom, a rookie Buffalo, NY, radio newscaster in the 1960s began his Easter morning report thus: "Today millions of Christians around the world are celebrating the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ." He was fired.

The word alleged seems almost completely lacking in the Russiagate conversation. The New York Times and other major news outlets have many times referred merely to "Russian interference in the 2016 election." No alleged ? Have those reporters actually seen the evidence the general public has been denied? If so, they haven't said informed us of that fact. Remember, the infamous January 2017 National Intelligence Assessment contained no evidence, as the same Times explicitly acknowledged at the time. In his Jan. 6, 2017, article, "Russian Intervention in American Election Was No One-Off," Times reporter Scott Shane wrote :

What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. This is a significant omission .

Instead, the message from the agencies amounts to "trust us."

I thought reporters weren't supposed to trust even their own mothers! Why are they trusting the lying James Clapper's "handpicked" intel personnel who made this assessment? Do they not remember the Big Lie about Iraqi WMDs, not to mention the entire lying history of the U.S. intel complex?

The Times and the other major news companies have forgotten what Shane reported more than a year ago: that the government has not disclosed the evidence again Putin and the Russians . If you think the indictment of 13 Russians patched up this hole, reread this column. Note also that the IRA is not charged with hacking the DNC and Podesta email accounts and giving the authentic contents to Wikileaks, which is how the big fuss got started.

So there you go. I can only conclude that the mainstream media were so traumatized by Trump's win (a traumatizing event, to be sure) and by Hillary Clinton's loss (not so much) that they have dropped the grammar of detached reporting and embraced the grammar of those who seek confrontation with Russia.

It's a very dangerous (language-)game indeed.

Sheldon Richman , author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited , keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

[Mar 03, 2018] Leaked: Secret Documents From Russia s Election Trolls

Those are Clinton stooges who published Steele dossier.
Mar 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

falconflight Fri, 03/02/2018 - 19:56 Permalink

Leaked: Secret Documents From Russia's Election Trolls

An online auction gone awry reveals substantial new details on Kremlin-backed troll farm efforts to stir up real protests and target specific Americans to push their propaganda.

The Kremlin-backed troll farm at the center of Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. election has quietly suffered a catastrophic security breach, The Daily Beast has confirmed, in a leak that spilled new details of its operations onto obscure corners of the internet.

The Russian "information exchange" Joker.Buzz, which auctions off often stolen or confidential information, advertised a leak for a large cache of the Internet Research Agency's (IRA) internal documents. It includes names of Americans, activists in particular, whom the organization specifically targeted; American-based proxies used to access Reddit and the viral meme site 9Gag; and login information for troll farm accounts.

Even the advertisement for the document dump provides a trove of previously unknown information about the breadth of Russia's disinformation effort in the United States, including rallies pushed by IRA social media accounts that turned violent.

While special counsel Robert Mueller's recent conspiracy indictment against the IRA showed a sophisticated organization aimed at targeting U.S. voters with disinformation, the seller appears not to have understood the implications of the auction.

The listing was titled " Savushkina 55 ," the physical address in St. Petersburg from which the troll farm used to operate. The date on the auction is listed as Feb. 10, 2017 -- seven months before Facebook and Twitter identified and pulled down Internet Research Agency accounts from Twitter. It received no bids. The seller, "AlexDA," has not posted any other listings, and was unable to be reached. In Russian, the listing promised "working data from the department focused on the United States."

"The leaks show that Russian imposter accounts targeted activists for specific causes the Kremlin-backed troll farm wanted promoted. On the target list: the daughter of one of Martin Luther King's lieutenants."

While the date of the auction could not be independently confirmed, the authenticity of the leak can. The leaked documents list screen names connected to a number of American citizens who were used as unwitting proxies by the Russians. The Daily Beast was able to track down four of those citizens, whose names have not been previously revealed. The leak contains precise dates in 2016 in which the IRA-created account Blacktivist reached out to those U.S. citizens, plus a short description of the conversations. The Daily Beast spoke to those citizens, and confirmed they interacted with the Blacktivist account in the ways described by the IRA in the document. In one case, the American even provided screenshots of his interactions with the Russian troll trying to dupe him.

In short, the leaked document contains details of the Russian disinformation campaign that have not been previously made public -- details which The Daily Beast was able to confirm. .....

https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-secret-documents-from-russias-e

[Mar 03, 2018] Glenn Greenwald to Tucker Carlson Journalists Eagerly Being Manipulated By Intelligence Community On Russia Video RealCl

Notable quotes:
"... So, you and I don't agree on a lot of issues but I think we share the same concern about this story, and that is that American journalists are being manipulated for whatever reason by the intelligence community in the United States, and I'm wondering why after years of having this happen to American journalists, they are allowing this to happen again. ..."
"... Well, that's the thing I would refrain that a little bit. I don't actually think so much that journalists are the victims in the sense of that formulation that they're being manipulated. I think at best what you can say for them is they are willingly and eagerly being manipulated. ..."
"... Because what you see is over and over they publish really inflammatory stories that turn out to be totally false and what happens in those cases? Nothing. They get enormous benefits when they publish recklessly. They get applause on social media from their peers, they get zillions of re-tweets, huge amounts of traffic, they end up on TV. They get applauded across the spectrum because people are so giddy and eager to hear more about this Russia and Trump story. ..."
Mar 03, 2018 | www.realclearpolitics.com
Greenwald Journalists 'eagerly manipulated' on Russia story - YouTube

Tucker Carlson interviews Green Greenwald of The Intercept about journalists "willingly" being taken advantage of by the intelligence community on stories about Russia to reap the benefits, even when they know what they are publishing is "totally false."

From Tuesday's broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight on the FOX News Channel:

TUCKER CARLSON: So, Glenn, just to get to the facts of this story, it is conclusively shown that the story about the 21 voting systems being hacked is untrue, correct?
GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST: It's false in two ways, one is that several of the states included in the list, such as Wisconsin, California, and Texas, said that the websites that the Homeland Security Department cited had nothing to do with voting systems, they are entirely unrelated.

And it's false in a second way, which is a lot of the stories, in fact, most of them said that Russia tried to hack into the voting systems when in fact even Homeland Security, it can only show that what they did was scan those computer systems, which is basically casing something to say for vulnerabilities and made no attempts to actually hack into them. So, it was false on various levels.

CARLSON: So, you and I don't agree on a lot of issues but I think we share the same concern about this story, and that is that American journalists are being manipulated for whatever reason by the intelligence community in the United States, and I'm wondering why after years of having this happen to American journalists, they are allowing this to happen again.

GREENWALD: Well, that's the thing I would refrain that a little bit. I don't actually think so much that journalists are the victims in the sense of that formulation that they're being manipulated. I think at best what you can say for them is they are willingly and eagerly being manipulated.

(LAUGHTER)

Because what you see is over and over they publish really inflammatory stories that turn out to be totally false and what happens in those cases? Nothing. They get enormous benefits when they publish recklessly. They get applause on social media from their peers, they get zillions of re-tweets, huge amounts of traffic, they end up on TV. They get applauded across the spectrum because people are so giddy and eager to hear more about this Russia and Trump story.

And when their stories get completely debunked, it just kind of, everybody agrees to ignore it and everyone moves on and they pay no price. At the same time, they are feeling and pleasing their sources by publishing these sources that their sources want them to publish. And so, there is huge amounts of career benefits and reputational benefits and very little cost when they publish stories that end up being debunked because the narrative they are serving is a popular one, at least within their peer circles.

CARLSON: Gosh! That is so dishonest. I mean, I think all of us and journalism have gotten things wrong, I certainly have. If you feel bad about it, I mean, you really do and there's a consequence. Do you really think there's that level of dishonesty in the American press?

GREENWALD: I think what it is more than dishonesty is a really warped incentive scheme bolstered by this very severe groupthink that social media is fostering in ways that we don't yet fully understand.

CARLSON: Yes.

GREENWALD: Most journalists these days are in Congressional Committees or at zoning board meetings or using -- they're sitting on Twitter talking to one another and this produces this extreme groupthink where these orthodoxies arise in deviating from them or questioning them or challenging, believe me, results in all kinds of recrimination and scorn. And embracing them produces this sort of in group mentality where you are rewarded, and I think a lot of it is about that kind of behavior.

CARLSON: That is really deep. I mean, you live in a foreign country, I'm not on social media, so maybe we have a little bit of distance from this, where do you think the story is going? What's the next incarnation of it?

GREENWALD: Well, the odd part about it, and about the inpatients that journalists have in trying to just jump to the finish line is that there are numerous investigations underway in the city, including by credible investigators, including Senator Burr and Warner and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which most people seem to trust and certainly Robert Mueller who is armed with subpoena power, and everyone is really eager to lavish with praise.

So, we are going to find out presumably one way or the other soon enough. I guess that one thing that is so odd to me Tucker, is that, this has been going on now for a year, this accusation that the Trump administration or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to hack the DNC and John Podesta's email and we know that there are huge numbers of people inside the government who are willing to leak, even at the expense of committing crimes in order to undermine Trump and yet, there has been no leaks so far showing any evidence of that kind of collusion leading one to wonder why that is.

So, I hope that everybody is willing to wait until the actual investigation reveals finally the real answers. But it doesn't seem that will be the case.

CARLSON: Bravery is when you disagree in public with your peers. And by that definition, you are a very brave man. Glenn Greenwald, thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.

[Mar 02, 2018] The best time to attack Russia

Mar 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

V. Arnold | Mar 2, 2018 12:01:34 AM | 57

The best time to attack Russia, enjoy:

This past September, in one of his regular interviews with the newspaper Parlamentní Listy, retired Czech Major General Hynek Blaško commented on the possibility of a conflict between Russia and NATO with a following anecdote:

"I have seen a popular joke on the Internet about Obama and his generals in the Pentagon debating on the best timing to attack Russia. They couldn't come to any agreement, so they decided to ask their allies.

The French said: " We do not know, but certainly not in the winter. This will end badly. "

The Germans responded: "We do not know, either, but definitely not in a summer. We have already tried."

Someone in Obama's war room had a brilliant idea to ask China, on the basis that China is developing and always has new ideas.

The Chinese answered: "The best time for this is right now. Russia is building the Power of Siberia pipeline, the North Stream Pipeline, Vostochny Cosmodrome Spaceport, the MegaProject bridge to Crimea; also Russian is upgrading the Trans-Siberian railroad with a new railway bridge across Lena River and the Amur-Yakutsk Mainline. Russia is also building new sports facilities for the World Cup and athletics, and has in development over 150 production projects in the Arctic Well, now they really need as many POWs as possible!"

[Mar 02, 2018] Look deeper at "election rigger" and will find a neoconservative

Mar 02, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Paul Craig Roberts' invective against the "riggers:" https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/01/washington-sufficiently-intelligent-trusted-independent-foreign-policy/
"The stupid Samantha Vinograd [who served as a staffer on Obama's National Security Council] repeats the lie that Russiagate was Putin's plot "to destabilize the United States." So, how is the US a superpower when Russia controls US elections? Doesn't this mean that Americans are of no relevance whatsoever in the world? ... With intelligence levels this low on Obama's National Security Council, no wonder the neoonservatives were able to run over the Obama regime and resurrect the Cold War, thus returning the world to a high chance of nuclear Armageddon."
The "riggers" have exposed their incompetence again and again and again...

[Feb 27, 2018] Max Blumenthal on 'Fire and Fury', Clinton Probe, and Russiagate

Two contradictory notions in the boo: (1) Trump is bumbling idiot, who do not know what he is talking or taking about; (2) Trump is evil genius who conspire with Vladimir Putin against America.
The real collision with foreign power was probably Trump move of embassy to Jerusalem
Notable quotes:
"... Max Blumenthal, on the other hand, is a real journalist who is always excellent - I would encourage everyone to check out the "Moderate Rebels" YouTube channel. It is brilliant, and there never seem to be many views which is a disgrace. ..."
Jan 05, 2018 | www.youtube.com

The book 'Fire and Fury' sparks a rift between Trump and Bannon, the FBI revives scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation, and GOP Senators target the author of the Steele dossier. Best-selling author Max Blumenthal breaks down the growing intra-elite clashes and the key developments that are being overlooked

Alex Bakaev , 1 month ago

Everybody in USA must watch these two brilliant guys dissect the official Democratic narrative.

Alexis Porter , 1 month ago

Good stuff - Aaron Mate is great, I especially enjoyed the interview with that ridiculous "journalist" (or maybe he'd prefer "storyteller"!) who wrote the "Collusion" book which doesn't show any collusion.

Max Blumenthal, on the other hand, is a real journalist who is always excellent - I would encourage everyone to check out the "Moderate Rebels" YouTube channel. It is brilliant, and there never seem to be many views which is a disgrace.

[Feb 26, 2018] State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

Notable quotes:
"... "This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. ..."
"... Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns. ..."
"... With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states). ..."
"... If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck. ..."
"... The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes." ..."
"... money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that... ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. State Department will increase its online trolling capabilities and up its support for meddling in other countries. The Hill reports :

The State Department is launching a $40 million initiative to crack down on foreign propaganda and disinformation amid widespread concerns about future Russian efforts to interfere in elections.

The department announced Monday that it signed a deal with the Pentagon to transfer $40 million from the Defense Department's coffers to bolster the Global Engagement Center, an office set up at State during the Obama years to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

The professed reason for the new funding is the alleged but unproven "Russian meddling" in the U.S. election campaign. U.S. Special Counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russians for what is claimed to be interference but which is likely mere commercial activity.

The announcement by the State Department explains that this new money will not only be used for measures against foreign trolling but to actively meddle in countries abroad:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the United States' commitment to the fight.

"This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. "

The mentioning of Silicon Valley is of interest. The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:

While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches.

In May 2016 the Hillary Clinton campaign even set up her own troll farm :

Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online.

Clinton is quite experienced in such issues. In 2009, during protests in Iran, then Secretary of State Clinton pushed Twitter to defer maintenance of its system to "help" the protesters. In 2010 USAid, under the State Department set up a Twitter-like service to meddle in Cuba.

The foreign policy advisor of Hillery Clinton's campaign, Laura Rosenberger, initiated and runs the Hamilton68 project which falsely explains any mentioning of issues disliked by its neo-conservative backers as the result of nefarious "Russian meddling".

The State Department can build on that and other experience.

Since at least 2011 the U.S. military is manipulating social media via sock puppets and trolls:

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
...
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".

It was then wisely predicted that other countries would follow up:

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns.

With the new money the State Department will expand its Global Engagement Center (GEC) which is running "public diplomacy", aka propaganda, abroad:

The Fund will be a key part of the GEC's partnerships with local civil society organizations, NGOs, media providers, and content creators to counter propaganda and disinformation. The Fund will also drive the use of innovative messaging and data science techniques.

Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding.

This money will be in addition to the large funds the CIA traditionally spends on manipulating foreign media:

"We've been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947," said Mr. Johnson, now at the University of Georgia. "We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'King George's cavalry': suitcases of cash."
...
C.I.A. officials told Mr. Johnson in the late 1980s that "insertions" of information into foreign news media, mostly accurate but sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day.

Part of the new State Department money will be used to provide grants. If online trolling or sock puppetry is your thing, you may want to apply now.

Posted by b on February 26, 2018 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 26, 2018 2:34:39 PM | 1

The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be
Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 2:40:29 PM | 2
"to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner"

I call these social media watchers rather than trolls. Rather than simply trying to disrupt any and all social media threads they don't like, social media watchers look for comments or comment threads that are disparaging or damaging to their employer.

WorldBLee , Feb 26, 2018 2:49:32 PM | 3
#2 @Peter AU 1 - I would say the language "to find and CONFRONT" sounds pretty much like troll behavior.

With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states).

Don Bacon , Feb 26, 2018 2:51:50 PM | 4
That $40 million will probably be pissed away on a couple sweetheart contracts to Tillerson friends and nobody will see a difference. US State Department propaganda programs, labeled as "public diplomacy" and other monikers, have been around for a long time but haven't been executed very well.

From the State Dept. historian office, 2013: . .(excerpt):

Public Diplomacy Is Still in Its Adolescent Stage in the State Department , etc.

. . . The process of convergence has been evolutionary. Secretary Powell grasped the power of the information revolution, reallocated positions and resources from traditional diplomatic posting to new areas and recognized the power of satellite television to move publics and constrain governments even in authoritarian regimes. Secretary Rice forwarded this reconceptualization under the rubric of "Transformational Diplomacy," which sought to help people transform their own lives and the relationship between state and society. Secretary Clinton continued the theme under the concept of "Smart Power." "Person-to-person diplomacy in today's work is as important as what we do in official meetings in national capitals across the globe," Clinton said in 2010.The work done by PD officials in Arab Spring countries beginning in 2011 was as much about capacity-building as advocating U.S. policies or directly trying to explain American culture. . . here

notlurking , Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....
nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:18:15 PM | 6
Prior efforts were targeted more at traditional news outlets, this is just an expansion into social media along the lines of previous work, example A being the Rendon Group in Iraq, etc. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rendon_Group

If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck.

Tediousness, defined.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:19:30 PM | 7
WorldBLee 2

Media watchers target specific comments or comment threads, in the case stated by b, those disparaging or damaging to Clinton.

What I term trolls target blogs or social media accounts that are considered targets, no matter the content of a particular article or comment thread. Social media media watchers are a little more specialized than trolls and look for specific content.

nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:23:52 PM | 8
P.S. it's funny that you can find out what these clowns are up to by looking for job listings and salary reports:

The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist Salary | Glassdoor

Average [monthly] salaries for The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist: $2,520. The Rendon Group salary trends based on salaries posted anonymously by The Rendon Group employees.

Talk about a soul-destroying job. Right up there with Wikipedia page editor.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:27:48 PM | 9
nonsense factory 8. Money looks good. Plenty of people that dont give a shit about their soul will take it up.
la Cariatide , Feb 26, 2018 3:40:19 PM | 11
http://www.voltairenet.org/article194715.html
NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:08:38 PM | 12
@7 peter

I see what you are alluding to, but the only problem with it is that, irrespective of the differing definitions, at heart, these infiltrators are a disrupting force on the message boards, whether paid to be or not. Their medium is disruption and obfuscation. I tried to wade into the neoliberal viper's den at slate.com un the past to post "alt-right" stuff and was quickly attacked by multiple avatars.

In essence, one troll disrupts because he has a need for recognition, and the latter disrupts for money. Both are netgain for the troll and loss for the rest of us.

ben , Feb 26, 2018 4:09:30 PM | 13
The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes."

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

james , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:32 PM | 14
thanks b... troll farms looks like a good name for it... farming for the empire.. they could call it that too.. russia as trend setter, lol.. i don't think so!

speaking of troll farms, i see max Blumenthal came out with some 'about time' comments on the sad kettle of fish called 'democracy now'... here is his tweet - "If @democracynow is going to push the neocon project of regime change in Syria so relentlessly and without debate, it should drop the high minded literary NPR aesthetic and just host Nikki Haley for a friendly one-on-one #EstablishmentNow https://twitter.com/democracynow/status/967123918237655041
7:07 AM - Feb 25, 2018 "

money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that...

NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:33 PM | 15
The silver lining here is that the state dept. is in a sense admitting that there is nothing "in the pipe" relating to outright censorship whether through nefarious agreements between ISP providers and the IC via the repeal of net neutrality.

$40 mil is a lot for liberal college graduates however.

Jen , Feb 26, 2018 4:20:59 PM | 16
Nonsense Factory @ 8, Peter AU 1 @ 9: There are plenty of communities in rural Australia who'd be glad to have troll farms paying that sort of money (even as Australian dollars - 1 Australian dollar being worth about US$0.76 at this time of posting) a month. Real farmers could do trolling on the side during slow seasons of the year and make some money.
karlof1 , Feb 26, 2018 4:26:45 PM | 17
What we need are some Mole Trolls, or maybe that's Troll Moles--double agents if you will that work for 6-12 months recording 100% of all they do then reveal it all in an expose.
Ian , Feb 26, 2018 5:21:58 PM | 18
Getting ready for mid-terms. It's going to be interesting to see if the Democrats get wiped off the map. They should be able to hire quite a few people for $40 million. Don't be surprised if they deploy AI in the first wave, then follow up with a real person.

ben @13:

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

ROFL After wandering aimlessly in the mall with Her Majesty over the weekend, I'm not sure if that's even possible now.

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:23:20 PM | 19
Hillary Clinton sat on a wall,
Hillary Clinton had a great fall;
All the DNC stooges and all her trolls
Couldn't put her campaign again on the roll.

[department of lame rhymes]

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:29:18 PM | 20
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5

Foolish human, who needs the likes of you! Regards, Chief Bot

pantaraxia , Feb 26, 2018 6:42:36 PM | 21
"The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:"

It went much further than that . Google actually tweaked its algorithms to alter search recommendations in favor of the Clinton campaign. A comparative analysis of search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo showed that Google differed significantly from the other two in producing search recommendations relevant to Clinton.

Google Manipulates Search Results To Favor Hillary Clinton - Jimmy Dore
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MICXf6viakc

But , but, but...Russia!!!

Nothing to see her folks. Carry on.

che , Feb 26, 2018 6:47:53 PM | 22
The entire U.S. MSM is a F'ing troll farm, disinformation, Orwellian world on steroids. The U.S. public is fed a constant never ending stream of complete Bull sh**, self serving crap. How to stop it is the only question, to stop the impunity with which these criminals like Bush and Trump and Obama and Mattis et.al. lie with their pants on fire and .....they all suck .01% dick.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23
@8 Nonsense Factory

Ahmed Nafeez exposed The Rendon Group and the Pentagon's Highlands Forum a few years ago.

And then there's today's nonsense.

Are You a Russian Troll?

Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:44:21 PM | 24
It's surprising to see the NYT admit the US does it, too. The alt media has been all over this including Corbett's recent video with the Woolsey interview with Fox News where he laughs it off and then says it was for a good cause.
Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:47:09 PM | 25
Hillary's Troll Farm = Lipstick on a pig.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:51:55 PM | 26
From Nafeez Ahmed :
Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:10 PM | 27
From Nafeez Ahmed :

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."
Debsisdead , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:42 PM | 28
Posted by: Fec | Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23

Yeah well since the writer of the 'quiz' exposes themself as bein a troll of the worst sort there is nothing to be said. I'm currently attempting to ingest only those newstories where the publisher provides space for feedback from readers since if a story is truthful it should be able to withstand challenge. yeah riight cos that means there's bugger all out there anymore. The biggest 'win' populism has had this far is in driving all feedback off all sites with a readership of more than a few hundred. Many of those that do allow feedback only permit humans with credentialed facebook or google accounts to indulge and the comments are only visible to similarly logged in types. That tells us a lot about the lack of faith the corporate media actually have in the nonsense they publish.

Of course 'trolls' are the ones held to be the guilty for causing this but if you actually watch what happens in a feedback column such as the rare occasions when the graun still permits CIF comments it isn't the deliberately offensive arseholes spouting the usual cliches who get deleted, it is those who put forward a considered argument which details why the original writer has reached a faulty conclusion.

We all know this yet it seems as though none of us are prepared to confront it properly as the censorship it is.
IMO media outlets which continually lie or at least distort the truth to advance a particular agenda need to be called to account.
Massed pickets outside newsrooms would be a good way cos as much as media hate us loudmouths who won't swallow their bromides, they like their competition even less. A decently organised picket of NYT, WaPo or the Graun would be news in every other spineless, propagandising & slug-featured media entity.

Lozion , Feb 26, 2018 9:09:10 PM | 29
Cant wait to see the big new shiny gold GEC logo, AMC & GMC anyone? ;)
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:17:57 PM | 30
@ 28 Debsisdead

Said troll was published in Richmond and God only knows who else picked it up. I refuted it in the comments as best I could, also excerpting MOA. Regardless:

From Ahmed Nafeez :

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts  --  and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/why-google-made-the-nsa-2a80584c9c1
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:26:22 PM | 31
From Ahmed Nafeez :
Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:40:37 PM | 32
From Ahmed Nafeez :
In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures

This goes a long way toward explaining what is occurring in Hollywood and Nashville.

[Feb 25, 2018] Looks like FBI or CIA has an insider in Internet Research Agency Agata Burdonova, who has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She run translator project and is missing from Mueller indictment

Notable quotes:
"... The Russian independent TV Rain, also known as Dozhd, found (Russian, machine translation ) that one management person of the IRA was missing in the Mueller indictment. That women, Agata Burdonova, has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She had run the "translator" department of the IRA that created English language social marketing campaigns. She has now applied for a U.S. Social Security number. ..."
"... On June 15, 2017, Dmitry Fyodorov says he received an employment offer from Facebook. On August 8, 2017 Fyodorov marries Burdonova. Employer (presumably, Facebook) sponsors both of their visas -- prob. H1B. ..."
"... On December 7 2017 both moved to Bellevue, Washington. Two month later Mueller indicts the alleged IRA owner and management, but not Burdonova. This smells of a deal made by some US agency to get insight into the IRA. In return, an opportunity to move to the US was offered. ..."
Feb 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Feb 19 - Internet Marketing - Why Is This Smelly Fish Priceless?

Automated Twitter accounts, or trolls, repeated a tweet about a MoA piece on Muller's indictment of "Russian trolls" . Funny but not really important. There is interesting news though related to the original Muller indictment. Mueller accused with little evidence 13 persons involved in the private Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) of meddling with the U.S. election campaign.

The Russian independent TV Rain, also known as Dozhd, found (Russian, machine translation ) that one management person of the IRA was missing in the Mueller indictment. That women, Agata Burdonova, has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She had run the "translator" department of the IRA that created English language social marketing campaigns. She has now applied for a U.S. Social Security number.

According to a follow up :

On June 15, 2017, Dmitry Fyodorov says he received an employment offer from Facebook. On August 8, 2017 Fyodorov marries Burdonova. Employer (presumably, Facebook) sponsors both of their visas -- prob. H1B.

On December 7 2017 both moved to Bellevue, Washington. Two month later Mueller indicts the alleged IRA owner and management, but not Burdonova. This smells of a deal made by some US agency to get insight into the IRA. In return, an opportunity to move to the US was offered.

Feb 20 - "Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

On the farce of the "Hamilton 68" dashboard and how the media fall for it.

[Feb 24, 2018] Masha Gessen Did a Russian Troll Farm's Inflammatory Posts Really Sway the 2016 Election for Trump

Mash Gessen is a well know Russophob. That's they way she earns living.
Feb 24, 2018 | www.truth-out.org

MASHA GESSEN: So, I am really fascinated with what it tells us about our imagination about the Russian imagination. So, Russia imagines America and the American political system as like this unassailable monolith that they are throwing stuff at just to try to make a dent, whereas the United States is starting increasingly to imagine Russia as all-powerful, as incredibly sophisticated, as capable of, you know, sending out some really absurd tweets, in sub-literate English, and somehow changing the outcome of the election. And that projects such a belief in the fragility of the system and the basic instability of it and in the gullibility of voters who read something that's not even comprehensible English and suddenly change their vote. I mean, the working theory of the investigation -- right? -- is that Russians influenced the election by influencing American public opinion. And so, we're asked to believe that a significant impact on American public opinion could be produced by, you know, the Bernie the Superman coloring book tweet.

[Feb 24, 2018] Looks like color revolution plotter offered Trump a deal: switching to anti-Russia platform in exchange of stopping personal witch hunt against him. W>ell this was always the ultimate point. Not getting Trump, but making sure Trump falls in line with the insane plan to get Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The sad thing is, by admitting that Trump had no connection to the 13 accused 'election hackers,' his accusers are offering him an easy out–with the expectation that he will pay them back by turning against Russia. ..."
"... Trump has already acquiesced in new arms shipments to Ukraine, and he doesn't seem to have any problem with the Pentagon randomly attacking (among others) Russian soldiers and contractors in Syria ..."
"... Well this was always the ultimate point. Not getting Trump, but making sure Trump falls in line with the insane plan to get Russia. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Seamus Padraig says February 18, 2018

The sad thing is, by admitting that Trump had no connection to the 13 accused 'election hackers,' his accusers are offering him an easy out–with the expectation that he will pay them back by turning against Russia.

Trump has already acquiesced in new arms shipments to Ukraine, and he doesn't seem to have any problem with the Pentagon randomly attacking (among others) Russian soldiers and contractors in Syria. If there were ever any doubt, it now seems obvious that "the swamp" has successfully drained Trump. Start digging your bomb shelters, people

MLS says February 19, 2018

Well this was always the ultimate point. Not getting Trump, but making sure Trump falls in line with the insane plan to get Russia.

It's hard to see how this ends. Like the Terminator they absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until they are physically incapable of moving another step. But will the world survive long enough for that to happen? Or will Russia cave rather than risk war? Without Putin at the helm I think 'compromises' will start and then pretty soon Russia is back in the fold with a token president and the IMF running the show. Like the rest of us.

[Feb 24, 2018] The Tragicomedy of Russiagate by Sheldon Richman

Notable quotes:
"... Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq ..."
"... The Myth of the Rational Voter ..."
"... America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

The whole election-meddling distraction is remarkable in both comic and tragic ways. The tragedy can be summed up in three words: New Cold War. At a time when the U.S. and Russian governments ought to be working toward nuclear disarmament, relations are deteriorating dangerously. As the estimable Australian writer Caitlin Johnstone, notes , despite Donald Trump's campaign promise of détente with Russia,

This administration has already killed Russians in Syria , greatly escalated nuclear tensions with Russia, allowed the sale of arms to Ukraine (a move Obama refused for fear of angering Moscow), established a permanent military presence in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change, forced RT and Sputnik to register as foreign agents, expanded NATO with the addition of Montenegro, assigned Russia hawk Kurt Volker as special representative to Ukraine, shut down a Russian consulat e in San Francisco and expelled Russian diplomats as part of continued back-and-forth hostile diplomatic exchanges.

We are already at an extremely dangerous point in the ongoing trend of continuous escalations with a country that is armed with thousands of nuclear warheads. [Johnstone's links.]

Would Trump have done these things without the pressure of Russiagate? I don't know, but Russiagate hasn't helped. And what more would Hillary Clinton have done by this point? Johnstone argues that Russiagate is all about putting Russia in its place and securing the American ruling elite's geopolitical and economic interests -- not about getting Trump:

America's unelected power establishment doesn't care about impeaching Trump, it cares about hobbling Russia in order to prevent the rise of a potential rival superpower in its ally China. All this lunacy makes perfect sense when you realize this. The US deep state is using the hysterical cult of anti-Trumpism to manufacture support for increasing escalations with Russia, and the anti-Trumpists are playing right along under the delusion that pushing for moves against Russia will hurt Trump.

Of course, removing Trump from office would be a cherry on top. If the drivers of Russiagate can't have that, at least they can leave the impression that Hillary Clinton would be president today were it not for the diabolically cunning Vladimir Putin and the inherently depraved Russia in cahoots with their tool, Donald Trump. ( Putin's opponents in Russia are irritated that Americans portray Putin as virtually omnipotent.) Russiagate promoters in the Democratic Party deny they intend to right the wrong of 2016, but I don't believe them. Surely they are trying to delegitimate the election on the grounds that Trump and Putin stole it from its rightful owner. (For the record, I think all elections are illegitimate but not because of foreign involvement.)

The anti-Russia campaign has certainly gone well beyond overboard. Former Director of National Intelligence James (Yeah, I lied . What you gonna do about?) Clapper, on "Meet the Press," said the Russians "are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." (Beg your pardon, I linked to RT. Here's an American site for anyone concerned about having RT in their browser history.) Johnstone points out that Clapper has said such things before, including: "But as far as our being intimate allies, trusting buds with the Russians that is just not going to happen. It is in their genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed to the United States and to Western democracies." As I recall, former CIA Director John Brennan said something similar.

On the comic side, Russiagate is a new theater of the absurd, featuring Americans running around with their hair on fire over alleged official Russian actions that amount to nothing significant: it was an act of war -- another Pearl Harbor -- no wait, another 9/11!

Let's assume -- purely for the sake of discussion since no evidence has been made public -- that the Russians did it. Note, first, that the "it" looks like the product of the gang that couldn't shoot straight. I'm not going to do what Johnstone, Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Maté, and the late Robert Parry have done so well so many times, namely, catalog all the inane acts the Putin-guided Russian intel agencies are said to have committed in order to bring down America. (Start here .) Suffice it to say that if that's the best Putin can come up with, we have little to worry about. Of course, the very inanity of this so-called campaign to destroy America -- the ridiculous discrepancy between means and alleged end, the sheer clownish ineptitude -- furnishes sufficient grounds for skepticism, at least, about the Russiagate narrative. (See David Stockman's explanation of the ineptitude. SPOILER ALERT: It wasn't a Russian Intel operation. The man who we are to believe sought to subvert America's democracy is a freelance pro-Putin Russian food-industry oligarch employing a bunch of minimum-wage keyboard jockeys who didn't pay attention to the United States until the 2014 U.S.-sponsored coup in Ukraine, i.e., before there was a Trump campaign.)

Another comic aspect is the national arrogance of it all. How dare anyone interfere with our election! What's so funny is that some people who express such outrage really have no idea how many times the US government has interfered in other countries' elections ( including Russia's ), not to mention far worse things, like perpetrating assassinations, coups, and invasions. (See Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq . This sordid history is summarized here .)

Americans generally do not know the nefarious things "their" government has done over many, many years. This is partly due to what Bryan Caplan in The Myth of the Rational Voter calls "rational irrationalism." Americans embrace a nationalism that is impervious to facts. Even vivid accounts of the systematic wholesale slaughter of the Indians wouldn't shake it. People generally don't like to venture outside their comfort zones to shake up their worldview, and even if they did so, what would change? Each person has only one vote, and the chance that one vote will make a difference is close to zero. So why not indulge one's nationalist biases? It's not as though there's an opportunity cost to doing so.

On the other hand, politicians and pundits do have some idea of America's long record of intervening in other countries. (Maybe I'm being too charitable.) What's their excuse for being so offended by even the possibility of meddling in an U.S. election? One explanation is the "exceptional nation" dogma of the American creed, or what I call the American chosen-people complex. Even secular American nationalists believe America has been anointed -- by history if not by a deity -- to lead the world. (This goes back to the founding generation, by the way. It's no post-World War II phenomenon. See America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited .)

Thus, we have a moral inequivalence on our hands. It's okay if we do it to "them" (whoever), but it's not okay if "they" do it to us. Moreover, we can do it to ourselves , but if anyone else tries it, there'll be hell to pay.

Any way you look at it, Russiagate is ridiculous. Of course it serves some people's interests. But it harms the rest of us, most of all by bringing us closer to conflict with Russia, perhaps even to nuclear war.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman , published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited .

Read more by Sheldon Richman

[Feb 24, 2018] Russian Espionage, or Clickbait (1-2)

The reality of Russiagate is that the corrupt neoliberal system and its institutions were laid bare in an unprecedented way. The Democratic Party is toast. The Republican Party is a vile sham. And the MSM has exposed itself as attack dogs of intelligence agencies like never before. People are waking up to the corrupt and useless system in place. The reality of the system was exposed in magnifying Russiagate lens. That's probably the only good thing about it
Notable quotes:
"... John Sipher (ha ha) starts out by re-asserting the lie that Russians "hacked" the DNC ..."
"... Why are the people who work for this guy trying to sell opinions being called trolls? This is just another way to give credence to the FBI narrative that trolls tried to sway the election. If anyone was a troll, ..."
"... And Rachel? Quit lying to yourself and others. My gawd! You have come a long way from your time at Air America that I don't even recognize you anymore. You are creating hysteria and you have become a raving lunatic. Enjoy your $30,000/day, $7 million a month salary for selling out to the people who you used to despise. I despise you! ..."
"... He retorts that 'there's enough hot spots -- Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, China' -- but fails to acknowledge that for example, the Iraq invasion and subsequent insurgency/civil war/rise-of-ISIS is all about what Aaron pointed to, the ginning up intelligence to create the Iraq invasion - which then spilled over into Syria. The role that the US is playing in all the other place he mentions, they have constantly resorted to lethal force and refused negotiation. ..."
"... The establishment media leaves out the essential context: The US is on a single superpower, Pax Americana global empire gambit; with everyone else playing for time while building their defences. ..."
"... And 'Russian Doctrine' is just recycled Soviet Doctrine - but the US always lead arms escalations during the old cold war - the so called soviet doctrine was in fact defence against US pressure and aggression. ..."
"... The Democratic Party is toast. The Republican Party is a vile sham. And the main stream media has exposed itself like never before. People are waking up to the corrupt and useless system in place. The reality of the system is being laid bare in an unprecedented way. As bad as things seem, this is a good thing, if we can keep those in power from destroying the earth before we can recover it. ..."
"... Unless something more comes of this, the Dems and their media cohorts will do a repeat of the Repubs and that same media when the WMD failed to materialize in Iraq. The wonderful thing about The Homeland, though, is that being wrong, all the time, in no way disqualifies you for remaining an important and serious person. ..."
"... Black Lives Matter ..."
"... Bernie Sanders ..."
"... Yeah, I think the point of this is not to change opinions, the point was to try to either suppress voters on one side, or to get people to hardened opinions, and get people to come out to vote, and we've even seen the same troll farm, looks like they're doing this now around the Parkland shooting in Florida. They were going around Black Lives Matter, they're trying to spin up divisions to get us working against each other, as much as electing Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | therealnews.com

AARON MATÉ: Now, Maddow makes at least one error here. The indictment does say that the operation had a monthly budget of $1.25 million dollars, but that was for its entire global operations, of which the U.S. was only a part. And more importantly, can we say conclusively that this was the work of Russian intelligence? Well, joining me is John Sipher, national security analyst with Cipher Brief, and a former member of the CIA's clandestine service.

John Sipher (@john_sipher) is a former Chief of Station for the C.I.A. He worked for over 27 years in Russia, Europe and Asia and now writes for various publications and works as a consultant with CrossLead and New Media Frontier.


Nixak*77*, February 24, 2018 2:04 AM

Here's what Mr CIA guy 'Sipher' is selling: The indicted 13 Russian trollers interfered w the 2016 POTUS election- NOT by hacking US voting machines & flipping votes to Repug Trump, but by sowing discord among the US electorate which even 'Sipher' admits already existed. Most of the Face-Book posts by these alleged Russian trollers were either posted AFTER Nov 8, 2016 &/or were seen by virtually NO-One, thus 'Sipher' effectively admits he now ilk in the US intel biz can even assess how much alleged impact these alleged Russian trollers had on the 2016 POTUS election -But- I can: Virtually ZERO!!

Now compare that to the US' notorious track-record of nefariously 'meddling' in other countries' political processes- Mainly by Mr CIA guy 'Sipher's' so-called 'ex' employer:

- In 1996 the US actively & blatantly interfered in Russia's presidential election to get Slick Willy's pal & chum(p) that drunk Boris Yeltsin guy elected, & even openly bragged about it. And then orchestrated a fire-sale of Russia's resources, that resulted in great hardship to the Russian people.

In 2014 while Putin's attention was on the Winter-Olympics in Sochi, Killary Clinton's protege' Vikky Nuland actively stoked a Neo-NAZI coup vs Ukraine's democratically elected president -- In an blatant attempt to push NATO right up into Russia's face / west-flank & to try to grab Russia's naval base in Crimea [which up till the 1950s was actually officially Russian territory].

And oh let's NOT forget the US' & it allies [UK, the Saudis, the Turks, the IAF, etc] actively involvement in the on-going Syrian disaster- In yet another Neo-CONian / Neo-Liberal nefarious regime-change scheme!! And how Mr CIA guy Sipher's CIA & other intel' agencies have been trying to bait first Dim OBomber & now Repug Trump into an all out attack on Syria to accomplish it, using dubious 'intel' ala 'WMD redux'!!

I mean seriously Mr CIA guy 'Sipher' & all you other Russia-Gaters [IE: Rachael Mad-cow & even Bernie]?? All this BS hype over 13 Russians trolling click-bait on Face-Book, vs all that I've outlined above [just a short-list] that the CIA & even so-called 'liberal' Dims have actively supported, w DISASTROUS results- Literally destroying MILLIONS of lives in the process!! PLEASE!!

gregorylkruse , February 23, 2018 5:27 PM

"I tend to believe them". That's the problem.

Robert Johnson , February 23, 2018 1:08 PM

John Sipher (ha ha) starts out by re-asserting the lie that Russians "hacked" the DNC. Everything that follows is just blah, blah,blah....Why is TRN interviewing this buffoon?

Robert Johnson gregorylkruse , February 23, 2018 11:37 PM

No, sorry. I have great respect for Aaron, but TRN is not doing us any favors by helping spread this noxious propaganda. They legitimize it by acknowledging it. Meanwhile, there is other news they could be giving us.Check this out: http://bit.ly/2EMOl4S Sad we have to depend upon comedians to give us the news....

Robert Johnson , February 23, 2018 1:06 PM

Rachel Maddow is American "intelligence" at its least ambitious....

Richard Burt Robert Johnson , February 23, 2018 5:50 PM

LOL

beaglebailey , February 23, 2018 1:28 AM

BTW. Why are the people who work for this guy trying to sell opinions being called trolls? This is just another way to give credence to the FBI narrative that trolls tried to sway the election. If anyone was a troll,

I'd say it was the Correct the Record folks who were the trolls. Hillary's campaign paid over a million dollars for people to go into websites and if anyone was being critical of Hillary, they tried to get them to change their minds. How is that not election interference? And was that even legal? It was unethical if not against campaign finance laws.

Jay Hansen beaglebailey , February 23, 2018 1:47 AM

It arose inside the country, though Hillary is, without a doubt, scum. Hillbots were actual 'Murkins, a lot of them still suffering from Hillbotulism. Elections featuring two absolutely unacceptable candidates are a real drag, and, unfortunately, probably the OFFICIAL end of the United States (though in reality, the US died in March 2003).

beaglebailey , February 23, 2018 1:19 AM

Unbelievable. Aaron: I don't believe that the Mueller investigation has delivered solid proof that Russia did anything against the country.

Sipher:

Well I think that he and the FBI are reputable sources and I'm going to believe them and what they tell me. Even if they haven't proven anything, we know that Putin is a bad man and he wants to sow divisions here and besides he's using chemical weapons in Syria (even though that's so totally off topic) and when I go to bed at night I see Putin in my dreams and yackity, yack, yack! So there. I'm a poopy head and you're not.

Good grief, how can people believe anything by this time? And Rachel? Quit lying to yourself and others. My gawd! You have come a long way from your time at Air America that I don't even recognize you anymore. You are creating hysteria and you have become a raving lunatic. Enjoy your $30,000/day, $7 million a month salary for selling out to the people who you used to despise. I despise you!

Michael Holloway , February 22, 2018 10:37 PM

This guys arguments are so weak he must be interacting the very ignorant audience most of the time (I think the great majority of Americans don't pay attention to what their own foreign policy is -- and MSM the vast majority of the time offers nothing but safe softball foreign policy questions).

He retorts that 'there's enough hot spots -- Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, China' -- but fails to acknowledge that for example, the Iraq invasion and subsequent insurgency/civil war/rise-of-ISIS is all about what Aaron pointed to, the ginning up intelligence to create the Iraq invasion - which then spilled over into Syria. The role that the US is playing in all the other place he mentions, they have constantly resorted to lethal force and refused negotiation.

The establishment media leaves out the essential context: The US is on a single superpower, Pax Americana global empire gambit; with everyone else playing for time while building their defences.

And 'Russian Doctrine' is just recycled Soviet Doctrine - but the US always lead arms escalations during the old cold war - the so called soviet doctrine was in fact defence against US pressure and aggression.

Vincent Berg , February 22, 2018 6:50 PM

MoonofAlabama gives a good analysis of the marketing scheme aspect of these "meddlings". Max Blumenthal mentions it in his discussion with Mate from earlier in the week, but this is a very detailed look into the matter: http://www.moonofalabama.or...

Bill Conklin , February 22, 2018 6:40 PM

I suppose it is ok for Aaron to interview guys like this CIA agent but the agent clearly doesn't understand the validity of an indictment. An indictment doesn't prove anything; If it did, we wouldn't need trial courts.

The Department of Justice could indict a ham sandwich if they wanted.

The DOJ knows that this case will never go to trial and they will never have to prove anything. It is depressing that the Democrats and MSNBC have lost all credibility. We are very lucky to have Aaron and Max looking at this sutff.

beaglebailey Bill Conklin , February 23, 2018 1:20 AM

Not according to Rachel. She's seeing Russian bots in her dreams. Just like Sipher.

Sillyputta , February 22, 2018 4:25 PM

The Democratic Party is toast. The Republican Party is a vile sham. And the main stream media has exposed itself like never before. People are waking up to the corrupt and useless system in place. The reality of the system is being laid bare in an unprecedented way. As bad as things seem, this is a good thing, if we can keep those in power from destroying the earth before we can recover it.

michael nola Sillyputta , February 22, 2018 5:47 PM

I just got done reading the Mueller indictment. For the MSM and the Dems to continue their pathetic witch hunt is a true indictment of the corruption at the heart of this country's political and media elites. No doubt there was an attempt, weak as it was, to influence Americans, but for anyone to think this is the smoking gun that proves it was decisive in determining the 2016 election, or that the Russian government definitely orchestrated it, or that Trump, whom I despise as much as anyone else, colluded with them, reveals a startling lack of intellectual honesty.

The effort put forth by the Russians involved seemed to have two objectives; first to take advantage of the tribalization of American society to advance the Trump campaign, and secondly, to make money off it.

Worst of all, if nothing more comes out of this, then the Dems, as corrupt as they are incompetent, will have added more fuel to the Trump charges of fake news and will have served only to weaken any resistance they claim to represent as this clown leads this country on an ever accelerating demise.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 22, 2018 6:15 PM

I take issue with advancing the Trump campaign as an objective. Some ads, etc., were anti-Trump and some were about kittens. I haven't seen any predominant political message, at all, in that "effort". Also, it was so paltry that they had to know that it would have no effect, at all, and never could have any effect. Implying otherwise is part of what makes the whole story look like a bumbling, comedic farce to most thinking people.

michael nola Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 22, 2018 7:52 PM

If you read the Mueller indictment, it's clearly stated that they did contact various American groups working for Trump, locally, that is, and arranged events, paid for various materials, even someone to dress up as HRC and be in a jail, and also travel to the states to do some first hand research, but as you say, the effort was minor, at best, and was no factor in Trump winning, especially compared to the billions of $ of free air time he got when running in the Repub primary, he was a cash cow for the networks, after all, and the DNC advancing his cause during those same primaries, thinking he was an easier opponent than Cruz or Rubio.

Unless something more comes of this, the Dems and their media cohorts will do a repeat of the Repubs and that same media when the WMD failed to materialize in Iraq. The wonderful thing about The Homeland, though, is that being wrong, all the time, in no way disqualifies you for remaining an important and serious person.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 22, 2018 8:16 PM

I haven't seen ANY evidence of traveling to the US for "first hand research". WHERE does this crap come from? It comes from people desperate to keep the war budget higher than any war budget in the history of planet earth. I still see nothing in that "indictment" that serves as any real evidence that Trump colluded with any Russians, much less any Russians definitively working for the Government of Russia, or any evidence that the campaign was affected or that Russians were trying to create "discord" in the US.

If they bothered to look at the same types of activities and even direct money given to candidates by Israeli, Saudi, UK, and other nationals, I think it would dwarf anything Russian citizens used to fund or further any campaign. They won't look elsewhere, though, because nothing perpetrates the fraud on the American people that is the Defense budget like the word "Russians" and most of the "defense" (i.e., war) budget is completely unnecessary. They should be cut by a third right now, with further cuts pending.

michael nola Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 23, 2018 6:28 PM

The indictment gives the names and dates of two Russians who made it here for a few days; a third was unable to secure a visa. There are dates and places named in the indictment, but nothing that could of had any influence on the election. If the Dems are so worked up over having lost two elections this century even though their candidate had more popular votes, you'd think they'd be screaming for a change in determining the presidential election. We all know the Repubs would.

We are in total agreement as to what really mattered and matters regarding this issue and the reasons behind the Dems sudden embrace of McCarthyism and their overall need to point to Russia or anyone else to maintain the unmaintainable American empire. If you haven't read the indictment, it's not that long, 37 short pages, several of which can be skipped because they simply list names or laws broken.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 23, 2018 6:41 PM

If the dems really cared, they would be calling for publicly funded elections, cuts of a quarter or more of the war budget (i.e., "defense"), and public health care and education, and jobs programs with benefits. They care about nothing but their own butts.

Sillyputta , February 22, 2018 4:21 PM

Aaron Mate is an excellent, intelligent, sincere, and questioning journalist--in short, what everything one would expect from a real journalist. So, what is it the naysayers don't like about him? Is it because he does not support their narrative. Is it his laid back style? What in particular?

Vern La Vernon Sillyputta , February 23, 2018 1:49 AM

this site is controlled by quitiplas.

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 22, 2018 3:28 PM

This guy gets it. As a Russian American, it looks as though I'll have company in the coming American political gulags.

https://blackagendareport.c...

bacvlvs Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 23, 2018 10:09 PM

Yes, Glen Ford is outstanding.

michael nola Saint Jimmy (Russian American) , February 22, 2018 6:03 PM

Glen Ford penetrates all the BS and gets right down to the real agenda, Black or otherwise. He called out Obama back in 2007, when nearly everyone else on the so called left were coming in their pants over that fake.

bacvlvs michael nola , February 23, 2018 10:08 PM

"The more effective evil."

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) michael nola , February 22, 2018 6:07 PM

Yeah. I noticed.

Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 2:19 PM

CIA staff exhibit two qualities in abundance: 1) Suspicious incredulity regarding all apparent statements, actions and motivations of subjects in the field, and 2) Studied, refined, and highly purposeful public mendacity regarding their and their government's apparent statements, actions and motivations.

Mr Sipher is lying and the tell is his amazing degree of credulity regarding numerous US entities paired with across the board mistrust and outright defamation of numerous non-US entities. Virtually every accusation Sipher made against Russia, Putin and the indicted, is a menu item on standard CIA operational plans for disrupting the elections of foreign nations and has been practiced continuously for several decades, technology permitting.

As a companion to this interview it might be nice to solicit an interview with a CIA antagonist who knows how to expose--point by point, in policy, practice and tradition--one of the most destructive covert entities in world history.

p.munkey Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 9:57 PM

Hi Palimpsestuous, your assessment is spot on!

Mr. Sipher is throwing everything at the wall to see what might stick, attempting to conflate what he laughably refers to as the "Russian Black Arts" with the Parkland shooting. He talks in circles; on one hand acknowledging pre-existing social "hyperpartisan", "tribal", divisions", while on the other hand dismissing genuine political movements Black Lives Matter , Democratic Socialism ( Bernie Sanders ), and the Environmental Movement ( Jill Stein ) as products of Russian propaganda that is at once both sophisticated and simple.

JOHN SIPHER: Yeah, I think the point of this is not to change opinions, the point was to try to either suppress voters on one side, or to get people to hardened opinions, and get people to come out to vote, and we've even seen the same troll farm, looks like they're doing this now around the Parkland shooting in Florida. They were going around Black Lives Matter, they're trying to spin up divisions to get us working against each other, as much as electing Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders.

His assessment lacks any measure of self/social-awareness or self/social-consciousness that should be a pre-requisite before laying out criticism of another. It seems to me Mr. Sipher might be protecting his CIA pension.

Palimpsestuous p.munkey , February 22, 2018 10:35 PM

Hey there Munk! True believers will lay down their lives for their preferred criminal syndicate because they are of one body; pensions are just icing. Your observations among others are exactly why I said Sipher is lying.

Vincent Berg Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 6:03 PM

Bill Binney, Ray McGovern and John Kiriakou are the first three that come to mind as potential contrarians, although I am sure there are others as well. Perhaps the Clapper lyings will come up in part two?

Saint Jimmy (Russian American) Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 3:11 PM

He even looks like a square headed, red neck Nazi.

Pacemaker4 Palimpsestuous , February 22, 2018 2:34 PM

Shouldve asked him about Clapper lying to congress. That wouldve been a lot of fun.

michael nola Pacemaker4 , February 22, 2018 6:04 PM

That 's not called lying anymore; just being parsimonious with the truth, a very precious commodity, not to be over used.

Pacemaker4 michael nola , February 22, 2018 6:23 PM

hehe I hope youre being facetious, But In case youre not]
Lying James Clapper
https://www.youtube.com/wat...

michael nola Pacemaker4 , February 22, 2018 7:54 PM

A few months ago, while waiting for wifey to come out of Target, I saw a preteen kid wearing a T shirt that said, "I speak fluent sarcasm." I want one of those.

Seedee Vee , February 22, 2018 2:16 PM

I am glad you gave John Sipher enough rope.

Southern , February 22, 2018 2:11 PM

It's a sad day for TRRN now that it's been confirmed that Aaron Mate takes this cue from the CIA.

gustave courbet Southern , February 22, 2018 3:51 PM

Takes a cue by prosecuting a hostile interview? I'd rather say the opposite.

Southern gustave courbet , February 23, 2018 2:44 AM

Russians are being accused of involvement in activity that Israel engages in openly.

https://disqus.com/home/dis...

Parvin , February 22, 2018 1:59 PM

This guy is full of it. Come on Real News, please don't waste our time with this nonsense. We, the people are intelligent unlike our media.

Pacemaker4 Parvin , February 22, 2018 2:06 PM

disagree...I like to see schills like Sipher go on the record, and lose the debate, and lose their credibility.

Basle , February 22, 2018 1:45 PM

Whose idea what is to invite this nut on the show?

stan van houcke , February 22, 2018 1:41 PM

is this 'interview' a joke? if not, what is it?

Southern stan van houcke , February 22, 2018 2:15 PM

Propaganda.

Aaron Mate appears to be another gekaufte Journalist.

michael nola Southern , February 22, 2018 7:57 PM

Muhammad Ali used rope a dope to defeat George Foreman; Mate let's these idiots expose themselves with their own words; nothing is more effective than letting a fool speak.

[Feb 24, 2018] Russiagate or Deep State What Some Progressives Get Wrong on Russia by John Feffer

This migration to truthful analysis of the situation to FOx is paradoxically true phenomenon.
Greenwald definition of Rachel Maddow transformation is really brilliant: " "I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow," Greenwald told New York magazine. "And I've seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack."
Notable quotes:
"... The Nation, Counterpunch, Consortium News ..."
"... Over at The Nation ..."
Feb 14, 2018 | fpif.org
Greenwald has emerged as one of the prominent skeptics of the investigation into collaboration between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Once a fixture in the progressive media for his dissection of the national security state, he is now more frequently cited by the far right in its efforts to discredit the investigation run by Robert Mueller. The journalist used to chat regularly with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, but now he's more likely to appear with Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

"I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow," Greenwald told New York magazine. "And I've seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack."

Wow, that's harsh.

Greenwald is not alone. You can find skeptical articles about Russiagate at The Nation, Counterpunch, Consortium News , and many other progressive outlets. And these articles can be equally scathing about the journalists, mainstream or otherwise, that take the investigation seriously.

Over at The Nation , Russia specialist Stephen Cohen regularly challenges the emerging narrative, most recently suggesting that the intelligence community essentially fabricated Russiagate, which has generated in turn a different scandal -- he calls it "Intelgate" -- even larger than Watergate.

[Feb 24, 2018] The Mueller Indictments The Day the Music Died by Daniel Lazare

The size of funds that Democrats and Republicans operated were in billions. And , IRA staffers purchased just $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, 56% of which ran after Election Day. So only $44K was spent during election campaign.
There author is wrong about color revolution against Trump. It is progressing.
One interesting side effect will be ruthless suppression of the US influence in Russian elections. Bismark famously remarked that "the Russians are slow to saddle up, but ride fast." Here media dogs also are off leash and there will be innocent victims, blamed in treason and other nefarious activities just to voicing dissent. Russiagate discredited neoliberal fifth column in Russia, making them all "enemies of the people".
Notable quotes:
"... After nine months of labor, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller thus brought forth a mouse. Even if all the charges are true – something we'll probably never know since it's unlikely that any of the accused will be brought to trial -- the indictment tells us virtually nothing that's new. ..."
"... Yes, they persuaded someone in Florida to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and stand inside a cage mounted on a flatbed truck. And, yes, they also got another "real U.S. person," as the indictment terms it, to stand in front of the White House with a sign saying, "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss," a tribute, apparently, to IRA founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the convicted robber turned caterer whose birthday was three days away. Instead of a super-sophisticated spying operation, the indictment depicts a bumbling freelance operation that is still giving Putin heartburn months after the fact. ..."
"... Not that this has stopped the media from whipping itself into a frenzy. "Russia is at war with our democracy," screamed a headline in the Washington Post. "Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11," blared another. " Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda," declared the New York Times, while Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter tweeted that the IRA's activities amounted to nothing less than a "tech Pearl Harbor." ..."
"... This makes the Dems seem crass, unscrupulous, and none too democratic. But then Mudde gave the knife a twist. The real trouble with the strategy, he said, is that it isn't working: ..."
"... No collusion means no impeachment and hence no anti-Trump "color revolution" of the sort that was so effective in Georgia or the Ukraine. Moreover, while 53 percent of Americans believe that investigating Russiagate should be a top or at least an important priority according to a recent poll , figures for a half-dozen other issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security reform to tax policy, healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration are actually a good deal higher – 67 percent, 72 percent, or even more. ..."
"... " the Russia-Trump collusion story might be the talk of the town in Washington, but this is not the case in much of the rest of the country." Out in flyover country, rather, Americans can't figure out why the political elite is more concerned with a nonexistent scandal than with things that really count, i.e. de-industrialization, infrastructure decay, the opioid epidemic, and school shootings. As society disintegrates, the only thing Democrats have accomplished with all their blathering about Russkis under the bed is to demonstrate just how cut off from the real world they are. ..."
"... But Russiagate is not just about regime change, but other things as well. One is repression. Where once Democrats would have laughed off Russian trolls and the like, they're now obsessed with making a mountain out of a molehill in order to enforce mainstream opinion and marginalize ideas and opinions suspected of being un-American and hence pro-Russian. If the RT (Russia Today) news network is now suspect -- the Times described it not long ago as "the slickly produced heart of a broad, often covert disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about democratic institutions and destabilize the West" – then why not the BBC or Agence France-Presse? How long until foreign books are banned or foreign musicians? ..."
"... "I'm actually surprised I haven't been indicted," tweets Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. "I'm Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent." When the Times complains that Facebook "still sees itself as the bank that got robbed, rather than the architect who designed a bank with no safes, and no alarms or locks on the doors, and then acted surprised when burglars struck," then it's clear that the goal is to force Facebook to rein in its activities or stand by and watch as others do so instead. ..."
"... But Russiagate is about something else as well: war. As National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warns that the "time is now" to act against Iran, the New York Times slams Trump for not imposing sanctions on Moscow, and a spooky "Nuclear Posture Review" suggests that the US might someday respond to a cyber attack with atomic weapons, it's plain that Washington is itching for a showdown that will somehow undo the mistakes of the previous administration. The more Trump drags his feet, the more Democrats conclude that a war drive is the best way to bring him to his knees. ..."
"... Thus, low-grade political interference is elevated into a casus belli while Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a supernatural villain straight out of Harry Potter. But where does it stop? Libya has been set back decades, Syria, the subject of yet another US regime-change effort, has been all but destroyed, while Yemen – which America helps Saudi Arabia bomb virtually around the clock – is now a disaster area with some 9,000 people killed, 50,000 injured, a million-plus cholera cases, and more than half of all hospitals and clinics destroyed. ..."
"... The more Democrats pound the war drums, the more death and destruction will ensue. The process is well underway in Syria, the victim of Israeli bombings and a US-Turkish invasion, and it will undoubtedly spread as Dems turn up the heat. If the pathetic pseudo-scandal known as Russiagate really is collapsing under its own weight, then it's not a moment too soon. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... A minor quibble was how at the end the author kept referring to how the "U.S" or "Washington" were the forces for the regime changes or flat-out destruction of nations Israel wants destroyed. The crappy little pesthole has been the barely-concealed mastermind of all the "Wars For Israel" which have turned the US of A into a bankrupt laughingstock. ..."
"... As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke, and became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war, and the relentlessly increasing militarization of America. Without the enthusiastic help of the corporate media, the whole phony narrative would never have got off the ground. Of course the criminals we call the intelligence community did all they could to give it legs, as well. We can only pray that it fades away now, and is not replaced with something else like a shooting war. But that hope is fading now on several fronts ..."
"... That was NOT to remove Trump, which was always a long shot and would only produce Pence and angry motivated Trump voters in the next election. ..."
"... The Trump derangement syndrome had a calculated purpose to keep donors giving after they were outraged by the waste of their donations. They'd been acting like a donor-strike was in progress. This cured that. ..."
"... This fed off the Stages of Grief reactions of those who'd so confidently expected a Hillary win. That helped do it, but was not the real motive. Those who initiated and shaped it were more directed, and aimed at the money. That is why the more likely things to blame, like Comey, were set aside in favor of the easy target of a foreign enemy which was familiar from recent Cold War. ..."
"... Having only as reference my own personal take on our news media the infamous MSM, is that these journalistic bandits are only in the game of twisting the news for the ratings, and to promote their own opportunistic careers. The corporate owned media has replaced responsible reporting with salaisuus promotions of often tragic events in a way that tends to in my eyes be a mere exploitation of these tragedies, as we viewers become glued to our TV screens. ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Fads and scandals often follow a set trajectory. They grow big, bigger, and then, finally, too big, at which point they topple over and collapse under the weight of their own internal contradictions. This was the fate of the "Me too" campaign, which started out as an exposé of serial abuser Harvey Weinstein but then went too far when Babe.net published a story about one woman's bad date with comedian Aziz Ansari. Suddenly, it became clear that different types of behavior were being lumped together in a dangerous way, and a once-explosive movement began to fizzle.

So, too, with Russiagate. After dominating the news for more than a year, the scandal may have at last reached a tipping point with last week's indictment of thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian corporations on charges of illegal interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the indictment landed with a decided thud for three reasons:

It failed to connect the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the alleged St. Petersburg troll factory accused of political meddling, with Vladimir Putin, the all-purpose evil-doer who the corporate media say is out to destroy American democracy. It similarly failed to establish a connection with the Trump campaign and indeed went out of its way to describe contacts with the Russians as "unwitting." It described the meddling itself as even more inept and amateurish than many had suspected.

After nine months of labor, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller thus brought forth a mouse. Even if all the charges are true – something we'll probably never know since it's unlikely that any of the accused will be brought to trial -- the indictment tells us virtually nothing that's new.

Yes, IRA staffers purchased $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, 56 percent of which ran after Election Day. Yes, they persuaded someone in Florida to dress up as Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform and stand inside a cage mounted on a flatbed truck. And, yes, they also got another "real U.S. person," as the indictment terms it, to stand in front of the White House with a sign saying, "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss," a tribute, apparently, to IRA founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the convicted robber turned caterer whose birthday was three days away. Instead of a super-sophisticated spying operation, the indictment depicts a bumbling freelance operation that is still giving Putin heartburn months after the fact.

Not that this has stopped the media from whipping itself into a frenzy. "Russia is at war with our democracy," screamed a headline in the Washington Post. "Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11," blared another. " Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States through 21st-century tools of disinformation and propaganda," declared the New York Times, while Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter tweeted that the IRA's activities amounted to nothing less than a "tech Pearl Harbor."

All of which merely demonstrates, in proper backhanded fashion, how grievously Mueller has fallen short. Proof that the scandal had at last overstayed its welcome came five days later when the Guardian, a website that had previously flogged Russiagate even more vigorously than the Post, the Times, or CNN, published a news analysis by Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, admitting that it was all a farce – and a particularly self-defeating one at that.

Mudde's article made short work of hollow pieties about a neutral and objective investigation. Rather than an effort to get at the truth, Russiagate was a thinly-veiled effort at regime change. "[I]n the end," he wrote, "the only question everyone really seems to care about is whether Donald Trump was involved – and can therefore be impeached for treason.

With last week's indictment, the article went on, "Democratic party leaders once again reassured their followers that this was the next logical step in the inevitable downfall of Trump." The more Democrats play the Russiagate card, in other words, the nearer they will come to their goal of riding the Orange-Haired One out of town on a rail.

This makes the Dems seem crass, unscrupulous, and none too democratic. But then Mudde gave the knife a twist. The real trouble with the strategy, he said, is that it isn't working:

"While there is no doubt that the Trump camp was, and still is, filled with amoral and fraudulent people, and was very happy to take the Russians help during the elections, even encouraging it on the campaign, I do not think Mueller will be able to find conclusive evidence that Donald Trump himself colluded with Putin's Russia to win the elections. And that is the only thing that will lead to his impeachment as the Republican party is not risking political suicide for anything less."

Other Objectives of "Russiagate"

No collusion means no impeachment and hence no anti-Trump "color revolution" of the sort that was so effective in Georgia or the Ukraine. Moreover, while 53 percent of Americans believe that investigating Russiagate should be a top or at least an important priority according to a recent poll , figures for a half-dozen other issues ranging from Medicare and Social Security reform to tax policy, healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration are actually a good deal higher – 67 percent, 72 percent, or even more.

Summed up Mudde: " the Russia-Trump collusion story might be the talk of the town in Washington, but this is not the case in much of the rest of the country." Out in flyover country, rather, Americans can't figure out why the political elite is more concerned with a nonexistent scandal than with things that really count, i.e. de-industrialization, infrastructure decay, the opioid epidemic, and school shootings. As society disintegrates, the only thing Democrats have accomplished with all their blathering about Russkis under the bed is to demonstrate just how cut off from the real world they are.

But Russiagate is not just about regime change, but other things as well. One is repression. Where once Democrats would have laughed off Russian trolls and the like, they're now obsessed with making a mountain out of a molehill in order to enforce mainstream opinion and marginalize ideas and opinions suspected of being un-American and hence pro-Russian. If the RT (Russia Today) news network is now suspect -- the Times described it not long ago as "the slickly produced heart of a broad, often covert disinformation campaign designed to sow doubt about democratic institutions and destabilize the West" – then why not the BBC or Agence France-Presse? How long until foreign books are banned or foreign musicians?

"I'm actually surprised I haven't been indicted," tweets Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. "I'm Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent." When the Times complains that Facebook "still sees itself as the bank that got robbed, rather than the architect who designed a bank with no safes, and no alarms or locks on the doors, and then acted surprised when burglars struck," then it's clear that the goal is to force Facebook to rein in its activities or stand by and watch as others do so instead.

Add to this the classic moral panic promoted by #MeToo – to believe charges of sexual harassment and assault without first demanding evidence "is to disbelieve, and deny due process to, the accused," notes Judith Levine in the Boston Review – and it's clear that a powerful wave of cultural conservatism is crashing down on the United States, much of it originating in a classic neoliberal-Hillaryite milieu. Formerly the liberal alternative, the Democratic Party is now passing the Republicans on the right.

But Russiagate is about something else as well: war. As National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warns that the "time is now" to act against Iran, the New York Times slams Trump for not imposing sanctions on Moscow, and a spooky "Nuclear Posture Review" suggests that the US might someday respond to a cyber attack with atomic weapons, it's plain that Washington is itching for a showdown that will somehow undo the mistakes of the previous administration. The more Trump drags his feet, the more Democrats conclude that a war drive is the best way to bring him to his knees.

Thus, low-grade political interference is elevated into a casus belli while Vladimir Putin is portrayed as a supernatural villain straight out of Harry Potter. But where does it stop? Libya has been set back decades, Syria, the subject of yet another US regime-change effort, has been all but destroyed, while Yemen – which America helps Saudi Arabia bomb virtually around the clock – is now a disaster area with some 9,000 people killed, 50,000 injured, a million-plus cholera cases, and more than half of all hospitals and clinics destroyed.

The more Democrats pound the war drums, the more death and destruction will ensue. The process is well underway in Syria, the victim of Israeli bombings and a US-Turkish invasion, and it will undoubtedly spread as Dems turn up the heat. If the pathetic pseudo-scandal known as Russiagate really is collapsing under its own weight, then it's not a moment too soon.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).


Zachary Smith , February 24, 2018 at 1:25 pm

First thing I checked before reading this was to check for instances of misuse of the term "liberal". When I found none at all, the piece suddenly looked very promising. And it was a fine essay!

A minor quibble was how at the end the author kept referring to how the "U.S" or "Washington" were the forces for the regime changes or flat-out destruction of nations Israel wants destroyed. The crappy little pesthole has been the barely-concealed mastermind of all the "Wars For Israel" which have turned the US of A into a bankrupt laughingstock.

With that small objection on record, I will declare this was great.

BobH , February 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Zachary, I wouldn't get too hung up on words like "liberal" which have been used and abused to become almost meaningless but yes, "the Democratic Party is now passing the Republicans on the right." Somehow I think they believe they can pick up enough "moderate" Republicans in the midterms to make up for the "angry white males"(& intellectuals) they lost in the last election the same losing strategy.

mike k , February 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

As ludicrous as Russiagate became, it was no joke, and became a real amplifier of the threat of nuclear war, and the relentlessly increasing militarization of America. Without the enthusiastic help of the corporate media, the whole phony narrative would never have got off the ground. Of course the criminals we call the intelligence community did all they could to give it legs, as well. We can only pray that it fades away now, and is not replaced with something else like a shooting war. But that hope is fading now on several fronts

Mark Thomason , February 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

From its first moment, this was a Team Hillary exercise, decided on by her in the days right after the election and promoted through her media contracts that had been an extension of her campaign.

Why? At first they seemed to imagine it possible to reverse the election outcome.

Then it shifted to Trump hate. Why?

That was NOT to remove Trump, which was always a long shot and would only produce Pence and angry motivated Trump voters in the next election.

The Trump derangement syndrome had a calculated purpose to keep donors giving after they were outraged by the waste of their donations. They'd been acting like a donor-strike was in progress. This cured that.

This fed off the Stages of Grief reactions of those who'd so confidently expected a Hillary win. That helped do it, but was not the real motive. Those who initiated and shaped it were more directed, and aimed at the money. That is why the more likely things to blame, like Comey, were set aside in favor of the easy target of a foreign enemy which was familiar from recent Cold War.

It was completely cynical, guided by the same greed that had produced the candidacy of Hillary and run it the whole time, doing fund raising in friendly places instead of campaigning in swing states.

JDQ , February 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm

..please do read this. It gives Liberals more a bashing than Conservatives

Joe Tedesky , February 24, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Having only as reference my own personal take on our news media the infamous MSM, is that these journalistic bandits are only in the game of twisting the news for the ratings, and to promote their own opportunistic careers. The corporate owned media has replaced responsible reporting with salaisuus promotions of often tragic events in a way that tends to in my eyes be a mere exploitation of these tragedies, as we viewers become glued to our TV screens.

This is the way the MSM sell too many needless pharmaceutical products, and their drugs are products, to insurance ad's and somehow make commercial space for the MIC defense contractors. This is how the MSM makes real money, as they forfeited our learning of anything worthwhile, as to pave the way for more exploitation of our country's struggles with everything and anything, but all forfeited simply to make the MSM more money.

It goes without saying that we the American public aren't necessarily as fooled, and tricked, as our masters would like to believe we are. So to explain away the Empire's failings certain forces from within our nation's Beltway are hard at work trying to blame all of their misgivings on another, and that another is Vladimir Putin and his American engineered misunderstood Russians. For this reason our MSM hardly ever put the real Putin on our television screens. No never, these American media producers always when describing Putin, use a prop, or a slimy squinty eyed shirtless Russian stereotype instead. For our MSM ever to air a speech of Putin, or do as Oliver Stone did, is beyond question, so don't wait up kids to see ever steady Vladimir on our American TV sets because it just isn't going to happen.

So now our MSM is exploiting the Florida mass shooting, and it is with their slants and predisposed opinions where I lose faith in anything our media does. Even as terrible as this Florida school shooting was, our MSM must politicize and adhere left right slants to this story as in their daff journalistic heads this is what they must do. Like I said this is my opinion taken from my own experiences, so take my comment for what it is, and not from any references I happened upon.

[Feb 24, 2018] Mueller in Hot Pursuit by Andrew Napolitano

That's a good question: why now. Where was all those immense power of NSA, CIA and FBI during election. Why that calmly observed that Russian are destroying American democracy :-). Something is really fishy here.
Another interesting tidbit is connection of Mr. Mueller to 911 cover-up.
Yet another interesting tidbit is the story of the USA interference in the Russian election s of 2011-2012. As Caitlin Johnstone observes the US's long history in meddling in other countries' elections is not "whataboutism," but rather a highly germane point to understanding the context for the allegations of Russian meddling
Notable quotes:
"... f the purpose of all the warrantless spying -- in direct contravention of the Constitution, no less -- is to keep the country safe from foreign assault, whether by bombs in a subway or by guns in an office building or by hacking into computers, why didn't our 60,000 domestic, and God only knows how many foreign, spies catch this Russian interference? ..."
"... "the Russians ran unchecked through our computer systems and the American marketplaces of ideas." You see, kids, the First Amendment is no longer prophylactic, something to prevent government from violating your natural rights to speak, hear, and think. Instead, things such as what I'm doing right now are like food stamps, political privileges redeemable only at Uncle Sam's Club. ..."
"... Muller indicted foreigners knowing they could not be extradicted to stand trial in the US. These indictments are "guerrilla theater" designed to justify Mueller's investigation. ..."
"... Why are so few people laughing at the microminiature level of this so-called meddling? These guys were run-of-the-mill internet trolls, engaging people in idiotic quarrels like trolls everywhere do. ..."
"... Meanwhile, how many American military bases sit on foreign soil where our people with guns and jets meddle for a living? How many countries get our ridiculously misnamed "foreign aid" where we tax America's middle class to bribe foreigners' rich people to do our bidding? ..."
"... All of MSM is owned by one foreign entity with one anti-American agenda. They interfere in every election, hell they hand pick the candidates, make em sign a pledge/oath to the foreign nation. Will Mueller be going after any of these traitors? Why isn't Mueller in prison for 9/11 cover up Mr. Sessions? ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Why didn't the CIA or the NSA or the FBI pick this up?

That is the $64,000 question that the indictment does not address, and we may never know the answer to it. If the purpose of all the warrantless spying -- in direct contravention of the Constitution, no less -- is to keep the country safe from foreign assault, whether by bombs in a subway or by guns in an office building or by hacking into computers, why didn't our 60,000 domestic, and God only knows how many foreign, spies catch this Russian interference?

One answer is information overload. By spying on everyone all the time, the spies have too much data through which to sift, and they miss the evidence of coming terror -- just as they did with the killings in Orlando, in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, on a New York bike path and even recently at a school in Florida, all of which were preceded by internet chatter that would have tipped off a trained listener to the plans of the killers.


anonymous Disclaimer , February 22, 2018 at 8:55 am GMT

Well, shucks. No Russophobic dirk to look for this week in the folds of his robe -- Mr. Napolitano is finally full on, swinging the Establishment sword at "the Kremlin" and "its indicted spies." And he's doing it to scare the American people.

"It is a felony for foreign nationals to participate in American federal elections, and it is a felony for any Americans knowingly to assist them." No citation of the statute(s), or of the particular acts among all "Judge" has mentioned within the scope of the subject indictment. He is endorsing the notion that, under the Constitution he pretends to cherish, a non-US citizen and any American "assistant" can be criminally convicted for "phony web posts" or "aggressively revealing embarrassing data about Clinton," i.e., publishing anything deemed relevant to a federal election on the internet. If you suggested after Sunday School there in Nebraska that your friend check out those documents at Wikileaks, then will Mr. Mueller come for you? Well, that depends:

"The other reason for the indictment is to smoke out any American collaborators. He has identified American collaborators, but not by proper name, and the Department of Justice has said -- not in the indictment, in which case it would be bound by what it says, but in a press statement, which binds no one -- that the American collaborators were unwitting dupes of the Russians. My guess is that Mueller's American targets are under electronic and visual surveillance and that he is listening to their (premature) sighs of relief."

So don't worry, Big Brother most likely still loves you, or at least won't send you to your room. As long as you were only an "unwitting dupe," and have stopped playing with the bad kids.

Until Mr. Mueller could get here on his white horse, "the Russians ran unchecked through our computer systems and the American marketplaces of ideas." You see, kids, the First Amendment is no longer prophylactic, something to prevent government from violating your natural rights to speak, hear, and think. Instead, things such as what I'm doing right now are like food stamps, political privileges redeemable only at Uncle Sam's Club.

I hope there's no gentlemen's agreement that precludes some of the other writers published on this website from confronting Mr. Napolitano on this vile column.

George Weinbaum , February 22, 2018 at 5:18 pm GMT
Muller indicted foreigners knowing they could not be extradicted to stand trial in the US. These indictments are "guerrilla theater" designed to justify Mueller's investigation.

What would Mueller do if Putin gets tough and: sends one Russian to the US; with say $100 million for his legal defense?

Or if Putin offers to try the Russians in Moscow, in a Russian court, with Mueller prosecuting them?

Fran Macadam , February 22, 2018 at 11:16 pm GMT
What if even Andrew Napolitano succumbed to Big Lie techniques?
WorkingClass , February 23, 2018 at 5:39 am GMT

Though an indictment is a charge only, it presumably relies on hard evidence of a wide and deep Russian project -- so wide and so deep that it could only have been approved and paid for by the Kremlin.

The operative word here is "presumably".

The Grate Deign , February 23, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
Why are so few people laughing at the microminiature level of this so-called meddling? These guys were run-of-the-mill internet trolls, engaging people in idiotic quarrels like trolls everywhere do.

Meanwhile, how many American military bases sit on foreign soil where our people with guns and jets meddle for a living? How many countries get our ridiculously misnamed "foreign aid" where we tax America's middle class to bribe foreigners' rich people to do our bidding?

To call this flapdoodle about Russian net trolling a joke is far too kind.

redmudhooch , February 24, 2018 at 1:56 am GMT
All of MSM is owned by one foreign entity with one anti-American agenda. They interfere in every election, hell they hand pick the candidates, make em sign a pledge/oath to the foreign nation. Will Mueller be going after any of these traitors? Why isn't Mueller in prison for 9/11 cover up Mr. Sessions?

We all know it wasn't Muslims caught celebrating the attack, or busted with explosives inside of a van leaving New York. Why act like it isn't common knowledge, you're making the FBI look pretty stoopid Mr. Mueller .look even Faux News messed up and reported it

[Feb 24, 2018] American Media s Big Bot Conspiracy Exposed: The bot paranoia is being used to delegitimize real stories and candidates.

Notable quotes:
"... Rachel Maddow feeds the left's appetite for bot conspiracy nonsense. But in 2013, MSNBC personalities, including Maddow, were being promoted by Chinese bots. Does that mean Maddow is a Chinese spy? Bots are ads that pretend to be people. Tracking how they're deployed can be interesting, but it's dangerous to read too much into that. ..."
"... The bot paranoia is being used to delegitimize real stories and candidates. If you can connect bots to a point of view you don't like, then no one really believes it. Link it to a candidate you don't like and he was never really elected. Hook it up to a serial predator in the Senate and you can ignore his victims. ..."
"... But if you believe that, then MSNBC must be a Chinese informational warfare operations. ..."
"... Mad Cow disease. ..."
"... Give me a fucking break, they think bots are going to swing big things. Bots are not very advanced, only annoying. They cannot craft intelligent or persuasive arguments. Yet the establishment is freaking out about them. It goes to show how far down the drain things stand if such lowly, unpersuasive, spamming shittery is deemed a threat to the narrative. ..."
"... That's what democracy is all about - steering the public discourse and manipulating the lowest common denominator, which isn't that hard to do if you own big media. The challenge is in deprogramming all the lies and deceptions, which takes effort initially, after which it just becomes a never ending tragicomic episode. ..."
"... Who the fuck needs bots in North America, U.K. and EU when you have bull dyke's like Rachel "Mad Cow" that still have viewers that actually listen to "him" ..."
Feb 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The Internet Research Agency indictment accuses a troll bot farm of trying to influence the election in what the media claims is the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. 9/11 need not apply.

Bots are everywhere.

"Bots Are Trying to Help Populists Win Italy's Election," claims Bloomberg. "Russian Bots Are Using 2016 Tactics to Hijack the Gun Debate," shrieks Vanity Fair. ABC spins that bots are trying to make Black Panther look bad. "Rampaging Twitter 'bots' bred in Suffolk farmhouse," the London Times asserts.

This media madness might make you think that bots are some sort of new and advanced technology. But you can see them in the comments and they've been around forever. Automated programs that log into social media accounts are not a new technology. Internet users of a bygone era remember seeing them in chat rooms and on bulletin boards without ever rampaging around Suffolk farmhouses.

Bots have become a convenient media scapegoat. The new formula is "Bots + Thing We Disagree With = Proof We're Right". That's why there are stories claiming that Russian bots are tweeting against gun control or Islamic migration. And it explains the "Russian Bots Rigged the Election for Trump" meme.

Bots are an informational technique. Media spin reverse engineers the technique to discredit the idea. Not only is that a fallacy, but bots just piggyback on popular trends to gain influence. Russian bots don't tweet about gun control because they care about guns, but because they get retweeted. The same was true of the bots promoting Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. There are a million brands doing the same thing with bots and influencers. But that's okay because they push politically correct messages.

And that's the bot double standard. When Russian bots and trolls push Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders or Dakota Access Pipeline protests, their programmed actions don't reflect on leftist causes, organizations and politicians. But the revelation that Russian bots and trolls tweeted about the Bill of Rights, Islamic migration or Trump is spun by the media into a conspiracy that indicts the ideas and discredits the previous election.

The latest example of the Big Bot Conspiracy is a bizarre Newsweek article by Nina Burleigh blaming Senator Franken's problems on bots. Some might have thought that Franken had been forced to resign for groping women across America. But according to Burleigh, it was the fault of the Japanese bots.

The feminist activist was already infamous for putting her allegiance to Democrats ahead of sisterhood.

"I would be happy to give him a b_____ just to thank him for keeping abortion legal," Nina Burleigh had said of Bill Clinton. "I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude." Now Burleigh has brought her kneepads to the raided offices of Newsweek.

Nina Burleigh's article blames Franken's problems on "fake news sites, an army of Twitter bots and other cyber tricks". The Democrat Senator's original accuser is dismissed as a "Hooters pinup girl and lad-mag model". So there was either nothing wrong with groping her or no reason to believe her.

That's what leftists denounce as 'slut-shaming', but, as with Bill Clinton, it's okay when Democrats do it.

Burleigh mentions the "release of a picture of a Tweeden and Franken" (editors are one of the casualties of Newsweek's troubles), but neglects to mention that it's a picture of Franken groping Tweeden. None of the other many accusers rate a mention from this feminist Franken activist.

There was the feminist choir member and book editor who accused Franken of groping her at the Women's Political Caucus. It's really hard to write her off as a "right-wing plant" or a "lad-mag model".

Especially since she then voted for Senator Franken.

Another accuser was groped at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and claimed that Franken wanted to join her in the bathroom. Nina Burleigh would have probably told her to go along and bring her senatorial kneepads in gratitude for his support of Planned Parenthood.

A Democrat congressional aide remembers Franken trying to give her an open mouth kiss while he was still a radio host with Air America. "It's my right as an entertainer," she recalls Franken telling her.

An Army vet on a USO tour described being groped by Franken during the Iraq War. "When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast."

Jezebel, a hard left feminist site, offered an account from a liberal "former elected official in New England" who remembers Franken trying to plant a "wet, open-mouthed kiss" on her, on stage.

Instead of addressing the many accounts of Franken's liberal accusers who supported him and, many of whom indicated they didn't want him to quit, Burleigh, like most Frankentruthers from Tom Arnold to Richard Silverstein, smears Leeann Tweeden while ignoring Franken's numerous other accusers.

After silencing the women who came out against Franken, Nina Burleigh surreally claims that the Franken accusations had served to "silence the testimonies of eight former female staffers who defended the Minnesota Democrat".

Presenting testimonies from the few women you didn't grope is not considered a compelling argument.

But instead of talking about any of this, Burleigh talks about bots. A "bot army" made the Franken accusations go viral. And then there was "a developer named Atsufumi Otsuka" who "registered a web domain in Japan" that hosted "Japanese-registered fake-news sites". But, "by November 17, the trending of 'Al Franken' was officially also a Russian intelligence operation."

The Japanese and the Russians had teamed up against the Minnesota groper. This wasn't just worse than Pearl Harbor. It was WW2 and the Cold War combined in one hashtag.

"Researchers have found that each bot account had 30 to 60 followers, all Japanese. The first follower for each account was either Japanese or Russian," Burleigh breathlessly relates.

Now that the Russian and Japanese bots had teamed up, all hope for humanity was lost.

Burleigh's article has more international locations than a Tom Clancy novel. It also completely ignores the question of whether Franken groped his victims to discuss the bots who tweeted about it.

That's not accidental. Burleigh doesn't want to talk about whether Franken is guilty; she wants to write a progressive thriller in which international bots caused the problem by talking about it. And if it can be shown that bots amplified a scandal, then the facts somehow no longer matter. In the same way that if it can be shown that bots amplified Trump's message, the 2016 election results were illegitimate.

But shooting the messenger bot doesn't tell us anything the truth of the inconvenient message.

Since the election, these types of articles are everywhere. They rely on the work of "researchers" who are usually partisan activists, often amateurs with no actual technical training, to spread conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories confuse correlation and causation. If a foreign bot retweets Trump, he works for the bot's masters. If a bot tweets any conservative story, it's a right-wing global bot plot.

Anyone who knows anything about how the internet works knows that this is nonsense.

Bots imitate to amplify. In this comments section, a bot will show up sooner or later, it will copy a comment that someone else made and post it in order to get likes so that it resembles a real account. For every stupid bot telling you how much it makes by working online, there's a smarter bot leaving legitimate comments to blend in. And so bots tweet, comment and chat about everything popular.

If there's a trending topic, the bots will quickly show up. And everyone uses them.

Rachel Maddow feeds the left's appetite for bot conspiracy nonsense. But in 2013, MSNBC personalities, including Maddow, were being promoted by Chinese bots. Does that mean Maddow is a Chinese spy? Bots are ads that pretend to be people. Tracking how they're deployed can be interesting, but it's dangerous to read too much into that.

Correlating bots with narratives isn't actually causation.

The bot paranoia is being used to delegitimize real stories and candidates. If you can connect bots to a point of view you don't like, then no one really believes it. Link it to a candidate you don't like and he was never really elected. Hook it up to a serial predator in the Senate and you can ignore his victims.

But if you believe that, then MSNBC must be a Chinese informational warfare operations.


Brazen Heist Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:03 Permalink

Mad Cow disease.

stizazz -> pier Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:09 Permalink

Divide Et Impera.

Brazen Heist -> khnum Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:17 Permalink

Give me a fucking break, they think bots are going to swing big things. Bots are not very advanced, only annoying. They cannot craft intelligent or persuasive arguments. Yet the establishment is freaking out about them. It goes to show how far down the drain things stand if such lowly, unpersuasive, spamming shittery is deemed a threat to the narrative.

What a fragile society it all is.

Brazen Heist -> khnum Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:27 Permalink

Bots are low level AI.

Yeah, I can't imagine reading CNN balls deep or other garbage groupthink mouthpieces that apparently alot of zombies take as gospel. I go to CNN only to dip my feet in the water and see how fucking stupid its all becoming. Other than that, its a brain killer.

That's what democracy is all about - steering the public discourse and manipulating the lowest common denominator, which isn't that hard to do if you own big media. The challenge is in deprogramming all the lies and deceptions, which takes effort initially, after which it just becomes a never ending tragicomic episode.

Son of Captain Nemo Fri, 02/23/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

Who the fuck needs bots in North America, U.K. and EU when you have bull dyke's like Rachel "Mad Cow" that still have viewers that actually listen to "him"?!!!

I rest my case! ( https://www.rt.com/news/419510-bild-fake-russia-emails-spd/ )

[Feb 23, 2018] Nikki Haley slams Michael Wolff for 'disgusting' rumor she's sleeping with Trump by Anna Giaritelli

This sleazy and disgusting Wolff will do anything to increase his income ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... "It is absolutely not true," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said about comments author Michael Wolff made regarding extramarital affair allegations and President Trump's grooming Haley for a future in national politics. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) ..."
"... U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley insists she is not romantically or sexually involved with President Trump, and called the speculation "highly offensive" and "disgusting." ..."
"... Wolff, who wrote the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, recently told HBO's host Bill Maher he was "absolutely sure" Trump is having an affair and hinted to a part of the book where readers would know he was referencing the woman. A line many pointed to in the book said, "The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future." ..."
"... "It goes to a bigger issue that we need to always be conscious of: At every point in my life, I've noticed that if you speak your mind and you're strong about it and you say what you believe, there is a small percentage of people that resent that and the way they deal with it is to try and throw arrows," Haley said. ..."
Jan 26, 2018 | www.washingtonexaminer.com
"It is absolutely not true," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said about comments author Michael Wolff made regarding extramarital affair allegations and President Trump's grooming Haley for a future in national politics. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley insists she is not romantically or sexually involved with President Trump, and called the speculation "highly offensive" and "disgusting."

"It is absolutely not true," Haley said in a Friday podcast about comments author Michael Wolff made regarding extramarital affair allegations and Trump's grooming Haley for a future in national politics.

"I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there," she told Politico Thursday about a flight from Washington to Long Island, N.Y. in late July. "He says that I've been talking a lot with the president in the Oval about my political future. I've never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him."

Wolff, who wrote the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, recently told HBO's host Bill Maher he was "absolutely sure" Trump is having an affair and hinted to a part of the book where readers would know he was referencing the woman. A line many pointed to in the book said, "The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future."

"It goes to a bigger issue that we need to always be conscious of: At every point in my life, I've noticed that if you speak your mind and you're strong about it and you say what you believe, there is a small percentage of people that resent that and the way they deal with it is to try and throw arrows," Haley said.

"Others see that as either too ambitious or stepping out of line. And the truth is, we need to continue to do our job and if that means they consider it stepping out of line, fine. And if that means they're gonna throw stones, people see lies for what it is. Do I like it? No. Is it right? No. Is it gonna slow me down? Not at all," she added.

"Every time this has happened, it only makes me fight harder," she said. "And I do it for the sake of other women that are behind me because they should never think that they have to put their head down and cower out of fear that somebody's gonna do something to you."

[Feb 23, 2018] Julian Assange explains how troll farm in St. Petersburg was nothing more than social media spam business (Video) by Alex Christoforou

Feb 22, 2018 | theduran.com

The "Russian troll" farm was a marketing/spam business.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange weighed in on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "13 Russian troll" indictment noting that the Russians bots from The Internet Research Agency, spent thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to grow their audiences something that is very common and encouraged by Facebook.

Mueller "troll farm" indictment today
– explicitly states no collusion
– does not mention WikiLeaks
– states trolls intent to support Trump & Sanders, oppose Clinton, Cruz
– states trolls intent on anti-Trump AND pro-Trump rallies post electionhttps://t.co/uMxBAwOeOY

Click here for the best news on Russia >>

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 16, 2018

This is how Facebook makes money, and how groups build an audience, which can then be sold to advertisers who wish to target such groups.

In other words, the IRA was and is operating a run-of-the-mill marketing and social media spam business, not a "sow American discord" operation.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The Russian ads mentioned in Mueller's indictment were already released by the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

Facebook previously announced the Russian ads comprised .004% of their advertising during the election.

Assange tweeted all this out on Friday, but of course the mainstream media failed to note any of this while reporting its propaganda to those who naively listen and believe in the nonsense (courtesy The Gateway Pundit)

Buried in the Mueller astro-turfing indictment is something that we have long suspected. The Internet Research Agency's "troll farm" is geared to develop audience in socially active communities (e.g through aligned memes), in order to spam them on behalf of anyone willing to pay: pic.twitter.com/sms0YAKB3j

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Buried in the Mueller astro-turfing indictment is something that we have long suspected. The Internet Research Agency's "troll farm" is geared to develop audience in socially active communities (e.g through aligned memes), in order to spam them on behalf of anyone willing to pay.

Before advertising networks can advertise they must build audience. How much of IRA's activities were simply trying to build audience by gaining followers using tweets and memes likely to be shared in those communities?

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Before advertising networks can advertise they must build audience. How much of IRA's activities were simply trying to build audience by gaining followers using tweets and memes likely to be shared in those communities?

IRA allegedly also ran kitten appreciation groups. Are we also to believe that these kittens were also a plot to divide America? To not distinguish between audience building and customer advertising payload is sketchy.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: IRA allegedly also ran kitten appreciation groups. Are we also to believe that these kittens were also a plot to divide America? To not distinguish between audience building and customer advertising payload is sketchy.

The US has 320 million people with a trillion dollar media and cultural sector that employees over a million people. I do not assess that it is possible whatsoever to divide America by trying to "heighten the differences" with a hundred trolls.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: The US has 320 million people with a trillion dollar media and cultural sector that employees over a million people. I do not assess that it is possible whatsoever to divide America by trying to "heighten the differences" with a hundred trolls.

Re-enforcing audience bias is exactly what Facebook & Google have been doing at a vast scale by algorithmically preying on people's existing biases to increase engagement. In a more traditional manner, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, WaPO etc, are doing the same thing.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Re-enforcing audience bias is exactly what Facebook & Google have been doing at a vast scale by algorithmically preying on people's existing biases to increase engagement. In a more traditional manner, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, WaPO etc, are doing the same thing.

Regardless of whether IRA's activities were audience building through pandering to communities or whether a hare-brained Russian government plan to "heighten the differences" existed, its activities are clearly strategically insignificant compared to the other forces at play.

- Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) February 18, 2018

Julian Assange: Regardless of whether IRA's activities were audience building through pandering to communities or whether a hare-brained Russian government plan to "heighten the differences" existed, its activities are clearly strategically insignificant compared to the other forces at play.

Jimmy Dore did catch on to Assange's explanation as to what exactly was happening at IRA's HQ in St, Petersburg, which can be summed up as just another social media spam business, which had the misfortune of operating in Russia at a time when American swamp creatures are trying to find any scintilla of evidence to demonize Russia, and drag on a falling apart "Trump-Russia" collusion investigation.

[Feb 23, 2018] Something for everyone Mueller indictment a boon for partisan status quo by Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... The bipartisan support Mueller's appointment received is even more telling given that he is the definition of a Washington insider. The power elites across the political spectrum seemed to trust him to, above all, protect their position at the head of the table. ..."
"... McAdams noted that the indictment was especially helpful to the " entire political class in Washington, " which may now " continue with its Cold War 2.0 project " without interference from anyone in favor of normalizing U.S.-Russian relations. In addition, McAdams warned that the recent indictment is likely to have a " chilling effect on the First Amendment, " also a boon to those elements of the political elite that seek to limit the acceptable range of debate on U.S. foreign policy. ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Something for everyone: Mueller indictment a boon for partisan status quo

The bipartisan support Mueller's appointment received is even more telling given that he is the definition of a Washington insider. The power elites across the political spectrum seemed to trust him to, above all, protect their position at the head of the table.

Part 1

Last Friday, depending on which side of the partisan divide one was watching from, President Trump was either vindicated or his treachery was confirmed. The impetus for these seemingly disparate reactions was Robert Mueller's indictment against 13 Russian nationals, the latest and largest indictment to result from his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

However, over the nine months that Mueller's investigation has been active, it has continuously grown from its original purpose of investigating Russian collusion, expanding to include the business dealings of Trump and his inner circle with countries ranging from Qatar to China, meaning that the probe is no longer expressly about Russian collusion.

The drift of focus from its original purpose -- as well as its failure to produce any connection between the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and the leaks of DNC and John Podesta's emails -- has led critics who place themselves outside of the left-right paradigm to treat this latest indictment with skepticism. Not only that, but concerns have been raised that the real purpose of Mueller's probe is much more subtle and nefarious than publicly admitted and that it may itself be a threat to American democracy.

One such critic is Daniel McAdams, political analyst and executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. McAdams, in an interview with MintPress News, stated that the Mueller indictment " has something for everybody, " explaining the strikingly different reactions from the establishment left and right.

However, McAdams noted that the indictment was especially helpful to the " entire political class in Washington, " which may now " continue with its Cold War 2.0 project " without interference from anyone in favor of normalizing U.S.-Russian relations. In addition, McAdams warned that the recent indictment is likely to have a " chilling effect on the First Amendment, " also a boon to those elements of the political elite that seek to limit the acceptable range of debate on U.S. foreign policy.

Source, links:
https://www.mintpressnews.com/something-for-everyone-mueller-indictment-a-boon-for-partisan-status-quo/237970/

Related:
The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be: a great coalition of Bernie Sanders with the Greens
The truth about 'Russiagate'

[Feb 23, 2018] America's Election Meddling Would Indeed Justify Other Countries Retaliating In Kind

Feb 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Like every single hotly publicized Russiagate "bombshell" that has broken since this nonsense began, Mueller's indictment of 13 Russian social media trolls was paraded around as proof of something hugely significant ( an "act of war" in this case), but on closer examination turns out to be empty. The always excellent 'Moon of Alabama' recently made a solid argument that has also been advanced by Russiagate skeptics like TYT's Michael Tracey and Max Blumenthal of The Real News, pointing out that there is in fact no evidence that the troll farming operation was an attempt to manipulate the US election, nor indeed that it had any ties to the Russian government at all, nor indeed that it was anything other than a crafty Russian civilian's money making scheme.

The notion that a few Russian trolls committed a "conspiracy to defraud the United States" by "sowing discord" with a bunch of wildly contradictory posts endorsing all different ideologies sounds completely ridiculous in a country whose mainstream media spends all its time actively creating political division anyway, but when you look at it as a civilian operation to attract social media followers to sock puppet accounts with the goal of selling promoted posts for profit, it makes perfect sense. James Corbett of The Corbett Report has a great video about how absolutely bizarre it is that public dialogue is ignoring the fact that these trolls overwhelmingly used mainstream media like the Washington Post in their shares instead of outlets like RT and Infowars. As a scheme to acquire followers, it makes perfect sense. As a scheme to subvert America, it's nonsensical.

There is currently no evidence that the Russian government interfered in the US election. But it is worth pointing out that if they did they had every right to.

"Whataboutism" is the word of the day . At some point it was decreed by the internet forum gods that adding "-ism" to a description of something that someone is doing makes for a devastating argument in and of itself, and people have hastened to use this tactic as a bludgeon to silence anyone who points out the extremely obvious and significant fact that America interferes in elections more than any other government on earth.

"Okay, so America isn't perfect and we've meddled a few times," the argument goes. "So what? You're saying just because we've done it that makes it okay for Russia to do it?"

Actually, yes. Of course it does. Clearly. That isn't a "whataboutism", it's an observation that is completely devastating to the mainstream Russia narrative. If it's okay for the CIA to continuously interfere in the elections of other countries up to and including modern times, it is okay for other countries to interfere in theirs. Only in the most warped American supremacist reality tunnel is that not abundantly obvious.

Every country on earth is absolutely entitled to interfere in America's elections. America is responsible for the overwhelming majority of election interferences around the world in modern times, including an interference in Russia's elections in the nineties that was so brazen they made a Hollywood movie about it , so clearly an environment has been created wherein the United States has declared that this is acceptable.

It amazes me that more people aren't willing to call this like it is. No, it would not be wrong for Russia to interfere in America's elections. Yes, what America did to Russia absolutely would make a proportionate retaliation okay. Of course it would.

Imagine this:

A guy in a cowboy hat runs into a bar and starts punching people. Most of them just rub their sore jaws and hunch over their drinks hoping to avoid any trouble, but one guy in a fur cap sets down his vodka and shoves the man in the cowboy hat.

The man in the cowboy hat begins shrieking like a little girl. All his friends rush to his side to comfort him and begin angrily shaking their fists at the man in the fur cap.

"Hey, he punched me!" says the man in the fur cap.

"That's a whataboutism!" sobs the man in the cowboy hat.

Can you imagine anything more ridiculous?

Seriously, how do people think this is a thing? How does anyone think it's legitimate to respond to my article about a former CIA Director openly admitting that the US still to this day interferes with elections around the world babbling about "whataboutisms" ? What a doofy, indefensible monkey wrench to throw into the gears of political discourse.

Yes, obviously by asserting that it is acceptable for the CIA to meddle in other countries' elections, the US has created an environment where that sort of thing is acceptable. If Americans just want to embrace their American supremacist bigotry and say "Yeah we can do that to you but you can't do it to us cuz we have big guns and we said so," that's at least a logically consistent position. Crying like little bitches and behaving as though they've been victimized by some egregious immorality is not.

Channel 4 News reported on the research of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Don Levin back in November, writing the following:

Dov Levin, an academic from the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, has calculated the vast scale of election interventions by both the US and Russia.

According to his research , there were 117 "partisan electoral interventions" between 1946 and 2000. That's around one of every nine competitive elections held since Second World War.

The majority of these – almost 70 per cent – were cases of US interference. And these are not all from the Cold War era; 21 such interventions took place between 1990 and 2000, of which 18 were by the US.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-4Y54-8RR-k

If Americans don't like election meddling, they need to demand that their government stops doing it. As long as it remains the very worst offender in that department, the US is entitled to nothing other than the entire world meddling in its elections.

I shouldn't even have to say this. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

Duh.

[Feb 22, 2018] A Lesson in Political Sociology for Robert Mueller - A Lesson in Warfare for Dmitry Peskov by John Helmer

This is a very weak argumentation which is based of very questionable sources (such as Fontanka rag).
Notable quotes:
"... For the evidence Mueller has revealed of incompetence in the Russian campaign, the waste of money expended, and the failure of the campaign's objectives, there are calls in Moscow for Peskov to be sacked. ..."
"... The Christopher Steele dossier accused Peskov of arranging negative media against Hillary Clinton during 2016; for an analysis of the veracity of that claim, read this . For a painstaking analysis of how the Mueller indictment discredits the Steele dossier, read Alexander Mercouris's account . ..."
Feb 18, 2018

The three types of power which decide the fate of regimes are force, fraud and subversion; that's to say, arms, money, media.

The Roman Empire was good at using small armies to take on much bigger ones; by adeptly concentrating their force they managed to rule much larger large territories than the legions could cover.

The Byzantine Empire excelled at using bribery of locals to stay loyal; the pre-requisite for that was the intelligence to identify who to pay, how much, and how often. The British Empire used subversion to divide and rule most of their colonial targets, but if the British were matched for firepower and intelligence, they failed and were defeated – by the American colonists, the Maoris, the Boers, the Germans, the Japanese.

The American Empire excels at subversion on the home front. But abroad it usually combines fraud with subversion. When these two fail to preserve or topple regimes, US-made wars have been a consistent failure. The Russians are better than Americans at force and fraud. Schemes of subversion like the US plots to promote Boris Yeltsin, Anatoly Chubais, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexei Navalny to rule the Kremlin, are not winners with Russians; they are judged successful only by foreigners who read the Washington Post and London Times.

The Kremlin official responsible for Russian media involvement in the US presidential election of 2016 was Dmitry Peskov (2nd image, left); he doubles as spokesman for President Vladimir Putin. For Peskov's intention to employ social media he has not been indicted nor identified as a co-conspirator by Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III ( right). For the evidence Mueller has revealed of incompetence in the Russian campaign, the waste of money expended, and the failure of the campaign's objectives, there are calls in Moscow for Peskov to be sacked.

He has so far avoided responding. "We have not yet familiarized ourselves [with the Mueller indictment], " he told Reuters.

The 37-page indictment, dated February 16 and signed personally by Mueller, can be read in full here .

Mueller's indictment reveals how much evidence was gathered from the internet server companies and social media platforms, Facebook, YouTube-Google, Twitter and Instagram, together with their banks and the PayPal payment service. But this is circumstantial evidence; the corpus delicti is absent.

Missing from the charge sheet is identification of the victims of the crime alleged, the numbers of victims, and the money spent to subvert or defraud them, as Mueller charges. The indictment alleges that "significant numbers of Americans" were targeted, "significant funds spent", and "thousands of US dollars [paid for advertising] every month"; but no evidence is presented of these numbers. No witness has come forward to testify to having suffered; no alleged perpetrator or conspirator to substantiate criminal intention. Also, these aren't the crimes formally charged against the accused Russians.

THE FIVE-CHARGE ALLEGATION, BUT ONLY TWO CRIMINAL COUNTS CHARGED

In short, the Russians are accused of violating the US law on registering as foreign agents, as well as the crimes of stealing identity data from real Americans and fabricating false identities to open and operate US bank accounts, credit cards and the PayPal system. Although "interfer[ence] in US political and electoral processes" is alleged, it's an orphan -- no such crime is charged in the indictment.

Another orphan is the charge of obtaining visas "through false and fraudulent statements" and "false pretenses in order to collect intelligence for their interference operations". Mueller alleges this offence was committed in 2014, when three of the thirteen Russians named in the indictment visited the US briefly. However, the "intelligence" they are alleged to have gathered at the time wasn't used, according to the indictment, until two years later. What this "intelligence" by "false pretenses" might have been isn't provided in the evidence because Muller and his grand jury don't charge anyone with visa fraud.

Fourteen weeks before last Friday's indictment, executives of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google testified in open congressional hearings on the same set of allegations as Mueller presented to his grand jury behind closed doors.

The media company witnesses started by identifying very small numbers of accounts, advertising messages, reader clicks, and bots (automated relayed messages). Subsequently, these numbers have been multiplied in US media commentaries by estimates of audience reach, although reach is not a measure of actual exposure. Still, compared with the aggregate volumes of internet traffic associated with the presidential election but unconnected to Russian sources, the numbers for Russian-source material amounted to minuscule fractions of one percent. The media companies weren't asked for, and volunteered no report of how much money they had received from their Russian content sources .

In his indictment Mueller provided less precision than the rules of evidence and the defendants' rights require under the US Constitution; Mueller is not expecting to try the thirteen named defendants in a court of law. In one example of an "overt act" of the alleged Russian crime (Par. 71), Facebook is reported as publishing an advertisement on August 4, 2016, for a "Florida Goes Trump" rally. Facebook charged the Russians for audience reach of 53,000, according to Mueller. But only 8,300 clicked on the ad (14%). Although the allegation is that this audience was then "routed to the ORGANIZATION's 'Being Patriotic' page", Mueller withholds his count of how many – more likely, how few readers followed the route. The Russians were still paying to advertise the same rally on Instagram two weeks later, on August 16, but no evidence is presented by Mueller that it happened at all. No route, no rally, no American victims, no evidence of Russian intention to commit a crime of election interference.

Four bank accounts have been identified at six banks "in order to receive and send money into and out [sic] of the United States to support the ORGANIZATION's operations in the United States and for self-enrichment". These banks, as well as the US dollar-clearing banks in New York, have provided Mueller with details of the originating banks for the transactions. The indictment identifies fourteen Russian company names as holding these bank accounts. The Russian company names are mentioned in evidence, but not the originating banks. If they were Russian state banks under US and European Union sanctions since 2014 (Gazprombank, for example), Mueller's indictment doesn't say so; noone has intimated that the Russian money was anything but lawfully earned and then legally transferred from source.

Details of fake or stolen names, driver's licences or social security numbers have been reported by Mueller to substantiate the count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. But this was a fraud with a twist. No sum of money is identified in the evidence as having been taken from an unwitting victim; all of it, however much or little, was sent to the US bank accounts from the alleged Russian conspirators and their companies, and spent on social media placements. As for enrichment – again, no sum reported in the indictment – this appears to have been earned by the US media companies and the US banks. Lawfully, according to Mueller. The only losers were the Russians, but the accused haven't been complaining of not getting their money's worth.

The criminal counts set out in the indictment turn out to be crimes without victims – that's to say, no American victim, according to the charge sheet.

Mueller's indictment is precise about the names of the Russian companies established by the principal defendant Yevgeny Prigozhin, allegedly "for operations to interfere with elections and political processes". Mueller also claims that the only link he could find to the Russian government was the official registration of the "ORGANIZATION [Internet Research Agency] as a Russian corporate entity" "in or around July 2013." Although the allegation is that Prigozhin's organization had an "annual budget [of] the equivalent of millions of US dollars", there is no evidence, nor even an allegation that this money came from a Russian government source. Instead, other companies operated by Prigozhin are reported to have had "various Russian government contracts".

Prigozhin's parent company called Concord is alleged to have funded "the ORGANIZATION as part of a larger CONCORD-funded interference operation it referred to as 'Project Lakhta'."

... ... ...

Mueller noted in passing that Project Lakhta wasn't targeted only in the US. The indictment alleges that by September 2016 it was working on a budget exceeding Rb73 million ($1.25 million) per month, with bonus payments to its Russian employees of Rb1 million (1.4%). The money was being spent, according to Mueller, on "multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation, and others targeting foreign audiences in various countries, including the United States".

This is another clue to Prigozhin's real line of business, and the reason for the multiplicity of company names and functional departments through which he operated; and for an employment roll Mueller counted as "more than eighty" in Project Lakta alone. Russian sources believe Prigozhin's organization has contracted for domestic Russian operations paid for by Russian corporations and local politicians. Some of the operations are believed to be conventional positive advertising of events, products, campaigns, and ideas. Some reportedly involve the circulation of kompromat against business and election rivals; some to defend against botnet and denial of service attacks on corporate websites and communication systems; some to attack the websites of business adversaries or investigative journalists, Russia-based or Russia-related.

Investigations by Russian media and government regulators have been reporting for some time allegations that Prigozhin has been diverting money from state procurement contracts for himself, and for clandestine purposes approved by state officials and state company executives. For a sample of the details, start in 2014 with the St. Petersburg website Fontanka's investigation of Mikhail Bystrov and Mikhail Burchik, the second and third defendants in the Mueller indictment. Fontanka said it had uncovered evidence that paying clients of the Prigozhin, Bystrov and Burchik organization included a youth group of the Russian Orthodox Church, the St. Petersburg municipal authorities, and a Gazprom media promotion company. The payroll of the organization was reported in mid-2014 to be Rb180,000 per month (about $5,500).

Source: https://www.fontanka.ru/2014/06/03/182/
For a more recent sample of the Russian allegations against Prigozhin, read and this .

In December 2016 Prigozhin was listed on the US Treasury's sanctions list, the evidence for which appears to have been cribbed from Fontanka and other Russian press reports . Prigozhin was accused of,

"having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, senior officials of the Russian Federation. Prigozhin has extensive business dealings with the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, and a company with significant ties to him holds a contract to build a military base near the Russian Federation border with Ukraine. Russia has been building additional military bases near the Ukrainian border and has used these bases as staging points for deploying soldiers into Ukraine."

Mueller's indictment fails to mention this Treasury charge or its Russian media sources. Mueller claims the reason for the multitude of Russian corporate names used by Prigozhin in Project Lakhta was to "obscure its conduct" and conceal the Russian source of funds from the US media and US regulators. For much longer, however, Russian investigators have been reporting that Prigozhin has created corporate chains of this type to conceal personal enrichment schemes from Russian regulators and commercial competitors.

Prigozhin has replied publicly to the US prosecutor's charges, not to the Russian ones. "The Americans are very impressionable people; they see what they want to see," he is quoted by a state news agency as saying last Friday. "I have a lot of respect for them. I am not upset at all that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him."

Russian sources believe Prigozhin's Project Lakhta was ordered by someone in a position to exercise a call on Prigozhin's cashflow. They exclude Russian officials on the Kremlin Security Council -- Sergei Ivanov, Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Shoigu, Anton Vaino, Nikolai Patrushev, Sergei Naryshkin – and dismiss the possibility that Project Lakhta had either President Putin's or Russian intelligence service support.

The suspicion of Russian sources is that the American campaign element in Project Lakhta was "so hare-brained there is only one official who could have considered Prigozhin's project worth the money and the attempt – Dmitry Peskov". Peskov is officially titled Deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary. From the Kremlin he supervises the budgets for the state television broadcaster RT, the state news agency Sputnik, and special US-targeted propaganda programmes, such as the Valdai Discussion Club for academics and the Oliver Stone films.

The Christopher Steele dossier accused Peskov of arranging negative media against Hillary Clinton during 2016; for an analysis of the veracity of that claim, read this . For a painstaking analysis of how the Mueller indictment discredits the Steele dossier, read Alexander Mercouris's account .

Russian experts charge that the Russian targeting of Americans through social media, as described by Mueller, was a colossal mistake because the US audience for social media was young and overwhelmingly committed to Clinton. Between their intention to vote and the vote they cast, the social media made next to no difference.

... ... ...

Brookings , the Washington think-tank most supportive of Clinton, reached the conclusion that her defeat was caused by "blowback" among older voters. In other words, Clinton's defeat, Trump's victory came from voting by older Americans. They were not the ones targeted by the Russian social media campaign; they didn't see the advertisements and tweets the Mueller indictment is now reporting as a criminal conspiracy to "defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful functions of the government."

Official Russian reaction to the indictment has been to ridicule the election interference allegation but avoid addressing the foreign registration and false identity charges. "Thirteen people interfered in the US elections?!" responded the Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova.

"13 against an intelligence services budget of billions? Against intelligence and counterintelligence, against the latest developments and technologies? Absurd? Yes."

Her minister Sergei Lavrov claimed : "unless we see the facts, all the rest will be just twaddle, I am sorry for my not so diplomatic expression."

The unofficial Russian reaction towards Prigozhin's activities in the US is more quizzical, and under the American pressure, more private. It acknowledges that Prigozhin is a commercial operator, and for every outlay he has a paying client. Who that client was for Project Lakhta is the object of speculation so far unreported in the Russian press.

To Russian lawyers the facts presented in the Mueller indictment suggest the big crime in the affair may have been a Russian one. If Mueller's small numbers are correct, then Prigozhin may have spent much less money, and to lesser effect and purpose than he had led his client to believe and pay for. If there's a difference between what Prigozhin was paid and what the Mueller indictment suggests he spent, Prigozhin may have a case for fraud to answer to Russian prosecutors – and his client, the charge of abuse of authority.

"If the US prosecutor makes it a crime for a Russian to pretend to be an American," commented a Moscow lawyer, "will the [Russian] General Prosecutor investigate Prigozhin for the crime of spending such money with the pretence of having brains?"