Chris Hedges: Why Russiagate Won’t Go Away

Myths make us feel good. Myths demonize those blamed for our self-created debacles. Myths celebrate us as a people and a nation. But it is like handing heroin to junkies.  

(Mr. Fish)

By Chris Hedges

There is no report, investigation or new revelation, including the recent release of Special Counsel John Durham’s “Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns” that will implode the myth that Russia was responsible for the election of Donald Trump.

Myths are impervious to facts. They fulfill an emotional yearning. They are a short circuit from reality into a world of childish simplicity. Hard and painful questions are avoided. Thought-terminating cliches are spat out to blissfully embrace a willed ignorance. 

The cynical con the Democratic Party and the F.B.I. carried out to falsely portray Donald Trump as a puppet of the Kremlin worked, and continues to work, because it is what those who detest Trump want to believe.

If Russia is blamed for Trump’s election, we avoid the unpleasant reality of our failed democratic institutions and decaying empire. We avoid facing the inevitable rise of a Christianized fascism borne out of widespread impoverishment, rage, despair and abandonment.

We avoid acknowledging the complicity of the Democratic Party in the orchestration of the largest social inequality in our nation’s history, the evisceration of our basic civil liberties, endless wars and an electoral system bankrolled by the billionaire class, which is legalized bribery.

The myth allows us to believe that Democratic politicians, like the establishment Republicans who have joined them, are the guarantors of a democracy they destroyed.

On the Cusp of Tyranny

FBI headquarters. (Wikimedia Commons)

Our reality is bleak and frightening, especially given the abject refusal by the ruling oligarchs to deal seriously with the climate emergency. We face a precarious future. The monumental task of restoring democracy outside the confines of a broken electoral system and corporate-indentured institutions is daunting and not guaranteed.

We stand on the cusp of tyranny. Blaming Vladimir Putin for the rise of an American demagogue — demagogues are always vomited up from dysfunctional political systems — magically makes the existential dilemma disappear.

The liberal media during the Trump-Russia saga, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, which shared a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on alleged Russian influence during the 2016 election, provided thousands of stories and reports that falsely painted the Trump administration as a tool of Russia.

MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow was chief among those flogging Russiagate story. (MSNBC Screenshot)

Their readers, like the viewers of CNN and MSNBC, were fed a comforting myth. When you feed a public consoling myths —  the most absurd being that America is a good and virtuous nation — there is no accountability.

Myths make us feel good. Myths demonize those blamed for our self-created debacles. Myths celebrate us as a people and a nation. But it is like handing heroin to junkies.  

Shatter the myths, even if the facts are incontrovertible, and you become a pariah. I found this out when I and a handful of others, including Robert ScheerPhil Donahue and Michael Moore, denounced calls to invade Iraq.

It made no difference that I had been the Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times, was an Arabic speaker and had spent seven years reporting in the region, including in Iraq. I was censored, driven from The New York Times and attacked by George W. Bush’s useful idiots in the media, and the Democratic Party, as an apologist for Saddam Hussein.

The same ugly reception greeted those of us who questioned the “evidence” used to argue that Trump was a tool of Russia. We were branded stooges of Moscow and Trump apologists. We were again locked out of the debate.

Glenn Greenwald at The InterceptMatt Taibbi at Rolling Stone and Aaron Mate at The Nation, found themselves under intense pressure for questioning the Trump-Russia narrative.

All now work as independent journalists. You can see my interview with Taibbi here. Jeff Gerth is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who worked at The New York Times from 1976 until 2005. He spent two years investigating the Trump-Russia story for a four-part series published in the Columbia Journalism Review. He too became an object of vitriol.

David Corn at Mother Jones, one of the most prolific shills for the Trump-Russia conspiracy, wrote a column after Gerth’s exhaustive 24,000-word series called, “Trump-Russia Denialists Still Can’t Handle the Truth.” Gerth called Corn’s attack “a form of McCarthyism.” You can see my interview with Gerth here.

All the investigations into Trump’s ties with Russia are unequivocal. There was no collusion. The Steele dossier, financed at first by Republican opponents of Trump and later by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and compiled by former MI6 British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, was a fake.

The charges in the dossier — which included reports of Trump receiving a “golden shower” from prostituted women in a Moscow hotel room and claims that Trump and the Kremlin had ties going back five years — were discredited by the F.B.I.

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Sources, including the one that claimed Trump had long-held ties to the Kremlin, turned out to be fabricated. Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller concluded that his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Mueller did not indict or accuse anyone of criminally conspiring with Russia.

John Durham

Durham’s 306-page report, sent to Congress by Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this week, is even more excoriating. It concludes that the F.B.I. engaged in a witch hunt — code named Crossfire Hurricane — orchestrated by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that was aided and abetted by senior F.B.I. officials who loathed Trump. 

The Clinton campaign provided bogus information to the F.B.I. about ties between Trump and Russia, including a charge made by Michael Sussmann and Marc Elias, the general counsel to the Clinton campaign, that there was a secret channel between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank.

Salacious allegations such as this one would be passed by the Clinton campaign to the F.B.I. and then leaked to the press which would report on the F.B.I. investigations, giving the fabrications credibility.

For example, the Clinton campaign posted a tweet through Clinton’s Twitter account on Oct. 31, 2016 that read: “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based Bank.” 

The tweet, Durham’s report notes,

“included a statement from Clinton campaign advisor Jake Sullivan that made reference to the media coverage of the article and stated, in relevant part, that the allegations in the articles ‘could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow[,]’ that ‘[t]his secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia[,]’ and that ‘[w]e can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections.’”

The F.B.I. later determined there were no ties between the Trump organization and Alfa Bank. The Durham report says:

“Whether or not the Clinton Plan intelligence was based on reliable or unreliable information, or was ultimately true or false, it should have prompted F.B.I. personnel to immediately undertake an analysis of the information and to act with far greater care and caution when receiving, analyzing, and relying upon materials of partisan origins, such as the Steele Reports and the Alfa Bank allegations.” 

The F.B.I. has a long and sordid record of illegal spying, infiltrating organizations, blackmailing, persecuting, entrapping and even assassinating U.S. dissidents, such as Fred Hampton and perhaps Malcolm X, but it should still worry us when it operates as Thought Police on behalf of a ruling political party. 

The Durham report concluded that there was not sufficient verified and reliable evidence to justify opening a full investigation. Those leading the investigation — F.B.I. Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page — were united, however, by a deep animus towards Trump. The report reads:

“Strzok and Deputy Director McCabe’s Special Assistant had pronounced hostile feelings toward Trump. As explained later in this report, in text messages before and after the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the two had referred to him as ‘loathsome,’ ‘an idiot,’ someone who should lose to Clinton ‘100,000,000- O,’ and a person who Strzok wrote ‘[w]e’ll stop’ from becoming President. Indeed, the day before the Australian information [concerning comments reportedly made in a tavern by George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign] was received at F.B.I. Headquarters, Page sent a text message to Strzok stating, ‘Have we opened on him yet? [angryfaced emoji]’ and referenced an article titled ‘Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing.'”

The F.B.I., the report reads, authorized an investigation “upon receipt of unevaluated intelligence” and “without having spoken to the persons who provided the information.”

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The F.B.I. did no “significant review of its own intelligence databases,” did not collect and examine “any relevant intelligence from other U.S. intelligence entities” and did not interview “witnesses to understand the raw information it had received.” None of the “standard analytical tools employed by the F.B.I. in evaluating raw intelligence” were used. 

If the F.B.I. had followed its established procedures it “would have learned that their own experienced Russia analysts had no information about Trump being involved with Russian leadership officials, nor were others in sensitive positions in the CIA, the NSA and the Department of State aware of such evidence.”

The F.B.I. had “no information in its holdings indicating that, at any time during the campaign, anyone in the Trump campaign had been in contact with any Russian intelligence officials.”

A Steeley Determination to Fabricate

Steele: Paid for opposition research, not intelligence.

The investigation was launched solely based on the “unvetted and unverified Steele reports.” The Steele dossier was used to support probable cause in the F.B.I.’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) applications to monitor Carter Page, a foreign policy advisor to Trump, along with falsified evidence presented to the FISA court by attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

On the day after Trump’s election as president, Clinesmith “stated to fellow F.B.I. personnel, among other things, ‘viva le resistance,’ an obvious reference to those individuals opposed to Trump.”

“The speed and manner in which the F.B.I. opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” the report concludes.

The report documents a systematic abuse of power by senior members of the F.B.I. to advance Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

F.B.I. officials were aware that there was no reason, other than an institutional hatred of Trump, to open the investigation.

The F.B.I. “discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support the narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia,” the report reads.

F.B.I. officials “disregarded significant exculpatory information” and used “investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s political opponents” to prolong the investigation, feed the media frenzy and obtain search warrants. 

The courtiers in the liberal media, who cater to an anti-Trump demographic and who spent years giving credibility to rumors, gossip and lies about Trump and Russia, predictably minimized or dismissed the report’s findings. 

“After Years of Political Hype, the Durham Inquiry Failed to Deliver,” a May 17 New York Times headline reads

Reality Disconnect

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the third presidential debate in 2016, during which Clinton called Trump Vladimir Putin’s “puppet.” (C-Span screenshot)

The myth of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election provides a convenient escape hatch from the political, social, cultural and economic rot that plagues the U.S. The liberal class, by clinging to this conspiracy theory, is as disconnected from reality as the QAnon theorists and election deniers that support Trump.

The retreat by huge segments of the population into non-reality-based belief systems leaves a polarized nation unable to communicate. Neither side speaks a language rooted in verifiable fact.

This bifurcation, one I witnessed in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, fuels the distrust and hatred between antagonistic demographics. It accelerates political disintegration and dysfunction. It is used to justify, as was true with the F.B.I. investigation of Trump, gross abuses of power.

If those you oppose are evil — and rhetorically we are close to embracing such apocalyptic rhetoric — anything is permitted to thwart the enemy from achieving power. This is the lesson of the Durham report. It is an ominous warning.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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

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34 comments for “Chris Hedges: Why Russiagate Won’t Go Away

  1. Mark Thomason
    May 23, 2023 at 13:53

    Russiagate was useful to Democrats. It will persist as long as it is useful to them.

  2. botete
    May 23, 2023 at 11:31

    Details in the Durham report conclusion:

    “. . . the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.”

    “. .. FBI personnel . . . displayed, at best, a cavalier attitude towards accuracy and completeness.”

    “FBI personnel also repeatedly disregarded important requirements when they continued to seek FISA surveillance while acknowledging –both then and in hindsight– that they did not genuinely believe there was probable cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power, or knowingly helping another person in such activities.”

    “. . . senior FBI officials displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received . . . “

    “In particular, there was significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s opponents. The Department did not adequately examine or question these materials and the motivations of those providing them, even when at about the same time the Director of the FBI and others learned of significant and potentially contrary evidence.”

    Full Text of the Durham Report on Intelligence Abuses in the Trump-Russia Affair | RealClearInvestigations

    “The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were in?icted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.”

    ? Ludwig von Mises

  3. larry, dfh
    May 22, 2023 at 23:11

    Excuse me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall Jeff Gerth’s being co-author with Judith Miller on her NYT articles helping to lead us to war over the non-WMDs.

  4. CaseyG
    May 22, 2023 at 22:26

    “Oh, lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!”

    I remember watching the Trump/ Clinton— said to be debates. I’m glad that you added a picture of the 2 wanna be people for president.
    How similar their pictures are. Pouts from the mouth, so similar But the lack of life and caring in the eyes of both—truly, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

  5. Sam F
    May 22, 2023 at 19:21

    The problem is domestic tribalism. The tribes of social group, church, village, and party create social and economic dependencies on the tribe, easily exploited by tyrants to rise to power. The tyrants demonize the “other” tribe, and create tyrants there who demonize his own. The tyrants of both sides create fear of the other tribe, to demand power as defenders of the tribe. It is our tyrants who fuel distrust and hatred, who oppose and prevent communication to find common ground, in domestic as well as foreign relations.

    In the U.S. both political parties are run by tyrants, and one wonders whether either party could survive without similar scams by the other. Every promise, threat, and warning of monsters is false.

    The scams of tribal tyrants are indeed used to justify gross abuses of power, as in the FBI during the Russiagate scam. But it works both ways: in my case against the DOJ, FBI and HSI for refusing for years to investigate proven political racketeering theft of $120 million by Republican politicians in FL, even while they investigated their Democratic opponent there for mishandling of one-thousandth of that amount. They were in full collusion with massive theft by political racketeers, as was the DC court, where the judge who gave the FBI a thousand warrants with zero evidence dismissed the racketeering case against them.

  6. robert e williamson jr
    May 22, 2023 at 17:48

    Sometimes I wonder if these issues, such as dealing with another mouth piece for DOJ, are as news worthy as some would have us believe.

    Why would anyone expect that Durham would suddenly make impactful discoveries related to Russia Gate? I see this entire exercise as typical Washington D.C. high level chicanery. The same consistent espousing of 99.9 % by both parties of B.S.!

    I see it as the appalling lack of creativity by leaderships of both parties who are so spoiled they assume everyone even slightly interested will believe, ” Bullshit Flag time again “, this horrid misuse of the almighty all American dollar.

    Durham delivered a cold turd, I never expected anything any different.

    And I might as the Seth Rich remains in his dirt nap! What about an investigation into that case? No individuals have disrespected Seth more than those who helped keep the details surrounding his death under wraps.

    Pretty friggin’ unconscionable for all involved. The bad guys got rattled and took the easy way out.

    Thanks CN

  7. Richard Musser
    May 22, 2023 at 14:55

    As much as I appreciate Chris Hedges thinking and writing on subjects of empire and propaganda, I must take issue with his consistent habit of associating fascism only with the Christian right wing. Fascism is here already and is part of our daily lives, associated every bit as much with coastal liberals as with flyover evangelicals. It is in our never-ending state of war. It is in the powerful instinct to never criticize the military. It is in the censorship imposed by unaccountable media corporations at the urging of our political elites. It is in the “othering” of minorities, but also any group who discomforts the status quo; the unvaccinated come to mind most powerfully. We are trained to react with disgust to those who don’t follow along the prescribed path, and every invective we send their way receives an
    internal reward: we feel better about ourselves, because we are “good”.

  8. Jean Luc
    May 22, 2023 at 13:18

    Es terrorífico -y no exagero nada- pensar en que el papel de EEUU en el mundo del siglo XXI se basa en un cúmulo permanente de falsedades y engaños que los desacreditan como socios y como líderes y que su clase dirigente corra hacia adelante aunque sea hacia la destrucción antes de reconocer, frenar, reconsiderar y rectificar. Nos llevan a un holocausto a todos en mitad del caos mas vergonzoso y sucio que se pueda imaginar.

  9. May 22, 2023 at 12:46

    I’m short of how to respond to this. Not because I don’t have words but because,it seems,the problem is a big one.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    May 22, 2023 at 11:25

    Why should it go away? It serves to keep the public distracted from all the problems the US is facing.

  11. Riva Enteen
    May 22, 2023 at 09:44

    Another good article about how the psyops of Russiagate will never die. Even the National Lawyers Guild, proud defender of those attacked under McCarthy, refuses to issue a statement, let alone discuss, the ominous, ubiquitous cloud of Russiagate. The indictment of members of the African Peoples Socialist Party for “sowing discord” is but one example of what will spread more widely. Many of our comrades will soon see they could be next…

    By Martin Niemöller
    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist
    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist
    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew
    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me.

  12. Robert Emmett
    May 22, 2023 at 08:53

    Remind me, who was it exactly born in a Crossfire Hurricane? Uh, yeah. Now I think I know.

    Teedle-de-deedle deet, went that perky little tweet on all witches eve. What me? No! Nothing up my sleeve. How dare you!!

    Operating as Thought Police for the ruling political party, that’s Constitutional now, right? According to reigning black robe Federales. They don’t even need no stinking badges! Just a kiss on the cheek (whichever one, their option) by a Scalia impersonator who happens to possess a relic from Lewis Powell’s jawbone.

    The thing is the whole sordid mess of them, swirling in a constantly bubbling cauldron of their own bullshit, not only sound like the liars they are, them look like them too. That Steele photo ought to be in the dictionary to accompany the definition of liar. (not that hardly anyone even uses a dictionary anymore)

    • Robert Emmett
      May 22, 2023 at 13:37

      Seriously, I ought to have read all the way to the bottom before popping-off remarks. The last few paragraphs are chilling.

      “The myth of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election … is as disconnected from reality as the QAnon theorists and election deniers that support Trump” is classic.

      And “… anything is permitted to thwart the enemy from achieving power”. It seems we’re already part way there when the modus operandi of national political parties that trade places in the catbird seat use their power to undo what the other previously has done.

      I know when bifurcation of the brain hits, that’s it. It’s over. Are there ways a more metaphorical body, an entire country say, can mend itself before the split is permanent & deadly?

      Ominous warning indeed.

  13. Joseph A DePino
    May 22, 2023 at 07:23

    Even with the blatant hypocrisy of the corporate and political class, which many citizens are well aware of, there seems to be a resigned complacency sinking in among the general population; no one knows just what to do about it, though many sense how profoundly wrong things are. It’s as if coping is the only thing we can do. Of course we can do more, and soon enough we’ll likely be forced into being more directly involved, or else. Till then some are on auto-pilot, just going about their daily business and keeping their heads up. Others are screaming from the roof-tops that we need action now, but few heed the warnings. I don’t know either where this will lead but judging by the current trajectory it will get much worse before it gets better

    • AA from MD
      May 22, 2023 at 16:52

      Unfortunately Joseph, the so called “liberal” class are the bigger problem than the evangelicals. I have numerous discussions with my colleagues about not voting for either party since they are the two wings of the same corporate party, but they are set in their argument about voting for “lesser of two evils”. “There are two parties and we have to choose one that is less evil.” They can’t seem to get it in their head that we are doomed if we continue this way. Republicans will blow things up quicker and it will cause change to come faster (my theory) but democrats will blow things up slowly but it will be so deeply entrenched that people won’t know how to come back from it.

      • Joseph A DePino
        May 23, 2023 at 06:20

        I’m with you 110% on that, and I think many others are as well. You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to see that and I’ll never vote (R) or (D) in a national election ever again- the only way to stop the duopoly is to quit giving them a veneer of credibility with your votes.

  14. Fritz
    May 21, 2023 at 17:47

    When I make a fist and with that fist point an angry finger of accusation at another, there are three fingers upon that fist pointing back at me.
    The USA (United States of Atrocities) making that Russiagate accusation is also the pot calling the kettle black as it has been involved repeatedly at overthrowing other countries democratically elected leaders including the first 9/11 which was in Chile September 1973.

    In 1973 its Secretary of State Kissinger was granted a Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding his war crimes in Asia and Chile.
    If the Nuremberg Principals applied, every POTUS since Harry Truman is/was guilty of war crimes.

  15. T J Foster
    May 21, 2023 at 16:26

    You shouldn’t use the term ‘myth’ which is actually connected to great ancient story and eternal wisdom, the myths of the ancients based in metaphysics and symbolism. In reference to modern politics, just talk about lies and falsities.

  16. Taras 77
    May 21, 2023 at 16:14

    Excellent report!

    However, I agree with the author that Russiagate will not go away. Indeed,the durham reportmight be a signal to the evils and stupids, i.e. the clinton dominated dnc that the attacks must continue and be strengthened.

    Why? Because there is absolutely no accountability, no indictments, no firing of those the most loud and active.

    • Valerie
      May 22, 2023 at 04:43

      Good point Taras. Christopher Steele was held to account for his part, but that was in the UK:

      “A British judge on Wednesday ordered former British spy Christopher Steele to pay damages to two Russian bankers he accused in the infamous Trump dossier of having illicit ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      The ruling, handed down by Sir Mark Warby, a justice on the High Court of England and Wales, marks Steele’s first loss in a dossier-related lawsuit.”
      July 8th 2020.

  17. shmutzoid
    May 21, 2023 at 16:10

    This is a brilliant synopsis of the origins/purpose/inner workings of Russia-gate. ……… The propaganda surrounding this sordid campaign was/is so unrelenting as to render the populace unable to think critically at all what did/didn’t transpire.
    …….. Liberal elites can’t seem to hold these two positions concurrently——-> 1) Trump and everything he stands for is vile and disgusting……AND……2) Russia-gate was concocted to deflect attention away from Clinton’s piss-poor race and attack Trump FROM THE RIGHT as being “Putin’s puppet” blah-blah-blah. ……It was, also, a Dem/CIA psy-oip to pre-condition the American mind to accept/expect war against Russia in the coming years.

    Yes, the myth still lives, no matter what else is published about it. Even today there are folks who sputter, “….but, all 17 intelligence agencies agreed Russia hacked our election!” (Goebbels would be proud). ……Actually, there was a small handful of Dem-aligned agents from just three agencies who tried to give life to this hoax.

  18. Michael brian Chebo
    May 21, 2023 at 15:55

    Thank you

  19. Lois Gagnon
    May 21, 2023 at 15:49

    2016 accelerated our descent into mass psychosis. As Chris so eloquently points out, both sides are locked into beliefs devoid of reality and they will viciously attack anyone who points this out. As always, ask who benefits. We know the answer.

  20. Tony
    May 21, 2023 at 14:43

    This whole thing has been as corrupting as Trump’s claim that he won the popular vote in 2016 and the election itself in 2020.

    It is interesting that Republican vote suppression was never mentioned as a factor in the 2016 presidential election result.

    In 2016, Trump had a very effective slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

    It is totally meaningless really but Clinton had nothing comparable. Without looking it up, I could not tell you what her campaign slogan was.

    But the effectiveness of Trump’s slogan is not in any doubt.

    After the 2016 presidential election, Channel 4 News in the UK interviewed a Trump voter. The conversation went very much like this:

    Reporter: Did you vote for Trump?

    Voter: Yes, I did.

    Reporter: Why did you vote for Trump?

    Voter: Because he’s going to make America great again.

    And so, Trump’s slogan clearly hit home with this voter (and, presumably, with many others).

    Unusually, a further question was asked and it is very revealing:

    Reporter: How’s he going to do that?

    Voter: Well, er…er… I don’t know.

    So there we have it. Clinton did not have a memorable slogan of her own and could have deflated Trump’s slogan but failed to do so.

    Perhaps she was secretly working for Putin to help get Trump elected.

    • old sod
      May 22, 2023 at 12:25

      Her slogan was “I’m with her.” Yeah, pitiful. Drumpf’s slogan was both memorable and effective.

  21. lester
    May 21, 2023 at 14:23

    An excellent analysis, Dr. Hedges, and well-wrritten! I particlarly enjoyed the statement that Russiagate believers are as disconnected with reality as QAnon believers! Too true, I’m afraid. The danger of Yugoslav style civil war is is too true, as well.

  22. ray Peterson
    May 21, 2023 at 13:57

    Ancient Greek myths have great value in showing depths of human existential conflict,
    And it’s religious nationalism of neo-Nazi ideology, that makes up
    America’s right wing Evangelical fundamentalism. Christian fascism is a
    contradictory term, there’s no such thing.
    And your excellent analysis of American propaganda by mainstream
    corporate media, being the perceived reality is because Julian Assange
    is imprisoned and journalism as the global fourth estate is in jail with him.

    • Joseph A DePino
      May 22, 2023 at 07:14

      “Christian fascism” may sound like an oxymoron but it is all-too-real.

      • Piotr Berman
        May 22, 2023 at 11:00

        The idea of combining Christianity and fascism was put in practice long time ago:

  23. JonnyJames
    May 21, 2023 at 13:12

    This myth also perpetuates the myth of US democracy. It perpetuates the illusion of choice, and works as a giant, emotionally-manipulative distraction from the hardcore ugly truth. The US is an oligarchy with ever-worsening concentration of wealth/power into the hands of a few, who really determine policy. Congress critters are (legally after 2014) bribed by the oligarchy.

    As in ancient Rome, the US is slowly collapsing due to massive institutional corruption, social breakdown, concentration of wealth, the creation of a nation of debt peons. Financial Neo-Feudalism is what we see developing in front of our eyes. The Rule of Law Inc. is a cruel joke.

    As soon as well emerge from the denial phase, the better. Right now most folks have what I call Collective Stockholm Syndrome which created by the world’s most sophisticated and pervasive system of misinformation. As Chris Hedges has noted in the past: US propaganda makes the old USSR or DDR (former East Germany) look like child’s play.

    • Valerie
      May 22, 2023 at 04:55

      “As soon as well emerge from the denial phase, the better”

      But i don’t think that will happen any time soon Jonny. The popular news channels/papers etc are controlled by the oligarchs. Most people are too lazy/stressed/busy to search for alternative news sites. And important/revealing news items are listed way down on the pages and given scant publicity. Such as this:

      “The Portuguese sun was doing its cheery best to make this year’s Bilderberg meeting seem warm and welcoming, but nothing could take the deathly chill out of the official agenda of the secretive shindig for some of the world’s most powerful people.

      Ukraine, Russia and Nato weighed heavy on the schedule, with “Fiscal Challenges” and “Transnational Threats” seeming like light relief. “Today,” said the head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, arriving in Lisbon to attend the talks, “our security environment is more dangerous than it has been since the cold war.””
      Guardian 20th May

      • JonnyJames
        May 22, 2023 at 16:28

        Sad but true Valerie. The cycle of history continues on regardless. I have been told and read that during the Cold War, people in the DDR and USSR, for example, did not believe the propaganda. The scary bit, in the so-called West, most people DO believe, no matter how irrational.

        The Bilderberg list of participants includes the usual suspects from the US and Vassals, representing the banking/corporate/media/political/military incestuous relationship, Nobody from other countries are represented. One day though, Bilderberg, G7 and Bohemian will irrelevant. The writing is on the wall: The US/Western Empire is coming to and end, I just hope we all survive the process.

        • Valerie
          May 23, 2023 at 03:19

          Some interesting people on that list Jonny. Meanwhile i can highly recommend this German film about East Germany and the Stasi:


          (You can watch it on the archive website. It’s free.)

  24. mgr
    May 21, 2023 at 12:37

    Thank you. So, in effect, the outcome is that Russian interference in 2016 US elections was a concocted, partisan managed mirage. On the other hand, FBI and DNC manipulations and interference with those elections was real and had critical effects. And then in 2020, you had again a campaign of worries and threats of Russian interference, which were again all fake. Instead, you had DNC and CIA interference which was all real (the Hunter Biden laptop letter signed by 50+ US intelligence experts that falsely stated that the laptop showed all the signs of Russian interference).

    So who is interfering in US elections? The “Democratic Party’s” DNC for one is a serial interferer in US elections. And, as is now confirmed, so too the FBI and CIA, with, it should be noted, horrendous, perhaps even end-of-days results. Truly, that is some seriously fucked up shit. Just where do you think the American republic will go from here? Will the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies ever voluntarily hold back? Why would they? How would you know in either case? Where do you think this ends..? Certainly not in democracy.

    I suggest that we remember the analogy of addicts and enablers. Is it even possible to self-reform? Will we survive an intervention?

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