Fighting for Russia against the New World Order.

Showing posts with label Russiagate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russiagate. Show all posts

Steele dossier’s main claims ‘likely false,’ admits journalist who helped launch Russiagate


[RT] The explosive dossier that fueled Russiagate and served as justification for snooping on a top Trump aide contains numerous claims that are “likely false,” according to one of the first journalists to report on the document.


© AFP / Eric Baradat

Michael Isikoff, whose report on alleged Trump-Russia links was cited extensively by the FBI to secure a warrant to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page, has conceded that many of the dossier’s most scandalous allegations have yet to be supported by real evidence.
“When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there's good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false,” Isikoff, who writes for Yahoo News, said in an interview.
Most notably, the dossier alleges that Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, traveled to Prague to help coordinate “collusion” with the Russians. As Isikoff pointed out, Cohen vehemently denied the allegation in congressional testimony – and his recent plea deal for unrelated, non-collusion crimes signals that investigators think the ex-attorney is telling the truth.
“Why wasn’t [Cohen] charged with lying about it? That would have been as serious a lie as the lie he told about the Trump Tower Moscow project,” Isikoff argued. “All the signs to me are that Mueller is reaching his end game, and we may see less than many people want him to find.”
Isikoff also expressed doubts about the existence of the so-called “pee tape” which Russia is purportedly using to blackmail Trump – perhaps the most well-known and salacious claim made in the dossier.

Related: [Video] Deep-State Swamp Dweller Robert Mueller Exposed
However, Isikoff said he thought that the dossier was correct in asserting that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the election and “help Trump’s campaign.”
“In broad strokes, Christopher Steele was clearly onto something, that there was a major Kremlin effort to interfere in our elections, that they were trying to help Trump’s campaign, and that there was multiple contacts between various Russian figures close to the government and various people in Trump’s campaign,” he said.


The dossier was authored by ex-spy Christopher Steele, who had been commissioned by Fusion GPS, a firm under contract with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Isikoff’s skepticism is particularly noteworthy because he parroted many of Steele’s claims in a Sept. 23, 2016 article which the FBI cited in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on Trump aide Carter Page. The FBI repeatedly claimed that it “did not believe” that Steele was the direct source for Isikoff’s article – but it was later revealed that the ex-spy had in fact briefed the reporter at the direction of Fusion GPS.
Source: https://www.rt.com/usa/446753-isikoff-dossier-russiagate-trump/
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The Latest Russia Collusion ‘Bombshells’ Are Big, Fat Duds

Like so many other Trump-Russia collusion theories, this is yet another half-built bridge that doesn’t connect to the other shore.

A recent blitz of “bombshell” headlines initially appear to show there might actually have been some collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia. First, there was The Guardian claiming that Paul “Manaford” (oops, the source meant Manafort) met with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks in spring 2016, with the obvious implication that it was done to plan or coordinate WikiLeak’s Hillary Clinton email dump.
Mollie Hemingway ably pointed out holes in the story by mentioning, among other issues, that Manafort would have entered the Ecuadorian embassy to meet Assange in the heart of London, which is blanketed by the most robust network of video cameras in the world. There would be video and it would have leaked. It hasn’t.
Margot Cleveland followed up with a nice article showing that The Guardian’s anonymous sourcing doesn’t pass muster against on-the-record denials from both Assange and Manafort, especially in light of the pattern of the media’s several false starts with other competing collusion theories.
We can now add NBC News, which just published a very misleading piece that incorrectly appears to be another “smoking gun” gotcha of Russia collusion. The first sentence reads, “Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone anticipating the document dump.”
Left-wing conspiracy theorist Anna Schecter quoted one email from Corsi as saying, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps…One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”

The Public Already Knew Assange Planned More Dumps

The article completely overlooks whether the “word” Corsi was referring to could have been information that was already available in the public domain. Corsi allegedly wrote this email on August 2, 2016. In March 2016, WikiLeaks launched a database of 30,000 emails and email attachments sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state. These documents were legally obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, not hacking.
Subsequent to the March 2016 release but before the Stone email “predicting” more, Assange released additional emails that appear to have been obtained extra-legally. As reported in the June 12, 2016 issue of The Guardian, Assange announced on television that WikiLeaks had obtained and was preparing to release “more emails sent and received while [Clinton was the] US secretary of state.”
On July 21, 2016, Heavy reported that Assange would release the new emails as part of “a series,” which strongly suggests Assange planned to time the releases for maximum effect in the presidential election. On July 27, 2016, The New York Times noted that Assange was timing his email releases for maximum political damage, releasing one batch for the Democratic National Convention. Following the July, 2016 release of documents, Assange publicly announced that his website might have “a lot more material” relevant to the U.S. electoral campaign.
Assange made no secret of his disdain for Clinton, whom he deemed a war-monger. A politically astute observer could have assumed that Assange would save a release for October. To put it another way, Corsi sent Stone an email with predictions that could have easily been deducted by reading the widely available news reports and listening to Assange’s public statements.

The Russia Story Is Still Reading the Tea Leaves

It should also be noted that Corsi predicted two dumps, one “shortly after” he returned from a trip, and one in October. WikiLeaks released emails on July 22, and a series of John Podesta leaks beginning October 7 through the next several days. Thus, Corsi appears to have guessed wrongly or relied on bad information in predicting a dump after August 2, “shortly after I’m back.”
Corsi and Stone are big talkers, who seem to lie or guess to make themselves appear to be connected and in the know. Stone effectively admitted to exactly that, so it’s highly relevant whether either Stone or Corsi were passing off already public information as the inside scoop. Corsi claims his foreknowledge of the Podesta attack was a product of him connecting the dots.
Another commonly cited “smoking gun” is Stone’s now-deleted August 21, 2016 cryptic tweet, “Trust me, it will soon be the Podesta’s turn in the barrel.” But this could easily be a reference to the August 19, 2016 Politico story two days earlier, which said The Podesta Group had hired outside counsel because of its connection to the emerging scandal over lobbying for the Ukraine that put Manafort “in the barrel.”
If so, the prediction would have nothing to do with the hack of Clinton Campaign chairman Podesta’s email. Writing “the Podesta’s” in the tweet makes it more likely that Stone was referring to both Podesta brothers John and Tony, as in, “both of THE Podesta (brothers) are going in the barrel over Tony’s lobbying.” Or it could have referred to the name of their lobbying firm, “THE Podesta Group.” Either way, the tweet appears to refer to the past, not the future.
The newest bombshell is the story that Michael Cohen is now pleading guilty to lying about when the Trump Tower in Moscow deal actually fell through. So that’s it! That’s what the Russians had on candidate Trump all this time: a deal to build a new tower in Moscow.
According to The New York Times, this bombshell appears to have already fizzled, because the president does not appear to have said anything about the deal that conflicts with Cohen’s account in the plea deal. And none of that has anything to do with the election. Like so many other Trump-Russia collusion theories, this is yet another half-built bridge that doesn’t connect to the other shore.

The Entire Pattern of The Collusion Hoax Is Similar

It’s important to reflect on the Russia collusion hoax’s long history of truth-bending bombshells. One is reminded of ABC’s goof last year when it incorrectly reported that Trump directed Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials before the election. That request came after the election.
Who can forget the CNN story that incorrectly reported  Donald Trump Jr. received a “heads-up” from WikiLeaks that it was about to release documents? The story, like this one, turned out to be the result of a bungled timeline. The “heads-up” came ten days after the release.
One is also reminded of the stories “confirming” the Fusion GPS dossier’s account of Cohen travelling to Prague to collude with the Russians. Not true. Notwithstanding clear debunking of the Prague trip account, The Hill continues to cite a non-functioning link in its article headlined, “Mueller can prove Cohen made secret trip to Prague before the election.”
One can also be reminded of the CNN story reporting that then-White House adviser Anthony Scaramucci met with Kirill Dmitriev, a figure in a Russian-government investment fund. CNN fired three of the reporting journalists and retracted the story the next day.

Here’s Some Garbage. Make Smoke Out of It

Here’s another interesting parallel between the Corsi and Manafort stories: Both Corsi and Manafort now claim the special counsel is refusing to accept their truthful accounts of the facts and have heavily suggested they will be prosecuted if they don’t change their stories. These reports remind us of complaints about Mueller No. 2 Andrew Weissmann who, in the Enron prosecutions, was accused of intimidating witnesses to provide incriminating testimony against prosecution targets.
After two years of this Trump/Russia hoax, the truth-bending bombshells still find their way into headlines. Keep in mind that Special Counsel Robert Mueller likely has every text, email, and voicemail that anyone connected with the Trump campaign ever made or recorded, and probably recordings of several of the phone calls. These latest leaks demonstrate that the Mueller team isn’t above spinning their cast-offs as smoking guns for the eager media.
Much ink has been spilled trying to determine how the Russia-collusion investigation got started. There’s simply no mystery here. As I’ve repeatedly documented, Clinton hired Fusion GPS to push the Trump-Russia hoax as a way to counterweight her email legal troubles. Fusion GPS paid money to journalists and the wife of a senior Department of Justice official (Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr) to help.
Fusion also hired Christopher Steele to help. He was already working with the FBI and is documented to have been its paid informant as early as February 2016. Fusion GPS continues to receive millions of dollars to continue “researching” the story. We never have learned which journalists received payoffs from Fusion GPS (although it’s unclear why any money would be needed to sic the media on Trump). Because The Guardian’s source is secret, we can’t rule out that it is also related to or paid by Fusion GPS in some way.
Adam Mill works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. Adam graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Check out Adam’s new novel on Kindle, "Recrudescence." It's the story of a Kansas graduate student who discovers a hidden Greek oracle.
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[Video] Who Putin Is Not by Prof. Stephen F. Cohen

Falsely demonizing Russia’s leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was based on Cohen’s article below, completed the day of the broadcast.





Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds.”
—Senator John McCain
 
“[Putin] was a KGB agent. By definition, he doesn’t have a soul.”

 


“If this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 1930s.”

—2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton


The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia’s leader since 2000: “The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.”

The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia’s leader since 2000: “The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.”

Related: Driving out militants from Syria’s Idlib now top priority – Putin

But Kissinger was also wrong. Washington has made many policies strongly influenced by the demonizing of Putin—a personal vilification far exceeding any ever applied to Soviet Russia’s latter-day Communist leaders. Those policies spread from growing complaints in the early 2000s to US-Russian proxy wars in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and eventually even at home, in Russiagate allegations. Indeed, policy-makers adopted an earlier formulation by the late Senator John McCain as an integral part of a new and more dangerous Cold War: “Putin [is] an unreconstructed Russian imperialist and K.G.B. apparatchik…. His world is a brutish, cynical place…. We must prevent the darkness of Mr. Putin’s world from befalling more of humanity.”

Mainstream media outlets have played a major prosecutorial role in the demonization. Far from atypically, The Washington Post’s editorial-page editor wrote, “Putin likes to make the bodies bounce…. The rule-by-fear is Soviet, but this time there is no ideology—only a noxious mixture of personal aggrandizement, xenophobia, homophobia and primitive anti-Americanism.” Esteemed publications and writers now routinely degrade themselves by competing to denigrate “the flabbily muscled form” of the “small gray ghoul named Vladimir Putin.” There are hundreds of such examples, if not more, over many years. Vilifying Russia’s leader has become a canon in the orthodox US narrative of the new Cold War.


As with all institutions, the demonization of Putin has its own history. When he first appeared on the world scene as Boris Yeltsin’s anointed successor, in 1999–2000, Putin was welcomed by leading representatives of the US political-media establishment. The New York Times’ chief Moscow correspondent and other verifiers reported that Russia’s new leader had an “emotional commitment to building a strong democracy.” Two years later, President George W. Bush lauded his summit with Putin and “the beginning of a very constructive relationship.”

Related: Syria Conflict: Results Of Meeting Between Rouhani, Erdogan, Putin In Teheran

But the Putin-friendly narrative soon gave away to unrelenting Putin-bashing. In 2004, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof inadvertently explained why, at least partially. Kristof complained bitterly of having been “suckered by Mr. Putin. He is not a sober version of Boris Yeltsin.” By 2006, a Wall Street Journal editor, expressing the establishment’s revised opinion, declared it “time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an enemy of the United States.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Who has Putin really been during his many years in power? We may have to leave this large, complex question to future historians, when materials for full biographical study—memoirs, archive documents, and others—are available. Even so, it may surprise readers to know that Russia’s own historians, policy intellectuals, and journalists already argue publicly and differ considerably as to the “pluses and minuses” of Putin’s leadership. (My own evaluation is somewhere in the middle.)
In America and elsewhere in the West, however, only purported “minuses” reckon in the extreme vilifying, or anti-cult, of Putin. Many are substantially uninformed, based on highly selective or unverified sources, and motivated by political grievances, including those of several Yeltsin-era oligarchs and their agents in the West.

By identifying and examining, however briefly, the primary “minuses” that underpin the demonization of Putin, we can understand at least who he is not:

§ Putin is not the man who, after coming to power in 2000, “de-democratized” a Russian democracy established by President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and restored a system akin to Soviet “totalitarianism.” Democratization began and developed in Soviet Russia under the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, in the years from 1987 to 1991.

Yeltsin repeatedly dealt that historic Russian experiment grievous, possibly fatal, blows. Among his other acts, by using tanks, in October 1993, to destroy Russia’s freely elected parliament and with it the entire constitutional order that had made Yeltsin president. By waging two bloody wars against the tiny breakaway province of Chechnya. By enabling a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia’s richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery, including the once- large and professionalized Soviet middle classes. By rigging his own reelection in 1996. And by enacting a “super-presidential” constitution, at the expense of the legislature and judiciary but to his successor’s benefit. Putin may have furthered this de-democratization of the Yeltsin 1990s, but he did not initiate it.

Related: [Video] Live - Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Hold Joint Press Conference

§ Nor did Putin then make himself a tsar or Soviet-like “autocrat,” which means a despot with absolute power to turn his will into policy. The last Kremlin leader with that kind of power was Stalin, who died in 1953, and with him his 20-year mass terror. Due to the increasing bureaucratic routinization of the political-administrative system, each successive Soviet leader had less personal power than his predecessor. Putin may have more, but if he really was a “cold-blooded, ruthless” autocrat—“the worst dictator on the planet”—tens of thousands of protesters would not have repeatedly appeared in Moscow streets, sometimes officially sanctioned. Or their protests (and selective arrests) been shown on state television.


Political scientists generally agree that Putin has been a “soft authoritarian” leader governing a system that has authoritarian and democratic components inherited from the past. They disagree as to how to specify, define, and balance these elements, but most would also generally agree with a brief Facebook post, on September 7, 2018, by the eminent diplomat-scholar Jack Matlock: “Putin…is not the absolute dictator some have pictured him. His power seems to be based on balancing various patronage networks, some of which are still criminal. (In the 1990s, most were, and nobody was controlling them.) Therefore he cannot admit publicly that [criminal acts] happened without his approval since this would indicate that he is not completely in charge.”

§ Putin is not a Kremlin leader who “reveres Stalin” and whose “Russia is a gangster shadow of Stalin’s Soviet Union.” These assertions are so far-fetched and uninformed about Stalin’s terror-ridden regime, Putin, and Russia today, they barely warrant comment. Stalin’s Russia was often as close to unfreedom as imaginable. In today’s Russia, apart from varying political liberties, most citizens are freer to live, study, work, write, speak, and travel than they have ever been. (When vocational demonizers like David Kramer allege an “appalling human rights situation in Putin’s Russia,” they should be asked: compared to when in Russian history, or elsewhere in the world today?)

Putin clearly understands that millions of Russians have and often express pro-Stalin sentiments. Nonetheless, his role in these still-ongoing controversies over the despot’s historical reputation has been, in one unprecedented way, that of an anti-Stalinist leader. Briefly illustrated, if Putin reveres the memory of Stalin, why did his personal support finally make possible two memorials (the excellent State Museum of the History of the Gulag and the highly evocative “Wall of Grief”) to the tyrant’s millions of victims, both in central Moscow? The latter memorial monument was first proposed by then–Kremlin leader Nikita Khrushchev, in 1961. It was not built under any of his successors—until Putin, in 2017.

Related: Putin Someone is harvesting Russian bio samples for obscure purposes

§ Nor did Putin create post–Soviet Russia’s “kleptocratic economic system,” with its oligarchic and other widespread corruption. This too took shape under Yeltsin during the Kremlin’s shock-therapy “privatization” schemes of the 1990s, when the “swindlers and thieves” still denounced by today’s opposition actually emerged.

Putin has adopted a number of “anti-corruption” policies over the years. How successful they have been is the subject of legitimate debate. As are how much power he has had to rein in fully both Yeltsin’s oligarchs and his own, and how sincere he has been. But branding Putin “a kleptocrat” also lacks context and is little more than barely informed demonizing.

A recent scholarly book finds, for example, that while they may be “corrupt,” Putin “and the liberal technocratic economic team on which he relies have also skillfully managed Russia’s economic fortunes.” A former IMF director goes further, concluding that Putin’s current economic team does not “tolerate corruption” and that “Russia now ranks 35th out of 190 in the World Bank’s Doing Business ratings. It was at 124 in 2010.”

Viewed in human terms, when Putin came to power in 2000, some 75 percent of Russians were living in poverty. Most had lost even modest legacies of the Soviet era—their life savings; medical and other social benefits; real wages; pensions; occupations; and for men, life expectancy, which had fallen well below the age of 60. In only a few years, the “kleptocrat” Putin had mobilized enough wealth to undo and reverse those human catastrophes and put billions of dollars in rainy-day funds that buffered the nation in different hard times ahead. We judge this historic achievement as we might, but it is why many Russians still call Putin “Vladimir the Savior.”

§ Which brings us to the most sinister allegation against him: Putin, trained as “a KGB thug,” regularly orders the killing of inconvenient journalists and personal enemies, like a “mafia-state boss.” This should be the easiest demonizing axiom to dismiss, because there is no actual evidence, or barely any logic, to support it. And yet, it is ubiquitous. Times editorial writers and columnists—and far from them alone—characterize Putin as a “thug” and his policies as “thuggery” so often—sometimes doubling down on “autocratic thug”—that the practice may be specified in some internal manual. Little wonder so many politicians also routinely practice it, as did recently Senator Ben Sasse: “We should tell the American people and tell the world that we know that Vladimir Putin is a thug. He’s a former KGB agent who’s a murderer. ”




Few, if any, modern-day world leaders have been so slurred, or so regularly. Nor does Sasse actually “know” any of this. He and the others imbibe it from reams of influential media accounts that fully indict Putin while burying a nullifying “but” regarding actual evidence. Thus another Times columnist: “I realize that this evidence is only circumstantial and well short of proof. But it’s one of many suspicious patterns.” This, too, is a journalistic “pattern” when Putin is involved.

Leaving aside other world leaders with minor or major previous careers in intelligence services, Putin’s years as a KGB intelligence officer in then–East Germany were clearly formative. Many years later, at age 65, he still speaks of them with pride. Whatever else that experience contributed, it made Putin a Europeanized Russian, a fluent German speaker, and a political leader with a remarkable, demonstrated capacity for retaining and coolly analyzing a very wide range of information. (Read or watch a few of his long interviews.) Not a bad leadership trait in very fraught times.

Moreover, no serious biographer would treat only one period in a subject’s long public career as definitive, as Putin demonizers do. Why not instead the period after he left the KGB in 1991, when he served as deputy to the mayor of St. Petersburg, then considered one of the two or three most democratic leaders in Russia? Or the years immediately following in Moscow, where he saw firsthand the full extent of Yeltsin-era corruption? Or his subsequent years, while still relatively young, as president?

As for being a “murderer” of journalists and other “enemies,” the list has grown to scores of Russians who died, at home or abroad, by foul or natural causes—all reflexively attributed to Putin. Our hallowed tradition is that the burden of proof is on the accusers. Putin’s accusers have produced none, only assumptions, innuendoes, and mistranslated statements by Putin about the fate of “traitors.” The two cases that firmly established this defamatory practice were those of the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot to death in Moscow in 2006, and Alexander Litvinenko, a shadowy one-time KGB defector with ties to aggrieved Yeltsin-era oligarchs, who died of radiation poisoning in London, also in 2006.

Related: 'Best military & diplomatic solution': Putin, Erdogan talks end with deal averting Idlib crisis

Not a shred of actual proof points to Putin in either case. The editor of Politkovskaya’s paper, the devoutly independent Novaya Gazeta, still believes her assassination was ordered by Chechen officials, whose human-rights abuses she was investigating. Regarding Litvinenko, despite frenzied media claims and a kangaroo-like “hearing” suggesting that Putin was “probably” responsible, there is still no conclusive proof even as to whether Litvinenko’s poisoning was intentional or accidental. The same paucity of evidence applies to many subsequent cases, notably the shooting of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, “in [distant] view of the Kremlin,” in 2015.

About Russian journalists, there is, however, a significant, overlooked statistic. According to the American Committee to Protect Journalists, as of 2012, 77 had been murdered—41 during the Yeltsin years, 36 under Putin. By 2018, the total was 82—41 under Yeltsin, the same under Putin. This strongly suggests that the still–partially corrupt post-Soviet economic system, not Yeltsin or Putin personally, led to the killing of so many journalists after 1991, most of them investigative reporters. The former wife of one journalist thought to have been poisoned concludes as much: “Many Western analysts place the responsibility for these crimes on Putin. But the cause is more likely the system of mutual responsibility and the culture of impunity that began to form before Putin, in the late 1990s.”
§ More recently, there is yet another allegation: Putin is a fascist and white supremacist. The accusation is made mostly, it seems, by people wishing to deflect attention from the role being played by neo-Nazis in US-backed Ukraine. Putin no doubt regards it as a blood slur, and even on the surface it is, to be exceedingly charitable, entirely uninformed. How else to explain Senator Ron Wyden’s solemn warnings, at a hearing on November 1, 2017, about “the current fascist leadership of Russia”? A young scholar recently dismantled a senior Yale professor’s nearly inexplicable propounding of this thesis. My own approach is compatible, though different.

Whatever Putin’s failings, the “fascist” allegation is absurd. Nothing in his statements over nearly 20 years in power are akin to fascism, whose core belief is a cult of blood based on the asserted superiority of one ethnicity over all others. As head of a vast multiethnic state—embracing scores of diverse groups with a broad range of skin colors—such utterances or related acts by Putin would be inconceivable, if not political suicide. This is why he endlessly appeals for harmony in “our entire multi-ethnic nation” with its “multi-ethnic culture,” as he did once again in his re-inauguration speech in 2018.

Russia has, of course, fascist-white supremacist thinkers and activists, though many have been imprisoned. But a mass fascist movement is scarcely feasible in a country where so many millions died in the war against Nazi Germany, a war that directly affected Putin and clearly left a formative mark on him. Though he was born after the war, his mother and father barely survived near-fatal wounds and disease, his older brother died in the long German siege of Leningrad, and several of his uncles perished. Only people who never endured such an experience, or are unable to imagine it, can conjure up a fascist Putin.

There is another, easily understood, indicative fact. Not a trace of anti-Semitism is evident in Putin. Little noted here but widely reported both in Russia and in Israel, life for Russian Jews is better under Putin than it has ever been in that country’s long history.

§ Finally, at least for now, there is the ramifying demonization allegation that, as a foreign-policy leader, Putin has been exceedingly “aggressive” abroad. At best, this is an “in-the-eye-of-the-beholder” assertion, and half-blind. At worst, it justifies what even a German foreign minister characterized as the West’s “warmongering” against Russia.

In the three cases widely given as examples of Putin’s “aggression,” the evidence, long cited by myself and many others, points to US-led instigations, primarily in the process of expanding the NATO military alliance since the late 1990s from Germany to Russia’s borders today. The proxy US-Russian war in Georgia in 2008 was initiated by the US-backed president of that country, who had been encouraged to aspire to NATO membership. The 2014 crisis and subsequent proxy war in Ukraine resulted from the long-standing effort to bring that country, despite large regions’ shared civilization with Russia, into NATO. And Putin’s 2015 military intervention in Syria was done on a valid premise: either it would be Syrian President Assad in Damascus or the terrorist Islamic State—and on President Barack Obama’s refusal to join Russia in an anti-ISIS alliance. As a result of this history, Putin is often seen in Russia as a belatedly reactive leader abroad, not as a sufficiently “aggressive” one.

Embedded in the “aggressive Putin” axiom are two others. One is that Putin is a neo-Soviet leader who seeks to restore the Soviet Union at the expense of Russia’s neighbors. He is obsessively misquoted as having said, in 2005, “The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” apparently ranking it above two World Wars. What he actually said was “a major geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” as it was for most Russians.
Though often critical of the Soviet system and its two formative leaders, Lenin and Stalin, Putin, like most of his generation, naturally remains in part a Soviet person. But what he said in 2010 reflects his real perspective and that of very many other Russians: “Those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain.”

The other fallacious sub-axiom is that Putin has always been “anti-Western,” specifically “anti-American,” has “always viewed the United States” with “smoldering suspicions.” A simple reading of his years in power tells us otherwise. A Westernized Russian, Putin came to the presidency in 2000 in the still-prevailing tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin—in hope of a “strategic friendship and partnership” with the United States. Hence his abundant assistance, following 9/11, to the American war in Afghanistan. Hence, until he believed Russia would not be treated as an equal and NATO had encroached too close, his full partnership in the US-European clubs of major leaders.

Given all that has happened during the past nearly two decades—particularly what Putin and other Russian leaders perceive to have happened—it would be remarkable if his views of the West, especially America, had not changed. As he remarked in 2018, “We all change.” A few years earlier, Putin remarkably admitted that initially he had “illusions” about foreign policy, without specifying which. Perhaps he meant this, spoken at the end of 2017: “Our most serious mistake in relations with the West is that we trusted you too much. And your mistake is that you took that trust as weakness and abused it.”

If my refutation of the axioms of Putin demonization is valid, where does that leave us? Certainly, not with an apologia for Putin, but with the question, “Who is Putin?” Russians like to say, “Let history judge,” but given the perils of the new Cold War, we cannot wait. We can at least begin with a few historical truths. In 2000, a young and little-experienced man became the leader of a vast state that had precipitously disintegrated, or “collapsed,” twice in the 20th century—in 1917 and again in 1991—with disastrous consequences for its people. And in both instances, it had lost its “sovereignty” and thus its security in fundamental ways.

These have been recurring themes in Putin’s words and deeds. They are where to begin an understanding. No one can doubt that he is already the most consequential “statesman” of the 21st century, though the word is rarely, if ever, applied to him in the United States. And what does “consequential” mean? Even without the pseudo-minuses spelled out above, a balanced evaluation will include valid ones.

For example, at home, was it necessary to so strengthen and expand the Kremlin’s “vertical” throughout the rest of the country in order to pull Russia back together? Should not the historic experiment with democracy have been given equal priority? Abroad, were there not alternatives to annexing Crimea, even given the perceived threats? And did Putin’s leadership really do nothing to reawaken fears in small East European countries victimized for centuries by Russia? These are only a few questions that might yield minuses alongside Putin’s deserved pluses.

Whatever the approach, whoever undertakes a balanced evaluation should do so, to paraphrase Spinoza, not in order to demonize, not to mock, not to hate, but to understand.

Source: https://www.thenation.com/article/who-putin-is-not/
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Kavanaugh hearings, Times op-ed, Woodward book make it official -- Washington elites have gone mad

Trump slams 'resistance' op-ed in New York Times

President Trump calls The New York Times 'gutless' for publishing an anonymous op-ed reportedly from a senior administration official who claims individuals inside the White House are working to thwart the president; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports
If you’ve been living your life rather than following the latest circus in Washington, you may have missed the fact that the Swamp’s chief scribe has a new book coming out. Or maybe you're unaware that some anonymous, arrogant Trump administration staffer who no one voted for has written in The New York Times about how he or she feels entitled to overrule a president elected by the American people according to the Constitution.

It turns out Bob Woodward doesn’t have a flattering view of President Trump. It also turns out that there really is a deep state conspiracy to thwart President Trump's agenda, organized by his own administration's appointees. Stop the presses! I think we knew that already.
What's more illuminating than Woodward’s gossipy, exploitative book or the pompous, self-important preening of a presidential aide is the D.C. media and political establishment's obsession with covering its own pathetic palace intrigue.

It certainly reminds us of the very worst of Washington – the focus on style over substance, the personal over policy. But it’s even more serious than that. Political appointees (or civil service bureaucrats, for that matter) who actually take pride in subverting the democratic will of the people exemplify the frightening authoritarianism we face at the hands of an entrenched ruling class determined to cling to power regardless of who wins actual elections.

It is a ruling class, moreover, entirely funded by taxpayers for whom it shows constant and complete contempt.

What this week reveals is that the Washington elites have gone mad. They have not only lost touch with the real life struggles of the working men and women of America whom they despise.
This insider club, comprised of people in both parties and the Beltway establishment, has become so isolated from reality that it ignores substantive results – whether that’s economic progress or foreign policy successes like the cowing of ISIS – and instead celebrates the most self-regarding and insignificant people, touting them as headline newsmakers and brave truth-tellers who can enlighten the benighted masses.

President Trump was elected to sweep all of this away, to enact big changes on behalf of the American middle class who perceived, correctly, that for years it did not matter who they voted for, the same people would be in power. And with the same results, namely: the rich and well-connected get richer, while working Americans see their communities collapse, their incomes go down and their jobs go away.

But now the president also risks being consumed in the shallow Washington obsession with anonymous briefings, leaks and tweets. He risks losing sight of why he was sent to the White House in the first place.

The outsiders who elevated Donald Trump to the highest office want him to turn the populist message of his 2016 campaign into a governing agenda that delivers beyond just the economic revival we have seen.

It’s obvious that the president can’t count on the Republican Party in that mission: the GOP seems to have simply ignored the 2016 election and treated it, bizarrely, as a license to perpetuate the crony corporate conservatism that voters explicitly rejected in the primaries.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue there’s another circus in town: the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

With red-hooded handmaidens and shrieking outbursts, the spectacle has descended into farce with constant interruptions by juvenile activists who, with the blessings and coordination of Senate Democratic leadership, think it appropriate to turn the hallowed offices of the world's most important deliberative body into the University of California, Berkeley campus.

Insanely, the media elites even tried to smear one of Kavanaugh’s staffers as a white nationalist by falsely claiming she flashed the "white power" symbol with her hands. Weren't these the same people who just last weekend were lecturing us during Sen. John McCain's memorial service that we ought to be more civil to each other?

President Trump, I say this as one of the earliest advocates of the populist revolution: your presidency is at an inflection point. You can continue to play the Swamp creatures at their own game, or you can go over their heads (tails?) and enact a genuinely revolutionary populist program that will reassure your voters, and perhaps even some of your skeptics, that you stand on the side of working Americans. Frankly, your re-election depends on it.

Fortunately, Mr. President, if the Bob Woodward book tell us anything new, it is that your instincts are correct. Too many of your advisers have seen their job as preventing you from delivering on your promises.

Former economic adviser Gary Cohn was clearly one of Woodward’s sources and recounts with great pride his “purposeful” effort to “block some of what (he) believed were the president’s most dangerous impulses.” Hilariously, the Goldman Sachs veteran is now being lionized by the left for his efforts to protect the profits of the super-rich by blocking President Trump’s plans to protect American workers.

Good riddance to Cohn and all the other elitists who put their interests first. When the president identifies the weasel who wrote with such gleeful disloyalty in the pages of The New York Times about being "part of the resistance" from within the White House, he should show him or her the door too.

In fact, President Trump should make a public example of that disgrace of a public servant working for the duly elected president of the United States.

It’s little wonder that the bold agenda for change that propelled Donald Trump to the White House has barely been delivered.

Thankfully, there’s another book out there that offers genuinely transformative solutions to our long-standing problems. A book with answers about how we can restore economic security and opportunity for all American workers, how we can rebuild family and community, how we can finally and comprehensively Drain the Swamp. It could be a blueprint for the rest of the Trump presidency and a surefire way to win re-election in November 2020.

It’s my new book, “Positive Populism,” setting out 27 big ideas for delivering the positive promise of populism – and I can highly recommend it!

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/09/06/kavanaugh-hearings-times-op-ed-woodward-book-make-it-official-washington-elites-have-gone-mad.html
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Deep State Prepared To Remove Trump By Any Means Necessary

Deep State Prepared To Remove Trump By Any Means Necessary




ROGER STONE: Deep State Prepared To Remove Trump By Any Means Necessary
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Trump Insider: Russiagate Is Over! But For Kushner Indictment

https://youtu.be/Io2nkB2QcMg
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