Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2018

Senate Reports On 'Russian Influence Campaign' Fail To Discuss Its Only Known Motive

U.S. media is again making a big fuzz about the alleged 'Russian' attempts to 'influence' the presidential elections in 2016.

In March the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee commissioned two reports about the alleged 'Russian influence' via social media. Those reports (1, 2) were released yesterday but not endorsed by the committee.

Both reports rely on data that Facebook, Google and Twitter gave to the intelligence committee. The data includes tweets, Facebook posts, videos and how many likes, shares or retweets they received. These are from accounts which for some reason are believed to be related to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Petersburg. Most of these activities occurred after the 2016 election.

Both reports look at the usage data and the content themes the IRA run pages provided. Both claim that the intent of the IRA was to influence the election and to sow discord within the U.S. population. But there is no, none, nada, zero evidence in the data that the IRA had such an intent. Nor is their any testimony or statement from persons involved that claims such. Even if there were data of an influence operation, there is no reason to believe that silly IRA memes, like the "Army of Jesus" one below, changed even one vote.

In contrast the Muller investigation, which looked into the case, found evidence that the IRA had a commercial intent. Unfortunately this is mentioned neither in the two reports, nor in the current news about them. The only really known motive the IRA had when it created those accounts and filled them with content is simply ignored.

We showed in The "Russian Ads" On Facebook Are Just Another Click-Bait Scheme that the IRA people simply created pages on Facebook and elsewhere to attract as many 'eyeballs' as possible. This so called 'click bait' was used to lead people to webpages on which the IRA sold advertisement space.

This was confirmed when the Muller investigation indicted the IRA as described in Mueller Indictment - The "Russian Influence" Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme. Point 95 of the indictment says in relation to wire fraud accusations:

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

The IRA was out to make money, not to influence elections.

It therefore naturally concentrated on content themes that took the least effort to create while attracting a maximum numbers of 'eyeballs' which could then be sold to advertisers. That is why some of its pages were about cute puppies. Cute puppies always sell. In 2016, using the news value of the election campaign, the IRA created pages that were pro-Trump and pages that were anti-Trump. Themes that did not attract enough eye-balls were discarded, those which did well were further promoted. This maximized the numbers of potential eyeballs and thus its advertisement income.

The reports say that a relatively high share of the IRA pages were about issues that interested African Americans.

The New York Times thus headlines: Russian 2016 Influence Operation Targeted African-Americans on Social Media:

[One] report gives particular attention to the Russians’ focus on African-Americans, which is evident to anyone who examines collections of their memes and messages.

“The most prolific I.R.A. efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets,” the report says.
...
The Internet Research Agency also created a dozen websites disguised as African-American in origin, with names like blackmattersus.com, blacktivist.info, blacktolive.org and blacksoul.us. On YouTube, the largest share of Russian material covered the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, with channels called “Don’t Shoot” and “BlackToLive.”
...
The report does not seek to explain the heavy focus on African-Americans. But the Internet Research Agency’s tactics echo Soviet propaganda efforts from decades ago that often highlighted racism and racial conflict in the United States, as well as recent Russian influence operations in other countries that sought to stir ethnic strife.

"The commies are coming to steal our slaves!" The New York Times could just have reprinted this page 3 story from 1930:


bigger

There is of course no evidence that the IRA had any special intention in catering to a black audience except for making money. The Mueller indictment even highlights the IRA created site 'Blacktivist' as one of its commercial advertisement assets. Attracting people from marginal groups, who are not well served by mainstream media, is obviously easier than to market to a mainstream audience which already gets flooded with news relevant to it. Moreover, creating Youtube channels with publicly available videos of police attacks on black citizens takes little effort while potentially attracting a significant audience.

Both reports published yesterday fail to investigate the content and available date with regard to its commercial value. Both fail to look into it under the aspect of the only documented motive the Internet Research Agency had.

These reports are thus just extensions of the sorry excuse the Hillary Clinton campaign made up after she lost the election: "Blame the Russians!"

Posted by b on December 18, 2018 at 01:05 PM | Permalink

Comments

It's always interesting to see what the liberal Democrat establishment really thinks of blacks: That they're passive and stupid, that they're only there to be manipulated by someone and that the someone rightfully should be the Democrat Party; that as the NYT says it's wrong to "cover the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality" or "highlight racism and racial conflict in the United States", except in a manner properly vetted by white liberal elites.

In addition to the historical echoes B mentions, it's also exactly analogous to Southern white racists who were outraged over "outsiders" coming in to rile up "their" Negroes who were otherwise perfectly content. That's the Democrat Party and the pro-Democrat faction of the corporate media for you.

Meanwhile all sentient human beings are still waiting for the explanation for why Hillary refused to campaign in those three critical states, and for why she ran such a grotesquely incompetent campaign in general. Obviously we're never going to get that explanation from the Dembots or the media, who themselves are as clueless and demented as she is. That's why they supported her in the first place. They could identify with that kind of smug stupid elitism.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 18, 2018 1:22:31 PM | 1

The farce is complete: NY Times blames Russia for "Voter Suppression" that derailed Hillary's sure win of the Presidency. Caitlin Johnstone writes about it here: Mass Media’s Russia Hysteria Is Openly Acknowledging The Power Of Propaganda.

But her analysis falls short. IMO this outlandish claim is not just about scare-mongering but something more sinister: providing an excuse for Hillary's (likely) throwing of the election to Trump. Once THAT is acknowledged, the election hairball and "Russia meddling" hysteria quickly unravels to reveal CIA-MI6 scheming behind the SELECTION of Trump.

Frankly, the only thing that will break thru the stupor created by the MSM echo-chamber of Russia fear-mongering is the widespread realization that the 2016 "election" was fixed: Sanders 'sheepdogged' for "'crooked' Hillary" who threw the election to Trump.

Welcome to the rabbithole.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Note: I made this comment on the Open Thread just before b's post. Seems more relevant here.

Also note: Logical reasoning for 2016 election having been a setup can be found in this comment (also on the Open Thread).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 1:28:56 PM | 2

SNL recognizes that Hillary blew it. The December 15th "Cold Open" contains the line:

... all she had to do to win was visit Wisconsin ONCE.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 1:33:43 PM | 3

Russiagate has no clothes, which makes it even more important to pretend that it has lots of clothes.

Posted by: worldblee | Dec 18, 2018 1:44:20 PM | 4

The difference between the 60s and now is that the Russian Federation is a capitalist country: just because a company is hqd in Russia, it doesn't mean it is directly connected to the Kremlin.

Yes, the USSR waged propaganda warfare against the USA in the 50s and 60s by using its real existing racial segregation. But that was the apex of the Cold War: propaganda warfare was declared for everyone to see, and both sides did it with mucho gusto.

Nowadays, only one side is using propaganda warfare, and, which is worse: propaganda over non existent things. A well done propaganda war is waged over true facts or societal aspects of the enemy, so that said fact is exacerbated. A bad propaganda warfare is waged when you have to invent the fact out of the blue.

Posted by: vk | Dec 18, 2018 1:47:30 PM | 5

Anyone but themselves will do as a scapegoat to distract from the pig's ear corruption mess that is American democracy.

Posted by: Jake | Dec 18, 2018 2:02:45 PM | 6

First and foremost, there is no evidence ever of a connection to the Russian statehood in these "reports"!
How this disinformation campaign against russia could live show how absurd west have become.
Not to mention how they will jail Flynn for talking TALKING to other nations ambassadors!

"Are you really gonna pretend that people saw this Russian (alleged IRA) ad and where all like "i Have to vote for Trump now"
https://twitter.com/Fart_cry/status/1074775743194910721


Posted by: Zanon | Dec 18, 2018 2:03:45 PM | 7

"we need to target the yankskis where it counts. we need to strike their center of influence - really go after the people with the most power over the voting process. let's target...black folks!" president malcolm x is surely spinning in his grave!

maybe next time they can spend a few million on felons and undocumented mexicans.

Posted by: the pair | Dec 18, 2018 2:06:33 PM | 8

Russ:

... they're passive and stupid, that they're only there to be manipulated by someone and that the someone rightfully should be the Democrat Party
You could say the same about other groups too: women, LGBT, elderly, immigrants, etc.

Collective action is suppose to enable these groups to combat the tyranny of the majority - but that purpose is defeated to the extent that the leaders/major donors of the Democratic Party identify with, and act for, the majority or the establishment.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 2:19:58 PM | 9

The reports cited by the New York Times include one by a group called New Knowledge. The author, Renee DiResta, recently wrote a post called "The Digital Maginot Line" accuses "ideological extremists" of using the internet to attack corporations and industries, and influence people against liberal ideology and democratic norms, undermining market capitalism (www.ribbonfarm.com/2018/11/28/the-digital-maginot-line/). It is hosted on RibbonFarm, which recently featured an article by Google's Jigsaw engineer cited by the Washington Post as the agenda of the Trilateral Commission (www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/my-four-word-wish-for-thanksgiving/2018/11/20/). The goal is to "increase friction" and stop ordinary people from sharing ideological content. Note also that the DiResta report highlights MintPressNews and the Centre for Research on Globalisation as part of the disinformation network (www.dropbox.com/s/f3jav3mfd87g4pq/Whitepaper%20final.pdf?dl=0) This is all about the elite nullifying the events of the past 2 years and promoting corporate neoliberal totalitarianism....

Posted by: Culture Jammer | Dec 18, 2018 2:55:11 PM | 10

And the Jury composed of the US Public still awaits the provision of evidence to prove any of the Russiagate allegations and is about ready to declare a mistrial as the bullshit isn't sticking except to the hands of those massaging it.

Jackrabbit @2--

Hoped to read your comment at Caitlin's arguing she's missing the entire point of it all.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18, 2018 3:03:10 PM | 11

There is no tyranny of the majority, because there is no majority, only state and a popularity show every four years or so. It is not hard to believe that the Dems gave away the election, same goes for the unneeded UK election purposefully bringing in DUP as a twister. What is blatantly obvious, even to those who create a suppressive counter narrative to diminish the effect of outside witness, is that without discontent in society no propaganda from anywhere is going to stir up more than ridicule. So we have it that sectors of society are caught at a certain level in a (not so) great war of part synthetic influences, and the average person does not get beyond giving up and going home to watch the drama game of tennis it turns into. You know why this barrier of forbidden is created, it is so average people don't get a straight view of the average leaders we have, and from there witness the true manipulation we are subject to. Just like some are more equal than others, some countries are more unjust than others, but most people would rather accept the distraction than expect an honest answer of how their own country is run.

Posted by: Noname | Dec 18, 2018 3:04:25 PM | 12

There's no sorry excuse sorrier than excusing Trumpery by claiming Clinton lost the election. Trump won the Electoral College.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 18, 2018 3:13:34 PM | 13

Culture Jammer @10

From the New Knowledge (the organization behind the report) website:

Our Company


Jonathon Morgan
CEO, Co-Founder

Jonathon has spent the past 12 years building new technologies and digital products. He's also published research with the Brookings Institution, served as a Special Advisor to the State Department, and leads Data for Democracy, a volunteer collective of 3,700 data scientists and technologists.

Ryan Fox
COO, Co-Founder

Ryan spent 15 years at the NSA championing next-generation SIGINT solutions, driven to support national security interests. Prior to his civilian roles as a Counter Terrorism Fellow and NSA Representative European SIGINT partners, he served under U.S. Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC), as a CNO Analyst for the U.S. Army.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Dec 18, 2018 3:23:20 PM | 14

The WSWS coverage of this story noted that the authors of the referred reports have longstanding backgrounds with NSA and military intelligence, and that beyond Russia bashing the reports are being used by Congressional figures to demand further content censorship on social media platforms.

Posted by: jayc | Dec 18, 2018 3:34:57 PM | 15

from the FWIW department:

NPR's Moscow correspondent was reporting this morning on the intra-church squabbling in Ukraine, and began with these words – “the low-level war that Russia has been waging against Ukraine . . .”

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 18, 2018 3:45:54 PM | 16

Muellers next prestigious role will be to round up all those puppy lovers, trick them into lying so they create two crimes: funding Russia and then lying about it. He will always get a conviction on the second count. Or a plea bargain for a fine sufficient to cover his expenses. That is the model he is using and it is witch hunt by definition.

Out of control yankee cops continue to do this throughout USA daily to anyone they choose to pick on. Busted nation.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 18, 2018 3:59:58 PM | 17

Posted by: Russ | Dec 18, 2018 1:22:31 PM | 1
(Hillary. (Tell us what you really think!))

Have to agree. I was mesmerised by Trump's relentless energy and devotion to covering as much ground as possible, right from the start. He made Hillary look lazy and apathetic whilst creating his own very convincing impression of someone who really wanted to win and could maintain a cracking pace - as Prez. I can remember feeling (almost) sorry for her, a few weeks into the campaign.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 18, 2018 4:08:15 PM | 18

winning the electoral college is winning the election. dunno what that has to do with "excusing trump" but he won the thing such as it was, under the existing rules which all sides were aware of.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 18, 2018 4:09:11 PM | 19

Karlof1

She’s not “missing the entire point”.

And I’ll comment there ASAP (very busy today).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 4:28:37 PM | 20

@ pretzelattack | Dec 18, 2018 4:09:11 PM | 19
________________________________________

I guess I have to tender the obligatory disclaimer that I neither voted for, nor "support" Trump per se.

The TDS-afflicted still cling to scapegoating the Electoral College in their utterly specious argument that Trump really didn't "win" the election.

It is comparable to sore losers bitterly insisting that their losing (Amerikan) football team "really" won the game-- because, even though the victor put more points on the scoreboard, their team had more total yardage, and possessed the ball for far longer than the winning team did.

It's not worth the trouble to critique this puerile complaint in detail. But, among other things, anyone not blinded by naïveté, ignorance, or sheer intransigence knows that all candidates conduct presidential campaigns with their eye on the Electoral College prize.

As you correctly point out, for better or worse the settled rules give exclusive precedence to the EC vote. The popular vote is simply irrelevant. Of course, since this arcane system inevitably creates the scenario of a candidate who did not get the most popular votes winning the election, the discrepancy is always going to feel controversial, wrong, and unsatisfactory-- especially to the losing side.

Posted by: Ort | Dec 18, 2018 5:32:19 PM | 21

@14

WOW....no surprise that ex-State Department employees have been up to this stuff. The Hillary faction of the State Department is/was very close with Google, a relationship warned of by Julian Assange since her time in office. Remember, Google set up a whole company, the Groundwork, to support HRC. Jigsaw, which is a branch of Google, was deployed to derank "fake news." In a talk with Varoufakis, Zizek, etc Assange said that Google's world view was the most powerful thing in the world right now and that its ability to predict and outmaneuver people via AI would lead it to global corporate control. Google also funds Bellingcat and had a role in the Steele dossier.

Assange, December 2015:

"When you speak to senior figures in Silicon Valley such as Google's Chairman they have frightening worldviews. There is a real 'poverty' there, in that respect. There is a 'High-tech liberalism' ideology, which you can see references to in Google's book mentioning a 'new digital age', with Washington already going to Silicon Valley for information and solutions. They, as corporations have great experience in managing sheer scale, and with competency. They even have influence in some local governments. When you go to India and China and ask young people about their futures they say they want to work for Facebook, or if they're radical, start their own Facebook. Beyond this, Silicon Valley also 'rebrands' when it's abroad. For instance, to be "Doing it the Chinese/Indian way", but there's no choice, there's no 'China/India' involved - it's just a rebranding of Silicon Valley's ideology. And there's no growing competition."

Posted by: Culture Jammer | Dec 18, 2018 5:48:35 PM | 22

Two points. First was it not the case a few years ago that the NSA or whoever in response to media fears of cyber warfare against the West were happily crowing that they were the greatest cyber warriors in the world, that they could masquerade as anyone from anywhere and not get caught unlike the incompetent Chinese, North Koreans, etc.?

Secondly, aren't all these items preaching to the converted? The people viewing them would either dismiss them as rubbish because it offends their view/prejudice or believe that they confirm their existing view/prejudice, what they always knew was true(rather like most folk who follow the MSM)and therefore are unlikely to have had little to no effect oh people's voting intentions?

Posted by: Peter Charles | Dec 18, 2018 5:51:07 PM | 23

The past week has seen what Steve Bannon (no fan of him, but this comment was accurate) calls the "nullification project" against populism in full swing with mass washing of brains via NYTimes fake news from New Knowledge/corporate reports on Russia to Blairites Mandelson, Blair, and Chuka trying to sneek back into public life and stop Brexit and Corbynism. They all want to go back to 2016 when silicon valley tech/centrism/Investor State Dispute Settlement dystopia was the only option on the menu

Posted by: Culture Jammer | Dec 18, 2018 5:55:10 PM | 24

Which brings me to reminding all of us here, please put Black Agenda Report among your favorites.
It is among the most outspoken Hillary/DNC/Russiagate/Neo-Lib debunkers there are.
https://www.blackagendareport.com/

Posted by: bjd | Dec 18, 2018 5:57:39 PM | 25

CJ @22--

Thanks for refreshing us with Assange's observations. His silencing has damaged the overall Resistance discourse, although his subordinates are doing quite well. I linked to the most recent Putin & Xi speeches plus another excellent analytical article by Alastair Crooke on the previous thread.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18, 2018 6:13:48 PM | 26

RE: Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 2:19:58 PM | 9

Said the party to the ad-man
We'll conjure up a gimmick
The way to lead an ass
Is with a carrot and a stick
Dig down for minorities
Promise them concessions
Ride in on their backs
And then teach them all a lesson
Unemployment means depression
You're just victims of the recession
We can count on their support
If we can channel their emotions

Two different routes
To an industrial heaven
Work for boss and parliament
And all will be forgiven
Offer your life to the one true church
In the name of the conservative party
And the liberal alliance
The promised land where banks outnumber churches
And your cars shall be martyrs to the cause
Capitalism in crisis
But on the third day it shall rise again

Posted by: tom | Dec 18, 2018 6:15:27 PM | 27

". all she had to do to win was visit Wisconsin ONCE."
Clinton had nothing to say to Wisconsin, nothing to offer.
Bear in mind that, as recent events in Madison remind us, Clinton and Obama had kept well away from Wisconsin while the Republicans were breaking the Public Sector Unions-Right to Work nonsense. I believe that was in 2010 with the mid terms coming up and Obama wasn't going to be seen dead near a strike or a sit in. Hillary- from Walmart's Board, was every bit as bad.
In Wisconsin to win Hillary would have needed the support of rank and file labour, who she has hated all her life and fought against. She didn't go to Wisconsin because she would have lost votes there if she had.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18, 2018 6:59:46 PM | 28

Please allow me to support “bjd | Dec 18, 2018 5:57:39 PM | 25” in his endorsement of Black Agenda Report (dot) com.

Highly intelligent, highly knowledgeable and very professional analysis and reporting, based on a mostly working class world view, comes from that site, much like here at MOA.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 18, 2018 7:00:13 PM | 29

The insistence that Trump outplayed Clinton in targeting the EC vote because he was so much smarter is Trumpery at its most shameless. It's closely matches the insistence that every lucky stock market gambler is a genius. The margins in what turned out to be the key states were more or less random, not determined by the God Trump or thrown away by the fool Clinton. Except when it's about attributing victory to the cryptofascist politics of Bannon et at.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 18, 2018 7:22:23 PM | 30

"It therefore naturally concentrated on content themes that took the least effort to create while attracting a maximum numbers of 'eyeballs' which could then be sold to advertisers."

So apparently the IRA's business model was the same as NYT, WaPo, MSNBC et al..

I guess its just cognitive dissonance from the MSM story prevents the average Joe from seeing and accepting this.

Posted by: Ubernaut | Dec 18, 2018 7:22:27 PM | 31

Mark Curtis Illustrates why all the anti-Russia hoohaw in 3rd tweet from page top. Someone once said: Follow the money.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18, 2018 7:24:40 PM | 32

As for the black vote, blame Republicans for creating difficulties that discourage their vote. Polling stations away from public transportation, long lines due to inadequately equipped/staffed stations, eliminating voters from voting rolls, voter id requirements, etc. Not to mention the bipartisan requirement to have elections on a workday. Putin hardly needed to be involved.

As for the EC. 17% of the voters in a handful of states determine who wins the election. The rest may as well not bother.

Russia is just an excuse to get support to shut down or censor alt media.

Lets look back

In June of 2016 , before Russia was on everyones mind, a bill named “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016” was introduced into the house by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu. H.R. 5181 . It sought a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.”

A similar bill was introduced in March 2016 in the Senate long before Russia gate.

Legislation was passed and signed by Obama in December after the Russia Gate was played up following the election.

Other countries-unions like UK, EU, France and even Russia itself have since approved or proposed similar legislation.

Then we saw Prop or Not come out in early 2017, and not long after increased censoring by twitter and facebook in the midst of Orange tweeting out fake this and fake that.

So yeah, the Russia election hysteria has a purpose, but the principal target is controlling what you can read and talk about, and not Russia. In fact, maybe Putin is just one of the Fake Wrestlers since control of the media and silencing those opposed to his neoliberalism works for him too.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 18, 2018 7:56:58 PM | 33

The story of the Integrity Initiative project has been steadily unraveling: https://www.rt.com/news/446809-integrity-initiative-third-leak-uk/

Chris Donnelly [a "parent" of the Integrity Initiative] "had drafted a list of suggested "military measures" that he would implement during the height of the Crimean crisis in 2014 if he was “in charge” — including laying mines in Sevastopol Bay. The question should be asked: Why would a disinformation-busting charity be drafting proposals on UK military measures?

Perhaps because it seems the UK military had a keen interest in promoting the II’s activities. Not only was the project receiving funding from the British Foreign Office, but also the British Army and Ministry of Defense — something which the MoD had denied before a leaked invoice proved it. ...

The project allegedly operated much like a modern-day version of Operation Mockingbird — a secretive 1950s project whereby the CIA worked hand-in-glove with willing journalists in major media outlets to ensure certain narratives were adhered to. Only this time, it’s a UK-funded organization with deep links to the intelligence services and military passing itself off as a non-partisan “charity.”

Labour MP Chris Williamson has said the government has "serious questions to answer" about why it is funding "dubious groups that interfere in the affairs of European democracies and distribute misinformation about the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn" — a reference to earlier leaks showing an orchestrated smear campaign against Corbyn.

The Daily Record has called the II revelations "one of the biggest political scandals of the year.”

The naked "parent" of the Integrity Initiative (oh, irony!) Mr. Chris Donnelly came out as a disgustingly ugly scoundrel.

Posted by: Annette | Dec 18, 2018 8:03:57 PM | 34

Random or not, I remember how the last appearances of Trump and his people in the days immediately before Election Day were in Minnesota (!), Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It was clear that something must have been up in the campaign's internal polls. Trump didn't carry Minnesota in the end, but it was surprisingly close. Hillary, on the other hand, of those states, only appeared in Pennsylvania. Michael Moore, who is from Michigan, urged her to appear in that state, but she didn't.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 18, 2018 8:15:56 PM | 35

It is yet another curious situation. The 'nothing burger' Russia did it talking point obsession is now in danger of becoming like Dicken's Bleak House court case a very very very long drawn out absurd circumlocution process.

The US midterm elections giving the H. of Rep. to Democrats have given Trump's political enemies other potential 'weaponization' attempts.

The US Senate is at best a dubious Trump ally, perhaps worse than a fair weather friend, the 'friend' that plots your demise while pretending otherwise.

Three of the big unknowns when Trump won was to what extent he would be a quick study - learn critical stuff on the job; and, what kind of backbone he had; and how well he would choose his entourage and staff critical positions. Re the latter, one of the problems in the US is a dearth of applicable high quality. The US is idiot-rich in high places.

In 2016 Trump would not have expected as a result of his election to become the main competitor to Putin in global mass media hostility and disparagement. Putin's stature and effectiveness and intelligence and success as a national leader and international figure seems to be the big problem.

Trump on the other hand is a case of multiple personality fecundity, overflowing with un Presidential and Presidential gyrations, a buffoon one minute, the next a sly fox, the next blurting out an uncomfortable truth, the next telling a wopper.

But the extraordinary hatred of Trump in political circles, and the huge unprecedented mass media effort to colour him negatively, is also in my opinion driven by fear. There are a lot of stinking skeletons and hidden pathologies in high places and in their retinue, and Trump is not comfortably on side with it all, is somehow part way at least odd man out, even as he is odd man in, in many disreputable respects.

One of the problems that Trump faced when gaining the presidency was that the US had long since 'progressed' way beyond any semblance to a real constitutional republic into the murky realm of political madhouse, literally. Curiously, the advent of Trump has caused his political enemies to even look for nominally constitutional means and procedures to do battle with him.

And seizing the moment, the US Senate! From the loathsome NYT: "The Senate voted on Thursday to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen in the strongest show of bipartisan defiance against President Trump’s defense of the kingdom over the killing of a dissident journalist.

The 56-to-41 vote was a rare move by the Senate to limit presidential war powers and sent a potent message of disapproval for a nearly four-year conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and brought famine to Yemen. Moments later, senators unanimously approved a separate resolution to hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia personally responsible for the death of the journalist"

I am confused as to whether the great complaint was over the war, or the murder of Khashoggi, or neither, or both. But it was a message to the much despised Trump. Take that!

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 18, 2018 9:23:40 PM | 36

bevin

She was a terrible candidate who reeked of my turn entitlement, was weighed down with lots of political baggage, and ran an awful race despite spending a huge amount of money. And she was also close friends with Trump for many years. But dembots say questions about her desire to win are off-limits. They point to her ardent desire to be the first women President.

I say baloney.

1) The geo-political situation changed. A popular nationalist was deemed necessary to revive the Empire. Hillary would not stand in the way of such a determination. That's why the establishment loves her.

2) She didn't reach out to progressives, unions, blacks, or the working poor. She took them for granted. AFAICT the only 'base' she really paid any attention to was women and LGBT. She struck terror into their hearts via expected vacancies on the Supreme Court.

The Clintons are no stranger to politics. They certainly know the importance of the electoral college. Hillary simply didn't do things that would ensure her victory. Things she would have done if she wanted to win - even if she was ahead in the polls. Examples:

> Pick Sanders for VP. If he wants too much power in that role, then pick someone that can appeal to Sanders progressives, and ...

> ... Shun Debra Wasserman Shultz - make it seem like DWS was responsible for collusion against Sanders.

> Say some nice things about Black Lives Matter.
Maybe find a black friend. Someone who is not overtly political. Trump had a doctor (Ben Carson), a former contestant (Omarosa) and an entertainer (Kanye). Hillary has ...?

> Support a $15 minimum wage.
How is it even possible that a Democratic Presidential contender takes $750,000 from Goldman Sacks for a speech and then positions herself as denying people a livable wage?

> Allay the fears of white conservatives
DON'T call them "deplorables", DON'T take on the "Obama legacy" wholesale, and apologize for that "what difference does it make" outburst during the Benghazi hearings.

> Visit crucial battleground states.
At least pretend that you care.

> Accept that wealth inequality is a problem
And was exacerbated by Obama's making Bush tax cuts permanent

> Don't give closed door speeches to Goldman Sachs!
WTF!

> Take a pro-peace stance with reservations instead of a pro-military stance with hopes for peace.
When people believe that you will start WWIII, you have a problem. Duh!


Her campaign wasn't a failure. It's failure was a success because, given her alienation of the left and the right, we can surmise that she didn't want to win. That leads to the conclusion that Trump was a Clinton protege, not an enemy. And explains why Chelsea and Ivanka are still close friends.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 9:59:30 PM | 37

Two slightly related tidbits

Proper zoological classification of Russian trolls. I found a picture of a pair of Russian trolls, both deliriously happy after undermining American democracy:
http://www.interesnie-fakty.ru/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Zverek.jpg
Not surprisingly, they do not belong to Trollidae (the extant species exist) but to Talpidae, the moles. Aquatic and reclusive, when they post they have to type by touch due to their poor eyesight. And, as we can see, perverse and thoroughly weaponized sense of humor.

More tangentially related, American police brutality is such an excellent clique-bait that even established media regularly posts on that topic. Today I read about most ridiculous police killing in my longish carrier of reading about them:

From NYT, 12-ve of this month:
Alex Andrich, in a photo provided by his family, was shot and killed by a police officer in Phoenix.
After the police shot and killed Alex Andrich, on June 12, a police spokesman offered this explanation: Mr. Andrich had advanced on an officer while holding an “object” that the officer “believed was a threat.” It turned out to be the handcuffs that officers had just affixed to one of his wrists.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 18, 2018 10:06:04 PM | 38

Today Trump capitulated and withdrew his threat of a government shutdown in the event that Chuck and Nancy weren't forthcoming with five billion bucks for his wall. They weren't and he caved.

It had to hurt. He was faced with the fact that his leverage is greatly diminished and that beginning January 3rd life was going to get a whole lot tougher.

To make the day even worse he had to shut down his beloved Trump Foundation as it was revealed to be a slush fund for campaign expenses and used as an ATM by various member of his family.

It couldn't have done much for his state of mind when the latest polls showed that something over 60% of the population wants the Mueller investigation to continue until the full extent of the rot and corruption is laid bare. There is no consensus that the probe is a "witch hunt". Sorry you had to hear it here first.

So when Trump gets the subpoena from Chuck and Nancy to hand over his tax returns there isn't likely going to be a whole lot of surprises in what they reveal. Much of it is already obvious simply by connecting the dots.

The Democrats say that they will not seek to impeach Trump unless the Republicans ask them to do so. I wonder how long it will take before the rats desert the ship.


Posted by: peter | Dec 18, 2018 10:15:19 PM | 39

Robert Snefjella | Dec 18, 2018 9:23:40 PM | 36:

The 56-to-41 vote was a rare move by the Senate to limit presidential war powers and sent a potent message of disapproval for a nearly four-year conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and brought famine to Yemen.

Not really:

Loophole in Bernie Sanders’ Yemen Bill Actually Allows Continued US Involvement in Yemen

[The bill]... will require the president to remove troops “except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces.” Notably though, the only U.S. troops “on the ground” in Yemen that are involved in “hostilities” (i.e., combat operations) are those that are allegedly involved in operations targeting Al Qaeda....

In addition, the Sanders-introduced bill will do nothing to stop the U.S.’ use of drone strikes that regularly kill scores of civilians in Yemen. Indeed, a recent investigation conducted by the Associated Press found that at least one-third of all Yemenis killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen were civilians.

. . .

The bill appears to be little more than a PR stunt by Democrats and Democratic-aligned senators to distance themselves from Republicans.

Sanders' watered-down anti-War bill is made to look saintly in contrast to pro-war maneuvering in the Republican-controlled House

As the U.S. Senate prepared Wednesday to vote on a resolution to cut military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, House Republicans in their last days in power moved to undermine efforts to end U.S. complicity in the assault that's dragged on for more than three years in the impoverished country.

The House Rules Committee advanced the Farm Bill to a floor debate Tuesday evening, with progressives celebrating the absence of work requirements for low-income families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—but hidden in the annual agricultural bill was a provision keeping lawmakers from forcing a vote on any legislation invoking War Powers resolutions for the rest of the year.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 10:44:44 PM | 40

Easier to blame Russia, than the real culprits, The GOP and their endless voter suppression, and HRC, possibly the worst candidate in modern history.

Had HRC campaigned on the issue of Medicare for all, she probably would have swamped DJT. But, she's a shill for the Healthcare insurance industry, so to hell with that.

This "Russia did it" meme is getting redundant.

In the REAL liberal community the meme isn't working.

Posted by: ben | Dec 18, 2018 10:46:37 PM | 41

peter | Dec 18, 2018 10:15:19 PM | 39: It had to hurt.

The bickering in front of the cameras was great kayfabe. Each side pretending to fight hard for their constituency. A demonstration to the American people that democracy works.

While we debate walls, bathrooms, and old statues, the establishment quietly wins on taxes, Empire (MIC and foreign policy), and pervasive surveillance.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18, 2018 10:59:22 PM | 42

Meanwhile all sentient human beings are still waiting for the explanation for why Hillary refused to campaign in those three critical states, and for why she ran such a grotesquely incompetent campaign in general. ... Dembots or the media, who themselves are as clueless and demented as she is. That's why they supported her in the first place. They could identify with that kind of smug stupid elitism.
Posted by: Russ | Dec 18, 2018 1:22:31 PM | 1

The most likely explanation for her arrogance and complacency in not campaigning in those three states is that she believed there was absolutely no chance of her losing them, and wanted to concentrate her campaigning resources on states where she believed it would make a difference. Some time ago I posted a credible report I found from a current US military member, who reported that the military had requested Trump to stand in the elections; as the elections were unfolding the top military officers were watching - Rogers et al from NSA headquarters - the Dems manipulating the vote electronically (which it is easy to do because the electronic voting machines were specifically designed for that purpose). They called up Hillery's team and told her they were watching it, and that it would have to stop immediately, otherwise the military would do the "unthinkable" (obviously, to stage a coup).

It should be possible to test this claim by looking for any changes in voting patterns over time during the course of the day. If this was responsible for Hillary losing the three states it would be predicted that during the first part of the day the ratio was heavily (i.e. disproportionatly) in favour of Hillary, then the ratio suddenly changed (about the same time in all three states) against her. I have no idea whether anyone has investigated this.

There were reports (Consortium News?? Not sure) that there were vast differences between "advance" votes and votes on the day, and that the Dems over a couple of decades had perfected the art of manipulating (using immoral but not necessarily illegal methods) the "advance vote" in their favour (eg by holding a church meeting under false pretexts and then bussing the participants to the "advance vote". Such "advance voting" is totally incompatible with democratic representation and should be banned in any civilised society. Nevertheless I would imagine the effect of such advance vote manipulations would be small compared to the electronic manipulations I am suggesting on the day of the vote. I also remember seeing reports of very suspicious differences between voting patterns in different districts, which perfectly correlated with differences in model of voting machine and their ease of electronic manipulation. This should be the prime investigation area of anyone seeking to debunk the Russiagate claims, and anyone seeking to create (never existed so far, after all) US democracy. But election manipulation between the two halves of the uniparty has served the elite very well so far, so they will double down on it rather than investigate it.

Such explanations could amply explain the observed effects if true. It is also true that Trump surrounded himself with military people immediately after his election, and on the first day after the election was visited by Rogers who reportedly told him about the illegal bugging.

The last part of Russ's paragraph is also a critical part of the explanation for the entire phenomenon.

Posted by: BM | Dec 18, 2018 11:08:19 PM | 43

Suggesting that Hillary lost the vote intentionally is wildly inconsistent with her observable behaviour on the day of the vote and lacks the most fundamental believability. Her sense of shock was very palpable and could not be faked. It is not worth taking seriously in the absence of serious evidence; to do so - as JR has been doing repeatedly over the last several months - bears much in common with the psychology of the Russiagate meme itself, which similarly relies on illogical and unbelievable claims in a total absence of genuine evidence. Pushing such crap just serves the intentions of the elites in distracting attention from the real manipulations and creating confusion to prevent people noticing the real patterns.

Posted by: BM | Dec 18, 2018 11:19:17 PM | 44

60% of the population wants the Mueller investigation to continue until the full extent of the rot and corruption is laid bare. There is no consensus that the probe is a "witch hunt". Sorry you had to hear it here first.

Posted by: peter | Dec 18, 2018 10:15:19 PM | 39

To the surprise of very few people, Trump is more corrupt than average politician or businessman, although probably at par with his milieu of real estate developers and casino operators. Both lines of business depend heavily on assorted regulations, like zoning, and depend on leniency and understanding from politicians and regulators controlled by politicians. Trump's finances are sufficiently shady that he refused to reveal his tax returns, breaking with a rather healthy tradition.

That said, documented scandals have very little to do with "Russian collusion".

The prime examples of "Russian collusion" are much less than presented. E.g. Flynn contacted Russian Embassy as a member of Trump Administration that was bing formed after Trump was elected. Very stupidly, he clumsily hid that fact and lied about it, but this is not a collusion. Another example, Trump Organization apparently tried to negotiate about investing in a building in Moscow, as they were doing in every major city, and many smaller ones. Investigations uncovered that Trumps got a number of favors in that process -- of trying to have project in lots of places, but not from Russians but from the Gulfies, Israelis etc. Other example is that a German bank (Dresdner?) that was doing business with Russian companies lend money to Trump. Given that it was one of two largest German banks, a mega institution doing business practically everywhere, that really does not make any connection -- clients from dozens of countries, including Gulfies and Israel could have at least as much influence, except that they were already influencing Trump in much easier and direct ways.

Back when Hillary Clinton run for President, her campaign had major problems. One was how to choose Trump scandals for villification campaign. Second was how to neutralize Hillary's scandals, some of which were preposterous, and peddled by Republicans for decades with no Russian help, and some actually bona fide scandals, like e-mail server. Her achievements as Secretary of State were very dubious and aptly vilified. Third was her personality of bland technocrat who actually does not excel at technical details. Her attempts on being feisty and colorful were inept. E.g. she pretended to be a homicidal maniac chortling about the murder of Muammar Qadafi. Those who like homicidal maniacs on top positions were not convinced, but those that hate homicidal maniacs were (I am in a small minority believing that she merely pretended while not liking that image). In any case, chaos in Libya enabling Al-Qaeda/Isis types to roam over swaths of Libya, Mali, Niger etc. was nothing to chortle about.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 18, 2018 11:31:48 PM | 45

thanks b.. the usa and it's russia meme is becoming very tiring... if they had any meat on it, it would be different...

@ 44 BM.. i tend to agree with you on that... it is convenient to suggest hillary was in on the trump win, but it is very hard to believe... now if someone told me this was part of the set up so they could go after russia 24/7, i would have a hard time believing that too... collusion whether russian, or western oligarchs planning beforehand the outcome of the usa election is very shaky on both counts.. shit happens and sometimes the cookie crumbles a particular way... if the western oligarchs were so brilliant they would have foreseen how things would shape up circa 2018 too, but i say they didn't.. now, i realize someone is going to say how it is all going exactly according to plan.. oh well.. i have to disagree then..

Posted by: james | Dec 19, 2018 1:15:23 AM | 46

so they're saying the russians weaponized masturbation.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 19, 2018 1:19:43 AM | 47

BM, james

To speculate that Hillary thought she would win the states is not credible. As bevin notes @28, she was in trouble in those states. lysias @35 notes that Michael Moore urged her to campaign in Michigan. I have heard that others also urged her to campaign in contested Midwest states.

Her reaction to Trump's win is also not a credible source of truth.

There was a book written about her dysfunctional campaign which lays the blame for her loss on Hillary herself.

I've admitted that I don't have direct evidence. Naturally, that would be very difficult for any outsider to obtain. And every strange thing that occurred during the race has some explanation/excuse. But when there are a string of strange occurrences that result in a certain outcome then you are talking about a fact pattern that is much more difficult to dismiss.

The fact pattern STARTS here:

1) The US is NOT a democracy. There is an illusion of choice and that there is reason to believe that Deep State has quite a bit of influence over who can be a Presidential contender. Bush Sr. was CIA. Clinton was said to allow CIA flights into an airport in Arkansas. GW Bush was son of CIA Bush. Obama was grandson of OSS guy and his mother was likely to have also been CIA.

The power of the CIA is further shown by Trump's nomination of Haspel and her subsequent confirmation (despite having destroyed evidence subject to Congressional oversight). Haspel's nomination was supported by Brennan, who is (supposedly) anti-Trump. Haspel is said to have been an acolyte or protege of Brennan's. She is said to have strong connections with MI6, and to have been the CIA London Station Chief in 2016 when "spying" on the Trump campaign was occurring. Was it really "spying" or was it an operation to ensure Trump's election while casting blame on Russia and Wikileaks?

2) Geo-political realities had changed dramatically in Fall 2013 - Summer 2014: Russia's refusal to bend the knee had morphed into a willingness to confront the West. Russian resurgence coupled with China's commercial might was a strategic threat to the Empire's hegemonic NWO plan.

3) Hillary faced a populist on her left and a populist on her right, each of whom were friends of the Clintons for many years. How weird is THAT?

In light of the above, what best explains:

> Why Trump said that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it?

> Why would there be only one populist out of 19 contenders for the Republican nomination?

> Why would Hillary collude with the DNC against Sanders (denying Sanders a little bit of money hardly seems worth potential embarrassment)? Then alienate his supporters even further by bringing DWS into her campaign?

> Why were the British so involved with this election? Cambridge Analytic, Fusion GPS, and Simon Bracey-Lane.

> Why did Trump nominate Haspel for CIA Director? Was it a reward for a job well done (ensuring that Trump was elected and Russia was blamed)?

> Why was a Republican establishment that was so very hateful of Clinton willing to support her over faux populist Trump? AFAICT Trump has not been unkind to the Republican Agenda.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19, 2018 3:35:32 AM | 48

Peter

"There is no consensus that the probe is a "witch hunt". Sorry you had to hear it here first."

Not really:
Majority think russia investigation is politically motivated

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 19, 2018 3:45:42 AM | 49

Once again (with feeling):

Whey did Trump nominate Gina Haspel for CIA Director?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19, 2018 3:58:16 AM | 50

Good piece today at Counterpunch sums up Russia Derangement Syndrome, including how it promises nuclear war in the near future. At the very least, there is consensus among all US elites and the entire political and media class that unremitting hostility and aggression is the only conceivable stance toward Russia. This path can lead only to war, therefore the US political class is fully agreed they want war. So we're going to get it.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/12/19/russophobia-and-the-specter-of-war/

In fact the new Cold War is entirely an American creation, starting in the early 1990s and continuing along multiple fronts: NATO expansion to Russian borders, economic sanctions designed to “cripple” the Russian economy, neo-fascist coup in Ukraine promoted in Washington, American withdrawal from the 1972 ABM nuclear treaty, groundless accusations that Moscow conspired to rig the 2016 U.S. presidential election, ongoing economic and military threats. Nothing of the sort has been carried out by the Russian side...

A common view in Moscow is that sanctions amount to economic warfare. That “warfare” actually has a protracted history, going back to the first stirrings of the Bolshevik regime. It is worth asking what might have been gained from such punishment, aside from needlessly cementing hostile relations with a Eurasian nuclear power? Nothing much constructive. Cohen points out that, “Historically, sanctions were not problem-solving measures advancing American national security but more akin to temper tantrums or road rage, making things worse, than to real policy-making.” One geopolitical outcome, in recent years, has been to push the Russians closer to China and Iran....The very logic of U.S.-imposed sanctions, moreover, is fraudulent: the Ukraine crisis was, more than anything, provoked by regime change sponsored by American neocons...

Cohen adds: “Whatever ‘meddling’ Russian actors did in 2016 may well have been jaywalking compared to the Clinton administration’s highly intrusive political and financial intervention on behalf of Russian president Yeltsin’s reelection campaign in 1996.” Not to mention brazen and repeated U.S. regime-change interventions, often with military force, since World War II...

It is finally worth asking: exactly who are the extremists, aggressors, and warmongers seemingly invested in the new Cold-War brinkmanship? Does Putin have troops stationed on American borders? Is he waging economic combat against the U.S.? Has he staged a coup in Mexico? Has he nullified any treaties? Is he threatening to destroy Washington, D.C.? Do we find incessant anti-American hysteria across the Russian public sphere? For the moment, according to Cohen, “Putin still appears to be, in words and deeds, the moderate, calling Western leaders ‘our partners and colleagues’, asking for understanding and negotiations, being far less ‘aggressive’ than he might be.”

Posted by: Russ | Dec 19, 2018 4:43:50 AM | 51

@Jackrabbit

"Why did Trump nominate Gina Haspel for CIA Director?"

Why not? She's right up his alley. Who else might he have named who would be any different?

"Why Trump said that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it?"

Lots of elites think exactly that, Trump simply is more likely to say such "politically incorrect" things.

"Why would there be only one populist out of 19 contenders for the Republican nomination?"

Most elites find even pretending to be populist incomprehensible. Trump was the only one who thought of such a pretense, no doubt stemming from his long career as a public buffoon.

"Why would Hillary collude with the DNC against Sanders (denying Sanders a little bit of money hardly seems worth potential embarrassment)? Then alienate his supporters even further by bringing DWS into her campaign?"

Democrat elitists truly hate the people, and despise "progressives" most of all. Hillary also is the walking incarnation of a sense of entitlement - it was Her Turn, end of story. So she took even the fake Sanders challenge as an affront, lese majestie. How dare he! As for alienating progressives (if that really happened; I haven't seen polling on that), that in itself a primary value for corporate Democrats. We know for a fact they'd rather lose elections than even pretend to care about the people. Even such a pretense is odious to them, and anyway they've long since lost the ability to pretend, that's how far the liberal elitist rot has gone. As I said above establishment Republicans also have no such ability. Only Trump and Sanders know how to run that con.

"Why was a Republican establishment that was so very hateful of Clinton willing to support her over faux populist Trump? AFAICT Trump has not been unkind to the Republican Agenda."

They too as elitists dislike this upstart crashing their party. But it's purely personal, purely superficial, just like liberal hatred of Trump. In neither case is the objection based on any principle whatsoever. Meanwhile their corporate masters preferred Hillary as the more housebroken, reliable neoliberal cog. Since Republicans and Democrats are really identical, there was little cognitive dissonance involved in establishment Republicans preferring Hillary.

Your questions seem very simple to me, easily answerable within the framework of the banality of evil. I don't see anything profound going on there.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 19, 2018 5:02:27 AM | 52

Russ says:

Your[Jackrabbit's] questions seem very simple to me, easily answerable within the framework of the banality of evil. I don't see anything profound going on there

i agree. such intrigue would be inconsistent with Hillary's extremely egocentric psychopathy. the self-absorbed twat was even the first losing presidential candidate in history to not give a concession speech.

Posted by: john | Dec 19, 2018 6:12:01 AM | 53

"Follow the money", exactly.

One of the reports is billed as coming straight from Oxford University (not the one by the snoops that Tobin Paz is talking about, but the other one). Well... It's associated with Oxford, somehow connected, but other than that, it's Soros. It was compiled by one "The Computational Propaganda Project", which is "based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford." Funding for this project comes from the “Central European University” (Soros), the “Open Society Foundations” (Soros), the “Ford Foundation” and the European Union – agendas and interests. Without that extra money, the project wouldn’t even exist. The money flows because of the guy who runs this shop, one Canadian fellow named Philip N. Howard. Major positions in his career: Soros, Soros, and Soros – oh, and the „United States Institute of Peace”, of course, sorry I forgot! Windbag Professor of Fake Sciences, if you ask me.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Dec 19, 2018 6:32:51 AM | 54

"Struggling with the addiction to masturbation? reach out to me and we will beat it together" - Jesus.

Are you trying to tell me that there are people so stupid that they don't get this totally obvious and fairly old joke? Seriously?

Posted by: MarkU | Dec 19, 2018 7:17:18 AM | 55

Oh no! your illustration shows that Putin has weaponised masturbation! Is nothing sacred?

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Dec 19, 2018 7:18:56 AM | 56

Upon discussing such a topic one should point out the glaring influence campaigns waged by Israel through the foreign lobby working in the best interests of Israel, AIPAC to name the biggest and Israel's massive cyber influence campaigns targeting Americans with hasbara. Also, since the U.S. is issuing indictments against agents of foreign influence it should indict its own agents who go around meddling in the politics and with public perception in Russia, Iran, Syria, Palestinian Territories, Venezuela, to name some.

Russia should charge all its institutions to investigate U.S. meddling in its politics and how far the U.S. goes in influencing public perception in Russia and in promoting certain parties and rabble rousers/rioters and then issue indictments of its own.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 19, 2018 8:52:36 AM | 57

@51

Guess your fingers are too tired to do the research:
Sanders supporters voted for Trump

And that doesn't include those who stayed home.

Hillary won Trump the election by sabotaging the only candidate who had a chance of beating him.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 19, 2018 9:10:35 AM | 58

Sorry my comment was for Russ @52 not 51.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 19, 2018 9:12:01 AM | 59

"We will beat it together." A classic ad for the ages.

Posted by: morongobill | Dec 19, 2018 9:18:52 AM | 60

@52 Hillary Clinton was also no doubt made aware by her Zionist mentor and friend, Kissinger, that he was favoring Trump, correction, that Zionists were favoring Trump and she would have to step aside and that she did by not campaigning in the states that gave Trump his victory; the same state where Sanders supporters voted for Trump.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 19, 2018 9:32:05 AM | 61

@ Circe 58

"Guess your fingers are too tired to do the research"

Yes, I have much better things to do than look up meaningless factoids about your fake elections. I'll leave that to the likes of you who still maintain religious faith in "elections". Meanwhile your link is exactly as lame as I expected. If you actually read it you saw that it boils down to: Maybe a minuscule portion of Sanders voters (12% tops!) switched to Trump, and there's no way of knowing how that affected the outcome since there were so many other factors. Guess your fingers were too tired to find any compelling data. (I'd be interested in how many Sanders supporters voted for Hillary. I bet far more than 12%.)

"And that doesn't include those who stayed home."

And how many was that? That of course is a core part of the question, if any of it matters at all like you think. Guess your fingers are too tired to do the research.

"And that doesn't include those who stayed home."

I hope it was a lot of them. That would indicate they're waking up. I always advise everyone to stay home. Why demean oneself by serving as an unpaid extra in a such a tawdry, fake spectacle, even lending "legitimacy" to it.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 19, 2018 9:41:09 AM | 62

Sigh, another russia "is behind it lie" busted,

Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichny died of natural causes in 2012 - UK coroner
https://www.rt.com/news/446864-russian-aleksander-perepilichny-death-natural-causes/

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 19, 2018 10:16:57 AM | 63

@40

JR, while I agree with you that The U.S. is not a democracy, or has not been one for quite some time, and I agree with you on Hillary having helped to get Trump elected, I will not let you be disingenuous regarding Sanders. While I wrote that Sanders is not where I'd like him to be on every issue what you wrote there about him regarding his efforts on Yemen is outright deceptive. It's House Republicans that inserted a provision into the Farm Bill that would block a vote on ending support in Yemen for this Congress. This was done in the House and Sanders had nothing to do with that! Don't go there again with this kind of deception; I hope you're better than that.

Regarding the AQ in Yemen clause in the Senate Resolution. The Senate will still have a Republican majority in January. This was a bi-partisan Resolution and so Republicans may have insisted on the AQ exception part. You don't know it was specifically Bernie who authored that exception. If the Resolution were not bi-partisan, he'd never have gotten it through the Senate. So please stop spinning this deceptively to sully Sanders on this issue.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 19, 2018 10:21:54 AM | 64

@62

First of all, I too consider U.S. elections FAKE! Secondly, who cares what percentage of Sanders voters voted for Trump when it only took a small margin to push Trump over the edge! It was a combo of that percentage and those who stayed home that won Trump the election.

Besides, you can't refute the obvious: Hillary and the DNC sabotaged Sanders and without any doubt this helped Trump win.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 19, 2018 10:33:35 AM | 65

@ 64

Regarding the AQ in Yemen clause in the Senate Resolution. The Senate will still have a Republican majority in January. This was a bi-partisan Resolution and so Republicans may have insisted on the AQ exception part. You don't know it was specifically Bernie who authored that exception. If the Resolution were not bi-partisan, he'd never have gotten it through the Senate. So please stop spinning this deceptively to sully Sanders on this issue.

You're funny. According to you it was a good thing to get a fake resolution through the Senate! And you say it's good for the people to be told by the corporate media and by liberals like you that the US will be pulling out of Yemen even though that's a lie.

If that isn't the essence of the whole liberal sham: Empty words, downright lying words, are always more important than actions, and one must always be lying to the people.

And of course that's perfectly in line with Sanders' decades-long career as a con artist. He probably inserted the AQ clause himself; it's exactly the kind of thing he would do. And if he didn't he self-evidently was happy to propagate the fraud anyway. Either way he is 100% owner of the lie. All Yemen blood is on his hands as much as on anyone's. He's vile.

BTW although I voted No in the kangaroo plebiscite, I preferred Trump for the exact reasons we've seen: Although he's a standard corporate globalist-imperialist, his waywardness is unintentionally speeding the collapse of the empire, whereas even if Hillary didn't rush to provoke a nuclear stand-off in Syria the way she promised she would, she'd still be a more housebroken, reliable neoliberal cog, which is why most of the corporate sectors preferred her.

You also forgot that Sanders promised from day one that he would eventually support Hillary and do his best to deliver his supporters to her. That promise he kept. Standard Sanders sheep-dogging.

https://blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-sheepdog-4-hillary

Also topical:

https://www.blackagendareport.com/bernie_sanders_imperial_pig

Back in April of this year, on NBC’s Meet The Press, Sanders purposely mimicked The Godfather when asked what he would do to force the Russians “to the table” in Syria:

“I think you may want to make them an offer they can't refuse. And that means tightening the screws on them, dealing with sanctions, telling them that we need their help, they have got to come to the table and not maintain this horrific dictator.”

Posted by: Russ | Dec 19, 2018 1:06:10 PM | 66

Russ: Why not? She's right up his alley.... banality of evil.

What you're failing to take into account is that Gina Haspel is close to Brennan. She has been described as his protege. He urged her nomination and publicly supported her confirmation.

Brennan is one of the most strident in the anti-Trump camp. Why would Trump nominate some one that is so close to Brennan?

As to the rest, the election of Trump just doesn't pass the democratic smell test. The evil might be banal but the election was sensational. Seems that Hillary and her friends put on a good show.

Yeah, there is no smoking gun, but anyone that understands enough to be skeptical of the establishment/Deep State should see that the possibility of such a 'show' is very real and there numerous indicators that a show did occur.

Summary:

- USA elections are already 'rigged' by the influence of money, and past Presidents have had connections to CIA.

- USA needed a nationalist to confront geopolitical challenges

- Trump was the ONLY Republican populist (in a field of 19!)

- Hillary faced two old friends (Sanders was a 'sheepdog;)

- Hillary ran a terrible campaign, especially given her long experience

- British involvement

- Comey-MCabe-Brennan-Mueller: Deep-State cabal pulling the strings

- Trump nominates protege of his Deep-State opponent (nonsensical, unless ...)

- Flynn, Wikileaks, and Russia set-up during the course of the campaign

I think there is little question that all of these things occurred. It doesn't seem much of a stretch to see that it could have been planned.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19, 2018 1:15:54 PM | 67

@48 jackrabbit... thanks.. is there a possibility hillary had health problems which prevented her from doing what a healthy us presidential candidate might do? i think there is.. i agree with you - it is hard to prove much of any of this and we are left to speculate.. i just don't believe everything is worked out beforehand... accidents do happen and unforeseen events - minor or major - can alter the direction of something in an unforeseen way... i just don't believe there is enough data to state confidently hillary threw the election for trump... hillarys folly threw a lot of things, but there is a difference between folly and intent... i choose to believe it was her folly, not her intent, that created the circumstances which led to trumps win...

@circe... you might invest a slight more time in using the name, along with the post number of the person you want to address.. what happens at moa often, is 1 or 2 posts get held up in automoderation and it skews the numbers.. only putting a number without a name forces you to correct as you did @59... why not just add the name with the number to avoid that? also - i never know who you are addressing with the number, so i tend to ignore your comments with numbers and no name given to who you are addressing..

Posted by: james | Dec 19, 2018 3:42:58 PM | 68

Hm,..I am skeptical, a complete US troop withdrawal, no mention about the dozen or so US based recently constructed east of the Euphrates river, are contractors/mercenaries staying.? I ques we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by: Hannibal | Dec 19, 2018 4:39:24 PM | 69

james:

... is there a possibility hillary had health problems which prevented her from doing what a healthy us presidential candidate might do?
Hillary's "health problems" came as quickly and mysteriously as they went. Rumors swirled from about early August and magically multiplied until the 9-11 ceremony where she was caught on camera being lifted into a van. Hillary-lovers rejoiced, however, when she reappeared a couple of hours later, healthy and in good spirits. And she's been just fine ever since.

Nothing to see here!

Could it be that she was meant to exit the race due to "health issues"? Well, she didn't ... so we'd better not speculate about such fanciful matters. Including how a nobody eastern European was the only one to get video of her being lifted into the van. How fortuitous for him! Almost as amazing as how a nameless reporter happened to spot Bill Clinton at Phoenix airport having a secret rendez-vous with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Apparently one of the most recognizable and famous political personalities was just walking around the tarmac. He NEVER expected that he might be noticed.

i just don't believe everything is worked out beforehand... accidents do happen and unforeseen events - minor or major - can alter the direction of something in an unforeseen way... i just don't believe there is enough data to state confidently ... there is a difference between folly and intent...
Yes. You re right. Can't be certain. Better not to speculate about things that above our pay grade. There really is no reason to be skeptical of your betters. They are just ... better. We too stoopid to figure out what they're up to. Conspiracy theories are just the product of idle minds.

Which causes me to wonder why YOU or anyone believes the Syrian 'conspiracy theories'. There's no PROOF that countries conspired against Assad. Why are we so skeptical of the explanations given by our blessed leaders? Convoys of ISIS oil sent through Turkey - that was probably just smugglers. The Turkish government had nothing to do with it. Why not trust US officials when they say that their help for "moderate rebels" is just cause they care about the Syrian people? They are important and know a lot more than we do. And hey, shit happens! so let's not complain and spin fanciful tales and cast suspicion on the heros that lead us and sacrifice for us. If the White Helmets carry guns sometimes, surely that is just folly, not intent! Those who smear them are just jealous 'cause they won an Oscar. Wow how can people be so gullible and believe "conspiracy theories" about our selfless democratic leaders? They are the ones that keep us safe! Maybe governments should protect us against ourselves by manipulating the press?/sarc

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19, 2018 7:02:36 PM | 70

Correction: there was a a minor scare when Hillary slipped on some uneven stairs in India. It was played up waay more than warranted. For whatever reason, there seems to be a lot of fake concern about things like Hillary using a handrail when mounting stairs.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19, 2018 8:20:46 PM | 71

@70/71 jr... you are talking to the wrong guy if you think i follow along with authority figures or what anyone in a position of authority says... you or i are welcome to speculate til the cows come home... where you and i differ is in placing a degree of attachment to the speculation... as someone who has been involved in astrology for the past 40 years, i have done a far bit of speculation!! but part of speculating is drawing up any number of possible scenarios, and not being attached to only one of them, unless you have some great reason.. and even then one has to be careful..

your analogy is a very poor one and especially to run it by me, lol.... it sure looks like you are knocking down your own paper tigers here... have fun with that, but running it by me is quite a joke...

Posted by: james | Dec 19, 2018 9:32:45 PM | 72

james

I was illustrating a point.

There are actually quite a few people whose perspective is to not trust or distrust leadership. To be kinda neutral and "evidence driven".

To me the evidence is in: elites work together to advance their collective interests much more than they compete. We see this behavior in oligarchs, corporations, country clubs, bureaucracies, and nation-states.

As such, it's irresponsible not to speculate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19, 2018 10:37:31 PM | 73

jr - thanks.. i agree with you in all that...i just can't conclude in any convincing way, and i don't feel you have either - that clinton was a part of some grand plan to throw the election for trump...

on another note, i feel trump is not going to make it to the end of his term.. i suspect by next summer the jig will be up.. there is some speculation for you.. cheers

Posted by: james | Dec 19, 2018 10:40:14 PM | 74

Jackrabbit says:

We too stoopid to figure out what they're up to

speak for yourself, dude. i mean, all you need are vocal cords, after all. but if your conjecture gathers little or no traction over the years(like your blog, for example), chances are pretty good that your methodology is flawed…

...or that you're just another rather unpopular journalist looking for some human interest.

Posted by: john | Dec 20, 2018 6:12:34 AM | 75

john

We're too stoopid...
Did you see the /sarc tag?

"all you need are vocal cords"?
OK. Maybe a brain and a healthy dose of skepticism help too.

My conjecture about Trump as the establishment/Deep State choice is relatively new. I really started expressing that only a few months ago when I recalled that Kissinger had called for MAGA in 2014. Since then, we learned of:

> Kelly's reaction to Huma sharing a hug with Graham at McCain's funeral;

> Simon Bracey-Lane (of the Integrity Initiative) working with Sanders campaign;

> Facebook having given many firms access to its data (Cambridge Analytica was not special as we were led to believe);

> Christopher Steele's testimony that Hillary/DNC considered contesting the 2016 election if Trump won;

> My addition of the Gina Haspel nomination into the analysis.


I haven't updated my blog for a long time. I was one of the first to call Trump a faux populist like Obama. Many have now come around to a similar view.

I've also had a very skeptical view of Erdogan. I never bought the notion that he was "turning east".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20, 2018 7:35:13 AM | 76

james - Hilliary has stamina issues. She's out of shape. Yes, so is Trump but he was physically commanding enough to go the distance of the campaign while Hilliary's schedule was more into fundraising opportunties among the elites, many of them in private settings. Obviously, politically dumb and out of touch strategy that played into Hilliary's image problems.

Was she sick? Except for that famous bout of pneumonia not really, she's simply in need of strength training. Someone supposedly as sophisticated you think would have worked to eliminate that weakness beginning after 2008.

Of course, she also lacked personality projection and a message, both of which Trump regularly produces in spades, love him or loathe him. This was a one time deal only possible because Clinton was so bad. The conventional wisdom of Trump's re-election is laughable, imho. He will need to pull a coup to stay in office and out of jail post-2020. His chances of a successful coup are better than his re-election chances...unless Hillary manages to be his opponent again. Perish the thought.

Or Trump could turn to a solidly populist agenda which the midterms created an opening for him as the ultra right GOP now has zero power in the House to effect anything of consequence.

Maybe the Syria pullout hints at something of the sort? If he in fact follows through?

I know most everyone has already cynically dismissed AOC but she seems cut from a different cloth so far...although she cannot attain the presidency herself someone like her will emerge from the millenial generation at some point to become the first serious female candidate with a chance of winning.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 20, 2018 8:49:57 AM | 77

Jackrabbit

a brain and a healthy dose of skepticism can help, but they're hardly necessary. in fact, i contend that credible evidence can be found to support just about ANY point of view.

but insisting ad nauseum on the unverifiable is kinda tiresome.

...

i don't really know what it means to call Trump a populist, faux or otherwise. to me he's just a second rate mobster who happens to be president of the United States...and anything he gets right, he gets right for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by: john | Dec 20, 2018 9:09:19 AM | 78

@77 donkeytale... thanks.. what does AOC stand for?

@78 john... i agree with your last paragraph...

Posted by: james | Dec 20, 2018 11:16:31 AM | 79

Not sure this has been reported here:

Democratic operatives created fake Russian bots designed to link Kremlin to Roy Moore in Alabama race
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democratic-operatives-created-fake-russian-bots-in-alabama-race-designed-to-link-kremlin-to-republican-roy-moore

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 20, 2018 3:20:17 PM | 80

follow up, LOL READ THIS:

One participant in the project reportedly was Jonathon Morgan, the chief executive of New Knowledge, a firm that wrote a report – released by the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week – about Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election and its efforts to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 20, 2018 3:22:44 PM | 81

Hillary's goal was to promote Trump as the weaker candidate thinking he would hang himself. That is why Trump received massive amounts of free airtime in the major media outlets in the election run up. Far more than Hillary with her "rope a dope strategy" or anyone else for that matter.

Hillary drank her own Koolaid she had been selling the public for decades. Also, too much BS piled up over the decades prior, 911, the mortgage crisis, the dot com fiasco, sending good paying jobs overseas to slave labor factories, Iraq, and the general destruction of the Mideast. There is more...

She was a poor choice that could have beat Trump if they played their cards right.

Russia hysteria proves how easily a populace can be directed into believing anything in their appeal to an authority. Even if the recognized authority is full of it.

Posted by: dltravers | Dec 21, 2018 1:45:59 AM | 82

The stupid. It burns.

Russian operatives were promoting sex toys on Instagram to sow discord in the US

Posted by: b | Dec 21, 2018 2:50:11 PM | 83

@ b # 83 with the link about sex toys....LOL!!!!!


You know b, sex is a gateway drug.....grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 21, 2018 4:40:12 PM | 84

@83 b... i regret i clicked the site to give them additional ad revenue numbers!

Posted by: james | Dec 21, 2018 5:26:23 PM | 85

Jonathon Morgan was also one of the developers of Hamilton 68, the Twitter monitoring service that did the last news burst of Russian troll tracking. H68 is a project of Alliance for Securing Democracy, which is run by HRC campaign foreign policy advisor Laura Rosenberger with another Hillary for America advisor, Jake Sullivan on it's board, under the umbrella of the German Marshall fund.

In the report for the senate itself expenditure is always listed in roubles. If you convert to USD (divide by 67), some of the numbers are risible. They highlight a campaign targeting coal miners, but when you do the conversion, the ad spend was only $13. So it's clearly a report written with a particular effect in mind with large amounts of anecdote used to mask some pretty weak numbers, that point to IRA being an online marketing agency that created accounts to get followers that it could target for adveritisers. It's not uncommon in the wild west of internet marketing. It might have been Russia, but barely a mosquito bite of effort.

Posted by: Tess Ting | Dec 23, 2018 4:44:38 AM | 86

maybe next time they can spend a few million on felons and undocumented mexicans.
five nights at freddy's

Posted by: Mark Nelson | Jan 16, 2019 8:58:21 PM | 87

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