Saturday 8th of August 2020

in search of the truth...

in search of the truth...

In his eulogy of Robert Parry, Oliver Stone blasted Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Post"… (Oliver Stone slams ‘lame-brained’ Spielberg movie over WaPo portrayal). 

Stone commended the Consortium News’ founder [Robert Parry] for breaking from the “tyranny of mainstream media conformity” and his breaking of the Iran-Contra scandal. Stone then pointed to the fact that the Washington Post’s publisher Katharine Graham, who is the subject of ‘The Post’ [movie], “deliberately ignored” that story.

Robert Parry died a few days ago. 

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — Robert Parry, a longtime investigative journalist who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1985 for his Associated Press exclusives about the CIA's production of an assassination manual for Nicaraguan rebels, has died. He was 68.

Parry died Saturday in hospice care after a series of strokes brought on by undiagnosed pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Diane Duston.

Parry joined the AP in 1974 and went on to work in the Washington bureau, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal as it rocked the Reagan administration. His work on the scandal also brought a George Polk Award in 1984.

After leaving the AP in 1987, Parry worked for Newsweek until 1990 and then became an investigative reporter for the PBS series "Frontline."

In 1995, frustrated with what he saw as dwindling venues for serious investigative reporting, Parry founded the Consortium for Independent Journalism. Its website, Consortiumnews.com, sought to provide a home for such reporting in the early days of the internet, though it struggled financially and relied on contributions.

(https://www.voanews.com/a/investigative-journalist-robert-parry-dies-at-68/4229134.html)



This leads us to the “Washington Times”…
As an investigative journalist, I’m not much for catchy political metaphors, but the revelation that snakes and rodents are infesting the Washington Times building as the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s newspaper [Washington Times] sinks into a financial swamp does have some poetic justice about it.
This was the beginning of a long fascinating article on Moon by Robert Parry published in 2010 (http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/050110.html)


The Washington Times is a rag in the same vein of politically slanted news as the New York Post, though it does not have the presentation brashness and clever crassness of such Murdoch paper. So how come, in the days of a "Soros driven world-media" for “journalistic truth”, someone like Parry was struggling to make a crust. Could Soros have funded Robert Parry’s operation? Would Parry have accepted cash from Soros? Does Soros like “independent News”? So many questions! To which the answers would have been NO, no and no...
The main problem for us, the educated public at large, is to find “real” information that has not gone through the sieve of “conspiracies” and/or partisan filters to defraud us from knowing the truth. Where are we going to find this? In the Soros media? in the Murdoch Media? In independent media? In the Voice Of America (https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/14/505482691/an-obama-backed-change-at-voice-of-america-has-trump-critics-worried)? On the ABC (Australia)? At DemocracyNow!? In the Washington Times? Mother Jones? Under a rock? RT? Sputnik? On Mars?

The “war” on fake news is as fake as the news itself. This is why Robert Parry struggled. He exposed the rotten hidden undercurrents of governments, which, themselves, are battling other hidden undercurrents from opponents. There are fiddles and fake news galore floating like turds on an ocean of plastic sterile info.

Now the New York Post, possibly with a slithering tongue in its right-hand cheek, tells us:
America’s biggest tech giants are nothing if not popular. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon rank as some of the most well-liked brands in the world. Pollsters find that 86 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Google and 80 percent share a favorable impression of Amazon. The reason is simple — these companies’ products are entertaining, accessible and seemingly cheap.

But their growing dominance is giving rise to an insidious trend that we shouldn’t so happily accept. Just last week, billionaire philanthropist George Soros gave a speech in Davos, Switzerland, in which he attacked Facebook and Google for “inducing people to give up their autonomy” and driving inequality. He’s not wrong. In fact, tech giants are just like the monopolists and robber barons that ruled the American economy a century ago. But, while Standard Oil’s monopoly was as obvious as the smoke-belching refineries it controlled, the powers of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are less transparent — if not entirely secret.
(https://nypost.com/2018/02/03/big-techs-monopolistic-rule-is-hiding-in-plain-sight/)


Yippee!  I hope you can spot the irony here of the Murdoch empire, usually versus the Soros empire, now united in battling the new kids on the block… 
Soros is a very rich "philanthropist” — with making money (dollars) on his mind. His main venture is currency trading while influencing the values of currencies through his media empire. Though he “is not allowed to do business in the USA” (except through “charities”), he does the bidding of spreading the US’s style of democracy — read “the world US empire” outside of the USA, through his  media outlets. This is why Soros hates Donald Trump and Bitcoin (https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201802011061257054-soros-hates-trump-bitcoin/).


Soros is a supporter of "soft” hypocrisy as a means to get his wishes of a world government (read a world Big Brother), mainly by supporting the Clintons and Obama. To say the least, these geezers broke a few eggs, including fomenting the ugly US driven push against Russia, the destruction of Libya and the demolition of Syria to please Saudi Arabia. Soros supports the zionists (though he fights them openly) and Saudi Arabia — as well as fund McCain (http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/the-john-mccain-institute-funded-by-george-soros-and-saudi-arabia-exposed/), because this Republican is fiercely anti-Trump. 

In the same way that Soros supports the “Democrats”, Uncle Rupe supports the “Republicans”, including Donald Trump. All these major influencers will pick and choose information (news “interpretation" wrapped up in real events) that will further their causes. 
For example, a few entities that slipped under the radar of Soros who points out Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, there are other influencers including Murdoch as mentioned and … wait for it… Disney. While much of Hollywood influences adults, Google and Facebook influences young pimply adults, Disney influences the “kids”. Disney moulds the way kids will be receptive to some rightwing “philosophies”, including that of the hierarchical system in which kings and princesses rule the roost. Thus the Murdoch “sell” of his Hollywood assets to Disney is part of a “conservative” consolidation.
Back to the Washington Times, this ultra-conservative newspaper hates Soros. First because Soros supports Black Lives Matter, “idealist” news outlet like those that released the “Panama Papers”, but also because Soros supports Al Gore’s global warming efforts (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/22/george-soros-al-gores-sugar-daddy/).


So does Soros "believe” in global warming”? I personally do not think so. He never made any noise about it. And it would not make any sense. So why would Soros support this “leftist” agenda (Note: global warming is real). Strangely enough Soros hates (I mean HATES) socialists, commies and to some extend the “left” in general — but he loves Nazis when profitable or to defeat socialism. Soros likes money. There is cash to be made by manipulating “unrest” in countries around the world. There is no unrest with the rich dudes. Unrests always comes from the “left” and/or loonie poor Nazis… Unrests tend to devalue currencies by a few notches… Play the currency game well and you make a billion overnight. 

Scandal: Leaked documents released a few days ago provide juicy insider details of how a fabulously rich businessman has been using his money to influence elections in Europe, underwrite an extremist group, target U.S. citizens who disagreed with him, dictate foreign policy, and try to sway a Supreme Court ruling, among other things. Pretty compelling stuff, right?

Not if it involves leftist billionaire George Soros. In this case, the mainstream press couldn't care less.

On Saturday, a group called DC Leaks posted more than 2,500 documents going back to 2008 that it pilfered from Soros' Open Society Foundations' servers. Since then, the mainstream media have shown zero interest in this gold mine of information.

We couldn't find a single story on the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, CBS News or other major news sites that even noted the existence of these leaked documents, let alone reported on what's in them.

Indeed, the only news organization that appears to be diligently sifting through all the documents is the conservative Daily Caller, which as a result has filed a series of eye-opening reports.

So what could possibly explain the mainstream media's disinterest?

(https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/the-bizarre-media-blackout-of-hacked-george-soros-documents/)…


Answer to this is self-explanatory. Soros supports the RICH “left” progressive liberals and most of the media in the USA from The Washington Post to The New York Times are on the same pathway. The liberal media hate the fact that Trump passed the post when they were ready to all celebrate “the first woman President” (and all ready to approve her bombing of Damascus). 
Other medias have a few skeletons in the closet, especially the very religious “The Washington Times” and too few will bash Soros, but most of the TV outlets in the English hegemony are on the side of “progressivedom”, TPPs and all that. 

But in Europe, one needs some rightwing balance, otherwise the socialists might take over. Thus Soros funded ultra-conservative Macron’s election to defeat the socialists (the left) and Marine LePen, the loony demolisher that would have brought unrest in Europe. At the time, Soros' cash would have been under “pressure” by being invested (gambled) in the “wrong” direction. (http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/globalists-celebrate-george-soros-funded-macron-wins-landslide-victory/)

nowtheendbegins’s EDITOR’S NOTE: His campaign slogan is ‘En Marche‘, which when translated to English means ‘Move On’. Just like the name of the Soros-sponsored moveon.org. Hmmm. His campaign received huge financial assistance from globalist George Soros. Hmmm again. New French president Emmanuel Macron was trained in the Jesuit school system. Hmmm again. Google and Facebook used Soros-funded groups to “help the French electorate make sense of what and who to trust” before casting their votes. That’s my final “hmmm”, and you wonder how Macron won in a landslide? Hmmm. 

Here we need to follow Meyssan:
Unnoticed in the Western world, the renewal of the Lancaster House Treaty by London and Paris creates a super « Entente cordiale » which is far more immersive than the Treaty of 1904. It participates in the re-institution of a bipolar world, and will inevitably provoke the exit of France from the European Union and the return of tension between Paris and Berlin.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article199528.html


Soros paid a lot of cash and spread a lot of “information" (read; disinformation) in the toppling of the Russian leaning Ukrainian government to be replaced by right-wing Nazi thugs. Soros is still leading the Crimea disinformation output.
Meanwhile, Murdoch plays the game of “news”, cunningly like a Fox. Murdoch is richer than Soros, but the “new kids on the block” are cramping his style. Apple, Google and others are making a mint by giving out “news” (pre-digested info about events in the world with the same emphasis as half-a-cat video) which they often steal by “repeating” (like we do here, in a way), making us bypass the paywalls. You know what I mean — Google news: AFP said that… AAP-London… etc. But they won’t go the Wikileaks or other “independent” route… This is most likely why Murdoch made a “deal” with Disney...
We have lost a MAJOR channel of underground information (that should have been main-stream) — as well as a good guy — with the death of Robert Parry. He had a very level headed view about the Trump/Russia connection… (https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/11/russia-gates-litany-of-corrections/)


… We have few clarionists left… Say Julian Assange, Snowden, Thierry Meyssan and John Pilger. It’s dangerous work, I know, but we need more… And strangely, a few of them appear on the Russian media that are far closer to the truth than the “liberal” US media — but understandably, with this Russian media comes a necessary anti-US empire viewpoint... 
For example, the "revelations" which were known all along that the US did not respect the contract between Reagan and Gorbachev, that the US interfered with the Russian elections and tried to "rape Russia", now turned into a hate in full swing against Russia does not get more than a oh-hum (a cat video will definitely get more coverage) treatment in the liberal media... Relentless OUTRAGE at our hypocrisy should be the order of the day... But, it's like boxing — an ugly sport — when the opponent drops his guard. Boom... We applaud like monkeys. Anything goes until........ we manage to fall on our face for being too cocky... That day is on the cards.




Condolences to Robert Parry’s family. 



Gus Leonisky
Your local truth-seeker...

more deaths on the way...

A thousand people died in Afghanistan in January as a result of terror attacks committed by the Taliban. With the Taliban now active in 70 percent of Afghan territory, Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Rahimullah Yusufzai, a political and security analyst,as well as an expert on the Taliban.

Sputnik: Over the years we have heard the White House say that there is no purely military solution against the Taliban. But the US continues to prioritize military action over diplomacy. Why is it so?

You know, the Americans say one thing and do another. This is what Trump is known for. He is very impulsive and can do very unexpected things. The Americans believe they can weaken the Taliban and then [force] it to agree to peace talks. […] The Taliban will never make a deal with the Americans.

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201802031061326341-trump-afghanistan-ta...

 

 

See also: 

Gekaufte Journalisten...

not the truth...

what the western media DOESN'T WANT to tell you...

Consensus between the Syrians at Sotchiby  Thierry Meyssan

While the Congress for a Syrian National Dialogue has not solved the conflict, it has swept away the minor groups who were pretending to represent the Syrian People for the benefit of the Western powers. It has also cleared the way for a consensus, adopted by the representatives of almost all Syrians, and decided the creation of a Constituent Commission. The basis for peace has been established, but without the Western powers.


For the first time since the beginning of the conflict, in 2011, a conference uniting 1,500 Syrian delegates, of all origins, confessions, and almost all political opinions was held in Sotchi - the Congress for a Syrian National Dialogue.

This initiative by President Vladimir Putin was placed under the high patronage of Iran, Russia and Turkey [1]. It was denigrated, even rejected, for no reason, by the other powers implicated in the war. De facto, the idea of an inter-Syrian conference excluded them from the peace process.

Does the Congress represent the minorities?

Much pressure was brought to bear by the partisans of the war to ensure that the Congress would not be representative of the Syrian People. In the minds of foreigners, including Russia, Syria shelters minorities who aspire to autonomy – supposedly the case of the Kurds and the Druzes. However, this view of the situation ignores what the Syrian project has actually been for several thousands of years.

This Asian territory, which reaches from the West of the Euphrates to the Sinaï, is inhabited by a multitude of minorities – the Kurds and the Druzes of course, but also the Turkmen, the Chechens, the Georgians, the Bedouins, the Armenians, etc., etc. These ethnic minorities are themselves composed of religious minorities with antique confessions, such as the Alaouites (who were Christianised, then Islamised), Christians of all sorts of churches, and the Sunni Muslims. This territory is situated between the five seas, in such a way as to constitute an obligatory waypoint, not only for traders, but also for conquerors. Throughout their history, these peoples have adhered to a common project - Syria. They learned that they needed one another in order to resist all sorts of invaders. They mingled everywhere, to the point that at the start of the 20th century, no minority identified with any particular region. It took British and French colonisation to attempt to make Palestine a Jewish state, Lebanon Christian, and Jordan Muslim. Throughout this vast area, only what is now the Syrian Arab Republic still maintained, just ten years ago, this profound social diversity.

When they were preparing the Congress in Sotchi, the Russian diplomats at first believed, spontaneously, that it would be enough to federalise the country according to its minorities in order to bring peace. In its first version, the Conference was to be called the « Congress for the People of Syria ». Discussing this subject with various participants, they came to understand that the history of Syria is different from that of Russia, and that, geographically, it is not possible to federalise this diversified land. But on the contrary, the Israëlis pursued the idea of separating the Kurds from the Arabs, while France entertained the notion of distinguishing Christians and Muslims, etc. By doing so, they restricted their action to the continuity of the colonial Sykes-Picot-Sozonov agreements.

At their instigation, the Kurds of the PYD boycotted the Congress. But, contrary to a preconceived idea widely held in the West, while the PYD is the only exclusively Kurdish political party, it is nonetheless a minority amongst the Kurds of Syria. In the national culture, all ethnic parties are illegal - the PYD is an exception.

In any case, the people present at the Congress were either elected by direct universal suffrage, the leaders of associations, or recognised personalities. The invitations had been sent as widely as possible in order to leave no-one out.

Does the Congress represent political opinions?

Every power implicated in the war sponsors the Syrians who represent their interests. At first, Turkey and Saudi Arabia organised and financed the Syrian National Council in Istanbul. Then, with the entry of Qatar, it became the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. As events evolved, several groups appeared, each one instrumentalised by a foreign party.

One group refused in advance to participate in the Congress in Sotchi – the High Negotiations Committee which, contrary to what its title may suggest, refuses all negotiation. It is based in Riyadh and represents Saudi interests (which, within the Syrian population, are supposed to correspond to the wishes of the Bedouin tribes of the Syria-Iraq-Saudi desert). Although it maintains its democratic rhetoric as long as the cameras are running, it promotes desert values - tribalism, a unique religion, and a refusal of History.

 

Read more: http://www.voltairenet.org/article199576.html

the vietnam experience...

The US hawks still blame the US Vietnam defeat on the free press that exposed the shenanigans of war. Since this wallop, the free press (now "the media") has mostly rolled over into the same bed as the US government. Any military venture will be applauded with fanfares and trombones. This is why reporters were imbedded during the Iraq war, and the news became one sided, tightly controlled by the CIA. The whole MMMM (mediocre mass-media de shit) has been one-sided ever since, even though now there is a small hiccup with the non-existent Russian/Trump connection which the media froths up to keep an illusion of doing "its" job... It's fake as all get out and the more the media pushes, the more it emboldens DumbDumb. The reports on Syria in the "free media" are appallingly one sided to say the least, and designed to satisfy the urges of the Faustian US empire...

 

We deserve better that adverts for OfficeWorks being passed off as News on Channel Nine.

soros sorrows...

You’d have to have a real sense of humor failure not to laugh. The news that US billionaire Soros donated £400k to an anti-Brexit group came on the day that YouTube said they found no evidence of Russian interference in Brexit. 

Repeat After Me (with robotic arm movements): “Unproven Russian involvement in Brexit – terrible! Impose more sanctions on Moscow! A £400k check from an American billionaire for an anti-Brexit campaigning group – that’s no problem; it’s helping our democracy!”

You don’t have to own a brand new £999 state-of-the art Hypocrisy Detector from Harrods, to pick up on the double standards. Just having a few functioning brain cells and thinking for yourself will do. For months in the UK we’ve been bombarded with Establishment-approved conspiracy theories – peddled in all the ’best’ newspapers – that Russia somehow ‘fixed’ Brexit. Getting Britain to leave the EU was all part of a cunning plot by Vladimir Putin, aka Dr. Evil, to weaken Europe and the ‘free world.’

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/418353-george-soros-russia-brexit/

protecting the source of his lies...

Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra has admitted that he lied when he claimed to have heard President Vladimir Putin describing an ambition to unify Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Kazakhstan as a single country.

Zijlstra claimed at a party conference in 2016 that he had overheard Putin outlining the grand plan for a “Greater Russia” in 2006 during a gathering of businessmen. He was working for the oil company, Shell, at the time.

In the original retelling of the story, Zijlstra said he had been in a back room of a dacha (country house) when he heard Putin define “Great Russia” as “Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states,” adding that “Kazakhstan was nice to have.”

The story was questioned by the newspaper Volkskrant, however, which discovered from Zijlstra’s colleagues that he had not been at the 2006 business meeting in Russia, despite being part of the Shell delegation. When confronted about this, the minister acknowledged lying and claimed he was simply trying to protect a source.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/418556-dutch-minister-lie-putin/

 

His source was most likely to be a CIA disinformation specialist...

update on halbe zijlstra

Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra has resigned, a day after he admitted lying about overhearing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. In 2016 Zijlstra alleged Putin had in 2006 expressed ambitions to create a “Greater Russia.”

The official admitted that his credibility had been damaged by the ongoing scandal to such an extent that his position had become untenable.

Halbe Zijlstra announced his resignation in an emotional speech to the House of Representatives. Zijlstra described the “Greater Russia” affair as the “biggest mistake” in his political career, adding that the country deserves a Foreign Minister who is beyond reproach.

Read more: 

https://www.rt.com/news/418689-dutch-quits-putin-lie/

no, they didn’t...

The Guardian published this short opinion piece today, its headline reads:

America lost a cyberwar to Russia in 2016. When will we have truth? 

Refuting the stale claims repeated in the headline, and expanded upon in the prose, is but the work of a moment. Hitchens’ razor states that any claim made without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. A Yale professor should know that. Therefore the refutation of the claim “Russia hacked the election” can be made in three simple words: No, they didn’t.

Job done. I consider the article dealt with. But now we have to deal with the undertone. Now we have deal with why this article is scary.

The scary part of this article isn’t the war-like talk about Russia. 

The scary part isn’t that this seemingly delusional man is apparently a professor at one of the most auspicious institutes of learning in the Western world (although, that is cause for some concern).

The scary part isn’t an elitist “academic” sweepingly dismissing the electoral process of his own country, and ignoring the majority will of his countrymen.

No, the scary part is that he really, really means it. This isn’t propaganda, in the old sense of that word. This isn’t misinformation to spread an agenda. This is full-blown delusion. He genuinely believes the Russians are at “cyber war” with America.

To be crystal clear about this – there is literally ZERO evidence to support this. The Mueller investigation is limping along, revealing absolutely nothing (except that the FBI wanted Hillary to win). The Steele dossier is revealed to have been paid for by the DNC.

There is no evidence. And yet he believes.

Russia has become the great, Orwellian “enemy”. The unseen force behind all our ills. Russian trolls are to blame for Brexit (even though they’re not), and Catalonia (again, untrue) and Donald Trump. Russian trolls were even blamed for hacking the winter Olympics.

This is scary. Scary because it demonstrates that the liberal elite of the USA, and its vassal states, have totally lost their minds. They live in a fantasy world, an un-reality. And they will believe anything that is convenient, anything that supports their un-reality, even if it puts them on a path to real war.

That should terrify everybody.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/02/12/russian-hacking-a-dangerous-delusion...

more delusions from the chief of spies...

WASHINGTON — Russia is already meddling in the midterm elections this year, the top American intelligence officials said on Tuesday, warning that Moscow is using a digital strategy to worsen the country’s political and social divisions.

Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said. European elections are being targeted, too, and the attacks were not likely to end this year, they warned.

“We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee at its annual hearing on worldwide threats.

Mr. Coats and the other intelligence chiefs laid out a pair of central challenges for the United States: contending with the flow of Russian misinformation and shoring up the defenses of electoral systems, which are run by individual states and were seen as highly vulnerable in 2016.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” said Mr. Coats, testifying alongside Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director; Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director; and other leading intelligence officials.

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/us/politics/russia-sees-midterm-elections-as-chance-to-sow-fresh-discord-intelligence-chiefs-warn.html?

 

Please explain which way the Russians could sway the 2018 elections. Vote for the Trump Team? No advantage in that. Trump has already sold out to the military machine, contrarily to what he said he would do, and Putin "would not be impressed"... Vote for the Democrats? Hum...  Just to make politics unworkable in the USA?  Hum... why not. But the Democrats would resent any help from the Russians, would they not? So the only way the Russians can interfere in the 2018 mid-term US elections is to not interfere... like they did not interfere with the 2016 US Presidential elections...

like a google search in 0.37 seconds...

"Twitter doesn't make it easy to track Russian propaganda efforts — this database can help," the news agency wrote on their website.

The released database was created with the powers of "three sources familiar with Twitter's data systems" to cross-reference a partial list of names released by Congress with tweets from the accounts that Twitter suspended earlier for alleged association with ‘Kremlin trolls’. 

NBC states that Twitter has linked the tweets - all 200,000 of them - to "malicious activity" from Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential election. 
A link is included in NBC's article which allows readers to examine some of the tweets in a Google document. 

After reading the database, one may reach a shocking revelation – the tweets do not show anything that cannot already be seen online every single day, and do not receive any attention whatsoever.

Most of the tweets are political (what a shock - politics being talked about on social media during a major US election), however, they take on both candidates and parties.

Some were pro-Trump, with one tweet saying "Sorry, Hillary: Trump's policies are clearly better for blacks."Another said that "Donald Trump has huge support from women" but "the media will never show this."Others criticized Trump: one said that "66% of voters are still voting against Trump," and was followed by smiling and winking emojis. Another called Trump an #AssClown, and included a link to "how Trump got his party to love Russia." Sound familiar?

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/418828-nbc-russian-trolls-tweets/

 

 

Yes it sounds familiar... When you do a "google" search, you often get a 2.3 million results in 0.397 seconds at most. The first ten results are barely relevant, though you might find what you are looking for at level 2 by adding an obscure parameter. The rest has basically nothing to do with what you want to know, but the number of "results" is impressive... It would take you a lifetime to check every single one of them for relevancy, but I can assure you, there is nothing relevant. This NBC thingy of course is based on the first few twits and no-one is going to check them all to the last 200,000 (except RT of course). NBC is banking on this (not on the RT investigation). But the large number gets implanted in the heads of the populace: there was 200,000 twits from "Russia" that influenced the 2016 Presidential elections, — AND THAT'S THE ONLY THING THAT NBC WANTS THE PUBLIC TO "ACCEPT", relevant or not. And I nearly forgot: when doing a "google" search, by page 5, there is a lot of "repeats", if you know what I mean...

dress the "fake news" in jewel tones...

A few days ago, every local news station in America owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group – a massive media conglomerate – read a short statement about the spread of “fake news”. The same statement, word-for-word. CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, it didn’t matter. They were united in their chant.

As you watch the montage – put together by user “D” on youtube – you have to ask yourself: What is the mechanism behind this? Who wrote the statement, and what structure allows their words to be spoken by hundreds of mouths to millions of viewers?

Most importantly – how revealing is this of our media? How often has this united-front of opinion been present, but less obvious?

read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/04/02/watch-this-is-extremely-dangerous-to...

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The fuller script of the promo reads:

"The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first.

"Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy."

The scripts for the promo, which were read by each local station's news team, came with this instruction: "Please produce the attached scripts exactly as they are written. This copy has been thoroughly tested and speaks to our journalistic responsibility as advocates to seek the truth on behalf of the audience."

The internal communications also included detailed instructions on how presenters were to dress.

"Talent should dress in jewel tones; they should not look political in their dress or attire," it said.

"Avoid total red, blue and purples dresses and suits; avoid totally red, blue and purple ties, the goal is to look apolitical, neutral, nonpartisan yet professional," the notes read.

"Black or charcoal suits for men; females should wear yellow, gold, magenta, cyan, but avoid red, blue or purple."

Even more disturbingly, the internal memo said the company's head office would "monitor" audience reaction and "send replies to your audience on your behalf."

The fallout comes as Sinclair is at a corporate crossroads, part-way through the acquisition of another company, Tribune, which will expand Sinclair's 193 stations to 233.

The FCC is expected to rule on that takeover soon.

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/us-tv-giant-under-sieg...

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By its nature, all political news or social news is slanted, biased and partisan. This is unavoidable. For example, the headline for the murder of 15 Palestinians on Israel border with Gaza in the SMH is: "Israel "did what had to be done". The fact that the heading has quotes is ambiguous. Yesterday's SMH editorial was "Forget the politics, this is a catastrophe" in regard to Syria. I guess from the tone of the letters today that nowhere has been acknowledged that more than 140,000 people have been evacuated from East Goutha, nor that Damascus people are not under the threat of bombs coming from East Goutha anymore. 

 

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the news has been cancelled...

In one of the least surprising developments in an ongoing story, the Sun newspaper has been forced to remove a report from its website in which a Russian model claims Vladimir Putin is trying to kill her.

The article has since been removed “for legal reasons,” and, some are speculating, probably for some ‘truth’ reasons as well.

Russian-born Anna Shapiro and her British husband Alex King were at the center of another poisoning scare in Salisbury last Sunday in an incident that appeared at first to echo the attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the very same city.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/uk/438929-sun-model-shapiro-hoax-salisbury/?

human nature and political civility...

 

By Robert W. Merry.

Back in 1953, in the early months of the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, the new president found himself in a political minefield related to his nomination of Charles E. (“Chip”) Bohlen to be U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. The unfolding political drama tells us something about how we used to do things in America as opposed to how we do them today. One example is President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court justice. Human nature having not changed, there were people of solid character back then as well as people of low character, the same as today. The big difference between the two situations lies in the level of political civility that reigned when politicians grappled with a potential scandal.

Bohlen was an acknowledged Soviet expert and a dedicated career diplomat who nonetheless had some bitter enemies inside and outside government. This was, remember, the height of the so-called McCarthy era, named after Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, the fiery anticommunist pugilist who had placed at the center of politics the question of whether domestic communists were undermining America’s posture towards the Soviet Union.

Though a Republican, Bohlen was identified with the Democrats’ internationalist establishment. In those dark days of Cold War anxiety, conservative partisans delighted in attacking this establishment as a hotbed of domestic fools and villains responsible for the sad state of the world.

Worse, Bohlen had been at the 1945 Yalta Conference, site of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secret agreements with the Soviets over the postwar map of Europe. Republicans believed these had sealed the tragic fate of Eastern Europe and fostered the Soviet threat to the West. The ongoing debate over Yalta was bitterly partisan.

All this amounted to a political firestorm that threatened to engulf the Eisenhower administration in its tender early phase. Perhaps Bohlen could have doused the flames had he criticized the Yalta agreements during his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But he believed they were in the country’s interest—and probably the best deal Roosevelt could have gotten from the Soviets’ Josef Stalin at the time based on the alignment of military forces in postwar Europe. He brashly refused to criticize Yalta, and the fat was in the fire.

Enter the masters of the Senate ambush—Republican McCarthy and his Democratic sidekick, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada. Before Bohlen’s nomination was sent to the floor, the committee had focused on his views; now the ambush specialists turned to his character.

A whisper campaign began. The FBI’s investigative files, it was suggested, contained damaging information about Bohlen’s homosexual proclivities (considered disqualifying at a time when most gay people kept their sexual preferences in the closet). The rumors also hinted at possible loyalty questions. In those days, FBI files weren’t routinely passed around to various senators and their staffs to be leaked to the news media at strategic moments. But for the likes of McCarthy and McCarran, even suppressed investigative files had their political uses.

McCarthy called on Bohlen to take a polygraph test to refute the vague allegations swirling around the Capitol. McCarran attacked Eisenhower’s new secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, for suppressing the FBI information. He should come to the Hill, the wily senators suggested, and testify under oath as to why he wouldn’t allow public scrutiny of this important information.

At this point, Ohio’s influential Senator Robert A. Taft entered the fray. Taft hated Yalta and never shrank from using its symbolic significance for political advantage in foreign policy debates. But more than Yalta he hated the character assassination he saw unfolding on the Senate floor. He initiated a counterattack.

“Mr. Dulles’ statement not under oath is just as good as Mr. Dulles’ statement under oath, as far as I am concerned,” declared Taft. He then proposed a compromise: a senator from each party would inspect the FBI files and report back to the chamber on any pertinent character information they contained. The compromise was accepted, and Taft joined Alabama’s Democratic Senator John J. Sparkman on a mission to FBI headquarters. When they returned after three hours of study to report that the files contained no disqualifying information, the battle was over. Bohlen was confirmed, 74-13.

You can’t prove a negative, as the logicians tell us. Taft and Sparkman never learned for sure whether Chip Bohlen was gay. But they did know that the suggestion of homosexuality was never proved, and so Bohlen’s nomination could not be derailed.

How very civilized, even quaint, all this seems as we contemplate the kind of politics practiced today. There are some striking similarities between the Bohlen story and our current drama regarding Kavanaugh. These include: the focus on character matters after opponents failed to prevail on the nominee’s views, the late hit, the use of allegations that can never be definitively disproved, and the lack of regard on the part of the character assassins for the reputation of the man at issue.

But there are some big differences also. These mostly center on the prevailing mores and protocols of Senate behavior. If there are allegations that could prove damaging, they must be investigated. But most senators in Bohlen’s day knew they didn’t want a messy public battle, with the likes of McCarthy and McCarran wielding their big pikes. And consider the level of collegial trust that undergirds this story. When Taft and Sparkman returned with their report, the vast majority of senators instantly accepted their veracity. There was honor among colleagues, and it was understood that in delicate matters involving the reputations of public men, a central aim was to keep the McCarthys and McCarrans from running rampant through the halls of discourse.

Today the McCarthy/McCarran characters are given free rein, and no one can curtail their destructive romps. The leading McCarthy/McCarran figure in today’s unfolding drama is California’s Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, who embarked on the most destructive approach she could conceive of in handling an allegation that was unproved and probably unprovable. She sat on the information throughout the committee process, then slipped it into the political maw. Her maneuver was designed to preserve for her a fig leaf of integrity while drawing into the public fray a woman who had said she didn’t want her name revealed. Then she sat back and watched the braying hounds attack.

As of today, we don’t know what actually took place between Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, at that unsupervised teenage party 36 years ago, and we probably never will. Ford hasn’t given us much to go on—no date, no address, no identification of who owned the house, no witnesses (except one, who denies that the sexual attack took place), no recollection of how she got to the party or got home, no contemporaneous revelation of what happened even to her closest friends.

None of this is to impugn her honesty or the veracity of her story. But that story is unsubstantiated, and unsubstantiated allegations shouldn’t derail the course of Senate business. That was well understood in the Senate of 1953, and the result was a discreet and proper and civilized effort to adjudicate the matter without a lot of civic breakage. These days, civic breakage seems to be the name of the game.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C. journalist and publishing executive, is a writer-at-large for The American Conservative. His latest book is President McKinley: Architect of the American Century.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-joe-mccarthys-of-ou...

 

Read also:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/31386

winners and sore losers to come...

US magnate George Soros and his liberal counterparts have good reason to be up in arms about Donald Trump and the Republican Party ahead of the upcoming midterms, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik, presenting his prognosis on who would be the winners and sore losers in the November vote.

US billionaire George Soros is preparing for a decisive battle for the US Congress by investing heavily in the Democrats. According to The Atlantic, should the Democratic Party win the House, they would be able to kick off "non-stop investigations" into the Trump administration and "possibly commence" impeachment procedures against the US president.

Soros has been joined by fellow liberal donors and his son Alex, who has poured nearly $3 million into Democratic committees for the November midterms, as Federal Election Commission data indicated.

Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist who has been looking into the alleged fraud by the Clinton Foundation over the last few years says that the anti-Trump leftists have good reason for losing sleep over the upcoming vote: There is much more at stake for them than one could imagine.

"George Soros, through his 'Open Society' Foundations and affiliates appears heavily invested in foisting unregulated 'globalism' on nations worldwide," the analyst told Sputnik. "Under unregulated 'globalism,' he, his investment funds, and companies in which he invests are better able to game national regulators and profit from volatility in stock, bond, and commodity prices."

The investigative journalist remarked that Donald Trump's approach to "unregulated globalism" and its controversial endeavors and practices is well known: The president is about to bring an end to these.

 

"Donald Trump's 'Make America Great' approach, his encouragement of other national leaders to concentrate on internal projects, and his disdain for corrupt, expensive, and ineffective globalist projects are a direct threat to Soros so it is natural that he and other 'liberal' donors would fund opponents of Trump and or Republicans," Ortel elaborated.

The Wall Street analyst pointed out that "a particular fear that Soros and allies should have is that President Trump and Congress will enforce and tighten laws that bar 'charities' from engaging in partisan political activities and from profiting personally in any significant way from their operation."

Why Kavanaugh's Appointment is Step in the Right Direction

According to Ortel, the appointment of "strict constructionist" Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice is one of the steps in this direction.

Commenting on the disruptive protests in the streets against Kavanaugh by a coalition of activist organizations including Women's March, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and Housing Works, backed by Soros and his left-wing counterparts, Ortel noted that Democratic lawmakers in Congress had been no less "reprehensible."

"Behavior of Senate Democrats, especially in the Judiciary Committee was reprehensible," the investigative journalist said. "President Trump earned the absolute right to nominate a qualified candidate to replace Justice Kennedy on the US Supreme Court. As a candidate, Trump long ago submitted a list of names he was considering and Democrats had many months to study each of them, including Kavanaugh."

Ortel has drawn attention to Senator Feinstein who, "in particular behaved deplorably," he stressed: "If it is true that she first received the complaint from Dr. [Christine] Ford, she could have arranged to investigate the allegations in confidence, well before the last-minute circus that erupted and unfairly tarnished many persons, even including (possibly) Dr. Ford."

 

"As the confirmation saga recedes in memory, a clear takeaway is that Democrats embrace mob-rule antics, while believing that laws do not apply to them and to their supporters. America remains a conservative nation (protestations from media 'elites' notwithstanding) and I believe the polls do not yet reflect true, underlying reality," the Wall Street analyst suggested.

According to him, the Republican Party has good chances of winning as "independents are a growing share of likely voters."

"I believe a clear majority will support Trump and Trumpism, preferring winning over losing under economically clueless, intolerant, arrogant, and fake elitists!" Ortel said.

Under Trump Red is the New Black

Referring to The Atlantic prognoses, the Wall Street analyst opined that "as in 2016, supposed elite commentators are well out of step and believing their own pipe dreams."

"Yes, if Democrats win the House (and they could do so, conceivably) they will throw sand in the gears of the Trump agenda — but they are most unlikely to secure the required 67 votes to convict anyone they ultimately do impeach (should they do so) in the Senate," he underscored.

 

Ortel believes that more likely Democrats will lose again. He foresees that they will "grow even angrier and reckless, challenging the vote count and the legitimacy of those who do win, particularly if they support President Trump's agenda."

"History is repeating itself, with a different rhyme — 'progressive' yet intolerant Democrats are an army of sore losers, who have yet to understand the folly of believing that unregulated 'globalism' will benefit any worker based in a rich (and expensive) nation as the march of technology renders all of us vulnerable to replacement," the analyst said.

"Revolutionaries fought 'redcoats' and cold warriors fought the 'red menace' — but under Trump, red is the new black — and I expect a red wave, and a blue whimper on November 6, 2018, recognizing that fate can still intervene to change many calculations, possibly at warp speed," he concluded.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201810131068835764-soros-democrats-midt...

Read from top.

 

Note: Ortel is a hack for Murdoch's WSJ. Murdoch and Soros don't see eye to eye. Murdoch is a Turmpism opportunist while Soros is a double-crossing "leftie" opportunist who hates the left but uses it as a way to manipulate money markets. 

fartstein does not understand the word green...

'You didn't vote for me': Senator Dianne Feinstein responds to young green activists

Sunrise Movement says California senator reacted with ‘smugness and disrespect’ to their campaigning for New Green Deal.

The California senator Dianne Feinstein is facing criticism over a video of her response to a group of children and teenagers asking her to support the Green New Deal.

The video clip shows parts of a Friday morning meeting between the Democrat and young activists from the Sunrise Movement. Founded in 2017, the group organizes young people to fight climate change and support the Green New Deal.

When Feinstein pushes back on the young activists’ request, one child says: “The government is supposed to be for the people, by the people, and all for the people.”

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’ve been doing,” Feinstein responds. “You come in here and say it has to be my way or the highway. I’ve gotten elected. I just ran. I was elected by almost a million vote plurality and I know what I’m doing. Maybe people should listen a little bit.”

“I hear what you’re saying,” a teenage activist says. “But we’re the people who voted you, you’re supposed to listen to us.”

“How old are you?” Feinstein asks her.

“I’m 16,” the young woman responds.

“Well, you didn’t vote for me,” Feinstein says.

Later in the clip, Feinstein tells a young activist, “Well, you know better than I do. So I think one day you should run for the United States Senate and then you do it your way.”

“Great, I will,” the teenager responded.

The senator issued a statement Friday evening: “I want the children to know they were heard loud and clear,” she said, misstating the group’s name as the Sunshine Movement. “I have been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation.”

The senator reacted “with smugness + disrespect”, the Sunrise Movement tweeted on Friday, sharing a video clip of the meeting. “Her reaction is why young people desperately want new leadership in Congress.”

By Friday night, the video the Sunrise Movement shared on Twitter, which had been edited and focused on clips of the most tense moments from the meeting, had been viewed more than 3m times.

The full video of the meeting between Feinstein and the young activists was also available on the group’s Facebook page. Some viewers said they found the full video, which includes more conciliatory moments between Feinstein and the young protesters, less shocking than the edited version.

In the full video, Feinstein repeatedly urges the young activist to read her draft legislation and explains the reasons she cannot support the Green New Deal. “There’s no way to pay for it,” she tells the children.

“It doesn’t have a single Republican vote, and the Republicans control the US Senate,” she adds. “I’ve been in the Senate for over a quarter of a century, and I know what can pass and I know what can’t pass.”

The Green New Deal, a proposal that aims to fight inequality and tackle climate change at the same time, is being advanced by the congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among other Democratic lawmakers. 

The proposal could face a vote in the senate as early as next week.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/22/dianne-feinstein-sunrise...

 

 

Read from top. The Guardian is somewhat goodish on green cabbage leaves but is very poor on international laws... See: 

a secret cornerstone upturned at the guardian...

 

And did I say Farstein? I did. My apologies for showing that Feinstein had no clue (or did not pay attention to, except her own inflated self) as to whom she was talking to... young activists from the Sunrise Movement, not from the Sunshine Movement... Ah, the Sunrise movement!

 

 

 

Meanwhile, in France:

 

Les étudiants et lycéens vont se retrouver place de l'Opéra à Paris à partir de 13h pour la seconde édition de leur grève du vendredi pour l'urgence climatique. L'ado suédoise militante Greta Thunberg, qui a lancé le mouvement, viendra les appuyer.

Après les dizaines de milliers de jeunes Australiens, Britanniques, Néerlandais, c'est au tour des jeunes Français de se mobiliser pour l'urgence climatique en menant des grèves du vendredi. 

 

Translate it yourself. Jules Letambour has just gone on holidays....

 

Read more:

https://francais.rt.com/france/59362-activiste-greta-thuberg-rejoint-jeu...

 

 

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an exercise in fiction-truth...

SPOILER ALERT: if you don't want to know the truth behind Martin Scorsese's new film, stop reading now.

Anyone who says Bob Dylan hasn't got a sense of humour can't have watched his new movie, Rolling Thunder Revue, directed by Martin Scorsese.

At the Sydney Film Festival audiences were laughing out loud at the characters, the storyline and the revelatory details contained in many of the scenes. 

The complicating factor in all this is very simple: some of the characters and quite a few of the stories are completely fictitious. 

Only the director and Dylan know exactly what's what, and the question is, does it really matter?

The background you need to know

First up there are a few things you need to know that, to the best of my knowledge, are true. 

In 1975, when Dylan set out on the Rolling Thunder tour, his marriage was on the rocks. 

Secondly, he'd just released one of his greatest albums, Blood on the Tracks (inspired in part by the break-up). 

Thirdly, he was brassed off with the idea of playing to big crowds, in big arenas, and he wanted to re-connect with his audience.

His answer to all this was to take to the road creating a travelling show like a carnival. To do that he gathered a troupe of musicians and artists including Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez and actor Sam Shepard, along with a first-rate band.

It was in many ways a promotor's nightmare. Lots of people, lots of venues and smaller audiences. But as Bob makes clear in the new film, you don't measure success by profit. 

Just to add spice to the undertaking, he shot the whole proceedings with a view to making a movie called Renaldo and Clara which, at its heart, was about multiple personalities and illusion.

So the film is a documentary, right?

Jump forward 44 years and now we are presented with the documentary version of the tour. 

Or are we? 

Early on, we are told the reason we have all the footage is that filmmaker Stefan van Dorp was contracted, way back then, to make a film about the tour in the style of a series of silent movie scenes — but it was never finished.

This of course is a total fabrication. The man being interviewed is actor Martin von Haselberg, who as it happens is married to singer and actress Bette Midler. 

It may be an illusion, but van Dorp's relationship with Dylan becomes a running joke in the documentary, culminating in a scene where the fictitious documentary-maker's voice asks Dylan for a quick interview and Dylan says "are you still here?". 

At this point the audience at the film festival erupts in horrified laughter, not because it's a joke but because we think Dylan's dismissal is real.

The truth and lies keep on coming. The fun part is working out what's what.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-15/martin-scorsese-bob-dylan-rolling...

 

Read from top.

 

 

wapo turns to the right...and publishes assumptions...

Opinions

 

Iran must escape the American chokehold before it becomes fatal

By David Ignatius

 

Joe Biden is a walking, talking gaffe machine

By Marc A. Thiessen

 

If even France can’t figure out a climate policy, what hope is there for the U.S.?

By Catherine Rampell

 

Peeling away Russia’s lies about the downed Malaysia Airlines flight

Editorial Board

 

Facebook must like trouble, because its new cryptocurrency just means more of it

By Megan McArdle

 

The U.S. can’t stand by while foreign governments intervene in elections

By Ellen L. Weintraub

 

 

Read more at the Washington Post

 

 

Read from top

soros is a right-wing fake lefty...

Donald Trump selfishly wants to improve the US economy, instead of shunning economic cooperation with China as part of a virtuous crusade for democracy, billionaire activist George Soros has complained in an op-ed article.

The US president should be applauded for waging economic warfare against China, but he must not use restrictions placed on Huawei as a bargaining chip to cut a trade deal with Beijing, the Hungarian-American businessman wrote in the opinion piece, published by The Wall Street Journal.

In it, the founder of the Open Society Foundations accuses Trump of seeking a trade deal with China as part of a cynical plot to “bolster the US stock market and economy to improve his chances at re-election” – because obviously Donald Trump would be the only American to benefit from a robust economy.

According to Soros, whose visionary worldview helped create the migrant crisis in Europe, Trump needn’t concern himself with petty trifles such as the “US economy” – he’s only the president of the United States, after all. Instead, he should volunteer his nation in an esoteric struggle to “open” Chinese society.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/468583-soros-china-trump-us-interests/

 

Soros is a fake "democrat". He hates the right-wing but hates socialism like hell. He loves money more than Trump does. He is a capitalist whose ideals are to stir "liberal" revolutions and instability while he plays the currency markets as he creating "false news" of delusion. He is more dangerous than Rupert Murdoch who at least we know what he stands for.

 

See also:

 

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/32725

 

what's a bilious billion?... Tax losses?

 

Read from top. 

 

 

democracy dies in the shadowy tricks...

Columnist Max Boot in The Washington Post put into writing what we have all known for some time: real journalism, Jefferson’s informed citizenry and all that, is dead. The job has shifted to aspirational writing, using manipulated droplets of facts and just plain made-up stuff to drive events.

Boot writes to drive Trump from office and overturn the 2016 election. Max: “Much of my journalism for the past four years has been devoted to critiquing President Trump and opposing the spread of Trumpism. But no matter how many columns or sound bites I produce, he remains in office…. I am left to ask if all my work has made any difference.

Boot has spent the last several years creating and circle-supporting others who create false narratives. They manufacture reasons for Trump to resign, press Democrats to impeach, and try to persuade voters they otherwise hold in contempt that they don’t know what’s good enough for them. We kind of figured this out after senior staff at the New York Times had to remind reporters that they were “not part of the f*cking resistance,” but it is helpful to see it in daylight. After all, democracy dies in darkness.

The uber-false narrative Max and others Frankensteined into existence was Russiagate. Trump wasn’t the Manchurian Candidate and there was no quid pro quo for Russian election help. Yet the media literally accused the president of treason by melding together otherwise unrelated truthlets—Trump wanted a hotel in Moscow, some ads were run on Facebook—that could be spun into a narrative to bring him down. Correlation was made into causation in a purposeful freshman Logic 101 fail. What was true was of little consequence; what mattered was whether the media could collectively create a story that the rubes would believe and then pile on.

The critical flaw in Russiagate (other than that it didn’t happen) was that the media created an end-point they could not control. Robert Mueller was magic-wanded into the Last Honest Man, the Savior of Democracy, as the narrative first unfolded and then fell apart like a cardboard box in the rain. After his dismal testimony, there was nowhere for the story to go.

Was it only a week ago Law and Order: Scotland SVU was the locus of the Next Big Thing following Greenland? Because even as we race to catch up (debunking takes longer than making up accusations,) a whole new Big Thing popped up over the Ukraine. Details are vague, based all on leaks and persons familiar with some of it, but are as dire as they are lacking.

But as with every other outrage, leaks in the new phone call-gate instantly became certainties, certainties became foreign influence in our elections, and demands to impeach were recycled until Twitter voted for the death penalty. And all before a single piece of hard data is public. See the pattern yet?

If the latest “gate” doesn’t pan out, Democrats have already jumpstarted an old favorite, upgraded for the 2020 election: Trump is now manipulating domestic and foreign policy for personal gain via…hotel fees.

At first glance, it seems like a non-starter. Trump’s hotels are as much a part of him as the extra pounds he carries. He campaigned as a CEO and announced early on that he was not going to divest. But with the first cold slap of his election victory, a narrative was being shaped: he could not become president because of his business conflicts of interest; it was danged unconstitutional.

Early proponents of this dreck dug around in the Constitution’s closet and found the Emoluments Clause, a handful of lines intended to bar officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign sovereigns, kings, and princes to prevent influence buying. Pre-Trump, the last time the issue was in actual contention was with President Martin Van Buren (no relation) over gifts from the Imam of Muscat.

The media ran with it. They imagined out of whole cloth that any foreign government official getting a room at any Trump hotel had been given a “gift.” Then they imagined that any tiny percentage of that room profit that actually went to Trump himself represented a bribe. Then they imagined that despite the vast complexity of U.S. relations, Trump would alter course because some guy rented a room. It was Joker-like in its diabolicalness, the presidency itself merely a prank to hide an international crime spree. Pow!

It was ridiculous on its face, but they made it happen. The now-defunct leftist site Think Progress ran what might be Story Zero before Trump even took office. An anonymous source claimed that, under pressure, the Kuwaiti ambassador had canceled a major event at one hotel to switch to Trump’s own D.C. hotel. It turned out to be untrue. “Do you think a reception of two hours in the Trump hotel is going to curry favors with the administration when we host thousands of U.S. troops in Kuwait? When we have in the past and still do support American operations in Afghanistan and Iraq?” the Kuwait ambassador asked when someone got around to his side of the story. But no matter: the narrative was set.

Then it grew. Though the Emoluments Clause is quite specific, the media decided that every time anyone stayed at a Trump property, it was corruption. Even when Trump visited one of his own homes, it was corruption, because the Secret Service paid Trump for the privilege. Of course, the Secret Service has always paid for the facilities used in their work because the government cannot commandeer private property or accept free rooms (which, ironically, could be seen as a bribe), not from Marriott and not from the Trump Organization. Even Joe Biden still has to charge the Secret Service rent on a cottage he owns so they can protect him when he’s home in Delaware.

More? T-Mobile booked nine rooms at a Trump hotel, in media hive minds ostensibly to influence federal approval of a $26 billion merger. Those rooms were worth about $2,700. Of course, the president, who can influence the Dow with a tweet, prefers to make his illegal money off jacked up hotel bills. Think small has always been a Trump trademark.

Reuters headlined how foreigners were buying condos from third-party owners (i.e., not Trump or his company), but they were in a Trump-managed building and maybe the monthly maintenance fees would qualify as mini-emoluments? Trump was accused of “hiding” foreign government income at his hotels when servers at the bar failed to ask cash customers if they were potentates or princes (the headline: “Trump Organization Says It’s ‘Not Practical’ to Comply With the Emoluments Clause”).

And of course, there was the Air Force crew staying at a Trump place in Scotland. No matter that the hotel had forged its relationship with a nearby airport long before Trump became president, or that the Air Force had used the airport and hotel hundreds of times before Trump became president (going back to World War II), or that a decision by the Pentagon to have flights stop more frequently there was made under the Obama administration. None of that stopped the media from proclaiming corruption. One piece speculated that the $166 per night the Air Force pays for rooms was always part of Trump’s cornerstone financial plan for the floundering multi-million golf course.

But to see how much the corruption narrative really is a media creation, you have only to compare it to how the mainstream media covered what might have been a similar question in the past. Imagine if journalists had treated every appearance by Obama as a book promotion. What if his every speech had been slandered across the channels as corruption, Obama just out there pimping his books? Should he have been impeached for commercializing the office of president?

Follow the money, as Rachel Maddow likes to say. The Trump Organization pays to the Treasury all profits from foreign governments. In 2018, that was $191,000. The year before, the amount was $151,470. So Trump’s in-pocket profit is zero.

Meanwhile, Obama’s profit as an author during his time in office was $15.6 million (he’s made multiples more since, including a $65 million book advance). In the two weeks before he was inaugurated, Obama reworked his book deals to take advantage of his new status. He agreed not to publish another non-fiction book during his time in office to keep anticipation high, while signing a $500,000 advance for a young adult version of Dreams From My Father.

Obama’s books were huge sellers in China, where publishing is largely government controlled, meaning he likely received Chicom money in the Oval Office. His own State Department bought $79,000 worth of his books to distribute as gifts.

As with Trump, nothing Obama did was illegal. There are no laws per se against a president making money. Yet no one bothered to raise ethical questions. No one claimed he sought the presidency as a bully ATM machine. No one claimed his frequent messaging about his father was designed to move books. No one held TV hearings on his profits or how taxpayer funds were used to buy his books. It’s not “everybody does it” or “whataboutism”; it’s why does the media treat two very similar situations so very differently?

Max Boot confessed why. The media has created a pitch-and-toss game with Democrats, running false, exaggerated, and shallowly reported stories to generate calls for hearings, which in turn breathe life into the corruption stories they live off. We will soon see how far last week’s breathless drama—unnamed “whistleblower” leaks supposedly charging Trump with pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate his rival Joe Biden—will go. 

Boot and his ilk are doing a new job. Journalism to them is for resistance, condemnation, arousal, and regime change. And that’s one way democracy does die.

 

----------------

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japanand Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent.

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Trump is still a mad man, but La Madam Clinton would have been worse...

the cornf(l)ake news...

Professional journalists are losing touch with the moral code that once galvanized the profession, a new study shows. But what truth-slinger wouldn’t be having an existential crisis in an industry where facts no longer matter? ​

Ideology, speed, and novelty have nudged veracity and honor out of the way at the ethical core of the journalist’s trade. Journalists have become so estranged from the morality that once imbued them with a sense of purpose that the black hole where their profession’s honor used to be was actually measured in a recent study published in Journalism Practice. Working journalists “primed” to think of themselves in their professional role scored no higher on moral reasoning tests than when thinking of themselves as ordinary citizens, collapsing a sizable spread found in a similar study 13 years ago.

​Given the abysmal state of journalistic ethics on display in 2019’s sordid 24-hour news cycle, it’s no surprise journalists no longer surpass all but doctors and priests in moral acuity.

But it’s more than just the rush to be “first” and amass clicks that has torn the heart out of the profession. Truth itself is sidelined to suit the interests of the business interests which own nearly all mainstream outlets. There is no more speaking truth to power, and certainly no more afflicting the comfortable – even once-reputable outlets like the New York Times submit sensitive stories to intelligence agencies for approval.  Adversarial reporting lives – but only certain adversaries are permitted.

​Two of the world’s most prestigious news agencies pulled a story highlighting the plight of 100,000 helpless migrant children in US custody, imprisoned under the heartless border policies of President Donald Trump, earlier this week after the United Nations pointed out one small error. The heartbreaking number actually referred to children in custody in 2015, under then-president Barack Obama. The story was memory-holed by AFP and Reuters, though not before minimizing the accidentally scathing indictment of Obama’s border policies by pointing out belatedly the figure was cumulative.

 

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the evil empire...

Oliver Stone’s films have won 12 Academy Awards including two for Best Director, as well as a bunch of Golden Globes and BAFTAs. His new focus is documentaries – on Venezuela, Ukraine, and Edward Snowden – all reflecting on the dubious activities of the US government both at home and abroad.

Oliver Stone, the award-winning American director and a relentless critic of US administrations, has called his country an “evil empire”.

The term was coined by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 when he was referring to the Soviet Union and its arms race with the United States.

Things have changed a lot since then, at least for Stone. “Empires fall. Let’s pray that this empire, these evil things... because we are the evil empire,” he said in an interview to RT. “What Reagan said about Russia is true about us.”

Stone – best known for his films Platoon and Wall Street – has long criticised US foreign policy, particularly its involvement in armed conflicts in the Middle East.

On Hollywood's evolution

In the interview, he accused Hollywood producers of subjecting him to “economic censorship” after he diverted from the mainstream pro-war narrative.

He lamented: “Hollywood has changed since 2001. It has become more censored. The military, the CIA, the depictions of these organizations has been very favorable.”

“You can take the budgets down... let’s say you want to make a film criticising the American military, taking an Iraq war story or a horror story that recently happened in Iran,” he said. “You do those kinds of stories, it’s not going to happen.”

“Now, censorship isn’t something that exclusively affects the American film industry,” Stone noted. “I can read the American media but they all say the same things ... And you don’t hear from Iran and China, you don’t hear from [North] Korea, you don’t hear from Venezuela, you don’t get their point of view.”On warmongering in US politics

He went on to call out neoconservative US hawks supporting overseas military campaigns: “They are warmongers, in the old-fashioned way of thinking.”

“There is no party in the United States, there is no democratic voice except third parties that are small, that would say ‘Why are we fighting wars?’” he continued.

“I don’t hear it from any of the major candidates, except one or two on the Democratic side, but they don’t have a chance of winning.”

“In other words, Hillary Clinton … and Joe Biden are just as pro-war as any Republican Dick Cheney. They just do it in a different way. Maybe it shows you how locked up America is, how so far to the right America has gone that Hillary Clinton is recognised as a Democrat. I can’t believe it.”

“There’s no real left in America in power. It’s all right-wings fighting with right-wings. As [Russian President Vladimir] Putin said in the interviews I did with him, ‘It doesn’t make a difference who is President of the United States.’”

 

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the wapo stinky anti-putin vapours...


A Washington Post story about Russia’s constitutional reform has drawn the ire of Senator Andrey Klishas, who gave the outlet a lengthy interview but found only few of his lines in the text, which he believes is “provocative.”

Klishas, who is a co-chair of the constitutional reform working group, met the Washington Post journalists to discuss the aspects of the impeding reform in every detail. “I gave a big, all-out interview, expecting it to be used in full,” Klishas told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The senator also added that he hoped “western journalists would get best possible clarifications about the work” of the group he is heading. But Klishas says he discovered the piece published on February 23 mostly focused on some of the “crazy” suggestions submitted to the working group by the broader public, while speculating about “anti-liberal” nature of the reform.

 

It presented the amendments as a way for President Vladimir Putin to retain power after his presidential term ends in 2024. The senator slammed the piece, noting that very few lines from his interview were actually used in the text. “As a result, very few of my quotes, taken out of context, were used in the provocative piece,” he said.

Below is the entire text of Senator Klishas’ interview.

Washington Post: Is the current Constitution somehow flawed and are there any reasons for amendments?

Andrey Klishas: The current Constitution is not flawed in any way. As we can see, the 1993 Constitution has proved to be a very good framework. However, there is a huge difference between what Russia used to be in the early 1990s and what Russia is today in 2020. Some aspects that people put less focus on in the early 1990s, in 1993, are now in the spotlight. Ensuring sovereignty and the supremacy of the Constitution across Russia’s entire territory are on the front burner right now.

According to the current Constitution, it is exactly the supreme law of the land. But clauses and provisions ceding supremacy to international treaties in case such a treaty runs into conflict with our domestic law are now raising concern, including among our people. It is not an issue of Russia’s international commitments. We have always delivered on our international commitments and will continue to do so. However, there have been cases when the European Court of Human Rights offers its own interpretation of the European Convention demanding that Russian execute commitments that Russia has never signed.

There are no commitments to that effect in the Convention but what the European Court of Human Rights does by passing its judgement is effectively issuing new provisions, and making it obligatory for us. Even in the case of an interpretation, Russia complies with its commitments, too, except for situations when these interpretations clash with the Constitution. Here is a simple case.

According to the European court, all criminal convicts shall be eligible to vote. However, the Russian Constitution limits the right to vote for such individuals serving their time in jail. The ECHR demanded that Russia introduce amendments into its current legislation and expand their rights. This is happening at a time when many European countries have identical restrictions vis-à-vis criminal convicts. In some countries, they are even tougher than in Russia.

Take the UK, for example, where virtually all convicts not just those serving time in jail are barred from voting in one way or another. Such cases have created an impression that supranational bodies such as the ECHR are trying to control our country through these interpretations of international conventions. People say this is unacceptable.

The Constitution would add an amendment with a clear fix: international conventions shall not apply in an interpretation that violates the Russian Constitution. It is the same in the US. I guess US judges would be very much surprised if you tell them they should rely on international conventions rather than US laws. There are several cases by US courts saying it is US law that takes priority in the US. And the US Supreme Court could always have its final say.

We believe it is fully justified. Just like the US, we believe that the body that has the mandate of supreme constitutional control — and it is the Supreme Court in the US — shall have its final say and decide whether provisions of an international conventions apply, particularly in their interpretation. That framework has been in place in the US and will be effectively applied in Russia.

The second priority is the distribution of rights and responsibilities between our branches. Amendments seek to raise the level of pluralism in our political system. The President hands over some of his mandate to the lower and upper chambers of the Parliament. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation will also have its mandate extended. I think that a stronger Parliament and Constitutional Court will further strengthen our political system. I believe this is the way the political system in the US works. It is not individuals but strong political institutions that uphold political stability.

Social security is another priority. We are resolute it is an important issue on the agenda. Back in 1993, when the Constitution was adopted, it introduced the concept of a welfare state. However, that was the time when people did not get paid, benefits were paid irregularly. The government was struggling to pay retirement or other social benefits that people were eligible to under law. Today, the situation has drastically changed.

We now want to make a standing constitutional provision that any regular benefits shall be adjusted upward. People still recall what happened in the 1990s and they fear that a new president, the government and the Parliament may renege on these social security safeguards. A lot of people associate stability in the social sector with Putin. It was Putin who convinced major companies and oligarchs in the early 2000s that they need to pay salaries to their staff and taxes into the Russian budget.

This is why people think Putin stands for social security. As we introduce existing safeguards into the Constitution, we also add a clause on the upward adjustment of benefits so that a new government or Parliament or even a new president would not be able to repeal that through ordinary laws, and people are very positive about the amendment.

These are arguable the three main reasons why changes to the Constitution must be made today. Putin’s rating is very high, and the United Russia party has the constitutional majority in the Parliament, and we could pass these amendments as well as adopt a dedicated procedure that would put these amendments up for a nationwide vote.

WP: From what we understand, there have been 700+ proposals. How do you manage to review all of them and decide which ones should be accepted?

AK: The proposals don’t come in the form of specific changes to the language of the Constitution. These are not proposals penned by lawyers. In these proposals, ordinary people ask for more safety net provisions or defining the powers of the Government to give NGOs and civil society in general a bigger role in drafting social policies, as well as policies in culture and education.

What we get is proposals with an idea that people want to see written into the Constitution. Many proposals talk about the same things. The working group is tasked with looking at these proposals; and together with civil society groups we have to figure out if these proposals are relevant, if they are supported by our people and to what degree, and then we can find the right language to add them into the Constitution so that will be later discussed by the Parliament.

WP: Are there proposals that will obviously not become part of the Constitution? Any suggestions that are beyond its scope? What are they?

AK: Of course. For example, many people want to see certain standards stipulated by the Constitution. Healthcare and education standards, etc. People think that these are very important, and we agree — yes, these are very important, but they can’t be in the Constitution, of course. These should be spelled out in laws and regulations.

It’s important to make sure that all amendments to the Constitution have public support because it is the people who will vote for these amendments. There are very important things proposed like healthcare and education standards, but these should be stipulated by other laws. The President instructed our working group to pool all such proposals into one group and then forward them to the State Duma, the Government, and regional parliaments.

WP: Are the proposals publicly available?

AK: Of course. They are 100 percent available. We announce our agenda for a working group meeting in advance, any media could attend, and we hand out the materials to the members of the working group. All this information is not classified, the members of the working group can share it with experts, and they discuss it. The next working group meeting will convene on Tuesday, you may come if you want. Just take your press card with you.

WP: The current Constitution is quite liberal by Western standards; it provides for many human rights, freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. It’s quite a liberal Constitution. Do you think the new Constitution should be made more conservative?

AK: Let’s make one thing clear: this is not a new Constitution. The rights you are talking about are indeed set out very liberally, that’s the second chapter of the Constitution.

The second chapter stipulates the rights and freedoms. According to our rules set out in the second chapter, we can’t amend the second chapter. You know, there have been calls to amend the second chapter. There is only one way to do it, by adopting a new Constitution. It is clearly stated in the Constitution itself. One cannot change the provisions of the Constitution through amendments.

We discussed it with the President on several occasions. The President’s position in this regard is firm and clear: the President is against revising the second chapter provisions and against adopting a new Constitution. The President said that all the essential provisions, the first chapter that describes the constitutional basis, the second chapter that describes the fundamental rights and freedoms, all this must remain unchanged. And we will only amend the remaining chapters, the ones that don’t affect the basic human rights.

There is another reason why we don’t want to consider adopting a new Constitution and rewriting the second chapter provisions. In more than 25 years since the Constitution was adopted, there has been another critical component added to it, the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.

There are several dozens of such volumes, not one. And it is the rulings of the Constitutional Court that shape contemporary interpretation of the rights and freedoms. Most of these decisions are based either on international human rights standards or ECHR decisions.

So, this huge collection of interpretations should be preserved since it’s this understanding of human rights and freedoms that shape the common legal framework that also includes the states that have signed the European Convention. So, adopting a new Constitution, amending the second chapter could result in losing this wealth of interpretations, and we would have to interpret these provisions all over again. The President is against it, he thinks we must preserve the common legal framework with Europe that is ensured by the decisions of the Constitutional Court, among other things.

I represent the Federation Council at the hearings when the Constitutional Court is reviewing the constitutionality of laws. I know that Russian people trust the Constitutional Court, because most decisions that are made today involve the Constitutional Court ruling this or that provision unconstitutional based on complaints it receives from the general public, even in those cases when the Parliament and the President are in favour of existing laws.

It means there have been certain changes in the way these laws are practically applied, with the court paying more attention to the fact that the rights of complaint submitters have been violated. This explains the high level of trust the Constitutional Court enjoys, and that’s why the President has greenlighted giving additional powers to the Constitutional Court.

MPs understand that this benefits the legal system, although we have to amend laws because of the rulings of the Constitutional Court, but we understand that the Court is primarily guided by the best interests. We, therefore, believe that the Constitutional Court is getting extended powers for good reason and the proposed amendments will serve to reinforce the legitimacy of the Constitution.

In Russia, just like in the United States, the Constitutional Court is composed of very independent and very prominent legal professionals, and the presiding judge, Mr. Zorkin, is a man who has a history of confronting top-level authorities.

We all know that President Yeltsin once dissolved the Constitutional Court and prevented it from getting back together again, when the Court failed to support him. Yeltsin made this decision, but Valery Zorkin withstood the pressure and did not want to accommodate his request.

What I’m trying to say is that the judges sitting on the Constitutional Court are not only highly qualified professionals, they also have a very strong character. That’s why we are positive that the Constitutional Court will use the powers it gets to promote the interests of the Russian people.

WP: Some proposals are about setting up the State Council and there are concerns that this step will produce two centers of power. Two powerhouses.

AK: There cannot be two centres of power. Take the presidential powers, they are all stipulated in the Constitution. The State Council won’t be able to usurp these powers.

The Constitution sets forth the powers of the President, the State Duma, and the Federation Council in detail, and it states that the State Council, which already exists, is set to become a constitutional state body.

The State Council will be mentioned in the Constitution for one particular reason, in order to accomplish one key task — to increase the role of regions in running the country. We have the Federation Council, one of the chambers of the Russian Parliament, which has its powers laid down in the Constitution as well.

From now on, the members of the Federation Council would be officially called senators by the Constitution, just like in the US. The Federation Council would get additional powers to appoint the heads of the ministries of defense, justice and the interior, and the minister of foreign affairs. From now on, the President would have to consult the Federation Council about this.

Today, the State Council consists of regional governors; its task is to support a dialogue with the government, a constitutional body, on an equal footing — I stress this, on equal terms — to ensure the implementation of key national projects and state programs. In order to give regions more power in executing these projects, we need to reinforce the constitutional status of the State Council.

I’d like to underscore that the State Council cannot in any way acquire the powers vested with the President, State Duma, Federation Council or the judiciary. Its constitutional status and its mandate cannot overlap with any of them.

WP: Some commentators say that this whole State Council amendment is aimed at helping Vladimir Putin to stay in power after 2024. What do you think about that?

AK: We can clearly see from the amendments the President proposed that he is not going to run for president again. In theory, Putin can take up any post in the country but he cannot be reelected. It was Putin who suggested crossing out that condition about two “subsequent” terms which will undeniably prevent him from becoming president again even after a break.

It is my belief that all these speculations from political commentators and journalists regarding his future job are absolutely groundless. The Federation Council has way more functions than the State Council, and the State Duma holds a great deal of powers too.

You know, I am a lawyer and making forecasts about future careers of people is definitely outside of my scope of responsibilities. What I can tell you is that political experts and the media certainly haven’t read the Constitution and the language of the amendments. They did hear a thing a two about the proposed changes, they filled in the gaps with a fair amount of guesswork, and then got terrified by something they invented themselves and rushed to comment on that without a second thought.

Again, it’s not my job to comment on the fantasies and fears that political observers and journalists have. I don’t know what Vladimir Putin can become after his term in office expires.

It’s my opinion that the role of the Parliament and the Constitutional Court will be reinforced; my assessment is based on the language of the amendments. I’d like to add that Putin today remains the most popular and influential politician in Russia, that’s a fact. As for all these forecasts and speculations… you should probably discuss it with the legion of political commentators out there. They will be glad to indulge in fantasies with you.

WP: And my last question. Thank you for your time. What about the national vote on the amendments? What if someone says, “I like the amendment about adjusting pensions, but I don’t like the one about the State Council”? Can they vote in favor of one and against the other at the same time?

AK: No, they can’t. It will be a yes-or-no vote on the all the amendments. We believe that in a way all amendments are connected. All amendments — the ones that have to do with the social sphere and state bodies — in the end are in a certain balance. Let’s say someone wants to vote against a broader mandate for the Constitutional Court.

But the Constitutional Court’s powers are connected with the powers wielded by the President, the Federation Council and the State Duma. So just like in any other country, there are no isolated state bodies, they are all interconnected with the powers of other state bodies. That’s why you can’t support the amendments about the President’s powers and say no to the amendments concerning the Constitutional Court. They are connected.

You can’t support the amendments on the State Duma, but not the ones on the Federation Council, because they are also linked. It’s impossible to separate them, from a legal point of view. Or, for example, the amendments that have to do with social payments are connected with the powers wielded by state bodies that will be responsible for effecting them.

All in all, we can say that the proposed package of amendments is essentially what the President put forward in his address to the Federal Assembly. That was the basis for the amendments. Besides, just imagine that we put every amendment to a vote. Just imagine the ballot, with several dozen questions. Have you ever seen anything like that in the Unites States, several dozen questions? I think it’s impossible.

If people see a ballot with several dozen questions they will probably think that we want to confuse them, that legal professionals want to confuse them. So I think that, first of all, it’s our responsibility to convey the meaning of the amendments to our people. Of course, some people will like social security-related amendments more and justice system-related amendments less. But every person will have a choice to make. Even when you like some things more and some things less, you have to find a balance to figure out whether you are in favor of this package or not.

In the end, you always pick this or that politician. Some people like what he says, some like his appearance more, some like his family more, some like what he says, but don’t like his family or his hair or skin color. In the end, every person makes a decision, considers all pros and cons and decides whether this particular politician, this Mr. X, will successfully represent their interests or not. There are many different factors involved.

Democracy as such is a hard decision, so people living in a democratic country have to be able to make hard decisions. I’m convinced that Russian people will be able to understand these amendments, think through all the pros and cons, see which amendments they like more and which they like less, and then decide, like they would in any regular election.

During regular elections, people decide whether this or that politician, with all his strengths and shortcomings, is going to promote their interests or not. It’s the same thing with voting on amendments: do people believe they will make our life better? If they do, they’ll vote yes, and if they don’t, they’ll vote no. I think these are similar cases, and in the end people are capable of making that choice.

WP: Thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

 

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absorbed in the mainstream caca...

The late, great Robert Parry founded Consortium News in 1995, in response to “a crisis building in the U.S. news media,”whose allergy to inconvenient information he knew all too well from having worked for Newsweek and AP.

“The mainstream media was falling into a pattern of groupthink on issue after issue, often ignoring important factual information because it didn’t fit with what all the Important People knew to be true,” wrote Parry in 2015.

“Looking back over the past two decades,” he continued, “I wish I could say that the media trend that we detected in the mid-1990s had been reversed. But, if anything, it’s grown worse. The major Western news outlets now conflate the discrete difficulties from made-up ‘fake news’ and baseless ‘conspiracy theories’ with responsible dissenting analyses. All get thrown into the same pot and
subjected to disdain and ridicule.”

Such was the tactic used to make Parry himself look like a kook, when he shed light on Iran/contra and the “October surprise,” just as it was used in the mid-Nineties to demolish Gary Webb, the investigative journalist who broke the story of the CIA’s drug smuggling out of Nicaragua.

By then the tactic had been used successfully for roughly thirty years, after the CIA, in its Memo #1035-960, first weaponized the phrase “conspiracy theory” to discredit critics of the Warren Report.

By the time Parry founded Consortium News — as George Seldes (in 1940) and I.F. Stone (in 1953) had founded their respective antidotes to the propaganda gushing from the US press — “conspiracy theory” had been absorbed into the hearts and minds of everybody in the US and beyond, so that most people felt — and feel — that they must distrust their own quite rational suspicions of elite attempts to rob them of their rights and freedoms, as if the very notion of such covert class warfare, waged by Them against the rest of us, is absolutely crazy on its face.

That is a very dangerous idea, as it has largely incapacitated We the People, by giving them a sentimental misimpression of executive authority, so that they often can’t believe our government would do the things it’s actually, demonstrably, been doing to the rest of us, and peoples all over the world, for decades.

From the assassinations of our most beloved leaders, to the initiation, and protraction, of gratuitous wars and rightist coups abroad, to the orchestration of horrific terrorist attacks on our own soil, to the stealing of elections everywhere (including here), to the harassment and imprisonment of whistle-blowers and other activists, to the shattering experiments in mind control inflicted on prisoners, mental patients, students and other helpless people, to the routine approval of drugs and vaccines that do lasting harm, and even kill; and so on.

Those independent outlets bold enough to tell the awful truths that all the other media ridicule as lunacy are few and far between; and Robert Parry’s was among the best of them.

I say “was” because Consortium News has just gone over to the enemy, by publishing a solemn editorial highlighting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’recent diatribe against the “dangerous epidemic of misinformation” about COVID-19.

“Wild conspiracy theories are infecting the Internet,” raved the UN chief (see above video), casting all such dissident material as itself a plague that — clearly — must be “cured,” which is to say, wiped out, just like that apocalyptic virus.

And what, exactly, would those “wild conspiracy theories” urge us to believe?

Social media has been inundated by opposition to vaccines, promotion of the idea that Covid-19 is just like a normal flu, that hospitals are empty and that enforced self-isolation based on medical advice is a plot to impose a permanent police state.”

Guterres, or his speechwriter (or handler), did his best to make what Parry called some quite “responsible dissenting analyses” sound as unhinged — and dangerous — as possible.

All four of what the Secretary-General “decries” as “wild conspiracy theories” are obfuscations of important facts that everybody needs to know, in order to protect ourselves from real “misinformation” that’s more dangerous than COVID-19.

1) “Social media has been inundated by opposition to vaccines.”

Thus Guterres, following Big Pharma’s script, casts advocates of vaccine safety as “anti-vaxxers,” which is like calling critics of Vioxx, or opioids, “anti-drug,” or critics of GMO’s, glyphosate, or refined sugar, “anti-food.”

While there are arguments against all vaccination, and some pop up online, what’s “inundating” social media, and what Guterres actually deplores, is wholly valid information — scientific studies, records of the US Vaccine Court, product inserts from the vaccine manufacturers themselves, as well as harrowing personal accounts of vaccine injury — on the dangers of particular vaccines, such as the MMR, Gardasil and flu shots, among other proven toxins.

Also “inundating” social media are reports on scientific studies of the various drug therapies — hydroxychloroquine (in combination with azithromycin and/or high-dose Vitamin C), remdesevir, Ivermectin, Interferon Alfa 2B (from Cuba), Avigen (a Japanese flu drug), a placenta-based cell therapy from Israel, and so on —that would obviate the need for a new COVID-19 vaccine.

Such is the solid and important information that’s “infecting the Internet,” according to the UN Secretary-General — and the editors of Consortium News, who, apparently, would also like to see the Internet “disinfected.”

2) “Social media has been inundated by … promotion of the idea that Covid-19 is just like a normal flu.”

While that “idea” is clearly ludicrous — “a normal flu” does not entail acute hypoxemia, nor is it fatally exacerbated by the use of ventilators —Guterres’ blanket charge would necessarily include an “idea” that’s not ludicrous at all: that the death rate among COVID-19 patients is comparable to that of influenza.

Such is the important finding of Dr. John Ioannidis’s team, from their study of COVID-19 antibody seroprevalence in Santa Clara County:

True infection rate fatality is in the ballpark of seasonal influenza,”

We find much the same rough equivalence in a Dutch study, suggesting that 3% of Holland’s population may have the coronavirus antibodies, with a case fatality rate of 0.7%.

Such numbers offer us a very healthy antidote to the terroristic coverage of this crisis by the media, whose “wild” exaggeration of the danger facing us — exaggeration that’s now proving far more lethal than that virus — is based wholly on the shrieking prophecies of doom that we’ve been hearing from Bill Gates, WHO’s Tedros Adhonam, and now the UN Secretary-General, who seems to want us to be paralyzed with fear — and, evidently, so does Consortium News.

3) “Social media has been inundated by … the idea … that hospitals are empty.” 

While some hospitals are overwhelmed, as their workers have been saying (or would say, if their bosses hadn’t gagged them), a lot of hospitals are empty — too empty, as fear of COVID-19 has kept all too many people far away, with grave conditions (strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, appendicitis) that would ordinarily have them in the hospital.

As for the field hospitals set up last month to handle the expected mobs of COVID-19 patients (at the Javits Center in New York, the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, and on the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy), they’ve now been closed down for lack of business, while others (at McCormick Place in Chicago, and in New York’s Central Park) appear to have few patients, if the many photos of them in the local press failed somehow to exclude the suffering masses there.

To call this a “conspiracy theory” is to contradict what people the world over (myself included) have seen with their own eyes — and, again, to stoke the panic that is killing off the world economy, and, with it, countless people, mostly poor.

4) “Social media has been inundated by … the idea …. that enforced self-isolation based on medical advice is a plot to impose a permanent police state.”

This last of Guterres’ charges of “conspiracy theory” is his craziest. Leaving aside the fact that there’s much expert “medical advice” againstthe policy of “enforced self-isolation” (a consensus that’s been growing steadily), the signs of the police state are as blatant as a rubber bullet in the eye, as governments have sicced the cops on people the world over, dictating day-to-day behavior with the zeal and vigilance of any Nazi Governor or Soviet commissar.

Perhaps the Secretary-General of the United Nations could devote some resources to tracking the abuse of power by national, state and city governments worldwide, as cops now use surveillance drones to badger people taking walks in Paris, Britain, Spain, California and Elizabeth, New Jersey, as well as in the UAE and (of course) China;

And as “governments in Italy, Germany, Austria, China, South Korea and Taiwan have begun analysing smartphone data so as to determine to what extent populations are really locking themselves down at home,” as Forbes reported a few weeks ago (noting that the US and UK were close to doing the same);

And as the cops in Colorado handcuffed a man (a former cop) for playing catch with his daughter in a park, and the cops are fining residents of Beverly, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, $100 for walking the wrong way on the township’s one-way sidewalks, and thirty cops raided a child’s birthday party in Los Angeles, and the governor of Michigan has banned travel between two residences in the state; and so on.

It would take a full-time staff to keep track of such police-state measures, now commonplace throughout the “democratic” West just as in Dubai, Colombia and the Philippines.

However, the prospect of “a permanent police state” — singular — is obviously looming not just in the crackdowns by those disparate governments, but also, or especially, in the clear agenda of the globalist cabal in which the UN Secretary-General serves so prominent a role.

It’s no “conspiracy theory,” but an established fact, that the World Health Organization, the Gates Foundation (WHO’s most lavish funder), the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Foundation, UNICEF and the component giants of Big Pharma have joined forces in “Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,” a “public-private partnership” that is explicitly intent on vaccinating every human being on Earth, through house-to-house campaigns by goon squads (personnel with “minimal training”) ready to confront and overcome resistance.

Nor is it a “conspiracy theory,” but a matter of public record, that Gates intends, through those mass vaccinations, to inject every member of the human race with a “tattoo-like mechanism,” so that one’s vaccine history may be read instantly by cell phones; and it is also not a “theory” but a fact that, in the meantime, Gates et al. plan to require everyone who wants to leave the house to carry “immunity certificates” — a concept first proposed in Germany two weeks ago, and one that Dr. Fauci says is “being discussed” for roll-out here in the US.

Even if this dystopian scenario were groundless, as the UN Secretary-General has charged, it’s no “conspiracy theory” to point out that this crisis has been most convenient for the powers that be, as it has instantly and totally snuffed out vigorous protest movements that were growing all around the world.

From the un-silent majority supporting Bernie Sanders here in the US, to the Yellow Vests in France, to the robust protests of state corruption and/or neoliberal economic policies in Chile, Argentina, Honduras, Ecuador, Brazil, and Haiti, Indonesia, Lebanon and Cameroon, to the feminist uprisings in Mexico and all over South America; and so on.

“2019 may be remembered as the year of the protests, as demonstrations are engulfing the world,” FAIR noted in December (in an article spotlighting the Western media’s exclusive focus on Hong Kong).

The COVID-19 crisis has extinguished all that fire, and blocked all public memory that it was burning — just as World War I stamped out the rich political ferment of the Progressive Era in the US, and like developments in Europe; and just as 9/11 put an end to the growing grass-roots pushback against “free trade,” and the mass refusal to accept Bush/Cheney as legitimate, after the theft of the election in 2000.

As effective as those prior crises were at ending mass resistance and dissent, they were as nothing by comparison with this crisis, which has not just silenced everyone, but has us all cut off from one another, locked up under quasi-voluntary house arrest.

* * *

Thus this crisis has not only radically empowered governments throughout the world, and granted international authority to a gigantic “public-private partnership” intent on exercising full control over our very bodies, and our children’s bodies — and, as well, the world economy, and global food supply (two “conspiracy theories” that I don’t have space for here).

While thus exalting those authorities, the COVID-19 crisis has also disabled actual mass protest of that empowerment—the only kind of protest that our masters fear — by terrorizing people into staying home, and keeping far apart when we skulk out, to go buy groceries (if any) and medicine (if we can afford it).

Maybe the snuffing out of all that protest was deliberate, or maybe it was just an inadvertent benefit of this apocalyptic crisis. Either way, it’s really happened — just as some vaccines are toxic, unnecessary and/or ineffective; and the number of COVID-19 deaths is comparable to that of influenza; and many hospitals are standing empty, even in the places that, reportedly, are hardest hit; and the prospect of a “permanent police state” is very real, its signs quite clear to anyone who’s half-awake, and not gone blind from having drunk the Kool-Aid gushing endlessly from “our free press.”

To warn us not to heed those dismal facts by calling them “wild conspiracy theories” is not only a Big Lie, and a form of gaslighting, but — in light of what will happen if we don’t face up to them — a crime against humanity.

We would expect that “wild” Big Lie from the UN Secretary-General, just as we’d expect it from Bill Gates, or Dr. Fauci, or — especially — theNew York Times.

What we would not expect is that Consortium News would echo that Big Lie instead of blowing it to smithereens, as Robert Parry always did as a reporter of forbidden truths, and as he clearly meant Consortium News to do. 

That even his dissenting forum has now joined the thunderous propaganda chorus drowning out the truth about this lethal crisis—along with “Democracy Now!” and other outlets on “the left” — tells us that we’re in even bigger trouble than we thought, and that we must fight all the more intrepidly to honor Robert Parry’s name, by following his great example.

 

 

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https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/25/say-it-aint-so-consortium-news-deplo...

 

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one of robert parry's last articles...

Special Report: The Washington Post has published another front-page story about Russia maybe placing some ads on Facebook, but the article violates a host of journalistic principles in hyping its case, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Some people are calling the anti-Russian hysteria being whipped up across the U.S. mainstream news media a new “golden age of American journalism,” although it looks to me more like a new age of yellow journalism, prepping the people for more military spending, more “information warfare” and more actual war.

Yes, without doubt, President Trump is a boorish and dangerous demagogue, now highlighted by his reckless speech before the United Nations last week, his schoolyard Tweet taunts toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his ugly denunciation of black athletes for protesting against police killings of often unarmed African-Americans.

And, yes, I know that some people feel that the evidence-lite and/or false allegations about “Russian meddling” are the golden ticket to Trump’s impeachment. But the unprofessional behavior of The New York Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire mainstream media regarding Russia-gate cannot be properly justified by the goal of removing Trump from office.

Ethically in journalism, the ends – however much you might wish them to succeed – cannot justify the means, if those means involve violating rules of evidence and principles of fairness. Journalism should be a place where all sides get a fair shake, not where some get a bum’s rush.

But the U.S. mainstream media has clearly joined the anti-Trump Resistance and hates Russian President Vladimir Putin, too. So, we are given such travesties of journalism as appeared as a banner headline across the front page of Monday’s Washington Post, another screed about how Russia supposedly used Facebook ads to flip last November’s election for Trump.

The article purports to give the inside story of how Facebook belatedly came to grips with how the “company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election,” but actually it is a story about how powerful politicians bullied Facebook into coming up with something – anything – to support the narrative of “Russian meddling,” including direct interventions by President Obama and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a key legislator regarding regulation of high-tech industries.

Finding the ‘Evidence’

In other words, Facebook was sent back again and again to find what Obama and Warner wanted the social media company to find. Eventually, Facebook turned up $100,000 in ads from 2015 into 2017 that supposedly were traced somehow to Russia. These ads apparently addressed political issues in America although Facebook has said most did not pertain directly to the presidential election and some ads were purchased after the election.

Left out of the Post’s latest opus is what a very small pebble these ads were – even assuming that Russians did toss the $100,000 or so in ad buys into the very large lake of billions of dollars in U.S. political spending for the 2016 election cycle. It also amounts to a miniscule fraction of Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue.

So the assertion that this alleged “meddling” – and we’ve yet to see any evidence connecting these ads to the Russian government – “played a key role in the U.S. election” is both silly and outrageous, especially given the risks involved in stoking animosities between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed America.

Even the Post’s alarmist article briefly acknowledges that it is still unclear who bought the ads, referring to the purchasers as “suspected Russian operatives.” In other words, we don’t even know that the $100,000 in ads over three years came from Russians seeking to influence the U.S. election. (By comparison, many Facebook advertisers – even some small businesses – spend $100,000 per day on their ads, not $100,000 over three years.)

But this diminutive effort by “suspected Russian operatives” doesn’t stop the Post from going on and on about “fake news” and “disinformation,” albeit again without offering evidence or specifics of any Russian “fake news” or “disinformation.”

It has simply become Official Washington’s new groupthink to say that everything linked to Russia or its international TV network RT is “fake news” or “disinformation” even though examples are lacking or often turn out to be false accusations themselves.

For instance, there is nothing in the Post’s article acknowledging that nothing from the various Democratic email disclosures, which have been blamed on Russia (again without real evidence), has been identified as untrue. So, how can truthful information, whether you like how it was obtained or not, be “fake news” or “disinformation”?

Falsehood as Fact

But Monday’s Post exposé simply asserts the claim as flat fact. Or as the article asserts: “what Russian operatives posted on Facebook was, for the most part, indistinguishable from legitimate political speech. The difference was the accounts that were set up to spread the misinformation and hate were illegitimate.

 

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https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/25/wpost-pushes-more-dubious-russia-b...

 

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the steele dossier was fiction...

The Steele Dossier, paid for by the leadership of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, accused Trump of conspiring with Russia leading up to the November elections in 2016 on the basis of unreliable sources. However, nobody responsible was ever charged over the dossier, despite it being proved to contain unsubstantiated claims.

US President Donald Trump has demanded the extradition of the former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to the US over a dossier he drafted in 2016 that claimed the president's campaign colluded with Russia to rig the American elections, thus leading to a two-year-long investigation, which POTUS condemned as a "hoax".

Trump called Steele a "lier [sic]", who needs to be "tried, and thrown into jail" over the document, which he had written under an order paid by his 2016 election opponent Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. The president has previously argued that the investigation into his campaign, which turned out to have been based on the discredited dossier, greatly hindered his administration's ability to exercise its policies, adopt laws and other measures directed at fulfilling Trump's election pledges.

The president later followed up his tweet with a demand to "bring back Steele", although the man has seemingly never lived in the US for extended periods of time.

The president's demands came in response to the High Court of England and Wales decision, which ruled that Steele made false statements about the actions of two Russian bankers, Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman, accusing them of making illicit payments and exchanging messages between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin – a connection that had been proven non-existent by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller.


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https://sputniknews.com/us/202007111079857976-bring-back-steele-trump-demands-extradition-of-author-of-notorious-russia-hoax-dossier-to-us/


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The identity of the source remains an enduring mystery, but whoever they are, they undoubtedly possess information that could shed light on innumerable inaccuracies in the dossier, which was cited extensively by the Bureau in its various applications for surveillance orders against Donald Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to release documents related to Christopher Steele’s primary source for his notorious ‘Trump-Russia’ dossier in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by The Daily Caller, on the basis the information is classified and risks identifying a confidential FBI source.

The Daily Caller sought all FBI records for an individual identified as “Primary Sub-Source” in Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz report on Crossfire Hurricane, issued December 2019 – the assessment found Steele’s source contradicted and dismissed key allegations made in the dossier, after they were tracked down and interviewed by FBI agents in January 2017. The former MI6 operative nonetheless dressed up “rumour and speculation” as fact – and the Justice Department ruled two FISA warrants to be invalid due to the Bureau’s omission of this compromising information.

 

 

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https://sputniknews.com/military/202006261079729918-fbi-refuses-to-release-documents-on-source-who-repudiated-steele-dossier/

 

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