Russiagate as Organized Distraction

Oliver Boyd-Barrett looks at who benefits from having the corporate media suffocate their public with a puerile narrative for over two years. 

By Oliver Boyd-Barrett
Organisation for Propaganda Studies

For over two years Russiagate has accounted for a substantial proportion of all mainstream U.S. media political journalism and, because U.S. media have significant agenda-setting propulsion, of global media coverage as well. The timing has been catastrophic. The Trump administration has shredded environmental protections, jettisoned nuclear agreements, exacerbated tensions with U.S. rivals and pandered to the rich.

In place of sustained media attention to the end of the human species from global warming, its even more imminent demise in nuclear warfare, or the further evisceration of democratic discourse in a society riven by historically unprecedented wealth inequalities and unbridled capitalistic greed, corporate media suffocate their publics with a puerile narrative of alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow schooling viewers.

The Russiagate discourse is profoundly mendacious and hypocritical. It presumes that the U.S. electoral system enjoys a high degree of public trust and security. Nothing could be further from the truth. The U.S. democratic system is deeply entrenched in a dystopian two-party system dominated  by the rich and largely answerable to corporate oligopolies; it is ideologically beholden to the values of extreme capitalism and imperialist domination. Problems with the U.S. electoral system and media are extensive and well documented.

U.S. electoral procedures are profoundly compromised by an Electoral College that detaches votes counted from votes that count. The composition of electoral districts has been gerrymandered to minimize the possibility of electoral surprises. Voting is dependent on easily hackable corporate-manufactured electronic voting systems. Right-wing administrations reach into a tool-box of voter-suppression tactics that run the gamut from minimizing available voting centers and voting machines through to excessive voter identification requirements and the elimination of swathes of the voting lists (e.g. groups such as people who have committed felonies or people whose names are similar to those of felons, or people who have not voted in previous elections). Even the results of campaigns are corrupted when outgoing regimes abuse their remaining weeks in power to push through regulations or legislation that will scuttle the efforts of their successors. Democratic theory presupposes the formal equivalence of voice in the battlefield of ideas. Nothing could be further from the reality of the U.S. “democratic” system in which a small number of powerful interests enjoy ear-splitting megaphonic advantage on the basis of often anonymous “dark” money donations filtered through SuperPacs and their ilk, operating outside the confines of (the somewhat more transparently monitored) electoral campaigns.

Free and Open Exchange of Ideas

Regarding media, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas. No such infrastructure exists.  Mainstream media are owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates that lie at the very heart of U.S. oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates.

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of U.S. plutocratic self-regard is also well documented. Recent U.S. media coverage of the U.S.-gestated crisis in Venezuela is a case in point.

(Book Catalog/Flickr)

The much-celebrated revolutionary potential of social media is illusory. The principal suppliers of social media architecture are even more corporatized than their legacy predecessors. They depend not just on corporate advertising but on the sale of big data that they pilfer from users and sell to corporate and political propagandists often for non-transparent AI-assisted micro-targeting during “persuasion” campaigns. Like their legacy counterparts, social media are imbricated within, collaborate with, and are vulnerable to the machinations of the military-industry-surveillance establishment. So-called election meddling across the world has been an outstanding feature of the exploitation of social and legacy media by companies linked to political, defense and intelligence such as – but by no means limited to – the former Cambridge Analytica and its British parent SCL.

Against this backdrop of electoral and media failures, it makes little sense to elevate discussion of and attention to the alleged social media activities of, say, Russia’s Internet Research Agency.

Russian Contacts Deplored

Trump and Putin at a working lunch, July 16, 2018 (White House/ Shealah Craighead)

Attention is being directed away from substantial, and substantiated, problems and onto trivial, and unsubstantiated, problems. Moreover, in a climate of manufactured McCarthyite hysteria, Russiagate further presupposes that any communication between a presidential campaign and Russia is in itself deplorable. Even if one were to confine this conversation only to communication between ruling oligarchs of both the U.S. and Russia, however, the opposite would surely be the case. This is not simply because of the benefits that accrue from a broader understanding of the world, identification of shared interests and opportunities, and their promise for peaceful relations. A real politick analysis might advise the insertion of wedges between China and Russia so as to head off the perceived threat to the USA of a hybrid big-power control over a region of the world that has long been considered indispensable for truly global hegemony.

Even if we address Russiagate as a problem worthy of our attention, the evidentiary basis for the major claims is weak. 

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments and investigations implicated several individuals for activities that in some cases have no connection whatsoever to the 2016 presidential campaign.  In some other instances they appear to have been more about lies and obstructions to his investigation rather than material illegal acts, or amount to charges that are unlikely ever to be contested in a court of law.

Robert Mueller at July 24, 2019, congressional hearing.

The investigation itself is traceable back to two significant but extremely problematic reports made public in January 2017. One was the “Steele dossier” by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. This is principally of interest for its largely unsupported allegations that in some sense or another Trump was in cahoots with Russia. Steele’s company, Orbis, was commissioned to write the report by Fusion GPS which in turn was contracted by attorneys working for the Democratic National Campaign. Passage of earlier drafts of the Steele report through sources close to British intelligence, and accounts by Trump adviser George Papadopoulos concerning conversations he had concerning possible Russian possession of Clinton emails with a character who may as likely have been a British as a Russian spy, were instrumental in stimulating FBI interest in and spying on the Trump campaign.

There are indirect links between Steele, another former MI6 agent, Pablo Miller (who also worked for Orbis) and Sergei Skripal, a Russian agent who had been recruited as informer to MI6 by Miller and who was the target of an attempted assassination in 2018. This event has occasioned controversial, not to say highly implausible and mischievous British government claims and accusations against Russia.

The  most significant matter raised by a second report, issued by the Intelligence Community Assessment and representing the conclusions of a small team picked from the Director of Intelligence office, CIA, FBI and NSA, was its claim that Russian intelligence was responsible for the hacking of the computer systems of the DNC and its chairman John Podesta in summer 2016 and that the hacked documents had been passed to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. No evidence for this was supplied.

Although the hacking allegations have become largely uncontested articles of faith in the RussiaGate discourse they are significantly reliant on the problematic findings of a small private company hired by the DNC. There is also robust evidence that the documents may have been leaked rather than hacked and by U.S.-based sources. The fact that the documents revealed that the DNC, a supposedly neutral agent in the primary campaign, had in fact been biased in favor of the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, and that Clinton’s private statements to industry were not in keeping with her public positions, has long been obscured in media memory in favor a preferred narrative of Russian villainy.

Who Benefits?

Why then does the Russiagate discourse have so much traction? Who benefits?

Russiagate serves the interest of a (No. 1) corrupted Democratic Party, whose biased and arguably incompetent campaign management lost it the 2016 election, in alliance (No. 2) with powerful factions of the U.S. industrial-military-surveillance establishment that for the past 19 years, through NATO and other malleable international agencies, has sought to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, dismember Russia and the Russian Federation (undoubtedly for the benefit of Western capital) and, more latterly, further contain China in a perpetual and titanic struggle for the heart of EurAsia.

In so far as Trump had indicated (for whatever reasons) in the course of his campaign that he disagreed with at least some aspects of this long-term strategy, he came to be viewed as unreliable by the U.S. security state.

While serving the immediate purpose of containing Trump, U.S. accusations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections were farcical in the context of a well-chronicled history of U.S. “meddling” in the elections and politics of nations for over 100 years. This meddling across all hemispheres has included the staging of coups, invasions and occupations on false pretext in addition to numerous instances of “color revolution” strategies involving the financing of opposition parties and provoking uprisings, frequently coupled with economic warfare (sanctions).

A further beneficiary (No.3) is the sum of all those interests that favor a narrowing of public expression to a framework supportive of neoliberal imperialism. Paradoxically exploiting the moral panic associated with both Trump’s plaintive wailing about “fake news” whenever mainstream media coverage is critical of him, and social media embarrassment over exposure of their big-data sales to powerful corporate customers, these interests have called for more regulation of, as well as self-censorship by, social media.

Social media responses increasingly involve more restrictive algorithms and what are often partisan “fact-checkers” (illustrated by Facebook financial support for and dependence on the pro-NATO “think tank,” the Atlantic Council). The net impact has been devastating for many information organizations in the arena of social media whose only “sin” is analysis and opinion that runs counter to elite neoliberal propaganda.

The standard justification of such attacks on free expression is to insinuate ties to Russia and/or to terrorism. Given these heavy handed and censorious responses by powerful actors, it would appear perhaps that the RussiaGate narrative is increasingly implausible to many and the only hope now for its proponents is to stifle questioning. These are dark days indeed for democracy.

Oliver Boyd-Barrett is professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University. He is author of “RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media” London and New York (Routledge).

An earlier version of this article was published by the Organisation for Propaganda Studies.

Before commenting please read Robert Parry’s Comment Policy. Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed.

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93 comments for “Russiagate as Organized Distraction

  1. August 7, 2019 at 00:16

    It is so refreshing to see the truth spelled out. For the past several years the entire nation has been brainwashed by Russiagate which began as an excuse for the Clinton loss and a distraction from the WikiLeaks dump that exposed the collusion between the DNC and corporate media. It is now spilling over into this election cycle trying to brand certain democratic candidates as Russian conspirators.

  2. Zhu
    August 1, 2019 at 02:13

    Russiagate resembles the
    Birther conspiracy closely. In each case, partisans could not accepr that their team had not won the pennant abd fell for absurd fictions explaining why. Rs were incluned to believe Birther nonsense because of racist assumptions. Ds I suspect were deeply influenced by Cold War political education and brainwashing.

  3. zhu
    July 31, 2019 at 22:49

    ironically, many of those involved probably half believe their own BS.

  4. Mark Thomason
    July 31, 2019 at 11:18

    Who made money off this?

    That’s why they did it.

    Who got political advantage from this?

    That’s why they played into it.

    It has nothing to do with the truth. It was Hillary who started it, out of calculation that was pure Clinton.

  5. July 31, 2019 at 11:10

    Oh Trump colludes with the same foreign power that his predecessors did but it will never be acknowledged or investigated.

  6. Cheryl Parker
    July 30, 2019 at 14:53

    I wonder, could RussiaGate have had a separate agenda? What reason did the FBI, CIA and NSA allowed RussiaGate such legs? Has the intelligence agencies cleverly laid the ground work for something else? During the Mueller testimony his simple ‘one-word’ answers to questions suddenly stopped the minute WikiLeaks was mentioned. Mueller was even animated in his reply with disdain for WikiLeaks.
    William Barr recently reinstated federal executions. This followed the expulsion of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London Embassy, Assange is in a U.K. prison. Certainly, Barr, Bolton, Pompeo expect the Brits to extradite Assange to the states to stand trial for offenses under the Espionage Act. It is a callous overreach, but, this is the US.
    Assange’s WikiLeaks brought the people news the powerful don’t want known. Cleverly, Assange is made out to be the boogeymen. I wonder if the next RussiaGate victim will be Julian Assange, and we continue to behave this stupidly.

    • Occupy on!
      July 30, 2019 at 19:28

      The “controlled chaos” proposed by the neocon Project for a New American Century (PNAC 1998) has been in obvious play since Clinton’s breakup of Yugoslavia. Taking over the physical or political control of the world’s major oil sources or their routes like Iraq , Afghanistan and Yugoslavia were the beginnings of this “Project”. The neocon-infested Deep State, US State Department, and AIPAC bought Congress won’t quit this 21st Century crusade until the US is the single major power in the world (PNAC ’98) and the middle east will be known as Greater Israel (Global Research/Oded Yinon Plan -1982). Should there be an Armageddon, I don’t think neocons will be on the side of “good”.

      • Zhu
        July 31, 2019 at 23:29

        Don’t forget the Religious Right and their longing for the Rapture.

    • zonmoy
      July 31, 2019 at 00:53

      got no doubt your thoughts are true.

    • Zhy
      July 31, 2019 at 22:53

      Tes, we will continue to behave stuoidly.

  7. Erelis
    July 30, 2019 at 14:02

    Russiagate was one of the critical seeds for the mass censorship that we now see. With the advent of the Russiagate hysteria starting in 2016, calls for censorship were endorsed by a multitude of institutions. pundits, and even the media itself. These institutions demanded censorship as social media was seen as turning people en mass into unwitting zombies by malevolent Russian re-tweets and simplistic Facebook ads. Such power certainly had to be exposed and controlled.

    It was not a slippery slope to the acceptance and demand for mass censorship outside of Russiagate , but an utter sheer cliff.

    • Zhu
      July 31, 2019 at 23:25

      No one demanded better training in critical thinking and logic.

  8. July 30, 2019 at 13:12

    Actually, the charade of presidential elections is the biggest distraction consuming U.S. society. It consumes us not just every four years, but most of the time in between as well. Anyone who thinks it has anything to do with democracy is sadly delusional.

  9. João Coimbra
    July 30, 2019 at 13:10

    I am making a parallel between Trump and Bolsonaro in Brazil. Here we are experiencing the same situation. We have a shallow being at the presidency that was elected by spreading prejudices and fake news and nobody paid any attention to what was his real political program of government which was based on dismantling whatever was still under public administration. The overturn of worker rights and the end of the public social retirement system are among the policies executed by Bolsonaro that benefits mostly the rich. But the siphoning of national wealth to be more concentrated with the rich is not particular to Bolsonaro, that, that has benefited the rich since the Plano Real of 1994, is still dominating the Brazilian economy.

  10. Glennn
    July 30, 2019 at 12:38

    We are in a sea of propaganda as this excellent article gives a fresh perspective on. Just look at the comments. We should all realize that none of us are immune to the science and applied art of propaganda. It has been commented here that climate change theory is a “hoax.” It is a considerable step from the disagreements within climate science as to the exact role of co2 in climate change, to concluding that a possible error in calculation is a hoax, and therefore nothing needs to change with our contribution to that increase in co2 and other gases. On the other hand, we don’t help the cause by falling for real hoaxes such as the wind power debacle. Regardless of the fine points about co2, wind power has grown as an industry because we opened a spigot of money for it. So on the left we fall for one industry telling us they’re helping while they are not, and on the right they fall for another industry parsing scientific fine points into crude denial that they should stop making all their money. What this article is really telling us is that we need to take a good look at how our minds – all of our minds – are being jerked around.

    • M Awan
      July 30, 2019 at 16:54

      A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as carbon footprint. Scientists in Finland found “practically no anthropogenic [man-made] climate change” after a series of studies.

      “During the last hundred years the temperature increased about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C”, the Finnish researchers bluntly state in one among a series of papers.

      This has been collaborated by a team at Kobe University in Japan, which has furthered the Finnish researchers’ theory: “New evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an ‘umbrella effect’,” the just published study has found, a summary of which has been released in the journal Science Daily. The findings are hugely significant given this ‘umbrella effect’ — an entirely natural occurrence — could be the prime driver of climate warming, and not man-made factors. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-11/scientists-finland-japan-man-made-climate-change-doesnt-exist-practice

  11. art guerrilla
    July 30, 2019 at 12:36

    your failure to provide any specific argument discredits your comment entirely…

    its pedants all the way down ! ! !

    • Josep
      August 1, 2019 at 16:49

      Please point out any omissions you want to address. Provide evidence that something is missing.

  12. Paul
    July 30, 2019 at 12:09

    Well thought out and informative. This will never make the mainstream media and it is a shame that money will continue to keep us all polarized based on the efforts to confirm our perceptions.

  13. Jac Miller
    July 30, 2019 at 11:40

    A most refreshing and encouraging article from a perceived progressive viewpoint that exposes both parties complicity in the control of alternate views. Being Libertarian I welcome the exposure of corrupt issues regardless of solutions offered, having found your site I will be following to assure additional alternate viewpoints on critical issues.

  14. ElderD
    July 30, 2019 at 10:46

    Scott Wells must be an extraordinarily-bright and well-informed fellow. I mean, it must be superior knowledge and understanding that leads him to sarcastically dismiss the threats of climate change and nuclear weapons in one short post, right?

    Scott needs to immediately get in touch with the 97% of publishing climate scientists who agree that anthropogenic climate change is a serious threat and the experts at the Bulletin of the Atomic scientists who are keeping the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight. They are desperately in need of his wisdom. ;^(

  15. vinnieoh
    July 30, 2019 at 10:14

    It’s only necessary to look back to the invasion of Iraq by the US. The illegality of that was never addressed in any of the MSM. Not only is the idea of “pre-emptive war” banned by international treaty, it is seen for what it actually is – unprovoked aggression. The many voices of truth and reality that fully spelled out all of the outcomes (which have all come to pass) were completely ignored or in some cases pursued and harassed by “the deep state.” Watching all of this put me into high gear as I still had at that time my health, had energy, and a (apparently misplaced) belief that it was not too late to avoid a disaster in the form of more US state-sanctioned murder, and the now proven reality of never-ending war. Because there was no truth to be had on the TV, on radio, or in the newspapers I began writing letters to the editor of our local paper, calling out all the bullshit, and even stating that the reason for doing that was because none of the above had the decency or honesty to speak the truth. There was some effect to that; this is a small town, and I began hearing back from friends and relatives that people were reading and talking about what I was writing. But this is not how to make a revolution or even a way to “petition for redress” our “elected” representatives.

    It was also obvious to me by then that anyone aspiring to elected political position beyond the local level must be vetted and approved by one or the other of the duopoly. Moving upward is completely contingent upon staying in the prescribed lanes, and pledging fealty to the party line(s). At the end of the day that all boils down to this: “The business of the US is business.” I don’t remember who said that, and though I find that disgusting and demoralizing, I also see that it is true.

    The icing was put on the cake after the mid term election of ’06 when the electorate revolted against the Iraq War. But the electorate was already outmaneuvered as the wealthy switched their support from R’s to D’s because they saw the revolt coming. (During the campaign for that election I found several analyses that that shift in campaign financing was in high gear.) But of course they were D’s in name only – Blue Dogs. It’s not that voters particularly identified with those themes historically associated with the Democratic Party (rightly or wrongly,) they were just looking for and hoping for OPPOSITION to what was happening. But it was not forthcoming. That vile alien creature that masquerades within the body of Nancy Pelosi declared that “Impeachment is off the table!” and not only did nothing change, but things got much worse.

    Does “Russiagate” surprise me? Not in the least. Does the MSM likewise confound and perplex me? Again, not hardly. The MSM is the wholly owned subsidiary of concentrated wealth and will continue to perform the function of seeing to it that we, the 99%, don’t strip the wheels off their limousine.

    Every sage and thinker throughout time that contemplated democracy surmised that this is exactly how it fails – captured by the wealthy powerful. That the illustrious judges of the US Supreme Court have not been hung for treason due to their various rulings allowing the final and complete corruption of US democracy is another example of truth turned on its head.

  16. Heath
    July 30, 2019 at 00:08

    I’m going to disagree. Donald Trump is the State’s choice and all this blather about Russians is to cover up the real fact that no one wanted Hilary Clinton as President.

    everyone saw the hold she had over all the Democratic party officials before the Election that Bernie didn’t have the slightest chance of winning. Billions of dollars worth of Bribes pouring into the Clinton Foundation lead to worries that she would dominate the DC machinery and be much more of a decider in who got how much. Her involvement in starting the Syrian war and its failure was another black mark against her and it should be obvious that the State shares the Presidency between the parties to give the special interests and equal shot by my reckoning we aren’t even half way through the trump turn.

    If Donald Trump started doing stuff that the State didn’t like and kept on doing it he would be out office without his feet touching the floor.
    Trump role is to start Dumpster fires everyday and keeping left and right wing americans at each others throats

    By the way the reason the US got the electoral College because all the president needed to do was campaign in big cities and everyone else could piss up a rope

  17. CitizenOne
    July 29, 2019 at 22:25

    I completely agree. We face far greater challenges from domestic sources of election rigging than we face from Russia. There is an underlying root cause as well for the propaganda on the left involving Russia Gate that cannot be merely explained as sheer stupidity. What we are seeing is control of the narrative in the media by all commercial news entities which distracts us away from the real, or more appropriately, the underlying motivations of commercial enterprises purveying the news. That underlying motive is money.

    It does not matter that you are Fox News or MSNBC. You are a commercial enterprise driven by the profit motive and the one thing you depend on during election season is the vast sums of money afforded by the elimination of campaign finance laws.

    It does not matter if the news is presented by the left or the right because the underlying mandatory regulation of content is to never talk about the real reasons we have the government we have. The democrats and their left leaning allies latched onto Russia as a catchall familiar bad guy that has a historical span engraved in our collective psyche as perennial bad guys. Russia Gate was the best most likely story that would resonate with democrats which did not infringe on the real reasons for our screwed up electoral processes so they went with that.

    The fact that all of the real reasons as illustrated in the article have never been front and center stage for incumbent democrats is because they cannot speak of them. Even if they do they will be ignored or cast as socialists and made to look bad by our media mega structure.

    The end game of commercial media outlets is to preserve whatever power structure gets their parent corporation more profits. These profits are not derived by subscriber fees so the whole notion that there is a left wing media conspiracy falls flat and what is laid bare are corporations filling the niches in viewer interests that satisfy their goal to have their political party of choice be vindicated by some plot by some entity and to feel like their political views are somehow being represented while at the same time not revealing the money train that gets the corporation more money. The cash delivery ATM is the elimination of campaign finance laws. If they speak of it they will face the wrath and be told to shut up and play the propaganda over the loud speaker or else.

    Other topics are also off the table and while some democrats try to go after gerrymandering, black box voting, social media manipulation, voter discrimination and disenfranchisement, The Supreme Court etc, they are all on a short leash with a limited ability to speak about all of the reasons they enjoy protected status as the most trusted sources of news and the owners of the corporations are the chief enforcers.

    So we end up with no real news about how to create free and fair elections and end up with a story that benefits major beneficiaries of government largess such as the defense industry with stories about how it was all Russia’s fault and how we need to enact sanctions and stop the Russian Bear from tearing up our Constitution when in fact we are doing a great job of that all by ourselves.

    To see this in action watch “The Great Hack” on Netflix. No Russians required, just stir in western propaganda fueled by big data and corporations driven by profit including social media and the “news” and presto we arrive at where we are.

    The democrats cannot possibly be so stupid unless they are the paid shills to go along with the charade of democracy in America as well as its perceived enemies.

  18. Arthur
    July 29, 2019 at 22:19

    Of course, it isn’t as if we aren’t all going to die anyway: nuclear war, “global warming”, famine, plague, the sun dying, or your body expiring after eighty years. But yes, let us all wear ourselves into a frenzy of activism, legislation, and compulsion to try to save ourselves from the unavoidable. “Unbridled capitalistic greed?” As though there is no such thing as “unbridled socialistic greed” or just plain old garden-variety “human greed.” “Evisceration of democratic discourse”? Democracy inevitably leads to tyranny. Hitler was elected. The communists had elections. Heck, we Americans have presidential elections every four years, but our foreign policy never changes regardless of what the candidates of both parties promise to the contrary. Voters and elections are no safeguard against tyranny–and, in fact, the wider the franchise, the more likely the rapid descent into tyranny thanks to the folly of low-information and wisdom-deficient and bribe-susceptible voters. The American Electoral College was designed as a defense against the tyranny of the masses.

    But you are correct in your main thesis: Russia-gate was an organized distraction–and it was successful in distracting the masses of your beloved voters from more important matters–such as the compromise of your beloved democratic process by the inaptly-named Democratic Party. Yes, the government of our land has been hijacked by an elite that works in its own interests and not those of the people. But this is a problem no election will solve. Unless it is true that God has become man and risen from the dead to redeem us, our only sensible philosophy is to “eat, drink, and be merry”–to the degree we can–“for tomorrow we die.” Life under the sun is otherwise without meaning and without sense. And I, for one, have no desire to spend my remaining years in fear of “global warming” or nuclear war, or anything for that matter. Death will come for us all.

    • Gregory Herr
      July 30, 2019 at 15:02

      Nothing inherent in the Constitutional Republic formed in 1789 nor in capitalism per se inevitably resulted in the tyranny of concentrated wealth and concentrated political power that today serves only said wealth and power—causing all manner of human strife and ecological degradations. Had Congress acted more forcefully in response to the findings of the Church Commission, or in the regulation of corporate power, or in safeguarding the public commons—including the “airwaves” and public health & safety, it would have made a difference. Had Lincoln been successful in eliminating the power of London bankers in favor of sovereign control of money supply, it would have made a difference. We could go on and on about “what if’s” and turning points wherein the rule of law enforced equitably and justly would have made a difference.

      The concept of “tyranny of the masses” means nothing because there has never been such a thing. And I assert that there resides more wisdom in the minds and hearts of “common” women and men than any group of so-called “educated” elites with all of their “information.” Of course elections do not in themselves solve problems. But in lieu of at least fighting for a form of representation that accurately spreads political power, I cannot understand what you suggest could or should have constituted an alternative governing structure.

      I, as you, make sure to experience and appreciate the “goodness” you say gives life meaning. I do not live in fear of inevitable death and do not allow myself to be overwhelmed by a set of “dreadful” circumstances that may or may not come to pass. Perhaps it is true that, as matters now stand, the grip of power is too entrenched and the process of degradation is too far gone to save humanity from a bitter end. But there still is life that is living. And as long as that holds within me, I believe it is meaningful to attempt the alleviation of human sufferings and to weigh in on the side of justice—however the scales may be tipped. This is neither frenzied nor desperate—it is responsibility to and for others—it is “meaningful”.

      I think William Berkeley (often misinterpreted, even by my Philosophy professor) and Carl Jung were each on to some real truths.

  19. dave
    July 29, 2019 at 21:47

    One of the best summaries of Russiagate I’ve read. Well done!

  20. Larry James
    July 29, 2019 at 21:01

    All very interesting at least of what I could understand. This was written not to the average person but to those with an understanding of the words that most of us never heard of or use in our every day conversations.

    • AnneR
      July 30, 2019 at 09:05

      Really? There was nothing difficult to comprehend in this article. And I say that as someone who left school at 15 years of age and started work then (but we are talking back in the early 1960s and the UK). However, I read a lot and had since before starting school – perhaps wider and broader reading would help? Of well written works, that is.

  21. ingrid klaaborg
    July 29, 2019 at 20:54

    working lunch was not at white house , it was in helsinki finnland !

  22. jsinton
    July 29, 2019 at 20:33

    Academic quality. I had to read it a couple times. Really puts the dumpster fire in a logical form. Thank you.

  23. Mike
    July 29, 2019 at 20:22

    Well if Russiagate really did distract the public from the other hoax that is global warming, then maybe I’ve been too hard on the likes of Rachel Maddow.

  24. Tom Kath
    July 29, 2019 at 20:15

    Not only MSM ! – And it must be pointed out that “climate change” works as a far bigger distraction than “Russiagate”.

  25. Florin N
    July 29, 2019 at 20:05

    It has been reported in Israeli papers, quite openly, that US Jews, less than 3% of the population, provide 50% of donations to 1 of the 2 parties of the duopoly.

    But this fact… is ‘hate’ so must not ever be discussed by people of intelligence and good will.

    And just like that, over 97% of the population loses a big piece of their democracy: the right to *know*

    • Zhu
      July 31, 2019 at 23:50

      Which Israeli newspapers? Dates, issues, pages, authors, etc.? Fulk citation info, please.

  26. Phil Elliott
    July 29, 2019 at 19:57

    Thank you 1000 times

  27. July 29, 2019 at 19:33

    Dark days for democracy? No one in the Western world with an original thought? How about Aristotle?

    https://osociety.org/2018/07/01/what-is-oligarchy/

    Babylon, perhaps you’ve misunderstood. Perhaps not. I dunno, but here we go:

    The United States of America, Inc® is an oligarchy, dear sir. And the way to deal with oligarchs is to get them fighting amongst themselves to see whom’s big fat ass sits atop the peak as the apex predator. Voting don’t mean diddly because the democracy ain’t a democracy, it is an oligarchy. Martin and Giles prove as much in this paper.

    So the real question is if We the People have no power because voting doesn’t matter, then how do we set the Bushes against the Clintons against the Kochs against the Mercers against the Trumps against the Waltons… you see? The aristocrat families are the oligarchy. We know their names. So how do we get the oligarchs to turn on each other and kill each other instead of being a bootheel forever stamping on the face of We the People?

    That is the question!

  28. KiwiAntz
    July 29, 2019 at 19:30

    Russiagate has served its purpose & been a complete success? How so? The US Centralised Power alliance aka Deepstate, comprised of MIC, Intelligence & Big money Corporate & Political interests have managed to pull off it’s twin goals of …….
    1. Sabotaging any normal Geopolitical relations with Russia to cement Russia’s bogeyman status in the public domain to promote fear & the need for more, unlimited Military spending to counter the imaginary threat?
    2. Managed to divert public attention away from the US Empires nefarious, Worldwide, CIA’s unhinged attempts to rein in the rise of Superpower rivals, China & Russia, who are a massive threat to the dying, waning Hegemon? The US Centralised power cabal’s attempts to sabotage the implementation of the coming multipolar new World order comprised of a Russia & China alliance, thats not dependant on the corrupt USD Dollar system must be stopped, at all costs, although so far under Trump, its been a unmitigated failure?

    Trump’s useful idiot routine & impeachable removal, would have been a added bonus & icing on the cake, but he is just not that important in the big scheme of things?Just a bit player & is not in charge of things, no POTUS ever is, he’s just a figurehead? And a vain, narcissistic, stupid & ignorant figurehead at that, which is all the better & easily manipulated & exploited to the Cabals advantage? There’s a saying that “Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first drive crazy”? And haven’t we all been driven crazy by all this garbage over the last 3 yrs? All this nonsense has been purposely designed as a shell game, Propaganda experiment in mind control witj a 24 hr news cycle about Muellar, FBIgate, Russiagate etc & on & on it goes which prevents us from asking the real questions because we are too caught up in the white noise fog of diversion & distraction? The questions are “why are these events happening”?? Who benefits from all this nonsense? The answer my friends is blowing in the wind!

    • Abby
      July 30, 2019 at 01:21

      Don’t forget about the other things that came from the Russia Gate distraction. Alternative websites got less traffic because Google changed its algorithms. Lots of people and websites have been censored by the big 3 social platforms. We have new ‘truth’ gatekeepers such as The Integrity Initiative, PropOrNot, Hamilton 68 and others that tell people if websites can be trusted or not, but they are just trying to keep people from learning the truth about the empire.

      Russia Gate is the new WMDs scam and unfortunately too many people bought into it.

      • Martin - Swedish citizen
        July 30, 2019 at 13:09

        Yes, that aspect sounds alarming.
        “Social media responses increasingly involve more restrictive algorithms and what are often partisan “fact-checkers” (illustrated by Facebook financial support for and dependence on the pro-NATO “think tank,” the Atlantic Council).”
        Facebook supporting the Atlantic Council and depending on them??
        Sounds completely absurd! What are the details of this cooperation?

    • M Awan
      July 30, 2019 at 17:13

      Don’t forget the pressure exerted on Trump through Russiagate to get favourable results in Israel such as acceptance of Jerusalam as Israel’s Capital and acceptance of Golan Heights as sovereign part of Israel. As soon as those favours been achieved “no collusion” verdict was issued.

      • Zhu
        August 1, 2019 at 00:06

        He was catering to his Religious Right Dispensationalist supporters.

  29. Nathan Mulcahy
    July 29, 2019 at 19:29

    The Democratic Party is the other brand of the “Wallstreet/MIC/AIPAC” party. Russia gate, aka Saddam’s WMD 2.0, is that unitary party’s latest trick to keep the sheeple distracted while the empire destroys our country and the world. The sad thing is that it’s working.

  30. Bill
    July 29, 2019 at 18:58

    Has Russiagate backfired on the Democratic Party? Things aren’t looking so great for 2020. Trump appears to have a great chance of winning a second term. Meanwhile the Democratic Party appears to have suffered some major damage.

  31. Jill
    July 29, 2019 at 18:47

    This is a fantastic article! You really draw together so many desperate threads, linking them in a coherent explanation. Further you explained the very real disastrous consequences of these actions.

    Thank you so much for doing this work!

  32. Babyl-on
    July 29, 2019 at 18:37

    “These are dark days indeed for democracy.”

    I wish to object strongly to this statement. I suggest the author look around at the world as it is today – “democracy” is clearly an utter and contemptible failure.

    It is the same song no matter how right wing or left wing you are the answer is always more “democracy.”

    Is there no one in Western civilization with an original thought?

    The rulers of Western civilization do so by “divine right” in the US they exercise feudal rule through their “protection” of god’s bestowed “rights” god said we have rights, how do we know this? because the feudal lords say so, these rights are under constant attack. how do we know? – the feudal elites told us so. Who will protect our “rights” from “evil” forces – why the feudal lords of course.

    Western liberal democracy never existed in the way it is portrayed and democracy is NOT the solution for any civil issue.

    Judicial Watch or Brightbart, Consortium News or Noam Chomsky the solution is always the same – more democracy – if only decent people could get elected all will be well. – Bullshit

    • Sam F
      July 29, 2019 at 20:05

      While your observations are largely correct, democracy has worked as well or poorly as it is designed, until the tyrant finds new powers to enslave the majority, recently by economic control of elections, judiciary, and mass media. Jefferson expected the tree of liberty to watered with the blood of tyrants every generation, and that is long overdue. Democracy is the solution despite all past failures. The forest of democracies lives on despite the death of so many trees like our own. To argue otherwise is to argue for tyranny itself, praying that it will be benevolent, which it never has been. What do you propose?

    • Anonymous
      July 29, 2019 at 20:52

      Probably too dark for the average person’s comfort zone. Let me take that up a notch:

      The reason original thought does not occur much in the west is because it is a sure sign of insanity. The reason the mainstream does not face the reality of what you’re saying here is because this belief – and many other negative truths – are now clinical delusions.

      What do you do when the world believes 2+2=5? You either learn quickly not to say anything or you end up like me (and many others).

    • Arthur
      July 29, 2019 at 21:27

      Democracy leads to tyranny. The best thinkers over the ages knew this. We are being sold a lemon that cannot be redeemed as lemonade. Good word. You insult feudalism by comparing it to our unenlightened greedy oligarch-rulers.

  33. Mike from Jersey
    July 29, 2019 at 18:12

    In a beautiful and succinct exposition Oliver Barret Boyd points out a painful truth.

    America is not a democracy.

    It is not even close.

    And a million virtue-signaling displays on the Fourth of July will not change that. A million virtue-signaling pledges of allegiance will not change that. And a million virtue-signaling salutes to those “serving our country” will not change that.

    All of that is nothing more than pure theater which has become a “theater of the absurd.”

    • Anonymous
      July 29, 2019 at 22:38

      Don’t think you know what that term means. Seems to be a common issue with a lot of people that use it.

      • anon4d2
        July 30, 2019 at 12:27

        It is the Repubs who falsify the meaning of democracy, using the lie that Aristotle denounced it as “mob rule.” In fact Aristotle (Politics) used the term to describe small pure democracy city-states vs. constitutional republics. All democracies in recent history are constitutional republics. The Repub notion further lies that economic tyrannies are somehow republics, to justify their names. Aristotle also used “tyrant” to describe not-so-bad despots as well as the usual despots, promoted by the Repubs.

        But even the Dems are not advocates of democracy now, as both Dems and Reps are the opportunists of oligarchy.

    • anon4d2
      July 30, 2019 at 12:20

      Very true, the US is not a democracy.

      • Mike from Jersey
        July 31, 2019 at 13:24

        Having been taught from childhood to believe in American democracy, it is a very hard step to admit that one has simply been bamboozled all along.

        I am still struggling with that hard truth.

  34. Babyl-on
    July 29, 2019 at 18:03

    “These are dark days indeed for democracy.”

    I for one am sick and tired to these kind of mopish sentimental statements help no one. Western civilization is feudal not democratic, a small group of wealthy people have ruled the West for at least the past 500 years when this group created, funded and promoted the Reformation. During the wars that took place during the Reformation a group of wealthy and very influential people were able to capture and create Christian doctrine and emphasize obedience as the guiding principal of good faith.

    When the US was created it placed the governmental and social authority as the right hand of god. These men said, (not god) that god had bestowed upon men “inalienable rights” and that these rights are under constant attack by “evil” anti-god forces – but have no fear, the state, your rulers, the authority you must obey will protect your “rights” (god given rights). In this way they inoculated “democracy” with feudalism. Rule by divine right.

    The “democracy” they created, which of course does not have the meaning it implies, by any measure, “democracy” is an utter and contemptible failure to achieve any of the promises it claimed to offer but had no intention of providing or working toward.

    Western civilization is the reflection of the power of a tiny group of wealthy people, this was the case 1000 years ago, 500 years ago and it is the cast today.

    The world today just as in the past has been shaped by the vast powers of great wealth – billions of people suffer for their entire lives at the deliberate command of the elites. Maybe a hundred billion people over the course of the past several hundred years lived only to suffer and die without a chance of anything else at the hands of the wealthy elite, never mind the 500 years of deliberate slaughter of innocent people to serve the interests of a tiny group of people who have a powerful grip on Western civilization.

    The rulers, the most powerful, and Western civilization which they control now and have controlled for no less than 500 years is their property as far as they are concerned, others have no reason to live.

    We are in a civilizational crisis not a crisis of the US or of Europe but all of it. Western civilization has done more slaughtering of innocent human beings than any civilization man has developed and believe that for them to have a better world more than half the existing human population should be eliminated.

    It was not Truman who decided to drop atomic weapons vaporizing hundreds of thousands in minutes, it was, not the “deep state” but the elites, the oligarchs who had it dropped for the sole purpose of expanding their power to the entire globe. The historical record clearly shows that there was NO military reason to use the atomic bombs.

    From August 6, 1945 until today, the power elite of Western civilization have acted as if they own the entire world, because they believe they are the rightful owners and keepers, because the world can not be left to inferiors.

    Who among us really believes they will not use them again?

  35. Jeff Harrison
    July 29, 2019 at 17:55

    I’ve mentioned this before. Wolfgang Scheivelbusch has a book – the culture of defeat – which looks at the consequences of defeat. By the end of the book Scheivelbusch argues that the next war won’t be fought with guns and bombs but rather with information. The US is a past master in information warfare.

    • Zhu
      August 1, 2019 at 01:58

      He was catering to his Religious Right Dispensationalist supporters.

    • Zhu
      August 1, 2019 at 02:15

      Trump was catering to his Religious Right Dispensationalist supporters.

  36. July 29, 2019 at 17:15

    Incisive and plausible article. By the way, whatever happened to Doctor or Mister Doctorow who contributed many articles in CN. Miss his commentary.

    So much informative comment by so many and so little impact on decision makers in our society. I was amazed when Mueller was asked about Assange how vitriolic his response was, agreeing with one of the Congressman that Assange was a criminal. His blood pressure rising when he talked of the evil Russians. I continue to be amazed at the group think on our foreign policy despite what informed persons like Boyd-Barrett has to say.

  37. Sam F
    July 29, 2019 at 16:39

    Excellent article, although carefully avoiding the statement that Russiagate is a coverup for Israelgate. HRC’s top ten donors were zionists (with KSA donating via the Clinton foundation), and Trump just as controlled by zionism via Adelson et al and Kushner. Any accusations against Russia are absurd, as it has no history of aggression in modern times, no boundaries with Western Europe, nor any state other than those that pushed NATO to its own borders. Russiagate is the antiquarian lunacy of superannuated cold war profiteers, revived by those foolish enough to believe everyone else to be more foolish, seeking to steal more taxpayer funds through the MIC, to coverup Israelgate, and to push zionist fascism in the Mideast for personal tribal gain.

    The Dems have condemned their party to failure through division for at least a generation, which is of course their adopted role in the DemRep coalition of rich tyrants. Such things cannot be stopped, nor democracy restored, without elimination of money control of elections, judiciary, and mass media. That is unlikely until a century of US decline by foreign embargo, tyranny over this hemisphere for a few generations, then tyranny over the domestic population alone for several generations, until at last the People have no choice but to restore democracy by imminent violence. Americans will not restore democracy until they are starving by the millions, willing to march into the teeth of the machine guns of the rich, which the rich can long postpone due to adequate domestic resources to cover the “bread and circus” that prolonged Rome. Democracy will not be restored in our time, or in any era like it.

    • dahoit
      July 30, 2019 at 12:16

      Yes,zionism is the worlds enemy.

    • Zhu
      August 1, 2019 at 02:03

      We Americans are responsible for our follies and crimes,not Russians, Zionists, or Reptilian Overlords.

  38. nietzsche1510
    July 29, 2019 at 16:31

    Russiagate is the tree which hides the forest where the corpses are buried.

  39. July 29, 2019 at 16:22

    A radical reversal of media concentration and ownership and electoral reform are entwined. It seems it is impossible to address one without the other. The politicians ignore media concentration which creates a barrier to reform of either. Both the politicians and the media conglomerates like things just as they are. We have a Gordian knot awaiting the arrival of another Alexander the Great.

  40. Drew Hunkins
    July 29, 2019 at 16:01

    If my fellow CN folks have a minute, attached is a letter of mine that was just published in one of my local newspapers (1 minute to read):

    https://madison.com/ct/opinion/mailbag/drew-hunkins-russian-interference-is-not-the-most-serious-threat/article_2f327748-86fa-5aaa-8dcb-dfa5f4803576.html

    • CFS
      July 29, 2019 at 20:41

      Excellent letter Drew. Concise and to the point.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 29, 2019 at 22:47

        Thanks for the kind words CFS. Keep soldiering on.

      • Daithí
        July 30, 2019 at 12:45

        Clicking on your link ( in Ireland ) throws up the following
        451: Unavailable due to legal reasons

        We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact hostmaster@madison.com or call 800-362-8333.

        Any chance that you could paste your letter to this forum ?

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 30, 2019 at 17:55

        Thanks for making the effort to look.

        Here’s the letter —

        Dear Editor: Robert Mueller testified that, “Russian interference [is] among [the] ‘most serious’ challenges to American democracy.”

        One has to ask, what democracy? It’s been proven that big business and other powerful interests get their way over public sentiment almost all the time. It’s also become clear the candidate with the most campaign funds wins at over a 90% clip.

        Mueller says Russian interference is the “most serious challenge.” Really? More serious than the tentacles of Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed-Martin? It’s a more serious challenge than the influence wielded by Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase?

        It’s more serious than the neo-McCarthyite smear campaigns the pro-Israel zealots have been waging against independent minded activists and politicians for well over 30 years? It’s a more serious challenge than the careerism certain military brass and corporate media mouthpieces constantly strive for in sending economically hard-pressed young men in America’s heartland to die and suffer PTSD in some Middle Eastern desert?

        Though there still has not been one piece of credible evidence indicating the Kremlin interfered in U.S. elections, Mueller’s still hanging his hat on this giant prevarication. This dangerous nonsense must come to end.

        Drew Hunkins
        Madison

    • ML
      July 29, 2019 at 22:21

      Nicely written letter to your local paper, Drew… I know just how you feel. Not a soul in my general purview gets it. They constantly mouth Mueller talking points, denigrate and/or blame the Russians for the demise of our “democracy” and above all, focus on the absurd fool Trump to direct all their frustration upon… it’s tiring, sad and exasperating, all at the same time. A very book-smart friend of ours recently insisted that he just knows Mueller will be proven out- given more time – like say, five more years! Egads. Thank goodness for the majority of commenters here at CN and for the editor in chief Joe Lauria. All of you help me confirm my notion that most Americans are wholly funny-farm ready and nine kinds of bat guano crazy. At least my beloved comprehends it. And I’m pretty sure my dog just might as well…:) Thanks for all your decent, intelligent comments, Drew.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 29, 2019 at 22:48

        Thank you ML. You hit a lot of nails squarely on the head.

    • Gregory Herr
      July 30, 2019 at 00:17

      Most insightfully comprehensive minute I spent today Drew.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 30, 2019 at 10:24

        Those nice words mean a lot Mr. Herr. Amidst this massive mob mentality,,we have to support each other.

    • Limert
      July 30, 2019 at 02:30

      I was denied access to the letter you linked to due to my locaton in Europe, it seems.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 30, 2019 at 10:23

        Hi Limert,

        Thanks for making the effort to look.

        Here’s the letter —

        Dear Editor: Robert Mueller testified that, “Russian interference [is] among [the] ‘most serious’ challenges to American democracy.”

        One has to ask, what democracy? It’s been proven that big business and other powerful interests get their way over public sentiment almost all the time. It’s also become clear the candidate with the most campaign funds wins at over a 90% clip.

        Mueller says Russian interference is the “most serious challenge.” Really? More serious than the tentacles of Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed-Martin? It’s a more serious challenge than the influence wielded by Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase?

        It’s more serious than the neo-McCarthyite smear campaigns the pro-Israel zealots have been waging against independent minded activists and politicians for well over 30 years? It’s a more serious challenge than the careerism certain military brass and corporate media mouthpieces constantly strive for in sending economically hard-pressed young men in America’s heartland to die and suffer PTSD in some Middle Eastern desert?

        Though there still has not been one piece of credible evidence indicating the Kremlin interfered in U.S. elections, Mueller’s still hanging his hat on this giant prevarication. This dangerous nonsense must come to end.

        Drew Hunkins
        Madison

      • Skip Scott
        July 30, 2019 at 15:08

        Great letter Drew!

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 30, 2019 at 17:57

        Thanks much Skip Scott.

  41. Marko
    July 29, 2019 at 15:32

    Yep , that’s Russiagate in a nutshell. Great summation.

  42. Deniz
    July 29, 2019 at 15:26

    The badly named Russiagate serves to keep the parameters of the coversation focused on whether there was or was not a crime committed by the Russians. It is a blatant racial slur that nobody questions in the slightest Can you imagine a 2 year investigation trumped daily by Maddow and Blitzer on media called Israelgate or Ziongate?

    • nietzsche1510
      July 29, 2019 at 16:45

      hi Deniz. the whole Russiagate thing has been concocted in the City of London, aka, the command center of the Judeo-Zionist Tribe. their tools are: MI6, CIA, FBI, NSA, the State Department, the British Monarchy, Facebook, Google, Twitter, 90% of the NGOs, 95% of the print press of the whole West, 95% of the TV channels, Hollywood, etc., etc.

  43. Miranda M Keefe
    July 29, 2019 at 15:26

    We have always been at war with Eurasia.

  44. Sally Snyder
    July 29, 2019 at 14:34

    Here is an interesting look at the cozy relationship between the New York Times and Washington:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-new-york-times-big-brother-and.html

    If it’s the unvarnished truth that you want, don’t count on getting it from the plethora of mainstream media sources because it is quite likely that any story that you read about the federal government has already passed through “Big Brother” for “his” approval.

  45. Drew Hunkins
    July 29, 2019 at 14:25

    Biggest b.s, story of my lifetime. Just last week I was assured by an acquaintance in all-knowing condescension that I am delusional, naive and imbecilic when I claim there was no Kremlin effort to “hack” or interfere in the ’16 election.

    This is the lie that won’t die. I get the same mockery and ridicule as when I insisted 2002/’03 during the run-up to the Iraq bloodbath that Washington had no business waging war on that innocent nation.

    • Sam F
      July 29, 2019 at 20:32

      Those spectators are afraid of their own kind, and find it easier and safer to say what their bosses want to hear. Their social contract does not extend to taking unusual risks for others. They do not have the character to be good citizens.

      H.L. Mencken said (approx.) that “The average man avoids truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn’t pay.” Oligarchy can rely upon a combination of fearmongering and mass media repetition of nonsense and exclusion of criticism. They also rely upon suppression of dialogue in the primary workplace venues of discourse, and threats to employment security. And of course oligarchy has the rewards that support the duopoly racketeers and their supporters. Most know that the path to wealth and power is adoption of the very rationales that enslave them.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 29, 2019 at 22:46

        Excellent points Sam F!

    • CFS
      July 29, 2019 at 20:45

      Most of my closest friends, and even my two daughters, think that I am delusional, naive and imbecilic when I claim there was no Kremlin effort to “hack” or interfere in the ’16 election. But I soldier on.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 29, 2019 at 22:45

        Don’t let them get you down CFS!

    • AnneR
      July 30, 2019 at 09:02

      Quite right, Drew. This lie will not go away and not only because the blue-head of the Janus party won’t let it. Too many HRC supporters and – it would seem – millions of Americans who, just below the surface, are Russophobes have too much of themselves invested in the idiocy.

      As I’ve written before in earlier comments, most of my late life-love-partner’s FB friends (who were his colleagues/friends and former students) are well captured by the whole fabrication. It is as if their lives depend upon continuing to believe in it. And they are all very well and expensively educated. (Yet they tune in to the “progressive” MSM and those so-called alternative websites which echo what CNN, MSNBC et al broadcast; they never stray beyond their comfort zones.)

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 30, 2019 at 10:19

        “…are well captured by the whole fabrication”‘

        They can’t deal with the cog-dis! Don’t let them get you down!

  46. July 29, 2019 at 14:11

    Oliver Barret Boyd nails it. Thank you. What are the Bread & Circuses all about?

    http://osociety.org/2019/07/20/panem-et-circenses

    Distracting us from the outcome of neoliberal and neoconservative ideologies. Namely, Rome is burning and the normal people are broke! There’s no one you can trust… no one worthy of our belief… but hey, there’s a WWF president on the Twitter and the TV – Woo HOO!

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