The New York Times as Judge and Jury

Seeking to maintain its credibility, The New York Times dispenses with the criminal justice system and basic principles of journalism to weigh in again on Russia-gate, reports Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

We’ve seen it before: a newspaper and individual reporters get a story horribly wrong but instead of correcting it they double down to protect their reputations and credibility—which is all journalists have to go on—and the public suffers.

Sometimes this maneuver can contribute to a massive loss of life. The most egregious example was the reporting in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Like nearly all Establishment media, The New York Times got the story of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction—the major casus belli for the invasion—dead wrong. But the Times, like the others, continued publishing stories without challenging their sources in authority, mostly unnamed, who were pushing for war.

The result was a disastrous intervention that led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and continued instability in Iraq, including the formation of the Islamic State.

In a massive Timesarticle published on Thursday, entitled, “‘A Plot to Subvert an Election: Unravelling the Russia Story So Far,” it seems that reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti have succumbed to the same thinking that doubled down on Iraq.

They claim to have a “mountain of evidence” but what they offer would be invisible on the Great Plains.

With the mid-terms looming and Special Counsel Robert Mueller unable to so far come up with any proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to steal the 2016 election—the central Russia-gate charge—the Times does it for him, regurgitating a Russia-gate Round-Up of every unsubstantiated allegation that has been made—deceptively presented as though it’s all been proven.

Mueller: No collusion so far.

This is a reaffirmation of the faith, a recitation of what the Russia-gate faithful want to believe is true. But mere repetition will not make it so.

The Times’ unsteady conviction is summed up in this paragraph, which the paper itself then contradicts only a few paragraphs later:

What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come. Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

But this schizoid approach leads to the admission that “no public evidence has emerged showing that [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia.”

The Times also adds: “There is a plausible case that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump, though it cannot be proved or disproved.”

This is an extraordinary statement. If it cannot be “proved or disproved” what is the point of this entire exercise: of the Mueller probe, the House and Senate investigations and even of this very New York Times article?

Attempting to prove this constructed story without proof is the very point of this piece.

A Banner Day

The 10,000-word article opens with a story of a pro-Russian banner that was hung from the Manhattan Bridge on Putin’s birthday, and an anti-Obama banner hung a month later from the Memorial Bridge in Washington just after the 2016 election.

On public property these are constitutionally-protected acts of free speech. But for the Times, “The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”

Kremlin: Guilty, says NYT. (Robert Parry, 2016)

Why? Because the Times tells us that the “earliest promoters” of images of the banners were from social media accounts linked to a St. Petersburg-based click-bait farm, a company called the Internet Research Agency. The company is not legally connected to the Kremlin and any political coordination is pure speculation. IRA has been explained convincingly as a commercial and not political operation. Its aim is get and sell “eyeballs.”

For instance the company conducted pro and anti-Trump rallies and social media messages, as well as pro and anti-Clinton. But the Times, in classic omission mode, only reports on “the anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia.” Sharing with “millions” of people on social media does not mean that millions of people have actually seen those messages. And if they had there is little way to determine whether it affected how they voted, especially as the messages attacked and praised both candidates.

The Times reporters take much at face value, which they then themselves undermine. Most prominently, they willfully mistake an indictment for a conviction, as if they do not know the difference.

This is in the category of Journalism 101. An indictment need not include evidence and under U.S. law an indictment is not evidence. Juries are instructed that an indictment is merely an accusation. That the Times commits this cardinal sin of journalism to purposely confuse allegations with a conviction is not only inexcusable but strikes a fatal blow to the credibility of the entire article.

It actually reports that “Today there is no doubt who hacked the D.N.C. and the Clinton campaign. A detailed indictment of 12 officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency, filed in July by Mr. Mueller, documents their every move, including their break-in techniques, their tricks to hide inside the Democrats’ networks and even their Google searches.”

Who needs courts when suspects can be tried and convicted in the press?

What the Times is not taking into account is that Mueller knows his indictment will never be tested in court because the GRU agents will never be arrested, there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia and even if it were miraculously to see the inside of a courtroom Mueller can invoke states secrets privilege to show the “evidence” to a judge with clearance in his chambers who can then emerge to pronounce “Guilty!” without a jury having seen that evidence.

This is what makes Mueller’s indictment more a political than a legal document, giving him wide leeway to put whatever he wants into it. He knew it would never be tested and that once it was released, a supine press would do the rest to cement it in the public consciousness as a conviction, just as this Times piece tries to do.

Errors of Commission and Omission

There are a series of erroneous assertions and omissions in the Times piece, omitted because they would disturb the narrative:

–Not mentioning that the FBI was never given access to the DNC server but instead gullibly believing the assertion of the anti-Russian private company CrowdStrike, paid for by the DNC, that the name of the first Soviet intelligence chief found in metadata proves Russia was behind the hack. Only someone wanting to be caught would leave such a clue.

–Incredibly believing that Trump would have launched a covert intelligence operation on live national television by asking Russia to get 30,000 missing emails.

Trump: Sarcastically calls on Russia to get Clinton emails.

–Ignoring the possible role of the MI6, the CIA and the FBI setting up Trump campaign members George Papadopoulos and Carter Page as “colluders” with Russia.

–Repeating misleading statements about the infamous Trump Tower meeting, in which Trump’s son did not seek dirt on Clinton but was offered it by a music promoter, not the Russian government. None was apparently produced. It’s never been established that a campaign receiving opposition research from foreigners is illegal (though the Times has decided that it is) and only the Clinton campaign was known to have obtained any.

–Making no mention at all of the now discredited opposition research dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC from foreign sources and used by the FBI to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page and potentially other campaign members.

–Dismissing the importance of politicized text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page because the pair were “skewered regularly on Mr. (Sean) Hannity’s show as the ‘Trump-hating F.B.I. lovebirds.’”

–Putting down to “hyped news stories” the legitimate fear of a new McCarthyism against anyone who questions the “official” story being peddled here by the Times.

–Seeking to get inside Putin’s head to portray him as a petulant child seeking personal revenge against Hillary Clinton, a tale long peddled by Clinton and accepted without reservation by the Times.

–Pretending to get into Julian Assange’s head as well, saying he “shared Mr. Putin’s hatred of Mrs. Clinton and had a soft spot for Russia.” And that Assange “also obscured the Russian role by fueling a right-wing conspiracy theory he knew to be false.”

–Ignoring findings backed by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that the DNC emails were leaked and not hacked.

–Erroneously linking the timing of WikiLeaks’ Podesta emails to deflect attention from the “Access Hollywood” tape, as debunked in Consortium News by Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who worked with WikiLeaks on those emails.

Distorts Geo-Politics

The piece swallows whole the Establishment’s geo-strategic Russia narrative, as all corporate media do. It buys without hesitation the story that the U.S. seeks to spread democracy around the world, and not pursue its economic and geo-strategic interests as do all imperial powers.

The Times reports that, “The United States had backed democratic, anti-Russian forces in the so-called color revolutions on Russia’s borders, in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004.” The Times has also spread the erroneous story of a democratic revolution in Ukraine in 2014, omitting crucial evidence of a U.S.-backed coup.

The Times disapprovingly dismisses Trump having said on the campaign trail that “Russia was not an existential threat, but a potential ally in beating back terrorist groups,” when an objective view of the world would come to this very conclusion.

The story also shoves aside American voters’ real concerns that led to Trump’s election. For the Times, economic grievances and rejection of perpetual war played no role in the election of Trump. Instead it was Russian influence that led Americans to vote for him, an absurd proposition defied by a Gallup poll in July that showed Americans’ greatest concerns being economic. Their concerns about Russia were statistically insignificant at less than one percent.

Ignoring Americans’ real concerns exposes the class interests of Times staffers and editors who are evidently above Americans’ economic and social suffering.  The Times piece blames Russia for social “divisions” and undermining American democracy, classic projection onto Moscow away from the real culprits for these problems: bi-partisan American plutocrats. That also insults average Americans by suggesting they cannot think for themselves and pursue their own interests without Russia telling them what to do.

Establishment reporters insulate themselves from criticism by retreating into the exclusive Establishment club they think they inhabit. It is from there that they vicariously draw their strength from powerful people they cover, which they should instead be scrutinizing. Validated by being close to power, Establishment reporters don’t take seriously anyone outside of the club, such as a website like Consortium News.

But on rare occasions they are forced to take note of what outsiders are saying. Because of the role The New York Times played in the catastrophe of Iraq its editors took the highly unusual move of apologizing to its readers. Will we one day read a similar apology about the paper’s coverage of Russia-gate?

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

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208 comments for “The New York Times as Judge and Jury

  1. Jeanne T
    October 4, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Russia-gate is so convenient. Distract, distract, distract. Too bad NYTimes has lost its mojo and caved to establishment so entirely. The risk of a 3rd world war is secondary.

  2. Rong Cao
    October 4, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    exactly the pieces like this investigative report from NYT will make the readers from Europeans, Russians, Chinese and other world nations to realize and conclude just how crazy and ridiculous the US intelligence communities and the establishments have become

  3. Chris
    September 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm
  4. Russiagatoraid
    September 27, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Excellent commentary, Joe.

  5. Zenobia van Dongen
    September 27, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    The invasion of Iraq was breach of international law, cost many innocent lives, relied on a camapign of government lies and suffered numerous other defects. However 90% of the damage could have been avoided if the first American viceroy of Iraq, General Jay Garner, had been allowed to fulfill his program, which he announced shortly after assuming office: Garner announced elections within 60 days, after which the US would withdraw from Iraq.
    Of course Exxon and its cronies were opposed, and Garner was promptly fired and replaced by Bremer, a sidekick of Henry Kissinger.
    I surmise that if Garner had been allowed to complete his mission, Iraq would have turned out rather well, despite all the lies, bloodshed and hypocrisy.

    • Hank
      September 29, 2018 at 10:03 am

      I laugh at all the fuss a simple accusation of sexual misconduct against an official does to this nation while EVERY WAR fought from WW2 has been based on lies! That is the REAL scandal! And the parties that push these wars, mainly the mainstream media, should be held accountable for these lies. How many millions of innocent people have been slaughtered by the USA with the cover provided by the MSM? The USA has not been pouring money into military over the years to protect the world’s inhabitants from “tyranny”. The only thing this money has served has been the undying greed of the military/industrial mafia! Not until enough Americans pull their ignorant heads out of their asses will this nation ever be in a position to ward off these war criminals.

      • Jerry Kelley
        October 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm

        Every war this country has ever had was based on lies. The only reason we go to war is to make the rich richer.

        See “War is a Racket” by General Smedly Butler.

    • Arpy
      October 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      There were likely over a million dead by the time Albright made her “the price is worth it” admission in 1996. Garner was late on the scene, and is unlikely to have been so dumb that he did not expect millions of dead civilians.

  6. will
    September 26, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Sometimes people scoff at the role social media can play in influencing large numbers of people relatively cheaply. To those people I suggest Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. Cambridge Analytica happened…FB, Twitter and Youtube are there…their behavioral modification algorithms are real. $225 really buys 25,000 fake internet personalities.

    then…I suggest the bunch of smarties hashing and rehashing this trump/NYTs business get off their fat rear ends and do something useful to head off the accelerating takeover of America by people a great deal worse than hawkish shitheads like Hillary Clinton or somewhat more honest (though essentially useless) incrementalist technocrat shitheads like barack Obama.

  7. will
    September 26, 2018 at 8:38 am

    None the less, it’s clear Trump colluded with his Russian friends who are the source of his current wealth. the funny thing about the NYTs is while they are the least credible source on this subject, they are far from the only source.

    • steinbergfeldwitzcohen
      September 30, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      It’s not clear. It’s spurious moron.

  8. September 25, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Joe: Excellent article. What I do not understand is the major influence Israel has on our media, and the fact that Trump is under the gun. He has recognized Jerusalem and is serving Israel well in continuing the balkanization of Syria, etc. Perhaps this whole collusion business is a smokescreen to keep our minds distracted from the real War on Terrorism agenda. Maybe the Times is just playing the role of bad cop, together with the Washington Post, CNN, etc, while the suffering children weep in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc.

    • will
      September 26, 2018 at 8:40 am

      this “whole collusion business” is about which sphere of influence this country joins in the upcoming troubles. it’s about Trump and his friends and a rightwing takeover of our country that will find this site taken down and all of you in little cages somewhere.

    • Zenobia van Dongen
      September 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      What “balkanization of Syria”?

  9. Jon Shafer
    September 25, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Not mentioned, of course, are the NY Times and The Washington Post’s destruction of San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb and his expose of the opiate crisis during Ronald Reagan’s watch.
    It’s been well documented the CIA is into drug trafficking, not to mention deep CIA infiltration in the mainstream media, as in Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos’ $600 million contract with the CIA through Amazon.
    Yep, anything to fit the Washington “newsthink” narrative!

    • Litchfield
      September 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Not to forget the mysterious takeouts of
      Michael Hastings
      Paul Wellstone
      More

  10. September 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    The real domestic issues are but two: anything/everything about women, especially as victims, and anything/everything about LGBT events, points of view, and personalities. Interestingly enough, those were the only two issues in Hillary’s campaign.

    I’ve watched very closely and the numbers women and known LGBT staff have increased vastly in the last 3 years. The placement of articles is very important in a paper like the NYT and the places these subject occupy is almost always a major one. Those 2 issues are important, but this is pushed to the point that we’re reading a girly gay publication with a bit of everything else to make the GGs think it’s important.

    I’ve wondered how and why this transformation from one of the world’s 3 or 4 best medias happened. Does anyone know? It’s like Hillary or a Hillary lover simply took over.

  11. September 25, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    thank you for that one!

    as for this:

    “Because of the role The New York Times played in the catastrophe of Iraq its editors took the highly unusual move of apologizing to its readers. Will we one day read a similar apology about the paper’s coverage of Russia-gate?”

    please, no one hang by your lip waiting for that!!

    and again, thanks joe

  12. J2027
    September 25, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    The NY Times are good for only one thing today, and that’s for lining under my cat’s litter box.
    The TV-news Corp is hardly any better, obviously. On and on they go about Cosby and his rape allegations. Meanwhile nary a peep about all the pedophiles being protected by the Catholic Church. The damage they habe done to political discourse in this country is unfathomable. While hope is not one of my strong points, I will hope that enough Americans awaken by 2020 to the fact they’ve been living in a carefully-crafted illusion for decades, and do something about it. Enlightenment is not about bliss and rainbows, it’s a painful process but well worth it. I’d rather be free and uncertain rather than comfortably enslaved- unfortunately the majority of us seem to prefer the latter.

    • will
      September 26, 2018 at 8:46 am

      I think of the NYTs on Trump as being like that report made by CBS and Dan Rather about Bush and the Texas Air National Guard: it’s all true but they have their facts (tactically) incorrect. Who’s tactic it is is an interesting question. Instead of worrying about who released those Democratic party files or Hillary’s email…look at all the evidence that actually exists of other attempts at collusion…the ones neither Consortium news nor the NYTs ever mention.

  13. September 25, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    A pocket guide to the crimes of the NYTimes, a thorough demolition of the Russia-gate nonsense. I’ll hang on to it. And send it to low-information liberals who go on about “collusion” or Putin/Hitler balderdash. Thank you. Mr. Lauria.

  14. Charles Ewing Smith
    September 25, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Substitute Russia with Israel and you’ll have it right.

  15. September 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Andrew Dabrowski, read “Litvinenko – What Really Happened?” on Fort Russ News, fort-russ.com, which discusses how the Russian oligarchs who were supported by Yeltsin and the US and lost favor when Yeltsin had to step down, then worked with western think tanks to smear Putin and have continued to this day, including the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings. The PNAC think tank group that promoted the Iraq invasion was involved in the smears. Eurasia is rising and the US is losing its supremacy, so you can be sure smearing will continue. (Skip, I note your comment and thanks.)

    • Andrew Dabrowski
      September 25, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks, I’ll have a look at that article. But does that imply that everyone at CN believes the case is settled? Wouldn’t a CN investigation be useful?

    • Andrew Dabrowski
      September 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      I don’t think I can trust a site with articles like this:

      “‘ISRAEL’ DID 9/11, NOT MUSLIMS, AND ANYONE WHO THINKS OTHERWISE 17 YEARS ON IS AN IDIOT”

      https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/09/israel-did-9-11-not-muslims-and-anyone-who-thinks-otherwise-17-years-on-is-an-idiot/

      • Will
        September 26, 2018 at 8:50 am

        Besides, it was Saudi Arabia with only an able assist from the FBI. Probably Pakistan and Israel too, too although that’s not mentioned in this article: https://harpers.org/archive/2017/10/crime-and-punishment-4/

      • Litchfield
        September 26, 2018 at 5:34 pm

        Why don’t you read the article and then comment.

      • Peter Duveen
        October 1, 2018 at 9:28 pm

        Yes, that was Bob Novak’s opinion in his column two days after 9-11. Not stated in those words, but rather by the question, who profits?

  16. September 25, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    ‘We’ve seen it before: a newspaper and individual reporters get a story horribly wrong but instead of correcting it they double down to protect their reputations and credibility—which is all journalists have to go on—and the public suffers.’
    – I don’t agree with that basic premise. It seems clear to me that, at least for the last 30 years or so, these people have been intentionally lying in service to the US hegemon, not making some kind of innocent mistake. The ‘doubling down’ is nothing more than the old ‘big lie’ technique – keep repeating the lie (aka ‘propaganda’) until some critical number of the relatively blank-slate masses can repeat upon demand. It’s been very successful, all through history, much moreso these last 30-odd years, very tragically so, for ‘humankind’ in general.

    • Joe Lauria
      September 25, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Who said it was an “innocent mistake?” My experience of working nearly 30 years in corporate media, upon which I drew to write this piece, showed me that it is reporters’ sources who dissemble, spin and lie and that corporate reporters trust and respect these powerful sources in authority. It is reporters’ belief in the American system at home and abroad, that leads them to believe these sources and transmit these lies to the public. Reporters don’t make stuff up. Few consciously lie. That is my experience. They don’t need to be put on the CIA payroll as in the past (though there could always be exceptions today) because reporters identify with power rather than challenge it.

      • Rob Roy
        September 25, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        Joe, I agree, except for reporting on Israel. Reporters are hired purposely to follow the Israel policy lines. If they were just following lying sources, there would be a Palestinian take on the news. “Reporters don’t make stuff up.” ? Yes, they do, on Israel.
        Thanks again, for an excellent article. (Do you ever mail your articles to the New York Times and Washington Post?)

      • September 26, 2018 at 11:29 am

        You give reporters (stenographers) too much credit. While there are exceptions like you, Robert Parry Gary Webb and others, most “journalists” these days are either quite stupid or are spewing half-truths and outright lies at us daily! I truly believe it’s the latter in most cases.

      • Litchfield
        September 26, 2018 at 5:43 pm

        Hi, Joe:
        It is nice of you to try to be fair.
        But, how come readers at a site such CN and many other Americans and others *can* think for themselves despite the constant onslaught of lies and propaganda?

        Are only the most stupid and gullible Americans (and Brits) attending journalism school, where they are supposed to be learning investigative reporting, among other things?

        I don’t buy it. I don’t think the most stupid and gullible are hired as journalists and then promoted to well-paying positions. I think they know perfectly well what they are being paid for. If they were curious they could check the stories they were given by “insiders” against other sources. As do most of those who read alternative news sites. They would be genuinely trying to figure out the truth. They would be reading foreign newspapers and checking in to Russian, European, Latin American, Chinese etc. pressers and other sources such as news analysis TV shows to find viewpoints outside the American MSM. All of these can be viewed with translated subtitles. Maybe they really do these things. But they know what they are paid to say, and that is what they say/write. They are “talent,” not real journalists.

        • Josep
          September 27, 2018 at 2:19 am

          They would be genuinely trying to figure out the truth. They would be reading foreign newspapers and checking in to Russian, European, Latin American, Chinese etc. pressers and other sources such as news analysis TV shows to find viewpoints outside the American MSM.

          Russian and Chinese, I can understand, but I’m not sure about the media in most of continental Europe (that is, any countries that either are members of NATO and/or the EU) or Latin America (some reader in another article told me that the US has pumped large amounts of money propagandizing Latin America).

  17. Doran Zeigler
    September 25, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    We cannot be so naive to think that these reporters are “getting it wrong” through error. They are part and parcel of the Elite’s propaganda machine, they know exactly what they are doing. The election interference is part of the campaign to create a formidable enemy. The war on terror is losing steam as terrorist roots and their low numbers are being revealed. It has also become evident as to who is funding these “terrorist” groups. Hence, the Elites need a formidable enemy, one possessing nuclear weapons is preferable.

    The weapons of mass destruction lead up to the Iraq war was not an error. A pretext was needed to go to war and the warmakers were going to get one no matter what the cost. They relied on their go-to presstitutes, NYT, to get the job done. We must never forget that the NYT is just another corporation that toes the line. In this case, their task is to manufacture opinions through the use of lies.

    Please do not give the shills and lackey reporters the benefit of the doubt. They want to maintain their careers and that big paycheck at the end of the week. Integrity and honesty is not an issue here and it should not enter into any honest discussion when it comes to the task of manufacturing false propaganda.

    • Joe Lauria
      September 25, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      Who said it was “in error?” See my comment above.

    • Joe Lauria
      September 25, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Big pay check? You’d be surprised how little most reporters are paid, even at big newspapers.

      • September 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm

        That’s because they aren’t real reporters. They are just rumor mongers.

  18. September 25, 2018 at 11:56 am

    The NYT lost its credibility a long time ago and should be classed as a tabloid alongside the National Enquirer.

  19. Andrew Dabrowski
    September 25, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Somebody at CN has to do some serious reporting on the Moscow apartment bombings of 1999. I’m inclined to think Putin is guilty of those, and hence I put nothing evil past him. If I’m wrong about that, I’d like to know.

    • Yuri G
      September 25, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      And what does this 20-year old event in the far distant land have anything to do with the topic at hand?!

      • Andrew Dabrowski
        September 25, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        Obviously it goes to Putin’s character. And the absence of investigation of this matter by CN cannot be addressed on more relevant pages because CN has never investigated it.

    • September 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      lol I guess you’re on the ‘Kavenaugh has been accused, so let him prove his innocence!!’ side of this current smear job against the man, then … ‘I’m inclined to believe’ isn’t part of any evidentiary process that I’m aware of, anyway …. Putin has been the subject of an endless train of attempts to demonize him from the CIA et al – me, I’d be MUCH more inclined to believe the CIA was involved with this, than Putin …

      • Andrew Dabrowski
        September 25, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        So you think Putin is innocent until proven guilty? Does the same criterion hold for accusations against the CIA, KGB, Mossad?

        • Skip Scott
          September 26, 2018 at 8:47 am

          In a word: Yes.

          • Gregory Herr
            September 26, 2018 at 8:44 pm

            Good word.

        • Gene Poole
          September 27, 2018 at 7:33 am

          Innocent until proven guilty? Yep, and so are you under US law, last time I checked.

    • teresa smith
      September 25, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Let’s post that right alongside the 9-11 debacle and compare atrocities.

    • Zenobia van Dongen
      September 27, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Of course it was Putin. All the circumstantial evidence points in that direction.

  20. September 25, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I ask RickD whether he has any awareness of the history of the CIA, and of the FBI, but particularly the CIA. Has RickD read anything about the revelation of Vault 7 revealed by Wikileaks, that showed the US intel agencies have the capability to create a signature of other countries’ agencies in order to make a false claim? I would suggest to RickD that he read “The CIA as Organized Crime” by Douglas Valentine, or “The Devil’s Chessboard” by David Talbot. There are many other good books and articles about the nefarious activities of the CIA. Rosemerry, I believe, mentioned the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird program that conditions and even bribes members of the US MSM to slant news in reforcement of the MIC. The CIA far surpasses Russia’s capacity for such nefarious activities. Knowing such information is far better than being a useful idiot for the system that exploits all of us.

    • Skip Scott
      September 25, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Jessika-

      From RickD posts, and his presence here, I’ll put my tin foil hat on and suggest he is working for those same evil bas**rds. I would prefer that he just be “a useful idiot”, but his constantly ignoring evidence and parroting the MSM narrative leads me to believe otherwise.

      • September 25, 2018 at 12:29 pm

        Bingo! I have seen him blathering on other sites as well. He doesn’t seem to realize that this is not Commondreams or Huffingtonpost.

  21. September 25, 2018 at 2:48 am

    While I agree with most of this article, it annoys me that critics only refer to the loss of CIVILIAN lives in the Iraq invasion (and others). Iraq did not cause, welcome, endorse or justify any such invasion. Therefore those that died defending their Country from illegal and unjustified invaders, were murdered, just like everyone else.
    I also find the term “instability” euphemistic and insulting, just like US soldiers being on “tours” of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The Times and US lawmakers are not alone. This rush to blame Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, etc., etc., for all problems, real or imaginary, is indicative of most Western mainstream media, and sycophantic politicians.
    I thank Consortium News, Ron Paul, The Real News, and a few others, for having the courage, and independence, for sticking with the facts.

  22. robert e williamson jr
    September 24, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Hats off to John Chuckman, for hitting bull’s eye dead center. John correctly analyzes the man, Mueller is following the money, and far too many of the rest of you aren’t thinking big enough.

    It’s that billionaire thing.

  23. rosemerry
    September 24, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks for this article. I note exactly the same lack of evidence for another anti-Russian saga, that of the Skripals in the UK, where statements from the Prime Minister are published in every “newspaper” as gospel truth, when NONE of them are based on observable facts, every mention of alternative explanations or even suggestions of investigation are laughed off and the more grotesque the extra “evidence” eg perfume bottles of novichok turning up and “intelligence agents from GRU” roaming around daring to visit cathedrals using their own names are woven into the original story and accepted.

    The Russiagate lies really started with Obama expelling Russian diplomats and stealing their property in the USA while in his lame duck period.

    • RickD
      September 25, 2018 at 6:51 am

      Obviously you have made up your mind that Russia, and Putin are blameless. Sad, but worse, you must ignore so much opposing information to maintain such an illusion.

      • September 25, 2018 at 12:34 pm

        “Sad, but worse, you must ignore so much opposing information to maintain such an illusion.” – RickD

        You could say the same for those few heretics like Galileo who was condemned by the church for ignoring so much opposing information and maintaining the illusion that the earth revolves around the sun. Everyone at the time knew that the sun went around the earth.

        Anyone who simply believes that the beliefs of the majority is truth will never know truth.

        • Skip Scott
          September 26, 2018 at 8:51 am

          Amen W.R.! RickD and many others have difficulty distinguishing “opposing information” (AKA propaganda) from evidence, and logical argumentation based on evidence.

      • Gene Poole
        September 27, 2018 at 7:39 am

        Information – such as what’s in the Mueller indictment? There’s plenty of that, yes. But proof? There’s none. If there were any Trump would be impeached by now.

        This whole Russiagate thing reminds me of the Obama birth-certificate affair. “We’re gonna impeach that bastard any day now,” clean up to Trump’s swearing-in (attended by millions).

    • September 25, 2018 at 8:24 am

      RickD, I won’t speak for rosemerry, but yes I have made my mind up.

      I won’t fall into your rhetorical trap by saying that Putin is entirely blameless… after all this is a dance or relationship.

      You are right that there is a lot of “information” pointing to various sorts of Russian meddling, but there is nothing solid, and all of it is customized to fit the Cold War agenda. When something credible does emerge I will change my view. Until then, all the “information” is just a steaming dung heap.

      And even if some portions of Russiagate turn out to be true, it will STILL not justify risking Armageddon to settle the score.

    • Rob Roy
      September 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      rosemerry,
      This also applies to “Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.” Zero proof. In fact, EVERY time he’s been accused, it’s been proven to be a lie: first by the UN investigation team led by Carla del Ponte, another at Khan Shaykhun by Seymour Hersh, the last, by the hospital personnel who were right there in Douma. I saw that one myself. A joke. The White Helmets are a phony put-up hired group, too (yes, proven). As for Skripals being poisoned by the Russians….Thatcher wannabe Theresa May, just by screaming it, supposedly proved it. Always ask yourself, “why” would the accused do this at that particular time? These events are ALWAYS planned by the US (and usually Israel) to have the desired effect….because, for example, Assad was winning the war or the investigation team was nearby, or it’s the right time to throw mud, once again, on Putin/Russia. Joe is so right in this article. The NYTs is judge and jury without a shred of proof.
      P.S. Unfortunately, Obama’s entire tenure in office was a “lame duck.”

      • Skip Scott
        September 26, 2018 at 8:53 am

        Yes Rob Roy. But don’t you know how much “opposing information”, to use RickD’s phrase, is out there telling us Assad gassed his own people?

  24. nondimenticare
    September 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Another fine – and very brave – piece of journalism by Joe Lauria.

  25. F. G. Sanford
    September 24, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    In terms of media manipulation, obfuscation of the facts, recalcitrant investigative agencies and partisan interpretations of false narratives, I see very little difference between Russia-gate and other ‘state crimes against democracy’ which have occurred since 1963. The “facts”, if one is willing to examine them, clearly indicate that official narratives are false. Contradictory evidence is routinely ignored. Mere mention of exculpatory facts or irrefutable evidence is immediately ridiculed, and obvious avenues of rational investigation are dismissed as futile endeavors.

    For those willing to look at the evidence, conclusions are inescapable. Which brings us to the crux of the animosity toward President Trump. Many here have noted that, aside from style and delivery, his policies are fundamentally no different than the previous four administrations. “Window dressing” issues such as abortion, gun rights and gender identity are the only substantive differences between the two wings of the fraudulent duopoly. The permanent war economy and its attendant financial strategies continue apace.

    What is most feared is an imprimatur, a stamp of approval, an official acknowledgement, a statement of solidarity, a concession to the obvious — that Donald Trump might blurt out the two words from which the media could never recover, and the “big money” interests could hardly explain away. So far, no one in a position of authority has found the courage to say those two words. But Donald Trump may yet say them in a last ditch effort to save his Presidency. Would those same prevaricators crash the economy or start a war to prevent him, or sufficiently discredit him — to insure that he never speaks those two words? You’ve gotta ask yourselves, “Has that ever happened before?” I think most people know the answer.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 24, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Hey F.G. It’s like the Establishment is directing traffic, and we are all being guided towards the exit of destruction. Jonathan Cook has an interesting take on all of this.

      https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/24/hiding-in-plain-sight-why-we-cannot-see-the-system-destroying-us/

      As usual I got a lot from your comment here…how do you do it? Whether your poetic or straight on with your comments you bring depth and entertainment (good entertainment) to this board. Joe

      • Maxwell Quest
        September 24, 2018 at 4:13 pm

        Ditto, Joe!

        Jonathan Cook’s article on social power relations should be ‘must’ reading for anyone who wishes to better understand themselves and our current trajectory. After reading it this morning, his website was immediately added to my favorites list.

      • Maxwell Quest
        September 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

        I just finished reading Jonathan Cook’s follow-up article to that mentioned by Joe above: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2018-09-20/neoliberal-order-dying-wake/

        I have to say that this guy is really zeroed in on the neoliberal establishment and hits it out of the park. He argues that one can only make sense of current events when they are put in the context of the dominant narrative that we live under: the pursuit of global domination and wealth extraction. That this agenda has always been cleverly hidden by the elites behind layers of obfuscation, and that because it is starting to unravel we are seeing increasingly ham-fisted efforts to shore it up.

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

          “To Thine Own Self Be True”.

        • Skip Scott
          September 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

          Maxwell and Joe-

          Thanks for these links. They were a great read.

  26. Vera Gottlieb
    September 24, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Why, oh why, are we continually being subject to all the NYTs falsehoods and other despicable reporting ? Why? All the ‘truths’ we endured during the Iraq war? etc. etc. I would not even line my bird’s cage with this newspaper.

  27. RickD
    September 24, 2018 at 10:44 am

    This author seems to display the prejudice he claims for the NYTimes. He also seems unaware of the ddifference between a news report and an editorial.
    Lastly he comments upon evidence amassed by the Mueller team as if he was privy to it, which, as Mueller has remained tight lipped and exceedingly professional in releasing nothing, he surely is not.

    5 convictions, guilty pleas, and 23 charges leveled seem to imply much more than this author seems willing to admit.

    • robjira
      September 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      “5 convictions, guilty pleas, 23 charges levelled (without the worry of having to provide cooberating evidence)…” all of which have nothing to do with Russian state-sponsored election “interference.”
      Keep tossing, Rick; something’ll stick eventually, right?

    • September 24, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      And not one has to do with Russian collusion.

      Manaforts “ crimes” were before Trump and Manafort was working with the Podesta Group in the Ukraine.

      The Podesta Group got immunity from prosecution.

      Ya nothing political about that.

  28. Tom Kath
    September 24, 2018 at 5:47 am

    To Joe Lauria – I would suggest that the “Anastasia” question of “What is different about Trump?” would merit addressing in some form, as controversial as it may be.

  29. Procopius
    September 24, 2018 at 1:30 am

    Minor quibble: “… Mueller knows his indictment will never be tested in court …” That seems to be an assumption he or his staff made in January when they decided to release the first indictment and schedule an arraignment. Lo and behold, cometh the defendant, Concord Consulting LLC, and pleadeth, “Not Guilty,” and then demands complete discovery and speedy trial. I haven’t been able to find out what has happened since May because our famously free press is not interested in reporting on the Special Prosecutor’s embarrassment, but the prosecutors were reduced to pleading with the judge to save them from their failure to have the evidence ready to go to trial. I urge Consortium News to update this story and report on the current status of the case. I’m wondering if the prosecutors decided to withdraw the charges.

    • Ian Brown
      September 24, 2018 at 4:08 am

      Considering how big the “Russian Troll” meddling story is supposed to be, it’s pretty amazing that there is virtually no reporting at all on the actual case stemming from the indictment. I was following it as well, and it is remarkable: Mueller was actually trying to avoid or delay the trial, and then try to block discovery. This should be a big story, but as you said, it’s completely disappeared from all reporting.

      • Maxwell Quest
        September 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        This behavior was entirely predictable for those who haven’t been hoodwinked by the “Mighty Wurlitzer” media. It is just another piece of evidence that supports the hypothesis that Russia-gate is a complete fabrication. One should expect no effort to uncover the truth. In fact, any effort to uncover the underlying truth will be stonewalled or thwarted.

    • September 26, 2018 at 2:20 am

      There’s a docket sheet here where you can purchase copies of filings from that case. https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6307879/united-states-v-internet-research-agency-llc/

      I subscribe to a fair number of services that report on national security-related cases but I haven’t seen anything on this one for awhile. From the docket sheet, it looks like the court issued an opinion on August 15 and that’s been taken up on interlocutory appeal whilst discovery proceeds in the District Court.

      I have to admit that I had quite a few giggles from the Special Prosecutor’s obvious surprise at the defendant corporation showing up and pleading not guilty, plus his contortions to delay and block discovery in the case. My guess is that at some point the Prosecutor will drop the charge against that defendant to keep it from going to trial.

  30. September 23, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    The investigative reporter Sharyl Atkisson, who worked for CBS News and wrote about Holder’s “Fast and Furious” gun sales to Mexican cartels only to be smeared, has written “The Smear: How Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote”, just out in paperback. The news spin/smear machine is a multibillion dollar annual industry and has intensified over the last decades. Insiders of “black market” news play in the shady operations. David Brock of Media Matters, for example, has built a multimillion dollar empire based on the smear; Brock was once right-wing but became a staunch supporter of Clinton. Smears are more common these days in MSM than fact, it appears, hence this NYT “recap” long article attempt to sling out the Russiagate mudball to keep the tar baby alive.

    • Lonkal
      September 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      I don’t appreciate the way you implied Clinton is left-wing.

      • Rob Roy
        September 25, 2018 at 2:10 pm

        Lonkal, ditto, though Jessika is very smart. Clinton, the Goldwater Girl, is right wing as they come, a true believer in regime change and war.

        • RnM
          September 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm

          HRC is actually a rightist wolf in a liberal sheep’s clothing. She has somehow duped a great many people, although I truly can’t fathom
          how, apart from the mere fact of her gender.
          I once heard a commentator in the ’90’s refer to Bill as an “unprincipled chameleon.” A well-matched couple, eh?

  31. September 23, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Operation Mockingbird & John Barbour

    Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos discuss Operation Mockingbird and how America’s most powerful news outlets worked with the CIA for 25 years to plant false stories and mislead the public. Documentarian John Barbour talks about the surveillance of journalists.

    https://www.rt.com/shows/the-world-according-to-jesse/429221-operation-mockingbird-cia-surveillance/

    • JWalters
      September 23, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Despite so much information on this being out there, the mainstream media NEVER covers it. This is solid evidence of the mainstream media being controlled by those people who want to keep this hidden. Here’s another (of many) articles documenting America’s “flagship” news organization lying to the American people, covering up the crimes of those in control.

      “‘NYT’ columnist is one-trick-pony: being propagandist for Israel”
      https://mondoweiss.net/2018/09/columnist-propagandist-israel/

      • September 24, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        Judith Miller proved that …….Remember MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for questioning the run up to the war in Iraq…..and today proved liar and war Criminal Breenan works for MSNBC……Clapper and Haden work for CNN…….The USSR wasn’t so blatant.

        Why no investigation of Trump getting 6 Billion in free airtime?

        While Sanders was ignored?

        They all wanted Trump becasue they knew Trump was the only one whom Hillary could beat.It had to be Trump…..

        MSNBC pushed Trump 24/7 and showed his speeches in full and his empty podium whle they not only ignored Sanders but fired Ed Shultz for wanting to cover Sanders……thats a conspiracy….

        Ed Schultz – MSNBC Fired Me For Exposing Hillary Clinton’s Corruption

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSG1Cv7Y8qw

        MSNBC Blocked Me From Covering Bernie – Ed Schultz – YouTube

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yJW3S3nYCI

        • Rob Roy
          September 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm

          Now Ed Schultz has a decent program on rt.

          • RnM
            September 25, 2018 at 2:45 pm

            Ed passed away this summer. R.I.P., Ed.

  32. September 23, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Everyone knows, or everyone should know that the security agencies, since their inception, has had thousands of their agents in the media.

    • September 23, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Enjoyed your question so much, I developed it into a rant. Thank you.

      https://opensociet.org/2018/09/23/why-is-trump-a-threat/

      • rosemerry
        September 24, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        A marvellous link. I had not seen anastasia’s spot-on comment .

      • September 24, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Indeed. I learn a great deal each time I visit this ConsortiumNews community. Exceptional people here, the writers and the commenters.

  33. irina
    September 23, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I didn’t read the article and therefore very much appreciate the analysis, thus sparing me the orginal.

    But I DID SEE the doctored image of Vladimir Putin which accompanied it, as did anyone who looked
    at the front page of the NYT that day. The article was important to those who think they are ‘informed’
    while the picture is now part of the visual memory of a great many more people, and will become part
    of their subconscious mental image of ‘Putin’. It’s really a cunningly awful image and deserves mentioning.

  34. Dunderhead
    September 23, 2018 at 10:29 am

    It is pretty hard to believe anyone other than the endangered species known as the American intelligentsia, which probably amounts to something like 5% of the population takes seriously anything the New York Times says at this point. Strictly on class and ethnic lines the liberal elite in this country are such a backwards and fundamentally illiterate bunch it is difficult to take them seriously, most are decent people but of a society that for at least the last two generations now has had their eyes firmly sealed shut and why not they have mostly gotten rich by the neoliberal mercantilist policies that have gutted standards of living for the rest of the country and this is while touting their social justice reforms not to mention Global warming that will inevitably steal the wealth of what is left of the middle-class. These people are retards, most aren’t even aware that there was a war in Libya or ever bothered to try and put it together the color revolutions with the Arab spring, the white helmets or the war in Syria, wish they still Believe Asad is the main perpetrator of violence toward the Syrian people.

    One could go on but why bother, the NYT has been the paper of record for this country and as such has kept the empires favorite sheep informed of their right think responsibilities, fortunately paradigms do shift after a while, Imperial overreach, there’s nothing left to seal in the heartland who knows but there is so much truly fantastic independent media being produced at this point and it is going mainstream to the masses, to be a fly on the wall overseeing the Final demise of the Washington consensus may not be exactly what I was hoping for at this point in my life but it’s not bad.

    • witters
      September 24, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      “Strictly on class and ethnic lines the liberal elite in this country are such a backwards and fundamentally illiterate bunch it is difficult to take them seriously, most are decent people but of a society that for at least the last two generations now has had their eyes firmly sealed shut and why not they have mostly gotten rich by the neoliberal mercantilist policies that have gutted standards of living for the rest of the country and this is while touting their social justice reforms not to mention Global warming that will inevitably steal the wealth of what is left of the middle-class.”

      Um, global Warming will take down our civilisation, such as it is. And it will be the (growing) poor first.

      • irina
        September 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm

        While this is a link to something of an alarmist blog, the blog is informative, well written and
        frequently updated : https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/09/blue-ocean-event.html

        Lots of graphs and other data to support the blog’s central thesis, which is that we are well
        past a LOT of tipping points whose very existence we are only now beginning to be aware of.

        Most important sentence in the “blue ocean event” post : “The amount of energy absorbed by
        melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero degrees C
        (freezing point) to 80 degrees C; without sea ice (to melt), additional ocean heat will have to
        go elsewhere.” In other words, the ocean’s ability to act as a heat sink is diminishing fast.

  35. Al Pinto
    September 23, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Quote from the article:

    “–Ignoring findings backed by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that the DNC emails were leaked and not hacked.”

    Quote from the referenced VIP article:

    “July 5, 2016: In the early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, someone working in the EDT time zone with a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. That speed is much faster than what is physically possible with a hack.

    It thus appears that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a hack by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a copy of DNC data onto an external storage device.”

    By VIP own admission, the network connection (“DNC Local Area Network”) is one option, while the other being “copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. Yet, VIP declares that “not a hack by Russia or anyone else”, without clarifying why.

    The VIP findings really does not clarify the physical means for getting this file and muddies the circumstances just as much as Crowd Strike did…

    Was the data copied, or downloaded remotely by a server administrator or hacker from Russia, China, etc.? The answer to this question depends on the color of hat you are wearing….

  36. September 23, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Why do they consider Trump such a threat since he IS truly doing everything that the deep-staters and the neo-cons want and is doing nothing different than what the last four Presidents have done. He is following in their footsteps exactly. He is even appointing men from the last two administrations. Trump’s appointments are all deep state people and neo-cons; he is continuing these wars, even putting more fuel on them; he has increased the military budget, the whole budget for that matter; he has sanctioned Russia more than the last two Presidents combined, and now he is even killing some Russians and knocking their planes out of the sky. So why do they want to impeach him?

    WHY WOULD HE PRESENT A THREAT TO THEM OR ANYONE? I don’t get it.

    • Tom Kath
      September 23, 2018 at 1:26 am

      Most people falsely assume that everything done by AMERICA is what Trump wants or is personally doing. The very fact that these non elected people hate him so much speaks highly FOR him in my view.

    • September 23, 2018 at 3:37 am

      I can’t believe I am defending Trump but this is where we are now.

      Trump killed TPP……that went against the corporate institutions big time…..and Tarrifs?
      Trump had Gen Flynn who wanted to work with Russia…..he had to go and was pushed out by the neocons…

      Trump tried to pull out of Syria…the CIA pulled another false flag attack and blamed Assad…again with zero evidence.

      Trump has been trying to work with Russia and is being pulled away..

      Trump is trying to make peace with N Korea and is being pulled away…..

      The documents stolen off Trumps desk by the “anonymous ” staffer were plans to pull Troops and missiles out of S Korea……

      Trump hasnt stared any news wars unlike Obama the peace prize winner.

      That’s a threat to the MIC

      Trump also knows that the FBI and DOJ under Loretta Lynch conspired to help Hillary and tried to blackmail him with the bogus Steele dossier.A dossier compiled from top Russian government officials.With the help of Brennan and his pal CIA Halper.

      Now that’s Russian collusion and sedition.

      And it might all come back to get them.

    • September 23, 2018 at 6:03 am

      You have a real point. Here is my explanation.

      In fact, Trump has demonstrated what a weakling he is – despite all the noise and bravado all the time – by literally giving them everything and leaving behind the few things he seemed originally intent on doing that were worthwhile – better relations with Russia, leaving Syria, and stopping some of the horror of the Neocon Mideast Wars.

      He has simply left all those worthwhile concepts behind in a desperate effort to survive. What’s left is his junk program of disparaging migrants and Muslims and still wanting to build a giant stupid wall – a program that is tailored to the Walmart-NASCAR-gun meet-Pledge of Allegiance crowd that makes his base.

      So, he ends with the worst of all worlds. A man who has just continued the policies of Obama, even intensifying them, and tearing up what little worthwhile Obama achieved. Obama bombed every day of his eight years, and Trump just continues. Obama is responsible for the mess in Ukraine, and Trump just continues. Obama was responsible for the pivot towards China, and Trump just continues. Obama created America’s vast extrajudicial killing program, and Trump just continues.

      In another aspect of his desperate cowardice and wish to be liked and re-elected, he destroyed the Iran Agreement – Obama’s only serious worthwhile achievement in my view – owing directly to influence from Netanyahu and Netanyahu’s biggest booster, American billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who undoubtedly promises tens of millions for 2020.

      Indeed, again to buy favor, he has given Israel’s lobbyists everything they want. It is embarrassing to see such subservience to a small state making huge demands. Moving the embassy illegally to Jerusalem, Ending aid program after aid program for the Palestinians. Berating the UN constantly, despite its now faint voice after years of American browbeating, and withdrawing from important UN agencies to please Israel. It is simply an appalling set of activities.

      It all reflects what is a very weak character, and it is all driven from a desperate effort to please the American power establishment.

      He knows in general they dislike him. I think there area few aspects to their dislike. He is viewed as a political pirate, having no real background and having hijacked a major political party that was adrift. He is also viewed as a kind of crass nouveau riche type by all the old money. His crassness is measured by the fact that his past rickety real estate empire has only survived by endless legal maneuvering and, apparently, a big hand in the past from Russian mob money. Of course, also his basic way of communicating.

      The Russian thing is important. While I think the whole Hillary Clinton claim about Russia helping him is complete crap, he nevertheless is where he is in part owing to Russian shady-money connections. And if there is one thing the American power establishment can agree on, its viewing Russia the way Rome viewed Carthage.

      Russia is loathed because it represents a serious obstacle to the current driving hormonal rage of America in asserting its dominion over the planet, a development which reflects their awareness of relative decline since WWII in world trade and economics. There are a lot of countries out there now looking for their place in the sun, countries which were flat on the ground in Ozzie and Harriet’s days that created the myth of the American Dream – a myth, by the way, which Trump uses on his trailer park political base under the “Make America Great Again” slogan. It’s utter nonsense, and the big boys in Washington know it is. They have other plans.

      America is actually not able to compete with them all those new competitors, and its position will inevitably further slide relative to them. That is not easily swallowed by the folks who really run America and have enjoyed a god-like position for much of the time after WWII.

      And their attitudes have been catered to by Washington’s influential Neocon Crowd. It says America should just use its brute power to get what it wants. It is an Israelized point of view, and the Neocons have an ongoing relationship with Israel. Their advocacy for a newly aggressive United States is partly based on the understanding that an aggressive United States is good for Israel.

      So, we have a big tear – “full-spectrum dominance” is one of the mottos – to literally tell people all over the planet, “It’s my way or the highway” and to use force, almost in a mafia protection-racket style, to carve out favorable advantages that couldn’t be had by fair competition. There are many examples, but a good recent one is the effort to push out reasonably-priced Russian gas from Europe and replacing it with far costlier American LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). And we have sanctions against people for Buying Russian weapons rather than American ones.

      The establishment, given this new wave of aggression as one of its basic drives, just does not trust a Trump whose business interests in the past were “rescued” by Russian money and who talked the way he did during the campaign about normal relations with Russia, something, indeed, which is one of his only sensible views. Those establishment attitudes Trump just cannot overcome, and they have nothing at all to do with “Russia-gate.” Russia-gate only exists owing to the pre-existing attitudes, and Hillary Clinton has only been able to make her pathetic claims about why she lost the election precisely because of the same pre-existing attitudes.

      Not to defend Trump, whom I find appalling, but it is all a dirty and dangerous situation with the Democrats just as much behind the imperial drives as the Republicans. They are all establishment, with no distinctions to be made between them in foreign affairs and the new aggressive imperialism.

      It is all a very dark situation with the Trump drama only a kind of noisy sideshow, a sideshow unfortunately which only contributes more instability as this pathetic man struggles to survive against America’s ugly establishment.

      • September 23, 2018 at 9:06 am

        To John Chuckman, what you have to say about our President sadly rings true and we have to accept that finding an honest maverick was too much to hope for. Major changes in the way we select politicians would have to occur and it is hard to imagine that being possible today.

        • Rob
          September 23, 2018 at 3:04 pm

          Wow! Calling Trump an “honest maverick” requires massive cognitive dissonance. The man’s entire career has been one of deceit, bigotry and almost certain criminality (think money laundering). Though he did say some laudable things during his campaign for president, his motives may have been totally self-serving. The one indisputable thing that can be said about Donald Trump is that he is NOT honest.

          • Tom Kath
            September 23, 2018 at 7:25 pm

            Rob, a bit like a F***book algorithm which will not tolerate the words “Trump” and “good” in the same sentence ( even if you write that he needs a good kick up the arse), you have not noticed that Herman actually wrote that “honest maverick” was TOO MUCH TO HOPE FOR. ie – he is NOT one!

          • Ray Raven
            September 24, 2018 at 4:10 am

            Tom Kath’s nailed it.

          • September 26, 2018 at 7:39 pm

            And yet with all that Hillary made Trump look good…..didnt Hillary cheat the country out of Sanders who would have won?Pot meet kettle.

            VIDEO: House Candidate Calls Hillary ‘Honest,’ Crowd Roars With Laughter

            https://dailycaller.com/2016/09/19/video-house-candidate-calls-hillary-honest-crowd-roars-with-laughter/

      • September 23, 2018 at 2:42 pm

        Are you saying then that they are assaulting him the way they are because they want to show him and the rest of the world who the real boss is? What for? He appears to be doing all that they want very willingly, almost gleefully. I do not believe he was pushed into what he was doing in the mid-east because he was “weak.” He is doing all these things, sanctioning the Palestinians, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, increasing the military in Syria, (I do not believe that the military was inside of Syria during the Obama administration), bombing Syria, sanctioning Russia all too willingly. He does not seem to be doing any of these things “reluctantly”, or because he is “weak”.

        Consider this. During his campaign, he was screaming from the rafters about the lousy deal Obama made with the Iranians, and the reason, the ONLY reason he had given was the amount of money Obama gave them………….in cash. By withdrawing from the agreement, he had to know he wasn’t going to get the cash back. Using my hindsight, I have come to believe that he needed some excuse to do what he was planning on doing – withdrawing from the Iran deal, but needed his followers on board, so he talked about the money – only the money. He gave the people a reason during the campaign, i.e. the money, but that reason was not a reason for withdrawing from the agreement. It was simply a reason given not to vote for Hillary Clinton, who may have given Iran another billion in cash.

        When I think about his campaign statements, I realize now that he really wasn’t exactly saying what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that he was getting out of the mid-east, but he never quite said that. What he said was that Iraq was a big mistake; there were no weapons of mass destruction; what have we been doing in Afghanistan for the last 15 years, etc. These statements are not statements of any plan to get out. He never explicitly said that. As it concerns Russia, he said he wanted to cooperate with them to get the terrorists out of Syria and get the thing over with, but he did not say he would not sanction them. He even took the credit of Putin in driving the terrorists out of Syria. He was no help, and certainly a hindrance to that effort, but he acted as if the US was doing it with only some assistance from Putin. He took credit for it all.

        He really did not say what I wanted to hear, but he said things that led me to believe mistakenly he would get out of the mid-east, and now, I realize it was merely wishful thinking on my part.

        He never got rid of Obama care, and did not seem very interested in putting anything together for the congress. He seemed totally disinterested in the subject, and even said out loud – “do something” as if he did not give a damn what they did.

        In regard to the second amendment, he was gung-ho, or better gun-ho, but later while sitting next to Feinstein, he was heard to say, “take the guns now, and worry about due process later.”

        In regard to abortion, the budget was passed and signed (not vetoed) by him, had all the monies budgeted for planned parenthood.

        All of his appointments are Bush appointees and neo-cons. He did not make them “reluctantly”. He sought these people out.

        All of this was not done because of weakness. He either wanted it or he didn’t give a damn who was advising him.

        Before his appointment, he even went on Alex Jones show, but since twitter, youtube, facebook has been censuring Alex Jones and ALL people of the same genre, he has said NOTHING. I feel certain that the government is orchestrating this censure-ship – and that would make him complicit in that.

        So, I cannot fathom why they are itching to impeach him; why they consider him such a threat?

        They are acting as if he is a threat to them; they are doing all kinds of things to bring him to the point of impeachment; Mueller is doing everything to make him look like he was involved in criminal activity, eg making Cohen plead guilty to campaign violations; prosecuting Manafort when the decision not to prosecute him was made by the Justice Department under Obama, talking about collusion, when there is no law against collusion; appointing a Special Prosecutor – all these things are being done to create an illusion for the people to accept his “impeachment.”

        Why? Why are they doing this? It simply could not be only because he is insulting everyone and they are all taking offense?

        What is the reason they feel so threatened by him?

        Laura

        I am not sure I understand.

        For the life of me, I cannot understand why they consider him to be such a threat that they are doing everything possible to set him up for impeachment.

        I am merely speculating, but before he ran for office, he took up with some people who the deep state may have considered to be a threat. I don’t think he is

        Yet,

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 24, 2018 at 1:51 am

          Consider this Anastasia; Trump reportedly went thru 4 bankruptcies but yet never appeared to have been through anything other than his plush high end lifestyle. He’s a showman. Liked your reasoning, as it inspired my comment. Joe

        • Tom Kath
          September 23, 2018 at 8:13 pm

          A most interesting commentary! I thank Anastasia for posing this highly relevant question, and John Chuckman for most credibly answering it !
          There is perhaps still the slightly embarrassing “enigma” that Trump DOES represent the quintessential, perfect average example of an American – obsessed with money, twitting on a mobile phone, brash, loud, “up himself”, – the lamentably flawed “American Dream” ! Perhaps people just hate seeing this charicature form of themselves.

          There is a similar embarrassed repugnance here in Australia for our iconic Slim Dusty or Chad Morgan.

      • Joe Lauria
        September 25, 2018 at 3:15 am

        Spot on.

      • September 26, 2018 at 7:36 pm

        “What’s left is his junk program of disparaging migrants and Muslims and still wanting to build a giant stupid wall – a program that is tailored to the Walmart-NASCAR-gun meet-Pledge of Allegiance crowd that makes his base.”

        Again I cant believe Im defending Trump but here we are…….

        What Trump voters voted for….

        TRUMP “Bush worst president ever”

        – YouTube
        Video for trump bush worst president ever
        ? 6:15
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6N8l8DMu3M

        Dec 11, 2007 – Uploaded by TheCyMan
        “Well, I think Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States, and I just don’t …

        Trump on Bush going into Iraq: ‘They lied’

        | TheHill
        Video for trump bush iraq
        ?
        thehill.com/…/269410-trump-on-bush-going-into-iraq-they-lied

        Feb 13, 2016
        “Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” Trump said.

        I remember when democrats wanted to build a wall and Obama deported more illegals than any president and put kids in cages to boot.

        Hillary: I Voted for Border Fence to Keep Out Illegal Immigrants

        Video for hillary I voted for a wall
        ? 0:33
        https://www.weeklystandard.com/…/hillary-i-voted-for-border-fence-…

        Flashback: Democrats Talked Tough On Immigration

        Video for Obama illegal immigrants must go
        ? 1:26
        https://gop.com/flashback-democrats-talked-tough-on-immigration-rsr/
        Jan 25, 2018 – Uploaded by DemocratFlashback
        In President Barack Obama’s 2013 State Of The Union Address, ….

        Cesar Chavez against illegal immigration …

        Video for cesar chavez illegal immigration
        ? 2:55
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ9jIXHhFJI

        Apr 3, 2013 – Uploaded by krove
        Cesar Chavez Used The Term “Wetbacks” and “Illegals” to Describe Migrant … can always be broken by …

        Illegal immigrants not only take jobs they lower wages for citizens.Construction used to be a good union job and is now overrun with illegals labor.

        As for Muslims?……Hasnt the USA been attacking Muslim countries and killing muslims?I am against all these wars but I know how my Irish grandfather felt about the British and Im thinking people who’s countries and families have been destroyed by the USA might have a few resentments.And its muslims who have carried out attacks in the US and Europe……I live in Boston,I remember well.

        Trump wanted better vetting and I know if I were Muslim I would hate the USA…..Im not even Muslims and I have no love for this government.

        As for Trump election?…..Trump is a stiff middle finger to the Bush republicans and free traitor GOP and democrats.The more outrageous he was the better they liked him because they know the game is rigged against them and Trump was the only one who bothered to even talk to them and their concerns.

        Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise

        Glenn Greenwald

        “One of the most illuminating pieces of reporting about the 2016 election is also, not coincidentally, one of the most ignored: interviews by the New York Times
        with white and African-American working-class voters in Milwaukee who
        refused to vote and – even knowing that Trump won Wisconsin, and thus
        the presidency, largely because of their decision – don’t regret it.
        “Milwaukee is tired. Both of them were terrible. They never do anything
        for us anyway,” the article quotes an African-American barber,
        justifying his decision not to vote in 2016 after voting twice for
        Obama.

        Moore develops the same point, even more powerfully, about his home

        state of Michigan, which – like Wisconsin – Trump also won after Obama
        won it twice. In one of the most powerful and devastating passages from
        the film – indeed, of any political documentary seen in quite some time –
        “Fahrenheit 11/9? takes us in real-time through the indescribably
        shameful water crisis of Flint, the criminal cover-up of it by GOP
        Governor Rick Snyder, and the physical and emotional suffering endured
        by its poor, voiceless, and overwhelmingly black residents.

        After many months of abuse, of being lied to, of being poisoned,
        Flint residents, in May, 2016, finally had a cause for hope: President
        Obama announced that he would visit Flint to address the water crisis.
        As Air Force One majestically lands, Flint residents rejoice, believing
        that genuine concern, political salvation, and drinkable water had
        finally arrived.

        Exactly the opposite happened. Obama delivered a speech in which he
        not only appeared to minimize, but to mock, concerns of Flint residents
        over the lead levels in their water, capped off by a grotesquely cynical
        political stunt where he flamboyantly insisted on having a glass of
        filtered tap water that he then pretended to drink, but in fact only
        used to wet his lips, ingesting none of it.”

        https://theintercept.com/20

        “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

        Chuck Schumer?…..

        Why would they ever vote for that party when they could blow them both up with TRUMP?……what choice were they given?

        Hillary lost states that went to Obama twice and turned safe blue states red……your “walmart= Nascar ” bigots.They will never vote democrat again with that kind of outreach and lack of understanding.Just sayin……

    • September 23, 2018 at 10:04 am

      Exactly right. The WWF Wrassling show Trump produces around him like Pigpen from Peanuts on Winstrol makes him seem different.

      However, Trump doesn’t really care about ideology and policy. One week he says, “We don’t need to be in Syria. Withdraw the troops.” Next week he says “Bomb the shit out of them.” There is no consistent Trump policy. Because Trump’s brain is Corn Flakes. There’s only ego there.

      What Trump cares about is being the alpha dog. Being on top of the food chain. When he took office, he erased everything Obama did. That was a “policy position.”

      Hence, people made the mistake of thinking Trump was “changing the establishment” because of this. In reality, Trump just wanted to show he’s “better than” Obama.

      There isn’t any 4-D Vulcan chess match going on with Trump. He simply wants every single human being on earth to know his name. The policies going on around him – the Republican trickledown neoliberal tax cut for the rich economics for example – are the same as it ever was. There is no “helping the regular people” on his agenda.

      Folks enjoy his battles with the intelligence community and the Clintons. Because the alphabet soup and New Democrats are corrupt. Thing is, Trump is too selfish to care about helping anyone but himself. He is no Great American Hero. He’s just an asshole. Any benefit to any one else from his words and deeds are completely coincidental.

      Trump Minus Narrative Equals Bush and Obama

    • Kevin Bradley
      September 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Trump isn’t representing the establishment faction or its agenda, he is backed by a weaker right-wing faction of the “deep state.” The two factions are rivals for power and right now are at each other’s throats. A new book, A Tale of Two Factions, by Joseph Raso lays it out with think tanks, the media and identifies many individuals involved since WWII. It’s free of speculation but maps out the oligarchy. Basically Trump is supported by a “conservative” part of the deep state but most of the media (Fox News is an exception) is on the side of the anti-Trump “liberal” establishment. Of course neither faction is on the side of real democracy.

    • Rob Roy
      September 25, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Anastasia,

      Here’s two differences.

      1. Trump may actually (horrors!) end the Korean War which should be been done decades ago. No other president would have allowed that to happen. (We must keep any possible war enemy in the wings.)

      2. Trump actually doesn’t want a war with Russia. OMG, we MUST keep our “known adversary,” our “known enemy” firmly in place. To make peace with Russia is anathema to the MIC (and to H. Clinton, too, BTW).

  37. CitizenOne
    September 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    William Randolph Hearst, the owner and publisher of Hearst Publications led the nation to war in Cuba over BS. I wonder who fed him the BS? Probably the same demons from dim history that conspire to mire humanity in unimaginable horror and death and war so that they might gain riches and fame. He was a populist too made possible by his companies subscriber based business model.

    Imagine how much less likely anyone could resist the demons of war today with our internet which is entirely supported by commercial interests.

    Not a good time to see regulations like net neutrality fall as all the others that have fallen have worsened the threats to democracy (or rule by the people).

  38. Scott Kuli
    September 22, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    The “deep state” seems to have Trump cowed enough that he wouldn’t dare issue an order to US troops illegally in Syria to come home, so they’re happy with that. That’s what the purpose of “Russian collusion” as far as they were concerned.

    So why is the media, and in particular the rabidly pro-Hillary part of it still carrying this on? So they can say she was “robbed” last time to enable her to steal the nomination to run again.

    Oh yes, she IS planning exactly that, and her cult can’t wait for her to have another shot even though her chances of winning honestly are as close to zero as the temperature in deep space is to absolute zero.

    Mueller broke into Cohen’s (Trump’s lawyer’s) office looking for evidence of a payment to Stormy. Did he think she might have been a Russian agent?

    He also questioned mixed martial artists who’d fought for the Affliction organization when Cohen was it’s CEO. First, it’s colossal stupidity to think that even if Cohen had engaged in any attempt at collusion on Trump’s behalf that the mma guys would know anything about it. Second, it appears from the indictments that HAVE been handed out that he’s trying to get people in things far less serious than many Hillary has been accused of, and which have nothing to do with “collusion” in order to get them to say what he wants them to about Trump.

    I suspect before long he and his team will be poring over New York phone books from the ’90s hoping to find people whose last names end in “sky”, “ov”, or “enko” and if they lived within a few miles of Trump, hitting them up for interviews.

    As for the New York Times, it has a great crossword puzzle. Other than that it is to ethics in journalism what running into the wind with one’s mouth open is to nutrition.

    I wonder what the non-potted plants there feel when they ponder the workplace choice they made.

  39. Tom Kath
    September 22, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    There has been a misleading “labelling” ! From my perspective, the people, common, mob, mainstream, the establishment, were once all pretty much the same thing.- Does the establishment MSM still represent the common mob? – Perhaps they do!

    • September 22, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      MSM hired proved liar and war criminal Brennan.CNN hired proved liars and tortured enthusiasts Clapper and Haden.The USSR wasn’t so blatant.

  40. mrtmbrnmn
    September 22, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Thnx Joe Lauria for taking the time and effort to dissect this gigantic steaming piece of NY Times journalistic malpractice and lickspittling. Just plowing through all these lies and refried lies was like drowning in a vat of outhouse muck. In fact, it is the NY Times that is up to its snout in it and, I fear, loving it too much. As the piles of ordure rise all around us, and if the massive lawlessness of this Deep State war mongering & regime change operation succeeds, there is no coming back from it for this hapless and gullible country.

  41. Pft
    September 22, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    The problem is many of the links between Trump and Putin, if they do exist , would also likely implicate Israel , and Israel must be protected at all cost

    One can not look at Trumps past and present and those he has dealt with and not see that Trump has a number of partners or investors who are Russian and/or Israeli.
    Thats not proof of anything although some of these characters are also linked to mafia and criminal enterprises

    Proof of collusion is very hard. If it were not there would be far more collusion cases prosecuted against industries (airline, telecom, pharma, banking, etc).

    Foreign influence over elections is very significant. How could it not be. The money flows through Super Pacs who do not disclose. Plus so many rich folks have dual citizenship and shared loyalties, and many US companies have significant business interests in other countries, like Trump in China, not to mention foreign shareholders. Heck, even much of the MSM that reports on election news have foreign born or influenced owners/operators

  42. willow
    September 22, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Obama repealed the propaganda ban as part of the 2013 NDAA. The Smith-Mundt Act was enacted shortly after WW2. From nearly 70 years until 2013, it was illegal for our own government to propagandize American citizens.
    When Obama legalized domestic propaganda — fake news became the new business model for mainstream media. For example, in 2016, the CIA paid WaPo owner Jeff Bezos $600 million to sell us war and the candidates who support war

    • Skip Scott
      September 23, 2018 at 9:28 am

      That this passed by quietly speaks volumes of the collusion between the government, the so-called “intelligence” agencies, and the MSM. Even though the Smith-Mundt Act was on the books, it was largely ignored anyway. “Operation Mockingbird” goes all the way back to the early 1950’s. The evil empire’s attempts at “full spectrum dominance” has just made what Robert Parry called “The Mighty Wurlitzer” that much louder.

  43. Mark F. McCarty
    September 22, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    We should be deeply grateful to Joe Lauria that now we need not attempt to ascend that mountainous pile of dreck.

    With respect to the Mueller indictment, the fact that it is the sheerest BS at its core is exceedingly easy to demonstrate:

    https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/muellers-new-indictment-do-the-feds-take-us-for-idiots-5406ef955406

  44. mark
    September 22, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    This Russiagate garbage will hammer the final nail in the coffin of the MSM.
    It will complete the process that began with the cheerleading over Iraq.
    It will shortly be left completely discredited, any authority it once enjoyed forfeit.

    Beyond that, it will lead us further into Karl Rove’s post truth, fact free world of delusions and magical thinking.
    Objective reality is whatever you want it to be, whatever you happen to find convenient at the time, whatever suits your agenda or whatever suits your prejudices.
    “Russia stole the election for Trump,” because all the Trump Haters and the MSM have said so a million times.
    Like “Assad gassed his own people,” because they said so a million times.
    Like “Putin murdered Litvinenko/ Skripal/ assorted journalists” (delete as appropriate.)
    Like “Corbyn is an anti semite/ terrorist/ communist spy” (delete as appropriate.)
    Like “Iraq/ Iran (delete as appropriate) have got nuclear weapons so we have to bomb them.”

    You can now believe whatever you want to believe.
    It is just a matter of personal style and preference, like what clothes or hair style you choose.
    If you want to, you can believe in angels. Or you can believe that the world is run by a conspiracy of pixies or fairies.
    Evidence is unnecessary.
    Facts are unnecessary.
    “We don’t need no stinkin’ facts!”
    “We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!”

  45. September 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Doubling down is aptly put. There is great deal of opinionating and speculating about the reason for the vehement resistance to detente’ but it is hard to comfortable that it is fully understood. Certainly there are a lot of convincing reasons given such as the push by the military industrial political cabal but you still wonder if that is all. What drives such men as Soros who seem enraged by the thought of detente’ as he pours out his wrath on Trump for suggesting it. You have to wonder whether the vehemence of the attack on Trump is rooted mainly in that his aspiring to improve relations with Russia, that the other attacks just a way to neuter him in this effort. Albeit that the history since the breakup of the Soviet shows no evidence of aggression by Russia. The absence of evidence seems to spur the Russian haters to invent it.

    • bevin
      September 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      ” history since the breakup of the Soviet shows no evidence of aggression by Russia”
      There wasn’t a lot of aggression before the USSR broke up either, not after Yalta. All the aggression was directed at the Soviet Union as anyone who wasn’t marinated in Kool Aid was aware at the time.

    • CitizenOne
      September 23, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      Everyone I know has a hard time accepting Putin is anything but trouble. I guess it is the lifelong anti communist and anti Russian brainwashing we have received.

      The real problem as I see it is sharing a slice of the pie with Russia or allowing Russia to have a seat at the table. Russia is like a giant bear and nobody wants to let it in the room to negotiate because it is so large and fierce. They would rather have a G7 of G6 or anything to not allow Russia to join the western club.

      The MIC wants/needs mortal enemies as well to support our massive defense spending which has gone unchallenged so long it has grown into a monster that will eat us if we fail to feed it more.

      The conservatives and the MSM need a distraction away from their vote stealing ways and marking Russia as the guilty party is a neat deflection from their own true guilt.

      It’s a win – win – win.

      • RnM
        September 24, 2018 at 7:20 am

        The West, led by the British Crown (acting as the pillgers of cultures that they have always been) are simply focused on the largely untouched natural resources of the continent tha Russia and China control. Ask Napoleon, Hitler and Hirohito how that turned out.

  46. September 22, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    It’s all Putin’s fault says the “media”
    ——-
    “Putin, Putin, Putin and More Putin”

    Putin did this, Putin did that
    Putin fixed the election, how about that!
    Putin got inside silly American heads
    Putin had them voting for Trump instead (of Hillary)

    Putin is an aggressor so we are told
    Putin wants the West to join his fold
    Putin controls America, he won the election
    Putin is seen smiling was that satisfaction?

    Putin controls Trump so the media says
    Putin and Trump in Helsinki embrace
    Putin is devious the spy chiefs tell us
    Putin can’t be trusted, says the spy chorus

    Putin is everywhere and under your bed
    Putin only knows what he and Trump said
    Putin gave Trump a soccer ball as a present
    Putin controls Trump at the Helsinki event

    Putin is not our ally the warmongers say
    Putin is our enemy the ruling villains neigh
    Putin must be criticized so Trump backtracked
    Putin wants peace but the warmongers attack

    Putin will be held responsible for what happens
    Putin is the reason for all our weapons
    Putin as a villain makes profits for the war industry
    Putin will be blamed for destroying the country

    Putin must be vilified and made to pay
    Putin is our enemy forever and a day
    Putin must be told that him we deplore
    Putin will feel our wrath in a coming nuclear war

    Goodbye Putin, Good bye America Too
    America is Great Again if only it knew
    July 18, 2018
    Putin, Putin, Putin and More Putin


    [more info at link below]
    https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/07/putin-putin-putin-and-more-putin.html

  47. David G
    September 22, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I wish to respectfully take issue with one aspect of this estimable piece by Joe Lauria in order to clarify what I consider a crucial and insidious tactic being used by Russia-gate propagandists operating under cover of journalism.

    I begin by quoting two excerpts from Lauria:

    ********
    “With the mid-terms looming and Special Counsel Robert Mueller unable to so far come up with any proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to steal the 2016 election—the central Russia-gate charge—the Times does it for him, regurgitating a Russia-gate Round-Up of every unsubstantiated allegation that has been made—deceptively presented as though it’s all been proven.”
    ********

    and

    ********
    “The Times also adds: ‘There is a plausible case that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump, though it cannot be proved or disproved.’

    This is an extraordinary statement. If it cannot be ‘proved or disproved’ what is the point of this entire exercise: of the Mueller probe, the House and Senate investigations and even of this very New York Times article?

    Attempting to prove this constructed story without proof is the very point of this piece.”
    ********

    In this context, I wish to make the following point:

    My main windows into corporate media opinion are the NY Times and MSNBC, to both of which I give a fair amount of time and attention.

    For those two organs (and – as far as I can tell – this also goes for the WashPost, CNN, and the rest), the current state of the narrative is that the question of TrumpWorld-Russia collusion is still under investigation and not yet proven, and also that the *effect* Russia had on the 2016 election result is also not yet proven (and is perhaps unprovable).

    Thus, contra Lauria, I do not believe that the NY Times here either “present[s] [TrumpWorld-Russia collusion] as though it’s all been proven”, or that attempting to prove “that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump … is the very point of this [NY Times] piece”.

    The corporate media, including this doorstop of an article, consider those to be legitimate, important topics of investigation and suspicion, but not – at this stage – as established facts.

    What the Times and MSNBC *do* consider fully proven, even axiomatic at this point, and beyond dispute except by paid Kremlin trolls and sundry blogosphere kooks, is that the Russians *did in fact meddle in* (interfere with, subvert, attack, etc. – however high the outrage throttle is being turned up in any given article or TV segment) the election. And thus that Russia and Putin are the enemy.

    I’m sorry if I seem to be making an overly fine, even captious distinction, but I think it is vital to understand the sophisticated propagandistic sleight-of-hand they are employing here:

    While appearing to be keeping an open mind about the question of *collusion* with the Russian attack, and about the ultimate *efficacy* of the Russian attack, the Times and their cohort have bootstrapped the public into unquestioningly accepting the *existence* of the Russian attack – without actually ever having demanded or provided any real evidence of it, let alone having proved it.

    This approach liberates Russia-gate from the confines of the 2016 election, and instead installs it as a foundation stone in the ongoing and essential (for our imperialist-capitalist masters) work of fomenting neo-Cold War hatred of Russia in the U.S. and other good-guy countries. That is a project that, if they get their way, will persist and thrive – even if at the end of the day the smoking-gun evidence of collusion never appears (which, of course, it won’t, since the whole thing is nonsense).

    • Joe Lauria
      September 22, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      ” I do not believe that the NY Times here either “present[s] [TrumpWorld-Russia collusion] as though it’s all been proven”,…

      “Today there is *no doubt* who hacked the D.N.C. and the Clinton campaign.”

      “What we now know *with certainty*: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come.”

      • David G
        September 22, 2018 at 6:18 pm

        Those quotes from the Times article are *precisely consonant* with the point I am trying to make:

        The MSM treats as beyond rational dispute the “fact” of Russian meddling (aka intervention, hacking, new Pearl Harbor, etc., etc.). Not only do I concede that point, it is the basis of my entire argument.

        What I believe you will *not* find in this Times article, or in the Times at large, or on MSNBC (although, of course, the occasional talking head may go beyond the official line), are similarly unequivocal statements saying that TrumpWorld-Russia “collusion” (and synonyms) are yet known with “no doubt” and “with certainty”. (And that’s where I took issue with your article, Joe Lauria.)

        Am I wrong? After all, that’s what Mueller is looking into; that’s what Rachel Maddow is busily trying to suss out every evening. That is the burning question we have yet to learn the answer to – and you won’t find the most blue-chip corporate media, such as NY Times pull-out supplements or genuinely smart MSNBC hosts like Ari Melber, saying otherwise.

        This is the sleight-of-hand: while focusing everybody’s attention on the still-officially-debatable collusion question, they are smuggling into axiomatic, the-sun-rises-in-the-east, universal acceptance the evidence-free (and, in my opinion, false) assertion that the Russian meddling (“They attacked us!”) happened in the first place.

        Thus, the propagandistic objective of creating widespread belief in Russian *meddling*, and all the fruit of that poison tree in terms of public perception of Russia being an enemy and a threat, have been cemented into received opinion, and are set to survive intact even if the Mueller probe ends with something of a damp squib in terms of Trump-Russia *collusion* (a distinct possibility, I’d say).

        And between those two, i.e., Russian “meddling” and Trump-Russia “collusion”, it is the former that is of more lasting propaganda value. After all, one way or another Trump will be leaving the scene in a few years (or maybe a lot less), and public obsession with him will (however slowly) wane.

        What will remain evergreen is the “national security” establishment’s need to promote fear and loathing of Russia – at the base of which will be the “fact” of Russian meddling, in 2016, in 2018, and beyond – all known with “no doubt” and “with certainty” (as long as nobody except Russian trolls and bots and assorted Putin-lovers is ever seen to be asking exactly how it is known).

        I personally think it’s brilliant, and the people orchestrating it deserve a fat envelope from the CIA, a nice plaque from the Atlantic Council, and eventually a senior executive post in hell.

        • Joe Lauria
          September 22, 2018 at 7:11 pm

          The point is the Times is doing both: being certain and then contradicting itself. So it is wrong to say that the piece does not make a unequivocal statements of collusion.

          “What we now know with certainty: … Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

          You write: “What I believe you will *not* find in this Times article, or in the Times at large, or on MSNBC (although, of course, the occasional talking head may go beyond the official line), are similarly unequivocal statements saying that TrumpWorld-Russia “collusion” (and synonyms) are yet known with “no doubt” and “with certainty”. (And that’s where I took issue with your article, Joe Lauria.)

          Am I wrong?”

          Yes.

          • David G
            September 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm

            No, sorry, you are wrong here.

            This Times quote that you rely on:
            “What we now know with certainty: … Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

            My response is that someone who “work[s] aggressively to recruit or influence” someone else is attempting to involve them in a joint endeavor. But there is no joint action, no conspiracy, no collusion, until and unless the second party agrees to participate.

            I think you will search in vain among the zillion words of this NY Times article for a similarly unequivocal statement that anybody from TrumpWorld reciprocated those aggressive Russian efforts to recruit or influence them.

            Obviously I’m not saying the MSM is saying that *didn’t* happen: that’s the Mueller probe; that’s the juicy tantalizing stuff that fills up pages in the NY Times “A” section, and hours of time on MSNBC in between the pharmaceutical ads.

            But they treat it as being as yet unproven, a subject for investigation, reportage, and speculation – at least high-visibility, high-prestige pieces like this Times article do so. And it’s still not clear exactly what the denouement of all that is going to look like.

            In stark contrast, allegations such as the one you quote about what the Russians have been up to on their own are held by the corporate media to a different, much lower, practically non-existent standard of proof: no one at the Times picks up on Robert Parry’s demolition of the January 2017 “Intelligence Community Assessment”; it took them months even to drop the completely baseless “all 17 intelligence agencies” lie. No one at MSNBC respects the basic caveat that Mueller’s two sets of indictments of Russian nationals are merely accusations, not proof, any more than Shane and Mazzetti did – not even Ari Melber, very smart and a lawyer, who definitely knows better.

            Consummated TrumpWorld-Russia collusion is treated in the MSM as a fascinating topic of discussion and investigation, but the underlying allegations of Russian meddling are taken as factual without evidence.

            Critiques such as Robert Parry’s? In the words of Harold Pinter: “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

            My argument has been that a malign purpose is being served by the MSM focusing on the “collusion” debate while treating the unproven (probably false) “meddling” allegations as gospel.

            Look, I appreciated your article, Joe Lauria; the first comment I made today expressed as much. With the comment that began this colloquy, I was just trying to pick up on one small glitch in it as a way of bringing out what I see as a pernicious feature of the propagandistic Russia-gate campaign.

            At this point I think I’ve explicated my argument as best I’m able, and anyone who wants to give it a fair reading can make of it what they will. If you don’t want to be among them, that’s your choice.

        • Joe Lauria
          September 22, 2018 at 7:16 pm

          By the way I don’t know what your objection is, or understand much of your comment, because I never wrote in my own words that the Times is making such unequivocal statements. In fact I said they have an “unsteady conviction” and are schizoid. I don’t really understand what your objection is to what I wrote.

          • Rob Roy
            September 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm

            Joe is right, David, wrong. Obviously.
            There’s no molehill in Joe’s article of which to make a mountain.

          • Tom Kath
            September 24, 2018 at 1:22 am

            The way I read it, put simply, David is AGREEING with Joe, but merely suggesting that the MSM campaign is actually perhaps even more invidious and subversive than Joe is illustrating.

          • Calgacus
            September 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm

            Yes, I agree with David. He is pointing out the use of a standard propaganda technique. Similar to what Chomsky calls feigned dissent. Some opinion or debate or uncertainty is feigned, in order to inculcate assumptions underlying both supposed sides.
            The writing seems vetted by lawyers – and this reinforces the above propaganda style. The only people that are freely slandered are Russians who won’t sue.

    • RnM
      September 24, 2018 at 7:27 am

      These MSM organ are there to complexify, obfuscate, and throw enough mud at the subjects that the reader knows less for having wasted the time reading it. Ignore them, and refuse to ever read them or quote them. That’s what those attention whores fear most.

      • September 25, 2018 at 12:57 pm

        That’s right. They continue to make themselves irrelevant to any thinking person. Too bad so many people let the media do their thinking for them.

  48. Babyl-on
    September 22, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Sorry, checking my browsers as some of my comments disappeared.

  49. Babyl-on
    September 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Test post.

  50. September 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    This is an excellent take-down of the unbelievably propagandized non-issue that is Russiagate. Completely manufactured in order to distract from the overt and obvious corruption in DC. Someone wisely suggested to read the NYT article backwards, starting with where they admit there is no evidence. Well done, Joe!

  51. Nop
    September 22, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I don’t think there is a single mainstream media outlet left with any credibility. They are zombies, wandering around in the clothes of journalism, but actually dead inside.

    • Josep
      September 26, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      This is already a given in the US at least. As Canada, the EU, the UK and Australia are still under America’s jackboot, I doubt the mainstream media outlets in those regions are any better.
      I’m not sure of the media in Russia and Switzerland, as both countries are neither part of the EU nor NATO, nor do they have any American military bases installed.

  52. Jeff Harrison
    September 22, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Thanx for that link to truth dig, Joe. The NYT has more crimes than you list that are germain. Does the name Wen Ho Lee ring a bell? If we can’t trust the news media to tell the truth, what is your average citizen to do?

  53. David G
    September 22, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    To file under the heading “And the beat goes on”, here is an email I just sent to the NY Times:

    ********
    Dear editors,

    I’m writing with reference to this headline in today’s print edition: “Woman in Spy Case Backed by a Mogul With Security Ties”.

    I question your use of the word “spy” here. (I see the web edition’s headline does not include that word.)

    Maria Butina is charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent, not with espionage.

    Unless the headline is referring to facts or allegations outside of Ms. Butina’s indictment (in which case such should have been made clear in the article), I feel this is a significant error and merits a correction by the Times.

    Considering the prominence of the Times’s platform and the legal jeopardy Ms. Butina is facing, I would hope you might see promptly correcting this as more a matter of conscience than merely of form.

    (I feel the article itself skirts close to the line by using the phrase “accused of infiltrating” while nowhere referring to the actual charge she is facing, but I can’t say it’s definitively erroneous. Perhaps the possibility that this too-clever approach may have taken in your own headline writers and editors will give you something to reflect on in your coverage going forward.)
    ********

  54. MoreFreedom
    September 22, 2018 at 11:05 am

    One thing exposes the liberal MSM bias like no other: it’s refusal to reveal their anonymous sources who’ve proven to be liars using the MSM to promote their politically biased lies. Why doesn’t the media reveal their lying anonymous sources?

    Their refusal to do so shows us two things: first that the liberal MSM wants more lies to publish against Trump and conservatives. And second, that they’ve no fidelity to honesty, truth or integrity. It’s yellow journalism defined.

  55. September 22, 2018 at 11:03 am

    How can you write a story like this and neglect to mention Seth Rich? William Binney offers physical evidence that the DNC leak was from an insider, and Seth Rich was on a short list of people who had inside access. He was murdered, and the whole Russiagate story is likely to be a psy-op to distract the public from his murder.

    • September 22, 2018 at 11:31 am

      The Seth Rich case has virtually disappeared from the mainline press, but, My God, what a sensational case to ignore.

      I suspect there’s a good, detailed story in how that investigation was handled.

      What little I do know make the local police look as bad the the Dallas Force after Kennedy’s assassination.

      Certainly, the redoubtable Julian Assange vaguely suggested Rich.

      Several experts have said the material was leaked, not hacked.

      Simply amazing we have at least one man who knows exactly who supplied the information, and Washington will not talk to him.

      Amazing justice system America has.

      • September 22, 2018 at 12:56 pm

        Julian didn’t just ‘vaguely’ suggest Rich. Why else would he offer $20K reward to any evidence leading to the murder? It was the only way Julian had of ‘outing’ a leaker, which Wikileaks never does. I agree, how unbelievable is it that the Seth Rich murder is just glossed over, and if you question it, you’re a ‘conspiracy theorist’ because the family said “stop investigating”? Eye-rolling. But, the public accepts such ridiculousness nowadays, I suppose because they don’t really want to know just how extensive the mafia-like corruption is in DC.

        • Homer Jay
          September 22, 2018 at 3:07 pm

          Yes, Mary, isn’t interesting that we are told what conspiracies to accept, i.e.Trump-Russia, and which are “crazy”. In the related NYT artical the authors suggest that Assange only said the thing about Rich to divert attention from Russia. Again no evidense is offered for this. Nevermind that Assange/Wikileaks have ever been found to be dishonest in any way. Or that Wikileaks has done plenty of negative reporting on Russia. Nope Assange gets his orders from the Kremlin and Seth Rich is a distraction tactic. And shame on NYT for not allowing Assange the opportunity to respond.

        • Mark F. McCarty
          September 22, 2018 at 7:16 pm

          Most intriguing is Matt Couch’s recent report that an employee of MedStar hospital is willing to testify that both Donna Brazile and Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser arrived at this hospital at about the same time (around 5 AM on a Sunday) as the ambulance carrying Seth Rich. Couch claims this can be proved by examining Brazile and Bowser;s cell phone records (which should include geolocation data) and hospital camera footage. Naturally the DC authorities refuse to provide the required evidence, and refuse to listen to Couch’s witness.

          https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/why-did-donna-lie-again-49a1094c59ab

          • Homer Jay
            September 23, 2018 at 8:57 am

            this is very interesting. thank you Mark for sharing your article. I do hope Mr. Couch and yourself do not stop pushing for the truth on this. Keep trying to bring other reporters/investigators into it. It’s too big.

      • September 23, 2018 at 3:41 am

        Ambassador Craig Murray knows who leaked and not only has offered to testify under oath but is banned from entering the USA.

    • September 22, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      The Seth Rich murder is a huge component, for sure, but it looks to me as if Joe was focused on taking the NYT to task for what they reported incorrectly, and they didn’t mention him. But I don’t know. I do know that William Binney is a national treasure on so many levels for exposing so much. The cover-up of Seth Rich’s death is also massive, and I recall reading reports during the weeks after it happened that made it obvious it was a hit of some sort.

    • Joe Lauria
      September 22, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      There is an allusion to Seth Rich with a link to Assange’s TV comments about him.

      –Pretending to get into Julian Assange’s head as well, saying he “shared Mr. Putin’s hatred of Mrs. Clinton and had a soft spot for Russia.” And that Assange “also obscured the Russian role by fueling a right-wing conspiracy theory he knew to be false.”

  56. September 22, 2018 at 10:43 am

    The landmark intervention and meddling that should be examined for decades is when the IMF, Clinton, Rubin, Sachs and the Harvard Boys looted Russia in the 1990s.

  57. Mild - ly Facetious
    September 22, 2018 at 10:10 am

    { “They claim to have a “mountain of evidence” but what they offer would be invisible on the Great Plains.” }
    [ THE QUESTION IS, IF THE ABOVE IS TRUE, – WHY OH WHY IS REALITY WINNER SERVING 5 YEAR PRISON TERM ? ]

    Reality Winner: NSA contractor jailed for five years over classified report leak

    Winner, who leaked report on Russian election interference, is first person Trump administration charged under Espionage Act

    Amanda Holpuch in New York
    @holpuch
    Thu 23 Aug 2018

    Prosecutors said that NSA contractor Reality Winner printed a classified document showing Russian interference in the US election.

    Prosecutors said that the NSA contractor Reality Winner printed a classified document showing Russian interference in the US election.

    The NSA contractor Reality Winner was sentenced on Thursday to five years and three months in prison for leaking a top-secret document about Russian interference in the US election.

    Winner, 26, was sentenced at a federal court in Georgia after pleading guilty in June as part of a deal with government prosecutors.

    She is the first person the Trump administration has charged under the Espionage Act for a document leak.

    The justice department did not pursue the maximum sentence and instead recommended a 63-month penalty. Government attorneys said that would be the longest sentence ever for an unauthorized disclosure to the media.

    Prosecutors said that in May 2017, Winner, who was working for the defense contractor Pluribus International Corporation, printed a classified document that showed how Russian military intelligence hacked at least one voting software supplier and had attempted to breach more than 100 local election systems in the days before the November 2016 vote.

    > > > That document was the basis of a story published on the news site the Intercept about one hour before the justice department announced Winner’s arrest in June 2017. < < <

    In court on Thursday, Winner said she took responsibility for “an undeniable mistake that I made”.

    Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Winner apologized for the leak and said: “My actions were a cruel betrayal of my nation’s trust in me.”

    Winner has been jailed since her arrest and in June she pleaded guilty to one felony count of transmitting national security information, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

    After the sentencing, the justice department said that Winner had abused her government job to reveal sources and intelligence gathering methods.

    “This defendant used her position of trust to steal and divulge closely guarded intelligence information,” US attorney Bobby Christine said in a statement. “Her betrayal of the United States put at risk sources and methods of intelligence gathering, thereby offering advantage to our adversaries.”

    Winner’s attorneys challenged the lengthy recommended sentence in a court filing last week. “Despite her singular criminal act, as set forth below, the stipulated sentence of 63 months is in excess of many prior Espionage Act cases where the government has prosecuted ‘leakers’ of national defense information, including cases where the factual conduct, and information leaked, was arguably worse,” attorneys wrote.

    On Thursday, they struck a different tone. One of Winner’s attorneys, John Bell, told reporters her legal team was grateful the judge agreed to the recommended sentence. “It’s a serious matter and she can now get on with her life,” Bell said.

    Free speech advocates have warned that the Trump administration’s use of the Espionage Act – instead of less harsh laws that are crafted to penalize people for leaking government information – in Winner’s case perpetuates the aggressive attacks on whistleblowers seen under Barack Obama’s administration.

    The Intercept’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Reed, said Winner “should be honored, not punished” in a statement after the sentencing.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    “Selective and politically motivated prosecutions of leakers and whistleblowers under the Espionage Act – which dramatically escalated under Barack Obama, opening the door for the Trump justice department’s abuses – are an attack on the first amendment that will one day be judged harshly by history,” Reed said.

  58. Joe Tedesky
    September 22, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Be afraid, because the scary Russians are coming to get you. Meanwhile this mean spirited Churchillian lynch mob who pounds Putin like a duct taped punching bag forgets to mention how the American MSM during the 2016 election season gave Donald Trump 4.9 billion dollars worth of free media coverage. Think of how much media coverage that is for a second, and then think of winning elections.

    Pushing Russia into a fight is what the Mueller investigation is all about. The irony of Putin’s American image, where he is described as a villain is interesting considering that at this very moment the Russian people feel like they are in America’s crosshairs, and Putin is too easy. This is where you may want to become afraid, very afraid, that WWIII could become our new reality. Talk about reality tv becoming to real well there’s nothing more real that death.

    • September 22, 2018 at 11:39 am

      It’s all absurd.

      Who’s at war in half a dozen countries? Not Russia.

      Who supports the terrorists in Syria? Not Russia.

      Who runs a gigantic hi-tech extrajudicial killing operation? Not Russia.

      Who supplies bombs and rockets and other paraphernalia to murderous operations like Saudi Arabia and Israel? Not Russia.

      Who has bombed and burnt their way through the Middle East, killing maybe 2 million people and millions of desperate refugees? Not Russia.

      Who is threatening Iran, a country that has attacked no one? Not Russia.

      Who is threatening Venezuela? Not Russia.

      Yet in our bizarre press, Russia is the bad guy.

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 22, 2018 at 1:29 pm

        You got Chuck, and who provokes Russia all the while the accuser reverses the role with physiological projection to no end? Good post Chuck. Joe

      • J2027
        September 25, 2018 at 2:35 pm

        Ecactly. Cpmmon sense, something missing in the American populace these days.

    • RnM
      September 22, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Joe,
      Instead of putting the $4.6 billion in terms of coverage that the MSM “gave Donald Trump …..worth of free media,” I think it has proven more accurate that all that coverage was meant to thwart his candidacy and promote Hillary Clinton. It was hardly a gift to Trump. How was any of the CNN, MSNBC, et al. coverage a gift to any one except Clinton? It certainly was not apparent at the time, and even to this day, they continue to spend huge amounts of time and money to negate the election, which we are learning was corrupted on behalf of his opponent.

      • September 22, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        Any publicity is good publicity – a widely-held PR understanding. I believe it was CNN who rather than covering actual news stories would train a camera on an empty podium waiting for Trump to speak.

      • September 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        No one took Trump’s candidacy seriously. Why would they? He ran before with that wrassler Jesse Ventura and the Reform party. As a publicity stunt. Oprah Winfrey was to be his VP. Not kidding.

        The DNC pied piper strategy to highlight Trump in the field of GOP contestants backfired. All the attention made a celebrity bozo seem important.

        https://www.mediaquant.net/2016/11/a-media-post-mortem-on-the-2016-presidential-election/

        Much more important than if the media had ignored Trump, as they would have done in a healthy culture. We ignored his stunt before.

        Sadly, America is anything but a healthy culture. As an aggregate, we are mean, corrupt, and devoid of critical thinking skills. Trump is the perfect personification of the average American.

        You have to understand, many voters chose Trump precisely because he “pissed off the libitards.” Even though Trump’s positions on issues is unpredictable, his irritation to the PC alone was proof of his value.

        “He must be doing something right if he pisses off the libitards.”

        Schadenfreude. It’s America’s new national pastime.

        • September 23, 2018 at 3:44 am

          lol!

          Well done!

        • Eddie
          September 23, 2018 at 8:15 pm

          Yes, OS, I agree with you strongly on this point! I would also add that Trump’s running for POTUS was for him a great combination of ego gratification (ALL the attention people paid to his pronouncements, although he had NO background at all in governing, something which is significantly different that running a business) AND ‘brand-building’ — everybody knew his name, which helped in his scam-businesses. I’ve read that when he actually WON the presidency, his wife cried and he looked shocked, no-doubt because he started to realize that NOW he was going to have to actually DO a sustained 4-yr job, in full-microscopic-view of EVERYBODY (as all POTUS’s are nowadays subject-to), and his blustering BS wouldn’t entirely carry him through.

          And yes, Trump (like even the worst person in the world would) says SOME things that are true and even good ideas. It’s the way a competent scam artist works — say some nice, true,’relationship-building’ things until you’ve got your victim’s confidence, then do your dirty work. Very seldom do you hear of malefactors telling an intended ‘mark’ that “I’m going to cheat/rape/kill you” – – – instead they come on really friendly and caring (“I feel your pain” anyone?) because the victim drops their guard/defenses, which makes the huckster’s work so much easier.

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm

        RnM the 4.9 billion dollars worth of free media coverage not only gave Trump an endless open mic to pull out his constituency, but it put the burden on Hillary to out advertise her opponent, which only proved to drain her advertising budget.

        Massive media coverage like what Trump received during the 2016 election campaign, was a great MSM gift to the Trump campaign. Although the MSM thought that by his own words Trump would sink his campaign, it doesn’t take an advertising genius to know, that any message is a good message since there is always someone out there for someone of any kind if only the message gets through. PT Barnum would have approved of this media coverage if he had been running the Donald’s campaign himself.

        Thanks for joining in on my conversation RnM. Joe

        • RnM
          September 24, 2018 at 8:09 am

          You appear to be saying that the interests that put up $4.9 billion were so stupid that they didn’t realize what they were doing, and how much money the were spending. (Or perhaps they were actually the ones who were raking in that $4.9B?)
          Have you ever heard of RightSiide Broadcasting, Golden State Times, or any of the other youTube channels that showed his rallys live and uncut and without commentors? How did the crowds hear about the time, date and place of his rallys? I don’t ever watch any MSM. Full Stop. But, I could always watch a rally live, see the youTube stats on the growing number of viewers, and read the comments being posted in real time and watch the faces in the crowd (or at least a sample of them directly behind the speaker. Thus I was not surprised that Trump would win “big league.” And it has never been shown to not have been legit where it counts -The Electoral College. We are a federation of diversely governed States. after all, no?)
          Those that get their ideas filtered through the MSM are blind and deaf to the low rumbles of We the People. They believe and react (pro and con) to false flag attacks being made on them by the so-called elites, who control what those filters allow out on the broadcasted waves.
          Thanks for all the thoughtful posts, Joe. I always enjoy your seasoned perspectives. Bob

          • Joe Tedesky
            September 24, 2018 at 9:39 am

            Bob, there were a lot of moving parts in both candidates campaigns, like Hillary calling Trump supporters ‘deplorables’, and Trump reaching out to them. I don’t think the MSM was ‘stupid’, as much as they used the wrong calculus (like Robbie Mook did) and underestimated Trump’s appeal to voters. Actually Hillary should have never run, but that’s another story. But yeah Bob between the MSM, and Hillary’s poorly run campaign and a few other things I’m forgetting about the strategies to avoid Trump a win didn’t work out so well. Lastly, let’s not forget Trump’s campaign concentrated on winning over the Electoral College delegates, and that’s the most efficient way to win an American presidential election. Be good Bob, and stay well. Joe

            Ps I never heard of Right Side, but I did now….thanks for the info.

    • CitizenOne
      September 23, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Not to mention Citizens United vs FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC which the MSM NEVER talks about which allows billionaires and other entities to donate unlimited money in secret to election campaigns since money is a form of free speech (as interpreted by the court) and to limit it would infringe on the rights of people both real flesh and as defined by the court for institutions like corporations.

      There can be little doubt that the degeneration of our national politics is directly linked to the oceans of dark money flowing to campaigns.

      The MSM know one thing all too well. Those politicians and their loosely associated Super PACs have to spend all that money on advertising, most of it television ads.

      So why give Trump 4 billion in free advertising?

      Extortion. Trump was the unholy, illegitimate bastard son who was now within reach of the throne threatening to tear apart the kingdom with is radical views. Yet he had a populist message that resonated with people. He connected to them and was seen in part as a bit of hope to ease their frustrations. True, some of their frustrations were racially motivated but none the less Trump appealed to them.

      Trump was driving the lead in the polls while the media promoted his face at every opportunity primarily for ratings but also because it encouraged other candidates to pour on the cash straight into MSMs wallet.

      Had we some other form of electoral system one say where every candidate has to spend an exact amount not to exceed and media coverage must be equal for all candidates this dynamic would not have worked.

      Not that our system was ever equal but recently the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates of dark money and has ensured that it can remain anonymous and untraceable. Note: Read Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Radical Right to grasp the true scope of the issue of dark money in politics.

      Another thing is for sure too. The media corporations don’t want you to know all this is happening. You never hear about it. It is the propaganda tool they really excel at. The sin of omission.

      So if they are not going to bring any of the true reasons the election was what it was then what to do?

      Take a page right out of any tin pot dictator’s play book. Blame all the domestic corruption on foreign devils.

      Does this mean we will now face the same consequences as corrupt third world nations since our media and government have formed a junta? It’s not lookin good.

      There may be some light. Conservative Pundit George Will, the journalist who insisted that there was no such thing as too much money in politics, “I’m astonished how little money there is in politics considering the stakes of our politics in allocating wealth and opportunity.” reversed gears and has been a strong opponent of Trump.

      I wonder if George will wake up to see the error of his money praising ways. But even if he did, would he be able to say a word about it? Probably not.

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 24, 2018 at 2:24 pm

        Always good to get you perspective CitzenOne.

        It goes without saying to just how unequal our system is when money gets an unequal place amongst our electorate. It isn’t as though every citizen in our country is a billionaire, so just how does equality in the U.S. work?

        You brought up a lot of good points about Trump’s candidacy, but don’t forget Hillary was a poor candidate to begin with, with a lot of flaws. If Bernie had not been so screwed over by the DNC we would now be writing about a Sanders presidency. Hillary & Bill should have never had a run at the White House, as they are truly spoiled goods. Also Hillary conducted herself as though she were entitled to the presidency, and this drove more voters towards her opponent than I think she or Robbie Mook realized.

        Thanks for your comment CitizenOne you never miss making a good point of today’s events… stay well. Joe

        • CitizenOne
          October 3, 2018 at 8:02 pm

          Thanks Joe,

          Checking in less often but I’m doing fine.

          I agree that Billary Clinton (the couple) have no business ever again hijacking a election. They can go play golf with Obama. The last election was such a dirty rotten stinking affair it will never produce fruit.

          Is there some democrat savior coming over the hill to face the soon to be trillions of dollars the republican cadre of billionaires is pouring into the elections coupled with their iron grasp on government protected by the high barriers of gerrymandered districts and armed to the teeth with special interest cash? I do not see any on the horizon. What I see is an old guard democratic party that is frittering away the time hoping against hope that the can soldier on with the same message. Pro choice, claiming they are not on the corporate dole and hoping for a change in America to deliver victory.

          What this change looks like is an activated motivated politically driven grass roots from millennials in their eyes. But this means that a concerted effort to appeal to these kids is mounted by democrats is needed and I don’t see that either.

          If we are to see an end to the republican stronghold I would argue that the Clinton and Obama history is more of a detractor for the movement rather than an attractor.

          Who can weather the storm in a hail of republicanism sweeping the nation and emerge as a victor for the democrats?

          Any ideas?

  59. David G
    September 22, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Reposting a comment I left under John Pilger’s article when I first saw this big Times snowjob:

    ********
    And cue a special pullout Section F in today’s NY Times entitled, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far” – fronted by a matryoshka-style illustration (naturally) with the Prince of Golf on the outside, nesting his cronies whom Mueller has already convicted (though not, of course, for subverting or colluding about any elections), with everybody’s favorite sum-of-all-evils judo buff in the center.

    The Times clearly intends this little tome to signify the scale and gravity of Russia-gate. However, an alternative interpretation would be that it reflects the establishment’s insecurity that the disparate and sometimes mutually inconsistent strands of “Meddling & Collusion” can actually be assembled into a coherent structure, rather than a mere ramshackle sprawl.

    In other words, they want us to see them building the rock-solid Brooklyn Bridge, but maybe they’re worried that what they’ve got on their hands is one of those recent collapsing Chinese bridges whose respectable concrete surface turned out to conceal a flimsy structure made largely of styrofoam and garbage. https://www.weirdasianews.com/2010/02/05/shanghai-wonderbridge-trash-collapses/

    To read or not to read …

  60. Homer Jay
    September 22, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I encourage everyone here to go to the link for this NYT article to post your comments and post the link to Lauria’s article:

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/20/us/politics/russia-interference-election-trump-clinton.html?register=email&auth=register-email

    • MoreFreedom
      September 22, 2018 at 11:06 am

      I’d encourage everyone to not go to the NYT website and feed the beast via eyeballs for their ads. They don’t deserve it.

      • Homer Jay
        September 22, 2018 at 1:31 pm

        Yes I see your point. I just think at some point we have to come out of our echo chamber and into the belly of the beast.

      • backwardsevolution
        September 22, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        MoreFreedom and Homer Jay – I think it would be a good idea to post a comment for the NYT’s article that Homer Jay linked to, but only if you can put in a link to Joe Lauria’s article. This would direct people to this site where they can get educated.

        • Homer Jay
          September 23, 2018 at 8:59 am

          Interesting to note comments were closed as soon as I posted this:

          Upon Hillary Clinton’s humiliating defeat, John Podesta got together with the Democratic establishment and decided at that point that they would do everything they could to use the media to blame Russia. That is a fact we know from Shattered. What is truly mind blowing is to see how effective that strategy has been. Just in case anyone here cares about a competing point of view:

          https://consortiumnews.com/2018/09/21/the-new-york-times-as-judge-and-jury/

          • backwardsevolution
            September 26, 2018 at 6:46 pm

            Homer Jay – “Comments were closed as soon as I posted this.” That is interesting! Thanks for posting.

  61. David G
    September 22, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Thanks very much, Joe Lauria.

    Despite the corporate media’s immense (though arguably diminishing) advantage in reach, detailed refutations such as this are essential, for the purposes of:

    – chipping away even a little bit at the establishment opinion monolith (you may have already helped some reader out there newly perceive the underlying fraudulence of Russia-gate),

    – creating historical evidence that not everybody is buying what the bastards are selling,

    – simply keeping aloft the guttering torch of critical thinking and democratic skepticism.

  62. F. G. Sanford
    September 22, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Somebody saw a puff of smoke from a sixth floor window of Trump Tower. The official conclusion that Veselnetskaya acted alone is beyond dispute. There were no other Russian operatives in the building at the time. She was also seen drinking a Coke in the lunch room. The twelve anti-Clinton Russians had been operating in the area, and were known to be distributing click-bait. This was probably a distraction, but it proves that Veselnetskaya was a deranged, lone Russian Trump loyalist. Of course, many “conspiracy theorists” have ridiculed the “Magic Server Theory” advanced by the DNC. In their testimony to the Mueller Commission, the DNC has consistently supported the “Lone Slut” narrative. They vehemently deny that Clinton operatives bear any responsibility for “Magic Server” fragments produced when Clinton’s staff smashed cell phones and hard-drives with hammers. Approximately fifty Bernie Sanders loyalists provided testimony about the “Sassy Troll” as a phony Russian source of the leaked “Magic Server” emails. None of that testimony was admitted to the Mueller Commission Report. They were dismissed as lunatic fringe neurotic Putinoid Derangement Syndrome sufferers. (Experts insist there is no cure.) Grainy photographs may indicate someone resembling John Brennan standing outside the Trump Tower at the time of the meeting. Comey’s crack team of forensic analysts determined that the bald-headed resemblance was an optical phenomenon caused by a reflection from scalp wax. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Awan Brothers, the “Tarmac Meeting”, Sid Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, the Weiner laptop, Guccifer 2.0, deleted emails and the Evelyn Farkas revelations were all disinformation efforts to deflect from the “Lone Slut Theory” which conclusively proves Russian collusion. Despite efforts by renowned experts and scientific scholars to refute the official “Magic Server Theory”, it has withstood public scrutiny and remains the official conclusion of the highly respected Mueller Commission. The New York Times corroborates the official conclusions of the Mueller Commission based on supporting articles it has previously published. The “Lone Slut Theory”, the “Magic Server” and the “Sassy Troll” conclusively prove Putin’s guilt, Clinton’s electoral victory and Trump’s Russian collusion.

  63. John Kirsch
    September 22, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Excellent story.
    “Russiagate” is literally a nothing story. There is no there there.

  64. September 22, 2018 at 7:05 am

    I don’t think things at The Times are quite so innocent as the author seems to think.

    For example, they did not get the story of Iraq’s imagined weapons wrong.

    They simply lied, as they have done many times, to support American and Israeli imperial interests.

    And that was what the Iraq War was, part of an imperial adventure through the Middle East.

    The so-called Neocon Wars and Arab Spring, following the illegal invasion of Iraq, are just a set of dirty operations to re-make the face of the Middle East to Washington’s liking. Part of the whole dirty business has been about building a kind of cordon sanitaire around Israel.

    Its aims include eliminating any government that is independent-minded and does not toe the new American imperial line. Some very decent local leaders have been destroyed in the process, but since when does Washington care about anything like good leaders or the people they serve?

    Never. Washington, and now more than ever, is about imperial power abroad. Under Neocon influence is essentially telling the planet, “It’s my way or the highway.”

    So much so, domestic matters almost don’t matter anymore.

    The Times’ management is smart and connected enough to know all of that.

    After all, as was not long ago revealed, every story that The Times gets concerning Israel is passed to the official Israeli censor before being published.

    And did you ever see an American imperial adventure in all the years since WWII that The Times did not support and beat the drums for (and ditto, The Washington Post)?

    The new york Times has been called, quite accurately I think, the official house organ for the American power establishment.

    Did you ever read a corporate house organ that criticized its corporation? Of course not.

    The Times maintains some credibility by doing good reporting in relatively small things, but on any story of real importance to world affairs or national politics, I find The Times just plain disnest, and often.

    I don’t understand anyone’s taking it seriously in such matters.

    Of course, The Times also has a record of assisting CIA and has been discovered more than once with CIA on its staff.

    It also uses many little tricks over time. A favorite is getting something wrong, and later, when the impact has already been made as desired, humbly retracting it, as though being terribly honest.

    Mainline newspapers are about influence. News takes a second place, at best, although to enjoy the influence, you must have a little believability about news.

    • Chet Roman
      September 22, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Spot on! This is exactly what I was thinking. It’s not that the reporters are misinformed or blinded by their ideology. It’s premeditated propaganda generated to support the power structure, deep state, MIC or whatever you call the cabal that actually controls the state.

    • Maxwell Quest
      September 22, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      My sentiments exactly! I would add the thought of ‘David G’ above, that this is an attempt by the NYT to shore up the Russia-gate narrative which is looking a bit ragged lately, by pulling together all the loose, disjointed claims in one grand attempt to make it appear as something real, instead of the fiction that it is.

  65. john wilson
    September 22, 2018 at 4:57 am

    The most annoying thing about these hack writers (can’t call them journalists) we can never get to interview them. If they had to face a really hard TV interview with someone like the UK’s George Galloway, I think they would be exposed for what they really and that is: Despicable newspaper hacks, and louts’ masquerading as journalists. Someone like Galloway would reduce them to a quivering jelly! In fact I would tie them to the chair with an imp like demon armed with a red hot poker just behind them. Every time these hacks refused to answer a question properly the demon would be invited to explore a certain orifice…….. Well you get the picture.

    • mark
      September 22, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      This did happen recently with Luke Harding on alternative media. He was politely asked for evidence of his Russophobic allegations and ramblings by the interviewer. The only response was prolonged waffle. When the interviewer persisted, (politely), Harding pulled the plug on the interview. On the MSM, the Murdoch Media or the state controlled BBC, he is just allowed to ramble and waffle away unchallenged. .

  66. KiwiAntz
    September 22, 2018 at 3:23 am

    As one of the main instigator’s of the Russiagate Collusion Delusion fabrication, the New York Times has backed itself into a no exit alley & can’t extract itself from the massive lies it has promoted! So the NYT must double down on its “to big too fail” Russiagate BS lie regardless of the damage that this has done to their credibility & reputation! Their newspaper articles are now to be considered works of fiction & not actual news!

    • September 22, 2018 at 3:41 am

      The entire USA media are in the same position.

      And I thought that they discredited themselves pushing the bush administration lies

      Yes we have media not journalism.The media has destroyed its own credibility.
      The New York Times pushed the bush lies that took us into war
      MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for questioning the bush administration lies
      CNN never disclosing the military experts the has were working for the MIC
      Washington Post Editorial Board Attempts To Erase Its Pre-War Rush To Invasion
      “After Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s presentation to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.” [2/6/03]
      https://www.google.com/amp/
      Proved liars and war criminals Brennan and Clapper and Haden now works for MSNBC and CNN and spread lies and propaganda about Russia and pushing for WW3.

      There are still some real journalists left and some had to leave the country to get airtime and printed.

      Seymour Hersh: “RussiaGate Is A CIA-Planted Lie, Revenge Against Trump”
      https://www.zerohedge.com/n

      Glenn Greenwald to Tucker Carlson: Journalists “Eagerly Being Manipulated” By Intelligence Community On Russia

      https://www.realclearpoliti

      Hold the Front Page the Journalists are Missing
      So much of mainstream journalism has descended to the level of a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof enough. What matters is “perception,” says John Pilger.
      https://consortiumnews.com/

    • John Kirsch
      September 22, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Good comment.
      The NYT will never come clean about Russiagate, because doing so would virtually discredit it as a serious news organization.
      Instead the paper, at the appropriate time, will simply stop publishing stories about the whole affair. It will be consigned to the memory hole.

    • RnM
      September 25, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Those articles are Prima Facies evidence for sedition. Way too numerous and persistent to claim ignorance, against charges of complicity.

  67. September 22, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Wonderful piece, Joe Lauria . Great minds think alike. Coincidentally, just finished writing this one The Plot to Subvert an Election on the same subject.

    • September 22, 2018 at 3:43 am

      Love it!

    • September 22, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Gracias, Jean.

      “What happened to Scott Shane?” is the question I want answered.

      He started off being legit – asking the same questions we ask here and making the same observations – and then he turned into a bobblehead doll…

      Who told Shane to forget and why?

      • September 22, 2018 at 7:40 pm

        Good question!

        As Bill Binny says the FBI and CIA can frame you if they want…..put child porn on your computer and black mail you in a thousand ways.So who knows.I think thats what happened to Risen……Obama trid to have him locked up…he used to be a legit journalist and is now off his rocker with trump hysteria.

  68. September 22, 2018 at 12:01 am

    I liked when the NYTs lied us into Iraq.

    Good times.

    Who knew they would only get worse.

  69. Maxwell Quest
    September 21, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    “it seems that reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti have succumbed to the same thinking that doubled down on Iraq.”

    The author gives these reporters too much leeway (a necessary requirement, I guess, if one wants to be taken seriously and not appear biased or fanatical). Are we to assume that as trained journalists they are unaware of the “schizoid” nature of their own writing? There is no “thinking” involved with articles as these. It is pure psyops bullshit and they and the Times know it. But that is the game today, any true journalist with a conscience was given his walking papers years ago. They are all careerists now, with a generous sprinkling of IC operatives here and there.

    BTW, Mark and Scott, your CIA checks are in the mail.

    • Maxwell Quest
      September 21, 2018 at 11:53 pm

      In a moment of frustration I took a cheap shot at the two Times reporters, which was unfair. My apologies, sirs. I once had a career, feeling the pressure coming down from above, with a family counting on me to provide safety and support, and that was before the $1.5T student loan bubble.

      No, the real culprits are high on the chain of command. It is they who call the shots at the Times. It is they that deserve to be cast onto the street when this whole rotten Russia-gate fiasco blows up in their faces.

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