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Democrats are the McCarthyites

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | February 6, 2019

The unceasing torrent of Russiagate lies turns Democrats into war hawks and causes liberals to spout nonsense that was once consigned to the fringe right wing. It’s worse than the old McCarthyism.

A recent poll indicated that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to hold pro-war views. That revelation is hardly surprising considering the degree to which their party has promoted the trope of Donald Trump as a Russian government asset. This strategy is a focal point for them and a weapon to be used against the Republicans instead of the political opposition their voters need.

The ongoing investigation popularly known as Russiagate is a cynical hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party leadership and their friends in corporate media. Russiagate distracts the public from taking a hard look at the Democratic Party corruption and resulting missteps that put Donald Trump in the White House. It also serves the interests of the bi-partisan surveillance state, which feared that Trump pronouncements indicated fundamental changes in foreign policy which they could not abide.

These allegations have Trump on the ropes, but mostly because of the relentless repetition of lies about the investigation. The litany of indictments paraded by the media involve crimes like tax fraud and payments to porn stars. None of the indictments point to collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Because no such connections have been made the media continue whipping up hysteria in an effort to keep the tale alive. The campaign is more shrill than ever because the hollowness of the case is clear to anyone who is really paying attention.

Comparisons have been made with McCarthyite “Red Scare” of the 1950s. But it can be argued that Russiagate is even worse. Bizarre assertions that were once consigned to the fringe right wing are now repeated on a daily basis by influential corporate media personalities and nearly all Democratic Party politicians.

The most prolific Russiagate practitioner is Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. She has ridden that horse so successfully that she now has the highest rated program on cable news. But she may have reached a moment which prompted the famous question asked at the army/McCarthy hearings. “At long last have you no sense of decency?”

Her assertion that Russia might be able to hack into the power grid and freeze Americans to death is quite dangerous . “What would you do if you lost heat indefinitely as the act of a foreign power on the same day that the temperature in your front yard matched the temperature in Antarctica? I mean, what would you and your family do?” It doesn’t matter that experts declared that the claim was highly improbable if not impossible. There is now no depth that cannot be reached in the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful.

Prestigious newspapers like the New York Times are equally guilty of passing off lies as the truth. The Times reported that Trump and his associates had more than 100 interactions with Russians before inauguration day in 2017. But the story falls apart on even cursory inspection. The Times includes unproven claims of contacts with Wikileaks when it isn’t even a Russian organization. Roger Stone is the latest to be indicted because of his own stupidity, having claimed contacts with Wikileaks that never even took place.

But even as the case for collusion falls apart, the McCarthyite media find new ways to keep the narrative running. Russian press coverage of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign is called a “campaign of support” for her candidacy. NBC called Russian reporting the “propaganda machine.” The real issue is that Gabbard dares to question U.S. foreign policy dictates. She met with Syrian president Assad and opposes the coup attempt against Venezuela. But stopping such heretical acts from taking place is a central feature of the Russiagate scare.

So insane is the conspiracy mongering that clear damage to Russian government aspirations are called “wins for Putin.” The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 30-year old INF missile treaty is not something that Vladimir Putin would ever want. The decades long effort to limit nuclear proliferation gives both countries security knowing that the other is restricted in the number and placements of nuclear weapons. Yet this very obvious reality is now turned on its head, and truth is twisted and disappeared.

The worst possible outcome of Russiagate is that it increases the likelihood of armed conflict between the United States and Russia. The same people who see MSNBC, CNN and national newspapers as divine oracles can be led to support any government act, no matter how dangerous it may be. Liberals who might once have opposed a hot war would now be the first to support it.

The Russiagate pimps are stoking fear and hatred. They spread outright lies and ignorance and they are doing so because of base motives. The Democratic Party rank and file ought to be demanding answers about the 2016 defeat and the previous loss of 900 legislative seats around the country. But they have been so badly misled that they don’t know that they should be asking anything at all. Even people who call themselves progressives are worshipping prosecutorial excess from the Robert Mueller investigation team and applauding surveillance state killers bloviating on cable news programs.

McCarthyism is back and it is being led by liberals. The entire world is endangered because of their leaders’ lies and cover ups and their determination to follow blindly. The outcome will be continued political defeat at home and an increased likelihood of what was once unimaginable, war between two nuclear powers.

Margaret Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Fake news’ is okay if it’s about #RussiaGate: Top 7 fake ‘collusion’ stories the media pushed

RT | January 21, 2019

BuzzFeed’s ‘bombshell’ claim last week that Donald Trump told ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to congress is just the latest in a long line of ‘Russiagate’ stories that have later turned out to be false.

But BuzzFeed’s rubbished article is part of a phenomenon of what could be termed ‘acceptable fake news’ — fake news that gets a pass from the media because it serves a certain narrative. In this case, it furthers the ‘Russiagate’ narrative, which the mainstream media has been pushing breathlessly for two years. Lacking hard proof that Trump ‘colluded’ with Russia to win the 2016 election, they have clung to any shred of fake evidence they can find.

Last week, one astute Twitter user compiled a list of a whopping 42 Russiagate stories which were billed as bombshells but which ended up needing to be retracted or corrected. Here are seven of the most scandalous instances.

1. MSNBC pushed line that WikiLeaks released ‘fake’ Clinton emails

When WikiLeaks published the emails belonging to Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta in 2016, MSNBC sought to actively encourage its viewers to believe the emails were doctored by Russia.

They based that spurious claim on the fact that a fake transcript of a Clinton speech to Goldman Sachs was drifting around Twitter. The fake transcript had not been published by WikiLeaks, however. Rather, it was the creation of a pro-Clinton troll who had intended to trick Trump supporters into believing it was real so he could later embarrass them for their gullibility. MSNBC reporters who used the fake Twitter transcript to tarnish WikiLeaks’ authentic documents never corrected their false claims.

2. WaPo claims Russia ‘hacked’ the Vermont power grid

In one of the most infamous cases of a botched Russia-related story, the Washington Post claimed that Russia had hacked the Vermont power grid. In its zeal to deliver bombshell proof that Russia was attempting to attack the US, the Post reporters didn’t even bother to contact the utility company which could have told them that there had been no hacking or penetration of the power grid at all. The Post admitted later in an editor’s note that the story was fake.

3. CNN fires three journalists over botched story

It’s not often journalists who publish fake Russia-related ‘bombshells’ face real consequences, but last June, three CNN journalists, including the executive editor of a shiny new ‘investigative’ branch had to resign following the retraction of a false story which claimed Congress was investigating a Russian investment fund “with ties” to Trump’s team. The story quoted a single anonymous source and CNN later admitted that its reporters failed to follow “some standard editorial procedures” before publishing it.

4. Oops? CNN gets date on email wrong, causes mass panic

In a rush to prove that the Trump campaign had advance knowledge of and access to hacked DNC emails published by WikiLeaks, CNN (again) got the date of an email wrong. CNN claimed “multiple” sources had told them the email about the documents had been sent to the Trump campaign on September 4, but in reality, it had been sent on September 14 — a day after the WikiLeaks documents were made public — not, as CNN had claimed, nine days before.

5. ABC’s dud on Michael Flynn and ‘contact’ with Russians

Veteran ABC journalist Brian Ross was suspended after reporting last December that Trump had ordered former adviser Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials during the presidential campaign. It turned out, Trump had made this request of Flynn after he had won the election — not an unusual request for someone about to become the president of the US. Ross left ABC for good a while later after a career littered with embarrassing reporting blunders.

6. Russian supersonic tech or…crickets?

MSNBC reported last year that Russia was likely responsible for a supersonic attack on US diplomats stationed in the Cuba embassy. One ‘expert’ appeared on the channel stating that possible Russian “sophisticated microwaves” targeted the diplomats, while a reporter claimed Russian guilt had been “backed up” by interceptions of Russian communications. Meanwhile, intelligence sources told the New Yorker that no such evidence existed. When the Associated Press later released an audio recording, two US scientists deciphered that the sounds the diplomats had heard were more than likely the sounds of a species of Caribbean crickets during mating season.

7. Guardian claims Manafort had ‘secret meetings’ with Assange

WikiLeaks raised more than $55,000 in donations to sue the Guardian after the British newspaper published a story alleging (without corroborated evidence) that Julian Assange had held secret meetings with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Assange has been living since 2012. The story which WikiLeaks claims is completely false — and which has also been questioned by other journalists — was written by Luke Harding, a Guardian reporter who has been accused before of fabricating stories and who went AWOL after the report was received with serious skepticism.

Unfortunately, the regularity with which these Russiagate stories have turned out to fake still hasn’t raised any red flags with establishment journalists, who seem more eager to bolster a narrative than to uncover actual facts.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Brain-frying Microwave Technology UNMASKED!!! – #PropagandaWatch

corbettreport | January 16, 2019

Watch this video on BitChute / BitTube / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4

Remember how the conspiracy peddlers in the mainstream press freaked out over the super secret Russian microwave technology that was frying diplomats brains in Cuba. Well, it turns out that was just a tad exaggerated. So what was the real culprit? Find out in this week’s edition of #PropagandaWatch.

SHOW NOTES:
Dangerous sound? What Americans heard in Cuba attacks

Russia Believed To Be Main Suspect In Attack On U S Diplomats Velshi Ruhle MSNBC

Russia Suspected In ‘Sonic Attacks’ But How Involved Was Cuban Government Andrea Mitchell MSNBC

U.S. Officials Suspect Russia In Mystery Medical Attacks On Diplomats In Cuba | NBC Nightly News

The Mystery of the Havana Syndrome

Cory Gardner Renews Call for Russia to Be Declared Sponsor of Terrorism After Reports on Sonic Attacks

Recording of “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba spectrally matches the echoing call of a Caribbean cricket

Indies short-tailed cricket

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 2 Comments

Mueller Withheld “Details That Would Exonerate The President” Of Having Kremlin Backchannel

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | December 3, 2018

It appears that special counsel Robert Mueller withheld key information in its plea deal with Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, which would exonerate Trump and undermine the entire purpose of the special counsel, according to Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations.

Cohen pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Senate intelligence committee in 2017 about the Trump Organization’s plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow – telling them under oath that negotiations he was conducting ended five months sooner than they actually did.

Mueller, however, in his nine-page charging document filed with the court seen by Capitol Hill sources, failed to include the fact that Cohen had no direct contacts at the Kremlin – which undercuts any notion that the Trump campaign had a “backchannel” to Putin.

On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel’s collusion case.RCI

Page 2 of the same charging document offers further evidence that there was no connection between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin; an August 2017 letter from Cohn to the Senate intelligence committee states that Trump “was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me,” an assertion which Mueller does not contest as false – which means that “prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources” and found it to be truthful, according to Sperry’s sources. Also unchallenged by Mueller is Cohen’s statement that he “ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”

“Though Cohen may have lied to Congress about the dates,” one Hill investigator said, “it’s clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign. There was no secret ‘back channel.’”

“So as far as collusion goes,” the source added, “the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign.” –RCI

The Trump Tower Moscow meeting – spearheaded by New York real estate developer and longtime FBI and CIA asset, Felix Sater, bears a passing resemblance to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian attorney (who hated Trump), and which was set up by a British concert promotor tied to Fusion GPS – the firm Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid to write the salacious and unverified “Trump-Russia Dossier.”

British concert promotor and Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone

“Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier” –Washington Post

In both the Trump Tower meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations, it is clear that nobody in the Trump campaign had any sort of special access to the Kremlin, while Cohen’s emails and text messages reveal that he failed to establish contact with Putin’s spokesman. He did, however, reach a desk secretary in the spokesman’s office.

What’s more, it was Sater – a Russian immigrant with a dubious past who was representing the Bayrock Group (and not the Trump Organization), who cooked up the Moscow Trump Tower project in 2015 – suggesting that Trump would license his name to the project and share in the profits, but not actually commit capital or build the project.

Felix Sater, FBI and CIA asset, real estate developer, ex-con

Sater went from a “Wall Street wunderkind” working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia – where the FBI and CIA tapped him as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler “I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head.”

The Moscow project, meanwhile, fizzled because Sater didn’t have the pull within the Russian government he said he had. At best, Sater had a third-hand connection to Putin which never panned out.

Sources say Sater, whom Cohen described as a “salesman,” testified to the House intelligence panel in late 2017 that his communications with Cohen about putting Trump and Putin on a stage for a “ribbon-cutting” for a Trump Tower in Moscow were “mere puffery” to try to promote the project and get it off the ground.

Also according to his still-undisclosed testimony, Sater swore none of those communications involved taking any action to influence the 2016 presidential election. None of the emails and texts between Sater and Cohen mention Russian plans or efforts to hack Democrats’ campaign emails or influence the election. –RCI

As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch noted of Mueller’s strategy: “”Mueller seems desperate to confuse Americans by conflating the cancelled and legitimate Russia business venture with the Russia collusion theory he was actually hired to investigate,” said Fitton. “This is a transparent attempt to try to embarrass the president.”

The MSM took the ball and ran with it anyway

CNN, meanwhile, said that Cohen’s charging documents suggest Trump had a working relationship with Putin, who “had leverage over Trump” due to the project.

“Well into the 2016 campaign, one of the president’s closest associates was in touch with the Kremlin on this project, as we now know, and Michael Cohen says he was lying about it to protect the president,” said CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer.

Jeffrey Toobin – CNN‘s legal analyst, said the Cohen revelations were so “enormous” that Trump “might not finish his term,” while MSNBC pundits said that the court papers prove “Trump secretly interacted with Putin’s own office.”

“Now we have evidence that there was direct communication between the Trump Organization and Putin’s office on this. I mean, this is collusion,” said Mother Jones‘s David Corn.

Adam Schiff, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, said Trump was dealing directly with Putin on real estate ventures, and Democrats will investigate whether Russians laundered money through the Trump Organization. –RCI

As Sperry of RealClearInvestigations points out, however, “former federal prosecutors said Mueller’s filing does not remotely incriminate the president in purported Russia collusion. It doesn’t even imply he directed Cohen to lie to Congress.

“It doesn’t implicate President Trump in any way,” said former independent counsel Solomon L. Wisenberg. “The reality is, this is a nothing-burger.”

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Fears Russia May Be Behind Bomb Scare

Sputnik – 26.10.2018

The FBI and other agencies are continuing to hunt for the person or people responsible for shipping a number of explosive devices to prominent Democrats beginning with billionaire financier George Soros on Monday and most recently Hollywood actor Robert De Niro on Thursday.

As should be expected, while the FBI and other authorities conduct their investigation, the mainstream US press is also hunting down clues, pondering motives, talking to experts and analyzing the facts in an effort to make sense of the chaos.

Some in the mainstream media, however, really just seem to be throwing things out there and seeing what sticks to the wall. The host of MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, who is also the political director for NBC News, is one commentator engaging in breathless guesswork to a national audience.

Who is the culprit, according to Todd? Is it a lone wolf, driven crazy by the political rhetoric of the past two years, or the “#MAGAbomber” as Twitter has theorized? Perhaps it’s a Democratic voter disgruntled by the direction of the party.

If you thought those things, you’ve probably learned nothing over the past couple of years, because Todd did not make any of those conjectures. Instead, he pointed the finger at Russia — like any good liberal media newsman would.

“This feels like a spot — I have this fear this could be some Russian operation too — designed to do what’s happening now. More of this — you know. In some ways, we shouldn’t rule out — it is dividing us,” Todd said during a panel on the bombing attempts.

Senior MSNBC Political Editor Beth Fouhy, Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter and prominent commentator John Podhoretz joined Todd for the discussion.

The anchor began the segment by playing a clip of US President Donald Trump calling on political leaders on Wednesday night to stop portraying their opponents as “morally defective.” Trump blamed the media for “anger” in American society on Thursday.

Perhaps ironically, Todd’s fearful remarks about the lengths Russia will go to in order to spread discord followed a discussion of the “big lie.”

Alter spoke about a propaganda technique called the “big lie,” popularized by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels in 1941 when he said, “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big and stick to it.” The term has since come to mean that effective lies are so “colossal” that nobody could believe that the person who told the lie “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously,” in Hitler’s words.

“You just tell a lie as big as you can, because you know a lot of people are gonna believe it,” Alter said before Todd floated the “Russian operation” theory.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Meet James Corbett, Political Extremist!!! #PropagandaWatch

corbettreport | September 25, 2018

Imagine you’re a high school student doing a homework assignment on the Federal Reserve. You go to YouTube and type in “Federal Reserve” in the search bar and find “Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve.”

The horror!

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that, because now that MSNBC and Mother Jones have ganged up, it’s being scrubbed from the search results! Welcome to the world of soft censorship, folks!

SHOW NOTES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=28238

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Be Careful What You Ask For: Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | August 23, 2018

So, Paul Manafort, described by the New York Times as “a longtime lobbyist and political consultant who worked for multiple Republican candidates and presidents,” was convicted of bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to report a foreign bank account. And Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, pled guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud (making false statements to obtain loans), and breaking campaign finance laws by paying off two women who claimed to have had sexual affairs with Trump. Because Cohen says those payoffs were made at Trump’s direction, that is the one charge that directly implicates Trump.

On the basis of the these results, the NYT editorial board insists: “Only a complete fantasist … could continue to claim that this investigation of foreign subversion of an American election, which has already yielded dozens of other indictments and several guilty pleas, is a ‘hoax’ or ‘scam’ or ‘rigged witch hunt.’” Democrats concur, saying the results “put the lie to Mr. Trump’s argument that Mr. Mueller was engaged in a political investigation.”

But these crimes are tax fraud, money laundering, and credit app padding that have nothing to do with Donald Trump, and campaign-finance violations related to what a critic of Trump aptly describes as “a classic B-team type of bumbling screw-up of covering up mistresses.” I question the level of word play, if not fantasizing, necessary to claim that these crimes validate “this investigation of foreign subversion.” None of them has anything to do with that. The perils of this, that, these, and those.

Do these results disprove that the Mueller probe is “a political investigation”? I think they imply quite the opposite, and quite obviously so.

Why? Because these convictions would not have occurred if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. There would be no convictions because there would have been no investigation.

If Hillary had been elected, all the crimes of Manafort and Cohen—certainly those that took place over many years before the election, but even, I think, those having to do with campaign contributions and mistress cover-ups—would never have been investigated, because all would have been considered right with the political world.

The Manafort and Cohen crimes would have been ignored as the standard tactics of the elite financial grifting—as well as of parasitism on, and payoffs by, political campaigns—that they are. Indeed, there would have been no emergency, save-our-democracy-from-Russian-collaboration, Special Counsel investigation, from which these irrelevant charges were spun off, at all.

The kinds of antics Manafort and Cohen have been prosecuted for went unnoticed when Donald Trump was a donor to the Democratic and Republican parties, and if he had stayed in his Tower doling out campaign contributions, they still would be. It’s only because he foolishly won the Presidency against the wishes of the dominant sectors of the ruling class that those antics became the target of prosecutorial investigation. Lesson to Donald: Be careful what you wish for.

If Trump weren’t such an idiot, he probably would have realized that this is what happens when you run for president without prior authorization from the ruling classes, and win. #ManafortTrial #MichaelCohen #Trump pic.twitter.com/tyrpuLHRNT

— Consent Factory (@consent_factory) August 21, 2018

What the NYT calls “a culture of graft as well as corruption” that “suffused” the Trump campaign is part and parcel of a culture of politico-capitalist corruption that suffuses American electoral politics in general. Manafort, who has indeed been “a longtime lobbyist and political consultant,” is only one in a long, bipartisan line that “enrich [themselves] by working for some of the world’s most notorious thugs and autocrats.”

Have you heard of the Podestas? The Clinton Foundation? Besides, the economic purpose of American electoral politics is to funnel millions to consultants and the media. Campaign finance law violations? We’ll see how the lawsuit over $84 million worth of funds allegedly transferred illegally from state party contributions to the Clinton campaign works out. Does the media report, does anybody know or care, about it? Will anybody ever go to prison over it?

The Republicans and Democrats would just as soon leave this entire culture of graft and corruption undisturbed by the prosecutorial apparatus of the state. That kind of thing can get out of hand. Only because the election of Donald Trump was a mistake from the establishment point of view has that apparatus been sicced on him. The frantic search, anywhere and everywhere, for some legal charges that can stick to Trump is driven by a burning desire to get something on Donald Trump that will fatally wound him politically, and serve as “objective” grounds for impeachment or resignation.

So, it’s my contention that, without the political opposition to Donald Trump as president, none of this legal prosecution would be taking place. The convictions of Manafort and Cohen don’t put a lie to the idea that the Mueller investigation is political; they are an effect of the fact that it is.

At any rate, there can be no doubt that the Manafort and Cohen convictions have upped the political ante for everybody. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (second wealthiest Senator; net worth ~ $80 million) has now invoked the dreaded word, from which it’s hard to retreat: “We’re in a Watergate moment.”

Yup, the anti-Trump establishment, led by the Democrats, has now succeeded, via a legal ground game, in moving the ball into the political red zone where impeachment talk is unavoidable. But going forward from here, the plays and paths available are very dangerous to the establishment and the Democrats themselves, and the whole game is getting to the point where it can—indeed, almost inevitably will—seriously disrupt the system they want to protect.

First of all, the Democrats will now face increasing demands for impeachment from the impassioned members of their base whom they have riled up to see Trump as the epitome of the Putin-Nazi evil that threatens “our democracy.” If the Democrats insist these convictions are not just matters of financial hijinx, irrelevant to Mueller’s “Russia collusion” investigation, and irrelevant in fact to anything of political substance; if they assert that the payoffs to Stormy and Karen (the only acts directly involving Trump) disqualify Trump for the presidency, then they will have no excuse but to call for Trump’s impeachment, and act to make it happen. Their base will demand that Democratic candidates run on that promise, and if the Democrats re-take the House, that they begin impeachment proceedings immediately.

So, if, after all the “only a complete fantasist” talk, the Democrats don’t act to impeach Trump, they will further alienate their base, and drive more liberals and progressives to withhold their votes, if not abandon the party altogether. And evil Putin-Nazi Trump will be strengthened.

If they try to impeach and fail (which is likely), well, then, as happened to the Republicans with Clinton, they will just look stupid, and will be punished for having wasted the nation’s political time and energy foolishly. And Trump will be strengthened.

If they were to impeach, convict, and remove Trump (even by forcing a resignation), a large swath of the population would conclude, correctly, that a ginned-up litigation had been used to overturn the result of the 2016 election, that the Democrats had gotten away with what the Republicans couldn’t in 1998-9. That swath of the population would likely withdraw completely from electoral politics, leaving all their problems and resentments intact—hidden for a while, but sure to erupt in some other ways. It would deeply undermine any notion that the political system holds the confidence of the people, and intensify division, disruption, and the sense of incipient civil war in the country more than any number of Russian Facebook posts.

Furthermore, if the Democrats were successful in removing Trump, their own base would be confronted with the terrible beauty of the Pence presidency to which they had given birth. After such a fight, Pence, who is a much more serious, organized, and ideologically-coherent religious proto-fascist than Trump, will benefit from the inevitable propensity of Democrats to calm things down and protect the stability of the system. Progressive Democrats will find, again, that the two-party system has produced no good result. In other words, the result of a successful impeachment effort might very well be more disaffection from “our democracy” by Democrats.

In short, through a process of litigation and prosecution, the Democrats are getting what they asked for: The field of political discourse and action will now increasingly center on the possibility of removing or impeaching the president. Given their construction of the Manafort-Cohen verdicts, they must move forward on that, or they will be perceived as weak and back-pedaling, and Trump will be strengthened. But if they do move forward, that will initiate a political battle that will tear the country apart and end up either with their defeat or the victory of Mike Pence.

Of course, the Democratic leadership knows all this. Which is why they have always said they do not want to push for impeachment or removal, and probably will not. They also know—and they know that Trump’s supporters know—that a campaign-law violation has no more political substance than Bill Clinton’s perjury. They know that they are not likely to win that fight in the Senate. They know the can of worms they are opening with charges that could be levied against most rich politicians. And, most importantly, they know the fight they will have to wage will be intensely divisive and will deeply undermine confidence in the political system, however it ends up.

The Democrats much prefer to have Trump in office to kick around politically. The most likely scenario is that they will make a cloakroom agreement with Republicans not to go too far, while they continue to whip up Trump-Putin “Russiagate” fever among their constituency. They will continue to stoke anticipation of a smoking “collusion” gun from Mueller, which will probably never come. The Democrats are not really after impeaching Trump; they are after stringing along their progressive voters.

In the meantime, the delightful Trump-effect—his constant embarrassment of American political self-righteousness and discomfiting of both political parties—will continue apace.

By the way, for those who think that Manafort’s conviction portends a smoking gun, based on his work for “pro-Kremlin Viktor Yanukovych,” as the NYT and other liberals persistently call him, I would suggest looking at this Twitter thread by Aaron Maté. It’s a brilliant shredding of Rachel Maddow’s (and, to a lesser extent, Chris Hayes’s) version of the deceptive implication—presented as an indisputable fact—that Manafort’s work for Yanukovych is proof that he (and by extension, Trump) was working for Putin. As Maté shows, that is actually indisputably false. Manafort was working hard to turn Yanukovych away from Russia to the EU and the West, and the evidence of that is abundant and easily available. It was given in the trial, though you’d never know that from reading the NYT or listening to MSNBC. As a former Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “If it weren’t for Paul, Ukraine would have gone under Russia much earlier. He was the one dragging Yanukovich to the West.” And the Democrats know this.

And if you think Cohen is harboring secret knowledge of Trump-Russia collusion that he’s going to turn over to Mueller, take look at Maté’s thread on that.

We are now entering a new period of intense political maneuvering that’s the latest turning point in the bizarre and flimsy “Russiagate” narrative. I’ve been asked to comment on that a number of times over the past two years, and each time I or one of my fellow commentators would say, “Why are we still talking about this?” It was originally conjured up as a Clinton campaign attack on Trump, but, to my and many others’ surprise and chagrin, it somehow morphed into the central theme of political opposition to Trump’s presidency.

Donald Trump is a horrid political specimen. I witnessed his flourishing into apex narcissism and corruption over decades in New York City, as chronicled by the dogged reporter, Wayne Barrett, and I would be surprised if there weren’t financial crimes in his closet that any competent prosecutor could ferret out. Anyone who knows his history knows that this is the kind of dirt the Mueller investigation was most likely to find on Donald Trump; anyone who’s honest knows that this is the kind of dirt it was meant to find. Russiagate was a pretext to dig around everywhere in his closet. Trump was clueless about the trap he was setting for himself, and has been relentlessly foolish in dealing with it. It is a witch hunt, and he’s riding around on his broom, skywriting self-incriminating tweets.

There are a thousand reasons to criticize Donald Trump—his racism, his stupidity, his infantile narcissism, his full embrace of Zionist colonialism with its demand to attack Iran, his enactment of Republican social and economic policies that are destroying working-class lives, etc. That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them. His election was a symptom of deep pathologies of American political culture that we must address, including the failure of the “liberal” party and of the two-party system itself. That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. There are a number of very good justifications for seeking his impeachment, starting with the clear constitutional crime of launching a military attack on another country without congressional authorization. That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party and its allied media do not want to center the fight on these substantive political issues. Instead, they are centering on this barrage of Russiagate litigation—none of which yet proves, or even charges, Russian “collusion”—which they are using as a substitute for politics. And, in place of opposition, they’re substituting uncritical loyalty to the heroes of the military-intelligence complex and “our democracy” that only a complete fantasist could stomach. I mean, when you get to the point that you’re suspecting John Bolton’s “ties to Russia”….

Now, with the Manafort and Cohen convictions, the Russiagate discourse is moving to a new stage, and it’s unlikely that we will ever stop talking about it, as long as Trump is president. Nothing good can come of it.

Our country is in, and on the verge of, multiple crises that threaten to destroy it. That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. Political time is precious.

What a waste.

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , , | 2 Comments

MSNBC’s top ‘Russia expert’ thinks Putin was KGB director

RT | August 6, 2018

MSNBC’s resident ‘Russia expert’ has demonstrated the depth of his knowledge by falsely referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a former director of the KGB.”

Speaking to host Bill Maher on Friday, Malcolm Nance unleashed a host of wacky ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theories – President Trump was convinced to run for president by Russia’s top oligarchs; Trump and Putin have a plan to steal the 2020 election “already hashed out;” and the terrible twosome used their recent Helsinki summit to plot the division of the Western world between them.

Nance, a 20-year Navy veteran cryptologist and private intelligence consultant, went on to call Vladimir Putin “a former director of the KGB.”

While Putin was briefly appointed to head the KGB’s successor agency, the FSB, in 1997, he was a mid-level KGB officer before entering politics. Working in communist East Germany from 1985 to 1990, Putin eventually resigned from the agency as communist hardliners launched a coup d’etat attempt against President Gorbachev in 1991, with Putin siding with the reformist leader.

At no point in his career did Putin lead or come close to leading the KGB.

Putin’s brief stint in charge of the FSB could have caused the mix-up, and Nance would be forgiven for the mistake, except he describes himself as an expert on all things Russian, and regularly appears on MSNBC to push the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. He’s even written two books about it: ‘The Plot to Hack America,’ and most recently ‘The Plot to Destroy Democracy,’ a New York Times bestseller.

In ‘The Plot to Destroy Democracy’ – published two weeks before Trump’s much-criticized meeting with Putin – Nance connects a web of unrelated dots to make the claim that Putin and Trump are conspiring to create an “Axis of Autocracy,” all with no hard evidence. Publishers Weekly called the book “an unconvincing exaggeration of genuine misconduct into cartoonish supervillainy.”

With US mainstream media pushing Russia-hate around the clock since Trump’s election, it’s no wonder that Nance’s conspiracy-mongering and “cartoonish supervillainy” landed him in front of the camera on one of the nation’s most virulently anti-Trump networks.

The fact that his original areas of expertise are related to the Middle East and terrorism, as journalist Max Blumenthal pointed out, matters little. What does matter is that Nance can leverage his military experience to lend a sheen of credibility to the ‘Russiagate’ story.

With mainstream news media making all kinds of outlandish claims – that Russians write Trump’s tweets; Trump has been a KGB agent since 1987; Kanye West is a Kremlin operative – Nance has found himself a lucrative niche. With his career depending on hysteria, why let the facts get in the way of a good soundbite?

August 6, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 02.08.2018

President Donald Trump is threatening to take away the security clearances of a number of former senior intelligence and security officers who have been extremely critical of him. Most Americans were unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

A security clearance is granted to a person but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know anything about China’s spying on the United States. Or do you? If you transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

At top levels among the beltway bandit companies, where little work is actually done, some make the case that you have to remain “well informed” to function properly. The fact is that many top-level bureaucrats do retain their clearances for those nebulous reasons and also sometimes as a courtesy. Some have even received regular briefings from the CIA and the office of the Director of National intelligence even though they hold no government positions. A few very senior ex-officials have also been recalled by congress or the White House to provide testimony on particular areas of expertise or on past operations, which can legitimately require a clearance, though in such cases one can be granted on a temporary basis to cover a specific issue.

The problem arises when former officials use their clearances as bona fides to enhance their marketability for non-clearance jobs in the media or corporate world, particularly when those individuals are criticizing current government policies and behaving in a partisan fashion regarding specific candidates for office. Donald Trump was especially assailed by former officials John Brennan, James Clapper, Michael Hayden and Michael Morell before the 2016 election, all of whom continue to attack him currently, most particularly for the recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the 2016 campaign, Morell, who openly supported Hillary Clinton and is the designated intelligence on-air contributor for CBS news, deliberately linked the fact that he was ex-CIA Acting Director to his assertion that Trump was somehow an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation” to establish his credibility. That type of activity should be considered abusive and an exploitation of one’s former office.

Morell left CIA in June 2013 and by November was a senior counselor with Beacon Global Strategies. According to the firm’s website, Beacon Global Strategies is a government and private sector consulting group that specializes in matters of international policy, foreign affairs, national defense, cyber, intelligence, and homeland security. Morell may know little about those issues as they have evolved in the past five years, but citing his clearance gives him credibility for knowledge that he might not really possess and also gives him direct access to former colleagues that he can lobby to obtain government contracts.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, who famously voted for the Communist Party candidate for US president in 1976, has also profited greatly from his government service, becoming rich from his board memberships. He sits on the board of directors of SecureAuth + CORE Security and also on the board of The Analysis Corporation. More important in terms of his public profile, he is the “Intelligence Consultant” for NBC News and MSNBC and appears regularly.

Last week Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and recommended that Brennan’s security clearance be revoked. He argued that Brennan, Trump’s most aggressive critic, has been using his credentials to provide credibility when he calls meeting with Russia’s president “treasonous” and describes the president as “wholly in the pocket of Putin.” Clearance holders also more generally use their privileged access to “secret information” to leverage speaking and television network pundit fees. In other words, Brennan and the others are using their security clearances to enhance their incomes, monetizing their access to classified information to enhance their value.

It is by no means clear whether Trump will revoke the clearances of Clapper, Brennan, Morell and Hayden. As he is the legal source of all government clearances he has the power to do so. An equitable solution on the clearance issue more generally speaking would be to cancel all security clearances on the day when one leaves government service unless there is a direct and immediate transition to a private sector position that absolutely requires such a qualification. That would be fair to lower level employees seeking a second source of income and it would also eliminate many of those who are merely cashing in on their presumed access. As it is a rational solution it is very unlikely that it will be entertained by either the White House or by Congress.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Support Russia Today (and So Should You)

By Dennis Morgan | CounterPunch | May 14, 2018

In the age of globalization during the last quarter of the 20thcentury, the English language achieved global hegemony as the “lingua franca” for international communication. It is no small coincidence that during this same time, after the end of the Cold War, the US rose as the sole and dominant superpower with stated aims to achieve global hegemony.  Just as English was the language of the British Empire, so English retained its imperial role when the US Empire succeeded that of the British. And as has been said of language, the power to control language is the power to control minds.

As a result, a number of countries realized that if they wanted to have a say in global affairs, they were going to have to be able to say it in English. In other words, unless they were happy with the embedded worldviews in the news narratives of CNN and the BBC and preferred no voice of their own, then they were going to have to create their own international broadcasts in English. Moreover, since the Internet revolutionized communications during this same time period, it became much easier to broadcast and thus imperative for countries to project their own perspectives on global affairs and engage in international discourse on issues that concerned them. Hence, at the end of the 20thcentury and particularly during the beginning of the 21stcentury, English news broadcasts sprang up from around the world to compete with established news organizations.

So, that’s the backdrop and context for the grand entrance of the state-sponsored broadcast station, Russia Today (RT), onto the global media arena in 2005. When Margarita Simonyan was appointed editor-in-chief (at the age of 25), she stated that RT would provide the same professionalism of mainstream international news channels but would “reflect Russia’s opinion of the world” and provide a “more balanced picture” of Russia. The late Danny Schechter, a renowned journalist who was on the staff of CNN at its launching, saw something similar at RT’s launching, describing it as another channel “of young people who are inexperienced, but very enthusiastic about what they are doing.”

However, almost immediately, Western pundits, officials, and MSM cried “foul,” as Cold War stereotypes of “communist propaganda” resurfaced. When RT began airing its counter-hegemonic narratives, challenging mainstream (particularly US) news coverage through Internet and satellite broadcasts, it quickly attracted millions of viewers throughout the world. It seemed that the more popular RT became, the more alarmed the US and the West became, accusing RT of being a “propaganda bullhorn” of Putin, spewing disinformation and lies.

So, is this true? Is RT merely Kremlin propaganda, spreading disinformation and lies, or is it a platform to present a more balanced picture of Russia, expressing the Russian perspective on global affairs? In my opinion, from extensive viewing of the news coverage and programs offered by RT, I would say that RT critics’ “propaganda” claim does not hold up to close scrutiny and is, in fact, propaganda itself; on the other hand, the alternate claim of offering a “balanced picture of Russia” and expressing the “Russian perspective,” though certainly closer to the truth than the “propaganda” claim, is not a truly accurate description of RT either. In other words, while the news coverage can be said to reflect the Russian perspective on global affairs, most of the hosts are not Russian; moreover, as far as providing insight into Russia and everything “Russian,” proportionally speaking, only a fraction  of the programming or coverage revolves around Russia or Russian affairs.

So, now that I’ve told you what RT isn’t, I’ll explain what it is, the reason why I view and support it, and why I think the US establishment, including its corporate media, has been fiercely attacking RT and are out to shut it down. To put it plainly, RT is the #1 international broadcast that allows a platform for alternative narratives and dissenting views to be expressed. Just take a look at the hosts of the “shows” section of RT’s website, and you’ll understand what I mean. These are very independent-minded individuals, whose dissenting views are simply not allowed on MSM; in fact, some of them, like Larry King, Ed Schultz, and Thom Hartmann,[1] held celebrity status on MSM and only joined the RT staff because they were free to air their views without censorship. Ed Schultz, for example, stated that, unlike the usual censorship tactics of MSNBC, RT never quizzed him in advance about his guests or the content of his show; instead, he says that the very reason he likes RT is because of its policy of absolute freedom of speech. Imagine that! Here we have Ed Schultz, a media refugee from MSM, stating that, unlike MSNBC, he’s allowed to say anything he wants to on RT, without any editorial oversight whatsoever.

This is quite phenomenal when you consider the outrageous charges of American politicians and the corporate media that RT is a mere “propaganda tool of the Kremlin,” and that those who work at RT are “useful idiots’ or “Putin’s puppets.” Really? Just take a look at the kind of individuals, most of them Americans or British, hosting their shows on RT. These are very independent, very smart people who refuse to be anyone’s “puppet”; in fact, the very reason they came to RT was because they didn’t want to be puppets of the corporate media. Do you really believe that people like Larry King, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Jesse Ventura, Chris Hedges, Lee Camp, and George Galloway are all stooges for Putin? Give me a break.

The fact that their portrayal of RT is a complete fabrication tells you who the real propagandists are, who truly are guilty of spreading disinformation and lies to the public. Yes, in spreading their malicious lies about RT, they reveal themselves, and if they are deceiving you about this, they are probably deceiving you about just about everything else too. Actually, MSM has been in the public deception business for quite some time; as long as it’s good for the ratings, it’s called “news.”

Take the RussiaGate conspiracy theory, for example, which has zero evidence to support it with. Is it “hacking,” “collusion,” or “trolls?” I forget which meme is current. Similar to the various justifications (one after the other, all of them lies) to support the Iraq War, as soon as one conspiracy is debunked, it is followed by another, in the blink of a media eye, without comment on the fraudulent nature of the prior allegation, as in Orwell’s novel, as if it didn’t exist. And the familiar villain, the usual suspect, the Russian whipping boy, comes to their rescue once again.

Several months ago I penned a piece in CounterPunch about the anti-Russia hysteria that’s been sweeping the nation, so I won’t rehash that. However, what I find telling is that a disproportionate amount of this hysteria is actually directed at Russia Today. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the FBI report in January of 2017, based on the investigation of supposed Russian interference into the 2016 election: roughly a quarter of it is about RT. When you think of it, that’s a large percentage devoted to a media outlet, especially when you consider that RT was never all that pro-Trump. As I mentioned, RT has a diverse blend of the hosts of featured programs, and they were anything but homogeneous in their views on the presidential candidates. It’s true that Peter Lavelle, the host of CrossTalk, believed that Trump should be given a chance, and Larry King gave a favorable interview to Trump; on the other hand, a number of other hosts were highly suspicious and critical of Trump. Okay, well, I admit that there wasn’t a whole lot of support for Hillary Clinton on RT, it’s true, but when you compare lackluster support for Clinton on RT with the overwhelming support that she enjoyed on CNN, can you really justify the claim that RT “interfered” in the 2016 election and CNN didn’t? The FBI report is a joke, really, as a CNN producer described it in private – a “nothing burger.”

So, if it’s true that Putin made so much effort to interfere in the American elections to ensure that Trump would win, and if it’s true that RT is Putin’s propaganda arm, then why didn’t Putin do more to use RT to propagandize in favor of Trump? Are you telling me that the tepid support of Trump on RT was the best propaganda that Putin could come up with? As an ex-KGB officer, I’m sure he could do better than that. It’s the same kind of “nothing burger” sock pocket, failed hot dog sales people that Mueller indicted – the 13 Facebook trolls who failed to wake Sleeping Beauty but were indicted for trying.

Okay, I realize I’m getting into fantasy here, but that’s my point: its total fantasy that MSM has been spinning 24/7. Wake up, people, and smell the Rachel Maddow koolaid you’ve been drinking; these people are professional liars – it’s what they do for a living. When RT’s press credentials were withdrawn at the White House, when their algorithms were suppressed on Google, Twitter, and Facebook, when the Russian Consulate in San Francisco was raided at hardly a moment’s notice, and when RT was singled out and forced to register as a “foreign agent” with FARA – an unprecedented move against a single media outlet – where was CNN or MSNBC? Did they protest this blatant form of media censorship? Only when Russia retaliated with a tit-for-tat response did they even mention it. And this media silence, aside from reporting on the Russian response, was not only true in the case of MSM, but sadly enough, Democracy Now! joined the media silence. Not a word was uttered in protest of this outrageous attack on the press freedom of RT. It boggles the mind to think that no one seemed to consider that this was not just an attack on RT but an attack on the freedom of press everywhere: to attack one is to attack all, especially when the justifications are based on “trumped up” allegations, which essentially boil down to: “We say Russia Today is a propaganda bullhorn of the Kremlin, and because we say it, you should believe us. After all, have we ever lied to you?” And then all the media bows down and assents to this madness. Forgive me if I’m not impressed with fairy tale logic.

To sum up, I support RT mostly because they are professionals and feature a line-up of fantastic programs and documentaries, which are informative and insightful. As far as I’m concerned, whether it serves Putin’s “agenda” (whatever that is) is beside the point. What matters is the authenticity of the journalism. Americans should be grateful for this source of alternative views that challenge homogeneous and hegemonic “mainstream” narratives. While all media either have some interest to serve or ideology to peddle, the health of the media in general can only be measured by its diversity. So, it’s not about whether you “agree” or “disagree” with the Russia Today broadcast; more importantly, the principle of fair play in media access and reach is crucial for the health and future of democracy. That’s why I support Russia Today, and so should you.

Notes

[1] Though no longer at RT, Tom was the host of  “The Big Picture” for at least a couple of years and left the broadcast on good terms.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

MSNBC, where journalism goes to die

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 23, 2018

It looks like we can add yet another name to the list of journalists that MSNBC has pushed out or fired for refusing to toe the establishment line: Ed Schultz.

Schultz, whose new home is at RT, recently gave an interview to the National Review’s Jamie Weinstein. During the interview, Schultz, who had been mostly quiet about his firing from MSNBC, let loose on the channel.

“There was more oversight and more direction given to me on content at MSNBC than there ever has been here at RT — and I think it’s very sad that that story is not getting out,” Schultz said. “Many times I was told what to lead with on MSNBC — many times I was told what I was not going to do.”

Schultz called MSNBC president Phil Griffin a “watchdog” unlike anything he has experienced since leaving the channel. Asked if Griffin personally told him what to say or what angle to take on a story, Schultz said that had “often” been the case.

Schultz went on to tell Weinstein a particularly disturbing story about MSNBC’s refusal to cover former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders seriously. According to Schultz, five minutes before he was due to cover Sanders’ announcement that he would run for president, Griffin called him up and told him not to report on it.

Why? Because the network was so thoroughly determined to promote Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate that giving primetime exposure to a progressive voice like Sanders would be dangerous.

“I think the Clintons were connected to [MSNBC chairman] Andy Lack, connected at the hip. I think that they didn’t want anybody in their primetime or anywhere in their lineup supporting Bernie Sanders — I think that they were in the tank for Hillary Clinton and I think it was managed — and 45 days later I was out at MSNBC.”

But Schultz is not the only former MSNBC host with such stories. Cenk Uygur, host of ‘The Young Turks’ on YouTube, has always been vocal about how he parted ways with the channel.

According to Uygur, shortly before his departure from MSNBC, Griffin called him in for a talk. The problem was not Uygur’s ratings, which were good, but it was his “tone” and the fact that “people in Washington” were not happy about it. In other words, Uygur was coming across as too anti-establishment. He was ruffling too many feathers.

“Outsiders are cool, but we’re not outsiders, we’re insiders,” Griffin told Uygur. “We are the establishment.”

Uygur ignored Griffin’s advice and his ratings shot up — surprise, surprise; people enjoy watching news anchors who actually challenge their guests and engage in real journalism. But the top dogs at MSNBC are apparently willing to forgo high ratings to please “people in Washington.”

Last week, responding to Schultz’s recent comments, Uygur confirmed the accusation that MSNBC was essentially operating as the PR arm of the Clinton campaign.

“I had another on-air talent at MSNBC tell me, off the record, that if they ever criticized Hillary Clinton, they would immediately get a call from management,” Uygur said.

This was confirmed on air by current MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, who admitted that the Clinton campaign angrily called the network after Brzezinski levelled some mild criticism at Clinton during a previous broadcast.

“NBC got a call from the campaign like I had done something that was journalistically inappropriate or something and needed to be pulled off the air,” Brzezinski said.

There can be no question that MSNBC was firmly pro-Clinton and that the Clinton campaign did everything possible to make sure it stayed that way, but the levels of irony here are outstanding.

Clinton and her media cronies have spent much of the past two years bellowing about “the Russians” and so-called “pro-Trump” Russian media, while at the same time they were calling up American channels — channels which no doubt play a far bigger role in influencing American voters —  to chastise anchors whenever their candidate was the subject of some moderate criticism.

Depressing as it is, none of this should be surprising from MSNBC.

In 2003, Phil Donahue, one of America’s best-known TV hosts, was fired from his primetime MSNBC show in the run-up to the Iraq war. Like Uygur, the problem was not Donahue’s ratings — his was the highest-rated show on the network at the time — but the tone of his show. Donahue’s crime? He had been giving airtime to anti-war guests — and questioning the rush to war was seen to be unpatriotic.

A leaked internal memo revealed that Donahue’s bosses felt he was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war” because he was providing “a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

“They were terrified of the anti-war voice. And that is not an overstatement,” Donahue said in an interview in 2013. This was particularly a problem for MSNBC because it was owned by General Electric at the time — and the war was going to be a boon for GE business. The company stood to gain billions from Iraq war contracts and to have a voice like Donahue’s on air was unacceptable.

But Donahue was not the only anti-war voice MSNBC was determined to silence. Just weeks after the invasion of Iraq, up-and-coming network star Ashleigh Banfield gave a speech in which she criticized the American media’s “sanitized” coverage of the war.

“It wasn’t journalism,” she said. “Because I’m not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor.” American reporters, she said, had “wrapped themselves in the American flag” instead of doing real journalism that showed the true horror of war.

Following Banfield’s speech, NBC News released a statement slamming their colleague: “Ms. Banfield does not speak for NBC News. We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her.”

After that incident, MSNBC “banished” and sidelined Banfield as punishment. They took away her office, her phone, her computer.

“For 10 months I had to report to work every day and ask where I could sit. If somebody was away I could use their desk,” she explained. They eventually gave her an office in a “tape closet.” Banfield repeatedly asked to be let free of her contract, but NBC news president Neal Shapiro would not allow it. Instead they kept her on but gave her nothing to do.

“I will never forgive him for his cruelty and the manner in which he decided to dispose of me,” Banfield said. Just a gentle reminder at this point that MSNBC bills itself as a ‘progressive’ channel.

If anything, things have only gotten worse since Banfield’s thoughtful comments on the failures of American war journalism. When President Donald Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria last April, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams was visibly awestruck, called the footage “beautiful” and quoted song lyrics on air to mark the occasion.

People scoff at state-funded channels like RT, while singing the praises of channels like MSNBC and CNN. Those networks benefit hugely from the myth that because they are not state-funded, they are somehow independent.

These are networks owned by giant parent corporations with plenty of skin in the political game — yet, it is rarely acknowledged that these corporations have a detrimental influence on the quality of journalism produced by their employees. The truth is rarely uttered, that network stars like Rachel Maddow are completely beholden to those corporate and political interests — and that this basic fact massively influences their reporting.

Maddow’s ratings at MSNBC have been climbing of late, no doubt due to her obsession with the ‘Russiagate’ story — a surefire crowd-pleaser among Democratic Party loyalists. But surely Maddow knows, deep down, if she ever went off script, if she ever upset her bosses by becoming truly controversial, she’d be out. Just like Uygur, Schultz, Donahue and Banfield.

For now, Maddow is safe, because she’s exactly the kind of journalist they love: She pretends to rage against the machine while earning $30,000 a day peddling all the right conspiracy theories and picking on all the right people.

A new promo for MSNBC features the cable network’s top anchors in a series of black and white old-school journalism photos. The voiceover is the late Chet Huntley, a former MSNBC newsman: “American journalism — all of it,” he says with certitude, “is the best anywhere in the world.”

It’s hard to believe that by “best” journalism, Huntley could have meant running non-stop corporate-influenced war propaganda, firing anti-establishment voices, banishing conscientious reporters to tape closets and instructing on-air talent not to ruffle any feathers in Washington.

“This is who we are,” the tagline at the end of the ad reads. But remember, thanks to Griffin and his conversation with Uygur, we know what MSNBC really is.

“We are the establishment.”

Read more:

How to become ‘an Assad apologist’? Just question MSM rhetoric & welcome to the club

US media’s love affair with war: Major outlets showed zero opposition to Syria strikes

MSNBC host claims Obama admin was ‘virtually scandal-free’

April 23, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

MSNBC Ignores Catastrophic US-Backed War in Yemen, Finds Russia 5000% more newsworthy

By Ben Norton | FAIR | January 8, 2018

For the popular US cable news network MSNBC, the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world is apparently not worth much attention—even as the US government has played a key role in creating and maintaining that unparalleled crisis.

An analysis by FAIR has found that the leading liberal cable network did not run a single segment devoted specifically to Yemen in the second half of 2017.

And in these latter roughly six months of the year, MSNBC ran nearly 5,000 percent more segments that mentioned Russia than segments that mentioned Yemen.

Moreover, in all of 2017, MSNBC only aired one broadcast on the US-backed Saudi airstrikes that have killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. And it never mentioned the impoverished nation’s colossal cholera epidemic, which infected more than 1 million Yemenis in the largest outbreak in recorded history.

All of this is despite the fact that the US government has played a leading role in the 33-month war that has devastated Yemen, selling many billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia, refueling Saudi warplanes as they relentlessly bomb civilian areas and providing intelligence and military assistance to the Saudi air force.

With little corporate media coverage from MSNBC or elsewhere, the US—under both presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump—has staunchly supported Saudi Arabia as it imposes a suffocating blockade on Yemen, diplomatically shielding the draconian Gulf dictatorship from any form of punishment as it has plunged millions of Yemeni civilians into mass hunger and pushed the poorest country in the Middle East onto the brink of famine.

1 Mention of Saudi Airstrikes; No Mention of Cholera

MSNBC: Does Russia Have Leverage Over Trump?

A favorite theme of MSNBC coverage

FAIR conducted a thorough analysis of MSNBC‘s broadcasts archived on the Nexis news database. (The figures in this report are derived from Nexis.)

In 2017, MSNBC ran 1,385 broadcasts that mentioned “Russia,” “Russian” or “Russians.” Yet only 82 broadcasts used the words “Yemen,” “Yemeni” or “Yemenis” in the entire year.

Moreover, the majority of the 82 MSNBC broadcasts that mentioned Yemen did so only once and in passing, often simply as one nation in a longer list of nations targeted by President Trump’s travel ban.

Of these 82 broadcasts in 2017, there was only a single MSNBC news segment devoted specifically to the US-backed Saudi war in Yemen.

On July 2, the network ran a segment on Ari Melber’s The Point (7/2/17) entitled “Saudi arms deal could worsen Yemen crisis.” The three-minute broadcast covered many of the important points about US support for the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen.

Yet this informative segment stood alone in the entire year. A search of the Nexis database and the Yemen tag on MSNBC‘s website shows that, in the approximately six months after this July 2 broadcast, the network did not devote another segment specifically to the war in Yemen.

A search of MSNBC broadcasts also shows that, while the network would sometimes within the same broadcast mention both Yemen and airstrikes, it did not—aside from Ari Melber’s lone segment—acknowledge the existence of US/Saudi coalition airstrikes on Yemen.

MSNBC: US Launches Dozens of Airstrikes Against Al Qaeda Targets in Yemen

MSNBC only notices airstrikes in Yemen when aimed at Al Qaeda

The closest the network otherwise came was in a March 31, 2017 segment on the Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, in which Joy Reid said, “And as the New York Times reports, the United States launched more attacks in Yemen this month than during all of last year.” But Reid was referencing a New York Times report (3/29/17) on US airstrikes on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (which numbered in the dozens), not US/Saudi coalition airstrikes on Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen (which numbered in the thousands).

While ignoring the US/Saudi coalition airstrikes and the thousands of civilians they killed, however, MSNBC did report on Houthi attacks on Saudi warships of the coast of Yemen. In his show MTP Daily (2/1/17), Chuck Todd favorably covered the anti-Iran posturing of Trump and National Security advisor Michael Flynn. He misleadingly spoke of the Houthis as Iranian proxies and gave former US diplomat Nicholas Burns a platform to claim, “Iran is a violent troublemaker in the Middle East.” On February 1 and 2, Chris Hayes also reported on the Houthi attack.

MSNBC was eager to highlight attacks by US official enemies, yet the tens of thousands of air sorties Saudi Arabia has launched in Yemen—with weapons, fuel and intelligence from the US and UK—were made almost entirely invisible by the network.

Years of US/Saudi coalition bombing and blockade of Yemen likewise decimated the poor country’s health system, plunging it into a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands of people and broken all previous records. MSNBC did not once acknowledge this catastrophe either, according to a search on Nexis and MSNBC‘s website. Cholera was only mentioned on MSBNC in 2017 in the context of Haiti, not Yemen.

Only Interested When Americans Die

While MSNBC did not bother to mention Yemen’s cholera epidemic, it did express lots of interest in a disastrous Navy SEAL raid President Donald Trump approved in the country, which left an American dead. Particularly early in the year, the network devoted substantial coverage to the January 29 raid, which killed dozens of Yemeni civilians and one US soldier.

A search of the Nexis database shows that MSNBC mentioned the Trump-approved US raid in Yemen in 36 distinct segments in 2017. All of the network’s major shows produced segments that focused on the raid: MTP Daily on January 31 and March 1; All In on February 2, February 8 and March 1; For the Record on February 6; The Last Word on February 6, 8 and 27; Hardball on March 1; and the Rachel Maddow Show on February 2, February 3, February 23 and March 6.

But after this raid left the news cycle, so too did Yemen. A search of Nexis and the Yemen tag on the MSNBC website shows that, excluding Ari Melber’s lone July segment, the latest segment MSNBC devoted specifically to Yemen in 2017 was the Rachel Maddow Show‘s March 6 report on the SEAL raid.

The message conveyed is clear: to the leading liberal US cable news network, Yemen is relevant when it is Americans who die—not when thousands of Yemenis are killed, bombed daily by Saudi Arabia, with US weapons, fuel and intelligence; not when millions of Yemenis are on the verge of starving to death while the US/Saudi coalition uses hunger as a weapon.

The conclusion that only Americans’ lives are newsworthy is confirmed by the fact that Trump launched another disastrous raid in Yemen on May 23, in which several Yemeni civilians were once again killed. But American soldiers did not die in this raid, so MSNBC had no interest. The network did not devote coverage to this second botched Yemen raid.

Constant Attention to Russia

According to a Nexis search of the network’s broadcasts from January 1 to July 2, 2017, “Yemen,” “Yemeni” or “Yemenis” were mentioned in 68 MSNBC segments—nearly all of which were related to the SEAL raid or the list of countries targeted by Trump’s Muslim ban.

In the approximately six months from July 3 through the end of December, the words “Yemen,” “Yemeni” or “Yemenis” were only uttered in 14 segments. In most of these segments, Yemen was mentioned just once in passing.

MSNBC: Russua Wish List

Thousands of MSNBC segments last year mentioned Russia

In this same 181-day period in which MSNBC had no segments devoted specifically to Yemen, the terms “Russia,” “Russian” or “Russians” were mentioned in a staggering 693 broadcasts.

This is to say, in the latter half of 2017, MSNBC aired 49.5 times more—or 4,950 percent more—segments that spoke of Russia than segments that spoke of Yemen.

In fact, in the four days from December 26 to December 29 alone, MSNBC said “Russia,” “Russian” or “Russians” nearly 400 times in 23 separate broadcasts, on all of the network’s major shows, including Hardball, All In, Rachel Maddow, The Last Word, Meet the Press Daily and The Beat.

The day after Christmas featured an onslaught of Russia coverage. On December 26, the words “Russia,” “Russian” or “Russians” were uttered a staggering 156 times in the broadcasts from 5 pm EST to 11 pm. The following is the breakdown of the number of mentions of Russia:

  • 33 times on MTP Daily at 5 pm
  • 6 times on The Beat at 6 pm
  • 30 times on Hardball at 7 pm
  • 38 times on All In at 8 pm
  • 40 times Rachel Maddow at 9 pm
  • 9 times on The Last Word (with Ari Melber filling in for O’Donnell) at 10 pm

On this one day, MSNBC mentioned Russia almost twice as many times in six hours of coverage than it mentioned Yemen in all of 2017.

Passing References

While MSNBC did not have a segment devoted specifically to the war in Yemen other than Ari Melber’s lone July broadcast, the country was sporadically mentioned in passing.

Chris Hayes briefly acknowledged Yemen a few times, although he did not devote a segment to it. In the May 23 broadcast of All In, the host did point out, “We have been arming and supporting the Saudis as they pursue a proxy war in Yemen against Shia rebels, the Houthis.” Aside from the fact that the supposed Saudi/Iran proxy war in Yemen to which Hayes apparently alludes is a misleading talking point that has been fueled by the US government and intelligence agencies and obediently echoed by corporate media (FAIR.org, 7/25/17), Hayes still did not recognize the US/Saudi coalition airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians.

In a June 29 interview on All In, Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour additionally spoke out on behalf of “Yemeni refugees who are victims of a proxy war that we’re funding.” Hayes added, “Who are starving to death, because we’re essentially funding the Saudis to hold them under siege.” This was the rare moment in which MSBNC acknowledged the Saudi blockade of Yemen—but, again, no mention was made of the US-backed Saudi airstrikes that have killed thousands of Yemenis.

On July 5, Chris Hayes spoke using extreme euphemisms, stating, “Since taking office, the president has been swayed to take Saudi Arabia’s side in its dispute with Yemen.” Looking beyond the fact that “dispute” is an outrageous understatement for a brutal war that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands, Hayes failed to point out that former president Barack Obama, like Trump, staunchly supported Saudi Arabia as it bombed and besieged Yemen.

Rachel Maddow also again briefly mentioned the botched January US raid in Yemen in her broadcasts on April 7 and 24. So too did Hayes on October 16.

On MTP Daily on December 6, Chuck Todd similarly spoke of Yemen in passing, observing:

It is interesting, Tom, that the president seems to have these Gulf State allies. He is giving them basically carte blanche a little bit on what they’re doing in Yemen, is sort of looking the other way.

But that is it. Aside from Ari Melber’s one-off July segment, in 2017 MSNBC had no other coverage of the US-backed war that has created the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world.

What is striking is that MSNBC is clearly extremely critical of Donald Trump, yet it has passed on one of the best opportunities to condemn his policies. Instead of covering some of Trump’s worst, most violent actions—his acts of war that have left many thousands of civilians dead—MSNBC has ignored Trump’s Yemeni victims.

Perhaps this is because it was a Democratic president—Barack Obama, a favorite of MSNBC—who first oversaw the war in Yemen for nearly two years before Trump entered office. But MSNBC‘s right-wing rival, Fox News, has shown again and again that it has no problem attacking Democrats for doing what Republicans did before them.


You can send a message to Rachel Maddow at Rachel@msnbc.com (or via Twitter: @Maddow). Chris Hayes can be reached via Twitter: @ChrisLHayes. Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment