Liberalism's Communications Problem

Liberals in the United States are relatively educated, yet extremely inarticulate when it comes to Trump, his budget proposal, or the U.S. military.

In a typical email, Moveon.org sent out the message this week that nobody should confirm a Supreme Court nominee until it’s determined that Trump is a “legitimate president.” Until then, the U.S. military should go on slaughtering families for him? And once he’s “legitimate” then a horrible fascist Supreme Court nominee should be approved? And what would it take for Trump to become “legitimate.” According to the email, it would take proving that Trump didn’t collaborate with Putin to rig the U.S. election. According to the linked video, it would take that plus seeing Trump’s tax returns, plus proving that Trump is not violating the foreign emoluments clause. All three demands are given a xenophobic slant.

Of course Trump is blatantly violating the foreign and the stronger domestic emoluments clauses. That’s not a question to be investigated or doubted. But there has been zero evidence made public by anyone that he and Putin “rigged” his election. However, examining what Robert Reich in the video linked above, and others, mean by “rigged” points to one of numerous reasons that considering the election “legitimate” would be ridiculous. What they mean is that there exists the slimmest possibility that Trump sent Putin and Putin sent WikiLeaks the emails that added extra evidence to the transparent sabotaging by the Democratic Party of its own strongest candidate. Under those known circumstances, the election is already knowable as illegitimate. Add to that Trump’s losing the popular vote, Trump’s openly intimidating and threatening voters, Trump’s court battles against counting paper ballots where they existed, the absence of verifiable ballots in many places, the exclusion of voters by Republican Secretaries of State stripping them from the rolls, the exclusion of voters with ID requirements, the nomination of Trump by the corporate media through disproportionate coverage, the open and never-denied system of bribery used to fund all the campaigns, etc. Suggesting that explaining away a xenophobic fantasy would make such an election legitimate is disgusting.

The idea that Trump could be a legitimate president if he had been fairly and properly elected is equally outrageous. He’s murdering people in large numbers in numerous countries. He’s creating so-called laws through executive orders. These include unconstitutional acts of discrimination. He is opposed by the vast majority of the public. He is protected in Congress by the Democrats’ weakness and inability to communicate honestly, but also by an election system rigged in many of the ways noted above, plus gerrymandering in the extreme.

As I have been pointing out, the liberal line on Trump’s budget proposal is dangerously dishonest. Trump doesn’t propose cutting anything at all. He proposes moving money from everything else to the military. Denouncing supposed “cuts” while avoiding mention of the military stirs up the “small government” advocates in favor of the supposedly smaller budget. It also licenses an infinite military. The current proposal plus an expected supplemental puts the military at 60% to 65% of discretionary spending. Every indication is that it could reach 100% before liberals would mention it, at which point they would cease mentioning the federal budget at all.

As Dave Lindorff notes, even when a liberal economist like Dean Baker claims to be explaining the budget and correcting misunderstandings, he just states what a small percentage of the budget various good but relatively tiny programs are, without ever mentioning the existence of the U.S. military. The reader is left to assume that every big government program is just 1% or 2% of the budget because, of course, there are hundreds of big government programs. The idea that the military costs money, much less the majority of the money, never enters awareness.

Saturday evening I attended a panel discussion that was part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, attended by hundreds of people in the old Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia. The director of the festival opened by denouncing Trump’s supposed cuts to the arts, never hinting that Trump’s proposal is actually to move the money to the military. She also declared a welcome to all immigrants — which had nothing to do with the event at hand. One of the authors during the discussion brought up “alternative facts.” This was clearly a forum in which it was not verboten to mention horrible crises that are upon us or to badmouth a U.S. president. And yet, nobody would ever mention where the money was moving or what would be done with it.

In fact, one of the books under discussion was related to work that had been funded by the U.S. military. More such work might be funded under Trump’s budget than under the current budget. And many more people might die as a result. That uncomfortable situation was totally avoided. That African American women were able to work on rockets after World War II was discussed — and the whole event was quite intelligent and positive and fascinating — without ever mentioning the leading rocket makers and former utilizers of slave labor who came through Operation Paperclip, without even mentioning all the people and villages blown up over the years by the rockets. When a woman asked a question about the good work of other women mathematicians who helped create nukes at Los Alamos, only positive responses were heard. Sounds like another great book to be written, commented the moderator.

What 2017 U.S. liberalism fails to grasp, I think, is that — while racism and misogyny are indeed outrageous — other outrages do exist. The people Trump is murdering by the hundreds are mostly dark-skinned women, children, and the elderly. I spoke on a panel on Thursday on which one of the other speakers described a mass-murder operation in Yemen thusly: “We lost a naval officer.” When did morality die? Nobody was lost. A participant in a mass-slaughter of families was killed in action. That’s horrific. But so are all the deaths he helped cause, and all the deaths that will result from the cycle of violence to follow. And “we” suffer all of those deaths, not just the ones in U.S. uniforms.

If inventing nuclear bombs is noble because women were involved, if Trump’s funding for “more usable” nukes is unworthy of comment because pretending he’s shrinking the budget is the best way to fail and Democrats are addicted to failure, if wars no longer outrage, I can only draw this conclusion, which ought to thrill every liberal soul: Hillary Clinton has won after all.

 

 

 

 

Russia Conspiracists Claim to Possess Reality

An Associated Press story on Tuesday came with this headline: “Analysis: Reality catching up with Trump on Russia,” and began:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Reality is catching up with President Donald Trump. Hours after Trump dismissed reports that his campaign associates were being scrutinized for colluding with Russia as ‘fake news,’ FBI Director James Comey confirmed the investigation is real.”

Note the slick sophistry here. Trump never denied that there was an investigation. He denied that he colluded with the Russian government to steal the election. But according to the Associated Press, Trump’s denial of those charges is disproven by the fact that someone is investigating them.

If you watched the hearing on Monday, you saw Comey asked how the “intelligence” “community” knew that Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to win the election. Comey’s answer was nothing but information publicly available for many months, restated as an “assessment.” Asked whether the Russian government gave WikiLeaks the Democratic Party emails that showed the DNC sabotaging the Bernie Sanders campaign and denying itself a better shot at winning the general election, Comey said that he “assessed” — which seemed clearly to mean: speculated based on the absence of any evidence — that Russia did not do so directly but used a “cutout.”

None of this makes it into the AP, which continues:

“The FBI chief also repeatedly insisted there was no evidence to back up Trump’s explosive claim that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper. And Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, knocked down a report about Britain helping President Barack Obama with the alleged surveillance, although the White House had pointed to the report to try to boost Trump’s case. Taken together, the disclosures in Monday’s lengthy House intelligence committee hearing amounted to an extraordinary undercutting of a president, whose headline-grabbing accusations and Twitter-friendly attacks crumbled quickly under the weight of sworn congressional testimony from some of the nation’s top security officials.”

Yet, the possibility that the baseless assertions Trump was blurting out were false does nothing whatsoever to prove that the baseless assertions coming from his accusers are true. Nor does this address the comments from NSA whistleblower Bill Binney that the NSA very likely did have material from snooping on Trump for the simple reason that it is systematically snooping on everyone, while the perjurers who deny that to Congress continue to be treated as respectable authorities. Nor is the AP or any other corporate news company addressing the problem of Trump apparently not having access to the U.S. government’s information despite being president. Nor is anyone questioning Comey’s refusal to mention any details about anyone under investigation now, while he was willing to make public an investigation of Hillary Clinton pre-election at a time when he now claims there was also an investigation of Donald Trump that he chose to keep silent about.

The AP does, however, take the time to inform us that if we disagree with it, we (even those of us pushing for a Trump impeachment on fact-based grounds) are irrational Trump supporters (even as the AP gets around to admitting that no evidence of wrongdoing with Russia has been produced):

“Many of Trump’s most ardent supporters are unlikely to be swayed by Monday’s spectacle. Still, Trump’s credibility and his standing as a reliable ally for his fellow Republicans in Congress are less assured. Even if his advisers are ultimately cleared in the Russia probe, as the White House insists they will be, the investigation could loom over Trump’s presidency for months or even years, distracting from the ambitious domestic agenda he’s vowed to enact.”

AP then cites the media’s love for the Russia conspirascandal as evidence of its importance:

“That reality was abundantly clear Monday. Most cable news channels carried Comey and Rogers’ five hours of testimony live instead of the first congressional hearing for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s widely praised nominee for the Supreme Court. The Russia hearings came as Trump tried to give a hard sell to Republicans wary of his health care package, a legislative gamble with long-lasting implications for Trump’s relationship with his own party.”

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” –Karl Rove

 

Has Van Jones Lost His Mind, Or Are Sane People Missing the Point?

A rational and moral person might think of the recent U.S. raid in Yemen this way. Here’s one small incident out of a war consisting primarily of a massive bombing campaign that has slaughtered innocents by the thousands and is threatening to lead to the starvation of hundreds of thousands. In this one incident some 30 people were murdered, some 10 of them women and children, one of them the 8-year-old sister of a 16-year-old American boy whom President Obama had earlier murdered just after having murdered his father. There wasn’t some Very Important Thing accomplished, such as learning the cell phone number of someone suspiciously Muslim or whatever, that an immoral hack could try to claim justified this incident. This was mass murder.

In the course of this mass murder, one American taking part in it was killed.

The first paragraph above is of virtually no interest to the U.S. media. The second paragraph above is of intense and passionate interest. But there is a very different point that this interest misses. Much of the media coverage suggests that the One American being killed was a very negative thing for Donald Trump. I’d suggest that it was a very negative thing for the man killed and his family and loved ones, but not necessarily a bad thing for Donald Trump or Lockheed Martin. Here’s why.

When Van Jones appeared to lose his mind and declare Trump some sort of deity because of his Very Solemn treatment of the death of the One Person Who Mattered, Van Jones was following a long tradition of treatment of the sacred sacrificing of lives to the God of War, the feeding of troops to the Holy Flag. Only lives that matter can be used in this ritual. Only lives that have been lost and that mattered can be used to justify hurling more lives after them. President Polk knew this when he got U.S. troops killed in Mexico. So did those war propagandists who remembered the Maine.The mast of the Maine still stands at the Naval Academy in Annapolis as a monument to the fundamental rite of lying about dead people who mattered, in order to remove all constraints on behavior.

As Richard Barnet explains, in the context of Vietnam:

The sacrifice of American lives is a crucial step in the ritual of commitment. Thus William P. Bundy stressed in working papers the importance of spilling American blood not only to whip up the public to support a war that could touch their emotions in no other way, but also to trap the President.[i]

Who was William P. Bundy? He was in the CIA and became an advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He was exactly the kind of bureaucrat who succeeds in Washington, D.C. In fact he was considered a dove by the standards of those in power, people like his brother McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to Kennedy and Johnson, or William Bundys father-in-law Dean Acheson, Secretary of State for Truman. The war makers do what they do, because only aggressive war makers advance through the ranks and keep their jobs as high-level advisors in our government. While resisting militarism is a good way to derail your career, no one seems to have ever heard of a D.C. bureaucrat or CNN news reader being sidelined for excessive warmongering. Pro-war counsel may be rejected, but is always considered respectable and important — even proposals to murder Americans directly, like Operation Northwoods or Dick Cheney’s scheme for Iran.

How can being responsible for getting People Who Matter killed trap a president into killing lots more of them?

This is not about logic. You have to stop thinking, and start observing the behavior of Van Jones’ audience. When People Who Matter have been killed, it becomes important to kill more of the Enemy even — or perhaps necessarily — through means that also kill many more of the People Who Matter. The flag’s appetite has awakened.

This is not the only way in which the U.S. media is treating this Death That Matters. Some commentators are even suggesting that it was a life lost in vain. Not in mass murder, but in vain. We should be aware, however, that the insanity Van Jones is tapping into is a powerful current with a long record of horror and destruction behind it.



[i] Stavins et alia, Washington Plans an Aggressive War, p. 206.

 

Talk Nation Radio: Is Amnesty International Promoting War in Syria?

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-is-amnesty-international-promoting-war-in-syria

Rick Sterling is an independent investigative journalist who just wrote the article “Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War” for ConsortiumNews.com.

Find Sterling’s article here:
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/11/amnesty-international-stokes-syrian-war

Find the Amnesty International report here: http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/human_slaughterhouse.pdf

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Chasing a Northern Confederate Out of the South

The Washington Post proclaims: “Protesters mob provocative Va. governor candidate as he defends Confederate statue.” Six seconds of video of the incident involved is likely to show up eventually here or here.

I was there on Saturday shouting down the “provocative” celebrator of racism and war, together with my kids and some friends. The only hostility I saw came from supporters of keeping the giant statue of Robert E. Lee in the park here in Charlottesville.

This was an email I had sent around the night before:

“Republican Candidate for Governor Corey Stewart is coming to Charlottesville Saturday to do a Facebook Live event at 10:00 AM in Lee Park to denounce the Charlottesville City Council for voting to remove a symbol of racism and war. Here’s a report on his efforts to deport immigrants. Here’s an announcement of Saturday’s event. Please show up at 9:45 and bring posters. Here are some ideas:
Black Lives Matter
Celebrate Racism and War Somewhere Else
Love Beyond Flags
Love Trumps Hate
Welcome Refugees, Not Bigots
make up your own!”

These were the chants that were chanted and which I joined in on:

“Hey Hey Ho Ho White Supremacy Has Got to Go!”
“You take Lee. We’ll take freedom!”

“Well what are you?” demanded a bewildered elderly white man of me when I opposed white supremacy and failed to be impressed by his showing me an American flag and shouting “This is an American flag!”

Presumably he didn’t suppose you could look at someone and tell that they were a white supremacist. Presumably he just didn’t make a distinction between being white and being a white supremacist. What am I? I’m a human being. You can put whatever antiquated labels you like on my appearance, but I’m not on your team if everyone isn’t.

“But he wasn’t a racist!” a woman explained to me about General Lee. Is that the point? To arrive at the mental state of the dead guy depicted in the sculpture? This monumental soldier on a horse was put in a whites-only park by a wealthy racist in the 1920s. And if that urban “benefactor,” too, was “not a racist,” that hardly impacts the fact that thousands of people are offended by the statue and its glorification of war — and of war for the maintenance and expansion of slavery.

“You don’t want war? Well, this statue makes people think before they go to war?” I was told.

“Yeah, a glorified giant on a horse does that?”

“Yes, look at how he’s contemplating.”

“A realistic depiction of war would show missing limbs and screams of agony.”

“Why in the world would you want to do that?”

“To make people think before they go to war.”

“But that’s what this does.”

Are these useful conversations? Perhaps.

Should we let racist, bigoted, glorifiers of war and demonizers of immigrants parade through our town denouncing democratic decisions like the one made after lengthy public debate to remove an old and obnoxious statue? Do we have to let Candidate Confederacy — actually a racist Northerner who claims to out-Trump Trump — have his video-op on the corporate news, and then wait our turn until we’re six feet under to offer an appropriate rebuttal?

I don’t think so. I don’t think this is that moment.

First they came for the Muslims and the pacifists. And we said: “Not this time!”

I spoke with a friendlier individual away from the Confederate flags and shouts of “Anti-American!” This person agreed with my point that wars make the United States less safe, but within the next breath came: “But my only concern is if some of the people serving in the military defending us might not like the idea of removing the statue.”

The wars are endangering us. The people fighting in them are “defending us,” even if they aren’t. This is what we’re up against. Un-indoctrinating people with troop propaganda requires conversations that don’t fit on television. Those are very worthwhile, but they take lots of time.

A political commercial for racism and war glorification is a different matter entirely. Let the would-be governor send his comments in via Skype. Our message is: Charlottesville is no place for that.

Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed?

Here’s why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.

But that’s already established beyond any doubt. China’s state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower. It is also a major lender to Trump. Its rent payments and its loans put Trump in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Every building approval, extension of credit, tax break, subsidy, or waiver of normal rules that Trump’s businesses get from numerous foreign governments, state governments, and the U.S. government define him as quintessentially impeachable.

So, if the point is just to document corruption by Trump, why reach and stretch for a speculative possibility, when you’ve got a solid case sitting in your lap?

Maddow opened her rant on Thursday by making clear that what was coming was baseless speculation that might conceivably turn out to be right. She then began by describing Mikhail Gorbachev as a man who “lost the Cold War” but got a Nobel Peace Prize as a “consolation.” Then she praised a newspaper he started. But he himself wrote on Thursday in Time Magazine the polar opposite of what Maddow would go on to say. He proposed peace and disarmament. She launched into an attack on Putin as an “intense little man,” whom she implied had a habit of murdering his critics.

In Russia, she said, there’s no notion of an aggressive accountable press. And yet, she said, the Russian press has reported on the dramatic arrest and charging with treason of a top cyber official. Leaving the question of what that proves about Maddow’s ostensible topic (Trump) completely vague, Maddow turns to denouncing Trump’s Mexican wall plans as vague and rejecting his “unsupported contention” regarding voter fraud. Then she leaps into a series of unsupported contentions:

1. the pee-pee story
2. the evidence-free “intelligence community” report
3. an evidence-free October statement from DHS
4. an evidence-free September statement from the FBI

Worse than all those vague possibilities, Maddow says, is this: Rex Tillerson got a friendship award from Russia. Think about that. Here’s a guy setting about rendering the earth’s climate uninhabitable for his short-term greed, and Maddow wants to demonize him for getting a “friendship award.” Then she attacks the idea of lifting sanctions on Russia and suggests the only possible explanation for that would have to be that Russia stole the election for Trump. As if lifting the sanctions were not needed in order for Tillerson’s corporation to plunder Russia’s oil and render the earth unlivable for our species and many others! The sanctions are needed, Maddow claims, because Russia “unilaterally annexed part of another country and took their land.” As if Crimea didn’t vote. As if a non-unilateral annexation would be one where the people do not get to vote?!

Maddow goes on and on demonizing Russia and Putin. She airs for free and in its entirety a television ad that refers to as fact “Putin’s attacks on our democracy.” Then she credits the ad, which asked no questions, with raising legitimate questions. Then Maddow declares that there will be an investigation into “Russia’s efforts to influence our election on Trump’s behalf,” which assumes as fact all the evidence-free claims and then piles on the claim to know Russia’s motivation. Yet, later Maddow’s theory devolves into just the possibility that some little fragment within all these evidence-free accusations could be true — and it would be over that fragment that a Russian was arrested for treason. Maddow struggles at this point to make the chronology work, since the arrest was in early December. Yet she asserts as simple fact that the treason arrest was in fact a response to U.S. election tampering.

Maddow, meanwhile, makes clear that she believes actual evidence of Russian hacking, supplying WikiLeaks, etc., exists somewhere in the U.S. government. Yet people are leaking torture prison plans and embarrassing accounts right out of the White House, and we’re to believe that nobody in any of the sainted 17 “intelligence” agencies would leak evidence if it existed?

What if by some bizarre series of coincidences Maddow were right? How, even then, would you justify stirring up a cold war with a nuclear government over that government revealing to your public that one of your political parties had rigged its primary? Wouldn’t some of the blame go to that party? Wouldn’t a little restraint in name-calling and demonizing be in order? Wouldn’t the outrages that Trump openly commits deserve a bit of condemnation as well?

We’re facing open corruption, militarism, advocacy for torture, discrimination, xenophobic immigration bans, attacks on basic necessary services, actual attacks on voting rights and election integrity — and rather than taking these problems on, Maddow prefers to find one problem that originates in an evil foreign land. I suppose that’s a more comfortable place to lay blame. But even a country that would elect a fascist clown because another country had made public that an election was flawed would be a deeply deficient country in need of self-improvement in a major way.

I asked observant media critic Norman Solomon (with whom I work at RootsAction.org) what he thought of Maddow’s performance, and he replied:

“Maddow’s 25-minute soliloquy was a liberal version of Glenn Beck at the whiteboard. Her plot line was the current Democratic party line — free-associating facts, possible facts, dubious assertions and pure speculation to arrive at conclusions that were based on little more than her zeal to portray Trump as a tool of the Kremlin. Even when sober, Joe McCarthy never did it better.

“We might dismiss her performance as just another bit of stagecraft on ‘MSDNC,’ but Maddow is in sync with widespread fear-mongering by pundits and Democratic Party loyalists who think they’re picking some low-hanging fruit to throw at Trump. But what they’re doing is poisonous — and extremely dangerous. Escalate a new Cold War? Push the U.S. government into evermore assertive brinkmanship? Push the world to the precipice of nuclear holocaust and maybe over it? Humanity deserves better than mega-propaganda that could lead to the world blowing up.”

 

Allegations Against Russia Less Credible Every Day

The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple “reports” aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. What has been made is the case for writing your own news coverage. The “reports” from the “intelligence community” are no lengthier than the New York Times and Washington Post articles about them. Why not just read the reports and cut out the middle-person?

The New York Times calls the latest report “damning and surprisingly detailed” before later admitting in the same “news” article that the report “contained no information about how the agencies had collected their data or had come to their conclusions.” A quick glance at the report itself would have made clear to you that it did not pretend to present a shred of evidence that Russia hacked emails or served as a source for WikiLeaks. Yet Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared the evidence in this evidence-free report “overwhelming.” What should progressives believe, the best Congresswoman we’ve got or our own lying eyes?

Supposedly the evidence has been made public and is overwhelming, but try to find it and you’ll come up dry. Ask why, and you’ll be told that of course the evidence cannot be made public as that would risk revealing how the U.S. government came upon the information. Yet the same government feeds the U.S. media with the story that it intercepted communications of top Russian officials just after the U.S. election celebrating Trump’s victory. Did that story not run that risk? The U.S. government feeds the U.S. media (specifically the “free” press of the Washington Post whose owner makes more money from the CIA than from the Washington Post) that Russia has hacked Vermont’s electrical supply, and — because this was a claim that could be checked by an independent party — the secret methods of the CIA quickly turned out to be these: they had simply made the thing up.

If you read the “reports” that the U.S. government releases, and understand that the term “assess” is a synonym for “to claim without evidence,” it will very quickly become clear that reports on Russians’ motives for their alleged crimes (as well as for their non-criminal public actions, such as running a television network) are purely guesses. It also becomes clear that the U.S. government is not even claiming to have any evidence that Russia was a source for WikiLeaks. And, with a bit of help, it should become evident to anyone that the U.S. government is not claiming to have any actual evidence of the Russian government hacking Democratic emails.

Even the NSA will commit only to “moderate” confidence in what millions of Democrats will now stake their lives (and potentially everybody else’s) on. Former top NSA expert on this stuff William Binney swears the claims are utter nonsense. IP addresses produced as supposed evidence turn out in at least many cases to have nothing to do with Russia at all, much less the Russian government.

When the “17 intelligence organizations” put their collective multi-billion-dollar brains together and report on anything that’s publicly available, they tend to get it wrong. The facts about Russia’s television network in this latest “report” misidentify personnel, describe old programs as new ones, and screw up dates by failing to recognize that in some parts of the world people list the day before the month. Yet we are supposed to believe that anything they say about topics not publicly available must be true — despite having proved false over and over again for decades.

WikiLeaks, which never claimed Iraq had WMDs, never alleged Gadaffi was about to commit a massacre, never sent missiles from drones into a single wedding or hospital, never concocted tales of babies taken from incubators, never screwed up its claims re chemical weapons attacks or the shooting down of airplanes, and in fact has never, as far as we know, tried to lie to us at all, says Russia was not its source. Julian Assange clearly does not think Russia used someone else to pass information to him. He could be wrong. But Craig Murray, a diplomat with a stellar reputation for honesty, claims to know at least one source and to place them in either the NSA or the Democratic Party.

Of course, having a plausible alternative account is not necessary to recognize that the U.S. government has no evidence to support its account. But the fact is that Murray’s and numerous other scenarios are perfectly plausible. One ought to await evidence before declaring one of them fact. But we can go ahead and declare the CIA’s story less and less likely with each passing day. NSA whistleblowers like Binney believe that if this story were true the NSA would have evidence of it. It is safe to assume that if the NSA had evidence of it, some outline of that evidence would have been made public by now, rather than all the fluff, nonsense, and incompetent false attributions of IP addresses to Russia, etc.

As each new perfumed pig of a report is released in Friday evening news dumps, we can advance ever closer to declaring that, while the Russian government has indeed done far worse things, it did not do this.

In fact, the latest report doesn’t just produce no evidence of hacking and providing to WikiLeaks. It also tries to change the subject to things Russia openly and publicly did, that nobody disputes, but that the “intelligence” agencies still manage to screw up all the details on. I once, no kidding, invited a former CIA agent to speak at an event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and the guy was late because he was unable to find it.

The accusations against Russia in the latest “overwhelming” report include: favoring proposals to work with Russia over proposals to build hostility (shocking!), and running a television network that many people in the United States choose to watch (the outrage! how capitalistic!). And the television network is accused of cheering for Trump’s election — as if the British media wouldn’t have cheered for Clinton’s — as if the U.S. media doesn’t cheer for election winners abroad all the time. This network, RT, is also accused of covering third-party candidates, fracking, Occupy, vote suppression, flaws in the U.S. election system, and other forbidden topics.

Well why do you think people watch it? If the U.S. media gave good time to third-party candidates, would people have to turn elsewhere to learn about them? If the U.S. media could be trusted not to claim a U.S. government report was “damning” in the same article that would later admit it was devoid of evidence, would people in the U.S. search for alternative sources of information? If the U.S. media allowed honest reporting on Occupy or fracking, if it opened itself up to a wide range of points of view and debate, if it allowed serious criticism of U.S. government policies supported by both big parties, would people despise it the way they do? Would people cheer when a fascist buffoon like Trump denounces the media? Isn’t the U.S. media’s awfulness, combined with the incredible free airtime it gave Trump, a fair target of blame for his becoming president?

When I go on RT and suggest that the United States should end all its wars, and that Russia should too, I’m invited back on. The last U.S. network to have me on was MSNBC, and I opposed U.S. warmaking and was never heard from again. Perhaps most people watching U.S. media don’t quite realize that there are no antiwar voices allowed, no voices that actually want to abolish war. Yet most people feel there is something missing, on this and most topics. There’s lots of supposed debate on U.S. media, yet a dim — or glaring — awareness among viewers and readers that the debate is severely limited.

Here’s an example close-to-hand: Whoever revealed to the U.S. public additional evidence that the Democratic Party had slanted its primary against Bernie Sanders did us all a favor. Those who still wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton (which was clearly most if not all the people who did before) could still do so. But anyone who approved of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous decades-long record and yet objected to the unfair primary could choose not to vote for her. An informed public is a more democratic one, not less. Whoever informed us aided our democracy. They didn’t damage it. And whoever informed us was not themselves responsible for rigging the primary against Sanders. That was the Democratic Party. But this point of view is neither permitted in the U.S. media nor consciously missed, because the topic has been focused on whodunit rather than what-did-they-do.

A second example is this: Those in the U.S. government pushing for greater cold, if not hot, war with Russia, with increased desperation during these next two weeks will be benefitting weapons profiteers and perhaps “news” profiteers, but just about nobody else, while risking incredible death and destruction. If I were an “intelligence” agency, I would “assess” with “high confidence” that corruption was afoot. And I’d get 16 friends to join me in calling that “assessment” a “report” if it helped you to take it seriously.

Challenge to Prime Minister Abe’s Militarism Makes Big News Outside the U.S. Media

An open letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from 53 scholars and activists on the occasion of his visit to Hawaii has received no notice in the U.S. media, but the following attention in Japan, China, and Korea:

Tokyo Shimbun ran the full text in its December 28th edition (Page 2).  Also:

Asahi Shimbun

Asahi’s English version

Mainichi Shimbun

Sankei Shimbun

Huffington Post (Japanese version)

Nikkan Gendai

Shimbun Akahata

CCTV News (English)

People’s Daily Japanese version

People’s Daily Chinese: one, two, three.

Record China (Japanese)

China Daily (English)

China News (Chinese)

Hankyoreh (Korea) Japanese version

Isn’t this news that U.S. readers might want to hear about too?

U.S. readers never saw years of outrage and threats to Pearl Harbor in the Japanese media prior to December 7, 1941.

Perhaps being kept in the dark is a valued tradition?