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Russiagate is a ghost story for liberals

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on 150 Comments

Many years ago I was at a party where we were outside on a warm summer night telling ghost stories— spooky things which we had experienced. I had none to tell, but we all got into the spirit of the evening (no pun) and nobody tried hard to debunk any of the stories. There were the usual things— heavy furniture regularly rearranged in a room with nobody admitting they did it, objects flying across a room, a voice coming from an empty room calling out to a married couple, each hearing his or her own name (that one was original, to me at least), a woman falling off a ladder caught by invisible hands, someone waking up to see a ghostly figure standing there (a classic sort of hallucination). ‘

The festival of spookiness concluded with an acquaintance who had a flair for the dramatic, telling a long story which had everyone on the edge of their seats, me included, though in my case I was waiting for the supernatural punchline, something actually spooky to happen. It never came. The story boiled down to this: the narrator had gone into a creepy old house and she felt a little frightened. No objects were moved, no spectral figures appeared, there were no ghostly voices. The story worked because she was a good storyteller and people were primed to be pleasantly scared by all the previous stories.

Russiagate is a ghost story (involving spooks) for liberals. It follows nearly two decades of ghost stories told by liberals which they don’t try to debunk because they want the mood created by these stories. I am not claiming that Russiagate is false— I am guessing it is a mixture of truth and falsehood and hype. But it is part of a genre and is intended to set a mood and you aren’t supposed to spoil the fun. So pretend you are outside on a warm summer evening, ready for some political supernatural horror. Boo.

It all began with the Nader campaign in 2000. Some voted for Ralph Nader, at least in safe states, hoping that a vote for Nader would send a message to the Democrats telling them that corporate money in politics was corrupting the process. Nader also stood against America’s imperial foreign policy. How did liberal Democrats react? With extreme anger. The issues raised were ignored at best and at worst whatever Nader said was denied. The storyline was that what Nader should have done was run in the Democratic primaries, raising his issues, thereby giving them exposure in a way that wouldn’t siphon away votes from the Democratic nominee in the general election and pulling the party to the left. Having done that, he could have then supported that nominee himself. You know, like Sanders would do in 2016. Then everything would be fine.

As for issues, Democratic partisans usually didn’t give an inch. They simply ignored the criticisms and instead heatedly denounced the idea that Democrats and Republicans were similar. They pointed out the differences and accused Nader voters of not caring about poor people who would suffer more under a Republican Administration. They said that progress in our system was incremental and that utopian third party candidates did nothing except weaken the Democrat. They said a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush. You have a moral duty to vote for the Democrat and to be pragmatic. Your Naderite purity came at the expense of the poor. Only affluent selfish white guys could afford this type of virtue signaling. In fact, maybe some of these people were really Republicans in disguise. There were no Russian bots to blame just yet, but clearly some liberals are unable to imagine good faith criticism of Democrats coming from the left.

The terms “ virtue signaling”, “ purity pony”, and of course “White Berniebro” weren’t coined yet, but the the stereotype they describe was formed in 2000. Gore lost and Nader and all his voters, in swing states or not, were vilified. They were worse than Republicans. They were traitors. Of all the factors that caused Gore’s loss, the only one that Democratic partisans really cared about was Nader.

The Democratic partisan mindset in its current form was born as a reaction to Nader. The rejection of all criticism and the hatred of critics, the cries of “ traitor” and the claim that they are pragmatic and understand how to win and achieve progressive results— this all started then. But it just keeps getting worse.

I actually found some of these arguments persuasive. In particular, the argument for lesser evil voting when you know only one of two candidates can win makes sense to me. I don’t think it is a moral imperative the way the partisans claim. It is a tactical argument. But it has some force. Where they go wrong is in their fanaticism. They claim to be pragmatic, but pragmatic people try to argue in such a way that you want to support them. A partisan Democrat has no interest in persuading a leftist to hold his or her nose and vote for the lesser evil. They don’t acknowledge any weakness or flaw in the Democrats and if you point to issues like Gaza or Yemen where many Democrats have been bad (Democrats have improved on Yemen since it can now be blamed on Trump) they simply ignore it. The fundamental basis of their morality is this— Thou shalt support the Democrats.

The anger on open display is the opposite of pragmatic politics. They don’t try to persuade people to vote for the Democrat. They demand it. It is a moral litmus test, or rather, a judgement of one’s very soul. Good people know they have to vote for the Democrat. Bad people vote for Republicans and the very worst people of all claim to be left, but vote for Stein or maybe even voted for Clinton, but criticized her. Democratic partisans have no interest in what you say about an issue if they perceive it as in any way an attack or a criticism of a Democrat. If you are a third party advocate you can forget about being taken seriously on any issue because you have already self identified as a Satanist and you need to be exorcised from the body politic. Even if you say you support the Democrat as the lesser evil, you speak as one of the damned and deserve no mercy. Sanders played the game in 2016 exactly the way people said Nader should have played it and he and his supporters were still dismissed. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made the white Berniebro label a little hard to apply in her case, and one can see how the Democratic partisans are trying in various ways to handle this, sometimes by ignoring her anti-corporate message or by trying to bully her on the Israel Palestine issue. And some say her message won’t work elsewhere, meaning with white Clintonbros.)

All issues are seen through this Democratic moral lens. During the Bush years it was common to see Nader and his supporters blamed for Bush and the Iraq War. The Iraq War was described as the worst foreign policy blunder of our lifetime and sometimes even the mainstream called it a crime. Democrats like Clinton who actually supported the war (she changed her mind when she began her first presidential campaign) were let off the hook. Admittedly Clinton lost to Obama in part because of Iraq, but 8 years later this supporter of every military intervention that came along, including the worst blunder of our lifetime, was being hailed as a foreign policy expert. And of course the Democrats who were so strongly antiwar when Bush was in office simply vanished when Obama came in.  Obama could support the Saudi war in Yemen and pretend the attacks on civilians were accidental and there was wasn’t a peep from partisan Democrats.

The same was true in 2014 in Gaza. It is common now to see Trump called a fascist by liberals for his treatment of immigrants, which is fair, but there is comparatively little said about his support for the barbaric policies of Israel in Gaza or the Saudi and UAE war in Yemen, because Democrats are implicated. Democratic partisans are much closer to Republican warmongers than they will ever admit. They will be on the antiwar side of an issue, such as in the case of the Iranian nuclear deal, if it makes Democrats look good and Republicans look bad. They ignore issues where the Democrats may look bad or they join with the warmongers if their fearless leaders are warmongers. Syria is an example. I still occasionally see liberals making fun of Gary Johnson for not knowing about the Syrian/Russian bombing of Aleppo, but in that same time frame liberals were ignoring the bombing of Yemen. Most still do. Aleppo and later the bombing of East Ghouta were treated as massive war crimes. But the bombing of Mosul and Raqqa, as Patrick Cockburn points out, received much less attention and at worst were treated as unfortunate displays of poor targeting. One could have blamed Trump for Mosul and Raqqa, but since it is the US military and not Trump personally which carries out the bombing and persistently undercounts the civilian dead it is hard to limit the blame in a useful partisan way. So the issue is largely ignored.

Which brings us to Russiagate. Whatever the truth of Russiagate, it is a story made in heaven for Democratic partisans whose only foreign policy concerns are about how a given issue affects their party. They have spent decades living in a mental universe where everything that happens is seen in terms of how it makes the Democrats look. Clinton lost an election to a narcissistic, misogynistic, bigoted freak. Rather than question whether the Democrats themselves might possibly have done something wrong, it was easier to blame the voters for being evil or stupid or apathetic. And of course, there was the machinations of evil foreigners attacking our pristine democracy.

A story like Russiagate requires some recalibration of moral norms. Nothing out of the ordinary for a partisan, just the usual swapping of Eurasia and Eastasia. People like Brennan or Clapper or Mueller with their dubious pasts are treated as heroes of the Resistance. Comey is treated by some with disdain, not because he is better or worse than they are, but because he reopened the Clinton email investigation just before the election. But he does say bad things about Trump, so he is a confusing figure.

On issues, the recalibration is easy. Whatever hurts the Democrats is evil, so the hacking of emails that make Democrats look bad is the worst thing in history. The content of those emails, which made the Democrats look bad and also showed how some rich people influence foreign policy, is something only a bad person would talk about and it should not have been reported. Obviously. It used to be that talking to Putin was smart, even if he is a ruthless man, because Democrats like Obama are smart and try to reduce tensions. But now that Putin might have stolen emails and run some Facebook ads and since it seems Russians are allegedly better at using stolen Democratic campaign analytics than the Clinton campaign was, we have to get to Trump’s right when it comes to Russia. It doesn’t matter that Trump opposes the sale of Russian natural gas to the Europeans or that he sold antitank weapons to the Ukraine or that he is inching towards war with Russia’s ally Iran and ended the nuclear treaty with Iran against Putin’s wishes. Trump insulted our universally-beloved intelligence community and this is the only data point worth discussing.

Lefties and others sometimes say that even if all of Russiagate is true, it looks a bit trivial compared to our ongoing war crimes and even the endless number of times we intervene in the politics of other countries, including Russia. I say this myself. The reply is that this is whataboutery. My reply is that whataboutery is a perfectly valid argument to make when a bully complains about something done to him and never takes responsibility for what he has done and is doing to others. If we have or had a functioning democracy before Trump and Putin spoiled everything, then our democracy intervened constantly in other countries, kills civilians with our bombs, helps the Saudis bomb civilians and starve children, supports Israeli apartheid, invades counties on false pretenses, tortures prisoners and nobody is ever held to account for any of it. MSNBC is the TV network for liberals. According to FAIR, they haven’t mentioned our support for the Saudi war in Yemen in over a year.

I don’t have any success to report in reaching the type of liberal I have described. There was a post and a very long thread about this at the nakedcapitalism site which you can read here. I have nothing to add.

PS. I used the term “ liberal” in this piece as something synonymous with “ Democratic partisan”. There are of course people who identify as liberal who are not Democratic partisans blinded by their partisanship. But usually Democratic partisans identify as liberal, and they dominate the conversation in the press and online, so that’s why I used it.

Donald
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150 Responses

  1. marc b.
    marc b.
    July 26, 2018, 11:15 am

    from NC comments:

    And since her friends are also PhDs, she was also frustrated at their refusal to consider evidence, or entertain the idea that their preferred sources were biased.

    this perfectly sums up the neo-liberal state of mind. the lancet and others have described/published/dissected the piss poor state of medical research, results designed to get more funding or promote the sales of a drug, not the discovery of some hidden truth. the elite is supposedly the repository of occult knowledge, the ‘truth’, or at least the truth about the process. the truth is that self-promotion for the individual and a mafia-like grip on group authority are the only worthy pursuits for the elite at this stage of the game.

  2. philweiss
    philweiss
    July 26, 2018, 12:54 pm

    I appreciate the link and comment (and I love Donald’s post). But: Haven’t elites always behaved in that fashion? Isnt that the purpose of elites?
    Though I am continually gobsmacked by the endurance of commentators who pushed the Iraq War. Ari Melber hosts Bill Kristol on MSNBC. Why? Didn’t that guy punch his ticket in 2003, as far as the left is concerned? These guys maintain complete immunity from accountability for the gravest mistake of a generation or two. And why, because a core ideal of the elite is pro-Israel. And MSNBC and Kristol are aligned on that one. That is Bernie and Alexandria O-C’s greatest threat.

    • guyn
      guyn
      July 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

      “I appreciate the link and comment (and I love Donald’s post). But: Haven’t elites always behaved in that fashion? Isnt that the purpose of elites?”

      The best exemple: The Peoples’s Party of the 1880-90s. You have to read “The Populist Moment, a Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America”.

      These fellows in the South were a threat to the banks and the corporations and the were crushed by the Republicans AND the Democratic Party, the “Party of the Fathers”.

      At the time and to these days, it was the greatest experiment in real democracy and for this reason it faced tremendous opposition.

    • Keith
      Keith
      July 27, 2018, 2:30 pm

      PHIL- “But: Haven’t elites always behaved in that fashion?”

      The current Russiagate hysteria is so over the top that it signals something well beyond the norm. The Helsinki summit was basically a photo-op designed to ease tensions somewhat. The reaction to the summit was hysteria on steroids. A couple of quotes and links. Check out the Saker’s link to the cartoons. Unbelievable!

      “This is the proverbial case where the real “action is in the reaction” and, in this case, the reaction of the Neocon run US deep-state and its propaganda machine (the US corporate media) was nothing short of total and abject hysterics. I could list an immense number of quotes, statements and declarations accusing Trump of being a wimp, a traitor, a sellout, a Putin agent and all the rest. But I found the most powerful illustration of that hate-filled hysteria in a collection of cartoons from the western corporate media posted by Colonel Cassad on this page:
      https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4330355.html

      I won’t repost them here, but please do take the time to look at them and see for yourself what kind of message they hammer in. The message is brought from different angles and in different ways, but the overall unifying theme is this: Trump is infinitely evil, he sold out the USA to Putin-the-Devil, and everything the American people hold as sacred and most dear to their hearts is now in immense danger. I have always liked cartoons and the way they disrespect and ridicule the powers that be, but what we see today is not humor, or disrespect or even virulent criticism. What we see today is a hate campaign against both Trump and Russia the likes of which I think the world has never seen before: even in the early 20th century, including the pre-WWII years when there was plenty of hate thrown around, there never was such a unanimity of hatred as what we see today.” (The Saker) http://thesaker.is/the-putin-trump-helsinki-summit-the-action-is-in-the-reaction/

      For a more scholarly take on this, I link to a couple of videos (16.25 min + 18.5 min) of Professor Stephen Cohen on the “Russiagate” reality. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/stephen-f-cohen-the-russia-national-security-crisis-is-a-u-s-creation/#more-197524

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 27, 2018, 2:50 pm

        “The Helsinki summit was basically a photo-op designed to ease tensions somewhat…”

        You bet! And all Trump had to do was say something a little stern to Putin about the election-meddling, and then Putin says something placatory, or even neutral, and everybody is happy. Putin would have been happy to play along.
        But Trump couldn’t even do that. Couldn’t even manage that.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 27, 2018, 3:45 pm

        Attaboy, Mooser, avoid the point again. The point being in the text immediately following what you quoted:
        “The reaction to the summit was hysteria on steroids”

        So where’s the reason, apart from blackmail, for saying “something a little stern” about a non-existent “election-meddling”? Are we to assume that giving in to warmongering hysteria is necessarily good policy?

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 27, 2018, 6:22 pm

        MOOSER- “You bet! And all Trump had to do was say something a little stern to Putin about the election-meddling….”

        Yes, but whose election meddling? Hillary’s bogus Steele report? Netanyahu’s shameless ongoing interference? All of that Saudi money going to the Clinton Foundation? William Browder’s illegal theft of Russian assets which, with the help of US intelligence, were spirited out of Russia, some of which found their way to the Princess of Darkness? Didn’t Putin bring this up during the press conference question and answer?

        “I mean the high-profile case, involving [Bill] Browder’s Hermitage Capital company. According to our investigative officers, a group of people – Mr Browder’s business partners – who illegally made over $1.5 billion in Russia did not pay taxes either in Russia or the United States but transferred this money to the United States. They contributed $400 million to Ms Clinton’s election campaign. This is official information included in their reports – $400 million. Well, it was up to them, they might have done this legally, but the gains were ill-gotten.
        We have grounds to suspect that US intelligence officers supported these illegal transactions. This is only one step forward. We can talk about expanding our cooperation. You’re welcome, there might be options that are provided for in the appropriate intergovernmental treaty.”
        (V.V.Putin) http://thesaker.is/the-ticking-time-bomb/

        Does your extraordinary group loyalty have timeless roots?

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 28, 2018, 12:22 am

        MOOSER- “You bet! And all Trump had to do was say something a little stern to Putin about the election-meddling….”

        And what should Putin have said about US election meddling in Russian elections? How many f*****g links do I have to provide concerning US interference in the 1996 Russian elections in favor of Boris Yeltsin before you read one? The US (under Clinton, homeboy) literally raped Russia under Yeltsin, courtesy of Soros and Browder and the dares-not speak-its-name oligarchs. Putin ended that and is now loathed by the dares-not-speak-its-name former oligarchs who hate Putin for stopping their thievery. This is what you are supporting? Seriously. You think this is cute? Cleverness more significant than empirical reality? You need to get your act together. Right now you are little better than a tribal anti-Zionist.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 28, 2018, 11:51 am

        “You need to get your act together. Right now you are little better than a tribal anti-Zionist.”

        Pretty much worn out your welcome at the book-club meetings, huh?

      • atime forpeace
        atime forpeace
        July 28, 2018, 5:21 pm

        This story is By John R. Schindler • 06/05/18 a supposed ex nsa counter intel guy who taught at the naval war college before disgracing himself for texting naked pics of his member to some lady on twitter. All this to say this story has legs at some point even if only within the U.S intel community. The fact that it has been kepts totally and completely out of the news lends it more credibility in my eyes having watched for years how the ZIon-nutcase power within the U.S has the power to muzzle stories.

        George had nothing to do with Russia,” she explained, seemingly in an effort to convince the White House that Papadopoulos lacks any dirt on the president’s Kremlin connections that could assist Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of Team Trump. However, what Mangiante said next was the real shocker: her husband “pled guilty because [Mueller’s prosecutors] threatened to charge him with being an Israeli agent.”

        http://observer.com/2018/06/muellers-investigation-into-trump-russia-turns-focus-on-israel/

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 1, 2018, 6:07 pm

        ” How many f*****g links do I have to provide concerning US interference in the 1996 Russian elections in favor of Boris Yeltsin before you read one?”

        Sorry, “Keith” finally got to ’em. Yes, I can see why Trump had no other ethical choice, no possible way he could act other than he did.
        If Trump had rejected Russian aid (LOL, like he wasn’t owned for years) it would be like letting Yeltsin and Carter win!

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      July 28, 2018, 8:57 am

      I too would like to express my appreciation for this article. It is especially useful for people like myself who did not grow up in this country and are still not fully acclimatized to its political culture. Thank you, Donald.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      August 24, 2018, 3:21 am

      Phil: Though I am continually gobsmacked by the endurance of commentators who pushed the Iraq War. Ari Melber hosts Bill Kristol on MSNBC. Why?

      There certainly are a lot of strange “never Trump” bedfellows on CNN and MSNBC. I’m gobsmacked that no one has filed a civil RICO act lawsuit against the RNC and DNC for money laundering; mail, wire, television, radio, and internet fraud; and failure to provide “honest services” in exchange for their taxpayer-subsidized presidential nominating conventions. There are several lawsuits complaining about those acts individually, but it doesn’t seem as if the plaintiffs have figured out that they all add up to the predicate offenses for a federal charge of racketeering and treble damages.

      I’ve always suspected the Russiagate DNC hacking story is true enough. After all, Putin arrested several senior FSB and Kapersky Labs Cyber security personnel and charged them with treason and passing intelligence along to the USA. That happened immediately after the National Intelligence Assessment about election meddling was published.

      But it’s pretty obvious that the network legal analysts on MSNBC and CNN are using the Russian hackers and the supposed threat to democracy to misdirect attention away from the criminal activities of the DNC and Clinton campaign that were revealed in the stolen emails. Why pursue an unproven theory about involvement of the Russian government and its hackers, when the facts that we already know about: (1) the solicitation of incriminating information from Trump Jr and the assembled campaign staff; and (2) delivery by Veselnitskya of the Fusion GPS dossier on Clinton and possible tax evasion during the Trump Tower meeting – satisfy all of the necessary elements of much more serious criminal offenses?

      The hacking would only amount to a conspiracy to defraud the US government (5 year maximum sentence). But the details that Trump Jr. and Veselnitskya initially lied about and subsequently admitted amount to bribery and conspiracy under The Magnitsky Act and associated Treasury Department regulations. They prohibit anyone from accepting contributions, goods, or services from an individual or entity whose assets are blocked. The penalty for that is a 1 million dollar fine, 20 years in prison, or both. Then there’s always the offense of bribing a person who has been notified that they are the presumptive nominee for a public office to refrain from or perform any official act 18 U.S. Code § 201 (15 years in prison). You don’t need Russians or Russian government agents to be found guilty of either of those crimes.

      FYI, the action verb in the latter statute is “collude,” not “conspire”. So yes Virginia, COLLUSION REALLY IS A CRIME and a legal term of art that isn’t a synonym for conspiracy. In fact, long before Rudy Giuliani started repeating Fox News talking points and studying-up on the U.S. criminal code, he actually indicted two US Congressmen and their family members under 18 U.S. Code § 201 as part of the Wedtech scandal. So it’s a mystery to me why he and all of these legal analysts on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC keep saying “collusion is not a crime” or “collusion is not a crime, but conspiracy is”. Meh!

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        August 24, 2018, 7:26 am

        @Hostage

        “I’m gobsmacked that no one has filed a civil RICO act lawsuit against the RNC and DNC for money laundering; mail, wire, television, radio, and internet fraud”

        Speaking of fantasy lawsuits, remember this ‘sword of justice’?

        AL-TAMIMI et al v. ADELSON et al
        District Of Columbia District Court
        Judge: Tanya S Chutkan
        Case #: 1:16-cv-00445
        Nature of Suit 890 Other Statutes – Other Statutory Actions
        Cause 18:1962 Racketeering (RICO) Act

        Case Filed: Mar 07, 2016

        Terminated: Aug 29, 2017

        Turns out to have been so much hot air.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 24, 2018, 9:13 am

        Turns out to have been so much hot air.

        That might not be the case with the DNC and RNC. The same lawyer that argued a won one of the landmark Supreme Court cases on campaign financing filed an FEC complaint that said the Clintion Victory Fund and the DNC had laundered 84 million dollars through the Democratic party state committees. Donald Trump’s campaign did the same sort of thing.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/12/27/whats-behind-the-claim-that-hillary-clinton-got-84-million-in-illegal-contributions/?utm_term=.4999a5ade1fb

        Then he filed a lawsuit against the FEC for failing to take any action on his complaint.
        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/16/fec-hit-with-lawsuit-over-ignoring-civil-complaint-accusing-clinton-dnc-in-election-scheme.html

        A Federal Judge in Florida dismissed a mail and wire fraud lawsuit against the DNC that had been brought by Bernie Sanders supporters over the rigged nominating process. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/08/25/florida-judge-dismisses-fraud-lawsuit-against-dnc/?utm_term=.37fd456a0abd

        But the Appeals Court disagreed and have allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint and pursue the case. See Court Order: DNC Fraud Lawsuit to Continue https://ivn.us/2018/01/11/court-order-dnc-fraud-lawsuit-continue/

        At this point, I think they’ve pissed off enough people that someone will eventually get lucky and find a judge who’ll agree.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 24, 2018, 9:48 am

        AL-TAMIMI et al v. ADELSON et al
        District Of Columbia District Court
        Judge: Tanya S Chutkan
        Case #: 1:16-cv-00445

        I’ve just read the Memorandum and Opinion and it doesn’t say the case was based upon RICO at all. It cites “the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 (“ATS”), and the Torture Victim Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 102-256, 106 Stat. 73 (1992) (“TVPA”) (Count II); (3) aided and abetted the commission of war crimes (Count III); and (4) engaged in a 30-year pattern of aggravated and ongoing trespass (Count IV).” https://cases.justia.com/federal/district-courts/district-of-columbia/dcdce/1:2016cv00445/177524/120/0.pdf?ts=1504086155

        None of that has anything to do with simple corruption or racketeering, e.g. engaging in fraudulent financial transactions here in the United States in direct connection with stolen private property in Palestine. The majority of the opinion deals with the plaintiff’s error of suing Elliott Abrams in his official capacity, which allowed the U.S. government to intervene on his behalf. It doesn’t even look like the case was dismissed with prejudice.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        August 24, 2018, 12:26 pm

        @Hostage

        Plaintiff’s counsel in AL-TAMIMI et al v. ADELSON et al had made RICO claims in his first Complaint.

        Plaintiff’s counsel served a 2nd Amended Complaint which dropped all RICO claims because they were unsustainable in a court of law.

        To wit, this suit was a dead bang loser from it’s inception, primarily because it raised ‘political questions’.

        Plaintiff’s counsel tried his best, though.
        He accused the ‘The Lobby’ of having a stranglehold on the Treasury Department and accused the Mossad of hatching a plot against him personally.

        It all sounds so sickeningly familiar.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 24, 2018, 1:45 pm

        Plaintiff’s counsel served a 2nd Amended Complaint which dropped all RICO claims because they were unsustainable in a court of law.

        That’s odd, since the Supreme Court held in RJR Nabisco v the European Union that RICO does apply to events occurring and injuries suffered outside the United States, so long as entities operating domestically are deriving unjust income here in this country from anticompetitive practices. Many of the defendants in the case you cited injure the legitimate Palestinian owners or their businesses here in the USA. Many of the plaintiffs and defendants in the case you cited are US citizens and or US corporations. A Palestinian can earn income in this country from leasing his or her own foreign property, just as easily as ReMax et al. Section 1964(c) only requires a civil RICO plaintiff to allege and prove a domestic injury to their business or property interests. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/579/15-138/#tab-opinion-3587721

        The only problem that I can see is that some, but not all, of the plaintiffs in a Rico civil suit might be non-resident aliens. But that would not prevent them from operating a leasing business in the USA, since RICO explicitly applies to “any person”.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 24, 2018, 2:44 pm

        Jackdaw I think you are fighting a loosing battle. No one ever thought that the ICC Prosecutor would ever publish a preliminary investigation that accused one of the members of the P-5 of conducting an unlawful occupation. No one would have predicted that governments would compile lists of Russian civilians who are supporting the occupation, demand Interpol red notices, and go after their financial assets. If they can do that to Russia, then they can do that to Israel too.

        It was not so long ago that everyone predicted that the UN General Assembly would never risk US ire and defunding in order to recognize the State of Palestine. But it happened nonetheless. I was assured that Palestine would not be admitted to the ICC as a member state, until it happened. I was assured the Prosecutor would never accept a self-referral from Palestine and that the Pre-Trial Chamber would never authorized a preliminary investigation of Israeli crimes, until it happened. I’m pretty certain that it won’t be many more years before the same thing happens to Israeli officials and settlers that is already happening to the Russians today.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        August 25, 2018, 2:02 am

        @Hostage

        ‘Jackdaw I think you are fighting a loosing(sic) battle.’

        Well. We are all fighting a losing battle. That’s life.

        As far as RICO goes, in RJR Nabisco, the Court held that RICO’s criminal provisions apply extraterritorially to a limited extent, but that its civil cause of action applies only to domestic injuries suffered inside the United States, so all the Al Tammimi plaintiffs lose under RICO. —RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community, No. 15-138 (U.S.)

        Besides the ‘political question’ defense, Defendants in Al Tammimi could have defended on the question of ‘standing’.

        Hostage. You don’t have a problem with ‘lack of standing’, do you?

  3. marc b.
    marc b.
    July 26, 2018, 2:04 pm

    if you mean, haven’t the elites always been corrupt, yes, they have. but as i interpret it, corruption is now the core ideology. not spiritual belief, or enlightenment ideals (which has led to the current strain of techno-philia and some truly bizarre creatures, see e.g. anthony levandowski.)

    https://www.wired.com/story/anthony-levandowski-artificial-intelligence-religion/

    douglas rushkoff summed up the elite ideology: how do we survive the apocalypse? (pretty light on abstraction or idealism though it is)

    After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys – yes, all men – from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.

    They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.

    Which region will be less affected by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the Event?”

    i think i heard rushkoff in an interview advise the ‘elite’ to lighten up on the reins a bit and maybe share in some of the wealth, as a tactic to avoid the guillotine, but that suggestion was scoffed at. not sure if it was because they believed we passed some tipping point, or as an admission of their pathology and the impossibility of letting a crumb fall off the table.

    • Keith
      Keith
      July 27, 2018, 6:52 pm

      MARCB- (Rushkoff quote)- “Which region will be less affected by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska?”

      Some of the elites are very aware of the piss-poor state of the world caused by elite power-seeking and are preparing to deal with the crisis (now unavoidable) after the fact utilizing their vast resources. The 99% are to be effectively jettisoned as the 1% look to their wealth to save them from the consequences of their cumulative actions.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        July 28, 2018, 10:54 am

        The dna of Bill Browder, kurzweil’s downloaded consciousness, and zuckerdouche in some bunker in New Zealand. That’s the future of humanity. Gross.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    July 26, 2018, 2:57 pm

    RE: “Russiagate is a ghost story (involving spooks) for liberals.” ~ Donald Johnson

    MY NOT VERY SERIOUS SUGGESTION:
    ■ Just believe! Is that so difficult?
    There’s no use fighting the fight!

  5. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    July 26, 2018, 3:24 pm

    My take on it is that the Plutocrats needed Russian help to win a GOP majority in 2016. They used this to engineer a deficit creating tax cut that went in large part to Plutocrats. It is not complicated.

  6. Brewer
    Brewer
    July 26, 2018, 3:50 pm

    Browder is not a ghost. Simply a common or garden psychopath. Watch how a tax-dodging, thieving scammer parlays his deceptions into a Russia-bashing act of Congress. Essential viewing:

    • Keith
      Keith
      July 26, 2018, 8:19 pm

      BREWER- “Browder is not a ghost. Simply a common or garden psychopath. Watch how a tax-dodging, thieving scammer parlays his deceptions into a Russia-bashing act of Congress.”

      For those unfamiliar with William Browder and the Magnitsky Act, the following may be helpful.

      “Why does the former KGB official Vladimir Putin hate William Browder? Is it all because of Earl Browder’s misleadership of the American proletariat during the 1930s and 1940s? (That was a joke.) No, it’s about how Browder conducted his affairs when he swept into Russia and became a ruthless, spectacularly wealthy Russian financial oligarch in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Backed global money-men Edmond Safra and Beny Steinmetz, Browder’s firm Hermitage Capital became the leading foreign investment portfolio in Boris Yeltsin’s Russia. Browder made a fortune off the collapse of Russian socialism, filling his coffers while the collapse of social protections and the advance of the so-called free market drastically increased Russian mortality. Browder profited from the great sell-off of Russian public and natural resources while ordinary Russian struggled with U.S-led capitalist “shock therapy.”
      ….
      Still, callous fortune accumulation in Russia must proceed according to Putin’s dictates and on Putin’s terms. Browder broke two of Putin’s rules. First, he violated Russian national sovereignty concerns by using Russian front-men to circumvent restrictions means to prevent foreigners from gaining control over Russian oil and gas.

      Second, Browder got too greedy for his own good. He hired the Russian auditor Sergei Magnitsky to exploit Russian loopholes (including the establishment of dummy companies in underdeveloped tax-free Russian zones) to take over Russian companies and to avoid paying Russian taxes. Magnitsky and Browder were ingenious, deploying numerous elaborate schemes to attack Russian firms and escape government levies.

      When the ruses were discovered, Browder was abroad, having taken millions of dollars with him. Magnitsky was jailed for financial chicanery and tax evasion. Browder’s Russian assets were seized. When Magnitsky died in jail from natural causes in 2009, Browder constructed an Orwellian narrative that was swallowed whole by Western media. In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, he told childishly and/or cynically believing establishment US politicos and media operatives that his “lawyer” Magnitsky had heroically exposed financial misdeeds and thievery on the part of Russian government officials. Because of this marvelous and idealist muckraking, Browder claimed, Magnitsky had been imprisoned and tortured to death at Putin’s command. Using Magnitsky as his moral cover, Browder demanded the recovery of his lost Russian assets. He managed along the way to charge that anti-Semitism was part of why he was being oppressed by Putin.

      Browder’s deceptive public relations campaign against Putin became a critical development in the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations and the crystallization of the full-on New Cold War. In 2012, the US Congress passed, and president Barack Obama signed the Magnitsky Act, which said that any Russian found responsible for Magnitsky’s death and/or the “misappropriation” of Browder’s assets could have their U.S. assets seized and their U.S. banks accounts frozen automatically, without any due process. Adding insult to injury, these dastardly Russians could no longer travel to the U.S. It was an opening act on the path to bigger and more significant sanctions to come in subsequent years.” (Paul Street) https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/24/reflections-on-media-gone-russia-wild/

      • Brewer
        Brewer
        July 26, 2018, 10:34 pm

        Thanks Keith. This is a very important film in my view but I was pressed for time when I posted it – your elucidation should encourage more folk to view it. Several attempts to suppress it have already been made, presumably by Browder and cohorts..

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 27, 2018, 1:54 pm

        BREWER- “Several attempts to suppress it have already been made, presumably by Browder and cohorts..”

        For those who lack the time, I provide some additional details about the film and filmmaker.

        “Enter Mr Andrey Nekrasov, a Russian dissident filmmaker. He made a few films considered to be highly critical of Russian government. He alleged the FSB blew up houses in Moscow in order to justify the Chechnya war. He condemned the Russian war against Georgia in 2008, and had been given a medal by Georgian authorities. He did not doubt the official Western version of Browder-Magnitsky affair, and decided to make a film about the noble American businessman and the brave Russian lawyer fighting for human rights. The European organisations and parliamentarians provided the budget for the film. They also expected the film to denounce Putin and glorify Magnitsky, the martyr.

        However, while making the film, Mr Nekrasov had his Road to Damascus moment. He realised that the whole narrative was hinging on the unsubstantiated words of Mr Browder. After painstaking research, he came to some totally different conclusions, and in his version, Browder was a cheat who run afoul of law, while Magnitsky was his sidekick in those crimes.

        Nekrasov discovered an interview Magnitsky gave in his jail. In this interview, the accountant said he was afraid Browder would kill him to prevent him from denouncing Browder, and would make him his scapegoat. It turned out Browder tried to bribe the journalist who made the interview to have these words expunged. Browder was the main beneficiary of the accountant’s death, realised Nekrasov, while his investigators were satisfied with Magnitsky’s collaboration with them.

        Nekrasov could not find any evidence that Magnitsky tried to investigate the misdeeds of government officials. He was too busy covering his own tax evasion. And instead of fitting his preconceived notions, Nekrasov made the film about what he learned. (Here are some details of Nekrasov’s film)

        While the screening in the EU Parliament was been stopped by the powerful Mr Browder, in Washington DC the men are made of sterner stuff. Despite Browder’s threats the film was screened, presented by the best contemporary American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who is 80 if a day, and still going strong. One has to recognise that the US is second to none for freedom of speech on the globe.” (Israel Shamir) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49886.htm

        As a final thought, there seems to me to be an ethnic component to this story which may be significant yet dares not speak its name.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      July 27, 2018, 1:03 am

      Private Investigations Find America’s Magnitsky Act to Be Based on Frauds by Eric Zuesse

      http://washingtonsblog.com/2018/04/private-investigations-find-americas-magnitsky-act-to-be-based-on-frauds.html

      Guardians of the Magnitsky Myth by Robert Parry
      https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/21/guardians-of-the-magnitsky-myth-2/

      The Killing of William Browder by Alex Krainer

      https://dxczjjuegupb.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/TheKillingOfWilliamBrowder_PrintLayout_6x9-1.pdf

      Bill Browder, the false crusader for justice and human rights and the self-styled No. 1 enemy of Vladimir Putin has perpetrated a brazen and dangerous deception upon the Western world. This book traces the anatomy of this deception, unmasking the powerful forces that are pushing the Western world toward yet another great war with Russia.

    • Brewer
      Brewer
      July 29, 2018, 12:52 am

      Browder keeps squelching the video. Here is another link:

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      August 3, 2018, 6:07 am

      I can recommend the banned movie ‘The Magnitsky Act Behind The Scenes’ from Andrei Nekrasov . Starts off with full cooperation from Browder since Nekrasov initially believes his story completely. Ends completely the opposite. Available from piraya.no . I’ve seen it online but links generally are quickly removed.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 3, 2018, 9:03 am

        “Torstein Grude
        Replying to @TorsteinGrude @Kasparov63
        We have removed illegal copies of our documentary “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” from YouTube, Megaupload and BitChute. Please send requests for personal copies of the film to [email protected]

        https://twitter.com/torsteingrude

  7. JWalters
    JWalters
    July 26, 2018, 7:08 pm

    This article brings up a lot of the complexities of politics, with its many agendas, priorities, and tactics. I’d like to focus on two aspects of Russia-gate – who benefits? and is it true?

    The DNC benefits by giving Hillary voters a face-saving excuse for her loss. It distracts attention from the “disgruntled employee” theory for the stolen DNC emails. There is a strong case that a DNC insider who supported Bernie got angry at how the DNC was sabotaging Bernie, and leaked the emails to spill the beans. Despite the clear evidence, this option is NEVER discussed in the mainstream media, a travesty of dishonesty and unprofessionalism.

    The Israelis benefit by having attention distracted from the Israelis’ immense influence on American politics, including being the principle funders of Hillary’s campaign. This Democratic party is not FDR’s Democratic party. It has been captured by FDR’s enemies, the banksters who attempted a coup against FDR. That coup attempt was revealed by Marine Major General Smedley Butler. Instead a slower coup took place.

    The Israelis benefit by having a conflict between the US and Russia instead of cooperation. Obama and Putin were making progress toward peace in Syria, and eliminated all or most of Syria’s chemical weapons. Peace in the Middle East would end Israel’s obvious expansion plans, and diminish their profitable war industries. That progress was stopped, and a conflict created by instigating the Ukraine crisis.
    “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis”
    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

    Is the Russia-gate saga true? Several lines of available evidence indicate it is not true. The amount of actual evidence presented in support so far (not counting mere accusations) is zero. According to CIA veteran analyst Ray McGovern, “What has been particularly noteworthy about this ‘scandal’ is how much spooky music we’ve heard and how many sinister suspicions have been raised versus actual ‘evidence’ of the core allegations.”
    “The Gaping Holes of Russia-gate”
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/20/the-gaping-holes-of-russia-gate
    “Moon-Strzok No More, Lisa Page Spills the Beans”
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/23/moon-strzok-no-more-lisa-page-spills-the-beans/

    All told, Russia-gate is quite likely a big false-flag ghost story to derail peace and foster more war profits.

  8. Keith
    Keith
    July 26, 2018, 7:54 pm

    DONALD JOHNSON- ” I used the term “ liberal” in this piece as something synonymous with “ Democratic partisan”.

    And, I suspect, that these “liberals” are at least somewhat successful professionals who are not enamored of the “basket of deplorables” the Democrats once claimed to represent. If one thinks about it, the Clintons and the New Democrats have completely changed the Democrats from the party of Roosevelt and the New Deal into the party of the Deep State and Corporations, using deceptive labels to maintain the image of progressive politics to maintain the loyalty of the old Democrats who they betrayed for campaign cash. The Clintons saved the Party’s electoral fortunes by stealthily switching sides to become the more effective implementer of the corporate agenda of empire and neoliberalism. They have screwed their one-time base for so long that the newly impoverished vote against the Democrats in retaliation. “Liberal” has become merely a label attached to those who identify with the organized “lefty” elite who have moved far to the right of the Republicans on war and peace, the neocons dominating foreign policy in both parties and, more importantly, reflecting elite consensus. There is a certain irony in the Democratic elites viscerally detesting the proletariat.

    As for Russiagate, there seems to be an elite consensus that Russia is a threat to imperial hegemonic ambitions at this critical juncture and needs to be weakened, possibly destroyed regardless of the potential for catastrophe. This is primarily about Putin and Russia, Trump merely the icing on the cake. We are at the end of an era and timing is critical. It is somewhat akin to a game of musical chairs prior to systemic collapse and restructuring. Whoever is in power during this period of turbulence will be well situated to capitalize on the opportunities provided by the transition to neofeudalism as well as to protect themselves from the consequences of environmental deterioration of a rapid and catastrophic nature.

    The notion that Putin could seize control of our Deep State/corporate controlled empire with a fist full of dollars and a handful of social media ads is sufficiently bizarre to call into question the sanity of those claiming this. Yet, a practically monolithic MSM/Deep State propaganda blitz has raged for about two years making this ludicrous claim. Folks, the empire runs on money and you need to invest billions to play and many years to achieve results. It will be interesting to see if this elite hysteria works or if this hyperbolic warmongering backfires. I hope it does. Things are seriously grim and likely to get worse rapidly.

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 26, 2018, 10:32 pm

      “The notion that Putin could seize control of our Deep State/corporate controlled empire with a fist full of dollars and a handful of social media ads is sufficiently bizarre to call into question the sanity of those claiming this. ”

      Yep. I am willing to believe that the Russians did this or that, but if “ our democracy” is so easily hacked then any random millionaire willing to spend some money could do it if he or she is willing to bend the law. And realistically, we have the military industrial complex and Wall Street and the Saudi Lobby and the Israel Lobby and the insurance companies and so on all doing their considerable best to swing policy their way. I think they all have much more influence than the Russians.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 26, 2018, 11:16 pm

        ABC News

        @ABC

        States purged almost 16 million voters from the rolls between 2014 and 2016, four million more voters than removed from 2006 to 2008, new report finds. (link: https://abcn.ws/2NE5s8W)

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 27, 2018, 7:38 am

        Putin doesn’t want control. He wants the US’s blessing for the annexation of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. He helped the GOP in return for this.
        The GOP wanted tax cuts for the plutocrats who funded their election.
        Everyone got what they wanted . Except for the voters.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 27, 2018, 8:06 am

        He didn’t get any blessing for Russian policy in the Ukraine, so no, Putin hasn’t gotten what he wanted. We sold antitank weapons to the Ukraine. If we were selling such weapons to Hezbollah then the Israel Lobby would probably be upset.

        Trump has also been opposed to the sale of Russian natural gas to Europe, yet another issue where Putin isn’t getting what he wants. Did Putin “ meddle” in the election. Maybe so. But the liberals and lefties obsessed with Russiagate have a gift for ignoring facts that don’t fit the narrative.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 27, 2018, 8:24 am

        And are you claiming voters were purged because of Putin? Is Trump obsessed with Iran because of Putin? Is Putin secretly opposed to the nuclear treaty with Iran that Trump abrogated? Is Putin the reason why Trump has surrounded himself with people who hate Russia?

        I am going offline so if you have some elaborate rationalization for why the actual policies of the US as opposed to Trump’s Helsinki performance proves that Putin got what he wanted, I will be spared seeing it for a day or two. Trump loves people who flatter him and he might have happily accepted help from anyone, but the story that he has given Putin just what he wants simply isn’t true no matter how many Rachel Maddow episodes you watch.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 27, 2018, 9:42 am

        Putin can play Trump like a violin. There is something behind this which we don’t know about yét.

        However the GOP should be the focus rather than liberals, rather than brushing away Russia as a nothing burger. We are back to JIm Crow with voter disenfranchisement.

        @EJDionne

        “The “both sides do it” ethic is so strong that we ignore the fact that Republicans have moved much farther to the right than Democrats have moved left. That’s not a “partisan” view. It’s what the data clearly show. ”

        Yes, the Dems have warmongers too
        But the GOP has been parasitised by brainwashers and Plutocrats who want everything.

        This is no time for conspiracy theories.

      • annie
        annie
        July 27, 2018, 10:26 am

        during the 2016 dem primaries the dnc proved they were just as proficient suppressing the vote as the gop. it’s the preferred tactic because they know, ultimately, the only thing more powerful than the lobbyists, war mongers, billionaires and 2 party grip on the system is voter turnout. if they trusted voters (they don’t) and were truly interested and had faith in a democratic system they would do what australia (or is it new zealand, or both?) does and make voting a requirement w/a national holiday so there’s no excuse for not going to the polls.

        the way the US interjects it’s power all over the world via elections,color revolutions, wars, and everything else it’s beyond hypocrisy to complain about russia trying to interfere in our election process. the democratic party leadership, in forcing an unpopular massively controversial candidate on the public, refuses to take any responsibility for the election of trump. that’s why we have to endure this constant russiaphobia bs for years until the next election.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 27, 2018, 12:13 pm

        “Putin can play Trump like a violin.”

        If Putin could only keep his instrument in tune!
        After the summit, all Trump had to do was come out and say something ‘stern’ to Putin about messing with the US democratic process.
        Then Putin makes an anodyne statement about ‘progress towards a dialogue on these matters’ and everybody is happy.
        That’s all Trump had to do, and Putin was more than willing to play along. Putin is no dummy. But Trump couldn’t even do that! Is that Putin’s fault?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 27, 2018, 12:21 pm

        “during the 2016 dem primaries the dnc proved they were just as proficient suppressing the vote as the gop.”

        Jeez, if both the DNC and the GOP can ‘suppress’ the Democratic vote, they haven’t got a chance.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 27, 2018, 12:54 pm

        “Is that Putin’s fault?”

        meanwhile when trying to ascertain who is to blame for America one must take account of

        Leaked Emails Show Republicans, Big Business Colluded to Gerrymander Michigan Districts

        “The Supreme Court’s upholding of a partisan gerrymander was a crushing defeat for a lot of states who struggle with fair district lines. And one of the least fair states in the nation is Michigan.

        Using a measure called “the efficiency gap” that calculates the number of partisan votes “wasted” by the drawing of districts, Michigan rates one of the worst states in the nation according to the Center for Michigan. Their magazine, Bridge, found the districts in Michigan favored Republicans by between 10.1 and 22.8 percent depending on the race.

        This, it turns out, wasn’t just not an accident, it was boasted about.

        One Macomb County district is shaped like “it’s giving the finger to sandy levin [sic]. I love it,” said one Republican aide in emails obtained by Bridge. The aide referred to Congressman Sander Levin, a Democrat who represents parts of Michigan’s Oakland and Macomb counties.

        These emails emerged as part of a lawsuit alleging partisan gerrymandering despite years of claims that lines were drawn without political bias”

        https://gritpost.com/leaked-emails-republicans-gerrymander/

        There are no Russians in Michigan.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 27, 2018, 7:35 pm

        Annie, we do have compulsory voting here in Australia, but on a Saturday, not a special public holiday.

        And yet we still end up with the Australian Government.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 27, 2018, 7:38 pm

        “Putin can play Trump like a violin. ”

        If only that were true!

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 28, 2018, 12:44 am

        ROHA- “If only that were true!”

        From your mouth to God’s ear! In spite of his many flaws, at least Putin is sane!

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 28, 2018, 6:27 am

        “Putin can play Trump like a violin.”

        Yes, him and his lobby group ARPAC. ROFL.

        Wait, that’s anti-Russianism, isn’t it? Hatred towards Russians.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        July 28, 2018, 12:51 pm

        Though I think that there is a bit of Witchfindergeneral stuff going on around Mr. Mueller and the Russians and that one government’s trying to influence elections affecting another is not particularly outrageous morally and certainly not outside the Western moral repertoire, I also think it’s important to accept that Russia’s range of activities may contain Thises and Thats that are pretty awful. I do not have any confidence in Russia as a source of progress or peace in Palestine.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2018, 9:31 pm

        “And realistically, we have the military industrial complex and Wall Street and the Saudi Lobby and the Israel Lobby and the insurance companies and so on all doing their considerable best to swing policy their way. I think they all have much more influence than the Russians.”

        Agreed, very much agree!

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 30, 2018, 7:53 am

        “Putin can play Trump like a violin. ”

        Obviously facts don’t matter with you. I supplied several important examples where Trump clearly has not done what Putin would want and you don’t even bother acknowledging them. “Putin can play Trump like a violin“ is a popular cliche and repeating it as some sort of mantra doesn’t actually prove anything. But it is how propaganda works.

        Anyone who flatters Trump will be flattered by Trump. But they won’t necessarily get the policy choices they want out of him.

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 30, 2018, 3:47 pm

        DONALD JOHNSON- “Obviously facts don’t matter with you.”

        It is worse than that. When facts contradict the group meme, the facts become a threat to the group. Group solidarity uber alles.

        In reflecting upon what the US did to Russia under Yeltsin, effectively turning Russia into a corrupt vassal state where US favorites stole billions of dollars while the people went hungry, life expectancy plummeting, it occurred to me that Yeltsin was a satrap of the Clinton administration, and that the Democratic Party was/is home to Russophobic meddlers such as George Soros. No wonder Putin preferred Trump (or anybody) to neocon Hillary Clinton. I once again link to the 27 minute must see Abby Martin interview of Mark Ames on the Yeltsin years. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/abby-martin-russias-transformation-from-an-american-colony-to-its-number-one-threat/

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2018, 5:23 pm

        “In reflecting upon what the US did to Russia under Yeltsin…”

        If only Russia had some influence on, some way of affecting, its own destiny.

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 31, 2018, 12:55 am

        MOOSER- “If only Russia had some influence on, some way of affecting, its own destiny.”

        It does under Putin which is why he is so popular. It didn’t under Yeltsin/Clinton when the US raped Russia. Let me guess, you didn’t watch the interview of Mark Ames by Abby Martin which I have linked several times. Empirical reality is your enemy. What is it with you? The Clintons have destroyed the party of Roosevelt, replacing it with a Russophobic war mongering McCarthyite party and you defend it. You are like a Democratic Party Zionist. Hitlary uber alles! F*** empirical reality!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 12:46 pm

        “Keith” given the new tax cut Trump is giving you, any efforts of mine to talk the man down would be useless. I can’t fight cash money.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 2:31 pm

        “It didn’t under Yeltsin/Clinton when the US raped Russia.”

        Poor Russia! A national virtue not even centuries could deflower, Clinton (with Yeltsin as his ‘wing-man’ and false priest) seduced and betrayed in just a few years. That cad!

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        July 31, 2018, 3:25 pm

        Mooser: “It didn’t under Yeltsin/Clinton when the US raped Russia.” Poor Russia!
        ————————————-

        Mooser, the unspeakable suffering and deaths of millions of human beings is nothing to joke about,

        Lancet Study Confirms Millions Died From “Shock Therapy”
        https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2009/1/18/685673/-

        To make the human significance of the statistics a little more real for you, here’s a long quote from the murdered journalist Paul Klebnikov:

        ————————————————

        Any doubts about the first years of the Yeltsin Era’s being a disaster were dispelled by the demographic statistics. These numbers, even in their most general form, suggested a catastrophe without precedent in modern history—the only parallel was with countries destroyed by war, genocide, or famine.

        Between 1990 and 1994, male mortality rates rose 53 percent, female mortality rates 27 percent. Male life expectancy plunged from an already low level of sixty-four years in 1990 to fifty-eight in 1994; men in Egypt, Indonesia, or Paraguay could now expect longer lives than men in Russia. In the same brief period, female life expectancy fell from seventy-four to seventy-one. The world had seldom seen such a decline in peacetime.

        Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled “excess deaths”, has always been the standard algorithm in demographer’s calculations of the death toll of disasters—whether Stalin’s collectivization in the 1930’s, Pol Pot’s rule in Cambodia in the 1970’s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980’s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated the number of “excess deaths” in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as three million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia’s losses in World War I were 1.7 million deaths.

        Many premature deaths occurred among the elderly—the babushkas, church ladies, and old men—people who had seen their life savings disappear in the great inflation of 1992, who had seen their pension checks turn worthless, who did not have families to support them, and who simply could not scrape together enough money for a nutritious diet or medicine.

        The stress of finding themselves in the ferocious unknown world that emerged after Communism was also a major (though unquantifiable) factor in killing off the elderly. It was a frightening experience for them—coming in the twilight of their lives, when they were weak and slow—the feeling of seeing the world turn upside down, the streets become unfamiliar, all the comforting supports of life swept away. Many hung on for a while, wandering around town; the men became drunks sprawled in the icy gutter; the women became bone-thin ladies begging it the entrance of churches; then they died. The younger generation had turned its back on its elders and allowed them to perish.

        A more visible factor in the rise in mortality was the disintegration of Russia’s public health system. Hospitals were suddenly unsanitary, underfunded, underequipped, bereft of medicine. Suddenly Russia was suffering outbreaks of diseases associated with the most impoverished regions of the Third World: diphtheria, typhus, cholera, and typhoid.

        Tuberculosis, the great killer of the Industrial Revolution, was largely wiped out in the twentieth century with the advent of antibiotics and better public hygiene. But in the 1990’s, Russia found itself with hundreds of thousands of active TB cases and even more dormant cases. The most worrying aspect of this phenomenon was the appearance of drug-resistant TB—a highly infectious strain of the bacterium resistant to any known antibiotic.

        The breeding ground of this scourge was the prison system—active TB afflicted up to 10 percent of Russia’s huge prison population. Under conditions of overcrowded cells and minimal medical treatment, the disease spread rapidly and was transmitted further into the general population. Each year some 300,000 people (mostly young men) entered the prison system, while a slightly smaller number of convicts were released upon the completion of their term.

        According to two researchers studying Russia’s problem, Dr. Alexander Goldfarb of New York’s Public Health Research Institute and Mercedes Becerra of the Harvard Medical School, Russia’s prisons released 30,000 cases of active TB into society, and 300,000 carriers of the dormant bacterium every year. If nothing was done to address the problem, Goldfarb declared, the number of TB cases would continue to double every year, reaching 16 million by 2005 (11 percent of the population).

        If the living conditions were appalling for the one million young men in Russia’s prisons, they were hardly any better for the 1.5 million in the armed forces. Every year, 2,000 to 3,000 young conscripts perished—either by suicide, murder, accident, or hazing incidents. (The precise number of these kinds of deaths was not released by the army.)

        The Yeltsin era witnessed an explosion of sexually transmitted diseases. Between 1990 and 1996, new syphilis cases identified every year skyrocketed from 7,900 to 388,200. AIDS was virtually unknown in Russia in the years before Communism fell. Since then, fed by burgeoning intravenous drug use and rampant, unprotected sex, AIDS spread with geometric rapidity through the Russian population. The government had no idea of the precise number of people afflicted, but based on the growth of visible AIDS cases, Dr. Vadim Pokrovsky, the nation’s leading epidemiologist, estimated that Russia would have 10 million people infected by 2005 (almost all between 15 and 29).

        A significant portion of the increase in mortality rates in Russia was due to lifestyle choices: an unhealthy diet, heavy smoking, and perhaps the highest rate of alcohol consumption in the world. Drug addiction took an increasing toll. Initially, post-Communist Russia had served only as a transshipment point for opium and heroin form Southeast Asia or Central Asia to the West. Soon the drugs began to appear in Russia itself. By 1997, Russia’s domestic market had ballooned into one of the largest narcotics markets in the world. According to official estimates, Russia had 2 million to 5 million drug addicts (3 percent of the population). These were mostly young men and women.

        For the older generation, the poison of choice was alcohol. It was impossible to tell just how much alcohol was consumed in Russia, since so much of the vodka was produced in bootleg distilleries. One 1993 survey found that more than 80 percent of Russian men were drinkers and that their average consumption was more than half a liter of alcohol per day. In 1996, more than 35,000 Russians died of alcohol poisoning, compared to several hundred such deaths the same year in the United States.

        Heavy drinking and crime contributed to a spectacular rise in violent and accidental deaths—the single fastest-growing “cause of death” category. Between 1992 and 1997, 229,000 Russians committed suicide. 159,000 died of poisoning while consuming cheap vodka, 67,000 drowned (usually the result of drunkenness), and 169,000 were murdered.

        While Russians were dying in increasing numbers, fewer children were being born. In the late 1990’s, there were 3 million state-funded abortions each year—nearly three times the number of live births. Abortions had long been used by Soviet women as the primary method of birth control. The average Russian woman had three or four abortions: many women had ten or more. As a result of these multiple abortions, as well as drug addiction, one third of Russian adults were estimated to be infertile by the late 1990’s.

        The rapid decline in births, combined with an even faster growth in mortality rates, produced a relentless decline in Russia’s population. In 1992, the Russian population was 148.3 million. By 1999, the population had fallen by 2.7 million people. If it had not been for the immigrants coming into Russia from the even more desperate situation in the Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, the Russian population would have shrunk by nearly 6 million between 1992 and 1999. These figures did not include the millions of Russians (mostly the healthier, more enterprising members of the younger generation) who had emigrated to Europe or North America unofficially.

        The most pitiful victims of Russia’s social and economic decline were the children. In 1992, 1.6 million children were born in Russia; that same year, 67,286 children (4 percent of all births) were abandoned by there parents. By 1997, the breakdown in parenting had grown to catastrophic levels. That year, 1.3 million children were born, but 113,000 children (equivalent to 9 percent of all newborns) were abandoned. Russia had no real program of adoption or foster care, so most of these children ended up on the street.

        According to some Western aid agencies, there were more than 1 million abandoned children wandering around Russia’s cities by the end of the 1990’s. The rest ended up in the vast orphanage network. Here they were left in dark, overcrowded wards, haunted by malnutrition, insufficient medical care, and routine abuse by the staff and older orphans. At least 30,000 Russian orphans were confined to psychoneurological internaty for “incurable children”; an easily reversible speech defect such as a cleft palate was enough to get a child classified as “imbecile’ and locked up in an institution where he or she would be essentially left to die. It didn’t need to be this way—95 percent of Russia’s orphans still had a living parent.

        When I first went to Togliatti to interview the directors of Avotaz, I decided to take the train to Moscow. The journey would last twenty-four hours, but I usually liked traveling by train in Russia—rumbling through the countryside in those 1930’s -era railcars was one of the best ways to meet people.

        In the carriage of my Togliatti train was a mother with an ailing seven-year old child. It was hot. The boy was stripped to his underwear. He was covered with sores—he had a very wiry, blistered little body. His mother was evidently taking him home after an unsuccessful attempt to get him treated for some skin disease. The boy was in agony. He kept wanting to scratch himself. He was crying. His mother applied plasters to the worst of the sores. “Mama…Mama…it hurts,” he called out.

        The boy’s suffering continued throughout the night, his cries echoing through the darkened railroad carriage. The next morning the passengers seemed more silent and subdued than usual; there was a palpable sense of people trying to harden themselves against the child’s suffering. The boy finally fell asleep in midmorning. I saw the mother sitting in the corridor alone, gazing blankly at the passing Russian landscape.

        (Paul Klebnikov, “Godfather of the Kremlin” , 2002)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 4:45 pm

        “the unspeakable suffering and deaths of millions of human beings is nothing to joke about”

        There’s no question about that, “Sib”. The last (let’s say to keep it near the present) 200 years have been very cruel to the Russian peoples and the Russian land.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 4:53 pm

        . “Hitlary uber alles! F*** empirical reality!” “Keith”

        Especially since “empirical reality” includes an “alternative” Hillary who was installed as President, ruined the US and destroyed the world. The “reality” is, compared to her, Trump isn’t so bad, huh?

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 31, 2018, 7:34 pm

        MOOSER- “The “reality” is, compared to her, Trump isn’t so bad, huh?”

        Trump is a disaster and the Republican Party stinks. But I don’t defend him or the Republicans the way you irrationally defend the Democrats and Hillary. You are a party loyalist on steroids. And it is not the party of Roosevelt, but the warmongering party of the Clintons and the other New Democrats. Perhaps when some of these policies and actions affect you personally, not just the “basket of deplorables” you have zero empathy for, that you will begin to take a more critical perspective. Maybe not. Perhaps it is your style to double down when confronted with uncomfortable reality.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 8:41 pm

        ” the way you irrationally defend the Democrats and Hillary.”

        No, you just keep getting hysterical over things I haven’t said at all. I’ve mentioned Hillary Clinton twice in the thread, once to allude to her “alternate” reality Presidency, (which makes Trump look good! She killed us all and destroyed the world!) and once to say her vote on the War on Iraq disgusted me with her. Haven’t trusted her since.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 9:40 pm

        “Perhaps it is your style to double down when confronted with uncomfortable reality.”

        As opposed to (for reasons I can only guess at) trying very hard to normalize Trump and his actions?

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 1, 2018, 12:16 am

        MOOSER- “As opposed to (for reasons I can only guess at) trying very hard to normalize Trump and his actions?”

        Why are you lying? I have never tried to normalize Trump and his actions. Quotes? I have a lot of comments for you to refer to. You quote Zionists such as Hophmi, but not me. Instead you misrepresent me in an extremely dishonest fashion. Why the blatant dishonesty? Is it because you cannot honestly defend your irrational defense of the New Democrats and their warmongering? I am tired of this shit. You have more in common with the Zionists than with me.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 1, 2018, 12:35 am

        MOOSER- “No, you just keep getting hysterical over things I haven’t said at all.”

        You haven’t defended the Russiagate meme? Going so far as to belittle the suffering of the Russians under Yeltsin/Clinton? Pretending that it is significant compared to our interference in the Russian political economy even as we speak? Bullshit, homeboy.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 1, 2018, 8:36 am

        Mooser: The last (let’s say to keep it near the present) 200 years have been very cruel to the Russian peoples and the Russian land.
        ———————————————————–

        Yes, Mooser, “years” have been cruel to the “Russian land” (and so has the climate)–thank you for that insightful observation– but in this case we are talking about the human effects of very specific policies occurring during a very short span of time, less than a decade, carried out and promoted by very specific groups of people–Yeltsin and his oligarchic crew, the Clinton administration, and all the American, European, and Russian neoliberal “shock therapy” academics and ideologues who provided the intellectual rationalization for (and personally profited from) the deliberate, systematic destruction and plunder of an entire society.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 1, 2018, 6:02 pm

        “Yeltsin and his oligarchic crew, the Clinton administration, and all the American, European, and Russian neoliberal “shock therapy” academics and ideologues who provided the intellectual rationalization for (and personally profited from) the deliberate, systematic destruction and plunder of an entire society.”

        But they’re gone, after draining Russia of the vast assets earned during the Communist years!

        And Trump and Putin are just the right people to turn Russia around.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 1, 2018, 8:02 pm

        Mooser,

        It’s more than obvious now that you’re unlikely to hear Keith’s objections, just as your antics are unlikely to convert many here to the War Party. So may I inquire what the point is of dragging that on?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 2, 2018, 3:01 am

        Mooser, I have to say that I am a bit surprised that someone of your perspicacity takes the “Russians dunnit” tale seriously.

        That tale is one of the official narratives. It is peddled by high-ranking people. Newsreaders refer to it without sniggering. You are allowed to believe it without losing your job, being cast out from fashionable society, or being reviled by anyone other than Keith. (Who does, admittedly, do a pretty good job of reviling.)

        That alone should be good reason for suspecting that the tale evokes images of elderly shoemakers.

        (Mind you, you are not the only person here who believes an official story.)

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 2, 2018, 1:13 pm

        MOOSER- “And Trump and Putin are just the right people to turn Russia around.”

        More dishonesty from Mondo’s class clown. Putin did, in fact, turn Russia around. That is why he is so popular. Trump was not involved and your attempt to link Trump and Putin is incredibly dishonest, something you increasingly do. And post-Soviet Russia had enough assets to steal to make the US installed oligarchs billionaires. Enough to make William Browder rich. Who are you trying to please with your dishonest theatrics? Russiagate is mostly about imperial anti-Russian aggression of long historical precedent. It is a pretext for extraordinarily dangerous behavior. The empire is on a rampage and you are de facto supporting it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 2, 2018, 6:38 pm

        “(Mind you, you are not the only person here who believes an official story.)”

        Gee, let me see, shall I bet on an outcome predicated on Trump’s integrity, honesty and intelligence, or should I bet the other way? Me, I’m gonna bet that Trump is as dirty as Hillary Clinton!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 2, 2018, 6:44 pm

        “Russiagate is mostly about imperial anti-Russian aggression of long historical precedent.”

        If only there was something poor beleaguered Russia could do about it!

        “your attempt to link Trump and Putin is incredibly dishonest”

        Oh, that’s right, Trump never met Putin. No linkage at all.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 2, 2018, 6:55 pm

        “You have more in common with the Zionists than with me.” “Keith”

        No, I don’t think Zionists are big on campaign finance laws, or the kind of disclosures Presidential candidates should make.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 2, 2018, 10:57 pm

        MOOSER- “Oh, that’s right, Trump never met Putin. No linkage at all.”

        Why don’t you list all of the times Trump met Putin PRIOR to this recent summit?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 3, 2018, 3:50 am

        “shall I bet on an outcome predicated on Trump’s integrity, honesty and intelligence, or should I bet the other way?”

        I’m suggesting that you shouldn’t bet at all.

        I’m suggesting that you stick to the basic principle that, if you are allowed to believe something, you probably shouldn’t.

        As for Trump, well, you were the ones who rejected the Crown. You chose independence. If you set up a country in which anyone can become president, you shouldn’t be so upset when someone does. You have only yourselves to blame.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 4, 2018, 12:50 pm

        “I’m suggesting that you stick to the basic principle that, if you are allowed to believe something, you probably shouldn’t.”

        Who am I going to believe, me, or my lying eyes?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 24, 2018, 7:26 am

        And realistically, we have the military industrial complex and Wall Street and the Saudi Lobby and the Israel Lobby and the insurance companies and so on all doing their considerable best to swing policy their way. I think they all have much more influence than the Russians.

        I tend to agree. FYI, after the Citizen’s United Case, it appeared that Israel had backed a Trojan Horse campaign to cut out all the middlemen. Two non-immigrant Canadian and Canadian-Israeli Jews living temporarily in New York filed a lawsuit and challenged the prohibition against foreigners making campaign contributions on 1st Amendment grounds. One of them, Benjamin Bluman, was supposedly an Obama supporter and the other one, Asenath Steiman, was supposedly a conservative Club For Growth supporter who opposed him. Yaakov Roth, a Canadian lawyer who had studied at Harvard and clerked for Justice Scalia, represented them both in a case against the FEC. https://www.thestar.com/news/2011/04/06/canadians_launch_us_constitutional_challenge_against_alien_gag_law.html

        Ironically enough, Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s current Supreme Court nominee wrote the 3 to 0 DC District appellate court decision which held that non-immigrant aliens have no constitutional right to participate in our American system of self-government in any way whatsoever. He cited Supreme Court cases which held that they are ineligible for duties as jurors, law enforcement officers, and can even be denied licenses to teach their alien values to our primary school-aged children. https://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/mobile/document/Bluman_v_Federal_Election_Commission_Civil_No_101766_BMK_RMURMC_2?1533145722

        The Supreme Court affirmed his opinion 9 to 0. http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/bluman-v-federal-election-commission/

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      July 26, 2018, 11:02 pm

      “They have screwed their one-time base for so long that the newly impoverished vote against the Democrats in retaliation”

      And that is pretty stupid. The GOP are slashing spending to pay for the Plutocrat tax cut. The poorest 40% of Americans get no tax cut benefit since gas prices have risen since the tax cut was announced.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2018, 9:37 pm

        @Maghlswatan

        Yes, the GOP is slashing spending to pay for the Plutocrat tax cut, which will pay peanuts to nearly all of us, and those peanuts have a short expiration date, while the corporations bounty has none. And we borrow from China to pay.

        But I still can’t vote for the Hillary Establishment Democrat leadership….

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 31, 2018, 5:28 pm

      Mooser,

      You may be excused if you were born yesterday. Others, though, have observed the Harpy for 28 years, her Neocons for 18 and the Demolican Party for way longer than that.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 7:40 pm

        “Others, though, have observed the Harpy for 28 years, her Neocons for 18 and the Demolican Party for way longer than that.”

        Gosh, aren’t we lucky Trump came along! Why just imagine where we might be if Trump and his pals had been in charge for the last 28 years.

      • catalan
        catalan
        August 29, 2018, 9:05 am

        “None of that tells us that the place isn’t still Russian, or anyway that Ukraine has any conceivable claim there. “.
        Why are you so pro Russian and pro Soviet? What do you have against Ukraine. The argument is simple – unfairly perhaps, Crimea was in Ukraine and then stolen by a stronger (at the moment) power. Imagine if everyone started doing that.
        As for Russians, their atrocities in Poland during WW2 rival anything Germany did. See Stalin or Bronislav Kaminski. I like Russia, don’t get me wrong, but your patriotic ferver is just odd.

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 29, 2018, 10:07 am

        “The argument is simple – unfairly perhaps, Crimea was in Ukraine and then stolen by a stronger (at the moment) power. Imagine if everyone started doing that.” catalan

        Israel started 100 years ago.Talk about Cognitive Dissonance .

        I like your “at the moment” addition.The only example of realistic thinking (albeit it unintentional) in your post.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 29, 2018, 10:23 am

        CATALAN- “Why are you so pro Russian and pro Soviet?”

        Why are you defending the neo-Nazis who came to power following a US sponsored coup? One would have thought that with your strong Jewish identity you would have sympathized with the Crimeans who voted OVERWHELMINGLY to rejoin Russia to escape these Russophobic neo-Nazis. Why do so many Zionists support Eastern European neo-Nazis, then complain about a purported rise in European anti-Semitism?

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      August 24, 2018, 6:36 am

      Donald: Putin hasn’t gotten what he wanted. We sold antitank weapons to the Ukraine.

      To be fair, the Ukrainians didn’t get much, and their delegation didn’t even get off the White House grounds before announcing that they would no longer cooperate with the Special Council’s investigation. Russia has 20,000 tanks to Ukraine’s 2200. They can easily deploy enough tanks for a 2 or 3 to 1 advantage. Trump only gave them 37 launchers and stipulated that (1) they could not be used for offensives in combat zones; (2) could not be forward deployed or readily available for defensive use on the front lines; (3) had to be stored in Western Ukraine under the supervision of US support personnel.

      Trump has also been opposed to the sale of Russian natural gas to Europe, yet another issue where Putin isn’t getting what he wants.

      At the NATO summit, Trump was spreading hate and discontent among our allies. Putin is certainly in favor of that. The US government policy against the construction of the Nord 2 gas pipeline was adopted as part of a veto-proof mandatory sanctions package over Trump’s strenuous objections a year earlier. He failed to implement the sanctions by the statutory deadline and claimed they weren’t needed, because the existence of the legislation itself had acted as a deterrent. See the text of the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3364/text

      That act codified several Obama-era Executive Orders regarding Russian sanctions that the Trump administration had tried to unilaterally rescind, without obtaining the necessary Russian compliance or remedies.

      Trump gave everyone on his Treasury Department Magnitsky Act list nearly a year’s grace period, and four months advance written notice before their assets were frozen. Putin publicly joked that “a barking dog can’t stop a caravan” and said that most of the money in question had long since been moved to safety outside of the USA. Likewise, when Trump expelled the 60 Russians after the UK nerve agent attack, the State Department immediately allowed the Russian government to fill their positions with new personnel. FYI, when he acknowledged Russian use of the chemical weapons in the UK, that automatically triggered sanctions under the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, which he also opposed and delayed. https://www.congress.gov/bill/102nd-congress/house-bill/3409

      So, it’s not such a far-fetched idea that Putin has benefited from the Trump Presidency on the question of sanctions and their enforcement.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 24, 2018, 9:53 am

        Thanks for suggesting that the last presidential election has brought some minimally positive results after all.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 24, 2018, 12:17 pm

        Thanks for suggesting that the last presidential election has brought some minimally positive results after all.

        No, Trump’s manic depressive mood swings (from sociopath to psychopath) have only made things worse. For example, Obama’s request for a AUMF in Syria was declined by the Congress. But Trump ignored that and deployed the military anyway. First he bombed Putin’s Russian-built Syrian airbases, then he tweeted him that “the missiles are coming”. In return, the Putin regime warned that it would shoot down any US aircraft that crossed the Euphrates to provide air cover for our forces on the ground in Syria. Then the US troops woke up and discovered that their position was being overrun by a couple hundred Russian mercenaries.

        I also can’t remember any occasion when Putin played videos of nuclear missiles destroying Florida before the election. It would literally be a death penalty offense for any member of the military to communicate or give aid or assistance to the Russians under all these circumstances. So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that so many people were offended by the Commander-in-Chief’s behavior in Helsinki. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/904

        The ICC Prosecutor conducted a preliminary investigation and found that Putin’s occupation of Ukraine is illegal, not to mention the annexation of Crimea. If sanctions (the “S” in BDS) are called for when Israel does the same thing, then sanctions applied to end Russia’s occupations of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova would seem to be justified too.

        The Magnitsky Act names 19 victims of murder, torture, and forced disappearances and calls for Russia to end those practices and comply with customary international law and the agreements that Putin made regarding Foreign Direct Investment when he joined the WTO, G10, G20, and OECD. The law is perfectly clear, all peoples have the right to exercise permant sovereignty over their natural resources. Alien property can always be expropritated, but only on the condition that prompt, fair, compensation is paid. It’s hard for me to get worked up over stories that foreigners bought Russian natural resources with plane loads of cash, when Putin isn’t offering to pay for anything his occupation forces have expropriated from Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for the use of the Russian people.

        Likewise, I can’t get worked up over stories that falsely complain that the Magnitsky Act allows Russian property to be expropriated in the USA without any due process. The owners title to a blocked property actually remains is unchanged. They can even arrange for the property to be sold and the cash deposited in an interest-bearing account, until their dispute is settled. For example, Veselnitskya was in the USA on temporary immigration parole to represent Prevezon in Federal Court on a Magnitsky Act money laundering and civil asset forfeiture case on the day she attended the Trump Tower meeting.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 24, 2018, 6:48 pm

        HOSTAGE- “…when Putin isn’t offering to pay for anything his occupation forces have expropriated from Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for the use of the Russian people.”

        Occupation forces? Expropriations? What are you talking about? Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in Georgia following a CIA/Soros color revolution. Saakashvili has a law degree from Columbia Law Scool and was recruited as the empire moved eastward. In 2008, encouraged by the US, Georgia attacked the autonomous province of South Ossetia, killing Russian peacekeepers who were there. Russia counterattacked forcing Georgia’s US/Israeli trained military to flee. Saakasvili fled Geogia to escape prosecution for corruption, fleeing to the US where he supported the neo-Nazi coup in the Ukraine. His strong pro-empire/anti-Putin activities warmly received. He was later given Ukrainian citizenship and appointed Governor of Odessa Oblast. In 2017 Saakasvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship.

        You should be well aware that Ukraine was destabilized by a US/Soros coup which deposed the elected government in favor of one which included neo-Nazis (Svaboda and Pravi Sektor). Subsequently, these rabidly anti-Russian groups crushed all opposition through terror such as the Odessa massacre where peaceful protesters were chased into the trade unions building which was set on fire resulting in the death of over 100 people (accounts vary). The Kiev government stoked Russophobia resulting in the Russian eastern part (Donbass) breaking away for survival. The Crimea, gifted to Ukraine by Kruschev, voted to break away from the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, understandable under the circumstances. All of this has been very expensive for Russia to reinvest in the Crimea.

        Your comment reads like an anti-Putin/anti-Russian State Department handout. All of this is occurring because the empire wants someone like Yeltsin to replace Putin so that the imperial corporations can return to loot Russia like they did under Yeltsin, where neoliberal shock therapy devastated the country.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 25, 2018, 8:37 am

        Hostage,

        You didn’t address the little I wrote. The erratic bumblings of the current administration are still marginally better than what could reasonably expected from a more systematic, straight War Party administration (as can also be seen in the steam you let off.)

        Incidentally, it’s not a good idea to rely too much on ignorant people like that ICC Prosecutor (the Godot still expected in Palestine), who seems to be the worst kind of ignoramus. Of course Crimea is Russian, duh, anyone with a kindergarten-level general knowledge of history knows that. In the absence of the Soviet administration, of course that’s where it belongs. Do we need a lawyer to know that? Or perhaps he wants to give it back to Hülagü, grandson of Genghis Khan (conquest, anyone?)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 25, 2018, 12:44 pm

        “Keith” bursts into a full-throated chorus of “Samovar Over the Rainbow”.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 28, 2018, 10:29 am

        echinococcus You didn’t address the little I wrote. The erratic bumblings of the current administration are still marginally better than what could reasonably expected from a more systematic, straight War Party administration (as can also be seen in the steam you let off.)

        I wasn’t blowing off steam. You were being sarcastic about (non-existent) improvements since the elections. Every President in recent memory has promised to reset US-Russian relations. Like Trump, they’ve all taken undue credit after the initial summits. The previous administration and congressional session were not a hypothetical “straight War Party”. I explained some of the reasons that so many people were upset with Trump. In the process, I did address what you had written. I explained that Trump has unilaterally initiated and escalated an armed conflict with the Russians in Syria. That the situation is actually much worse today than before the election, when congressional checks and balances prevented Obama from taking any military actions. There have already been hundreds of Russian casualties as a direct result of Trump’s decision to invade and occupy parts of Syria. https://goo.gl/ZUknii

        Both the US and Russia are in a race to build bases in Syria today. Earlier this year the main Russian Air Base was suffering daily attacks, including one conducted by a party with sophisticated, long range satellite-guided drones. https://goo.gl/k5L4sY Like the conflict in Yemen, it’s presumed the US or our US-equipped Saudi allies are directly responsible.

        Your comments about the “War Party” are ironic, since Trump promised “to bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse”. https://goo.gl/Rf9qDr He’s even bragged about delegating away his war powers to minor battlefield officers, who aren’t elected or nominated and confirmed by the Senate. https://goo.gl/RUpLXr

        Trump overruled his own Secretary of State and took credit for the land, sea, and air blockade (an act of war) against Qatar. That blockade has not been lifted yet, and is nearly 430 days old now. https://goo.gl/iAmFf3

        He tore-up the agreement on nuclear arms with Iran, after admitting that they were in technical compliance. He subsequently bragged about punishing the Iranians with, what he claims, are the “most biting sanctions ever imposed”. https://goo.gl/fQSUrJ

        He has rolled back normalization of relations with Cuba too and ordered their US embassy staff cut by 60 percent. https://goo.gl/9o7ELt

        He has repeatedly threatened to use the armed forces to invade Venezuela. https://goo.gl/h4Y7z6

        None of that was happening before the recent elections.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 28, 2018, 12:06 pm

        Of course Crimea is Russian, duh, anyone with a kindergarten-level general knowledge of history knows that. In the absence of the Soviet administration, of course that’s where it belongs. Do we need a lawyer to know that? Or perhaps he wants to give it back to Hülagü, grandson of Genghis Khan (conquest, anyone?)

        You’re repeating a common misconception shared by many kindergartners. “Revanchism” had long-since been discredited and rejected as a principle of international law, by the time the UN Charter was ratified by both Russia and Ukraine. Even today, 40 percent of the population of Crimea are non-Russian. Worse still, the documentary history of Stalin’s policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the competing non-Russian ethnic groups in Crimea is one of the best documented cases of the 20th Century.

        From 1917 to 1949 the experience of the Crimean Tartars (aka Crimean Turks) was almost identical in nature to that of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Zionists. The Russians only became the majority population by systematically exterminating or deporting the more numerous Crimean ethnic groups.
        See :
        How Russians Became Crimea’s Largest Ethnic Group, In One Haunting Chart
        https://www.businessinsider.com/crimea-demographics-chart-2014-3

        Ethnic Composition of Crimea
        http://www.iccrimea.org/population.html

        FYI, Crimea was part of the Ottoman Empire for about 300 years. It was only part of the Russian Empire for about 160 years. Even after the first 100 years of Russian colonization and dispossession, the Czar’s census of 1897 claimed that the Crimean Tartars (aka Crimean Turks) still constituted the majority of the population @ 35% compared to ethnic Russians @33 percent. Many Russian officials and eyewitnesses have subsequently admitted that the first Census of the population of the Russian Empire was not carried out properly. There was an obvious tendency to increase the Russian share among the people living in different regions in order to tamp-down the competing claims of nascent nationalist political movements, like the ones in Ukraine and Crimea.

        Studies conducted in the Kremlin and Ukrainian state archives (during the more liberal era of Glasnost) indicted that the actual Crimean Tartar population at the time of the first census may have been closer to 71% (according to sources like “Tatars in Ukraine” by V.D. Yaremchuk and V.B. Bezverkhyi, published in the Ukrainian Historical Journal, Vol. #5 (1994) : 18-29). By 1944, that number had been reduced to zero through the revolution, wars, man-made famines, deportation of 200,000 of them to Siberia and Central Asia, and genocide. The Soviet records indicate that at least 20 percent of them died within one year of the mass deportations, but eyewitnesses claim the actual number was at least 40 percent. Since 1987, 300,000 of the refugees and their descendants have returned to Crimea and demanded legal compensation and return of their mosques, schools, businesses, and homes. See:

        Complete Destruction of National Groups as Groups: The Crimean Turks
        http://www.iccrimea.org/historical/crimeanturks.html

        Crimean Tatars Divide Ukraine and Russia
        https://jamestown.org/program/crimean-tatars-divide-ukraine-and-russia/

        Deportation of the Crimean Tatars
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deportation_of_the_Crimean_Tatars

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 28, 2018, 2:24 pm

        ” In the absence of the Soviet administration, of course that’s where it belongs.”

        “Soviet administration”? Crimea River.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 29, 2018, 8:50 am

        Hostage,

        Good summary of Crimean history. None of that tells us that the place isn’t still Russian, or anyway that Ukraine has any conceivable claim there. If there was a majority movement among the ethnically Tatar minority who wanted to secede from Russia there might, big perhaps, be some hope of even starting a discussion re Tatar secession from Russia 240 years after annexation, but what’s Ukraine got to do with it at all?

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        August 29, 2018, 10:15 am

        @Hostage

        “..the experience of the Crimean Tartars (aka Crimean Turks) was almost identical in nature to that of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Zionists. ”

        Really. How so?
        I thought the Soviets loaded 200,000 Crimean Tartars into boxcars and banished them to Siberia?

        The Zionists loaded the Palestinian people into boxcars? When?

        BTW, I seem to remember local Palestinians taking up arms and fighting the Zionists. I seem to remember the Arab States invading Palestine to join local Palestinians fighting the Zionists.

        How does that compare with the deportation of the Tartars?
        I hope you have some cites backing you claim.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 29, 2018, 4:38 pm

        Hostage,

        You’re very probably right in the assessment of the new vs past administration; it may be the intensity of the “bipartisan” Demolican assault against an outsider they pretend not to like that’s nudging me to expect some difference. But then, as the War party pulls all the stops to kill the novo homus it’s hard to avoid the thought that anything that makes the monopoly mad is good. I can’t have evidence for my belief that a Demolican administration would have been much more dangerous –only a lot of observations.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 29, 2018, 5:39 pm

        ” it’s hard to avoid the thought that anything that makes the monopoly mad is good.”

        Yes, nearly impossible, isn’t it? Especially when we know who the “monopoly” is.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 30, 2018, 7:25 am

        Jackdaw: “BTW, I seem to remember local Palestinians taking up arms and fighting the Zionists”

        Why shouldn’t Nonjews have the right to defend their country against hostile takeover and expulsion?

        Jackdaw: “I seem to remember the Arab States invading Palestine to join local Palestinians fighting the Zionists.”

        False memories are part of Zionist brainwashing. The Arab states didn’t “invade” Palestine to help the people of Palestine fighting against a hostile takeover and expulsion by Zionists.

        It was actually the Zionists who invaded parts of Palestine allready in April 1948 beyond the partition borders in which the sought recognition. Not to mention that the whole Zionist enterprise was nothing but a slow invasion of Palestine.

  9. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    July 26, 2018, 9:24 pm

    In particular, the argument for lesser evil voting when you know only one of two candidates can win makes sense to me. I don’t think it is a moral imperative the way the partisans claim. It is a tactical argument

    I was reading contentedly, enjoying the good writing and the clear ideas. Up to there. Where did you throw the logic you started with, I wonder.
    There was a tactical argument to be made, say, when in 2002 the French left and the “Socialists” called to vote for the reactionary Chirac to block the openly fascist FN party. Now, I had to use an exotic, frog example because there is none to be found in these here States. The question is when, at least in the last 50 years, has there been any choice as far as any difference in matters of life and death? Like war. Invasion. Intervention in sovereign nations. Police state. Murder by the state.

    There cannot be “lesser evil voting” when there is no difference with respect to any of the vital things. A choice between extreme reactionary A and extreme reactionary B, hinging on more or less right to express choices about one’s own weewee and the like, has no “lesser/worse” evil side to it.

    • annie
      annie
      July 26, 2018, 9:53 pm

      gore over dick cheney, big dif. i don’t think gore would have invaded iraq. but i also don’t think nader was the reason gore didn’t win. florida gop sec of state and the supreme court was the reason gore didn’t win.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 26, 2018, 11:25 pm

        i don’t think gore would have invaded iraq

        How so? Was he less subservient than the Bushcheney to Azrael-AIPAC-PNAC? What made him likely to resist the will of the Owners of the Country? That he has later been campaigning for recycling our plastic bags? After all, he was just a Dim like all the Dims, who with a single exception, voted the AUMF (including, of course, Sanders…) And even Barbara Lee is a WWIII groupie now…

        Or is your disbelief based on personal likes and dislikes? I’d love to hear the first reasoned, documented version of the strange belief that the Dims, who did in fact invade and/or otherwise screw more countries on the Yinon list than any Cheney, would have been less likely to wage war of aggression.

      • annie
        annie
        July 27, 2018, 1:00 am

        how so? iraq was quite calculated from the get go, cheney’s energy meetings, 9/11, etc etc. it was a neocon war. don’t see that in gore’s agenda, or carter’s for that matter. neither are war hawks.

        it’s easy and lazy to declare any president would have genocided iraq, but it’s your hypothesis vs mine. and i’m fairly certain if there was an indication gore would have done what cheney did, they would have let him win.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        July 27, 2018, 7:33 am

        Obama was in charge when the US decided that Ghadaffi had to go. I do not know how many Libyans have been murdered but the country has also been destroyed.
        I don’t see a huge difference between Iraq and Libya. Both the GOP and the Dems feature butchers.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 27, 2018, 8:10 am

        Gore was critical of the rush to war in Iraq. And no, not all Democrats voted to go into Iraq. Maybe Gore would have been different if he was President, but this is speculative.

      • annie
        annie
        July 27, 2018, 9:27 am

        every woulda coulda is speculative. but is it more speculative than claiming some equivalence between gore and cheney?

        sure, both the GOP and Dems feature butchers. but that’s is a far cry from claiming all of them are equally corrupt. and i say this as someone who’s given up on voting for the lessor evil. nor do i think clinton is a “lessor evil” than trump.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 27, 2018, 9:34 am

        I was siding with you, Annie. There is a chance a President Gore would have invade Iraq, but the actual Gore was critical of the rush to war. So were some other Democratic politicians, though others like Clinton supported Bush.

      • annie
        annie
        July 27, 2018, 9:47 am

        i really like your article donald. reminds me of a tweet i RT’d.. ;)

      • annie
        annie
        July 27, 2018, 10:45 am

        and thank you donald.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 27, 2018, 10:45 am

        Johnson and Robbins:

        1. Gore as an ex-candidate opposition politician with no re-election worries is not a “president”, ie a designated executive of the fully bipartisan program that all administrations have blindly followed.*
        Any evidence to bar his obedience to PNAC?

        2. The only opponent to the AUMF (that’s where the meat is**) was Barbara Lee (now a tame, beaten-to-obedience Zombie of her old self, selling warmed-up cold war. )

        3. The Johnson theory re “lesser evil” voting for domestic policy issues may only have some merit if significant rifts on that account among the ruling class were apparent between the two parties of the single party. But anything significant, ie police state, canceling constitutional freedoms, health care, safety net is also strictly bipartisan, no exceptions, and no peon within the single party is allowed to make policy –only to talk fiery until the vote is in.

        * [Wasn’t Obama an even “cooler” candidate than “more conservative” Gore? He’s been the most aggressive Nuremberg-bait warmaker than all others, the worst police-state actor and the inventor of undisguised murder 1 by presidential order.]

        ** The 2003 vote was totally irrelevant once AUMF was passed. Only the incurably gullible (like Warmonger Sanders buyers) are impressed by grandstanding on that 2003 basis.

        Robbins: Sure, PNAC had its poney ready and that’s why Gore was told to stop bitching or else. Of course. But that’s a definitive argument against lesser-evil voting.
        Do you write “lessor evil” because the candidate under advisement has a lease on evil? In that case I’d agree with the misspelling.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 27, 2018, 12:03 pm

        “And no, not all Democrats voted to go into Iraq.”

        But, (noise of grinding teeth here) Hillary did. To her eternal discredit.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        July 27, 2018, 12:32 pm

        @Annie Robbins

        Ironically, the best argument against the US led invasion\occupation of Iraq in 2003 was made in 1991 by then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, regarding the limited 1990-91 Gulf War: “Once you’ve got Baghdad, it’s not clear what you will do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Ba’athists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists . How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?” (New York Times, 13 April 1991)

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 26, 2018, 10:21 pm

      As Annie said, it was less likely Gore would have invaded. But I was thinking more of domestic issues. The people who make the lesser evil argument point to what Republicans do to the safety net as being worse than what the Democrats do. For some people in this country it could be a matter of life and death.

      I am also not the best person to argue this. I don’t get bent out of shape if people make a different decision on who to vote for because it really is complicated. IMO people have spent too much time arguing about tactical issues and party loyalty and it is a mistake to get sucked into shouting matches over what to do on Election Day. Argue about issues first and try to win people over on, say, Medicare for all and a noninterventionist foreign policy. But you may not have the perfect candidate on Election Day.

  10. Mooser
    Mooser
    July 26, 2018, 9:44 pm

    Lolly-lolly-lolly get your underscores here!

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 26, 2018, 11:12 pm

      It would be nice if liberals like Josh were one tenth as interested in our war crimes in Yemen as he is about whether Trump got dirt about Clinton from the Russians. But Josh is a liberal, so he isn’t.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        July 27, 2018, 3:54 am

        MSNBC Has Done 455 Stormy Daniels Segments in the Last Year — But None on US War in Yemen

        https://www.alternet.org/msnbc-has-done-455-stormy-daniels-segments-last-year-none-us-war-yemen

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 27, 2018, 11:52 am

        “It would be nice if liberals like Josh…”

        In that case, I’ll discount the story.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 30, 2018, 7:58 am

        “In that case, I’ll discount the story.”

        Not the point of either my comment or the post. The point was that American liberals obsessed with Russiagate are narcissistic and don’t care about the people we murder overseas unless it can be fit into a framework where it is entirely the fault of the Republicans. So I am sure that our complicity in genocide is kind of small potatoes compared to the desire of Trump to pick up some dirt about Clinton from wicked foreigners.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2018, 12:51 pm

        “So I am sure that our complicity in genocide is kind of small potatoes compared to the desire of Trump to pick up some dirt about Clinton from wicked foreigners”

        “Rohrabacher: ‘Not A Person In This Town’ Would Reject Russian Dirt On An Opponent”

  11. Boomer
    Boomer
    July 27, 2018, 7:06 am

    As people like Tom Friedman say when asked about their defense of Israel’s actions, “it’s complicated.” Two things can be true, a coin has two sides. Well, that’s enough cliches from me for this morning. Here’s a pretty good piece, mainly focused on China, Russia, and Iran, but with info about other countries too, including Israel and France. A similar report comes out every year, and nothing much changes. Of course, we now realize that much of what goes on isn’t all that surreptitious: selling disruption is a central part of Facebook’s business model, for example.
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/27/silicon-valley-spies-china-russia-219071

  12. pjdude
    pjdude
    July 28, 2018, 3:45 am

    This is dangerous. i see this as minimizing the issue of having a foreign power influence our election. thats unbelievablely stupid and short sighted. While i am a registered democrat mainly because i believe in working with in current systems. if i felt for a second we could legitimately get a third party candidate id vote for them. and yes their are issues with the dems. thinking that a reasonable reason to ignore election tampering is just nuts. that great that it doesn’t matter to some of you who i’m guessing might not be american. but if we let foriegn power especially russia influence our elections thats never going to happen

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      July 28, 2018, 8:38 am

      I’m one of the non-Americans (there are rather a lot of us, actually) but I can assure you that I think it is very important for the Americans to have honest elections, and I hope that one day they will. But do you have any solid, evidence based, reason, for thinking that any foreign power has tampered with any US election?

      As far as I can tell, all the election rigging that takes place in the US is domestic, run by US political parties.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 28, 2018, 10:01 am

        “all the election rigging that takes place in the US is domestic”

        Literate America is unable to accept responsibility for Trump, Russiagate is pure narrative without any substance what is supposed to have happened, was Hillary supposed to win? She is preferable why?

        I along with most English speaking non-Americans think you’ve lost your minds, why would Russia bother I don’t get it, the President doesn’t matter much American policies are remarkably consistent over a long period

        main thing is America the virginal has been sullied by others, can projection kill you?

        America you are not to blame and nothing you do in anyway reflects badly on you, we foreigners just won’t admit it, drone us if you must, you’ll forget you did by tomorrow and all will be well, except for that darned Putin, he’s mean.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 28, 2018, 10:03 am

        As far as I can tell, all the election rigging that takes place in the US is domestic, run by US political parties.

        All three of them: Republican, Democrat and Likood.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 28, 2018, 11:27 am

        “any foreign power”

        the British are coming…

        Well it seems like it was the British…but as history is Kryptonite to Americans Albion again gets away with perfidy…I knew it was the Brits they never change

        “How the Neocon Dream for Everlasting Hegemony Turned America Into a Nightmare

        Few Americans today understand how the United States came to be owned by a London-backed neoconservative/right-wing alliance that grew out of the institutional turmoil of the post-Vietnam era. Even fewer understand how its internal mission to maintain the remnants of the old British Empire gradually overcame American democracy and replaced it with a “national security” bureaucracy of its own design. We owe the blueprint of that plan to James Burnham, Trotskyist, OSS man and architect of the neoconservative movement whose exposition of the Formal and the Real in his 1943 The Modern Machiavellians justified the rise of the oligarch and the absolute rule of their managerial elite. But Americans would be shocked to find that our current political nightmare came to power with the willing consent and cooperation of President James Earl Carter and his National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; aided by intelligence agencies in Europe and the Middle East.

        A straight line can be drawn between today’s political hysteria and the 1970s era of right-wing Soviet hysteria as Russia stands accused of “meddling” in American democracy. The merits of those charges have been discussed in depth elsewhere. According to the dean of American intelligence scholars Loch K. Johnson as reported in the New York Times, the United States has done extensive meddling in other nation’s elections.”

        http://www.invisiblehistory.com/the-grand-illusion-of-imperial-power/

      • annie
        annie
        July 28, 2018, 1:42 pm

        what a fascinating link gamal. the reference to “the safari club” reminded me of “the 61” https://wikispooks.com/wiki/The_61 , also initiated in ’77. i wonder if or how they are connected. one interesting feature https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Brian_Crozier

        Later in 1999 Crozier suggested in a letter to The Times, that his involvement in his “private sector operational intelligence agency” The 61 was the reason for his departure. He wrote that: ‘Rumours of this enterprise reached Schapiro, who presented me with an ultimatum: stop running The 61 or resign as director of the ISC. I chose to step down.’ [24]

        also, a coincidence institute for the study of conflict has an almost identical name w/another neocon org, the institute for the study of war?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 29, 2018, 1:39 am

        More data to be stored and handled.

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/land-of-the-free-harvard-study-ranks-america-worst-in-the-west-for-fair-elections/5555383

        http://patriotrising.com/american-society-would-collapse-if-it-werent-for-these-8-myths/

        (And looking at what our electoral system throws up puts severe limits on any schadenfreude I might feel.)

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 28, 2018, 10:31 am

      The Dude,

      While i am a registered democrat

      Really? Whodafthunkit! You almost fooled me there.

      if i felt for a second we could legitimately get a third party candidate id vote for them

      Strange, you got spades of them, and they all were legal and legitimate. Must be that they couldn’t make you, how do yo say it, feel.

      If by “get” you mean elect, why, if you vote or them and they aren’t killed, they would get elected.

      thinking that a reasonable reason to ignore election tampering is just nuts.

      That you DemoNeoconoCIA bunch still haven’t produced a shadow of a wisp of a shred of evidence is not reason enough, of course.

      it doesn’t matter to some of you who i’m guessing might not be american

      Sure; it’s so UnAmerican to ask for proof.

      if we let foriegn power especially russia influence our elections

      Only losers need to influence elections!

      If you are a Zionist, you buy the whole government lockstockandbarrel for a minute fraction of the money you get from that same bought Government.
      And you don’t even have to pay the low-level Dims for running interference on the forums.

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 30, 2018, 8:05 am

      “if we let foriegn power especially russia influence our elections “

      Especially Russia? As opposed to which other countries? Or American billionaires or Lobby groups?

      “Influence our elections” is vague propaganda talk. If people are that easily influenced, by Facebook ads or the theft of emails leading to acts of serious journalism about corruption, then we might as well give up on democracy anyway.

      If we are talking about actual vote hacking, there is no evidence of that, and you can tell how serious the concern is by the fact that few people are demanding we need paper ballots counted in public.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2018, 3:26 pm

        “If we are talking about actual vote hacking, there is no evidence of that”

        Uh-oh, I better change my views.

        Don and Rudy have found the perfect defense.

        52 U.S.C.§ 30101(8)(A) provides: The term “contribution” includes— (i) any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.

        11 CFR § 100.52 explains “the term anything of value includes all in-kind contributions.”
        Accordingly, concealing information that could affect opinions of Trump could have influenced the presidential election, and so constituted something of value and therefore, a campaign contribution.

        52 U.S.C. § 30122 provides, “No person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or knowingly permit his name to be used to effect such a contribution and no person shall knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person.”

  13. Mooser
    Mooser
    July 28, 2018, 12:15 pm

    Underscores here! Lolly-lolly-lolly, get your underscores here!

  14. Stogumber
    Stogumber
    July 29, 2018, 3:59 am

    Well, Mooser really likes to stay enigmatic. You will have seen that he was more than one time asked to explain what he meant by Russians “meddling withe elections” but that he shied away (only replacing “medling” with “messing”).

    As a German I am certain that middle powers are regularly aiming at influencing their neighbour states’ voters’ behavior, and that this is simply the normal state of affairs. Nothing bad with the goal – the means are perhaps problematic, but that’s rarely important.

    Only a superpower can become hysterical about the idea that any foreigner is able to influence their voters’ voting behaviour.

    • Keith
      Keith
      July 29, 2018, 4:31 pm

      STOGUMBER- “Well, Mooser really likes to stay enigmatic.”

      I can think of much less charitable descriptions of Mooser’s current mantra. As to meddling in the affairs of others, the US is so far in the lead that it is literally without competition, even Israel comes up short although American Jewish Zionists are heavily involved in imperial meddling. Restricting ourselves to Russia in the here and now, Russian efforts to “meddle” in the US pale in comparison to what the US has recently done when Yeltsin was in power and is currently doing in Putin’s Russia. If there was a list of the personnel involved, the money spent, and the activities engaged in, it would show that between the US State Department, the CIA, USAID, Soros Open Society and other GSNGO groups (government sponsored non-governmental groups like the National Endowment for Democracy), there is a massive, ongoing effort to eliminate Putin and dismember Russia, usually described as “democracy promotion.”

      Reviewing the situation under Yeltsin, many are unaware of just how deeply we were involved in the looting and destruction Russian society after the dissolution of the USSR. Under Yeltsin, Russia was, for a while, a US vassal state. For more detail, I once again link to the 27 minute Abby Martin interview of Mark Ames on the Yeltsin years which I highly recommend. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/abby-martin-russias-transformation-from-an-american-colony-to-its-number-one-threat/

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 29, 2018, 5:17 pm

        “I can think of much less charitable descriptions of Mooser’s current mantra.”

        I’m not too worried. You’ve already called me a ‘liberal’ and a ‘Democrat’, and if you go much further than that, it probably won’t pass Moderation.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 29, 2018, 6:42 pm

        ” a ‘liberal’ and a ‘Democrat’, ”

        you remember when Liberal Democrat was a term of approbation….well..ring a ring a rosy as the light declines, no doubt you remember Dublin city in the rare old times….can you imagine being accused of being a political party loyalist, we are heading for some serious shit…rare auld times

        https://youtu.be/ZTYkbyL4Yxk

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 12:53 pm

        “gamal”, I think “Keith” and “Sibiriak” and “Donald Johnson” predicate their comments on a “so-bad-it’s-good” basis.

        That is, every bad thing Trump does brings us closer to the collapse and revolution which will bring a new and more perfect system to the US. And that’s good, see?

        I should try to keep that in mind when I discuss this with them.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        July 31, 2018, 1:33 pm

        Mooser: I think “Keith” and “Sibiriak” and “Donald Johnson” predicate their comments on a “so-bad-it’s-good” basis.

        That is, every bad thing Trump does brings us closer to the collapse and revolution which will bring a new and more perfect system to the US.
        —————————————–

        No, Mooser, every bad thing Trump does is simply bad and makes things worse. There will be no “revolution”. I don’t support Trump whatsoever.

        Nice trolling, though.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 31, 2018, 1:57 pm

        Mooser,

        You may have skipped reading. The basis is “it’s terrible, but the alternative is even worse.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 31, 2018, 4:04 pm

        “No, Mooser, every bad thing Trump does is simply bad and makes things worse.” “Sibiriak”

        I apologize. I should not have included you in my speculations. Thanks for gracious response.

        “it’s terrible, but the alternative is even worse.” “Echin”

        Oh, indubitably.

  15. Mooser
    Mooser
    July 29, 2018, 12:08 pm

    “As a German…”

    “age 60, with a background in christian pacifism, libertarianism and cultural anthropology.”

  16. Mooser
    Mooser
    July 29, 2018, 4:59 pm

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump 7/29 1:12 pm:

    “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend..”

    Looks like Bob Mueller is going down. I knew those golf fees would come back to bite his butt one day.

  17. Talkback
    Talkback
    July 30, 2018, 8:39 am

    “Russiagate is a ghost story for liberals”

    Of course, they need to distract from Israelgate.

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 30, 2018, 2:03 pm

      That’s part of it. Also Saudi gate. Plus there is a lot of money to be made from having a Cold War.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      August 3, 2018, 7:01 am

      There is a demand to believe multiple things, the most important being that we need to mobilize for a cold war to counter Putin’s evil plan to improve relations with the US. It will not do to think ‘okay, so Russia lobbied with the presidential candidates to get along better afterwards. No big deal. Fine’. My point of view not only should we improve relations with Russia despite whatever they’re doing, but in addition we should be worried that our own political situation has degraded to such an extent that the claims are mostly bullshit and that a new McCarthyism is cultivated. That all claims have become political and no official source can be relied upon. That discussions have become mental. Barmy. Deranged. Insane. Frothy.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 3, 2018, 3:19 pm

        ” That discussions have become mental. Barmy. Deranged. Insane. Frothy.”

        You’re right. I don’t know where I got the idea that a US Presidential candidate is obliged to follow US election laws, as loose as they are.

  18. Mooser
    Mooser
    August 14, 2018, 12:44 pm

    I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

  19. Mooser
    Mooser
    August 16, 2018, 9:51 pm

    I think there’s a ghost in the machine! Who ya gonna call:

    Russian oligarch tweets threat to Trump:

    “Democrats and Republicans in the United States compete in the one who no longer loves Russia and who will come up with sanctions posesche. They stuff political points on this, and the people of Russia suffer. If Donald Trump does not extinguish the fire kindling FAKE NEWS Russophobia – it will be his last term,”

    Klyushin wrote. [sic]

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