On “Russia-gate”

The more they say it, building on the many times they’ve said it in the past, the more fanatically their audience believes it—even though there’s nothing to it.

That’s how propaganda works, whether that audience is mostly liberal Democrats (as in this case), or the good Germans under Hitler, or any other public that hears only that one story.
And they believe it fervently, not just because it’s all they hear (as under Hitler), or what they mostly hear (as is the case today), but because it tells them what they want to hear—i.e., because they like it.
That’s why it’s a waste of time to try to reason with them on the subject. Lay out all the counter-evidence (with a bibliography, or links), explain precisely how that story makes no sense or contradicts itself, and place it in historical perspective, to show how it is really not as sinister or consequential as they’ve been told it is.
Chances are, that very careful argument, made with all due civility, will only make them mad; and so they’ll often “answer” it with hoots of ridicule, crude insults, and heavy hints, or screams, that you’re a Russian stooge or useful idiot: because, when all is said and done—or, to be more accurate, despite whatever you or anybody else may say or do—they like that story, like the way it makes them feel, and don’t want you or anybody else to spoil it for them.
Better, then, to spend our time engaging those still capable of thinking for themselves, to help them grasp what’s really happening, and see the need to join with those resisting it.
MCM

The Politics Behind ‘Russia-gate’

Exclusive: The hysteria over “Russia-gate” continues to grow – as President Trump’s enemies circle – but at its core there may be no there there while it risks pushing the world toward nuclear annihilation, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

There may be a turn-about-is-fair-play element to Democrats parsing the words of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Trump administration officials to hang them on possible “perjury” charges. After all, the Republicans made “lock her up” a popular chant citing Hillary Clinton’s arguably illegal use of a private email server as Secretary of State and her allegedly false claim under oath that her lawyers had hand-checked each of her 30,000 or so emails that were deleted as personal.

President Donald Trump being sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

But there is a grave danger in playing partisan “gotcha” over U.S. relations with the world’s other major nuclear superpower. If, for instance, President Trump finds himself having to demonstrate how tough he can be on Russia — to save his political skin — he could easily make a miscalculation that could push the two countries into a war that could truly be the war to end all wars – along with ending human civilization. But Democrats, liberals and the mainstream news media seem to hate Trump so much they will take that risk.

Official Washington’s Russia hysteria has reached such proportions that New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has even compared the alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, two incidents that led the United States into violent warfare. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, Friedman demanded that the hacking allegations be taken with the utmost seriousness: “That was a 9/11 scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor scale event. … This goes to the very core of our democracy.”

But what really goes to “the very core of our democracy” is the failure to deal with this issue – or pretty much any recent issue – with the sobriety and the seriousness that should accompany a question of war or peace. Just as Friedman and other “star” journalists failed to ask the necessary questions about Iraq’s WMD or to show professional skepticism in the face of U.S. propaganda campaigns around the conflicts in Libya, Syria or Ukraine, they have not demanded any actual evidence from the Obama administration for its lurid claims about Russian “hacking.”

Before this madness goes any further, doesn’t anyone think that the U.S. intelligence community should lay its cards on the table regarding exactly what the evidence is that Russian intelligence purloined Democratic emails and then slipped them to WikiLeaks for publication? President Obama’s intelligence officials apparently went to great lengths to spread these allegations around – even passing the secrets around overseas – but they never told the American people what the evidence is. The two official reports dealing with the issue were laughably short on anything approaching evidence. They amounted to “trust us.”

Further, WikiLeaks representatives have indicated that the two batches of emails – one from the Democratic National Committee and the other from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta – did not come from the Russians but rather from two different American insiders. That could be wrong – it is possible that Russian intelligence laundered the material through some American cutouts or used some other method to conceal Moscow’s hand – but Obama’s intelligence officials apparently don’t know how WikiLeaks obtained the emails. So, the entire “scandal” may rest upon a foundation of sand.

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