PATRICK LAWRENCE: Obituary for Russiagate

The fraudulent fable has died, but its consequences live on.

 TV coverage of 2016 U.S. election results. (U.S. embassy, Kyiv)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

Russiagate, that fraudulent fable wherein Russian President Vladimir Putin personally subverted American democracy, Russian intelligence pilfered the Democratic Party’s email, and Donald Trump acted at the Kremlin’s behest, is at last dead.

No, nothing sudden. It has been a slow, painful death of the sort this destructive beast richly deserved. But its demise is now definitive — in the courts and on paper. We await the better historians to see this properly into the record.

Three key operatives in the construction of the Russiagate edifice are indicted for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about aspects of the Russiagate tale.  The Steele dossier, the document on which much of the case against former President Trump rested, is now exposed as a Nixonesque “dirty trick” authorized and paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Some mainstream newspapers — certainly not all — are busy in their archives, editing out the worst of the falsehoods they reported in 2016 and 2017 as unassailable fact.

This is a wholesale collapse now.

There are, as one would expect, those who seem determined to hold out no matter what the factual evidence. These go well beyond MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, whose record I will let speak for itself.

I am thinking of people such as David Corn, the Mother Jones correspondent in Washington, and David Frum, a staff writer at The Atlantic. Both invested big time into the Russiagate junk, and both published books filled with the ridiculous, evidence-free piffle of which it was made.

Corn, Frum and numerous others like them are now industriously throwing good money after bad to go by recent publications. Here is Corn’s latest, and here Frum’s. One finds the same tired combination of presumption, useless innuendo, and spoon-fed, evidence-deficient falsities derived from the intelligence agencies that were key to fomenting the Russiagate hoax. Yes, Messrs. Corn and Frum, it was a hoax.

To these diehards, people such as your columnist, given to rational, disinterested consideration of what is known and what is conjured from thin air, are “denialists.” Strange it is that those denying established facts and truths call those who accept these facts and truths by this name.

But this is a measure of the extent Russiagate has plunged us into Alice–in–Wonderland depths where what is up is down, what is dark is light, what is true is to be buried, what is false is to be held high — where blindness is preferred to sight.

This leads us to the essential question we now face, or one of them. What are the consequences of the Russiagate scam? If it rested on lies start-to-finish, this is not to say it did not exact its price. It did. The price is high, and we are fated to pay it for some time to come.

The Damage Done

Nov. 11, 2017, protest outside the White House, dubbed the “Kremlin Annex.” (Wikimedia Commons/Ted Eytan)

An inquiry of this kind must begin with the damage Russiagate has done to the prevalent American consciousness. The last five years have delivered Americans into a culture of unreason of the kind they have been prone to indulging periodically throughout their history. It is made in equal parts of a native insecurity and anxiety, of paranoia and of irrationality.

This is at once a pitiable and dangerous state. All is reduced to the Manichean distinctions characteristic of the old Westerns (not to mention most of the good guys vs. bad guys Dreck that comes out of Hollywood these days).

No subtlety of thought survives in the culture of unreason. Public space is populated with poseurs, cutouts, and imposters. Public discourse, with some exceptions, is much of the time not worth bothering with.

To understand this condition, we must recognize it as the work of a diabolic alliance comprised of the Democratic Party’s corrupt leadership, the F.B.I. and other law-enforcement agencies, the national security apparatus and its many appendages, and the media. It is no longer in the slightest objectionable to speak or write of a Deep State that controls this country.

The elite minority this alliance represents derives its power from its claim to speak for the majority — an absolutely classic case of the “soft despotism” Alexis de Tocqueville warned Americans of 190 years ago. Liberal authoritarianism is another name for what has consolidated itself in the years since Democrats, in mid–2016, first raised the phony specter of Russia “hacking” into its mail systems.

In effect, Russiagate has tipped the American polity upside down. It is the illiberal liberals among us, righteous as the old Puritan ministers of New England, who now prosecute a regime of censorship and suppression of dissent that is at least as severe and anti-democratic as what conservatives had going during the Cold War (and in my view worse).

It is they who seek to cow ordinary Americans into the new, weird idolatry of authority, no matter that those to whom the nation is urged to bow are proven liars, law-breakers and propagandists.

Culture of Unreason

Street art, Washington, D.C., May 2016. (Ted Eytan, Flickr)

There is, of course, the more dangerous world Russiagate has done so much to create. In the culture of unreason, the Deep State has a discouraging record of success in gaining wide public support for any aggressive campaign against any nation or people it wishes to act against.

In this dimension, Russiagate has destroyed the Democrats as a party willing to stand against the imperial project in its late phase.

A war with China over the Taiwan question is now spoken of as a logical possibility. Washington is now raising the temperature on the Ukraine–Russia border, just as it did when it cultivated the 2014 coup in Kiev, and this is put across as a Democratic administration’s sound policy. Rampant Russophobia is a direct consequence of the Russiagate ruse, Sinophobia its uglier sibling — uglier for its racist subtext.

We have active subversion operations in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba and Peru, all progressive states in the true meaning of this term, and Democrats of all stripes — including “progressives” with the necessary quotation marks — cheer on every one of them.

We cannot view this as distinct from the elevation of institutions dedicated to campaigns of covert subterfuge — chiefly but not only the C.I.A. — to wholly inappropriate positions of respect.

The damage Russiagate has done to the press … let me rephrase this.  The damage the press has inflicted upon itself in the cause of Russiagate is so extensive it is hard to calculate with any precision. We watch now as their credibility collapses in real time.

Those running the mainstream newspapers and networks seem to understand this, as they rush to protect what remains of their reputations with rearguard actions to obscure their grossly irresponsible conduct.

The long list of those who caved to the Russiagate orthodoxy includes some stunning names. Among publications that should have known better we find Mother Jones, The Nation, The Intercept, and Democracy Now! Was it conformity, pressure from donors or Democratic Party ventriloquists, or some combination of ideology, ignorance and inexperience that caused them to flip?

The Atlantic, The New Yorker, the major dailies, the networks — they have all sustained one or another degree of discredit, left either to craven rewrites in their archives, denial in the Corn–Frum mode, or silence. None will do: They will never regain lost ground without first acknowledging what they have done, and this appears out of the question.

Resort of Omission 

“The Usual Suspects,” urban art, Norway, 2015. (Anne Worner, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The feature of the corporate-owned press — and the “progressive,” press, as just suggested — that strikes me most now is its resort of omission.

Think about it: Lengthy hearings on Capitol Hill, in which leading Democratic Party Russiagaters admit under oath they never had any of the evidence they long claimed, go unreported. The collapse of the Steele dossier goes unreported in The New York Times and other major dailies.

It is but a short step to all else that is newsworthy but left out — the collapse of the case against Julian Assange (against whom the Russiagate frenzy was wielded), the collapse of the chemical weapons case in Syria, all the above-noted covert subversions.

It is wholesale dereliction of duty now, and it was Russiagate that licensed this betrayal.

Mainstream media are now approaching that point when they leave out more of the world we live in than they report. This is a losing proposition in the medium term — a desperate, last-ditch strategy to defend a “narrative” that simply no longer holds. I put the acceleration of this trend down to the poisoned information environment Russiagate did so much to engender.

There is a positive dimension to the media’s fate since Russiagate, and regular readers of this column may already guess where I am headed. The disaster Russiagate has proven for the corporate-owned press, the networks, and the “left” — with-quotation-marks — press has landed independent media such as Consortium News with large, new responsibilities, and they have by-and-large risen to the occasion. Their role in keeping the truth of the Russiagate fraud on the table cannot be overstated.

We witness, in effect, an historically significant transformation in how Americans get their news and analysis. This, a gradual process, is an excellent thing. In time, independent media stand to play as important a role in repairing the across-the-board damage of Russiagate as legacy media played in hatching and deepening it.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

37 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Obituary for Russiagate

  1. Mark Thomason
    December 4, 2021 at 14:52

    The greatest damage is that these lies enabled the losers among Democrats to retain control of the Party. Hillary continued to drag them down.

    Yes, it also created craziness among Trump supporters, but they were already sort of nuts. Democrats were crippled by their own lies, and that is how Trump got away with so much, and still lingers.

    It is all about Hillary, a fundamental poison in American politics. We could have had Bernie/Warren. Yes, they could have won.

  2. jchristo
    December 4, 2021 at 11:17

    Nixon’s bugging of a campaign office is penny ante stuff compared to Obama/Clinton’s subversion of the National Security apparatus of the US to intercept all communications of Trump and his entire campaign team, and eventually his entire administration.

    This was illegal surveillance and leaking of privileged communications of the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces during a state of war; and the perpetrators should be pleading for their lives in front of military courts.

  3. Taras77
    December 4, 2021 at 10:11

    FWIW: I did not see it noted in the comments thus far to this excellent article but now we are “blessed” with the “news” that weissman et al is pushing DOJ to publish an alternate mueller summary which apparently has another take on what is already out there.

    Gad, will it ever end?

  4. Lois Gagnon
    December 3, 2021 at 13:45

    It’s been like being stuck in an episode of the Twilight Zone. Watching former political allies fall into the Russia-gate trap has been absolutely surreal. They have become willing accomplices in the demise of rational discourse.

    I cancelled my 30 year subscription to Harper’s magazine over their embrace of this insanity. The oldest periodical in the US. Pretty much says it all.

  5. Coup63
    December 3, 2021 at 09:34

    After all this, no Seth Rich!

  6. Diana
    December 3, 2021 at 03:37

    There are times, Patrick, when an author surpasses both himself and his subject, and this is one of them. Independents like Greenwald, Taibbi, and Mate have documented the demise of this monstrous fabrication, but few have so incisively outlined its consequences. Well done, and thank you.

  7. Richard Annotico
    December 2, 2021 at 21:42

    I Have Long Been a Consortium Supporter……BUT I’m SERIOUSLY Bothered by your ANTI-HILLARY (who I didn’t like much either) , You apparently are either UNAWARE or IGNORING that The Steele File was CREATED by a RUBIO Backer during the REPUBLICAN PRIMARY Campaign, as “opposition research” with the goal of Damaging TRUMP and Promoting RUBIO. hXXps://
    Then when TRUMP appeared to be the Winner, FUSION was Fired, Who Then Offered the “opposition research” to the Clinton Campaign, who Naturally seized upon the opportunity to Accept, and Hire Fusion/ Steele to Dig Deeper, because Steele had Unusual Russian Contacts, having formerly been a UK Intelligence Agent focusing on Russia. ………….. I believe your Reporting is a Travesty……. You Put it on a Level of David Segretti , and his ‘Dirty Tricks Campaign. hXXps://

      December 2, 2021 at 23:12

      You are absolutely incorrect and you reveal your mistake in your own words: “Clinton Campaign, who Naturally seized upon the opportunity to Accept, and Hire Fusion/ Steele to Dig Deeper, because Steele had Unusual Russian Contacts.” The Republicans had hired Fusion, but not Steele. The Republican research against Trump had nothing to do with Steele. That opposition research was ended and a new one was begun by the Clinton campaign, who hired Fusion, who hired Steele. They are totally separate from each other. Russiagate is not on the level of Donald Segretti, it is far, far worse.

      “The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele,” wrote the site’s Editor in Chief Matthew Continetti and Chairman Michael Goldfarb. hXXps://

    • TimN
      December 3, 2021 at 12:31

      You have long been a Consortium supporter? Really? I’m calling bullshit on you. You’re just in here defending the indefensible with a pack of ill-conceived lies. “Anti-Hillary?” You mean the candidate you say you don’t like much either? You’re in here pretending at having principles whilst defending a politician who is utterly unprincipled. You simply confirm everything mentioned in the column with your comically insipid nonsense. Thanks for that, and go now and find more conspiracies you can ineptly defend. You have my sympathies.

  8. Rob
    December 2, 2021 at 17:44

    I agree wholeheartedly with the ideas and sentiments expressed by Patrick Lawrence, but I fear that he may be overly optimistic about the future of public discourse in the Western world. The major lesson that has been learned by the purveyors of journalistic malpractice is that there is no price to pay. On the contrary, further rewards await those who faithfully serve the puppet masters. Similarly, the general public are showing sings of worsening infection with the Russo-Sinophobia virus that may ultimately be more lethal than COVID-19. The underlying problem in the West is that it is firmly under the control of pan-national oligarchs who yank the strings of politicians and the media. It’s hard for me to envision that dynamic changing for the better anytime soon.

  9. David Otness
    December 2, 2021 at 15:52

    Keeping it short: Bravo!

    What hope we may entertain to hold in these profound times of peril is borne by P.L. with every concise sentence of each article with which Consortium News gifts us. Same goes with the ‘Regulars’ who populate these pages. The takeaway ‘sticks to yer ribs’ for being meaningful.

    “What’s in yer wallet?”
    Whatever amount it is, do the right thing, make an as generous as possible gift to Consortium News and its stellar authors’ continuity of purpose and imperative longevity of legacy-building herein. Bills, how they dog us all, large and small, we proles.

    CN is not just an island of intellectual safety—it’s a place to repair your sails and patch your leaky hull before setting forth once again into this troubled world reprovisioned and armed with truth.
    C’mon, this place is a life boat. You know it and I know it too. Keep the ship afloat! And look at the world experience of those bordering the mast head! History-makers themselves! A finer crew you are not going to find.

    • December 3, 2021 at 09:36

      Touch of the poet here, David. So eloquent an expression of support, for which multithanks, as we used to say over the old telex machines. And holiday blessings upon you! Patrick.

  10. Kim
    December 2, 2021 at 15:32

    My question is why go after Steele? After all, how can you blame this guy for writing the drivel he did when all he had to do was surf the net for already published tripe about Putin, then fabricate some nonsensical story about Putin, Trump, Russian hookers and golden showers in order to collect a $1,000,000 fee from the beautiful, “everyone loves Hillery Clinton”? If that crooked woman offered me a cool million tax free I would write any damn nonsense she wanted – wouldn’t’ you?

    Why isn’t the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department busy water-boarding Hillery for her sins which includes subverting the will of the American people to win the presidency using the most despicable, and fraudulent means imaginable. Even Nixon didn’t resort to stunts as low as Hillery did. How about when Hillary was given the answers to the debate questions ahead of the debate by the head of the Democratically controlled debate committee? And why didn’t she get charged with a crime as well?

    Is Hillery the REAL Teflon DON?

  11. Tedder130
    December 2, 2021 at 13:35

    I concur that this Patrick Lawrence piece is excellent and worthy of wide dissemination. I will do my part, but whether anyone will take the time to read it is not a sure thing. The propaganda machine has been hard at work since WWI to ‘manufacture consent’; in the Russiagate case, it was to 1) excuse Hillary’s defeat; 2) to stop Trump’s trend to detente. What is odd that few in any discussion actually brought up why Russia was an ‘enemy’ in the first place. I don’t recall any overt act against the Americas that hurt anyone. It gets more and more curious with China, this time blamed for crushing Hong Kong “independence”, decimating Uyghur Muslims, almost anything about Tibetans, as if the Americans really cared a fig about any country’s independence, Muslims, or Tibetan Buddhists.
    But, Russiagate holds a special place in the insanity of our times, primarily because it was/is a poison that harms rational discourse and trust for facts and truth.

  12. evelync
    December 2, 2021 at 13:23

    Thanks to Patrick Lawrence for his work to expose the compromised main stream media.

    As commenters here point out, the detail and complexity of the fraud may be difficult for some people to come to grips with especially if they’ve been bamboozled for so long by a party they have trusted. A party that has shamelessly used political red herrings to distract people.

    In the end, the Democratic establishment led by the Clinton machine fabricated an excuse for their 2016 defeat. But that may be tough for some people to face.

    Perhaps the elephant in the room is that the Democratic establishment AKA Clinton machinery as well as the Republican Party have, for decades, supported $trillions to be diverted from the economy to the for profit wars.

    With the catastrophic failure of 20 years of tragic war in Afghanistan, people are surely now aware of the human and financial costs of the for profit wars. More and more people should be able to grasp that they have been hurt by this siphoning off of tax dollars that were desperately needed here at home. (Think Bernie Sanders’ policy positions.)

    They may be able to recognize that the Democratic power structure (as well as the Republicans power structure) have betrayed them or at least headed the country in an unsustainable direction.

    Maybe that’s a wake up call that can prepare loyalists to start questioning what’s been going on……

  13. rosemerry
    December 2, 2021 at 13:03

    I am not American and never believed the fanciful lies of Russiagate, and was particularly infuriated by “journalist” Luke Harding, who I notice is STILL employed by the Guardian. He wrote a book on Russiagante, fanatsized for months on the Skripal saga (never admitted as fake over more than a year) and was interviewed by Aaron Maté in a devastating way which any sentient being could have realised showed his “truthtelling”. That the whole story became so intense and divisive shows us that the MSM in the West are accepted by large numbers of people as fact. Now we read about “Russia about to invade Ukraine” with mention of seizing Crimea but never the US violent overthrow of the elected government in 2014 or the agreement for Kiev to have talks with the breakaway regions, supervised by France and Germany, who have never even attempted to follow the agreement.

  14. Bret Bowman
    December 2, 2021 at 12:49

    Excellent article on Russiagate but for one crucial yet absent actor: Silicon Valley algorithmic sheep dogging of ALL publishers, including foreign press.

    To understand this condition, we must recognize it as the work of a diabolic alliance comprised of the Democratic Party’s corrupt leadership, the F.B.I. and other law-enforcement agencies, the national security apparatus and its many appendages, and the media.

    This alliance wouldn’t have stood a chance without Silicon Valley enforcement against all dissenting public opinion.

    Among publications that should have known better we find Mother Jones, The Nation, The Intercept, and Democracy Now! Was it conformity, pressure from donors or Democratic Party ventriloquists, or some combination of ideology, ignorance and inexperience that caused them to flip?

    Which largely explains why these and other publishers pushed Russiagate so relentlessly. Nearly all other publishers were likewise prohibited from disputing any elements of the conspiracy because doing so resulted in de-ranking and the total stomping of circulation into “we can’t survive these numbers” territory. PropOrNot, mysterious in origin and staffing as featured in WaPo, published a list of over 200 “propaganda” news sites. These sites were subsequently directly attacked by Google, Facebook and YouTube, via algorithm resulting in catastrophic revenue drops AND dramatic changes in editorial policy for any who tried to survive.
    If you’re going to make the case for Deep State conspiracy you can’t leave out the financial coercion that permeates the entire US political economy, most especially the information economy.

  15. Jeff Harrison
    December 2, 2021 at 11:32

    Well done as usual however comma I think you leave out the most deleterious consequence of Russiagate. Breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia. Obama made the original expulsion of Russian diplomats based on Three Names’ evidence free claims and seized Russian diplomatic property and invaded their diplomatic mission in violation of all sorts of international law and made providing visas for Russian diplomatic personnel difficult and at times impossible and levied all sorts of sanctions on Russia for the election “meddling”. All of that is based on a lie, a deliberate, self serving lie and, while you are correct that the whole Russiagate narrative has been shot to pieces, the US government continues to push it and continues to drive out Russian diplomats to the point that RT reports that Russia told the staffers at the Moscow mission to get out of Russia. And continues sanctions in response to said non-existent “meddling”. Apparently the Washington regime hasn’t gotten the memo.

      December 3, 2021 at 12:32

      Russian diplomats were expelled from the US but the US never broke diplomatic relations with Russia.

      • Jeff Harrison
        December 3, 2021 at 14:23

        A literally true statement of fact. If you read my sentence carefully, I never said that the US broke off diplomatic relations; the incomplete sentence I wrote has no subject. Not included in my original post is (a) RT’s report that Russia is expelling all US embassy staffers who have been there longer than 3 years and (b) that the US has declared Russia to be a homeless country (or whatever it was exactly that we said) such that Russians have to go to a third country to get a visa to the US. At what point does diplomatic provocation become tantamount to breaking off relations?

          December 3, 2021 at 21:50

          When a country recalls its ambassador and all staff and closes the embassy and consulates, such as the US has done with Iran since April 7, 1980, but not with Russia.

          December 3, 2021 at 21:54

          You wrote: “Well done as usual however comma I think you leave out the most deleterious consequence of Russiagate. Breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia.” The author of the piece left it out because it’s not true, the US has not broken off diplomatic relations with Russia as you clearly state. Who could the subject of that sentence be other than the US, which you incorrectly say was the “most deleterious consequence of Russiagate??

          • Jeff Harrison
            December 4, 2021 at 01:55

            How about Russiagate itself (which is what Patrick was writing about)? Russiagate set off a train of actions by both the US and Russian governments that has led to a de facto break in relations, not a de jure one, I would agree. The US government has clearly said that consular services are not available in Russia. And the US has essentially expelled (or refused visas to) most everybody else in the Russian embassy here in the US. So we each have an ambassador in our respective countries. And you really think that’s having diplomatic relations?

              December 4, 2021 at 06:58

              Breaking diplomatic relations is a formal matter that is announced. All diplomatic missions are closed, and diplomatic personnel withdrawn. An “interests section” can be maintained in the embassy of a third state.
              “Breaking Relations. The formal act of severing diplomatic relations with another state to underscore disapproval of its actions or policies.” Glossary of Diplomatic Terms

              Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) states:

              “If diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled:

              (a) the receiving State must, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives;
              (b) the sending State may entrust the custody of the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives, to a third State acceptable to the receiving State;
              (c) the sending State may entrust the protection of its interests and those of its nationals to a third State acceptable to the receiving State.

              None of this has happened with Russia. Even during times of undeclared armed conflict the US has maintained diplomatic relations with states. From the Christian Science Monitor:

              “The inclination of policymakers is to keep embassies open. Especially in significant areas of crisis, officials responsible for foreign relations wish to leave in place as long as possible personnel who can advise. They also want the secure communications that make effective reporting possible. Hope exists that, by direct intervention, diplomats can assist in resolving crises.

              Breaking relations is easier than finding the exact timing and rationale for resuming relations. The US maintained representation The inclination of policymakers is to keep embassies open. Especially in significant areas of crisis, officials responsible for foreign relations wish to leave in place as long as possible personnel who can advise. They also want the secure communications that make effective reporting possible. Hope exists that, by direct intervention, diplomats can assist in resolving crises. Breaking relations is easier than finding the exact timing and rationale for resuming relations. The US maintained representation. …
              At one time, when nations went to war, relations were automatically broken. In an age of undeclared war this is less the case. The US embassy remained in Managua, Nicaragua, even when Washington was supporting the contra army fighting the Sandinistas.

              The US and other countries seek measures short of a break in relations, including the withdrawal of the ambassador and a reduction in the size of staff.” hXXps://

  16. Dan
    December 2, 2021 at 10:19

    What has to be also mentioned is that the Russiagate hoax was swallowed whole primarily by those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. This psychosis mainly afflicted Democrats but not only. So what kept the psychosis alive was Trump phobia. The phobia is still there. So is Trump! What is needed most are Democrats who can challenge the anti-social resistance of Democrat donors or better yet find a few billionaire donors who can embrace the Progressive ideals.

  17. Jan
    December 2, 2021 at 09:35

    Yes, all very true, but what of Seth Rich? Not a word.

  18. Realist
    December 2, 2021 at 02:37

    I do not disagree with the main truths that Mr. Lawrence lays out in a very organised and clear fashion. However, I am not at all sure that a majority of American consumers of news are yet aware of these take-home lessons. There is still too much knee-jerk allegiance to political poseurs and other damned liars out there. How else does the cognitively-limited imposter Joe Biden remain in office with his still very robust and threatening animus against not only Russia and Putin, but versus China and Xi as well.

    Every day we must count ourselves lucky that a war with either or both of these countries has not yet broken out, based on the insults and slander incessantly forthcoming from the White House and the rest of the power structure in Washington. Another reader (PEG) states in his or her comments that the whole atmosphere today is reminiscent reminds of Nazi Germany. To me, it seems more like the height of the Cold War when it was first invented (the late 40’s through the 50’s), refined and force fed to the public every day during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. When McCarthyism was at its peak, and when one had to accept the notion that there was actually an official “House on Un-American Activities” Committee! A time when people lost their livelihoods for thought-crime and espousing the wrong political philosophies (great similarities to the shallow and vindictive “Wokeism” and “cancel culture”). Yes, it stunk like Orwell’s “1984” (published in that historical moment–1948), but the fools stopped in time. Maybe Kennedy’s assassination shook some of the more reckless “players?”

    Will they be thoughtful (or scared) enough to stop in time during this iteration of madness? I’m not convinced. There are so many other potential catastrophes in the air today (Covid, massive illegal immigration across uncontrolled borders, near collapse of self-funded social programs like SS and Medicare, crumbling infrastructure, inability to craft an effective and affordable national health care program, rampant overt racism coming equally from both sides of the barricades, and the breakdown of institutions (such as our churches and schools) that used to temper too much of an embrace of extremism. But nobody believes or trusts the padres or the teachers anymore because of their widely exposed bad behaviors. Rock and Roll may have died, but sex and drugs, along with their potential abuse, are still with us. The politicians are widely and appropriately loathed for their rank hypocrisy and grasping self interests. This time the republic (or the empire, perhaps to be more accurate) may just crack before it can be healed. I’m old and thought I might pass away before such a societal collapse. Now I’m not so sure.

    • PEG
      December 2, 2021 at 17:26

      Very well said, Realist.

      The resemblance to the first Cold War and McCarthyism is clear – but the propaganda seems even more pernicious and insidious and stupid and all-encompassing than back then, infecting many of the “better” parts from society, from the intellectual classes to the media – hence my reference to Nazi Germany, which I know a bit about as my parents had direct experience of that time and place.

      I like your reference to “too much knee-jerk allegiance to political poseurs and other damned liars out there.” Touché.

      It’s not just Joe Biden who is failing in his job but the large coterie of second-raters in his administration, not least in the foreign policy area. Especially the dynamic duo of Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan. Regarding Antony, Patrick Lawrence hits the nail on the head in a recent article: “Blinken is not the worst secretary of state in my lifetime — that distinction goes to John Foster Dulles. But he is the most ineffectual, and possibly the stupidest. His function is to portray, to put across, carefully, a nonexistent America.” Not having experienced Dulles, I would have said Hillary Clinton…

      (By the way, “PEG” is “his” not “her” – these are my initials – I think I’ll post under another “handle” going forward.)

  19. December 2, 2021 at 00:35

    Kudos to Patrick Lawrence for an excellent, very succinct, and timely obituary; a fitting eulogy for all those who propagated and supported the farce of “Russiagate”? And……of course the cabal of brain-dead “illiberal faux liberals” who continue to squirm and twist in the closing throws of denialism in their disparate fear of reason.
    This is no time for doom and gloom, we must rescue Julian Assange, repatriate Edward Snowden, shout our truth to the corruptors of our Constitutional principals; the public good must triumph over private advantage in all that we do.
    As Usual,
    Thom Williams

    • December 2, 2021 at 10:40

      What a thoughtful reply, Thom. Thank you for it, and thanks to all others commenting here. Holiday best wishes. P.L.

      • December 2, 2021 at 19:07

        @ Patrick Lawrence ?
        It is an honor and privilege to have attracted your notice, let alone your thanks. Your honest and well reasoned prose demands praise and demands further dissemination.
        As Usual,
        Thom Williams (aka Ethan Allen)?

  20. Zim
    December 2, 2021 at 00:09

    Bravo! Thank you good Sir!

  21. Caliman
    December 1, 2021 at 22:23

    Fantastic, as always. In our imperial, post-modern, all is relative world, is it a wonder that narrative is far more important than fact? Actually, is there any value to be placed on facts if narrative is really what matters? After all, we all “know” that Trump was a bad man, a racist, a fascist, etc., right? He must have been guilty of something. Why not this? And if not this exactly, does it matter? The man (and all his supporters) are GUILTY. That’s what matters …

    Or, as Bush’s Brain said to Ron Suskind, “guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ […] ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’.”

    Isn’t what Patrick is describing the Imperial Press now choosing to live in the world “the way it really works”? Good to see the “left” catching up with reality …

  22. Don
    December 1, 2021 at 22:11

    Excellent. Every U.S. citizen should read this article. In fact, I think our public schools should add Patrick Lawrences’s Obituary for Russiagate as a required chapter it’s American History books.

  23. Sr. Gibbonk
    December 1, 2021 at 21:27

    Another excellent piece by Patrick Lawrence. As Lincoln said “… you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”, with the qualifier, I would add, as long as fearless independent journalists, researchers and essayists have the means of reaching the people. There’s the rub. Independent media, such as Consortium News, are dependent on net neutrality for their survival but – and this won’t come as a shock to you, dear CN readers – there are great forces arrayed against said neutrality. Think MICIMATT complex*. I’m sure most of you do as I do and forward articles such as the current Obituary for Russiagate to friends and acquaintances. And, if you can do it, send a little money now and then.

    *Ray McGovern coined this rather ungainly acronym: Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank

  24. alley cat
    December 1, 2021 at 18:18

    Another home run by Patrick Lawrence! All is not lost as long as he and other courageous journalists like him are able to speak out.

    All may be lost if Britain extradites Julian Assange to the lair of the beast.

    If Julian goes down, real journalism goes down with him. And if real journalism goes down, the last vestiges of democracy in the U.S. go down with it.

    Most Americans may be too brainwashed by now to know or care.

  25. PEG
    December 1, 2021 at 17:52

    Great article, and I can only say that I agree with every word written by Patrick Lawrence about Russiagate and the other hoaxes perpetrated by the mainstream media in recent years, such as the faked Syrian gas attacks.

    Only I fear that the optimistic note on which the article ends, namely that there is “an historically significant transformation in how Americans get their news and analysis,” with independent media such as Consortium News saving the Republic, may well be overly optimistic.

    Although Consortium News and other independent sites, together with independent journalists like Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté, also comedians like Jimmy Dore, have done yeoman’s work in opening people’s eyes, the broad mass of people believe the information that is fed to them by the mainstream outlets and don’t have the time, independence or intelligence to figure out what is really going on. The independent media reach an audience which while intellectually elite and able to recognize the truth is small and not strong. As in Orwell’s 1984, “ignorance is strength.”

    Living through the last years has felt like living through some kind of reprise of Nazi Germany, with highly propagandistic media – on the one hand – and the broad mass of people – on the other hand – believing the lies being propagated (or pretending to do so), insisting that the Emperor wears elegant new clothes, either by being willing dupes or characterless opportunists.

    Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that the mass media share the fate of the old Soviet newspapers Pravda and Izvestia, which at the end people no longer took seriously because the propaganda was too crude and transparent. But I fear today’s propaganda is far more effective and the grip of the state is even tighter. The internet is coming under increasing control (Gleichschaltung, if you will), and the departure of Jack Dorsey from Twitter doesn’t bode well.

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