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Sustained anti-Trump Hysteria in major neoliberal MSM

The main issue in this election is that the Neoliberal Imperial Oligarchy has now taken off the mask, they have abandoned the pretense of "Coke Pepsi" two party competition to unite behind the defender of status quo interests, with WikiLeaks detailing the gory details of their corruption and malfeasance

"Terrible things we expect from Donald Trump, we’ve actually already seen from Hillary Clinton" Jill Stein

The neoliberal MSM are completely dedicated to defeating Trump and do not even pretend to be objective anymore. As Trump mentioned they are enemy of the people (that does not mean that Trump is people's friend ;-). They fan out anti-Russian hysteria and want to "kick the can down the road" despite the crisis of neoliberalism

Russiagate actually is IntelliGate --  the story of “a stab-in-the-back” plot of neoliberal elites, trying to steal the election using Deep State capabilities. 

Version 2.1 (June 10, 2017)

Is the curse of the TIME magazine cover helped Trump ? The neoliberals have the ultimate Super PAC: It’s called the mainstream media.

News Donald Trump Recommended Links Purple revolution against Trump Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Trump betrayal of his election promises Blowback against neoliberal globalization Predator state Michael Wolff's "Fire and fury" revelations and slander of Trump administration
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak MSM as attack dogs of color revolution Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Trump economic platform Trump foreign policy platform Trump on immigration Presidential debate trap staged by neoliberal media DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin Swiftboating: Khan gambit against Trump at Democratic Convention
Neocons The Deep State Predator state Election Fraud Populism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Trump GroupingGate Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme Pluralism as a myth Bernie Sanders betrayal of his supporters
Foreign Agents Registration Act Corporatist Corruption   Myth about intelligent voter Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State Non-Interventionism
Libertarian Philosophy The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012 Paleoconservatism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren


Introduction

"Terrible things we expect from Donald Trump, we’ve actually already seen from Hillary Clinton,"
Jill Stein

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Joseph Welch’s famous confrontation with Joe McCarthy

Looks like the US elite is now split, with a smaller, weaker paleoconservative faction (that enjoys popular support) promoting Trump, and a larger stronger neoliberal faction staging anti-Trump hysteria in controlled MSM. So the USA now have its own version of competing oligarchs clans (and their own version of Yeltsin with his failing health, if you wish), like in post-Soviet Russia.  That's why we have anti-Trump hysteria from neoliberal "anti-Trump brigade"

Being Trotskyism for the rich, neoliberalism not only reuses all Soviet propaganda tricks on a new technological level, it also inevitably creates a new aristocracy ("masters of the universe" or top 0.1%), similar to Soviet nomenklatura, which controls more a half of national wealth (redistribution of wealth up is the goal of neoliberalism) and are above the law. Which in turn leads to the systemic problem of corruption and degeneration of the political elite.

And Hillary campaign bears a striking resemblance not only to dynastic succession, but also to the election of the General Secretary of CPSU (actually even age and health are quite appropriate) with its typical stabbing in the back attacks against opponents for own party. With the help of intelligence agencies (and especially Brennan (Steele dossier, DNC hack exploitation for fueling anti-Russian hysteria via 17 agencies memo, etc) and Comey (suppression of emailgate) Hillary derailed Sanders

The other important tendency is that the neoliberal propaganda is losing the grip on hearts and minds of the US population. You simply can't hide disappearance of good jobs any more.  After more then 36 years dominance (with bipartisan support) Soviet-style brainwashing of population by the neoliberal MSM and TV by-and-large lost its effectiveness. Availability of alternative media (aka New Samizdat) is one factor. Like Voice of America and BBC for Soviet citizens, it provides information that makes possible to create a mental framework which allow one to understand what is really happening and why. That does not mean that they are 100% believable, but they provide a good starting point for critical thinking.  

The period of 2016-2018 is characterized the higher then usual level of hate of the neoliberal establishment toward any opponents that try to revise Washington consensus in foreign policy, even if he/she does weak and inconsistent steps. They want continue  to rule as they did since late 1980th do not want to bear any responsibility for multiple sins, such as the destruction of the middle class and, especially, for destruction of "full-time" good paying jobs with benefits in the USA. All this happened due to neoliberal globalization, which includes offshoring of manufacturing, elimination of full time jobs and replacement then with contractor jobs, outsourcing  of IT and "white collar" specialties.

Crystallization of the protest around such candidates as Sanders and Trump and the resulting split within Democratic and Republican party between rank-and-file members and party leadership,  are just signs of a more general tendency of rejecting neoliberal rationality and neoliberal ideology by the majority of US population. Ideology, which paradoxically is very close to Soviet ideology as neoliberalism is just Trotskyism for rich and includes the same dream of global (neoliberal instead of communist) empire, the same false promises of well-being for middle and lower classes, the same wars for neoliberal expansion in which US solders get into meat grinder to provide transnational corporations with another market.

This process of decline of neoliberal ideology started only recently (say, after 2008) and neoliberals are still very strong.  That's why Democratic Party brass managed to squash the revolt eliminating and then co-opting Sanders (sheepdog tactics). Paradoxically Trump manage to became the Presidential candidate from the Republican Party despite all attempt of the republican establishment to derail his candidacy.

It is quite clear the Trump election might mean difficulties for the US neoliberal elite in continuation of  permanent wars for the expansion of neoliberal empire ("neoliberal globalization"), dismantling of New Deal protections for working class (elimination of Social Security and weakening of labor laws), increasing financial deregulation and implementing policies that have systematically gutted the middle class, screwed and jailed the poor (especially poor blacks), increased inequality to the level above the level that existed during the Gilded Age, outsourced manufacturing out of the USA, and made neoliberal politicians like Hillary Clinton filthy rich. So it is natural that they fight Trump like crazy and neoliberal MSM is just of the perfect tools to achieve their goal of derailing his candidacy.  That's why Obama administration swiped under the carpet the dirt connected with Hillary private email server, the scandal, which would derail any other politician. Instead FBI was forced to invent false premise of "not sufficient evidence of criminal intent" bogeyman to let Hillary walk free.  In realty the criminal intent was written all over this sordid "bathroom server" saga, especially if you connect the dots with Clinton Cash scandal (the reason of using a private email server  was to hide activities connected with Clinton Foundation fundraising and other shady deals; as Trump said that's RICO staff) on one hand and DNC email hacks scandal on the other (if DNC email was so easily hacked, why would one assumes that Hillary server was not? The most reasonable assumption in such cases is that is was and all sensitive emails were exposed)   

The current situation in Democratic Party, which became a wing of a single "the Neoliberal Party of the USA" (much like the Communist Party in the USSR) is completely absurd. There is nothing even remotely Democratic in its platform. This is a pure neoliberal party.  Since Bill Clinton administration the elite game plan as for trade unions and democratic working-class voters was: "they have nowhere to go, so let's f*ck them hard".  And this game plan was executed perfectly fine for 25 years or so (since Bill Clinton presidency). No more.  enter Donald Trump, the first challenger of neoliberal status quo. Now voting against Clintons became middle class version of showing middle finger to official Washington or  a good practical joke on a sick neoliberalism-dominated political system. In other word, the dominant vote in November 2008 election will be the protest vote.  The vote against, not for.  They do want to show the middle finger to neoliberal establishment. That means voting against Hillary.  That's the main distinction between 2008 and 2016 elections. Obama was still able to fool the voters with his "change we can believe in" crap and sell the middle class down the river to neoliberals the day after elections.  But as unforgettable George W Bush uttered: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." 

That's why Hillary now is struggling to be elected on the same "let's kick the can down the road" plus "identity" (as if electing using gender as the main criteria makes more sense the election based on platform the candidate is trying to implement), making an attempt to became an Obama II.

different clue , August 21, 2016 at 2:15 am

The Clintonites are selling First Woman President as an Identity-Progressive goal and achievement. Just as the Obamazoids sold First Black President as an Identity-Progressive goal and achievement.

Her failing health and semi-criminal past does not help iether. The key message of Hillary to US "peasants" is that same as Marie Antoinette ("let them eat cake" -- all is good in this, the most blessed, nation on the Earth, just let the elite to rule as they wish). For obvious reasons it does not resonate too well. The emergence of Trump with his anti "neoliberal globalization' stance and promising to stop outsourcing of the US jobs,  reflects the level of discontent with such policies. See also Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA, Secular Stagnation under Neoliberalism, and  Over 50 and unemployed

So it is natural that emergence of Trump created a real hysteria in neoliberal MSM which again (you can get neoliberal out of Trotskyite cell, but you can never get Trotskyism ideology from neoliberalism) repeats achievements of Soviet propaganda is silencing the dissent and blackmailing anybody who stray from the official Party line.  Soviet propagandists would approvingly nod at the efforts of ABC, CNN, MSNBC to blackmail Trump.  This is a clear case when a student outperformed the teacher.  Not that Us propagandists were not sufficiently "sophisticated" (let's put is this way ;-) during the Cold War, but at least during this period they were fighting for the right cause. Now they changes sides with Soviet propagandists and try to defend indefensible using all the spectrum of dirty tricks in their disposal: to defend the interests of tiny percentage of population (0.1%) against the interests of common people. 

Reading this page might help US voters get over the fear of voting for Trump instilled by neoliberal MSM. Maybe the US voters should consider the possibility that they have nothing to fear but fear itself. That warmonger Hillary is like absolute zero in temperature  --  the point after which politically you just can't be more evil.  By Nierenberg court standards, no less. 

But after so many years of blatant Soviet-style deception about "shared prosperity" via "trickle down economy" people now start to understand that they were taken for a ride and resist neoliberal propaganda. Emergence of Web pages like this is a clear sign that people are fed up. That the middle class is fed up. Majority of Americans now clearly understand that nothing is going to change for the poor and for the middle class if Hillary is elected. There will be deeper involvement in Syria and possibly a confrontation with Putin. Wall Street will be happy with her, no matter what she says now.

That's why paleoconservative (and this page represents paleoconservatives views), who were written off from the mainstream of the USA politics long ago, are again in vogue. They are against the wars of imperial expansion, while neoliberal are neocons in foreign policy (see Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA), are hell-bent on what Professor Bacevich called the "new American militarism", and want expansion of the USA global neoliberal empire at all costs to the US middle class and poor, essentially promoting hardship and impoverishment of the US citizens in order to enrich themselves. For neoliberals the USA is just a host, a squirrel carcass, on which this colony of bacteria parasite. They are cosmopolitans by definition, and have no real affinity to the USA (look how many of the are "Israel first" crowd), and try to hide that with fake patriotism, jingoism, military adventurism in Middle East and Eastern Europe, and keeping the population content with their policies by exaggerating and misdirecting the treat of Islamic terrorism (it is Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies that is the main promoter and financer of this politician movement; they are also major contributors to Clinton foundation)

Like communists before them, neoliberals are not loyal to people or anything once they lost its usefulness, and definitely not to the nation state or the flag.

Thomas Frank in one of this books described the scene where the Bill Clinton figure tells a bunch of laid-off workers that now they need to buckle down and get an education so that they can get better jobs (as if they exist). this scene tremendously helps to recognize what neoliberalism is about: redistribution of wealth up. Everything else is just a lie.

In this circumstances, the only chance for Hillary to win election is to completely demonize Trump, to make him unacceptable for the most of the US population. Sometimes pack of neoliberal MSM which are essentially Hillary cheerleaders reminds me a pack of rats attacking a cat. They want to crown her, despite her criminal record, bloodthirsty jingoism, character flaws, initial stage of Parkinson disease and her other health problems, as well as Bill Clinton criminal past including possible sexual abuse of teenage girls. And to achieve this goal they resort to the campaign of demonization on Trump (such as Khan gambit), which sometimes borders on a real character assassination. Constant use of epithets like "crazy, reckless, ignorant, unqualified, unhinged lunatic, nuclear weapons trigger happy, narcissist, xenophobe, anti-Muslim, racist, misogynist, buffoon" are the most benign forms of this character assassination. Just guess how many of those epithets are applicable to Hillary and you understand the difference in neoliberal MSM coverage of two candidates. There are other, more sinister, parts of this neoliberal MSM demonization process...

What we now call "Khan Gambit" to be a part of a larger  campaign of demonization of Trump.  Other parts of this neoliberal MSM demonization process include:

  1. The "revolt of diplomats" gambit. On March 3, 2016  neocons staged 40 "national security leaders" (read dyed-in-the-wool neocons) open letter against Trump. Trump is ‘fundamentally dishonest,’ say GOP national security leaders in open letter - The Washington Post. This panic at neocons Jurassic park is pretty telling. Among 40 neocons who signed the letter we see only few diplomats. The list mostly composed of second rate "security establishment/foreign policy" players. There are some exceptions -- recognizable names -- such as Robert B. Zoellick (the eleventh president of the World Bank), Ken_Adelman (former deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations),  Robert Kagan  (Counselor of the State Department appointed by Hillary Clinton, co-founder of PNAC), Eliot A. Cohen (Counselor of the State Department appointed by Rice), Daniel Pipes (famous Israeli lobbyist) Michael Chertoff (the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security under Presidents George W. Bush, co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act), and Dov S. Zakheim (Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Planning and Resources from 1985 to 1987).  The major neocon players in George W Bush administration such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Elliott Abrams are not in the list. "The letter comes just days after Michael Hayden, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said the U.S. military might disobey orders if Trump becomes president. "

    We know that such letters are a standard part of "color revolutions" (including but not limited to Libya, Ukraine(The Revolt of diplomats) and Syria ), but in this case this trick was used preemptively against a leading candidate from Republican party. It was followed by Khan gambit.

    "Revolt of diplomats" from the perspective of propaganda is a very powerful weapon in the Arsenal of "soft coups". It can, if you want to ask Leonid Kuchma, that could confirm "the  Colonel Kaddafi", and Mr. Yanukovich. But in order for bomb to explode more powerfully you need that the revolt of diplomats  was (as in the era of Orange Revolution, in Libya and in Syria) is involve the diplomats of the highest rank, preferably the level of acting heads of diplomatic missions. In this case it produces an avalanche style affect de-legitimizing the current government. and then can serve as a starting point for the further de-legitimization.

     Looks like US neocons now use the color revolution playbook against Trump.  This is a technique of "soft coup".
     

  2. "Waving the flag attacks".  Typically they are switfboat style attacks. This is what this page is about.  Khan gambit opened Trump military record to investigation and blackmailing by neoliberal MSM.  It also facilitated the attacks design to put a verge between Trump and military voters.
  3. Creating a false image of Trump as a fascist authoritarian (with the goal of blocking voting for Trump of Sanders supporters after Sanders betrayal of his political platform)
     
  4. Fanning anti-Russian hysteria and accusing Trump of connections to Putin (Putin stooge gambit). This is a typical cold war trick that works very well because of demonization of Putin in neoliberal MSM.  Neocons, as former Trotskyites, were the propagandist warriors of Cold War and are very skilled in below the belt blows of this kind (searching for  "communists under each bed"). As such this can be viewed as a variation of  McCarthy-style attacks -- a witch hunt for Putin supporters within Trump close cycle of advisors. Anti-Russian and pro-Israel stance is a part of neoconservative ideology (and is shared by a large part of Washington elite), so for neocons (and neoliberal MSM) this type of attacks are as a natural as breathing. McCarthyism  painted liberals as soft on Communism, now neocon paint opponents of Warmonger Hillary,  as soft on Putin.  When in reality the main danger is not softness, but the danger of nuclear confrontation with Russia. Neocon demagogues, such as Robert Kagan managed simultaneously accuse Trump of being Putin stooge and a fascist.  It is well known that chickenhawks are rabidly jingoistic, so this theme also is played as a part of "waving the flag attacks" such as Swiftboating Trump: Khan gambit against Trump at the Democratic Convention
     
  5. Projecting on Trump accusations of racism ( a variant of Gaslighting) with the goal of eliminating Trump voters among minorities. In reality Bill Clinton, as a staunch neoliberal,  initiated the largest program of incarceration of black men in history.  He also substantially cut federal support to poor families.

     Indiscriminate killing of brown people (including many woman and children) supported (and in case of Libya pressed) by Hillary is not considered racist by neoliberal MSM, but Trump suggestion (note suggestion) to limit Muslim and Mexican immigration to the USA is the crime of the century, because such a measure limits inflow of cheap labor for transnational corporations. What is interesting in this "identity politics" attack deployed by Hillary camp is that often they misdiagnose the problems pretending that nothing, but racism matters and that this is automatically thee root cause. For example for excessive police violence against blacks. Sometime the root cause is different: it can be stereotyping, or that people are frightened, they can behave stupid, or they are evil. No, all such cases are automatically classified as racists. Police misconduct is not a problem solely about race and racism. Here’s a thoughtful blogpost about the problem of police misconduct in certain kinds of fatal shooting incidents and what can be done about it, both politically and in terms of reforming police training and administration: http://sociological-eye.blogspot.com/2016/07/can-war-between-cops-and-blacks-be-de.html
     

  6. Creating an image of Trump as an unstable maniac who can't be trusted with important assignments, such as control of nuclear button (and forgetting that Obama is a former cocaine addict and marijuana user, who might not completely abandon this habit in the White house) . An Bruce Wilder ( Crooked timber, Aug 13, 2016) aptly noted: "People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton’s bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea. ". Or, as Ian Welsh pointed out, her position on Syria is nothing but reckless. She seems to have advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria, which would presumably means shooting down Russian warplanes.
      
  7. Denigration Trump personality by constant using in neoliberal MSM coverage of Trump such epithets as "crazy, reckless, ignorant, ignoramus, unqualified, unhinged lunatic, nuclear weapons trigger happy, narcissist, xenophobe, anti-Muslim, misogynist, buffoon, chimpanzee-level " 
  8. Distorting his views, despite some of them have strong connection to reality. Please read 6 Problems With Media's Reaction To Trump's ISIS Comments by Mollie Hemingway. This is a very important article and I strongly recommend to read it in full to understand how neoliberal propaganda works. This is a nice example of how difficult is for an ordinary person to cut through media lies and get to the truth. So some level of brainwashing is inevitable unless you use only alternative media. Neoliberal MSM are disgusting and are lying all the time, but they are called "mainstream media" not accidentally. Unless you use WWW and foreign sources (like people in the USSR did -- substitute radio for WWW, as it did not existed yet) you will be brainwashed. Like Margaret Thatcher used to say "there is no alternative". They did the same dirty tricks with Bernie Sanders to derail his candidacy.

Here is one example. Please note that Trump foreign policy stance is more realistic then bloodthirsty warmonger "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary; it just goes against neocons military adventurism (Salon.com)

Take, for example, the comments by GOP strategist Mike Murphy on MSNBC earlier this week:

I think he is a stunning ignoramus on foreign policy issues and national security, which are the issues I care most about. And he’s said one stupid, reckless thing after another, and he’s shown absolutely no temperament to try to learn the things that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t know just about everything. …The guy has a chimpanzee-level understanding of national security policy.

In reality the situation in quite opposite and Trump foreign platform can be viewed as the last, desperate attempt to save the USA from facing consequences of uncontrolled built-up of global, led by the USA neoliberal empire, which exhausted the country resources and impoverished its people, Here is one insightful comment from Crooked Timber discussion (Crooked timber, Aug 04, 2016):

Lupita 08.04.16 at 4:23 am 167

I think Trump is afraid the imperial global order presided by the US is about to crash and thinks he will be able to steer the country into a soft landing by accepting that other world powers have interests, by disengaging from costly and humiliating military interventions, by re-negotiating trade deals, and by stopping the mass immigration of poor people. Plus a few well-placed bombs .

Much has been written about the internet revolution, about the impact of people having access to much more information than before. The elite does not recognize this and is still organizing political and media campaigns as if it were 1990, relying on elder statesmen like Blair, Bush, Mitterrand, Clinton, and Obama to influence public opinion. They are failing miserably, to the point of being counterproductive.

I don't think something as parochial as racism is sustaining Trump, but rather the fear of the loss of empire by a population with several orders of magnitude more information and communication than in 2008, even 2012.

Negative information repeated many times by MSM sticks in viewer minds and creates doubts in the candidate attacked. If the race is close, that's enough to sing the particular candidate. Swiftboating Kerry proved that such attacks produce the necessary effect even if later is discovered that they are completely false. At this point, it's just too late to undo the damage. Essentially the control over the major MSM is close to controlling the results of the elections. Like in movie Matrix the majority of the US voters live by-and-large in artificial reality created by MSM coverage, which they are unable to check.

The control over the major [neoliberal] MSM is close to controlling the results of the elections. Like in movie Matrix the majority of the US voters live by-and-large in artificial reality created by MSM coverage, which they are unable to check.

As neoliberalism is the hallmark of both parties, some Republican Senators also take part in this witch hunt (you can guesses the list; it includes all neocon hawks):

Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 1:51 am

So this is another example of what drives me crazy. Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine, is coming out with an oped in tomorrow’s Washington Post saying she can’t vote for Trump. Because he “lacks the temperament, self-discipline, and judgment” blah blah blah. She could vote for a madman like McCain and a charlatan like Palin, but, fine, whatever. What truly kills me is that Jonathan Alter, liberal journalist, tweets Collins’s piece and says, “How can any decent, respectful Republican disagree?”

As neocons are neoliberals with the gun, the same is true about most prominent neocon talking heads, who dominate the US foreign policy discourse. A relevant example here is one of the founders of PNAC (which promoted the idea of global neoliberal empire led by the USA and the use of 9/11 style event as vital for converting the USA into national security state) and cheerleader of Iraq war Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was instrumental in bringing into power neo-Nazis in Ukraine). In his recent WaPo column he (forgetting about his own track record and the track record of his wife) openly accused Trump of fascist tendencies while being unable to use the words "neocons wars" and "neoliberal globalization" in the whole article even once (This is how fascism comes to America - The Washington Post, May 18, 2016):

But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

And the source of allegiance? We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he off ers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.

... ... ...

This phenomenon has arisen in other democratic and quasi-democratic countries over the past century, and it has generally been called “fascism.” Fascist movements, too, had no coherent ideology, no clear set of prescriptions for what ailed society. “National socialism” was a bundle of contradictions, united chiefly by what, and who, it opposed; fascism in Italy was anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, anti-capitalist and anti-clerical. Successful fascism was not about policies but about the strongman, the leader (Il Duce, Der Führer), in whom could be entrusted the fate of the nation. Whatever the problem, he could fix it. Whatever the threat, internal or external, he could vanquish it, and it was unnecessary for him to explain how. Today, there is Putinism, which also has nothing to do with belief or policy but is about the tough man who single-handedly defends his people against all threats, foreign and domestic.

Of course readers instantly noticed the hypocrisy of this dyed-in-the-wool neocon warmonger (who BTW became a staunch Hillary supporter -- tell me who your friends are...) :

Richard Elkind, 6/1/2016 4:06 PM EDT

Trump is a negotiator. A fascist is a dictator. They have absolutely nothing in common. The neocon who wrote this propaganda is far more a fascist than Trump could ever be...demonstrated right here with his utilizing his media platform to spread propagandist lies...which is what Hitler did.

Faustfaust, 6/1/2016 3:57 PM EDT

Kagan,

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. Excerpts:

“Rather than pursuing a comprehensive peace with the entire Arab world, Israel should work jointly with Jordan and Turkey to contain, destabilize, and roll-back those entities that are threats to all three”.

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambition"

“Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite”.

"Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces".

Who are those proxy forces? ISIS? It seems so. These statements put you and your ilk in the pot as corroborators for what has happened in the Middle East since it was written, and foremost for Syria and its fallout.

On issues relating to continuation of wars of neoliberal expansion, maintaining the global neoliberal empire and immigration all neoliberal MSM behave in lockstep which would make Soviet press handlers proud. Lie and distortion of Trump behaviour, create "much ado about nothing" by picking his phrase and presenting it as a is treat to world peace, dirty insinuation about impossibility to trust Trump is some critical security areas such as nuclear codes (as if person under influence of a drug can be a better choice; just look about history of cocaine abuse by previous presidents). You name it. But what can you expect from administration puppets. Actually constitutional scholar also behaved very dirty allowing himself to bash Trump in Singapore which is a clear violation of diplomatic etiquette:

"I don't doubt their sincerity. I don't doubt they were outraged by some of the statements that Mr. Trump and his supporters made about the Khan family," Obama said, speaking of Republican leaders, a number of whom spoke out against Trump's remarks about the Khan family. "But there has to come a point in which you say, 'Somebody who makes those kinds of statements doesn't have the judgment, the temperament, the understanding to occupy the most powerful position in the world.'"

As now we know that Khan gambit was a designed by DNC trap, this is a direct propaganda attack on behave of Hillary Clinton (and, as such, represents an abuse of his position). Also this is like throwing stones in a glass house (Obama is a self-confessed former cocaine addict who might well be on high during Benghazi incident and during his Olympics' interview). Americans did elect a former cocaine addict in 2008 and then in 2012. Talk about the best preparation to the position of POTUS (Obama's Cocaine Confessional Won't 'Blow' His Chances - ABC News):

At the moment, Republican strategists and Clinton loyalists share a common dream, an identical yearning and an increasingly forlorn hope: wishing with prayerful fervor for some revelation or scandal or personal weakness that will block Barack Obama's candidacy for president.

In that context, The Washington Post raises the pre-emptive question of the senator's direct confession (in his intimate memoir, "Dreams of My Father") that he used cocaine and marijuana in high school and college.

Much to the disappointment of his rivals in both parties, these disclosures stand no chance of derailing his potential campaign and may end up adding to Obama's unconventional appeal.

First of all, Obama is hardly the first prominent politician to acknowledge youthful indiscretions involving illegal drugs. Fourteen years ago, Bill Clinton easily survived his discussions of smoking marijuana, and drew far more criticism for his dodgy, weasel-words regarding his experience ("I smoked, but I didn't inhale") than for his one-time exposure to the demon weed.

Al Gore also admitted to dope indulgence (and reportedly became a heavy user at Harvard, which may help explain the spectacularly weird workings of his mind) as did Newt Gingrich and John Kerry. George W. Bush refused to share specifics of his own drug experience beyond a general acknowledgment of a rowdy youth ("when I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid"). Still, he did little to contradict ubiquitous reports of his consumption of booze, marijuana and even cocaine.

On her own Hillary, as an establishment candidate representing Wall Street interests, has no or little chances. So neoliberal MSM, which are essentially a part of Hillary team, are using against Trump a pretty polished demonization process that they so successfully used against foreign leaders whom the USA establishment does not like. So you need to withstand a series of more and more nasty attacks by a pack of media wolfs, who are eager to devour the candidate. That requires courage. Going against establishment always requires courage, but going against neoliberal establishment with it Trotskyite instincts (and Pravda style demonization of opponents) requires double of that. But people are fed up with neoliberal globalization and no matter how neoliberal MSM try to demonize Trump, most of such attempts will fall on the deaf ears:

bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 4:41 pm

A vote for Trump is a middle-finger vote. A Trump voter does not have to believe that Trump will do anything for him, only that Trump breaking the system won’t be worse for the voter than for the system.

I would stress it again that you need to be a very courageous person to withstand demonization by neoliberal media. and this put tremendous stress on you and your family. This pack of well-paid neoliberal rabid dogs knows no mercy. This is like modern McCarthy-style witch hunt (remember famous phrase perfectly applicable to neoliberal MSM such CNN, MSNBC, etc ("You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?") The DemoRats are reenacting the worst excesses of “McCarthyism” with hysterical displays of Russophobia and swift boat style attacks: anybody to oppose neoliberal dogma is Mr. Putin sympathizer:

Joe McCarthy had been running wild for four years, wreaking havoc first on the Democrats, then the Republicans, and finally on the security establishment itself. For many people—Welch’s syntax shows, almost unselfconsciously—June 9 marked the moment when McCarthy finally revealed that he had no decency, as opposed to only a very little decency, the moment when he showed that he had no redeeming qualities at all.

Neoliberal MSM dominate the media landscape and they still sets the agenda of any debate in the USA, still sets the parameters of discourse. They can amplify or suppress any news as they like. Hackers can easily break into DNC server and steal emails, but can't steal email from Hillary "bathroom" server. It does not matter then you open CNN or other MSM website, you will always find news about some new Trump blunder, instead discussion of serious issue facing the country (I'm Sick of The So-Called “News )

It’s a very powerful, well financed, determines, highly qualified and very nasty propagandists.

You need to be a very courageous person to go against neoliberal media. They can amplify or suppress any news as they like.

Those frightened at the prospect of Donald Trump being elected need to explain precisely where they were when Clinton sold the party to Wall Street converting them to DemoRats (former Democrats, or Clinton democrats) and launched their three-decade-long class war on the side on neoliberals against the great majority of the American people. Voting for a war criminal by standard Nierenberg trials in not what a reasonable person would do.

Trump did not (yet) start any wars of neoliberal conquest (under smoke screen of spreading the democracy) so far. So whatever you ca call him, he is not a war criminal. And that's a big, decisive different. In fact, his views on foreign policy are more of less isolationists and are close to Paleoconservatives such as Patrick J. Buchanan. As Michael Hudson observed:

The platform Hillary’s running on is “I’m not Trump. I’m the lesser evil.”

She elaborates that by saying that Trump is Putin’s ploy. When the Democratic National Committee (someone within it, or without) leaked the information to Wikileaks, the Democrats and Hillary asked, “Who benefits from this”? Ah-ha. Because Trump opposes the neocon line toward Russia, and because he criticizes NATO, Russia benefits. Therefore Putin must have stolen the leaks and put them out, to make America weaker, not stronger, by helping the Trump campaign by showing the DNC’s dirty tricks toward Bernie’s followers.

Then Assange did an Internet interview and implied that it was not a cyberwar attack but a leak – indicating that it came from an insider inn the DNC. If this is true, then the Democrats are simply trying to blame it all on Trump – diverting attention from what the leaks’ actual content!

But contrary to DNC efforts, same level of anger as drove Brexit vote now is developing in regard Hillary Clinton candidacy as the establishment choice. That means that for many people voting for Trump is just an opportunity to lob a hand grenade into establishment. And you can't underestimate the number of people who would greatly enjoy this act of defiance. So in a way it is impossible for Hillary to attract large chunk of population to anti-Trump platform as Trump is automatically by people choice is running as anti-Hillary candidate.

Moreover Hillary Clinton is a war criminal, if we apply to her the standards of Nuremberg trials, so voting for her is also a crime. Yet neoliberal media tries to shove Hillary down the US voters throats, demonizing him using all dirty tricks they know. Patrick J. Buchanan put it best "This was the year Americans rose up to pull down the establishment in a peaceful storming of the American Bastille."(Yes, the System Is Rigged The American Conservative):

“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged,” Donald Trump told voters in Ohio and Sean Hannity on Fox News. And that hit a nerve. “Dangerous,” “toxic,” came the recoil from the media. Trump is threatening to “delegitimize” the election results of 2016.

Well, if that is what Trump is trying to do, he has no small point. For consider what 2016 promised and what it appears about to deliver. This longest of election cycles has rightly been called the Year of the Outsider. It was a year that saw a mighty surge of economic populism and patriotism, a year when a 74-year-old Socialist senator set primaries ablaze with mammoth crowds that dwarfed those of Hillary Clinton. It was the year that a non-politician, Donald Trump, swept Republican primaries in an historic turnout, with his nearest rival an ostracized maverick in his own Republican caucus, Senator Ted Cruz. More than a dozen Republican rivals, described as the strongest GOP field since 1980, were sent packing. This was the year Americans rose up to pull down the establishment in a peaceful storming of the American Bastille.

... ... ...

Instructions are going out to Republican leaders that either they dump Trump, or they will cease to be seen as morally fit partners in power.

It testifies to the character of Republican elites that some are seeking ways to carry out these instructions, though this would mean invalidating and aborting the democratic process that produced Trump. But what is a repudiated establishment doing issuing orders to anyone?

Why is it not Middle America issuing the demands, rather than the other way around? Specifically, the Republican electorate should tell its discredited and rejected ruling class: If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?

You want Trump out? How do we get you out? The Czechs had their Prague Spring. The Tunisians and Egyptians their Arab Spring. When do we have our American Spring?

The Brits had their “Brexit,” and declared independence of an arrogant superstate in Brussels. How do we liberate ourselves from a Beltway superstate that is more powerful and resistant to democratic change? Our CIA, NGOs and National Endowment for Democracy all beaver away for “regime change” in faraway lands whose rulers displease us. How do we effect “regime change” here at home?

Donald Trump’s success, despite the near-universal hostility of the media, even much of the conservative media, was due in large part to the public’s response to the issues he raised.

Would this really be what a majority of Americans voted for in this most exciting of presidential races? “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” said John F. Kennedy. The 1960s and early 1970s were a time of social revolution in America, and President Nixon, by ending the draft and ending the Vietnam war, presided over what one columnist called the “cooling of America.”

Below the belt attacks on Trump by neoliberal MSM

You need to be a very courageous person to fight against neocons. They already launched several below the belt attacks on Trump. More to follow. some were pretty damaging:

The utter hysteria about Trump in neoliberal MSM like NYT is very illuminating. They really feel the danger to neoliberal globalization from Trump and as the result the neoliberal  media is outperforming anything envisioned by Orwell. It brazenly lies, censors the truth and spins every fact, still pretending to be objective, independent and balanced.

At the same part population, who was (successfully) fed with neoliberal lies about shared prosperity and that brazen enrichment of the top 0.1% lifts all boats for the last 35 years is  no longer receptive to neoliberal propaganda. Many Americans outside top 10% have allergic reaction to neoliberal globalization and loss connected with it loss of jobs, which destroys or at lest undermines attempts to brainwash them by neoliberal MSM.

That's why neoliberal media's engage in constant paranoid exaggeration of Trump speeches, words and twits. Nice example was hysterias about Trump  request (probably make to provoke the MSM) to Putin to provide deleted by Hillary emails. Looks like neoliberal presstitutes are getting desperate as the realization sets in: Trump 2016!

And that's why they are pushing "Crooked Hillary" (by apt definition of Trump ;-) as the only viable candidate. As if without her there is no tomorrow for them and their cushy jobs can be threatened, much like job of ordinary Americans.  If you read NYT the impression is that Trump is madman, a dyed-in-the-wool nationalist (and racist), danger of whom is equal or exceed the danger of Mussolini, or even Hitler. In reality Hillary can be considered to be a war criminal, the lowest possible type of politicians. So much like in case of absolute zero, there can't be more evil politician even in principle.

But reading NYT you will not often see combination of words a "neocon" and Hillary. She will be presented via rose grasses and her ugly personality traits (which led to multiple suggestions that she might be a female sociopath) will be carefully hidden. Any demonstration of recklessness and somewhat psychopathic personality, her pathological jingoism, will be described as an admirable attributes indicative of a strong leader the same way the psychopathic personalities of her male counterparts are described as the attribute of "masters of statecraft" (the term which under neoliberalism became synonymous with bombing small helpless nations, who happen to have natural resources, valuable for transactionals, and bailing out transnational banks, when they overpay their hand with derivatives).

Sometimes I catch myself on the thought that neoliberal MSM outdid MSM of the USSR in their ability to distort the reality and conduct vicious propaganda campaigns directed on elimination of anybody threatening status quo. With generally better success in brainwashing the population.

In foreign policy Hillary Clinton is no different than your garden variety Republican, including Senator McCain or any of prominent neocons such as Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan and his wife. In other words she is another died in the wool neocon. Probably to the right of Jeb "I like Wolfowitz Doctrine" Bush, who as one of the signers of PNAC key document is difficult to match. So, in a way, Cold War II is guaranteed if she wins, because the elite needs an external threat to keep the nation united despite economic troubles connected with the sunset of neoliberalism as well as it hallmark -- ruthless looting of the nation by financial oligarchy, who is out of control and owns the government via "deep state" structures.

Again MSM in the USA tend to personalize the most important political issues (identity politics). That gives them opportunity to hide real issues facing the nation under smoke screen of personal invectives. The real issue during this election is a referendum of neoliberal globalization. that's what MSM try to bury in the smokescreen of identity politics, Look how "Back life matters" movement was played.

Increase use of misinformation and dirty tricks as the cornerstone of neoliberal candidates campaign strategy in a post-factual world (virtual reality) created by neoliberal MSM is not new. This is how in 2004 corrupt MSM got rid of Howard Dean in Democratic Party primaries (see Howard Dean's Scream - YouTube). Directed microphones were used to amplify the scream to make it outrageous (and then neoliberal MSM pitched the hysteria to ensure the necessary effect).

But the same disinformation campaign and dirty tricks did now work recently in the Brexit vote. And those neoliberal presstitutes were really dirty --  just look at Guardian campaign against Brexit. The power of neoliberalism (like previously the power of communism) is in total monination of media space. So in case of Brexit neoliberals have betted on the power of fantasy over fact. They failed.

Now all neoliberal guns are pointed at Trump. And some of those presstitutes are pretty talented. Just look also how Stephen Colbert tried to eliminate Trump as the candidate in  Best moments from presidential debates - YouTube. If you do not understand that this is pretty similar to promoting Kerry over Dean, listen again. When propaganda is close to what you feel whatever you feel is true, you are easily deceived. and it is very difficult for anyone to tell the difference between what is true and what is not -- media creates artificial reality in which we live. They can amplify whatever they wish and present for us as facts, while they are not. That will be found much later, when it will be too late.

the hysteria with Melania speech plagiarism of a couple of sentences from Michelle Obama speech is also pretty illuminating. In both cases speeches were written by somebody else so this all the content is plagiarism -- not just two sentences. But this artificial outrage was wiped up to cosmic proportion. How they dare to take a couple of sentences from such a deep thinker as Michelle Obama and put it in their own speech (in fact those sentences reflected Melania experience pretty well - - that's why they were taken ;-)

But no, thousand of reporters from neoliberal MSM like a pack of rabid dogs started to pursue this triviality with a single goal to damage Trump campaign for President.  None of them demonstrated an equal zeal in coverage of Hillary bathroom serverClinton Cash scandals -- a much more worthwhile themes. Hillary deteriorating health is also not very interesting topic for them. Even recent sexual adventures of Bill Clinton, which would attack them like flied to honey, if this would be Trump, did not interested them much.  As Scott McConnell aptly noted (The American Conservative, July 20, 2016):

Much of the morning of the second day of the Republican Convention was taken up by the Melania speech flap. It’s an odd world. One can understand how it was news: there are thousands of reporters chasing any news, especially news embarrassing to Trump. One can imagine that if Jackie Kennedy inadvertently mouthed some earnest and eloquent platitudes that another speechwriter had previously prepared for a different celebrity, few would have noticed, and certainly few would have made a case of it. It might have been mentioned in an aside in a column.

Melania’s reading of secondhand words is not entirely insignificant. Of course the “plagiarism” case was the result of poor staff work, and it’s not unreasonable to wonder if it’s symptomatic of a more general confusion at the heart of the Trump campaign. If they can’t get Melania’s speech right, and they didn’t, who is going be in charge of implementing the Iran deal, or dealing with the Turkish coup aftermath, or trying to be a good friend to a Europe undergoing worse crises than we are? You can look at the Donald Trump operation and not come away with obviously reassuring answers.

You can see that in hunt for anti-Trump sensation MSM amplified the real but rather small problem with Melanie speech. "Lifting" a couple of sentences from somebody else speech is not a big crime. Of cause this is an immoral act, but let's see with whom we compare Melania -- with Hillary, who is a compulsive liar. Melania with all her transgressions is not. Now you see the problem. They use two difficult standard, because if we apply "Melania standard" to Hillary, MSM should bury her alive. There were a couple of sentences that closely resemble each other (so what; she is not an elected official and does not pretend on any official post; if we views this as a type of lie -- pretending that those words are your own what they actually are not -- compare with the amount of lie of Hillary Clinton. But the content of the speeches is vastly different. Still charge of plagiarism stuck. Unapt denial of Trump reps helped to amplify the issue further and exaggerations of this tiny, unimportant fact. And this hysteria was amplified by neoliberal MSM very skillfully -- this minor episode was on front pages for two days in the raw. As if there no other problems with DNC. What a despicable presstitutes --

They try to hide the danger that yet another globalist war for opening natural resources and labor resources of other countries for transnationals which will be unleashed by Hillary. Who already managed to vote of Iraq war, and royally rape Ukraine , Libya and Syria. This is real issues facing the USA, and it trivial facts about the personalities involved, that neoliberal MSM triy to present as the essence of campaign.  It is about existence of two different factions of the US elite: globalist part that now dominant and smaller weaker nationalist part what is now on the upswing and enjoys the support of the majority of the population.

Another dirty trick is bombardment of voters with the results of polls. 24 x7. It is well known that the key idea of polls is to influence electorate. Not to inform, but to influence. In the USA, like in the USSR, MSM are fully engaged in this dirty game.

The psychological mechanism behind this dirty game is based on deeply rooted human tendency to side with the (presumptive) winner. MSM fake the desirable for the elite result (or at least distort actually picture) and that automatically conditions those who is still undecided to vote for "presumptive winner", or not to vote. The latter in the spirit of inverted totalitarism is preferable for elite result -- making each elite voter (who always vote, as this is about their power) more valuable. Please note half of the US population does not vote. But anger might brings them out. John Pilger gave a good picture of behaviour of MSM in his recent article The Brexit Rejection of Neoliberal Tyranny ( Consortiumnews, ).

To this end neoliberal MSM been lying about Trump and consistently misrepresenting his statements to present them in the worst possible light.

Neoliberal MSM been lying about Trump and consistently misrepresenting his statements to present them in the worst possible light

MSM also try to co-opt Trump voters:

On the eve of the convention, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam—respected, young, mainstream conservative intellectuals—published an essay in the New York Times that was largely Trumpian in its prescriptions, calling for less immigration, less foreign military intervention, more tax policy favoring the middle and working classes. Designed to appeal to the real interests of Trump voters.

Yet the two cast their piece as “anti-Trump,” calling Trump a demagogue, and assuming that he couldn’t possibly implement their agenda. It’s a loss to Trump that he hasn’t won over people who so largely agree with him, but a sign too of the remaining power of the Republican establishment, which can make even people who mostly agree with Trump unable—so far—to see themselves as potential Trump backers.

CNN went as far as to hire Corey Lewandowski, former manager of Trump political campaign (CNN's Revolving Door of Political Hackery)

Widespread outrage erupted in late June over CNN's hiring of Corey Lewandowski, just four days after he was fired as Donald Trump's chief of staff. Lewandowski is a controversial figure, and not merely because he was heading up a campaign fueled by bigotry and fear. In March he was charged with simple battery for making physical contact with a reporter (though these charges were later dropped). Moreover, his utility as a CNN contributor is clearly limited -- if not worthless -- since he is reported to have signed a non-disclosure agreement that bars him from saying anything disparaging about Trump or discussing anything he did during the campaign.

CNN staffers were said to be enraged -- but within a week, CNN's newest contributor was on television using his soapbox to explain away another one of Trump's very public and obvious appeals to bigotry. That CNN felt it needed to hire an election commentator who can't say anything critical about Trump may seem strange, but it corresponds with CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker's stated desire to push CNN to the right. Even Fox News has taken the moral "high ground" in this situation: It has blasted CNN and the decision at least twice.

But hiring Lewandowski is not an anomaly -- it is business as usual for CNN and other cable news networks. When covering elections, CNN and its competitors rely largely on former political hacks as paid contributors. They also commonly employ active lobbyists with inherent conflicts of interest that are rarely disclosed.

What we are dealing with is a Revolving Door of Political Hackery between campaigns, the media and lobbyists. As we enter the final stretch of the 2016 election season, this revolving door has been spinning rapidly, especially with GOP staffers heading to CNN. This reliance on beltway insiders and industry surrogates is among the many reasons why campaign coverage is so often woefully lacking in substance.

At the same time the fact that some Sanders voters are inclined to vote for Trump is undeniable. And that does not excites neoliberal MSM such as rabidly pro-Clinton Wapo (which now is owned by Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos). It does not even pretend to being objective. Just look at some headlines: 

MSM ravings about Trump supporters being ‘white nationalists’ is a grotesque affront to everyone, especially the 23% of Hispanics happen to support Trump, as well as some percent of black vote and other minorities. In neoliberal MSM narrow universe the millions of American Trump supports are all either bigots, or blind, and that evidently includes a number of Americans in the US military who also support Trump. The US airman who punched out the Trump protestor wearing a KKK costume at a Trump rally happened to be African-American. Do you think he was happy being portrayed as a KKK supporter by people like you and the clown in the costume?

Khan gambit at the Democratic convention

If you look closer at what’s being said by the Democratic camp, including by no less than Obama himself, they seem to be using Kahn gambit -- a prepared, scripted swift boating of Trump -- playing a collective Joseph McCarthy at the moment. The next stage was accusing Trump of collusion with Putin and telling amusing lies along the way ( I wonder when they will discover the connection of Melannia and Putin). A prominent neoliberal Krugman has summarily denounced the whole white Christian “tribe” is unpatriotic.

I would take Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC more seriously if he had also taken the courageous stance of calling out Hillary Clinton as a bloodthirsty neoliberal warmonger in the manner of Cindy Sheehan. Hillary’s vote for the Iraqi invasion is more relevant her in a sense of the direct cause-and-effect line of his son’s death than any actions by Trump. To chastise one candidate on trump-up charges omitting real and undeniable sins of the other candidate (Hillary) is lacking any trace of nobility or decency. This was swift boating -- a preplanned trap instantly amplified into national tragedy proportion by neoliberal presstitutes in major MSM. this was it became just another act of the campaign of demonization of Trump. Obama behavior in Singapore was especially disgusting. He allowed himself to bash Trump in Singapore on trumped up charges which is a clear violation of diplomatic etiquette:

"I don't doubt their sincerity. I don't doubt they were outraged by some of the statements that Mr. Trump and his supporters made about the Khan family," Obama said, speaking of Republican leaders, a number of whom spoke out against Trump's remarks about the Khan family. "But there has to come a point in which you say, 'Somebody who makes those kinds of statements doesn't have the judgment, the temperament, the understanding to occupy the most powerful position in the world.'"

The most humiliating aspect of "Khan gambit" is how easily Trump was lured into this trap (essentially Swiftboating): looks like he organically is unable not to reply on false accusations, no matter how unfounded they are. At the same time understanding that Trump was lured into a trap should not be used for promoting xenophobia.

The idea of swiftboating is very simple: negative information repeated many times by MSM stick and create doubts in the candidate attacked. They produce the necessary effect even if later is discovered that they are completely false. From Wikipedia

The term swiftboating (also swift-boating or swift boating) is a pejorative American neologism used to describe an unfair or untrue political attack. The term is derived from the name of the organization "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" (SBVT, later the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth) because of their widely publicized—and later discredited—campaign against 2004 U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry.[1][2][3][4]

Since the political smear campaign[2][5][6][7][8] that the group conducted against Kerry, the term has come into common use to refer to a harsh attack by a political opponent that is dishonest, personal, and unfair.[9][10] The Swift Boat Veterans and media pundits objected to this use of the term to define a smear campaign.[11][12]

Now we can tell with almost 100% certainty that Khan gambit was pre-planned by DNC as two stage swift boating style attack on Trump, similar to one of Kerry:

The subsequent neoliberal MSM witch hunt was an important part of the Khan gambit and should be viewed exclusively in general context of the efforts to demonize and discredit Trump. It was clear this swift boating attack was performed on behave of Hillary Clinton handlers (Hillary Clinton in her current health state is just a figurehead, a patsy of the forces that defend neoliberal globalization, which include Bill Clinton and Wall Street banks). They even used Obama, who forgot about the danger of throwing stones in a glass house (Obama is a self-confessed former cocaine addict who might well be on high during Benghazi incident and during his Olympics' interview). Americans did elect a former cocaine addict in 2008 and then in 2012. So why not Trump? Still Obama risked opening this can of worms by blabbing about the preparation to the position of POTUS. In reality former addict is never the best choice but look how skillfully this issue (trusting the former cocaine addict a nuclear button) was hashed by neoliberal press (Obama's Cocaine Confessional Won't 'Blow' His Chances - ABC News):

At the moment, Republican strategists and Clinton loyalists share a common dream, an identical yearning and an increasingly forlorn hope: wishing with prayerful fervor for some revelation or scandal or personal weakness that will block Barack Obama's candidacy for president.

In that context, The Washington Post raises the pre-emptive question of the senator's direct confession (in his intimate memoir, "Dreams of My Father") that he used cocaine and marijuana in high school and college.

Much to the disappointment of his rivals in both parties, these disclosures stand no chance of derailing his potential campaign and may end up adding to Obama's unconventional appeal.

First of all, Obama is hardly the first prominent politician to acknowledge youthful indiscretions involving illegal drugs. Fourteen years ago, Bill Clinton easily survived his discussions of smoking marijuana, and drew far more criticism for his dodgy, weasel-words regarding his experience ("I smoked, but I didn't inhale") than for his one-time exposure to the demon weed.

Al Gore also admitted to dope indulgence (and reportedly became a heavy user at Harvard, which may help explain the spectacularly weird workings of his mind) as did Newt Gingrich and John Kerry. George W. Bush refused to share specifics of his own drug experience beyond a general acknowledgment of a rowdy youth ("when I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid"). Still, he did little to contradict ubiquitous reports of his consumption of booze, marijuana and even cocaine.

The utter hysteria about Trump in neoliberal MSM like NYT is very illuminating. From comments in discussion of Crooked Timber:

kidneystones, 08.08.16 at 11:36 pm

The NYT argues that some truths needed to be sacrificed for the greater good of keeping the candidate ‘we’ don’t like out of office.

... ... ...

Democrats waving the bloody shirt and suddenly discovering the purity of gold-star families is very much on-topic. As is the bias of the press. Romney was deemed entirely unfit to be president in precisely the same way as the current candidate is. Romney’s great crime? Laughing about killing people? Nope. Invading nations, or abusing national security? Uh-uh. Strapping the family dog to the roof of his car.

Because when weighing the big issues in American presidential elections: Pets Lives Matter!!

kidneystones, 08.08.16 at 11:42 pm

Lanny Davis, longtime Clinton ally and DNC hack, explaining in great detail ( on Fox no less) why the Romney dog story makes the Republican candidate (is a Mormon the same as an atheist, Debbie?) unfit for the office of the President. foxnews.com

Rich 08.14.16 at 6:14 pm 855

...I have said that I could never vote for her because of Iraq. It was a political calculation for her. Never bought the bullshit about ‘if I knew then…’ Yeah sure bitch. Then, I was swayed by the lesser evil argument telling me not be an idealist asshole. Buy, now comes the Kissinger wet kiss, and the Negroponte handjob, now the Clinton campaign is seen in the hacked emails she wants to go easy on down ballot republicans. Letting them off the hook for creating the conditions for Trump to emerge. This is the last straw for me. Fuck her, I will not vote for her.

For those of you so afraid of Trump that you will hold your nose at the polls, I have only one thing to say.

Y’all a bunch a sniveling fearful pussies. We survived a bloody civil war. We survived WW2. We survived the Soviets. Was it over when the Japan bombed Pearl Harbor? No. And it ain’t over now. Yes it will be a bad 4 years. It will be an embarrassment. But Trump is a childish half-educated buffoon. Do you really think the JCS will hand him the nuke codes and launch on his order? I don’t.

So suck it up and get rid of Clinton and her destructive new democrats for good.

They are organically unable to turning a critical lens on the presidential candidate who supported the war that killed Khan's son. They really feel the danger to neoliberal globalization from Trump and at this point "gloves comes off" -- the neoliberal media is outperforming anything envisioned by Orwell. It brazenly lies, censors the truth and spins every fact, still pretending to be objective, independent and balanced. "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. -1984". And the "permanent war for permanent peace" that Hillary and other neoliberal interventionists advocate is the only viable path forward fro the nation. Bacevich discussed this issue of dominance of "New American Militarism" at length in his books, articles and speeches. See also in depth analysis of this issue by Ted Rall in his brilliant (simply brilliant !) article Khizr Khan and The Triumph of Democratic Militarism(UNZ Review, Aug 2, 2016). Here are some relevant quotes:

"... A week ago corporate media gatekeepers managed to transform the Democratic National Committee internal emails released by WikiLeaks from what it really was – scandalous proof that Bernie Sanders and his supporters were right when they said the Democratic leadership was biased and had rigged the primaries against them ..."
"... Hillary's vote for an illegal war of choice that was sold with lies, was a major contributing factor to the death of Captain Khan, thousands of his comrades, and over a million Iraqis. Iraq should be a major issue in this campaign - against her. ..."
"... Instead, it's being used by his parents and the Democratic Party to bait Donald Trump into a retro-post-9/11 "Support Our Troops" militaristic trap. Khan, you see, was " defending his country ." ..."
"... (How anyone can say U.S. soldiers in Iraq, part of an invasion force thousands of miles away where no one threatens the United States, are "defending" the U.S. remains a long-running linguistic mystery.) ..."
"... "Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son 'the best of America,'" Khizr Khan told the convention. Unfortunately, the moniker can't apply to once-and-possible-future-first-daughter Chelsea Clinton, who never considered a military career before collecting $600,000 a year from NBC News for essentially a no-show job. But anyway… ..."
"... "If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America," Khizr Khan continued. The cognitive dissonance makes my head spin. ..."
"... "Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?" asked Khizr, who is originally from Pakistan ..."
"... A good question. While we're at it, however, where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that the president can send troops overseas for years at a time without a formal congressional declaration of war? Where does it say that the United States can attack foreign countries that have done it no harm and have never threatened it? ..."
"... As you'd expect Trump, he of little impulse control, has handled this about as poorly as possible. Asked about Khizr Khan's remark that Trump hasn't made any sacrifices, he idiotically attempted to compare his business dealings with the death of a son. Still, you have to grudgingly admire Trump for fighting back against a guy you are officially not allowed to say anything mean about. ..."
"... Democrats have successfully appropriated images of patriotism and "optimism" – scare quotes because this is not the kind of actual optimism in which you think things are going to actually get better, but the bizarro variety in which you accept that things will really never get better so you'd might as well accept the status quo – from the Republicans. This is part of Hillary Clinton's strategy of taking liberal Democrats for granted while trying to seduce Republicans away from Trump. ..."
"... The Khan episode marks a high water mark for post-9/11 knee-jerk militarism. Even the "liberal" party whose sitting incumbent two-term president captured the White House by running against the Iraq war demands that everyone fall to their knees in order to pay homage to the "good" Muslims - those willing to go to the Middle East to kill bad ones. ..."
"... Next time you see a panel of experts discussing a foreign crisis, pay attention: does anyone argue against intervention? No. The debate is always between going in light and going in hard: bombs, or "boots on the ground." Not getting involved is never an option. As long as this militaristic approach to the world continues, the United States will never have enough money to take care of its problems here at home, and it will always be hated around the world. ..."
"... Most Americans believe the Iraq war was a mistake . Who speaks for us? No one in the media. And no one in mainstream politics. ..."
"... Trump's proposal to ban Muslims can't possibly be racist because Muslims are not a race. If the US were to ban European devotees of a white supremacist pagan cult - such cults do exist, and the US has every right to ban its devotees if it so chooses - nobody would bat an eye. ..."
"... The vote to authorize the war in Iraq was in 2002. Khan's DNC speech was 14 years later (and 12 years after his son was killed), not 8 years later. ..."
"... "The rest of us who makes heroes of our dead…" "Perpetuate war by exalting sacrifice…" watch-v=reUstMn4bM8 ..."
"... "Most Americans believe the Iraq war was a mistake. Who speaks for us? No one in the media. And no one in mainstream politics." The last sentence is incorrect. Donald Trump repeatedly said the war was a mistake, even at times when it could have landed him in serious trouble. ..."

At the same time the mood of the majority of the US population and its attitude toward neoliberal globalization changed. People no longer trust the neoliberal elite and neoliberal media. Obama was probably the last "wolf is sheep cloth" who managed to "bait and switch" the US electorate. Now the slogan as for TPP should be the same as in Spanish civil war: "¡No Pasarán!". Even on this particular topic a talk about ABC, CNN, MSNBC objectivity already invoke sardonic laugher from most people. They are all despicable presstitutes, serving to their corporate masters, devoid of any trace of objectivity in their desperate attempts to push Hillary into White House, by whatever means possible.

And this new, more critical mood of the 90% of US population means that it is more difficult to achieve a lasting effect via Khan gambit as well as to continue to sell neoliberal globalization to regular Americans despite all efforts by neoliberal propaganda honchos. Because all Khan gambit is designed fpr is to put Hillary in White House and preserve NAFTA, TPP, revocation of Glass-Steagall and other cornerstones of neoliberal globalization.

Many US citizens already developed strong allergic reaction to neoliberal MSM, much like the population of the USSR developed allergy to communist propaganda. Declining standard of living destroys attempts of neoliberal media to brainwash the population about the benefits of globalization outside top 10% of population that really benefits form it. That's why neoliberal media was forced on the "war trail" and is engaging in constant paranoid exaggeration of Trump speeches, words and twits. It is also amplifying any attacks on Trump, as is the case with Khan speech. This is a textbook example about how the demonization of the opponent works. But Hillary herself is living in a glass house funded by Goldman Sachs and should be throwing no stones.

Nice example was hysterias about Melania Trump plagiarism and about Trump request (probably made to provoke the MSM) to Putin to provide deleted by Hillary from her private "bathroom" mail server emails. But those demolishing Trump pieces have little or no effect. And neoliberal presstitutes are getting desperate as the realization sets in: Trump 2016!

The only chance for Hillary (with her mounting health issues) to win election is to completely demonize Trump. On her own she has little or no chances, as most of Americans are tied of dynasties (with Bush II being a real disaster, that got us into Iraq war). So neoliberal MSM are using standard demonization process template that is so successfully was against foreign leaders (see Demonization of Putin) that the USA neoliberal establishment does not like. This is the root of Khan gambit designed and implemented by DNC. the same DNC that stole nomination from Bernie Sanders by using all kind of dirty tricks and illegal media alliances. Now the are trying to do the same with Trump. In this sense Khan is just a pawn, used and thrown out. As Khan, who was brought to the podium by DNC strategists, he should remember this famous quote: “The Moor has done his duty the Moor can go”. (The Moors were a Muslim people who established a civilization in North Africa and Spain between the 8th and the 15th century A.D.) Like in case with DNC leaks, the Democratic nomenklatura is always evasive when it comes to answering uncomfortable questions and will throw him under the bus if uncomfortable emails surface. Clinton has never been sentimental with its allies and in the absence of vital interests or mere presence of danger were dumping them from the chess board as unnecessary figures.

You need to be a very courageous person to fight against neocons. They already launched several below the belt attacks on Trump. But his last was probably the most successful, if you can call swift boarding a success.

MSM anti-Russian hysteria as a smoke screen to mask the divisions within Democratic Party

When GOP "dirt diggers" questioned Obama academic record, his birth certificate, his strange past, and claimed that Obama was a secret Manchurian candidate injected into US political stream by CIA "very important people" in MSM guffawed and had a good laugh accusing those who hold this view of paranoia. When Dem neoliberals and their EU (especially British) pals claim that Trump is a secret Manchurian candidate eager to execute orders of Putin the same "very important people" in MSM nod approvingly and loudly worry that Americans might elect a pawn of Putin. (dailymail.co.uk)

In his post Is Russia our enemy? Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) aptly stated:
The Democratic Party convention and the media are full of the assumption that Russia is the enemy of the United States. What is the basis for that assumption?

The Obama Administration is apparently committed to a pre-emptive assertion that Russia is a world class committed enemy of the United States. The Borgist media fully support that.

We should all sober up.

The Russian theme has become one of the most important in Hillary presidential campaign and she unsurprisingly is engaged in full-scale anti-Russian hysteria.
Hillary joined ranks with neocons, military-industrial complex and plain-vanilla Russophobes (katehon.com, Jul 28. 2016):

Speaking at a press conference in Florida, Trump called on Russia to hand over the 30,000 emails "missing" from the Hillary Clinton's email server in the US. Their absence is a clear sign that Clinton destroyed evidence proving that she used her personal e-mail server to send sensitive information. Democrats immediately accused Trump of pandering to Russian hackers, although in reality the multi-billionaire rhetorically hinted that the data that Clinton hid from the American investigation is in the hands of foreign intelligence services. So, Clinton is a possible target for blackmail.

Trump's statement that he is ready to discuss the status of Crimea and the removal of anti-Russian sanctions caused even more noise. This view is not accepted either in the Democrat or in the Republican mainstream. Trump also said that Vladimir Putin does not respect Clinton and Obama, while Trump himself hopes to find a common language with him. Trump appreciates Putin's leadership and believes that the US must work together with Russia to deal with common threats, particularly against Islamic extremism.
Hide The establishment's tantrum

Both Democrats and Republicans are taking aim at Trump. The vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence, made threats to Russia. The head of the Republican majority in Congress, Paul Ryan, became somewhat hysterical. He said that Putin is "a thug and should stay out of these elections."

It is Putin personally, and the Russian security services, who are accused of leaking correspondences of top employees of the National Committee of the Democratic Party. This unverified story united part of the Republicans and all of the Democrats, including the Clinton and Barack Obama themselves. Trump supporters note that the Russian threat is used to divert attention from the content of these letters. And these show the fraud carried out during the primaries which favored Hillary Clinton.
Hide The pro-American candidate

The "Russian scandal" demonstrates that on the one hand the thesis of the normalization of relations with Russia, despite the propaganda, is becoming popular in US society. It is unlikely that Donald Trump has made campaign statements that are not designed to gain the support of the public in this election. On the other hand - Trump - a hard realist, like Putin, is not pro-Russian, but a pro-American politician, and therefore the improvement of relations with Russia in his eyes corresponds to the US's national interests. Trump has never to date done anything that would not be to his advantage. Sometimes he even said he would order US fighter jets to engage with Russian ones, and declared he would have a hard stance in relations with Russia.

Another thing is that his understanding of US national interests is fundamentally different from the dominant American globalist elite consensus. For Trump, the US should not be the source of a global liberal remaking of the world, but a national power, which optimizes its position just as efficiently as any commercial project. And in terms of optimizing the position of the United States, he says there should be a normal American interaction with Putin and Russia in the field of combating terrorism and preventing the sliding of the two countries into a global war. He claims this is to be the priority instead of issues relating to the promotion of democracy and the so-called fight against "authoritarian regimes".

Bullsh**t that the US MSM are now propagating is essentially a variation of the old theme "The Russians are Coming". Here is nice satire on the topic (washingtonsblog.com):

MC: President Putin, did the Russian government hack the DNC email server and then publically release those emails through Wikileaks the day before the Democratic convention?

Putin: Yes.

MC: Yes! Are you serious?

Putin: I’m quite serious.

MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?

MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?

Putin: Your question should be what took Russia so long. The US oligarchs and their minions surround us with military bases and nuclear missiles, damage our trade to Europe, and seek to destabilize our domestic politics. These emails are nothing in the big picture. But they’re sort of funny, don’t you agree?

MC: I’m not sure that funny is the right word. What do you mean by that?

Putin: You’ve got Hillary Clinton running as a strong and independent woman. Of course, nobody would know who she is had she not married Bill Clinton. She’s not independent. Quite the contrary. She had to marry a philandering redneck to get to where she is. When it comes to strength, I can say only this. How strong can you be if you have to cheat and create a rigged game to win the nomination?

MC: Anything else about your leak to cheer us up?

Putin: This situation is the epitome of ironic humor. After the emails were released, the focus was all on DNC Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. That’s fine for now but what happens when people start asking why Wasserman-Schultz had the DNC screw Sanders and boost Hillary? Did she just wake up one day and decide this on her own?. Not likely. She was and remains Hillary’s agent. It will take people a while to arrive that answer. When enough people hear about Wasserman-Schultz’s key role in the Clinton campaign, everything will be clear. It’s adios Hillary. That inevitable conclusion, by the way, is the reason the DNC made such a big deal about Russia hacking the DNC. That was diversion one right out of the gate.

DNC and Clinton are going to push the Russian card very hard in anticipation of further stories and revelations of corruption, money laundering, etc. Technical analysis provided is some idiotic, entry level nonsense. And it should ne complete dulsh*t as those cases are very complex and can used smokescreen -- deflecting attention from a read source (for example Israel) to Russians (Israel has large Russian speaking population, that is well represented in security services of the country).

When the USA opened this can of worm with Stixnet (discovered around mid 2010) and Flame (discovered around 2012), they did not expect a blowback. Now it start coming: it is simply impossible to secure "normal" Microsoft-based IT system against any sophisticated adversary. Remember that we live in the period when developed by NSA and "friends" Flame and Stixnet worm are part of the recorded history. And technologies used in them are well studied by all major world three letter agencies. They became a part of their workbook. And the response to their devilishness they generated even more devilish methods of attack of any IT infrastructure based on Microsoft technologies, to say nothing about such low hanging fruit as completely corrupt DNC with semi-competent IT staff using pathetic Microsoft Exchange based email system: (naked capitalism):

However, in this short post I want to focus on a much narrower question: Can we ever know who hacked the DNC email? Because if we can't, then clearly we can't know the Russians did. And so I want to hoist this by alert reader JacobiteInTraining from comments :

Yup, as a former server admin it is patently absurd to attribute a hack to anyone in particular until a substantial amount of forensic work has been done. (read, poring over multiple internal log files…gathering yet more log files of yet more internal devices, poring over them, then – once the request hops out of your org – requesting logfiles from remote entities, poring over *those* log files, requesting further log files from yet more upstream entities, wash rinse repeat ad infinitum).

For example, at its simplest, I would expect a middling-competency hacker to find an open wifi hub across town to connect to, then VPN to server in, say, Tonga, then VPN from there to another box in Sweden, then connect to a PC previously compromised in Iowa, then VPN to yet another anonymous cloud server in Latvia, and (assuming the mountain dew is running low, gotta get cracking) then RDP to the target server and grab as many docs as possible. RAR those up and encrypt them, FTP them to a compromised media server in South Korea, email them from there to someones gmail account previously hacked, xfer them to a P2P file sharing app, and then finally access them later from a completely different set of servers.

In many cases where I did this sort of analysis I still ended up with a complete dead end: some sysadmins at remote companies or orgs would be sympathetic and give me actual related log files. Others would be sympathetic but would not give files, and instead do their own analysis to give me tips. Many never responded, and most IPs ended up at unknown (compromised) personal PCs, or devices where the owner could not be found anyway.

If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence you might get lucky – but that demographic mostly points back to script kiddies and/or criminal dweebs – i.e., rather then just surreptitiously exfiltrating the goods they instead left messages or altered things that seemed to indicate their own backgrounds or prejudices, or left a message that was more easily 'traced'. If, of course, you took that evidence at face value and it was not itself an attempt at obfuscation.

Short of a state actor such as an NSA who captures it ALL anyway, and/or can access any log files at any public or private network at its own whim – its completely silly to attribute a hack to anyone at this point.

So, I guess I am reduced to LOL OMG WTF its fer the LULZ!!!!!

And :

Just to clarify on the "…If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence…" – this is basically what I have seen reported as 'evidence' pointing to Russia: the Cyrillic keyboard signature, the 'appeared to cease work on Russian holidays' stuff, and the association with 'known Russian hacking groups'.

That's great and all, but in past work I am sure my own 'research' could easily have gotten me 'associated' with known hacking groups. Presumably various 'sophisticated' methods and tools get you closer to possible suspects…but that kind of stuff is cycled and recycled throughout the community worldwide – as soon as anything like that is known and published, any reasonably competent hacker (or org of hackers) is learning how to do the same thing and incorporating such things into their own methods. (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery)

I guess I have a lot more respect for the kinds of people I expect to be getting a paycheck from foreign Intelligence agencies then to believe that they would leave such obvious clues behind 'accidentally'. But if we are going to be starting wars over this stuff w/Russia, or China, I guess I would hope the adults in the room don't go all apesh*t and start chanting COMMIES, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!, etc. before the ink is dry on the 'crime'.

The whole episode reminds me of the Sony hack , for which Obama also blamed a demonized foreign power. Interestingly - to beg the question here - the blaming was also based on a foreign character set in the data (though Hangul, not Korean). Look! A clue!

JacobiteInTraining's methodology also reminds me of NC's coverage of Grexit. Symbol manipulators - like those in the Democrat-leaning creative class - often believe that real economy systems are as easy to manipulate as symbol systems are. In Greece, for example, it really was a difficult technical challenge for Greece to reintroduce the drachma, especially given the time-frame, as contributor Clive remorselessly showed. Similarly, it's really not credible to hire a consultant and get a hacking report with a turnaround time of less than a week, even leaving aside the idea that the DNC just might have hired a consultant that would give them the result they wanted (because who among us, etc.) What JacobiteInTraining shows us is that computer forensics is laborious, takes time, and is very unlikely to yield results suitable for framing in the narratives proffered by the political class. Of course, that does confirm all my priors!

Readers, thoughts?

Update Addition by Yves:

Another reader, Hacker, observed (emphasis original):

There is a problem with those who argue that these are sophisticated Nation State attackers and then point to the most basic circumstantial evidence to support their case. I'd bet that, among others, the Israelis have hacked some Russian servers to launch attacks from and have some of their workers on a Russian holiday schedule. Those things have been written about in attack analysis so much over the last 15-20 years that they'd be stupid not to.

Now, I'm not saying the Israelis did it. I'm saying that the evidence provided so far by those arguing it is Russia is so flaky as to prove that the Russia accusers are blinded or corrupted by their own political agenda.

Update [Yves, courtesy Richard Smith] 7:45 AM. Another Medium piece by Jeffrey Carr, Can Facts Slow The DNC Breach Runaway Train? who has been fact-checking this story and comes away Not Happy. For instance:

Thomas Rid wrote:

One of the strongest pieces of evidence linking GRU to the DNC hack is the equivalent of identical fingerprints found in two burglarized buildings: a reused command-and-control address - 176.31.112[.]10 - that was hard coded in a piece of malware found both in the German parliament as well as on the DNC's servers. Russian military intelligence was identified by the German domestic security agency BfV as the actor responsible for the Bundestag breach. The infrastructure behind the fake MIS Department domain was also linked to the Berlin intrusion through at least one other element, a shared SSL certificate.

This paragraph sounds quite damning if you take it at face value, but if you invest a little time into checking the source material, its carefully constructed narrative falls apart.

Problem #1: The IP address 176.31.112[.]10 used in the Bundestag breach as a Command and Control server has never been connected to the Russian intelligence services. In fact, Claudio Guarnieri , a highly regarded security researcher, whose technical analysis was referenced by Rid, stated that "no evidence allows to tie the attacks to governments of any particular country."

Mind you, he has two additional problems with that claim alone. This piece is a must read if you want to dig further into this topic.

NOTES

[1] More than a talking point but, really, less than a narrative. It's like we need a new word for these bite-sized, meme-ready, disposable, "throw 'em against the wall and see if they stick" stories; mini-narrative, or narrativelette, perhaps. "All the crunch of a real narrative, but none of the nutrition!"

[2] This post is not about today's Trump moral panic, where the political class is frothing and stamping about The Donald's humorous (or ballbusting, take your pick) statement that he "hoped" the Russians had hacked the 30,000 emails that Clinton supposedly deleted from the email server she privatized in her public capacity as Secretary of State before handing the whole flaming and steaming mess over to investigators. First, who cares? Those emails are all about yoga lessons and Chelsea's wedding. Right? Second, Clinton didn't secure the server for three months. What did she expect? Third, Trump's suggestion is just dumb; the NSA has to have that data, so just ask them? Finally, to be fair, Trump shouldn't have uttered the word "Russia." He should have said "Liechtenstein," or "Tonga," because it's hard to believe that there's a country too small to hack as fat a target as Clinton presented; Trump was being inflammatory. Points off. Bad show.

Pavel , July 28, 2016 at 4:01 am

For those interested, the excellent interviewer Scott Horton just spoke with Jeffrey Carr, an IT security expert about all this. It's about 30 mins:

Jeffrey Carr, a cyber intelligence expert and CEO of Taia Global, Inc., discusses his fact-checking of Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo article that claims a close alliance between Trump and Putin; and why the individuals blaming Russia for the DNC email hack are more motivated by politics than solid evidence.

–The Scott Horton Show: 7/25/16 Jeffrey Carr

Carr makes the point that even supposed clues about Russian involvement ("the default language is Cyrillic!") are meaningless as all these could be spoofed by another party.

Separately it just shows again Team Clinton's (and DNC's) political deviousness and expertise how they –with the full support of the MSM of course –have managed to deflect the discussion to Trump and Russia from how the DNC subverted US democracy.

pretzelattack , July 28, 2016 at 4:15 am

and again, we see the cavalier attitude about national security from the clinton camp, aggravating the already tense relationship with russia over this bullshit, all to avoid some political disadvantage. clinton doesn't care if russia gets the nuclear launch codes seemingly, but impact her chances to win the race and it's all guns firing.

dk , July 28, 2016 at 4:59 am

"… all these could be spoofed by another party."

Well yeah, and I could be a bot, how do you know I'm not?

Absent any other evidence to work with, I can accept it as credible that a clumsy Russian or Baltic user posted viewed and saved docs instead of the originals; par for the course in public and private bureaucracies the world over. It would have been useful to see the original Properties metadata; instead we get crapped up copies. That only tells me the poster is something of a lightweight, and it at least somewhat suggests that these docs passed through multiple hands.

But that doesn't mean A) the original penetration occurred under state control (or even in Russia proper), much less B) that Putin Himself ordered the hack attempts, which is the searing retinal afterimage that the the media name-dropping and photo-illustrating conflation produces.

Unspoofed, the Cyrillic fingerprints still do not closely constrain conclusion to A, and even less to B.

Another name for the trick DNC used is "Catch a chief" -- a deflection of attention from their own criminal behaviour. But they should now be really afraid about what can come next from Wikileaks or elsewhere. I don't think Hillary was capable to understand how easy it is to find corruption, especially when there's a email trail. And this lack of understanding is a typical feature of a sociopath (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/could-hillary-clinton-be-a-sociopath/ )

As Guardian reported (The Guardian) Clinton campaign tried old "dog eat my homework" trick blaming everything on Putin and trying to ignore the content of them and the dirty laundry they expose:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, saying its hackers stole Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and released them to foment disunity in the party and aid Donald Trump.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on Sunday that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, [and are] releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump”.

“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails are being released on the eve of our convention here,” he told CNN’s State of the Union, alluding to the party’s four-day exercise in unification which is set to take place this week in Philadelphia.

“This isn’t my assertion,” Mook said. “This is what experts are telling us.”

In a statement, the Clinton campaign repeated the accusation: “This is further evidence the Russian government is trying to influence the outcome of the election.”

Classic scapegoating. As Guardian commenter noted "Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak??

As life exceeds satire, one can imagine that within a week Wikileaks will produce those "missing e-mails". And later Hillary's Wall Street speeches, following the next appeal from Trump.

In any case a major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't fold when a Mafioso clan liked, and when caught red handed. that's why they instantly tried to change the subject deflecting attention via corrupt and subservant MSM, and focusing on possible links between email hack and Russiainstead. Great journalism!" The Guardian

atopic

I find very I interesting that, somehow, the initial DNC leak story failed to make a headline position (a day late, at that) on the Guardian, but now that it's blown up on other channels, the DNC's ridiculous conspiracy theory/distraction attempt gets top billing here. Ridiculous.

Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak?? A major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like, and somehow we're talking about Putin instead. Great journalism.


Chanze Jennings -> atopic

The Guardian has sunk to a new low and has entirely no shame. It's a sad day for journalism when Twitter has more integrity than most news outlets. And they wonder why newspapers are going the way of the Dodo. Remember when real journalists presented stories with little bias and tried hard to stick to the facts?

BTW there are some real experts on this and they have a different opinion. Check comments for the blog post:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/07/nsa-whistleblower-not-so-fast-on-claims-russia-behind-dnc-email-hack.html

"Hillary as lesser evil" attack on Trump

Shills for Democratic Party try to present Hillary as lesser evil then Trump. But Hillary is a war criminal of a type that in the recent past went to Nuremberg tribunal and as such she represents absolute zero (much like Kelvin scale absolute zero in temperatures) of evilness of politicians. You just can't be more evil. She was instrumental in destroying three countries (Ukraine, Libya and Syria) and killing hundreds of thousand civilians by unleashing civil wars in those countries. Aggressive wars are simply, as Jackson said at Nurnberg, the supreme international crime. You can't go lower then this. The President does have primacy in foreign policy matter and from this point Hillary Clinton should scare an average US voter. But this is not the case because an average US voter sees the US aggressive wars as defensive. Is it fair to consider such US citizens as delusional? Or if they were merely massively and comprehensively brainwashed? Is the Trump Campaign smart enough to wage a 6 months campaign of counter-disinformation warfare? Is he and his team smart enough to "beat Hillary's teeth out of her mouth" on this topic? This is a very interesting question (sic_semper_tyrannis, July 29, 2016).

Jack said in reply to Old Microbiologist...

OM,

"delusional citizens in the US see our aggression as defensive".

This is what happens when citizens have been propagandized for so long. And folks are inherently lazy. They'll buy into whatever whoever they trust say. Do you recall the majority of Americans believed that Saddam had WMD and was in cahoots with AQ and supported the invasion where we would be treated as liberators?

The first time in the recent past there is any dissonance in public discourse has been with Trump.

This time it looks like this time the working class voters vowed to take their revenge at the polls. They now understand that they were taken for a ride by neocons and will never see promised by neoliberal propagandists "prosperity for all", only redistribution of wealth up at their expense. They were disgusted with the neoliberal transformation of the country during previous three administrations and, especially the most dishonest of them -- the king of "bait and switch", neoliberal in democrat cloth Obama, who betrays people who elected him twice in best Bill Clinton traditions. Who now wants to became a venture capitalist himself. Such a "change we can believe in" ;-).

If you did not see Trump Ad Hillary Clinton Crooked Warmonger (Youtube) I recommend you to watch it. It catches the main point: Stakes are too high to elect warmonger like Hillary Clinton

Attempt to court Jewish voters and thus Florida for Hillary

Hysteria about "Star of David" was probably one the most obnoxious demonstration of this trend. This start is commonly used on advertisements. So the ad just imitate advertisements. But they decide to make this about anti-Semitism. For example Trump deletes anti-Clinton corruption ad with Star of David The Times of Israel

Superimposed over piles of cash, presumptive GOP nominee uses Jewish star to attack his Democratic rival, scraps it after backlash

Leveling corruption accusations against rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted, then swiftly deleted, an image depicting the Democratic nominee next to a Star of David superimposed over piles of money.

Trump’s image of Clinton surrounded by $100 bills read: “Most corrupt Candidate Ever!” on a six pointed star, a common Jewish and Israeli symbol.

Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC speech was a symphony of craven, delusional pandering.

Here is the entirety of Clinton’s remarks about settlements: “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements. Now, America has an important role to play in supporting peace efforts. And as president, I would continue the pursuit of direct negotiations. And let me be clear—I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council.”

She spent significantly more time railing against the “alarming” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which is gaining traction on college campuses nationwide. Pledging to “take our alliance to the next level,” Clinton said that one of the first things she’d do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House. That was a barely veiled rebuke to Obama, who never treated Benjamin Netanyahu with the deference the prime minister felt entitled to. Before the speech, some had hoped that Clinton might offer a word of solidarity or encouragement to beleaguered progressives in Israel. She gave them nothing.

It’s understandable that Clinton would want to widen the gulf between AIPAC and Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee. “We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything is negotiable,” she said to applause, out-hawking the man who is running on a platform of Middle Eastern war crimes. In doing so, she offered a bridge to #NeverTrump neoconservatives like Max Boot and Robert Kagan, who has already written that, should Trump be the nominee, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be.”

Anti-Trump neoconservatives, however, are a minuscule group of people. And in seeking their approval, Clinton has further alienated left-wing voters, particularly young ones. Polls show that Americans under 30 are far more critical of Israel than are older voters. Liberal Democrats sympathize more with the Palestinians than they do with Israel. There is already deep suspicion of Clinton’s foreign-policy instincts among Bernie Sanders’ supporters; Clinton doesn’t need to give them new reasons to distrust her.

Foreign Phrase On Bill Clinton's Lapel Pin Sparks Speculation

Former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday was subject to inquiries about his pin shortly after he arrived to watch Vice President Joe Biden’s address. The Forward’s Nathan Guttman shared a Twitter photo of the blue and white pin, which sparked some discussion regarding its potential significance.

“I know it’s Hebrew,” one commenter wrote, “but I can’t make out the letters. Tovah?”

A short time later, a representative of the National Jewish Democratic Council offered some clarity. Steve Rabinowitz explained both he and NJDC Chairman Marc Stanley gave Clinton one of the pins prior to Wednesday evening’s scheduled events. The lapel embellishment reads “Hillary” in Hebrew.

“He said he’d wear it,” Rabinowitz recalled of his encounter with the former president, “but I didn’t know whether or not to believe him and certainly didn’t think he’d do it tonight.”

Bogus "war on woman" and misogyny accusations

If Trump is misogynic, Bill Clinton should be in jail. Now -- But neoliberal MSM would raise any false accusation to hurt candidate who competes with their beloved warmonger -- Hillary Clinton. Who happens to be a woman. So misogyny is a good attack tool against Trump and it is used to the fullest extent possible:

Trump Shushes Aggressive NBC Reporter Katy Tur, Media Flips Lid, Crying 'Sexism'

Every slight is sexist, racist, homophobic, you name it, in the eyes of liberals. Case in point, the media’s overblown response to Donald Trump shushing NBC reporter Katy Tur during Wednesday morning’s press conference. Journalists on Twitter were aghast that Trump dared to interrupt a relentless reporter, while MSNBC’s Tamron Hall likened the exchange to overt sexism, in the age of the first female presidential nominee.

During a press conference this morning, NBC’s Katy Tur, who had been asking multiple questions throughout, was shushed by Donald Trump at one point for continuing to press her question after he briefly answered it then shifted the focus to Hillary Clinton.

”Be quiet” he said mid-sentence to Tur as she kept repeating her question while he was still answering it. Social media blew up at this rather insignificant slight of an aggressive reporter and MSNBC’s Tamron Hall was no different, who got Tur on camera immediately at the press conference’s end on The Place for Poltiics.

Hall led by informing Tur of the “stunning” outrage on Twitter to Trump telling her to “be quiet” and insinuated this was a sign of sexism:

HALL: [B]ut on the day after we saw 102-year-old woman on the floor applaud the first female nominated to a major party, there you are being told to 'be quiet' by the nominee.

“I’m not asking you to make this personal,” Hall insisted repeatedly, (but isn’t that exactly why she brought Tur on?) before she asked her to comment on the question she asked Trump.

... ... ...

What always fails to get brought up is that Trump is universally brusque to reporters regardless of gender and for MSNBC to make this about gender is intellectually dishonest but proof that the “war on women” card is clearly still being utilized in this election.

Previous attack was atchificially inflaced and misrepresenrted remark about Megyn Kelly. Here is a pretty typical attack from POLITICO

Donald Trump cannot remember the last time he apologized.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, Trump reiterated that he has no regrets about comments he has made early in his campaign that have generated significant backlash. From calling some immigrants coming into the country rapists, to saying Arizona Sen. John McCain was “ a war hero because he was captured,” to his unfinished remark that Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly had blood “coming out of her wherever,” Trump does not think he has anything for which he has to be sorry.

“People say, ‘He won’t apologize for anything’ — well, I was right on illegal immigration. McCain blew it because he’s done a poor job of taking care of the veterans. And then the third element so far, you had Megyn Kelly, and I think you’ve seen what happened with that,” Trump said. “I feel quite confident in my position.”

“At the same time,” he qualified, “I believe in apologizing. But to apologize for me is very difficult. I definitely would apologize if I were wrong on something.”

Asked to recall the last thing he apologized for, Trump said that “it was too many years ago to remember,” adding that he has “one of the great memories of all time, but it was too long ago.”

Trump domestic platform

Trump domestic platform is concentrated on creating jobs. The only other two areas were he has defined position is immigration and healthcare reform. In this sense Trump movement is somewhat similar to Peronism: hatred of elites combined with direct appeals to “the forgotten man,” “the silent majority” and “the moral majority”. Among them is Trump uncanny ability to bring broad sectors of US society into his political movement, using for uniting them anger against neoliberal globalization. He advocates restoration of social well being of the US middle class severely damaged during 40 years of neoliberal globalization.

Moreover Trump understands that the people of the USA are tired to pay the costs for maintaining the Global Neoliberal Empire:

It has some nationalist overtones ("Let's make America great again") but, contrary to MSM attempts to paint him black, without any racism, or nationalist bigotry (MSM now try to promote the idea that Trump is an anti-Semite, but this is clear baloney). Proposed by Trump restrictions on immigration are highly pragmatic and temporary in nature. Restriction again Muslim are partially dictated by the level of hate the current US foreign policy generates in Muslim world, so this is purely defensive measure.

Like Peron before him Trump stands far from religious fundamentalist. Peronism was based on three principles: social justice, political sovereignty and economic independence. You see the analogy. And they are actually deeper that just a fight against oligarchic financial capital (What is Peronism):

"... It was under Peron that a version of nationalized state capitalism, and an elimination of foreign investors was initiated in Argentina. He used nationalism, unlike his European counterparts, as a weapon of anti-imperialism. Peronism under Peron was Bonapartist in its manipulation of the social classes on behalf of industrializing an underdeveloped country and challenging dominant American imperialism. His style of leadership was one of a leader who took power in a power vacuum when no single class is in the position do so, and using reformist measures to win the radical support of the more populous class. ..."

"... Peron and Peronism also has to be viewed as a stage in the battle of Latin America for economic independence which is still yet to be achieved with at home the oligarchical structures still intact, and foreign manipulation in the country. ..."

Fight against illegal immigration as new abolitionism

One of the core parts of the Trump platform is restricting illegal (note the word "illegal" immigration. This is similar to fight against slavery (abolitionsm) in the past:

The movement gained new momentum in the early 19th century as many critics of slavery hardened their views and rejected their previous advocacy of gradualism (the slow and steady progress towards the goal of freedom for slaves) and colonization (finding land in Africa for former slaves). As the movement grew and became more formally organized, it sparked opposition in both the North and the South; Northern mill owhttp://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/19/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/ners depended upon slave-produced cotton every bit as much as the Southern plantation owners.

Similar any attempt to limit illegal immigration creates the same reaction of modern neoliberal "South" plantation owners -- economic insentive of using illegal immigrants labor are just too great. The current population of illegal immigrants is around 11 million in the USA or around 3.5% of population; Six states alone account for 60% of unauthorized immigrants — California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. Unauthorized immigrants make up 5.1% of the U.S. labor force. About 7% of K-12 students had at least one unauthorized immigrant parent in 2012 (pewresearch.org )

That's why neoliberal politicians talk about “immigration reform” they mean three things: amnesty, cheap labor and open borders. For example, the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill was nothing more than a giveaway to the corporate patrons who run both parties. And Trump caught some important features of this situation in his statement of the subject:

Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first – not wealthy globetrotting donors. We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own. That must change. Here are the three core principles of real immigration reform:

  1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
  2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
  3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Financial transfers from illegal immigrants abroad

His position on Mexico is concentrated on illegal immigration:

Compelling Mexico to Pay for the Wall

Introduction: The provision of the Patriot Act, Section 326 - the "know your customer" provision, compelling financial institutions to demand identity documents before opening accounts or conducting financial transactions is a fundamental element of the outline below. That section authorized the executive branch to issue detailed regulations on the subject, found at 31 CFR 130.120-121. It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year. There are several ways to compel Mexico to pay for the wall including the following:

Conclusion: Mexico has taken advantage of us in another way as well: gangs, drug traffickers and cartels have freely exploited our open borders and committed vast numbers of crimes inside the United States. The United States has borne the extraordinary daily cost of this criminal activity, including the cost of trials and incarcerations. Not to mention the even greater human cost. We have the moral high ground here, and all the leverage. It is time we use it in order to Make America Great Again.

Healthcare reform

Trump position of healthcare report is based on increasing the role of states instead of federal goverment in providing the citizens with adequate healthcare protection. In other word decentralizing the healthcare to the state level:

Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again

Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare. This legislation, passed by totally partisan votes in the House and Senate and signed into law by the most divisive and partisan President in American history, has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices. Obamacare has raised the economic uncertainty of every single person residing in this country. As it appears Obamacare is certain to collapse of its own weight, the damage done by the Democrats and President Obama, and abetted by the Supreme Court, will be difficult to repair unless the next President and a Republican congress lead the effort to bring much-needed free market reforms to the healthcare industry.

But none of these positive reforms can be accomplished without Obamacare repeal. On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.

However, it is not enough to simply repeal this terrible legislation. We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country. By following free market principles and working together to create sound public policy that will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.

Any reform effort must begin with Congress. Since Obamacare became law, conservative Republicans have been offering reforms that can be delivered individually or as part of more comprehensive reform efforts. In the remaining sections of this policy paper, several reforms will be offered that should be considered by Congress so that on the first day of the Trump Administration, we can start the process of restoring faith in government and economic liberty to the people.

Congress must act. Our elected representatives in the House and Senate must:

  1. Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
  2. Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.
  3. Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions? As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.
  4. Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate. These accounts would become part of the estate of the individual and could be passed on to heirs without fear of any death penalty. These plans should be particularly attractive to young people who are healthy and can afford high-deductible insurance plans. These funds can be used by any member of a family without penalty. The flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.
  5. Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.
  6. Block-grant Medicaid to the states. Nearly every state already offers benefits beyond what is required in the current Medicaid structure. The state governments know their people best and can manage the administration of Medicaid far better without federal overhead. States will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse to preserve our precious resources.
  7. Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.

The reforms outlined above will lower healthcare costs for all Americans. They are simply a place to start. There are other reforms that might be considered if they serve to lower costs, remove uncertainty and provide financial security for all Americans. And we must also take actions in other policy areas to lower healthcare costs and burdens. Enforcing immigration laws, eliminating fraud and waste and energizing the ecoomy will relieve the economic pressures felt by every American. It is the moral responsibility of a nation’s government to do what is best for the people and what is in the interest of securing the future of the nation.

Providing healthcare to illegal immigrants costs us some $11 billion annually. If we were to simply enforce the current immigration laws and restrict the unbridled granting of visas to this country, we could relieve healthcare cost pressures on state and local governments.

To reduce the number of individuals needing access to programs like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program we will need to install programs that grow the economy and bring capital and jobs back to America. The best social program has always been a job – and taking care of our economy will go a long way towards reducing our dependence on public health programs.

Finally, we need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones. There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support.

To reform healthcare in America, we need a President who has the leadership skills, will and courage to engage the American people and convince Congress to do what is best for the country. These straightforward reforms, along with many others I have proposed throughout my campaign, will ensure that together we will Make America Great Again.

Here devil is in derails: while general premise about decentralization is a valid one, federal government have far larger negotiating power with pharmaceuticals and medical providers. which pay play states, especially small one, as they wish.

Tax reform

Donald Trump tax reform is impossible without dramatic cut of military expenditures. It also closes several loopholes for large corporations. As for elimination of death tax (which is a bad move) we need to remember that this tax is successfully bypassed by very rich right now via blind trusts and other schemes. Essentially only upper middle class is paying death tax now.

Too few Americans are working, too many jobs have been shipped overseas, and too many middle class families cannot make ends meet. This tax plan directly meets these challenges with four simple goals:

  1. Tax relief for middle class Americans: In order to achieve the American dream, let people keep more money in their pockets and increase after-tax wages.
  2. Simplify the tax code to reduce the headaches Americans face in preparing their taxes and let everyone keep more of their money.
  3. Grow the American economy by discouraging corporate inversions, adding a huge number of new jobs, and making America globally competitive again.
  4. Doesn’t add to our debt and deficit, which are already too large.

The Trump Tax Plan Achieves These Goals

  1. If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax. That removes nearly 75 million households – over 50% – from the income tax rolls. They get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, “I win,” those who would otherwise owe income taxes will save an average of nearly $1,000 each.
  2. All other Americans will get a simpler tax code with four brackets – 0%, 10%, 20% and 25% – instead of the current seven. This new tax code eliminates the marriage penalty and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) while providing the lowest tax rate since before World War II.
  3. No business of any size, from a Fortune 500 to a mom and pop shop to a freelancer living job to job, will pay more than 15% of their business income in taxes. This lower rate makes corporate inversions unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world.
  4. No family will have to pay the death tax. You earned and saved that money for your family, not the government. You paid taxes on it when you earned it.

The Trump Tax Plan Is Revenue Neutral

The Trump tax cuts are fully paid for by:

  1. Reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich.
  2. A one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10% tax rate, followed by an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad.
  3. Reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests, as well as deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on corporations and business income. We will also phase in a reasonable cap on the deductibility of business interest expenses

Trump foreign policy platform

Trump rejects neocon platform of forcefully converting all states into neoliberal protectorates using color revolutions and brute military force. With the exception of Iran, which for some reason he hates so much, that he can risk a war with it, he speaks more like a paleoconservative. His focus in relations with China, while also hawkish in more about trade balance and "bringing jobs home" issues, not so much on military adventures (U.S.-China Trade Reform Donald J Trump for President):

How We Got Here: Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook

In January 2000, President Bill Clinton boldly promised China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) “is a good deal for America. Our products will gain better access to China’s market, and every sector from agriculture, to telecommunications, to automobiles. But China gains no new market access to the United States.” None of what President Clinton promised came true. Since China joined the WTO, Americans have witnessed the closure of more than 50,000 factories and the loss of tens of millions of jobs. It was not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now. It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.

The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.

The Goal Of The Trump Plan: Fighting For American Businesses And Workers

America has always been a trading nation. Under the Trump administration trade will flourish. However, for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability. America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor.

If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality.

When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete.

The Trump Plan Will Achieve The Following Goals:

  1. Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
  2. Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
  3. Reclaim millions of American jobs and reviving American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.
  4. Strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.

Details of Donald J. Trump’s US China Trade Plan:

Declare China A Currency Manipulator

We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship. President Obama’s Treasury Department has repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator – a move that would force China to stop these unfair practices or face tough countervailing duties that level the playing field.

Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%. This grossly undervalued yuan gives Chinese exporters a huge advantage while imposing the equivalent of a heavy tariff on U.S. exports to China. Such currency manipulation, in concert with China’s other unfair practices, has resulted in chronic U.S. trade deficits, a severe weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and the loss of tens of millions of American jobs.

In a system of truly free trade and floating exchange rates like a Trump administration would support, America's massive trade deficit with China would not persist. On day one of the Trump administration the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China as a currency manipulator. This will begin a process that imposes appropriate countervailing duties on artificially cheap Chinese products, defends U.S. manufacturers and workers, and revitalizes job growth in America. We must stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians. The U.S. Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator will force China to the negotiating table and open the door to a fair – and far better – trading relationship.

End China’s Intellectual Property Violations

China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property may be the greatest transfer of wealth in history. This theft costs the U.S. over $300 billion and millions of jobs each year. China’s government ignores this rampant cybercrime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it –without any real consequences. China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security. We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal.

The Chinese government also forces American companies like Boeing, GE, and Intel to transfer proprietary technologies to Chinese competitors as a condition of entry into the Chinese market. Such de facto intellectual property theft represents a brazen violation of WTO and international rules. China’s forced technology transfer policy is absolutely ridiculous. Going forward, we will adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer. If China wants to trade with America, they must agree to stop stealing and to play by the rules.

Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages

Chinese manufacturers and other exporters receive numerous illegal export subsidies from the Chinese government. These include - in direct contradiction to WTO rules - free or nearly free rent, utilities, raw materials, and many other services. China’s state-run banks routinely extend loans these enterprises at below market rates or without the expectation they will be repaid. China even offers them illegal tax breaks or rebates as well as cash bonuses to stimulate exports.

China’s illegal export subsidies intentionally distorts international trade and damages other countries’ exports by giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage. From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America.

The U.S. Trade Representative recently filed yet another complaint with the WTO accusing China of cheating on our trade agreements by subsidizing its exports. The Trump administration will not wait for an international body to tell us what we already know. To gain negotiating leverage, we will pursue the WTO case and aggressively highlight and expose these subsidies.

China’s woeful lack of reasonable environmental and labor standards represent yet another form of unacceptable export subsidy. How can American manufacturers, who must meet very high standards, possibly compete with Chinese companies that care nothing about their workers or the environment? We will challenge China to join the 21 st Century when it comes to such standards.

The Trump Plan Will Strengthen Our Negotiating Position

As the world’s most important economy and consumer of goods, America must always negotiate trade agreements from strength. Branding China as a currency manipulator and exposing their unfair trade practices is not enough. In order to further strengthen our negotiating leverage, the Trump plan will:

  1. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% to unleash American ingenuity here at home and make us more globally competitive. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current burdensome rate that pushes companies and jobs offshore.
  2. Attack our debt and deficit by vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Federal government, ending redundant government programs, and growing the economy to increase tax revenues. Closing the deficit and reducing our debt will mean China cannot blackmail us with our own Treasury bonds.
  3. Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas. These actions will discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationship with China. A strong military presence will be a clear signal to China and other nations in Asia and around the world that America is back in the global leadership business.

Here are some additional details from Russophobic Guardian presstitute Shawn Walker (The Guardian, July 7, 2016):

Page, an investment banker who previously worked in Russia, insisted he was in Russia on a private visit, although he is likely to meet Russian officials when he gives the commencement speech at the New Economic School in Moscow on Friday. He refused to comment on whether he had any meetings with officials planned.

... ... ...

Trump himself has has often praised the Russian leader during the campaign, saying in a December interview “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country”.

The presumptive Republican nominee has expressed his confidence that he would build a good relationship with the Russian president telling reporters last year: “I think I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”

He also defended the Russian leader against accusations that Putin has ordered the killing of journalists, telling ABC News “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been – you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the names,”

The announced topic of Page’s discussion was “the evolution of the world economy”, but much of it involved semi-coherent analysis of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

In passing, Page castigated the US for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and pursuing "regime change" in former Soviet countries. He said Russia and the US could have better relations in future, but this would be “contingent upon US’s refocus toward resolution of domestic challenges”. However, when pressed on details he was evasive.

In March, Page told Bloomberg that his experience on the ground doing deals in Russia and Central Asia would make him better placed to give advice than “people from afar, sitting in the comfort of their think tanks in Washington”. It is unclear how close he is to Trump and how much weight his advice holds with the presidential candidate.

Page repeatedly emphasised that he was in Russia as a private citizen rather than as an emissary of Trump. However, it is connections with the presidential candidate which prompted the New Economic School to invite him to give their keynote annual speech. In previous years, the commencement speeches at the university have been given by high-profile figures, including Barack Obama in 2009.

In December, Putin referred to Trump as a “colourful” person who was the “absolute leader” of the US presidential race, comments which prompted Trump to respond in turn that he was flattered by the praise. “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia,” Trump said, adding incorrectly that Putin had called him a “genius”.

Last month, Putin clarified the comments, saying he had not endorsed Trump, but welcomed his stance on relations with Russia.

“Here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?”

Trump on free trade and victims of globalization

From Gaius Publius When Trump Talks Trade, Voters Listen naked capitalism

Before you read, though, take a moment to watch less than two minutes of Donald Trump above, from his victory speech after winning in Michigan and Mississippi. I’ve cued it up to start at the remarks I want to highlight, Trump discussing our trade deficit.

Now Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian. He starts by noting the utter invisibility of real working Americans to our elite class, including our media elites, and especially our liberal media elites (my emphasis throughout):

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why

When he isn’t spewing insults, the Republican frontrunner is hammering home a powerful message about free trade and its victims

Let us now address the greatest American mystery at the moment: what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump?

I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook. The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to “engage” a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person’s responses to his questions.

When members of the professional class wish to understand the working-class Other, they traditionally consult experts on the subject. And when these authorities are asked to explain the Trump movement, they always seem to zero in on one main accusation: bigotry. Only racism, they tell us, is capable of powering a movement like Trump’s, which is blowing through the inherited structure of the Republican party like a tornado through a cluster of McMansions.

The conclusion of these writers is this:

The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.

And yet…

A lot of people are racists, including those not supporting Trump. But people have other concerns as well, especially working people. They are dying faster than they used to, from drugs and despair, and they fear for their jobs and their families, for very good reasons. This economy is failing them.

They also hate — and understand — “free trade.”

Trump Also Talks Trade

Donald Trump talks about more than just race and immigration. He talks about trade and the trade deficit, an issue that powered Bernie Sanders to his Michigan victory as well. From the New York Times:

Trade and Jobs Key to Victory for Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate had campaigned in Traverse City, Mich., in decades until Senator Bernie Sanders pulled up to the concert hall near the Sears store on Friday. Some 2,000 people mobbed him when he arrived, roaring in approval as he called the country’s trade policies, and Hillary Clinton’s support for them, “disastrous.”

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Sanders said in Traverse City, about 250 miles north of Detroit.

Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

There is no question — America’s billionaire-friendly, job-destroying trade policy is toxic — again, literally. That’s why Obama and his bipartisan “free trade” enablers in Congress have to pass TPP, if they can, in post-election lame duck session. TPP is also toxic to political careers, and only lame ducks and the recently-elected can vote for it.

Frank again on Trump:

Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.

Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame. He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about … trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

On the subject more generally, Frank adds:

Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream.

To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs.

As I watched it, I thought of all the arguments over trade that we’ve had in this country since the early 1990s, all the sweet words from our economists about the scientifically proven benevolence of free trade, all the ways in which our newspapers mock people who say that treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement allow companies to move jobs to Mexico.

Well, here is a video of a company moving its jobs to Mexico, courtesy of Nafta. This is what it looks like. The Carrier executive talks in that familiar and highly professional HR language about the need to “stay competitive” and “the extremely price-sensitive marketplace.” A worker shouts “Fuck you!” at the executive. The executive asks people to please be quiet so he can “share” his “information”. His information about all of them losing their jobs.

Frank goes to greater length, and again, please click through. But you get the idea. This is what Trump is speaking to, whether he means what he says or not, and this is what his voters are responding to, whether they like his racism or not. After all, haven’t you, at least once, voted for someone with qualities you dislike because of policies you do like?

Whose Fault Is This? Both Parties, But Especially the Democratic Elites

One final point. Frank takes on the issue of responsibility:

Trump’s words articulate the populist backlash against liberalism that has been building slowly for decades … Yet still we cannot bring ourselves to look the thing in the eyes. We cannot admit that we liberals bear some [or most] of the blame for its emergence, for the frustration of the working-class millions, for their blighted cities and their downward spiraling lives. So much easier to scold them for their twisted racist souls, to close our eyes to the obvious reality of which Trump_vs_deep_state is just a crude and ugly expression: that neoliberalism has well and truly failed.

I am certain, if this comes up in a general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, she could very likely get her clock cleaned; not certainly, but certainly very likely. First, she can only equivocate, and Trump will have none of it. (Trump: “Let me understand. You were for this before you were against it? So … will you be for it again next year? I’m just trying to understand.”)

Second, this is a change election, Trump is one of only two change candidates in the race, and Clinton is not the other one.

Here’s that Carrier Air Conditioning “we’re moving to Mexico” video that Frank mentioned above. Take a look, but prepare to feel some pain as you watch:

Trump and Republican Establishment

All republican establishment candidates were neocons and die-in-the-wool neoliberals (neoconservative is just a neoliberal with the gun :-). This time this did not play well with Republican voters, who rejected them in favor of Trump. Hillary Clinton is now viewed as successor of Obama, who is the king of "bait and switch" hated by many. Both are closet "moderate Republicans", both are neocons. Actually Hillary is a staunch neocon. There is no war she did not like. May be this is an attempt of overcompensation for being a female, but this is a provable fact.

Especially humiliating was the defeat of Jeb Bush who represented old party establishment. After that the GOP establishment, confronted by an electorate that rejected its platform of interventionalist wars, neoliberal globalization and austerity was forced to bet of Ted Cruz, a man with grassroots strength in key early primary states (via his Tea Party links) but few friends in Washington. A man that they hated. That did not play well iether.

Trump chances vs Hillary Clinton

Trump really has chances against Hillary Clinton ( much less against less jingoistic candidate), because Democratic Party switched from New Deal ideology to neoliberalism under Bill Clinton and betrayed working class and large swat of working class (and probably more then 50% of members of unions) and even part of professional class squeezed by globalization. Democrat do no understand that they essentially pushed the voters to support Trump, making his victory to certain extent inevitable. They created Trump. Obama made a word "hope" a cruel joke and that means that people who have nowhere to go in Democratic Party suddenly looked at Trump and decided -- "f*ck" Obama and his successor Hillary. F*ck Democratic Party. I am voting against those bastards -- I'm voting for Trump. Union brass can't control how union members vote. The fact is that blue color workers are increasingly rejecting Democratic Party who became the party of upper professionals and financial oligarchy. They will voting for Trump. Also Obama proved to be weak, decietful president, which futher diminishes Hillary chances. After his very questionable second perm, during which he managed top betray his electorate several times (TPP was the last) to win election for Democrats is uphill battle. That gives Trump a chance. Professor Helmut Norpoth put thisa line of reasoning best in his article My model shows Donald Trump has an 87 percent chance of beating Hillary ClintonNewsday

My advice: Beware of pollsters bearing forecasts, especially anyone trying to peek into the future, especially those with money to bet.

Some 20 years ago, I constructed a formula, The Primary Model, that has predicted the winner of the popular vote in all five presidential elections since it was introduced. It is based on elections dating to 1912. The formula was wrong only once: The 1960 election. That one hurt because John F. Kennedy was my preferred candidate.

The Primary Model consists of two ingredients: The swing of the electoral pendulum, and the outcomes of primaries.

You can see the pendulum work with the naked eye. After two terms in office, the presidential party in power loses more often than not. In fact, over the past 65 years, it managed to win a third term only once. In 1988, President George H.W. Bush extended Ronald Reagan’s presidency by one more term. Reagan made this possible by winning re-election by a bigger margin than when he first got elected. That spells continuity, a desire for more of the same.

President Barack Obama has not left such a legacy for a Democratic successor. He did worse in his re-election victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 than when he beat John McCain in 2008. That spells, “It’s Time for a Change!” The pendulum points to the GOP in 2016, no matter whether the candidate was named Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich or whoever.

Now add the outcomes of presidential primaries. Although some experts claim primary votes have no bearing on general elections, the fact is that primaries prove uncanny in forecasting the winner in November. Take the first election with a significant number of primaries, in 1912. In November that year, Woodrow Wilson, the winner in Democratic primaries, defeated William Howard Taft, the loser in Republican primaries; Taft was renominated since most states then did not use primaries. In general, the party with the stronger primary candidate wins the general election.

This year, Trump has wound up as the stronger of the two presidential nominees. He won many more primaries than did Clinton. In fact, this was apparent as early as early March. Trump handily won the first two primaries, New Hampshire and South Carolina, while Clinton badly lost New Hampshire to Sen. Bernie Sanders before beating him in South Carolina.

The Primary Model predicts that Trump will defeat Clinton with 87 percent certainty. He is the candidate of change. When voters demand change, they are willing to overlook many foibles of the change candidate. At the same time, the candidate who touts experience will get more intense scrutiny for any missteps and suspicions of misconduct of the record of experience.

Trump may be lucky to have picked an election in which change trumps experience and experience may prove to be a mixed blessing.

Helmut Norpoth is the director of undergraduate studies and political science professor at Stony Brook University.

At the same time neoliberals and neocons are still strong. And they have a lot to lose. There is a very powerful neocon strata in Washington DC -- the people who are essentially unregistered lobbyists for military industrial complex. They totally control DNC. So they can resort to dirty tricks.

So they have a position to put a good fight. Moreover, for Hillary personally, losing might well mean getting prison term. And for Obama this turn does not look too promising as well. He has some skeletons in the closet that Hillary will not touch but Trump might. And fear is a powerful motivating factor.

In any case election politics in America is a dirty business. The winners are the ones who play the rigged game best, who have the biggest financial backers, who are willing to do the bidding for those corporate masters. Hillary Clinton is not the peace president. She’s a militarist and hawk and never met a war she didn’t like. So she has full support of militry industrila complex (neocons are just salesmen of this complex; poor reformed Trotskyites losr any decency). Neocons are pushing the memo that Donald Trump is unqualified, Donald Trump is scary, Donald Trump is unstable, Donald Trump is crazy narrative hard. Despite the long list of Donald defects, the American electorate still likes what Trump is selling. The way that the Russia-Trump storyline has been pounded into our consciousness by the media and the Democratic Party, including at the convention in prime time, is a calculated effort to take our eye off the ball and is a classic “shoot the messenger” tactic.

This time there are issues with Hillary Clinton as a prototypical Democratic establishment candidate. She is quintessential neoliberal, like in case of Bill clinton neoliberalism in her veins. She can't change this, even if she want. She is totally brainwashed with neoliberalism, much like some bolshevisks in the past were brainwashed with Communist ideology. Since Bill Clinton such candidates attract Democratic voters because they have nobody else to vote for. Actually this was an idea of sell-out of Democratic Party to Wall Street accomplished by Bill Clinton. But this time is different. Probably half of votes for Sanders in primaries would never vote for Hillary. All she can count on are Republican votes who oppose Trump. But with her emailgate scandal she is losing them. If she lose her security clearness, or worse will face criminal changes for perjury, that will be a knockdown .

Now most Democratic voters understand that she will betrays them like Obama so successfully did during his two terms in the office. And that will happen during the first minute she is in office. So they are more inclined to vote for the third party candidate, such as Jill Stein, or can "write-in" Sanders. There are also three scandals that hurt her chances in November (although MSM tries to downplay them):

And the level of hate toward Hillary Clinton reflects the understanding of voters that she, as the establishment candidate, who symbolizes the neoliberal status quo. It's really funny that neoliberal MSM can't play the "corruption" card against Trump: it is extremely difficult to match Clintons in corruption.

Another problem for neoliberal MSM is the Dems elite corruption is much larger than just Clinton, or Debbie Wasserman Schultz. At the heart of the matter is a political party that is undemocratic and corrupt to the core – one that answers only to Wall Street, not middle class or God forbid, working people as any real Democrats should do. It's the second most pro-neoliberal party in the world, after the Republican Party. For all practical purposes is a moderate faction of the Republican Party.

Hillary Clinton stands to the right of Eisenhower Republicans in all major policy areas. Bill Clinton was a staunch neoliberal who "triangulated" (read sold) his presidency to Wall Street and deregulated the economy, empowering the financial oligarchy. He had demolished Aid to Families With Dependent Children and bought into the bash-the-poor rhetoric of the right wing. He had passed a crime bill that targeted people of color; he had destroyed FDR's New Deal legacy, notably by abolishing the Glass-Steagall Act. And he was so "tough on crime" that during the 1992 presidential campaign season, he had gone back to his home state of Arkansas to witness the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, who was "mentally deficient." Bill Clinton might not have inhaled marijuana, but he certainly had inhaled the neoliberal ideology. Hillary is the same, but in addition is a notable, pathological war hawk. Which strangely enough is a feature of all three last female Secretaries of State stating from Madeleine Albright. It would be a huge challenge to find more jingoistic women then this troika. Talk about "unnatural selection" here :-).

In comparison with her Donald Trump looks like a real statesman, who understands that "war is a racket and always was". Obomber bombed 7 countries during his presidency so those who are afraid of Trump as a president should understand that is difficult to match Obomber record. As Jill Stain said

"Trump says very scary things—deporting immigrants, massive militarism and, you know, ignoring the climate," Stein explained on Democracy Now. "Well, Hillary, unfortunately, has a track record for doing all of those things. Hillary has supported the deportations of immigrants, opposed the refugees—women and children coming from Honduras, whose refugee crisis she was very much responsible for by giving a thumbs-up to this corporate coup in Honduras that has created the violence from which those refugees are fleeing. She basically said, 'No, bar the gates, send them back.' You know, so we see these draconian things that Donald Trump is talking about, we actually see Hillary Clinton doing."

Stein also brought up Clinton's militarism. "And it's not only the militarism that Trump talks about, it's Hillary's massive record of militarism," she continued. Obama made the mistake of intervening in Libya, but in a recent interview with The Atlantic, he admitted, "It didn't work," and "Libya is a mess." Clinton, however, has never expressed second thoughts. (Why Is Hillary Clinton Still a Hawk - Reason.com )

During his recent visit to Chicago, I asked Landler about her ability to confront the possibility she was wrong.

"I don't find the same evidence of a learning curve with her," he said. "I would have liked to see a little more introspection from her on that, because I think that's the key case where she led the charge, it didn't go the way they hoped it would and there are some really important lessons to be drawn."

In that instance, she apparently didn't learn from our failed military intervention. If she becomes president, I'm guessing, she'll get another chance.

We should try our best not be victims of neoliberal MSM propaganda campaign aimed to discourage voting for Trump and for the third party.

No matter how Democratic Party loyalists try to spin it, the blame for a Trump win will fall on the corrupt Democratic Party establishment. It is no accident that the vast majority of Super-delegates have steadfastly stood by Hillary, warts and all.

Trump meme "Crooked Hillary" -- a powerful play on general distrust of Hillary Clinton Candidacy

American voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton. Trump meme "crooked Hillary is a powerul mem that suggest that Clinton is unelectable. 53.8% of all American voters have an “unfavorable” view of Hillary Clinton. 67% of American voters find Hillary Clinton “not honest and not trustworthy,” compared with 59% for Donald Trump. Yes, more people trust Donald Trump.

After all, it’s difficult to trust a politician who completely fabricated a story about being fired upon by snipers. Like POLITIFACT states, “it’s hard to understand how she could err on something so significant as whether she did or didn’t dodge sniper bullets.”

Attempts to lure Sanders supporters71% of men and 64% of women find Clinton “not honest and trustworthy.”

Trump attempts to lure Sanders supporters

Most Sanders supporters approve foreign policy program of Donald Trump (non interventionism) and agree of some issues of domestic policy (job creation, the necessity to limit transnationals corporation and treaties like TPP that Obama pushes so hard). On other issue they are not close. Still they are united by their rejection of establishment and the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump brilliantly played the betrayal of Bernie Sunders of his supporters with just a single Tweet, which is worth a dozen of prime time commercials: Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs

Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs -- Donald Trump

Trump also tried to lure former Sanders backers during his address to the GOP convention, emphasizing his anti-establishment stance and his questioning of free trade deals. that can sure some Democrats who are unhappy with Clinton and, especially, Kaine, a staunch supporter of neoliberal globalization who is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

"The Bernie Sanders supporters are furious with the choice of Tim Kaine, who represents the opposite of what Bernie stands for," Trump tweeted. "Tim Kaine is, and always has been, owned by the banks," he wrote, taunting, "Philly fight?"


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jun 19, 2019] Investigation Nation Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics by Jim Kavanagh

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... You might think the Democratic Party would be horrified at this result, which one conservative analyst calls: "one of the greatest self-defeating acts in history." You might think Democrats would now move quickly and decisively toward a strategy of offering a substantive political alternative, and abandon this awful own-goal Mueller/Russiagate tack that has already helped Trump immensely (and which they are not going to turn their way). That is obviously what would happen if the Democrats' main goal was to defeat Trump. But it isn't. ..."
"... As discussed above, the Democratic establishment's' main goal throughout this was not to "get" Trump, but to channel its own voters' disgust with him into support for some halcyon, liberal, status quo ante-Trump, and away from left demands for a radical change to the social, economic, and political conditions that produced him and his clueless establishment opponent in 2016. The Democrats' goal was, and is, not to defeat Trump, but to stave off the left. ..."
"... The Democrats' main goal in all this is not to impeach, or stop the re-election of, Donald Trump; it's to prevent the nomination and election of Bernie Sanders, or anyone like him. ..."
"... You mean the five million people who voted for Obama in 2012, in the 90% of counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012, but would not vote for Hillary in 2019, aren’t streaming back into—are indeed still streaming out of—the Democratic Party, despite all the Mueller investigation has done for them? Imagine that. ..."
"... What has Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation wrought? It’s either a shrewd political gambit sure to take down Trump, or it’s ridiculous political theater leading Democrats, and the country, over another cliff. Double-down or leave that table? ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
So the Mueller investigation is over. The official "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" has been written, and is in the hands of Attorney General William Barr, who has issued a summary of its findings. On the core mandate of the investigation, given to Special Counsel Mueller by Rod Rosenstein as Acting Attorney General in May of 2017 -- to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" -- the takeaway conclusion stated in the Mueller report, as quoted in the Barr summary, is that "[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.1"

In the footnote indicated at the end of that sentence, Barr further clarifies the comprehensive meaning of that conclusion, again quoting the Report's own words: "In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign 'coordinated' with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined 'coordination' as an 'agreement -- tacit or express -- between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference'."

Barr restates the point of the cited conclusion from the Mueller Report a number of times: "The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA [Internet Research Agency, the indicted Russian clickbait operation] in its efforts."

Thus, the Mueller investigation found no "conspiracy," no "coordination," -- i.e., no "collusion" -- "tacit or express" between the Trump campaign or any U.S. person and the Russian government. The Mueller investigation did not make, seal, or recommend any indictment for any U.S. person for any such crime.

This is as clear and forceful a repudiation as one can get of the "collusion" narrative that has been insistently shoved down our throats by the Democratic Party, its McResistance, its allied media, and its allied intelligence and national security agencies and officials. Whatever one wants to say about any other aspect of this investigation -- campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice, etc. -- they were not the main saga for the past two+ years as spun by the Russiagaters. The core narrative was that Donald Trump was some kind of Russian agent or asset, arguably guilty of treason and taking orders from his handler/blackmailer Vladimir Putin, who conspired with him to steal the 2016 election, and, furthermore, that Saint Mueller and his investigation team of patriotic FBI/CIA agents were going to find the goods that would have the Donald taken out of the White House in handcuffs for that.

Keith Olbermann's spectacular rant in January 2017 defined the core narrative and exemplified the Trump Derangement Syndrome that powered it: an emotional, visceral hatred of Donald Trump wrapped in the fantasy -- insisted upon as "elemental, existential fact" -- that he was "put in power by Vladimir Putin." A projection and deflection, I would say, of liberals' self-hatred for creating the conditions -- eight years of war and wealth transfer capped off by a despised and entitled candidate -- that allowed a vapid clown like Trump to be elected. It couldn't be our fault! It must have been Putin who arranged it!

Here's a highlight of Keith's delusional discourse. But, please watch the whole six-minute video below. They may have been a bit calmer, but this is the fundamental lunacy that was exuding from the rhetorical pores of Rachel, Chris, and Co. day after day for two+ years:

The military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum, who are beholden to scum, Russian scum! As things are today January 20th will not be an inauguration but rather the end of the United States as an independent country. Donald John Trump is not a president; he is a puppet, put in power by Vladimir Putin. Those who ignore these elemental, existential facts -- Democrats or Republicans -- are traitors to this country. [Emphases in original. Really, watch it.]

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IAFxPXGDH4E

This -- Trump's secret, treasonous collusion with Putin, and not hush money or campaign finance violations or "obstruction of justice" or his obvious overall sleaziness -- was Russiagate.

Russiagate is Dead! Long Live Russiagate!

And it still is. Here's the demonstration in New York last Thursday, convened by the MoveOn/Maddow #Resistance, singing from "the hymnal" about how Trump is a "Russian whore" who is "busy blowing Vladimir":

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9YZ9kiJ88LM

This is delusional lunacy.

Here are the three lines of excuse and denial currently being fired off by diehard Russiagaters in their fighting retreat, and my responses to them.

1. The Mueller Report is irrelevant, anyhow. 'Cause either A) Per Congressional blowhard Adam Schiff: There already "is direct evidence" proving Trump-Russia collusion, dating from before the Mueller Investigation, so who cares what that doesn't find; or B) (My personal favorite) Per former prosecutor and CNN legal expert Renato Mariotti: Of course there is no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and it's "your fault" for letting Trump fool you into thinking Mueller's job was to find it. (The Mueller "collusion" investigation was a red herring orchestrated/promoted by Trump! I cannot make this up.)

Mueller's report will almost certainly disappoint you, and it's not his fault. It's your fault for buying into Trump's false narrative that it is Mueller's' job to prove "collusion," a nearly impossible bar for any prosecutor to clear.

My piece in @TIME : https://t.co/VQ2WhhC996

-- Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 1, 2019

This is, of course, the weakest volley. It's absurd, patent bad faith, for Russiagaters to pretend that they knew, thought, or suggested the Mueller investigation was irrelevant. It is they who have been insisting that the integrity and super-sleuthiness of the "revered" Robert Mueller himself was the thing that would nail Donald Trump for Russian collusion. To now deny that any of that was important only acknowledges how thoroughly they have been fooling the American people and/or themselves for two years. Either Adam Schiff had the goods on Trump's traitorous Russian collusion two years ago, in which case he's got a lot of explaining to do about why he's been stringing us along with Mueller, or Schiff is just bluffing. Place your bets.

Russiagaters in 2017: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT MUELLER KNOWS
Russiagaters in 2018: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT MUELLER KNOWS
Russiagaters in 2019: Shut up Mueller, what would you know.

-- Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) March 22, 2019

2. The Mueller Report didn't exonerate Trump entirely. It was agnostic about whether Trump was guilty of "obstruction of justice," and there are probably many nasty things in the report that may not be provably criminal, but nonetheless demonstrate what a slimeball Trump is.

No, Russiagaters will not get away with denying that the core purpose of the Mueller investigation was to prove Trump's traitorous relation to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, which helped him win the 2016 election. They will not get away with denying that, if the Mueller investigation failed to prove that, it failed in its main purpose, as they constantly defined and reinforced it, with table-pounding, hyperventilating, and -- a few days ago! -- disco-dancing to "the hymnal."

They will not get away with trying to appropriate, as if it were their point all along, what the left critics of Russiagate have been saying for two+ years -- that Donald Trump is a slimeball grifter whose culpability for politically substantive and probably legally actionable crimes and misdemeanors should not be hard to establish, without reverting to the absurd accusation that he's a Russian agent.

These are the left critics of Russiagate and Trump, whom Russiagaters deliberately excluded from all their media platforms, in order to make it seem that only right-wing Trump supporters could be skeptical of Russiagate -- the left critics Russiagaters then excoriated as "Trump enablers" and "Putin apologists" for speaking on the only media platforms that would host them. Among them, Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Maté (who just deservedly won the I.F. Stone prize for his Russiagate coverage) were the most prominent, but many others, including me, made this point week after week (Brian Becker, Dave Lindorff, Dan Kovalik, Daniel Lazare, Ted Rall, to name a few). As I put it in an essay last year: "There are a thousand reasons to criticize Donald Trump That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. There are a number of very good justifications for seeking his impeachment That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them."

So, it's a particularly slimy for Russiagaters to slip into the position that we Russiagate skeptics have been enunciating, and they have been excluding, for two years, without acknowledging that we were right and they were wrong and accounting for their effort to edit us out.

3. But we haven't seen the whole Mueller Report! Barr may be fooling us! Mueller's own team says so! You are now doing what you accused us of doing for two years -- abandoning proper skepticism about Republicans like Barr and even Mueller (Yup. He's a suspicious Republican now!), and assuming a final result we have not yet seen.

This is the one the Russiagaters like the most. Gotcha with your own logic!

Well, let's first of all thank those who are saying this for, again, recognizing that we Russiagate critics had the right attitude toward such an investigation: cautious skepticism as opposed to false certainty. And let's linger for a moment or more on how belated that recognition is and what its delay cost.

But let's also recognize that what's being expressed here is the last-minute hope on the part of the Russiagaters that the Mueller report actually does contain dispositive evidence of Trump's treasonous Russian collusion. Because, again, that is the core accusation that hopeful Russiagaters are still singing about, and nobody ever argued that evidence of other hijinks was unlikely.

Well, that hope can only be realized if one or both of the following are true: 1) Barr's quotes from the report exonerating Trump of collusion are complete fabrications, or 2) Mueller both wrote those words even though they contradict the substance of his own report and declined to indict a single U.S. person for such "collusion" even though he could have.

Sure, in the abstract, one or both of those conditions could be true. But there is no evidence, none, that either is. The New York Times (NYT) report that set everyone aflutter about the "concern" from "some members of Mr. Mueller's team" is anonymous, unspecified, and second-hand. Read it carefully: The NYT did not report what any member of Mueller's team said, but what "government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations" said. Those "officials and others interviewed [not members of the Mueller team itself] declined to flesh out" to the NYT what "some of the special counsel's investigators" were unhappy about. To that empty hearsay, the NYT appends the phrase "although the report is believed to examine Mr. Trump's efforts to thwart the investigation" -- suggesting, but not stating, that obstruction of justice issues are the reasons for the investigators' "vexation." The NYT cannot state, because it does not know, anything. It is reporting empty hearsay that is evidence of nothing, but is meant to keep hope alive.

"[T]he report is believed to examine" is a particularly strange locution. Is the NYT suggesting that the Mueller report might not have examined obstruction of justice possibilities? Or is it just getting tangled up in its attempt to suggest this or that? Hey, it could just as well be true that Barr's characterization of what the Mueller Report says about "obstruction of justice" is a misleading fabrication. Maybe Mueller actually exonerated Trump of that. If you mistrust Barr's version of what the Mueller Report says about collusion, why not equally mistrust what it says about obstruction of justice?

There is no evidence that Barr's summary is radically misleading about the core collusion conclusion of the Mueller Report. The walls are closing in, alright, on that story. The I'm just being as cautious now as you were before! line is the opposite of the reasonable skepticism is claims to be; it's Russiagaters clinging to a wish and a belief that something they want to be true is, despite the determinate lack of any evidence.

It's not just the words; it's the melody, and the desperation in the voices. The core Trump-blowing-Vladimir collusion song that #Resisters are still singing is a fantastical fiction and the people still singing it are the pathetic choir on the Russiagate Titanic. And while they're singing as they sink, Trump is escaping in the lifeboat they have provided him. The single most definite and undeniable effect of the Mueller investigation on American politics has been to hand Donald Trump a potent political weapon for his 2020 re-election campaign. A real bombshell.

It would be funny, if it weren't so funny:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qjUvfZj-Fm0

But it's worse than that. The falsity of the Trump-as-a-Russian-agent narrative does not depend on any confidence in Mueller and his report or Barr and his summary. The truth is there was no Russiagate investigation, in the sense of a serious attempt to find out whether Donald Trump was taking orders from, or "coordinating" with, Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

No person in their right mind could believe that. Robert Mueller doesn't believe it. Nancy Pelosi doesn't believe it. Adam Schiff doesn't believe it. John Brennan, James Clapper, and the heads of intelligence agencies do not believe it. Not for a second. No knowledgeable international affairs journalist or academic who thinks about it for two minutes believes it. Sure, some politicians and media pundits did work themselves up into a state where they internalized and projected a belief in the narrative, but few of them really believed it. They were serving the Kool-Aid. Only the most gullible sectors of their target audience drank it.

With some exceptions, to be sure (Donald Trump among them), the people in the highest echelons of the state-media-academic apparatus are just not that stupid. And, most obvious and important, Vladimir Putin is not that stupid, and they know he is not. Vladimir Putin would never rely on Donald Trump to be his operative in a complex operation that required shrewdly playing and evading the US intelligence and media apparatuses. Nobody is that stupid. Thinking about it that way for a second dissipates the entire ridiculous idea. (Not to mention that Trump ended up enacting a number of policies -- many more than Obama! -- contrary to Russian interests.)

The obvious, which many people in the independent media and none in the mainstream media (because it is so obvious, and would have blown their game) have pointed out, is that any real investigation of Russiagate would have sought to talk with the principals who had direct knowledge of who is responsible for leaking the infamous DNC documents: Julian Assange and former British ambassador Craig Murray ("I know who leaked them. I've met the person who leaked them."). They were essentially two undisputed eyewitnesses to the crime Mueller was supposed to be investigating, and he made no effort to talk to either of them. Ipso facto, it was not really an investigation, not a project whole purpose was to find the truth about whatever the thing called "Russiagate" is supposed to be.

The Eternal Witch-hunt

It was a theater of discipline. Its purpose, which it achieved, was to discipline Trump, the Democratic electorate, and the media. Its method was fishing around in the muck of Washington consultants, lobbyists, and influence peddlers to generate indictments and plea bargains for crimes irrelevant to the core mandate. Not hard, in a carceral state where prosecutors can pin three felonies a day on anyone.

The US establishment, especially its national security arm, was genuinely shocked that their anointed candidate, Hillary, who was, as Glen Ford puts it "'all in' with the global military offensive" that Obama had run through Libya, Syria, and the coup in Ukraine, was defeated by a nitwit candidate who was making impermissibly non-aggressive noises about things like Russia and NATO, and who actually wanted to lose. For their part, the Democrats were horrified, and did not want to face the necessary reckoning about the complete failure of their candidate, and the best-of-all-possible-liberaloid-worlds strategy she personified.

So, "within 24 hours of her concession speech" Hillary's campaign team (Robby Mook and John Podesta) created a "script they would pitch to the press and the public" to explain why she lost. "Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument." A few months later, a coalition of congressional Democrats,, establishment Republicans, and intelligence/natsec professionals pressured Trump (who, we can now see clearly, is putty in the hands of the latter) to initiate a Special Counsel investigation. Its ostensible goal was to investigate Russian collusion, but its real goals were:

1) To discipline Trump, preventing any backpedaling on NATO/imperialist war-mongering against Russia or any other target. Frankly, I think this was unnecessary. Trump never had any depth of principle in his remarks about de-escalating with Russia and Syria. He was always a staunch American exceptionalist and Zionist. Nobody has forced him (that's a right-wing fantasy) to attack Syria, appoint John Bolton, recognize Israeli authority over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, or threaten Iran and Venezuela. But the natsec deep state actors did (and do) not trust Trump's impulsiveness. They probably also thought it would be useful to "send a message" to Russia, which, in their arrogance, they think they can, but they cannot, "discipline," as I've discussed in a previous essay.

2) To discipline the media, making "Russian collusion," as Off-Guardian journalist Kit Knightly says, "a concept that keeps everyone in check." Thus, a Russophobia-related McCarthyite hysteria was engendered that defined any strong anti-interventionist or anti-establishment sentiment as Russian-sown "divisiveness" and "Putin apologetics." This discipline was eagerly accepted by the mainstream media, which joined in the related drive to demand new forms of censorship for independent and internet media. The epitome of this is the mainstream media's execrable, tacit and sometimes explicit acceptance of the US government's campaign to prosecute Julian Assange.

3) To discipline and corral the Democratic constituency. Establishment Dems riled up outraged progressives with deceptive implied promises to take Trump down based on the collusion fiction, which excused Hillary and diverted their attention from the real egregious failures and crimes that led their party to political ruin, and culminated in the election of Trump in the first place. This discipline also instituted a #Resistance to Trump that involved the party doing nothing substantively progressive in policy -- indeed, it allowed embracing Trump's most egregious militarism and promoting an alliance with, a positive reverence for, the most deceptive and reactionary institutions of the state.

Finally, incorporating point 2, perhaps the main point of this discipline -- indeed of the whole Mueller enterprise -- was to stigmatize the leftists and socialists in and around the party, who were questioning the collusion fiction and calling critical attention to the party's failures, as crypto-fascist "Trump enablers" or "Putin's useful idiots." It's all about fencing out the left and corralling the base.

Note the point regarding the deceptive implications about taking down Trump. Though they gave the opposite impression to rile up their constituents, Democratic Congressional leaders, for the reasons given above and others I laid out in a previous essay, did not think for a second they were going to impeach Trump. They were never really after impeaching Trump; they were and are after stringing along their dissatisfied progressive-minded voters. They, not Trump, were and are the target of the foolery.

We should recognize that Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation achieved all of these goals, and was therefore a great success. That's the case whatever part of the Mueller Report is summarized and released, and whoever interprets it. The whole report with all of the underlying evidence cannot legally be released to the public, and the Democrats know that. So, even if the House gets it, the public will only ever see portions doled out by various interested parties.

Thus, it will continue to be a great success. There will be endless leaks, and interpretations of leaks, and arguments about the interpretations of leaks based on speculation about what's still hidden. The Mueller Investigation has morphed into the Mueller Report, a hermeneutical exercise that will go on forever.
The Mueller Investigation never happened and will never end.

It wasn't an investigation. It was/is an act of political theater, staged in an ongoing dramatic festival where, increasingly, litigation substitutes for politics. Neither party has anything of real, lasting, positive political substance to offer, and each finds itself in power only because it conned the electorate into thinking it offered something new. That results in every politician being vulnerable, but to a politically vacuous opposition that can only mount its attacks on largely politically irrelevant, often impossible to adjudicate, legalistic or moralistic grounds. Prosecutorial inquiry becomes a substitute for substantive political challenge.

It's the template that was established by the Republicans against Bill Clinton, has been adapted by the Democrats for Trump and Russiagate, and will be ceaselessly repeated. What's coming next, already hinted at in William Barr's congressional testimony, will be an investigation of FISAGate -- an inquiry into whether the FISA warrants for spying on the Trump campaign and administration were obtained legally ("adequately predicated"). And/or UkraineGate, about the evidence "Ukrainian law enforcement officials believe they have of wrongdoing by American Democrats and their allies in Kiev, ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes," involving Tony Podesta (who worked right alongside Paul Manafort in Ukraine), Hillary Clinton's campaign, Joe Biden and his son, et. al. And/or CampaignGate, the lawsuit claiming that Hillary's national campaign illegally took $84 million of "straw man" contributions made to state Democratic campaigns. And/or CraigGate, involving powerful Democratic fixer and Obama White House Counsel, Gregory Craig, who has already been referred to federal prosecutors by Mueller, and whose law firm has already paid a $4.6 million-dollar fine for making false statement and failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act -- for work he did in Ukraine with -- who else? -- Paul Manafort.

There are Gates galore. If you haven't heard about any of these simmering scandals in the way you've heard incessantly about, you know, Paul Manafort, perhaps that's because they didn't fit into the "get Trump" theme of the Mueller Investigation/Russiagate political theater. Rest assured the Republicans have, and will likely make sure that you do. If you think the Republicans do not have at least as much of a chance to make a serious case with some of these as Mueller did with Trump, you are wrong. If you think the Republicans will pursue any of these investigations because they have the same principled concern as the Democrats about foreign collusion in US elections, or the legality of campaign contributions or surveillance warrants, you are right. They have none. Like the Democrats, they have zero concern for the ostensible issues of principle, and infinite enthusiasm for mounting "gotcha" political theater.

Neither party really wants, or knows how, to engage in a sustained, principled debate on substantive political issues -- things like universal-coverage, single-payer health insurance, a job guarantee, a radical reduction of the military budget, an end to imperialist intervention, increasing taxes on the wealthy and lowering them for working people, a break from the "overwhelming" and destructive influence of Zionism, to name a few of the policies the Democratic congressional leadership could have insisted on "investigating" over the last two years..

Instead, both parties' political campaigns rely on otherizing appeals based on superficial identity politics (white-affirmative on the one hand, POC-affirmative on the other) and, mainly, on bashing the other party for all the problems it ignored or exacerbated, and all the terrible policies it enacted, when it was in power -- and for the version of superficial, otherizing identity politics it supposedly based those policies on (the real determinants of class power remaining invisible). What both parties know how and will continue to do is mount hypocritical legalistic and moralistic "investigations" of illegal campaign contributions, support from foreign governments, teenage make-out sessions, personal-space violations, et. al., that they are just "shocked, shocked" about.

It's Investigation Nation. Fake politics in the simulacrum of a democratic polity. Indeed, someone, of some political perspicuity, might just notice, if only for a flash, that the people who do pretty well politically are often the ones who frankly don't give a crap about all that. Maybe because they're talking to people who don't give a crap about all that. But we wouldn't want to confuse ourselves thinking on that for too long.

Which brings us to the last point about Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation mentioned above. It may not (or may!) have been an intended goal, but it has been its most definite political effect: The Mueller Investigation has been a great political gift to Donald Trump. #Resisters and Russiagaters can wriggle around that all they want. They can insist that, once we get the whole Report, we'll turn the corner, the bombshell will explode, the walls will close in -- for real, this time. Sure.

But even they can't deny that's the case right now. Trump is saying the Mueller investigation was a political counterattack against the result of the election, masquerading as a disinterested judicial investigation; that it was based on a flimsy fiction and designed to dig around in every corner of his closets to find nasty and incriminating things that were entirely irrelevant to the ostensible mandate of the investigation and to any substantive, upfront political critique -- a "witchhunt," a "fishing expedition." And he is right. And too many people in the country know he's right. At this point, even most Russiagaters themselves know it -- though they don't care, and will never admit it.

So now Trump, who could have been attacked for two years politically on substance for betraying most of the promises that got him elected -- more aggressive war, more tax cuts for the wealthy, threatening Medicare and Social Security -- has instead been handed, by the Democrats, the strongest arrow he now has in his political quiver. As Matt Taibbi says: "Trump couldn't have asked for a juicier campaign issue, and an easier way to argue that 'elites' don't respect the democratic choices of flyover voters. It's hard to imagine what could look worse."

You might think the Democratic Party would be horrified at this result, which one conservative analyst calls: "one of the greatest self-defeating acts in history." You might think Democrats would now move quickly and decisively toward a strategy of offering a substantive political alternative, and abandon this awful own-goal Mueller/Russiagate tack that has already helped Trump immensely (and which they are not going to turn their way). That is obviously what would happen if the Democrats' main goal was to defeat Trump. But it isn't.

As discussed above, the Democratic establishment's' main goal throughout this was not to "get" Trump, but to channel its own voters' disgust with him into support for some halcyon, liberal, status quo ante-Trump, and away from left demands for a radical change to the social, economic, and political conditions that produced him and his clueless establishment opponent in 2016. The Democrats' goal was, and is, not to defeat Trump, but to stave off the left.

What they are doing with the Mueller Investigation/Russiagate is what they did in the primaries in 2016: Then, they deliberately promoted Trump as an opponent, while working assiduously to cheat their own leftist candidate; now, they gin up a fictional spy story whose inevitable collapse helps Trump, but on which they will double down, in order to continue branding "divisive" leftists who challenge any return to their version of status-quo normalcy as the Kremlin's "useful idiots."

The Democrats' main goal in all this is not to impeach, or stop the re-election of, Donald Trump; it's to prevent the nomination and election of Bernie Sanders, or anyone like him.

Russiagate Forever

Here's Tim Ryan's presidential campaign kickoff speech in Youngstown, Ohio, a poster city of late American capitalist deindustrialization, explaining to the voters what is causing the destruction of their lives and towns. After complaining that "We have politicians and leaders today that want to divide us. They want to put us in one box or the other. You know, you can't be for business and for labor," he elaborates:

Yup, it’s those Russians, you see, sowing division through certain “politicians and leaders,” who are preventing us from fixing our healthcare, education, economic and government systems. This—doubling down on Russiagate—is the centrist Democrats’ idea of a winning political appeal. I consider it utterly delusional.

I heard last week from a friend in Western Pennsylvania, not too far from Youngstown. She’s a good person who is trying to organize Democrats in the area to beat Trump in 2020, and, pleading for advice, she expressed her exasperation: “They’re leaving the party!”

You mean the five million people who voted for Obama in 2012, in the 90% of counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012, but would not vote for Hillary in 2019, aren’t streaming back into—are indeed still streaming out of—the Democratic Party, despite all the Mueller investigation has done for them? Imagine that.

What has Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation wrought? It’s either a shrewd political gambit sure to take down Trump, or it’s ridiculous political theater leading Democrats, and the country, over another cliff. Double-down or leave that table?

Place your bets.

[Jun 19, 2019] The Warm War Russiamania at the Boiling Point by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible. ..."
"... Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. ..."
"... "War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war." ..."
"... Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy." ..."
"... The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted. ..."
Apr 02, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Is it war yet?

Yes, in too many respects.

It's a relentless economic, diplomatic, and ideological war, spiced with (so far) just a dash of military war, and the strong scent of more to come.

I mean war with Russia, of course, although Russia is the point target for a constellation of emerging adversaries the US is desperate to entame before any one or combination of them becomes too strong to defeat. These include countries like Iran and China, which are developing forces capable of resisting American military aggression against their own territory and on a regional level, and have shown quite too much uppitiness about staying in their previously-assigned geopolitical cages.

But Russia is the only country that has put its military forces in the way of a U.S. program of regime change -- indirectly in Ukraine, where Russia would not get out of the way, and directly in Syria, where Russia actively got in the way. So Russia is the focus of attack, the prime target for an exemplary comeuppance.

Is it, then, a new Cold War, even more dangerous than the old one, as Stephen F. Cohen says ?

That terminology was apt even a few months ago, but the speed, ferocity, and coordination of the West/NATO's reaction to the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals, as well as the formation of a War Cabinet in Washington, indicates to me that we've moved to another level of aggression.

It's beyond Cold. Call it the Warm War. And the temperature's rising.

The Nerve of Them

There are two underlying presumptions that, combined, make present situation more dangerous than a Cold War.

One is the presumption of guilt -- or, more precisely, the presumption that the presumption of Russian guilt can always be made, and made to stick in the Western mind.

The confected furor over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals demonstrates this dramatically.

Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible.

False certainty is the ultimate fake news. It is just not true that, as she says: "There is no alternative conclusion other than the Russian state is culpable." This falsity of this statement has been demonstrated by a slew of sources -- including the developers of the alleged "Novichok" agent themselves, a thorough analysis by a former UN inspector in Iraq who worked on the destruction of chemical weapons, establishment Western scientific outlets like New Scientist (" Other countries could have made 'Russian' nerve agent "), and the British government's own mealy-mouthed, effective-but-unacknowledged disavowal of that conclusion. In its own words, The British government found: "a nerve agent or related compound," " of a type developed by Russia." So, it's absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt, Russian-government-produced "Novichok" .or something else.

Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. It's a

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lErlHLCNM_s?autoplay=0list=WL

It boggles the -- or at least, my -- mind how, in the face of all this, anyone could take seriously her ultimatum, ignoring the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention , gave Russia 24 hours to "explain" -- i.e., confess and beg forgiveness for -- this alleged crime.

Indeed, it's noteworthy that France initially, and rather sharply, refused to assume Russian guilt, with a government spokesman saying, "We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made." But the whip was cracked -- and surely not by the weak hand of Whitehall -- demanding EU/NATO unity in the condemnation of Russia. So, in an extraordinary show of discipline that could only be ordered and orchestrated by the imperial center, France joined the United States and 20 other countries in the largest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats ever.

Western governments and their compliant media have mandated that Russian government guilt for the " first offensive use of a nerve agent " in Europe since World War II is to be taken as flat fact. Anyone -- like Jeremy Corbyn or Craig Murray -- who dares to interrupt the "Sentence first! Verdict afterwards!" chorus to ask for, uh, evidence, is treated to a storm of obloquy .

At this point, Western accusers don't seem to care how blatantly unfounded, if not ludicrous, an accusation is. The presumption of Russian guilt, along with the shaming of anyone who questions it, has become an unquestionable standard of Western/American political and media discourse.

Old Cold War McCarthyism has become new Warm War fantasy politics.

Helled in Contempt

This declaration of diplomatic war over the Skripal incident is the culmination of an ongoing drumbeat of ideological warfare, demonizing Russia and Putin personally in the most predictable and inflammatory terms.

For the past couple of years, we've been told by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Boris Johnson that Putin is the new Hitler. That's a particularly galling analogy for the Russians. Soviet Russia, after all, was Hitler's main enemy, that defeated the Nazi army at the cost of 20+ million of its people -- while the British Royal Family was not un-smitten with the charms of Hitlerian fascism , and British footballers had a poignant moment in 1938 Berlin saluting the Fuhre.:

"War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war."

Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy."

Which is strange, because, since the Taliban emerged from the American-jihadi war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban and Russia have "enduring enmity" towards each other, as Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network puts it . Furthermore, the sixteen-year-long American war against the Taliban has depended on Russia allowing the U.S. to move supplies through its territory, and being "the principal source of fuel for the alliance's needs in Afghanistan."

So the general has to admit that this alleged Russian "destabilising activity" is a new thing: "This activity really picked up in the last 18 to 24 months When you look at the timing it roughly correlates to when things started to heat up in Syria. So it's interesting to note the timing of the whole thing."

Yes, it is.

The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted.

This is not a serious framework for respectful international relations between two sovereign nations. It's downright childish. It paints everyone, including the party trying to impose it, into an impossible corner. Is Russia ever going to abandon Crimea, confess that it shot down the Malaysian jet, tricked us into electing Donald Trump, murdered the Skripals, is secretly arming the Taliban, et. al .? Is the U.S. ever going to say: "Never mind"? What's the next step? It's the predicament of the bully.

This is not, either, an approach that really seeks to address any of the "crimes" charged. As Victoria Nuland (a Clintonite John Bolton) put it on NPR, it's about, "sending a message" to Russia. Well, as Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov said , with this latest mass expulsion of diplomats, the United States is, "Destroying what little remained of US-Russian ties." He got the message.

All of this looks like a coordinated campaign that began in response to Russia's interruption of American regime-change projects in Ukraine and especially Syria, that was harmonized -- over the last 18 to 24 months -- with various elite and popular motifs of discontent over the 2016 election, and that has reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with ubiquitous and unconstrained " enemization " [1] of Russia. It's hard to describe it as anything other than war propaganda -- manufacturing the citizenry's consent for a military confrontation.

Destroying the possibility of normal, non-conflictual, state-to-state relations and constituting Russia as "the enemy" is exactly what this campaign is about. That is its "message" and its effect -- for the American people as much as for the Russia government. The heightened danger, I think, is that Russia, which has for a long time been reluctant to accept that America wasn't interested in "partnership", has now heard and understood this message, while the American people have only heard but do not understand it.

It's hard to see where this can go that doesn't involve military conflict. This is especially the case with the appointments of Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and John Bolton -- a veritable murderers' row that many see as the core of a Trump War Cabinet. Bolton, who does not need Senate confirmation, is a particularly dangerous fanatic, who tried to get the Israelis to attack Iran before even they wanted to, and has promised regime change in Iran by 2019. As mentioned, he considers that Russia has already given him a " casus belli. " Even the staid New York Times warns that, with these appointments, "the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically."

The second presumption in the American mindset today makes military confrontation more likely than it was during the Cold War: Not only is there a presumption of guilt, there is a presumption of weakness . The presumption of guilt is something the American imperial managers are confident they can induce and maintain in the Western world; the presumption of weakness is one they -- or, I fear, too many of them -- have all-too blithely internalized.

This is an aspect of the American self-image among policymakers whose careers matured in a post-Soviet world. During the Cold War, Americans held themselves in check by the assumption, that, militarily, the Soviet Union was a peer adversary, a country that could and would defend certain territories and interests against direct American military aggression -- "spheres of interest" that should not be attacked. The fundamental antagonism was managed with grudging mutual respect.

There was, after all, a shared recent history of alliance against fascism. And there was an awareness that the Soviet Union, in however distorted a way, both represented the possibility of a post-capitalist future and supported post-colonial national liberation movements, which gave it considerable stature in the world.

American leadership might have hated the Soviet Union, but it was not contemptuous of it. No American leader would have called the Soviet Union, as John McCain called Russia, just "a gas station masquerading as a country." And no senior American or British leader would have told the Soviet Union what British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told Russia last week: to "go away and shut up."

This is a discourse that assumes its own righteousness, authority, and superior power, even as it betrays its own weakness. It's the discourse of a frustrated child. Or bully. Russia isn't shutting up and going away, and the British are not -- and know they're not -- going to make it. But they may think the Big Daddy backing them up can and will. And daddy may think so himself.

Like all bullies, the people enmeshed in this arrogant discourse don't seem to understand that it is not frightening Russia. It's only insulting the country, and leading it to conclude that there is indeed nothing remaining of productive, non-conflictual, US-Russian "partnership" ties. The post-Skripal worldwide diplomatic expulsions, which seem deliberately and desperately excessive, may have finally convinced Russia that there is no longer any use trying. Those who should be frightened of this are the American people.

The enemy of my enemy is me.

The United States is only succeeding in turning itself into an enemy for Russians. Americans would do well to understand how thoroughly their hypocritical and contemptuous stance has alienated the Russian people and strengthened Vladimir Putin's leadership -- as many of Putin's critics warned them it would. The fantasy of stoking a "liberal" movement in Russia that will install some nouveau-Yeltsin-ish figure is dissipated in the cold light of a 77% election day. Putin is widely and firmly supported in Russia because he represents the resistance to any such scheme.

Americans who want to understand that dynamic, and what America itself has wrought in Russia, should heed the passion, anger, and disappointment in this statement about Putin's election from a self-described "liberal" (using the word, I think, in the intellectual tradition, not the American political, sense), Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT TV (errors in translation by another person):

Essentially, the West should be horrified not because 76% of Russians voted for Putin, but because this elections have demonstrated that 95% of Russia's population supports conservative-patriotic, communist and nationalist ideas. That means that liberal ideas are barely surviving among measly 5% of population.

And that's your fault, my Western friends. It was you who pushed us into "Russians never surrender" mode

[W]ith all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so called "values."

We don't want to live like you live, anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer.

We have no more respect for you, and for those amongst us that you support, and for all those people who support you.

For that you only have yourself to blame.

In meantime, you've pushed us to rally around your enemy. Immediately, after you declared him an enemy, we united around him .

It was you who imposed an opposition between patriotism and liberalism. Although, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive notions. This false dilemma, created by you, made us to chose patriotism.

Even though, many of us are really liberals, myself included.

Get cleaned up, now. You don't have much time left.

In fact, the whole "uprising"/color revolution strategy throughout the world is over. It's been fatally discredited by its own purported successes. Everybody in the Middle East has seen how that worked out for Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the Russians have seen how it worked out for Ukraine and for Russia itself . In neither Russia nor Iran (nor anywhere else of importance) are the Americans, with their sanctions and their NGOs and their cookies ,going to stoke a popular uprising that turns a country into a fractured client of the Washington Consensus. More fantasy politics.

The old new world Washington wants won't be born without a military midwife. The U.S. wants a compliant Russia ( and "international community") back, and it thinks it can force it into being.

Fear Knot

Consider this quote from The Saker , a defense analyst who was born in Switzerland to a Russian military family, "studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all [his] life," and lived for 20 years in the United States. He's been one of the sharpest analysts of Russia and Syria over the last few years. This was his take a year ago, after Trump's cruise missile attack on Syria's Al Shayrat airfield -- another instant punishment for an absolutely, positively, proven-in-a day, chemical crime:

For one thing, there is no US policy on anything.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were "недоговороспособны". What that word means is literally "not-agreement-capable" or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it. But to say that a nuclear world superpower is "not-agreement-capable" is a terrible and extreme diagnostic.

This means that the Russians have basically given up on the notion of having an adult, sober and mentally sane partner to have a dialog with.

In all my years of training and work as a military analyst I have always had to assume that everybody involved was what we called a "rational actor". The Soviets sure where. As were the Americans.

Not only do I find the Trump administration "not agreement-capable", I find it completely detached from reality. Delusional in other words.

Alas, just like Obama before him, Trump seems to think that he can win a game of nuclear chicken against Russia. But he can't. Let me be clear here: if pushed into a corner the Russian will fight, even if that means nuclear war.

There is a reason for this American delusion. The present generation of American leadership was spoiled and addled by the blissful post-Soviet decades of American impunity.

The problem is not exactly that the U.S. wants full-on war with Russia, it's that America does not fear it. [2]

Why should it? It hasn't had to for twenty years during which the US assumed it could bully Russia to stay out of its imperial way anywhere it wanted to intervene.

After the Soviet Union broke up (and only because the Soviet Union disappeared) the United States was free to use its military power with impunity. For some time, the U.S. had its drunken stooge, Yeltsin, running Russia and keeping it out of America's military way. There was nary a peep when Bill Clinton effectively conferred on NATO (meaning the U.S. itself) the authority to decide what military interventions were necessary and legitimate. For about twenty years -- from the Yugoslavia through the Libya intervention -- no nation had the military power or politico-diplomatic will to resist this.

But that situation has changed. Even the Pentagon recognizes that the American Empire is in a "post-primacy" phase -- certainly "fraying," and maybe even "collapsing." The world has seen America's social and economic strength dissipate, and its pretense of legitimacy disappear entirely. The world has seen American military overreach everywhere while winning nothing of stable value anywhere. Sixteen years, and the mighty U.S. Army cannot defeat the Taliban. Now, that's Russia's fault!

Meanwhile, a number of countries in key areas have gained the military confidence and political will to refuse the presumptions of American arrogance -- China in the Pacific, Iran in the Middle East, and Russia in Europe and, surprisingly, the Middle East as well. In a familiar pattern, America's resultant anxiety about waning power increases its compensatory aggression. And, as mentioned, since it was Russia that most effectively demonstrated that new military confidence, it's Russia that has to be dealt with first.

The incessant wave of sanctions and expulsions is the bully in the schoolyard clenching his fist to scare the new kid away. OK, everyone's got the message now. Unclench or punch?

Let's be clear about who is the world's bully. As is evident to any half-conscious person, Russia is not going to attack the United States or Europe. Russia doesn't have scores of military bases, combat ships and aircraft up on America's borders. It doesn't have almost a thousand military bases around the world. Russia does not have the military forces to rampage around the world as America does, and it doesn't want or need to. That's not because of Russia's or Vladimir Putin's pacifism, but because Russia, as presently situated in the political economy of the world, has nothing to gain from it.

Nor does Russia need some huge troll-farm offensive to "destabilize" and sow division in Western Europe and the United States. Inequality, austerity, waves of immigrants from regime-change wars, and trigger-happy cops are doing a fine job of that. Russia isn't responsible for American problems with Black Lives Matter or with the Taliban.

All of this is fantasy politics.

It's the United States, with its fraying empire, that has a problem requiring military aggression. What other tools does the U.S. have left to put the upstarts, Russia first, back in their places?

It must be hard for folks who have had their way with country after country for twenty years not to think they can push Russia out of the way with some really, really scary threats, or maybe one or two "bloody nose" punches. Some finite number of discrete little escalations. There's already been some shoving -- that cruise missile attack, Turkey's downing of a Russian jet, American attacks on Russian personnel (ostensibly private mercenaries) in Syria -- and, look, Ma, no big war. But sometimes you learn the hard way the truth of the reverse Mike Tyson rule: "Everyone has a game plan until they smack the other guy in the face."

Consider one concrete risk of escalation that every informed observer is, and every American should be, aware of.

The place where the United States and Russia are literally, geographically, closest to confrontation is Syria. As mentioned, the U.S. and its NATO ally, Turkey, have already attacked and killed Russians in Syria, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have a far larger military force than Russia in Syria and the surrounding area. On the other hand, Russia has made very effective use of its forces, including what Reuters calls "advanced cruise missiles" launched from planes, ships , and submarines that hit ISIS targets with high precision from 1000 kilometers.

Russia is also operating in accordance with international law, while the U.S. is not. Russia is fighting with Syria for the defeat of jihadi forces and the unification of the Syrian state. The United States is fighting with its jihadi clients for the overthrow of the Syrian government and the division of the country. Russia intervened in Syria after Obama announced that the U.S. would attack Syrian army troops, effectively declaring war. If neither side accepts defeat and goes home, it is quite possible there will be some direct confrontation over this. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there won't.

A couple of weeks ago Syria and Russia said the U.S. was planning a major offensive against the Syrian government, including bombing the government quarter in Damascus. Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia's General Staff, warned: "In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia's armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used." In this context, "launchers" means American ships in the Mediterranean.

Also a couple of weeks ago, Russia announced a number of new, highly-advanced weapons systems. There's discussion about whether some of the yet-to-be-deployed weapons announced may or may not be a bluff, but one that has already been deployed, called Dagger ( Kinzhal, not the missiles mentioned above), is an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile that files at 5-7,000 miles per hour, with a range of 1200 miles. Analyst Andrei Martyanov claims that: "no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter." Air-launched. From anywhere.

The U.S. attack has not (yet) happened, for whatever reason (Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem, citing "a military monitor," claims that's because of the Russian warnings). Great. But given the current state of America's anxiously aggressive "post-primacy" policy -- including the Russiamania, the Zionist-driven need to destroy Syria and Iran, and the War Cabinet -- how unlikely is that the U.S. will, in the near future, make some such attack on some such target that Russia considers crucial to defend?

And Syria is just one theater where, unless one side accepts defeat and goes home, military conflict with Russia is highly likely. Is Russia going to abandon the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass if they're attacked by fascist Kiev forces backed by the U.S.? Is it going to sit back and watch passively if American and Israeli forces attack Iran? Which one is going to give up and accept a loss: John Bolton or Vladimir Putin?

Which brings us to the pointed question: What will the U.S. do if Russia sinks an American ship? How many steps before that goes full-scale, even nuclear? Or maybe American planners (and you, dear reader) are absolutely, positively sure that will never happen, because the U.S. has cool weapons, too, and a lot more of them, and the Russians will probably lose all their ships in the Mediterranean immediately, if not something worse, and they'll put up with anything rather than go one more step. The Russians, like everybody, must know the Americans always win.

Happy with that, are we? Snug in our homeland rug? 'Cause Russians won't fight, but the Taliban will.

This is exactly what is meant by Americans not fearing war with Russia (or war in general for that matter). Nothing but contempt.

The Skripal opera, directed by the United States, with the whole of Europe and the entire Western media apparatus singing in harmony, makes it clear that the American producers have no speaking role for Russia in their staging of the world. And that contempt makes war much more likely. Here's The Saker again, on how dangerous the isolation the U.S. and its European clients are so carelessly imposing on Russia and themselves is for everybody:

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en mass e and they are feeling very strong and manly.

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war. For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

Mass diplomatic expulsions, economic warfare, lockstep propaganda, no interest whatsoever in respectfully addressing or hearing from the other side. What we've been seeing over the past few months is the "kind of stuff that happens when two sides are about to go to war."

The less Americans fear war, the less they respect the possibility of it, the more likely they are to get it.

Ready or Not

The Saker makes a diptych of a point that gets to the heart of the matter. We'd do well to read and think on it carefully:

1/ The Russians are afraid of war. The Americans are not.

2/ The Russians are ready for war. The Americans are not.

Russia is afraid of war. More than twenty million Soviet citizens were killed in WWII, about half of them civilians. That was more than twenty times the number of Americans and British casualties combined. The entire country was devastated. Millions died in the 872-day siege of Leningrad alone, including Vladimir Putin's brother. The city's population was decimated by disease and starvation, with some reduced to cannibalism. Wikileaks calls it "one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history [and] possibly the costliest in casualties." Another million-plus died in the nine-month siege of Stalingrad.

Every Russian knows this history. Millions of Russian families have suffered from it. Of course, there was mythification of the struggle and its heroes, but the Russians, viscerally, know war and know it can happen to them . They do not want to go through it again. They will do almost anything to avoid it. Russians are not flippant about war. They fear it. They respect it.

The Americans are not (afraid of war). Americans have never experienced anything remotely as devastating as this. About 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War, 150 years ago. (And we're still entangled in that!) The American mainland has not been attacked by a significant military force since the War of 1812. Since then, the worst attacks on American territory are two one-off incidents (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), separated by seventy years, totaling about six-thousand casualties. These are the iconic moments of America Under Siege.

For the American populace, wars are "over there," fought by a small group of Americans who go away and either come back or don't. The death, destruction, and aroma of warfare -- which the United States visits on people around the world incessantly -- is unseen and unexperienced at home. Americans do not, cannot, believe, in any but the most abstract intellectual sense, that war can happen here , to them. For the general populace, talk of war is just more political background noise, Morgan Freeman competing for attention with Stormy Daniels and the Kardashians.

Americans are supremely insouciant about war: They threaten countries with it incessantly, the government routinely sells it with lies, and the political parties promote it opportunistically to defeat their opponents -- and nobody cares. For Americans, war is part of a game. They do not fear it. They do not respect it.

The Russians are ready for war. The Nazi onslaught was defeated -- in Soviet Russia, by Soviet Citizens and the Red Army -- because the mass of people stood and fought together for a victory they understood was important. They could not have withstood horrific sieges and defeated the Nazis any other way. Russians understand, in other words, that war is a crisis of death and destruction visited on the whole of society, which can only be won by a massive and difficult effort grounded in social solidarity. If the Russians feel they have to fight, if they feel besieged, they know they will have to stand together, take the hits that come, and fight to the finish. They will not again permit war to be brought to their cities while their attacker stays snug. There will be a world of hurt. They will develop and use any weapon they can. And their toughest weapon is not a hypersonic missile; it's that solidarity, implied by that 77%. (Did you read that Simonyan statement?) They may not be seeking it, but, insofar as anybody can be, they are ready to fight.

Americans are not (ready for war): Americans experience the horror of wars as a series of discrete tragedies visited upon families of fallen soldiers, reported in human-interest vignettes at the end of the nightly news. Individual tragedies, not a social disaster.

It's hard to imagine the social devastation of war in any case, but American culture wants no part of thinking about that concretely. The social imagination of war is deflected into fantastic scenarios of a super-hero universe or a zombie apocalypse. The alien death-ray may blow up the Empire State Building, but the hero and his family (now including his or her gender-ambivalent teenager, and, of course, the dog) will survive and triumph. Cartoon villains, cartoon heroes, and a cartoon society.

One reason for this, we have to recognize, is the victory of the Thatcherite/libertarian-capitalist "no such thing as society" ideology. Congratulations, Ayn Rand, there is no such thing as American society now. It's every incipient entrepreneur for him or herself. This does not a comradely, fighting band of brothers and sisters make.

Furthermore, though America is constantly at war, nobody understands the purpose of it. That's because the real purpose can never be explained, and must be hidden behind some facile abstraction -- "democracy," "our freedoms," etc. This kind of discourse can get some of the people motivated for some of the time, but it loses its charm the minute someone gets smacked in the face.

Once they take a moment, everybody can see that there is nobody with an army threatening to attack and destroy the United States, and if they take a few moments, everybody can see how phony the "democracy and freedom" stuff is and remember how often they've been lied to before. There's just too much information out there. (Which is why the Imperial High Command wants to control the internet.) Why the hell am I fighting? What in hell are we fighting for? These are questions everybody will ask after, and too many people are now asking before, they get smacked in the face.

This lack of social understanding and lack of political support translates into the impossibility of fighting a major, sustained war that requires taking heavy casualties -- even "over there," but certainly in the snug. American culture might be all gung-ho about Seal Team Six kicking ass, but the minute American homes start blowing up and American bodies start falling, Hoo-hah becomes Uh-oh , and it's going to be Outta here .

Americans are ready for Hoo-hah and the Shark Tank and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are not ready for war.

You Get What You Play For

"Russiagate," which started quite banally in the presidential campaign as a Democratic arrow to take down Trump, is now Russiamania -- a battery of weapons wielded by various sectors of the state, aimed at an array of targets deemed even potentially resistant to imperial militarism. Trump himself -- still, and for as long as he's deemed unreliable -- is targeted by a legal prosecution of infinite reach (whose likeliest threat is to take him down for something that has nothing to do with Russia). Russia itself is now targeted in full force by economic, diplomatic, ideological -- and, tentatively, military -- weapons of the state. Perhaps most importantly, American and European people, especially dissidents, are targeted by a unified media barrage that attacks any expression of radical critique, anything that "sows division" -- from Black Lives Matter, to the Sanders campaign, to "But other countries could have made it" -- as Russian treachery.

The stunning success of that last offensive is crucial to making a war more likely, and must be fought. To increase the risk of war with a nuclear power in order to score points against Donald Trump or Jill Stein -- well, only those who neither respect, fear, nor are ready for war would do such a stupid and dangerous thing.

It's impossible to predict with certainty whether, when, or with whom a major hot war will be started. The same chaotic disarray and impulsiveness of the Trump administration that increases the danger of war might also work to prevent it. John Bolton may be fired before he trims his moustache. But it's a pressure-cooker, and the temperature has spiked drastically.

In a previous essay , I said that Venezuela was a likely first target for military attack, precisely because it would make for an easy victory that didn't risk military confrontation with Russia. That's still a good possibility. As we saw with Iraq Wars 1 (which helped to end the "Vietnam Syndrome") and 2 (which somewhat resurrected it), the imperial high command needs to inure the American public with a virtually American-casualty-free victory and in order to lure them into taking on a war that's going to hurt.

But the new War Cabinet may be pumped for the main event -- an attack on Iran. Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are all rabid proponents of regime-change in Iran. We can be certain that the Iran nuclear deal will be scrapped, and everyone will work hard to implement the secret agreement the Trump administration already has with Israel to "to deal with Iran's nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities" -- or, as Trump himself expresses it: "cripple the [Iranian] regime and bring it to collapse." (That agreement, by the way, was negotiated and signed by the previous, supposedly not-so-belligerent National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster.)

Still, as I also said in the previous essay, an attack on Iran means the Americans must either make sure Russia doesn't get in the way or make clear that they don't care if it does. So, threatening moves -- not excluding probing military moves -- against Russia will increase, whether Russia is the preferred direct target or not.

The siege is on.

Americans who want to continue playing with this fire would do well to pay some respectful attention to the target whose face they want to smack. Russia did not boast or brag or threaten or Hoo-Hah about sending military forces to Syria. When it was deemed necessary -- when the United States declared its intention to attack the Syrian Army -- it just did it. And American10-dimensional-chess players have been squirming around trying to deal with the implications of that ever since. They're working hard on finding the right mix of threats, bluffs, sanctions, expulsions, "Shut up and go away!" insults, military forces on the border, and "bloody nose" attacks to force a capitulation. They should be listening to their target, who has not tired of asking for a "partnership," who has clearly stated what his country would do in reaction to previous moves (e.g., the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and stationing of ABM bases in Eastern Europe), whose country and family have suffered from wartime devastation Americans cannot imagine, who therefore respects, fears, and is ready for war in ways Americans are not, and who is not playing their game:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QxWYIAtCMU

Notes.

[1] Ironically, given current drivers of Russiamania, this is a reference to remarks by Janet Napolitano. " The Enemization of Everything or an American Story of Empathy & Healing? "

[2] Though it's ridiculous that it needs to be said: I'm not talking here about the phony fear engendered by the media presentation of the "strongman," "brutal dictator" Vladimir Putin. This is part and parcel of comic-book politics -- conjuring a super-villain, who, we all know, is destined to be defeated. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jim Kavanagh

Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist .

[Jun 18, 2019] Wikileaks CIA Stole Russian Malware, Uses It to Misdirect Attribution of Cyber Attacks

Notable quotes:
"... So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians. ..."
"... How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing. ..."
"... Clapper is a known perjurer. ..."
"... Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in! ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | russia-insider.com

From the Wikileaks "Year Zero" dump:

The CIA's Remote Devices Branch 's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

Everyone knew it. Now we have proof. "Fingerprints" are meaningless. It's now clear that the CIA is able to "pose" as "Russian hackers" whenever it so chooses. Just something to think about. All allegations of "digital fingerprints" left behind by Russian hackers must now be dismissed as either fake or meaningless


ChasMoDee 2 years ago ,

So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians.

Disco Obama ChasMoDee 2 years ago ,

How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing.

disqus_ayvQwhvS6h Disco Obama 2 years ago ,

Since 2002. You sheep have had the wool pulled over since 2002. It's been 15 years. Imagine how much you won't find out til the next 15.

Tom 2 years ago ,

So the CIA obtained FISA Warrants for the millions of devices hacked? Guess we now know how Trump Tower was wiretapped when DNI Clapper said there was no such order given.

JackBootedThug✓ Tom 2 years ago ,

Clapper is a known perjurer.

American Freeman 2 years ago ,

Now we know how Obama's administration got through the FISA Court to tape Trump.

4ever&anon 2 years ago ,

So! It now becomes clear what Obama and the Democrats were planning for the Trump Administration. They could hack away at anything and everything and leave Russian "fingerprints" to make it appear that the Russians did it. It's really no telling what is already planted. Thst's why some Democrat's seem so supremely confident that Trump will be impeached.

I don't think that it's really sunk in for most people that this was a plan for World Domination by a force more evil than the average person could ever imagine. We're still in grave danger but thank Heaven for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Not only have they saved America but perhaps the whole world from domination that heretofore couldn't even be imagined except in science fiction.

Our problem will now be how to build enough gallows to accomodate the traitors and seditionists who have participated in this dark plan.

Mike John Elissen 2 years ago ,

Hysteria in Oceania. The same goons blaming Russia for robbing the local candy store (without producing evidence) are robbing the candy factory 24/7. All of a sudden, the MSM has found issues and terms like `non-verified documents` and `non-verifiable, anonymous sources` to be of the utmost importance, in contrast to when they were copy-pasting the ` information` about Russian hacking. I wonder how much time it takes for the Ministries of Information and their docile press-clowns to (again) turn the story around and blame WikiLeaks for being a `Russian tool` to discard their own obvious crimes.

Elevator2TheTop 2 years ago ,

This whole Russian hacking thing is sounding more and more like the anti-Muslim video that sparked the Benghazi attacks.

Bad Hombre 2 years ago ,

They wiretapped the entire Trump team thinking they would come up with an October surprise...and found NOTHING. If they had ANYTHING, it would have been used prior to the election. And, since Hillary was supposed to win, the illegal wire taps would never have been disclosed.

Now Trump has exposed the Obama admin and democrats are hyperventilating over Russia to deflect from the crimes they committed.

ruadh Bad Hombre 2 years ago ,

We always knew that, were told we were crazy, now we have proof. The MSM has been gas-lighting us. I wonder how many red pills you have to swallow to get to the other side of this Rabbit Hole?

middleclasstaxpayer 2 years ago ,

It seems our government really is the most corrupt entity on this planet.

lou Guest 2 years ago ,

Well BO moved to Washington so it will be easy for the Press to shout these questions at him at his home or a restaurant or a ballgame. We need answers BO, and right now. No BS. anymore. Or go back to Indonesia and hide out.

Peter Shoobridge ن ruadh 2 years ago ,

It's really not fun. The intelligence agencies are unaccountable and cloak their criminality with the secrecy of national security. They're not going to back down. They're ruthless. And they kill people for sport. This will not end well unless the military is called in to round them up, which has huge risks of its own...

TGFD 2 years ago ,

TGFD here.
As far as I'm concerned. death becomes anyone in the effing CIA. Same goes for their parasitic family members. Death's image would look good on them.
There is NO secret in the CIA that I would not expose if I could.

I never heard of the term, "Deep State" prior to 2 months ago, and I don't like what I hear, either. I pray that somehow, God will enable TRUMP to vanquish all the filth in the deep state.

William Dickerson 2 years ago ,

I knew it - the documents I looked over, the IP addresses I checked, the supposed "malware" that the US said "was the same as we know Russia had used" and more - and it just did not add up.

Now to be sure the American population is dumb when it comes to technology - and they usually blindly believe what the CIA, and media, tells them. But me - being in IT for some decades and having worked with Russian people for 6 years (in an electronics engineering company founded by a Russian immigrant to the U.S.) and being a network security administrator for a small government agency, something smelled odd.

The IP addresses - hahaha - really? Try again - up until the spring of 2016 American company Verizon routed 1 million stolen IP addresses - used by cyber-criminals in the USA........ so guess where some of those IP addresses REALLY belonged. Further, the "CIA" and other spooks included - honestly? TOR exit node addresses. If you use TOR browser, you will find some of those same addresses in your own logs (unless you are smart and either purge or don't log, etc.)
So try again, U.S. spooks - the malware? HAHA - what a JOKE. Really. I mean older software that John Q. Public can download for FREE? Sorry, Russians are far far smarter and they'd not use OLD software that works on WordPress based on PHP servers when the target isn't based on blogging software.

Sorry, silly Americans - including and especially McCain and others in our congress who are, say what? members of INTELLIGENCE committees? Really?

You help guide the intelligence and security operations of a major country and you fall for the BS that was presented to you? Did you not ask questions? I did - I did my own research and I guess that proves I'm as smart or smarter than any member of and house or Senate intelligence committee. Do these people even know where the power button is on their computer? Smart - they hire unvetted IT people to take care of congressional computers....... and some of the equipment ends up missing, and these people have full free access as admins to computers used by congressional members of armed services committees and more!

That's how smart our U.S. congress is. Hire your brother-in-laws IT geek, give 'em full admin access, let them come and go freely........... and fall for intelligence reports about Russian hacking...... all the while our own CIA is doing MORE and WORSE.

While this topic is still fresh (thanks to the Democrats) - election interference - Election or campaign interference scores according to political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University: Russia - 36 times, U.S.A - 81 times

The USA's score number doesn't include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn't like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

So who exactly is it that interferes or "Helps" with elections? Yeah, I thought so.

President Vladimir Putin must go home each night shaking his head in disbelief at how gullible we are here.

By the way - Podesta was NOT HACKED. He fell for a simple phishing scam. Yes, the email wasn't even very well done. It appeared more like it came out of Nigeria than any professional group, it was lame, didn't even look real, didn't sound real and the URL or link was so obvious, geesh, a fool could have seen it was phishing. Oh, wait, we're talking Podesta here. The man gave away his password (which for a while was indeed 'password'. Worse - he used what for his campaign work? Did you say GMAIL? You have to be kidding! A free consumer email, based in the cloud, and not only that, at least 3 others had account access to his Gmail. He kept documents, calendar, task lists and more in it. The phishing scammer got access to his Gmail inbox, sent items, attachments, calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, you name it! No hacking needed since this is CLOUD BASED. No one had to touch his computer or iPad.

I really laughed when I found in those emails the admin credentials for his Wi-Fi, and even more funny - the admin credentials for his building security system. Yes, all that in his cloud-based Gmail account. As Bugs Bunny would say- what a maroon!

No wonder he's mad and trying to blame everyone else. He has to know he was scammed and he fell for it and it was all HIS FAULT, no one else but him. Using Gmail for such important work is STUPID as it is - but then to fall for phishing. He got what he deserved, and if it was Russians, tell those teenagers congratulations! That's all it took to phish Podesta - the skill set of KIDS in their early teens.

I could go on about the stupidity involved in all of this, but won't (I hear a collective sigh of relief!)

rayg 2 years ago ,

So, did the Russians hack the election? Or did the Obama CIA hack the election and just did a pizz-poor job of it? Or perhaps Obama really did not want Hillary to win.

This might make those congressional investigations into the alleged hacking of the election by Russians a lot more interesting. That is, of course, assuming that the investigations are really about finding the truth.

Michael K rayg 2 years ago ,

Obama Hates Hillary but could not openly control her. With Trump elected he could work openly to damage his administration, and with the help of MSM demonize him, and make him look like a tool of the Russians as well as his appointees. Notice, there was no talk of Russian hacking prior to the election. The "intelligence" agencies waited for the election results to come out with their charges.

Use delaying tactics to prevent approval of appointees, attack and possibly remove approved appointees eroding confidence in the current government. With the help of RINOs delay legislation. Pay protestors to protest everything Trump does using labels such as sexist, racist, Nazi, etc.

Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary.

Gonzogal Michael K 2 years ago ,

"Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary."

Or, according to Obomber's club make it so that Trump "either resigns or is impeached"
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...

Geoff Caldwell 2 years ago ,

Let's unpack this. All those rumors about the Obama's hating the Clinton's? TRUE BUT, he couldn't let DOJ go through with indictment so instead gets Clapper, Brennan and the boys to use Russian fingerprints to hack and then sits back and watches the chaos unfold. When you go back to how he got his start in Chicago its exactly how he operates.

Marsha Moore 2 years ago ,

I am furious. I read the original re CIA attempting to influence French elections. But this is CLEAR TREASON by Obama Administration. I NEVER trusted Brennen. violation for CIA to operate inside US.

rlqretired 2 years ago ,

Looks like this is an example of Obama/CIA preparation for Treason?

The thing that really pisses me off is that the factual basis for all of this criminal and treasonous activity by the Obama Administration, that is being exposed today, remains covered-up by everyone in a position of responsibility to expose it. That factual basis is that every identification document Obama has presented to prove he is a citizen of the USA is a forgery. Based upon the totality of his record as president he is an agent of foreign Islamic allegiance and everything he has done in the Middle East always ends up in favor of radical Islam and refuses to even acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism exists. The same goes for his refusal to acknowledge domestic Islamic terrorism exists.

Factual answers for these three questions will clear up why we are having this treasonous activity. (1) Why does Obama have and need a forged birth certificate as he posted on his POTUS website? (2) Why does Obama's first officially issued copy of his Selective Service Registration Card have a forged 2 digit postal stamp? (3) Why is Obama using a SS# that was first issued to someone else? These three questions must be answered by Congress as the researched information verifying forgery is readily available and will expose the basis of this treason.

Play Hide
Spyplane 2 years ago ,

Let's not forget that logging into an email server because of a weak password and getting a copy of emails does not scream CIA. Also John Podesta's email password was extremely weak. So it did not take a covert CIA hacking program to initiate. We keep hearing Russia hacked our election. Yet have ZERO proof! First the majority of election machines are decentralized and not connected to internet. There was not a single instance where vote the count was effected. This was also immediately stated by Obamas DNI. Claiming they ran a propaganda attack on Hillary Clinton is pathetic. They are claiming the American people did not see who Hillary Clinton truly was. The opposite is true.

Hillary Clinton had made her own propaganda against herself. She is who the American people see. Not what the Russians programmed Us to see. The American people made a choice based on her actions no one else's. The liberals continually attacking someone with false claims without proof is a standard Liberal / Alyinsky strategy. It requires no proof if all liberal extremist continually repeat the same attack which is then amplified by the Liberal propaganda media (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, etc)

The Russian collusion claim is the exact same scenario. Make the claim which we already knew the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats. Most people in politics interact with all countries diplomat and ambassadors. So instantly the claim is impossible to debunk. The Liberal party has become a party willing to use any and all tactics to avoid listening to the American people. This whole Russian drama is created to go against what the American people voted for. The democrat party is as much a threat to The United States as Communism ever was. It has been said if fascism ever comes back to the United States it will come in the form of liberalism. So the American people have a choice.

Use common sense and stop the liberal extremist party from destroying our democracy or deal with the consequences of America becoming ineffective and divided. The majority of the Democrat party and it's supporters have become so ideologically perverted they have lost sight of morality and what America stands for.

The Russians have not hypnotized Americans to vote for Donald Trump. It wasn't possible for the Russians to manipulate voter data and yes the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats.

But it was the same Russian ambassador that Obama left in the country while expelling all others. The same Russian ambassador Obama scheduled meetings with for Jeff sessions. The same rushing ambassador that all Democrat spend time with. Make a claim that's true then find a way to turn it negative.

Typical Saul Alinsky. Everyone needs to remember anything the Liberals attack someone for the opposite is true.

Today Is The Day We Get Trump Spyplane 2 years ago ,

The point of the Wikileaks is that "proof" is easily manufactured.

DanJR 2 years ago ,

And now you know that the CIA (via Obama's orders or tacit approval) was the one that created the ruse of Trump emailing a Russian bank as a pretext to persuade FISA judges to sign off on the warrants to keep surveillance on him and his contacts.

If I were Obama I'd be seeking the nearest airport and fly to any country offering asylum... it's good night, good riddance for him and the rest of the Deep State Globalists.

seanster5977 2 years ago ,

Kind of funny where this started. Remember Hillary stole a server from the government secure server facility and set it up in her basement without proper security software and monitoring for hacking. Proven. And she had idiots in her staff so stupid they used passwords like "p@ssword". Proven. So any 11 year old computer expert could have hacked that server.

And she lied about the content of the messages being transferred. Top secret and classified info was lost due to her illegal actions. But Comey gave the pig a pass.

LH 2 years ago ,

Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in!

[Jun 16, 2019] When false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

... ... ...

As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.

[Jun 15, 2019] U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia s Power Grid by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth

Comments published by NYT draw a very sad picture of paranoid, brainwashed society. Very few critical comments (less then a dozen), while number of jingoistic and otherwise stupid comments is in the hundreds). This is very sad, if not tragic.
Petty CIA-controlled provocateurs from Grey Prostitute. Hacking national grid means war.. Bolton needs to be fired for jingoism and stupidity.
I am pretty sure that two of those warmongering neocons David E. Sanger Nicole Perlroth ( MadCow disease.
Do those two presstitutes and their handlers accurately calculated possible reaction from Moscow on such "revelations"?
From comments: "It is horrible to think that we have our of control counterintelligence agencies with their own agenda operating as independent forces capable of dragging the country into international conflict "
From comments: "Aggressive malware intrusions into foreign countries' sensitive (and sovereign) computer systems is now seen as a standard security procedure. "Gunboat diplomacy" is not an apt metaphor, as gunboats remained at discreet distances from borders. Our cyber policy is more akin to placing bombs in the public squares of foreign cities with threats to detonate. "
Notable quotes:
"... But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort "to say to Russia, or anybody else that's engaged in cyberoperations against us, 'You will pay a price.'" ..."
"... Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" -- software code that can be used for surveillance or attack -- inside the Russian grid. ..."
"... Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister. ..."
"... The intent of the operations was described in different ways by several current and former national security officials. Some called it "signaling" Russia, a sort of digital shot across the bow. Others said the moves were intended to position the United States to respond if Mr. Putin became more aggressive. ..."
"... Already, such attacks figure in the military plans of many nations. In a previous post, General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country. ..."
"... How Mr. Putin's government is reacting to the more aggressive American posture described by Mr. Bolton is still unclear. "It's 21st-century gunboat diplomacy," said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas, who has written extensively about the shifting legal basis for digital operations. "We're showing the adversary we can inflict serious costs without actually doing much. We used to park ships within sight of the shore. Now, perhaps, we get access to key systems like the electric grid." ..."
"... successful attack on Iranian centrifuges as one example ..."
"... Not willing to discuss it with the President but happy to chat about it with reporters..? ..."
"... This scenario sounds like something straight out of Dr, Strangelove. All sides and all actors need to realize that this is a no win game, with the very real possibility of serious harm to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people hanging in the balance. ..."
"... It's a macho power game that can easily escalate into unintended and out-of-control consequences. As with prior successful nuclear test ban negotiations & treaties we need to step back and consider what's truly in the long-term national interests of all concerned. The citizens of all the countries involved are not pawns to be played with like disposable chess pieces, in a power game with no real winners. ..."
"... This turn of events is truly disturbing, as it presents the seriousness, now, of how cyberwar is more likely a prelude to actual war ..."
"... Restated, the Commander In Chief is not briefed on military operations for fear of betrayal. I feel like I'm going nuts. Someone please tell me what is going on in this country! ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

WASHINGTON -- The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia's grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow's disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow. Advertisement

The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military's offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort "to say to Russia, or anybody else that's engaged in cyberoperations against us, 'You will pay a price.'"

Power grids have been a low-intensity battleground for years. Since at least 2012, current and former officials say, the United States has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid. But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow.

The commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, has been outspoken about the need to "defend forward" deep in an adversary's networks to demonstrate that the United States will respond to the barrage of online attacks aimed at it. President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort to warn anybody "engaged in cyberoperations against us." Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

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President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort to warn anybody "engaged in cyberoperations against us." Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

"They don't fear us," he told the Senate a year ago during his confirmation hearings.

But finding ways to calibrate those responses so that they deter attacks without inciting a dangerous escalation has been the source of constant debate.

Mr. Trump issued new authorities to Cyber Command last summer, in a still-classified document known as National Security Presidential Memoranda 13, giving General Nakasone far more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without receiving presidential approval.

But the action inside the Russian electric grid appears to have been conducted under little-noticed new legal authorities, slipped into the military authorization bill passed by Congress last summer. The measure approved the routine conduct of "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace, to "deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States."

Under the law, those actions can now be authorized by the defense secretary without special presidential approval.

"It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year," one senior intelligence official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity but declining to discuss any specific classified programs. "We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago."

The critical question -- impossible to know without access to the classified details of the operation -- is how deep into the Russian grid the United States has bored. Only then will it be clear whether it would be possible to plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military -- a question that may not be answerable until the code is activated. Sign Up for On Politics With Lisa Lerer

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Both General Nakasone and Mr. Bolton, through spokesmen, declined to answer questions about the incursions into Russia's grid. Officials at the National Security Council also declined to comment but said they had no national security concerns about the details of The New York Times's reporting about the targeting of the Russian grid, perhaps an indication that some of the intrusions were intended to be noticed by the Russians.

Speaking on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bolton said: "We thought the response in cyberspace against electoral meddling was the highest priority last year, and so that's what we focused on. But we're now opening the aperture, broadening the areas we're prepared to act in."

He added, referring to nations targeted by American digital operations, "We will impose costs on you until you get the point." Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commander of United States Cyber Command, was given more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without obtaining presidential approval.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commander of United States Cyber Command, was given more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without obtaining presidential approval. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times

Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" -- software code that can be used for surveillance or attack -- inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added.

The intent of the operations was described in different ways by several current and former national security officials. Some called it "signaling" Russia, a sort of digital shot across the bow. Others said the moves were intended to position the United States to respond if Mr. Putin became more aggressive.

So far, there is no evidence that the United States has actually turned off the power in any of the efforts to establish what American officials call a "persistent presence" inside Russian networks, just as the Russians have not turned off power in the United States. But the placement of malicious code inside both systems revives the question of whether a nation's power grid -- or other critical infrastructure that keeps homes, factories, and hospitals running -- constitutes a legitimate target for online attack.

Already, such attacks figure in the military plans of many nations. In a previous post, General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country.

How Mr. Putin's government is reacting to the more aggressive American posture described by Mr. Bolton is still unclear. "It's 21st-century gunboat diplomacy," said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas, who has written extensively about the shifting legal basis for digital operations. "We're showing the adversary we can inflict serious costs without actually doing much. We used to park ships within sight of the shore. Now, perhaps, we get access to key systems like the electric grid."

Russian intrusion on American infrastructure has been the background noise of superpower competition for more than a decade.

A successful Russian breach of the Pentagon's classified communications networks in 2008 prompted the creation of what has become Cyber Command. Under President Barack Obama, the attacks accelerated. But Mr. Obama was reluctant to respond to such aggression by Russia with counterattacks, partly for fear that the United States' infrastructure was more vulnerable than Moscow's and partly because intelligence officials worried that by responding in kind, the Pentagon would expose some of its best weaponry.

At the end of Mr. Obama's first term, government officials began uncovering a Russian hacking group, alternately known to private security researchers as Energetic Bear or Dragonfly. But the assumption was that the Russians were conducting surveillance, and would stop well short of actual disruption.

That assumption evaporated in 2014, two former officials said, when the same Russian hacking outfit compromised the software updates that reached into hundreds of systems that have access to the power switches.

"It was the first stage in long-term preparation for an attack," said John Hultquist, the director of intelligence analysis at FireEye, a security company that has tracked the group.

In December 2015, a Russian intelligence unit shut off power to hundreds of thousands of people in western Ukraine. The attack lasted only a few hours, but it was enough to sound alarms at the White House.

A team of American experts was dispatched to examine the damage, and concluded that one of the same Russian intelligence units that wreaked havoc in Ukraine had made significant inroads into the United States energy grid, according to officials and a homeland security advisory that was not published until December 2016. Advertisement

"That was the crossing of the Rubicon," said David J. Weinstein, who previously served at Cyber Command and is now chief security officer at Claroty, a security company that specializes in protecting critical infrastructure.

In late 2015, just as the breaches of the Democratic National Committee began, yet another Russian hacking unit began targeting critical American infrastructure, including the electricity grid and nuclear power plants. By 2016, the hackers were scrutinizing the systems that control the power switches at the plants. In 2012, the defense secretary at the time, Leon E. Panetta, was warned of Russia's online intrusions, but President Barack Obama was reluctant to respond to such aggression by Moscow with counterattacks. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

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In 2012, the defense secretary at the time, Leon E. Panetta, was warned of Russia's online intrusions, but President Barack Obama was reluctant to respond to such aggression by Moscow with counterattacks. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Until the last few months of the Obama administration, Cyber Command was largely limited to conducting surveillance operations inside Russia's networks. At a conference this year held by the Hewlett Foundation, Eric Rosenbach, a former chief of staff to the defense secretary and who is now at Harvard, cautioned that when it came to offensive operations "we don't do them that often." He added, "I can count on one hand, literally, the number of offensive operations that we did at the Department of Defense."

But after the election breaches and the power grid incursions, the Obama administration decided it had been too passive.

Mr. Obama secretly ordered some kind of message-sending action inside the Russian grid, the specifics of which have never become public. It is unclear whether much was accomplished.

"Offensive cyber is not this, like, magic cybernuke where you say, 'O.K., send in the aircraft and we drop the cybernuke over Russia tomorrow,'" Mr. Rosenbach said at the conference, declining to discuss specific operations.

After Mr. Trump's inauguration, Russian hackers kept escalating attacks.

Mr. Trump's initial cyberteam decided to be far more public in calling out Russian activity. In early 2018, it named Russia as the country responsible for " the most destructive cyberattack in human history ," which paralyzed much of Ukraine and affected American companies including Merck and FedEx.

When General Nakasone took over both Cyber Command and the N.S.A. a year ago, his staff was assessing Russian hackings on targets that included the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation , which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., as well as previously unreported attempts to infiltrate Nebraska Public Power District's Cooper Nuclear Station, near Brownville. The hackers got into communications networks, but never took over control systems.

In August, General Nakasone used the new authority granted to Cyber Command by the secret presidential directive to overwhelm the computer systems at Russia's Internet Research Agency -- the group at the heart of the hacking during the 2016 election in the United States. It was one of four operations his so-called Russia Small Group organized around the midterm elections. Officials have talked publicly about those, though they have provided few details.

But the recent actions by the United States against the Russian power grids, whether as signals or potential offensive weapons, appear to have been conducted under the new congressional authorities.

As it games out the 2020 elections, Cyber Command has looked at the possibility that Russia might try selective power blackouts in key states, some officials said. For that, they said, they need a deterrent.

In the past few months, Cyber Command's resolve has been tested. For the past year, energy companies in the United States and oil and gas operators across North America discovered their networks had been examined by the same Russian hackers who successfully dismantled the safety systems in 2017 at Petro Rabigh, a Saudi petrochemical plant and oil refinery.

The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia. While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target.

"We might have to risk taking some broken bones of our own from a counterresponse, just to show the world we're not lying down and taking it," said Robert P. Silvers, a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings and former Obama administration official. "Sometimes you have to take a bloody nose to not take a bullet in the head down the road." David E. Sanger reported from Washington, and Nicole Perlroth from San Francisco


Bitsy Fort Collins, CO 6h ago Times Pick

See the Zero Days documentary, available on several streaming services, if you want to better understand this issue and its origins and early applications (successful attack on Iranian centrifuges as one example). This cat has been out of the bag for some time.
Dubliner Dublin 6h ago Times Pick
Not willing to discuss it with the President but happy to chat about it with reporters..? If the President didn't know about it he does now, so it's hardly a successful strategy. I would presume this is more a way to convince the public that something is being done. Whether there is reality behind it is a different issue.
Stan Chaz Brooklyn,New York 6h ago Times Pick
This scenario sounds like something straight out of Dr, Strangelove. All sides and all actors need to realize that this is a no win game, with the very real possibility of serious harm to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people hanging in the balance.

It's a macho power game that can easily escalate into unintended and out-of-control consequences. As with prior successful nuclear test ban negotiations & treaties we need to step back and consider what's truly in the long-term national interests of all concerned. The citizens of all the countries involved are not pawns to be played with like disposable chess pieces, in a power game with no real winners.

David Henderson Arlington, VA 6h ago Times Pick
On the cyber playing field, the U.S. has so far shown itself still in the minor leagues against other nations. If the U.S. is so bold as to reveal action against Russia's power grid, we'd be best advised to stock up on candles and batteries.
B. Rothman NYC 6h ago Times Pick
And here is yet another reason for the US to get off the use of public utilities alone for the production of electricity. A big goal for national security ought to be the decentralization of electrical production. Businesses and many individual households could do this and create a manufacturing boom at the same time. Too bad the guys in charge are so fixated on making energy money in way only.
newsmaned Carmel IN 6h ago Times Pick
What's most disturbing about this article is that Trump hasn't been told much about it, out of concern he could screw it up. It raises the question of how much the president is actually The President or just an obstacle to be managed while parts of the federal government are haring off on their own into uncharted waters.
TMah Salt Lake City 10h ago Times Pick
The US Military revealing that they have done this means that they believe that they have established superiority with this malware, and also the ability to re-establish it if needed. Else, why would they reveal it. If you think what a patchwork the controls on US Power systems, dams, and other key infrastructure are, Russia's must be in much worse shape. Their national systems are likely made up largely of outdated infrastructure, with controls that are a patchwork. Their economy is the size of Italy's, yet they funnel inordinate amounts of money to their armed forces, starving other areas. Their economy is based on petroleum and natural gas, using technology and expertise from European and American companies --just imagine what opportunities that provides.
Bruce1253 San Diego 10h ago Times Pick
We are extremely vulnerable here. The US power grid is made up of a series of local systems that are tied together with high voltage interconnects that allow power to be sent from one system to another to balance loads. Those interconnects are powered by a few, very few, specialized transformers.

These transformers are huge, expensive, and take a long time to build. Disruption of these transformers would have devastating consequences. Several years ago we got a taste of this in SoCal. There was a region wide power outage. The back up generators for business's promptly kicked in, no problem. The power outage lasted longer than their fuel supply, you could not drive to the gas station to get more fuel, all of SoCal was without power. One by one these businesses and other critical operations shutdown. Now try to imagine you life with no power at all for just a short time, say a week. . . .

Telly55 St Barbara 10h ago Times Pick
This turn of events is truly disturbing, as it presents the seriousness, now, of how cyberwar is more likely a prelude to actual war. But what it most alarming is that we have a President who cannot be trusted to honor the institutional frameworks around National Security and our own Intelligence Institutions and organization. It is the height of incredulity to know that his narcissism, coupled with his sense of authoritarian marriage to wealth and delusions of Royalty, is the weakest point, now, in our security as a nation. So--given these new developments: what about all those earlier attempt to create "back channels" with Russia???

Does Trump feign arrogance and disinterest in reading and keeping up on Security and Intelligence briefings--so that he can assimilate what he chooses to "hear/grasp" and then operate on such information as it might fit is grifter family's greed and faux aristocratic delusions? There is much to worry us--and it is worse than daily lies...

William Romp, Vermont | June 15

It is telling that the language of military "defense" has become indistinguishable from that of military offense. Aggressive malware intrusions into foreign countries' sensitive (and sovereign) computer systems is now seen as a standard security procedure. "Gunboat diplomacy" is not an apt metaphor, as gunboats remained at discreet distances from borders. Our cyber policy is more akin to placing bombs in the public squares of foreign cities with threats to detonate.

Absent in this discussion is the distinction between military targets of cyber warfare and civilian targets, if such distinctions remain. America prepares to unplug millions of Russian citizens, including the elderly and children, plus hospitals and other sensitive civilian infrastructure targets, in order to "inflict pain" (on foreign citizens) and "send a message" (to foreign politicians). The abandonment of moral principles formerly displayed by American institutions is striking.

The failure of leadership on all sides is even more striking. Having spent many months in Russia and China I can tell you (as can anyone who has travelled beyond the tourist destinations) that the people there hold largely positive feelings toward Americans and other foreigners. A small minority of xenophobes and racists dominate the leadership, as in America, and form foreign policies that are at odds with the citizenship, at odds with moral justice, and at odds with humanity.

Viv, .|10h ago

@William Romp

In the abstract, of course people hold positive views of their "enemy" nations. In practice, it is not at all true.

You don't need to travel to Russia to find Russians who have been victims of American xenophobia and bigotry. They're right there in America.

Americans has never really held to "moral" standards of war.

To this day you have people believing that dropping atomic bombs on civilians was the right thing to do because it "minimized" loss of life. This is absurd.

To this day you have people believing that it was okay to not only finance the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, but indoctrinate their children to be war fighters.

There's nothing to be proud about this "moral" leadership.

Tim Rutledge, California | June 15

Won't they just do the same to us? This is the strategy?

DaWill, 11 hours ago

"Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction - and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister."

Restated, the Commander In Chief is not briefed on military operations for fear of betrayal. I feel like I'm going nuts. Someone please tell me what is going on in this country!

Carlos Fiancé Oak Park, Il | June 15
I appreciate this article. The US media breathlessly report on Russia spending a few hundred thousand on Facebook, but rarely do they recount all the ways the US meddles with Russia, as well as a host of other countries. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone", as Jesus (doubtfully) said.

Pete, CA|11h ago, @HonorB14U

Actually, everything you could think of in American 'technology' is the result of government, usually military, development projects. The internet and everything associated with it came out of DARPA. American advances in solid state integrated circuitry are the results of satellite, rocketry, i.e. military development.

Castanet, MD-DC-VA | June 15

Another theatre of war where Pandora's unintended consequences plays a major role. We hope the better angels will be able to keep the balance. And put the lid back on the box, and put the box away forever.

Norman, NYC|9h ago

@TMah

Outdated infrastructure is less vulnerable to cyberattacks. It's not connected to the internet. It's like the railroads in Atlas Shrugged. When the latest technology is left dysfunctional, you can go back to the manual controls.

If I was designing digital equipment that's so complicated it's essentially a black box and you can't understand what's going on inside, I'd design it with a fallback to simpler controls, even manual controls.

C.O., Germany|11h ago

For me it is really amazing that so many believe in the meddling of Russia in the US-election in 2016. I at least have never seen or read about concrete evidence that they did. What was apparent, however, was the misuse of social media like Facebook and Co in the election. They are open to everyone who can speak English, and everyone can use fake names. I am sure there were indeed waves of misinformation among voters in the US. But every reasonable person could have read American newspapers or watched American television to correct fake news if they pop up. In addition, I think that FoxNews, Trump's and Steve Bannon's disruptive and manipulative ideology and the massive campaign funds have been much more effective for Trump's victory. To blame it all on Russia is really too simple and in the end rather dangerous. To call for "persistent presence" inside Russian and its digital systems, as Bolton does, moreover shows that the US is not an innocent victim but up to the state of art. Frightening.

N. Smith, New York City|6h ago

It speaks volumes that Donald Trump was not informed and purposely kept out of the loop about these cyber operations against Russia's power grid.
But it's not surprising.

Especially when only a few days ago before walking it back, this President said that he'd have no problem taking advantage of any available information to undercut his opponent, obviously forgetting that Russia already took him up this invitation in the 2016 elections.

No doubt they're primed to do it again. Sooner or later Americans will come to the realization that Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB operative who plans to restore Russia to its former Soviet glory. And the Cold War never ended.

Phil, Brooklyn | 4h ago

So your argument is that it's a good thing that the military is staging attacks against a nuclear power, basically without any oversight from any branch of government?

Paul, Virginia | June 15

The use of cyber attacks is another slippery road to actual shooting war. Some says that cyber warfare would deter or prevent nations from actually going to war with each other. This is wishful thinking for the national survival instinct would force a nation on the verge of being plunged into darkness and thus cyber defeat to resort to nuclear weapons or maximum conventional warfare which could easily lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
The world's leading powers should come together, discuss, and agree to a treaty outlawing the use of cyber attacks against other nations' power grids and other online systems essential for human welfare. The world cannot afford another arm race similar to the nuclear arm race after WW II that has since placed the survival of the human race on the vagaries of a few men.

Michael, Evanston, IL|June 15

@M. Casey Yes, and we have been doing it to them (and others) for some time. So it is a perfectly reasonable response to wonder if this won't simply escalate. And I hardly assume that this is a transparent process in which we will even know what is going on.

TPH, Colorado|11h ago

@David Henderson Actually, the US has been deeply involved in cyber-warfare for over nine years. In June 2010, the US attacked Iran with a cyber-attack and, together with Israel, completely took out the Iranian military nuclear facility in Natanz with the cyber-worm 'Stuxnet'. That attack destroyed over 1,000 nuclear centrifuges and pushed the Iranian nuclear program back by at least two years. The type of attacks on civilian power plants now being discussed would be a cakewalk in comparison. Nearly ten years of continuing development has taken place since -- not just in the US -- and the tech people working for and with the US government are some of the best in the world.

If the US has decided to start implanting the latest 2019 malware in the Russian power grid, they have a real reason for concern. It will be far more damaging and difficult to stop than anything the Russians have yet to develop.

[Jun 15, 2019] In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen NSA Tool Wreaks Havoc by Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane

The idea that NonPetya was developed using NSA exploit EternalBlu is most probably false
Notable quotes:
"... Some F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, speaking privately, said more accountability at the N.S.A. was needed. A former F.B.I. official likened the situation to a government failing to lock up a warehouse of automatic weapons. ..."
"... "I disagree completely," said Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust, insisting that cyberweapons could not be compared to pickup trucks. "These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They're inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they're not strapping a bomb to it. It's already a bomb." ..."
"... Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, has called for a "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks. ..."
May 25, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool , EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.'s own backyard.

It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high , and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs. Advertisement

The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers . Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.

Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University, called the Shadow Brokers episode "the most destructive and costly N.S.A. breach in history," more damaging than the better-known leak in 2013 from Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

"The government has refused to take responsibility, or even to answer the most basic questions," Mr. Rid said. "Congressional oversight appears to be failing. The American people deserve an answer."

The N.S.A. and F.B.I. declined to comment.

Since that leak, foreign intelligence agencies and rogue actors have used EternalBlue to spread malware that has paralyzed hospitals, airports, rail and shipping operators, A.T.M.s and factories that produce critical vaccines. Now the tool is hitting the United States where it is most vulnerable, in local governments with aging digital infrastructure and fewer resources to defend themselves.

On May 7, city workers in Baltimore had their computers frozen by hackers. Officials have refused to pay the $100,000 ransom. Credit .

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On May 7, city workers in Baltimore had their computers frozen by hackers. Officials have refused to pay the $100,000 ransom. Credit .

Before it leaked, EternalBlue was one of the most useful exploits in the N.S.A.'s cyberarsenal. According to three former N.S.A. operators who spoke on the condition of anonymity, analysts spent almost a year finding a flaw in Microsoft's software and writing the code to target it. Initially, they referred to it as EternalBluescreen because it often crashed computers -- a risk that could tip off their targets. But it went on to become a reliable tool used in countless intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism missions. Advertisement

EternalBlue was so valuable, former N.S.A. employees said, that the agency never seriously considered alerting Microsoft about the vulnerabilities, and held on to it for more than five years before the breach forced its hand.

The Baltimore attack , on May 7, was a classic ransomware assault. City workers' screens suddenly locked, and a message in flawed English demanded about $100,000 in Bitcoin to free their files: "We've watching you for days," said the message, obtained by The Baltimore Sun . "We won't talk more, all we know is MONEY! Hurry up!"

Today, Baltimore remains handicapped as city officials refuse to pay, though workarounds have restored some services. Without EternalBlue, the damage would not have been so vast, experts said. The tool exploits a vulnerability in unpatched software that allows hackers to spread their malware faster and farther than they otherwise could.

North Korea was the first nation to co-opt the tool, for an attack in 2017 -- called WannaCry -- that paralyzed the British health care system, German railroads and some 200,000 organizations around the world. Next was Russia, which used the weapon in an attack -- called NotPetya -- that was aimed at Ukraine but spread across major companies doing business in the country. The assault cost FedEx more than $400 million and Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, $670 million.

The damage didn't stop there. In the past year, the same Russian hackers who targeted the 2016 American presidential election used EternalBlue to compromise hotel Wi-Fi networks. Iranian hackers have used it to spread ransomware and hack airlines in the Middle East, according to researchers at the security firms Symantec and FireEye.

"It's incredible that a tool which was used by intelligence services is now publicly available and so widely used," said Vikram Thakur, Symantec's director of security response. Sign Up for The Daily Newsletter

Every Friday, get an exclusive look at how one of the week's biggest news stories on "The Daily" podcast came together.

One month before the Shadow Brokers began dumping the agency's tools online in 2017, the N.S.A. -- aware of the breach -- reached out to Microsoft and other tech companies to inform them of their software flaws. Microsoft released a patch, but hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide remain unprotected. Microsoft employees reviewing malware data at the company's offices in Redmond, Wash. EternalBlue exploits a flaw in unpatched Microsoft software.

Hackers seem to have found a sweet spot in Baltimore, Allentown, Pa., San Antonio and other local, American governments, where public employees oversee tangled networks that often use out-of-date software. Last July, the Department of Homeland Security issued a dire warning that state and local governments were getting hit by particularly destructive malware that now, security researchers say, has started relying on EternalBlue to spread.

Microsoft, which tracks the use of EternalBlue, would not name the cities and towns affected, citing customer privacy. But other experts briefed on the attacks in Baltimore, Allentown and San Antonio confirmed the hackers used EternalBlue. Security responders said they were seeing EternalBlue pop up in attacks almost every day.

Amit Serper, head of security research at Cybereason, said his firm had responded to EternalBlue attacks at three different American universities, and found vulnerable servers in major cities like Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.

The costs can be hard for local governments to bear. The Allentown attack, in February last year, disrupted city services for weeks and cost about $1 million to remedy -- plus another $420,000 a year for new defenses, said Matthew Leibert, the city's chief information officer.

He described the package of dangerous computer code that hit Allentown as "commodity malware," sold on the dark web and used by criminals who don't have specific targets in mind. "There are warehouses of kids overseas firing off phishing emails," Mr. Leibert said, like thugs shooting military-grade weapons at random targets. Advertisement

The malware that hit San Antonio last September infected a computer inside Bexar County sheriff's office and tried to spread across the network using EternalBlue, according to two people briefed on the attack.

This past week, researchers at the security firm Palo Alto Networks discovered that a Chinese state group, Emissary Panda, had hacked into Middle Eastern governments using EternalBlue.

"You can't hope that once the initial wave of attacks is over, it will go away," said Jen Miller-Osborn, a deputy director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks. "We expect EternalBlue will be used almost forever, because if attackers find a system that isn't patched, it is so useful." Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who led the N.S.A. during the leak, has said the agency should not be blamed for the trail of damage. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times

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Until a decade or so ago, the most powerful cyberweapons belonged almost exclusively to intelligence agencies -- N.S.A. officials used the term "NOBUS," for "nobody but us," for vulnerabilities only the agency had the sophistication to exploit. But that advantage has hugely eroded, not only because of the leaks, but because anyone can grab a cyberweapon's code once it's used in the wild.

Some F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, speaking privately, said more accountability at the N.S.A. was needed. A former F.B.I. official likened the situation to a government failing to lock up a warehouse of automatic weapons.

In an interview in March, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who was director of the N.S.A. during the Shadow Brokers leak, suggested in unusually candid remarks that the agency should not be blamed for the long trail of damage. Advertisement

"If Toyota makes pickup trucks and someone takes a pickup truck, welds an explosive device onto the front, crashes it through a perimeter and into a crowd of people, is that Toyota's responsibility?" he asked. "The N.S.A. wrote an exploit that was never designed to do what was done."

At Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where thousands of security engineers have found themselves on the front lines of these attacks, executives reject that analogy.

"I disagree completely," said Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust, insisting that cyberweapons could not be compared to pickup trucks. "These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They're inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they're not strapping a bomb to it. It's already a bomb."

Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, has called for a "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks.

Last year, Microsoft, along with Google and Facebook, joined 50 countries in signing on to a similar call by French President Emmanuel Macron -- the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace -- to end "malicious cyber activities in peacetime."

Notably absent from the signatories were the world's most aggressive cyberactors: China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia -- and the United States.

[Jun 15, 2019] Two filthy NYT neocons try to provoke Russia to attack the USA power grid

Looks like NYT provocation. Coordinated with whom? With Brennan and his cabal?
I wonder what will be reaction of Russian authorities and military intelligence on reading this stupid provocation. Hopefully they will not overreact.
Notable quotes:
"... I think they're revealing it because it may be for Russian ears, but not necessarily true or as good as stated. Misinformation abounds, especially when they're letting the press in. Mass destruction anyone? In Reply to Socrates ..."
"... While Obama and Trump are obviously different in some ways, this article reveals yet another continuity between their administrations. Burgeoning attacks on a foreign country's power grid, and little need for prior approval and oversight. ..."
"... Given the timing and the decision to talk about something so classified just now, I take this to be a threat aimed at Iran. "General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country." The leak is an escalation, a threat. ..."
"... This will not end well. The unspoken assumption behind this issue is that the US assumes it must have dominance in all relations to other countries, and that moral outrage for such acts do not apply to us, because we are the "good guys" of course. ..."
"... It's always the big-mouth in the bar that starts the bar fight, then he sneaks out the side door while the rest of us get hit with beer bottles. ..."
"... What about attaching a price to the US's misdeeds, there are plenty of them, Iraq, and all the other US forced regime changes or attempted regime change as in Syria and Venezuela. ..."
"... Giving the military the authority to decide if and when a cyber attack occurs seems unconstitutional. And it seems very dangerous. Just because the actions originate on computer networks doesn't mean it's not violence against a foreign power. Even though everyone is dancing around the issue, a cyber attack is an act of war. Congress is supposed to make decisions on attacks by the military. It seems very Dr. Strangelove-like to me. Very risky giving a military commander the authority to start a war. ..."
"... Of course, the problem with all these "implants" and zero-day exploits is that once they are out there, they are readily deconstructed, repurposed, and turned back to bite us in new form, as has already happened on numerous occasions. ..."
"... To this day you have people believing that it was okay to not only finance the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, but indoctrinate their children to be war fighters. There's nothing to be proud about this "moral" leadership. ..."
"... Sure, the US can install malware deep inside Russia's grid. But that doesn't mean that the American cyberwar gambit is effective. And it doesn't mean that the US has the capacity to prevent Russia from using malware to inflict even deeper damage on the American grid. ..."
"... To understand exactly who is probably getting the better of who in this conflict, we need to ask ourselves what motivates Russia and America to fight this conflict. The answer doesn't bode well for Americans. Russia, which has been on the defensive since the fall of the USSR three decades ago, is fighting to protect its sovereignty against American encroachment. ..."
"... We could have mandated IPV6 with its better security model twenty years ago. We could encourage end-to-end encryption to secure networks. We could have directed the NSA and other security agencies to search out and fix bugs in software libraries instead of building backdoors that are now open to everyone. Instead everything gets converted to a weapon. Fear reigns supreme. Then we go to war and the merchants of death make huge profits ..."
"... The U.S. escalates cyber attacks on Russia's power grid. However, the Pentagon [and NSA] will not brief Trump because he might "countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials" as he did before with the Russians. Folks, we're running an unchecked cyber war against a global nuclear power without the involvement of POTUS who isn't interested, doesn't care, and is too busy complaining about CNN on Twitter. We are a banana republic and no one is minding the store ..."
"... I just don't get it. The New York Times publishing what surely must be classified information about a secret incursion by the U.S. government into the Russian power grid! And Julian Assange is criminally charged for doing the same thing? ..."
"... The US is certainly a very offensive country. The US Is considered The Exceptional World Leader. I don't know if the world can survive such leadership. The US is going to drown in its military superiority, and settle into a state of violent mediocrity with a poorly educated, somewhat unhealthy citizenry with loads of of weaponry, poor mental health and lots of drug addiction and a country with the world's highest rate of incarceration and lousy infrastructure. ..."
"... And for all of those who are blaming Russia, kindly remember how the U.S. started all this with the creation and deployment of Stuxnet against Iran. ..."
"... This reminds me of the Cold War. We were sold a bill of goods about Russia's capacity to harm us when, we the US was actually the aggressor, JFK sold this under the brand of "Missile Gap". The United States is, as usual, the aggressor here. The US Empire wants to control the world. Any independent nation will be considered a threat and not be tolerated. This demonization of Russia is an embarrassment and worse, is extremely dangerous, The Russian bear is not to be trifled with, despite American fantasies. ..."
"... The world needs a Cyber Geneva Convention. Immediately if not years ago. All the tunnel vision patriotic cheering in these comments is very alarming. Think about where Cyber War could go, what it could do, who it would harm. ..."
"... This is the path to the military itself becoming a danger to the state through ill-considered unilateral action. ..."
"... "Defend forward?" A new entry in the Newspeak dictionary... We are partying like it's 1984. ..."
"... "Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction..." So the commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, decided to undertake an overt act of war and not tell his Commander in Chief because he thought he might disagree? If true, Trump should fire this guy tomorrow, if not court-martial him for insubordination. ..."
"... Something's wrong with this article. A newspaper is telling the world that the US is messing around with Russia's power grid? Shouldn't this be super confidential? Basically now Russians are allowed to re tagliate in any way for what the USA is doing. What would be the reaction of the US if the situation was reversed? A bunch of blackouts in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco and the Russians saying "we did it"? Our military would bomb them right away! ..."
"... GREAT ! A military junta within the Trump regime...what could go wrong. ..."
"... There is a real danger in deploying cyber-mines in adversary systems. All code can be broken and used in retaliation. Even so-called "encapsulated" code can be disassembled. STUXNET was disassembled and repurposed as ransom-ware. ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Bruce Rozenblit Kansas City, MO 11h ago

This is very disturbing and it threatens the security of the entire planet. Cyber warfare is cheap. As this technology continues to develop, no nation, no industry, no utility will be safe. Just as many nations want the bomb, many will want this capability and they don't have to spend much to have it. The economic and human costs of disrupting power flows could be huge. This isn't a video game. It is real warfare. We should be extremely cautious with the application of these cyber tools. Do we want to live in a world where nation states are actively trying to cripple any infrastructure they can get at? Talk about the war of all against all. It is also very troubling that organizations within our government can carry out these incursions without specific orders from the top of our command structures. We can't have the dept. of this or that conducting assaults on other nations on their own. Everyone can see where that aircraft carrier is, but no one can see that malware hiding in a water treatment center. These weapons cause us to lose our ability of command and control. That's the real danger here, loss of command and control. We already have president who has command but no control. We don't need a dozen agencies with the same problem.
alanore or 9h ago
@TMah

I think they're revealing it because it may be for Russian ears, but not necessarily true or as good as stated. Misinformation abounds, especially when they're letting the press in. Mass destruction anyone? In Reply to Socrates

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ 8h ago
@Marcus Aurelius

"the action inside the Russian electric grid appears to have been conducted under little-noticed new legal authorities, slipped into the military authorization bill passed by Congress last summer. " That bipartisan bill, now law, is known as "H.R.5515 - The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019", was reluctantly signed by Donald Trump; he hated the law because it was named after an American patriot and hero that he hated.

JDM South Bend, IN June 15
While Obama and Trump are obviously different in some ways, this article reveals yet another continuity between their administrations. Burgeoning attacks on a foreign country's power grid, and little need for prior approval and oversight.
David G. Wisconsin 11h ago
How did we ever survive for half a century without putting our power grid on the internet? Get our power back off the internet, create some extra jobs to do what computers do now, raise prices a couple of percent to cover the new employees, and avoid the worry about hacking the grid. 2 Replies
Mark Thomason Clawson, MI 6h ago
Given the timing and the decision to talk about something so classified just now, I take this to be a threat aimed at Iran. "General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country." The leak is an escalation, a threat.
William Wroblicka Northampton, MA 4h ago
It seems to be common knowledge that our country's electric grid has been infiltrated by the Russians. What I don't understand, given this situation, is why the compromised systems can't be purged of any malware that might be present and the security holes that allowed it to be installed in the first place patched.

Retail software companies (e.g., Microsoft) are finding security vulnerabilities in and releasing updates to their products all the time. What's so different about industrial software systems?

Scott Newton San Francisco , Ca 6h ago
This will not end well. The unspoken assumption behind this issue is that the US assumes it must have dominance in all relations to other countries, and that moral outrage for such acts do not apply to us, because we are the "good guys" of course. Almost anything that another country can be accused of (interfering in elections, cyber-espionage, stealing trade secrets and technology) is something almost surely done by the US first to others. I applaud the NYT for reporting this, but reporters should question the reasoning behind it a bit more. 1 Reply
itsmildeyes philadelphia 8h ago
It's always the big-mouth in the bar that starts the bar fight, then he sneaks out the side door while the rest of us get hit with beer bottles. Sure wish the bouncer had stopped DJT and his entourage at the door.
CK Rye 11h ago
@Socrates - But keep in mind: just any blue will NOT do. Reject Neoliberals without hesitation! In

Reply to Mauichuck

KC Okla 4h ago
They're what? My son graduated in 2002 and we've been at war or trying to start one ever since. Can we not do anything but build weapons of death and destruction and look for ways to put them to use? This war thing is getting out of control.
Lucy Cooke California 8h ago
@GV

What about attaching a price to the US's misdeeds, there are plenty of them, Iraq, and all the other US forced regime changes or attempted regime change as in Syria and Venezuela.

The US has wrecked lots of countries with its superior military and awesome financial clout. The US is going to drown in its military superiority, and settle into a state of violent mediocrity with a poorly educated, somewhat unhealthy citizenry with loads of of weaponry, poor mental health and lots of drug addiction and a country with the world's highest rate of incarceration and lousy infrastructure.

If the US would just drown quickly, before it destroys the livability of the world, perhaps Europe, Russia and China could cooperate enough to save the world.

Michael Chicago 11h ago
Giving the military the authority to decide if and when a cyber attack occurs seems unconstitutional. And it seems very dangerous. Just because the actions originate on computer networks doesn't mean it's not violence against a foreign power. Even though everyone is dancing around the issue, a cyber attack is an act of war. Congress is supposed to make decisions on attacks by the military. It seems very Dr. Strangelove-like to me. Very risky giving a military commander the authority to start a war. 1 Reply
LiorSamson Mass 6h ago
Of course, the problem with all these "implants" and zero-day exploits is that once they are out there, they are readily deconstructed, repurposed, and turned back to bite us in new form, as has already happened on numerous occasions.

Those of us in the cybersecurity community have been sounding the alarm for more than a decade, whether in professional papers, the general press, or in fictionalized accounts. With escalation, we are virtually inviting the Russians to mount counterattacks, the cost of which could be incalculable. Our natural gas transmission network may be even more vulnerable than our power grid, as an industry insider confessed to me prompting the writing of Gasline in 2013. Of course, now we have Trump on the trigger and...

Clearwater Oregon June 15
I can't wait until this US president is gone so that our future Executive branch can directly and positively (not out of self interest or hind-covering denial) get back to the the table with Russia and bring about real change on both sides. If we don't, one has to assume that all types of cold war warfare can lead to a thermonuclear exchange.

That has always been the potential endgame since 1948. Did you think that was no longer possible after 1991? You, like myself, were being naive. I think it's more possible now than ever before. For we have two authoritarians, each carrying a football named, Doom. 1 Reply

Viv . 11h ago
@William Romp In the abstract, of course people hold positive views of their "enemy" nations. In practice, it is not at all true. You don't need to travel to Russia to find Russians who have been victims of American xenophobia and bigotry. They're right there in America. Americans has never really held to "moral" standards of war. To this day you have people believing that dropping atomic bombs on civilians was the right thing to do because it "minimized" loss of life. This is absurd.

To this day you have people believing that it was okay to not only finance the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, but indoctrinate their children to be war fighters. There's nothing to be proud about this "moral" leadership. In Reply to Viv

Ted McGuire 3h ago
Sure, the US can install malware deep inside Russia's grid. But that doesn't mean that the American cyberwar gambit is effective. And it doesn't mean that the US has the capacity to prevent Russia from using malware to inflict even deeper damage on the American grid.

To understand exactly who is probably getting the better of who in this conflict, we need to ask ourselves what motivates Russia and America to fight this conflict. The answer doesn't bode well for Americans. Russia, which has been on the defensive since the fall of the USSR three decades ago, is fighting to protect its sovereignty against American encroachment.

The US, meanwhile, isn't fighting because it has to. America is fighting Russia simply to aggrandize its own power, and to expand its influence over world affairs. In my opinion, Russia is the power that has greater motivation to win this fight. For this reason, any American effort to defeat Russia by using cyberwarfare is likely to trigger a devastating Russian response. The US should quit while it's ahead. 1 Reply

rbitset Palo Alto 4h ago
Reagan talked about a missile shield, a Star Wars defense, that would make nuclear weapons obsolete. Almost 40 years later we know that was a pipe dream. But we can be safe in cyberspace. Many of the tools are there. A few more might need to be invented. What stands in the way? A U.S. government that wants, claims to need, to spy on everyone including its citizens stands in the way. Businesses that want to vacuum up and sell everyone's information stand in the way. Hardware companies that want to lease you a networked service instead of a stand alone device stand in the way.

We could have mandated IPV6 with its better security model twenty years ago. We could encourage end-to-end encryption to secure networks. We could have directed the NSA and other security agencies to search out and fix bugs in software libraries instead of building backdoors that are now open to everyone. Instead everything gets converted to a weapon. Fear reigns supreme. Then we go to war and the merchants of death make huge profits.

Bruce1253 San Diego 8h ago
@B. Rothman Micro grids would be helpful, yes, but what about large businesses? Say the ones who make the fuel for your home furnace, or that power the compressors for your natural gas? Or that power the giant freezers at the plant that makes your french fries? My point is that we are really interconnected, and vulnerable to attacks as described in this article. This is the kind of thing that gives the cyber security pro at you local utility nightmares. We are balanced on a ball. In Reply to Eric Peterson
Dave Madison. WI 11h ago
@M. Casey - Here we go with "timidity" and Obama. At the time, and in keeping with the strategy to withhold knowledge of our cyber reach into their systems, Obama's decision probably made sense. Such a thoughtful approach would have benefited us in the phony, "Weapons of Mass Destruction" war against Iraq, which cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Such a thoughtful approach, which is anathema to chest-pounding chickenhawks, would have also been useful in Vietnam. And the Falklands. And Beirut. And Cuba and... In Reply to JM
Pelasgus Earth 5h ago
Electricity generation and reticulation worked perfectly satisfactorily before the internet, so why does it need to be connected to the internet? The obvious solution to attacks on systems is to cut the internet out of the equation. 2 Replies
Barbara SC 8h ago
@Bruce1253 I have lived through hurricanes that caused power outages for a week or more. Puerto Ricans can tell us just what it's like right now, given the damage they experienced recently. Our forebears lived without power for centuries. We would survive, but we wouldn't enjoy it. In Reply to Larry L
Mark Kinsler Lancaster, Ohio USA 2h ago
Some thoughts from an obsolete old power engineer:

(1) For the most part our power grid can be run by people at the substations and generating plants. There are always manual overrides--to wit: big levers with handles that actuate big switches. This is not a new development, for the systems were initially designed for manual operation. The digital relays were added later.

(2) The whole business makes power guys cringe, for they've been trained to keep the system going. But if necessary, every section of the power grid can be brought back to life by the employees.

(3) No public utility can operate reliably in a war or anywhere else that's lacking basic civil behavior. I'm surprised that cell phones have done so well in combat zones, for they rely on cables to link the towers.

JAS3rd Florida 11h ago
Overdue indeed. Unfortunately, if the U.S. doesn't do it, we would just disadvantage ourselves.
Aaron VanAlstine DuPont, WA 6h ago
The U.S. escalates cyber attacks on Russia's power grid. However, the Pentagon [and NSA] will not brief Trump because he might "countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials" as he did before with the Russians. Folks, we're running an unchecked cyber war against a global nuclear power without the involvement of POTUS who isn't interested, doesn't care, an