14 04 2019

just imagine that long-eared critter is a Democratic donkey instead of a Wiley Coyote…..

First off, I have to confess that I did not expect what seems to be Robert Mueller’s core assessment: that he could find no evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the Turnip campaign. From my understanding of Mueller’s record, he has always been a “good soldier,” willing to do whatever The Empire needed him to do, even if it involved shady behavior. Much of it even looks like misbehavior, except that Mueller was promoted, not fired or prosecuted, after doing what he did.  That seems to indicate that somebody upstairs approved, and when I say “somebody upstairs,” no, I don’t mean God.

Mueller let Boston mobster Whitey Bulger get away with murder, and then get away completely. Bulger became a fugitive, and lived under an assumed name for a decade before finally being discovered. Mueller was willing to round up and imprison about a thousand Muslim men in New York City right after 9-11, some for as long as a year, without charging any of them with any crime, in what has been described as “an American Abu Ghraib.” Our court system decreed that his victims could not sue him or the US government for their mistreatment and disrupted lives. As FBI director, Mueller had no problem with torture of “terror suspects,” mass surveillance of US citizens, or with infiltrating anti-war groups looking for terrorists. He was willing to lie under oath and tell Congress there was no question about the Iraqis having “weapons of mass destruction.”

There’s lots more where those highlights came from, but the upshot is that I expected that Mueller, sent in to find Turnip guilty of colluding with the Russians, would find a way to charge Turnip with collusion, even though it was fairly clear to me from the outset that the whole thing was a sham. So, when Mueller’s “no collusion” assessment came out, I was as flabbergasted as any Democrat. Unlike a great many Democrats, i did not roar back with anger and denial. Instead, I did my best to find a perspective from which this turn of events makes sense. That turned out to be not so difficult. All I had to do was determine what has changed as a result of the Mueller investigation and the Russian collusion/interference publicity blitzkrieg that accompanied it, and look at what Mueller did or did not investigate, who he indicted, and what happened as a result of those indictments, and it all made sense.

Mueller does not seem to have looked deeply into the origins of “The Steele Dossier,” a largely spurious collection of allegations about Donald Turnip that was apparently, and wrongfully, used to obtain FISA warrants to start surveillance of various members of the Turnip campaign. This “dossier” is well known to have been funded by the Clinton campaign. That is not a conclusion Mr. Mueller was being paid to reach. Mueller did not impound and examine the DNC’s allegedly hacked computers, or the cell phones of Peter Strozk and Lisa Page, but instead allowed them to be destroyed, which is arguably a criminal lapse of judgement. He never questioned Julian Assange, or anybody else connected with Wikileaks. I think he didn’t look in these places because any impartial investigation would have determined that the DNC’s computers were not hacked from elsewhere, but that the stolen emails and documents were downloaded onto a thumb drive by somebody in the DNC office, and that the thumb drive, not the Russians, is how Wikileaks got their information. Strozk and Page’s cell phones may well have revealed that they were not the only members of the US security apparatus who were out to get Turnip by any means necessary.

The investigation fanned the flames of Russophobia, and seems to have firmly implanted that prejudice in the consciousness of a great many Americans. This is clearly not accidental. Fear makes the public more accepting of the measures our government is taking against Russia, which amount to a new cold war the reasons for which, like the old cold war, are not the ones that are publicly stated. Sowing these fears has turned a great many people who consider themselves “progressive” into ardent supporters of the NSA/Neocon/Project for a New American Century vision of an American Empire forever triumphant. Anyone who suggests “peaceful coexistence” with Russia is dismissed just as brusquely as Henry Wallace and the few who stood with him in the late forties, who proposed a peaceful alternative to the “Cold War” the US waged on The Soviet Union and China.

In that cold war, our “intelligence services” told the lie of “a missile gap,” that the Russians had far more nuclear missiles than they actually had, in order to spark large appropriations for the construction of a US missile force. Construction of that missile force was both a way to give the US overwhelming superiority and a form of welfare for the weapons industry, while it also had the effect of forcing the Russians to spend money and energy on defending themselves from the US. The long-range objective, of course, was to “stop Communism before it spreads any further.”

Once again, our intelligence services are making up stories about Russia to keep themselves in a job. Russia today is not by any stretch of the imagination “communist,” i.e., ideologically opposed to corporate capitalism, but, after being robbed and impoverished through its close association with the US in the 90’s, the country has chosen to go its own way rather than be sucked dry by the wealth extraction network centred in corporate America. Russia also happens to have the world’s eighth largest oil reserves. Before Putin was elected, and replaced Yeltsin’s American-friendly oligarchs with more Russia-inclined ones, that oil was set to be exploited by American oil companies, who are not happy about their loss. Sounds like Venezuela, right? And Iran, too. Venezuela is sitting on the world’s largest cache of unexploited oil, and Iran has the fourth largest. All three are being bullied by the United States because they are keeping their oil wealth to themselves, or at least trying to further their own priorities with it, rather than allowing the multinational oil companies to suck up the bulk of the money. Attempting to set their own course cost Iraq’s Saddam Hussein(fifth largest oil reserves) and LIibya’s Muamar Qaddafi (ninth largest oil reserves) very dearly, know what I mean? Wouldn’t want to see something like that happen to a nice country like you…so give us the oil and no one gets hurt, OK?

American diplomats at work

Speaking of intimidation, one of the things that prompted the investigation into Turnip’s Russian connections was his occasional questioning of the US’s hostile attitude towards Russia. Once he was elected, he quickly made it clear that he was willing to back the heightening of tensions between the US and Russia, as demonstrated by the central role that John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are playing in US foreign policy, and the many ways the US has heightened its aggressive conduct towards Russia, totally giving the lie to the “Putin’s puppet” claims. Thus, there was no longer any need to remove him to ensure continuity of the US’s aggressive policies. Perhaps that’s why Mr. Mueller came up empty-handed .

Another effect of the fearful atmosphere promoted through Russiagate was to make Americans more willing to accept compromising their civil liberties in the hope of “increased security.” The  promoters of Russiagate used their considerable media clout to label anybody who disagreed with them, and their pro-Empire view of the world, as a pawn of, or at least a “useful idiot” for, the Russians. Opponents of fracking were allegedly being supported by the Russians in an attempt to cut US oil production, drive up prices, and make Russian oil more valuable. Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations were said to be supported by the Russians in order to fan up divisive issues in American society. Critiques such as the one I am making now have been labelled subversive. I’m proud to agree. I am unequivocally in favor of putting an end to the American Empire, but, like most Americans and others with a clear view of that empire, I was radicalized by my experience of the Empire, not subverted by the Russians.

The Russia brush was also used to demonize Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Although our country’s spy services decided there was no need to perp walk President Turnip, they are now rolling full steam ahead with Mr. Assange, and I am concerned that they will not be above coercing a confession from him, and possibly Chelsea Manning as well. Even if they can’t coerce a guilty plea or rig a trial, they will be doing everything they can to make life for these two brave souls as unpleasant as possible for as long as possible. After all, they committed the heinous crime of showing the world the cruelty and duplicity of the American Empire.

Mueller’s vindication of what I’ve been saying all along is great for my self-esteem, but the emotional noise emanating from the Russiagate caper has firmly implanted a bug in the minds of a great many Americans, leading them to avoid reading subversive writers like me, or the far better known Abby and Robbie Martin, Caitlin Johnstone, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Jimmy Dore, Eleanor Goldfield, Lee Camp, Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, and The Real News, and avoid supporting political parties with ostensible ties to Russia, like, you know, The Green Party. “Jill Stein actually went to Russia!! Putin sat at her table for ten minutes!!! That’s long enough to get cooties from him!”  Wait, am I back in grade school?

OK, Democrats–how do YOU explain THIS?

Not content with mere social ostracism, the climate created by stirring up this fear of “interference”  and “fake news” has been used by its creators to pressure Google and Facebook, two primary sources of information and communication in our society, into downplay, and in some cases even deplatform, individuals and organizations who are critical of the US empire, even though those critics are by and large even more scrupulous than the mainstream media in making sure they have their story straight, and are supported by their readers, not the Russian government, or American corporations. Many of these sites have seen their audiences shrink by fifty percent or more since Google and Facebook changed their priorities.

One of the great ironies of this whole situation is that, thanks to Mr. Mueller, we now know that the mainstream media outlets who were warning us about fake news, and working to shut down “fake news sites” and “echo chambers” were, themselves, promulgating fake news in an echo chamber of their own. I’m lookin’ at you, New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, Vox, Mother Jones, Daily Kos and Daily Beast. Another irony of this situation is that, due to the way these outlets now dominate the web and public perception, it is beginning to appear as though they will pay little or no price for leading the American people down what they almost certainly knew was a false path for two years in the name of “the Resistance.” In wartime, any Resistance leader who fell into a trap like Russiagate would likely forfeit his/her life. In this case, Chuck, Nancy, Rachel, Keith, and their ilk don’t even have the good graces to resign.

To sum up, the main points of the whole Russiagate investigation were to rekindle fear of Russia in the mind of the average citizen , and to use that fear to give cover to suppressing domestic dissent and to manufacture consent for an increased military budget, and consent for more meddling in foreign countries, especially increased intimidation of Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. The fraud accomplished all these goals and more.

But wait, you say–why would the Democrats go for a plan that leaves them looking like complete idiots for being so very wrong for so very long?  That’s some of the “and more.”  The Russiagate ruse succeeded in shifting attention away from the scandalously criminal content revealed by the leaked DNC emails and onto outrage about the fact that they were, allegedly, “hacked and leaked by the Russians” when the evidence said otherwise, that the material was downloaded onto a thumb drive by somebody who was physically inside the DNC office. The DNC, I think, sees it this way:  they, like the mainstream media, are, with good reason, confident that their spin machine will handle this–hey, they made a lot of American voters believe Nader cost Gore the election, that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are “liberals,” that Jill Stein is an anti-scientific Russian puppet, and that Julian Assange is a villain.  So, the Democrats have had plenty of success in successfully lying to a working majority of the American public. In my experience, they’ve indoctrinated their followers deeply enough so that the base of the Democratic Party–around a quarter of the voting population–will stick with them, just as the quarter that identifies as Republican has stuck with Turnip in spite of the fact that he has not delivered the kind of results for the average American that he promised when campaigning. Apparently, many in the leadership of the Democratic Party view any potential embarrassment over their role in the fraud as worth it because they have succeeded in discrediting, or at least disempowering, their critics on the left. While they rarely admit it flat out, the core leadership of the Democratic Party will happily lose an election or two to rid themselves of radicals and progressives. Remember what they did to George McGovern?

In spite of their name, the Democrats are quite undemocratic. Their much ballyhooed “election reform bill” would make life far more difficult for The Green Party and other alternative parties to compete in elections, and the DNC has now proclaimed rules intended to prevent primary challenges to incumbent Democrats, no matter how out of touch with their constituents they may be. That will prevent any future Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes, by golly! I’m sure they’re already working on a rationale for making an exception to their rule in order to get rid of Ilhan Omar.

So yeah, I think the Democrats believe they can ride this out, simply because they’ve been successful at fooling enough people enough of the time to keep their donations flowing and their vooters turning out. For 2020, it doesn’t look so good for them, however. Almost all the Democratic Presidential candidates have soiled themselves with the big lie about Russia, which will be a great reason for Mr. Turnip to cast aspersions on their judgement. Most of the Democratic Presidential candidates have likewise sided with Turnip’s aggression against Venezuela, and joined him in criticizing socialism as being a big part of that country’s problem. That will make it difficult for a Democrat to defend increasing “socialism” here in the US, even in its extremely mild forms of better worker pay and protection and a health care system that works for everybody.

On the other hand, Attorney General Barr is starting an investigation of why such a long investigation with so little basis in fact was started in the first place, and why it continued. Democratic, FBI, and NSA heads may yet roll. That will compound the irony, but it will only increase the dysfunctionality of our political system.

All the media outlets that, er, trumpeted “RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA!” for all these years may find that they have a credibility problem when it comes to getting any momentum up about the actual misdeeds of our current administration. So many real crimes, but they kept the focus on a bogus story for two years….. I guess they will comfort themselves with the thought that the most of the people who who are still under their spell will continue to believe them. But there are plenty of people outside that zone of influence who are now even less inclined to take the mainstream media seriously than we used to be. Some of us are in The Green Party. The rest are welcome to join us and create an America that runs on the principles of domestic and international nonviolence, economic democracy, and living within our ecological means. For now, an orderly, peaceful electoral resolution to America’s mounting contradictions is still possible,and so we’re putting our Green shoulders to the wheel.

Grateful Dead “The Wheel”



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