Archive for the ‘Max Blumenthal’ Category

Intercepted Podcast: Glenn Greenwald on the New Cold War – The Intercept

Subscribe to the Intercepted podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and other platforms. New to podcasting? Click here.

With all theconstant hype about Russia, youd think we were living in a new Cold War. This week on Intercepted: Glenn Greenwald fills in for Jeremy Scahill, and we take a deep dive into the origins and evolution of the Trump-Russia story. Fox Newss Tucker Carlson and Glenn find something they can actually agree on (the Democratic establishments Russia hysteria), but diverge on Tuckers coverage of immigration and crime. Glenn responds to stories by Peter Beinart and Jeet Heer. And Russian-American writer Masha Gessen explains how conspiracy thinking is a mirror of the leaders we put in power, and why its so tempting and dangerous to believe in simplistic reasons for Trumps election.

Lost Boys: Rufio! Rufio! Rufio! Ru-fi-oooo!

(Following the Leader)

Donald J. Trump: Who the hell wants to speak about politics when Im in front of the Boy Scouts?

LB: [Cheering]

DJT: And by the way, under the Trump administration, youll be saying Merry Christmas again when you go shopping, believe me.

LB: Ru-fi-ooo!

DJT: Merry Christmas.

Robin Williams as Peter Pan in Hook: Thats enough! What is this, some sort of Lord of the Flies preschool? Where are your parents? Whos in charge here? No. Nooo, Mr. Skunkhead with too much mousse. I want to speak to a grownup!

DJT: Tom, youre fired!

LB: Ru-fi-ooo!

RW: You are a very poor role model for these kids, did you know that?

LB: (Whistling)

RW: I bet you dont even have a fourth grade reading level.

LB: (Whistling)

DJT: Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?

LB: Ru-fi-ooo!

RW: Someone has a severe caca mouth, do you know that?

DJT: Make America great again.

LB: (Cheering)

RW: Substitute chemistry teacher.

LB: Come on, Rufio, hit him back!

DJT: The polls, thats also fake news. Theyre fake polls.

RW: Math tutor. Prison barber. Nearsighted gynecologist.

DJT: Fake media. Fake news.

RW: You lewd, crude, rude, bag of pre-chewed food, dude.

LB: Bangarang, Peter!

[Music interlude]

Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted.

[Music interlude]

Glenn Greenwald: Im Glenn Greenwald, sitting in this week for Jeremy Scahill, and Im coming to you from The Intercept in Brazil. This is episode 24 of Intercepted.

Jared Kushner: Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.

GG: Russia has once again dominated the news cycle in the United States this past week. And as part of that discussion, there have been two articles, one published by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic, and another by Jeet Heer published in The New Republic that criticises, quite harshly, multiple people on the Left who, in their view, have been minimizing the Russia election meddling story. And I think that both of these articles are worth discussing, in part because they do extensively critique my own views, and Id like to respond. But also, I think they highlight some of the really critical points about how this Russia story has been discussed over the course of the last year in the United States, and what the implications are.

And I have two guests who come at this topic from very different perspectives. One is Tucker Carlson, the host on Fox News, who has become one of the more vocal skeptics on the Russia story, and has been subjected to a wide array of accusations. And the other is the American-Russian journalist Masha Gessen, who is a longtime critic of Vladimir Putin, and yet has also expressed some serious concerns about how this story has been discussed. And I think both of those conversations really get to the heart of what these two articles also raise.

So, I want to make a couple of points about both of these articles. One, the one by Peter Beinart, and the one by Jeet Heer. And interestingly, both of them were, I think, rare and commendable good faith attempts to engage the arguments by those of us who have been skeptics on this story from the beginning without purposely distorting our views, or even worse, using innuendo about treason or allegiances to the Kremlin as a way of dismissing or demonizing the arguments about the evidence that weve been making. And yet, despite the good faith attempt by both writers in the article to engage the actual arguments without that kind of innuendo, the headline writers for each of these magazines did not have that same integrity.

So, I thought it was extremely telling that the headline in The Atlantic over Peter Beinarts article was Donald Trumps Defenders on the Left. And then the sub-headline was, Why Some Progressives are Minimizing Russias Election Meddling. And the headline on the New Republic story might even actually be worse. It was Why the Anti-War Left Should Attack Putin Too. Thats the headline. And the sub-headline is His being Putins Leftist Apologist in the U.S. Media Arent Just Blind to Russias Election Meddling, But to Putins Xenophobia and Homophobia. And the reason I think those headlines are worth flagging is because there is a valid legitimate debate that I think both Beinart and Jeet are trying to have about how persuasive is the evidence that has been presented publicly about whether the Russian government under the direction of Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking, and whether they were actually motivated by a desire to help Trump, as well as whether or not there was actual collusion in those hacking crimes with the Trump campaign.

And my view has been not an ideological one or a partisan one, but simply an epistemological one, that theres no tangible evidence presented, or virtually none, by the U.S. government to corroborate the claims of the intelligence community. And one can certainly dispute that. One can disagree with it. Lots of people do. But to cast those questions, that skepticism, that comes not only from me but from the other people the New Republic article names, such as Max Blumenthal, and Noam Chomsky, and Oliver Stone, and others to cast that skepticism about the evidence as being supporters of Donald Trump, or apologists for Vladimir Putin, is really the lowliest kind of rhetorical tactics that has sullied and corrupted U.S. political discourse for many years.

If you go back to those who questioned the sufficiency of the evidence about Saddam Husseins weapons capability in 2002 and 2003, you find that those who were attacking people who were expressing skepticism were accusing them not of being wrong, but of being sympathizers or apologists for Saddam Hussein. You find that those who were questioning the George Bush/Dick Cheney war on terror were accused not of being wrong, but of being al Qaeda sympathizers. And now you find that those of us who question the sufficiency of the evidence about Russia, the Russia hacking story, or the implications of it, are accused not of being wrong, but of being supporters of Donald Trump or apologists for Vladimir Putin.

And both of these writers, the central point that theyre making in these articles and in critiquing those of us who are skeptical the story is to say, you can be worried about Russian meddling and Russia hacking without actually trying to rejuvenate a Cold War. Theyre saying that theyre in the middle. Theyre worried about Russian hacking, but they share the concerns that it would be dangerous to revitalize a Cold War. And yet, even in their article, while they deny that they want a new Cold War, they use language that strongly suggests thats exactly what their view of the world would provoke, whether intentionally or not.

So, Jeet here in his article, for example, has this paragraph that says, Fighting Trumpism in America is not enough. Leftists have to be ready to battle it in all forms, at home and abroad. So, while hes denying that he wants a new Cold War, hes demanding that leftists battle Putin and Trump and their international ideology in all forms at home and abroad. And this language to me seems to be exactly the language of the traditional Cold War years, that theres an international ideological movement spreading throughout the world thats dangerous, thats coming from the Kremlin, thats coming from Moscow, and that we as liberals are duty-bound to go fight it, not just here at home, but abroad.

Peter Beinart has a sentence that is even more vivid in terms of the issue of whether its really genuine when he says he doesnt want a Cold War. He says, In his interview with Tucker Carlson, Max Blumenthal attacked Senator Ben Cardin for calling Russias meddling a political Pearl Harbor. But, writes Beinart, in some ways, its an apt analogy. So, you have two nuclear-armed countries who have in the past come very close to nuclear war that would annihilate the species, and the reason those of us who are worried about where this is going are so worried isnt because we love Vladimir Putin or support Donald Trump. Its because weve seen the effects, the incredibly destructive effects, when this kind of militaristic confrontational rhetoric takes hold of the American opinion elite class, and where that leads to. And it seems, to put it mildly, not worth risking another Cold War, another military confrontation between the United States and Russia, over what, even if you believe the claims of the CIA, notwithstanding that theres no evidence for it even if you believe them, its nothing more than some garden variety hacking that countries do to one another all the time. And at the very least, I hope going forward that we can have this debate without papering over those actual concerns and trying to suggest that those of us who are skeptical are motivated by nefarious and treasonous motives.

So, I think that is an excellent framework for the discussions that Im about to have. Joining me now is the host of Weeknights on Fox News, Tucker Carlson. Tucker, welcome to Intercepted.

Tucker Carlson: Thanks, Glenn.

GG: I want to begin by observing that if I had to pick one word to describe U.S. political culture in the wake of Trumps victory, it would probably be manic. And I say that for a lot of reasons, primarily the fact that so many peoples longstanding position seems to be uprooted and kind of scrambled and confused. And a lot of longstanding political alliances and adversaries that have shaped U.S. politics for a long time seem to have shifted in a really short period of time, often radically. And I think that your journey is kind of illustrative of that. Just in the last week alone, for example, you had two very widely discussed Id say pretty vituperative exchanges, interviews on your Fox show, one with Max Boot, whos a longtime pro-war activist. Never met a war he didnt like.

TC: And then to hear you say we need to knock off the Assad regime and things will be better in Syria you sort of wonder, like, well, maybe you should choose another profession. Selling insurance, house painting. Something youre good at.

GG: And the other one is Ralph Peters, who has been a longtime kind of rightwing commentator on Foreign Affairs.

Ralph Peters: He assassinates dissidents and journalists. He bombs women and children on purpose in Syria. He is as bad as Hitler. And yet, you want us to align with the Russians, with Iran, with Assad.

TC: I want us to act in Americas interest

RP: So do I.

TC: And stop making shallow, sweeping moral claims about countries we dont fully understand, and then hope everything will be fine in the end. If a country we dont like takes active steps to kill people who are a threat to us, Im going to pause and applaud.

GG: And you had very sharp disagreements with them that became kind of hostile. And then in the very same week, you had on your show Max Blumenthal, who is as far to the left as those two have been to the right. And the two of you found a lot of common ground, a lot of harmony on one of the most important or at least widely discussed political issues being discussed, which is Russia.

Max Blumenthal: You know, as someone on the left whos actually gone out and protested Trump, I didnt expect this hysteria to completely take over. But now I see what the point is of it. Mark my words, Tucker, when Trump is gone, this narrative, this Russia hysteria will be repurposed by the political establishment to attack the left and anyone on the left.

GG: Do you think that you have changed ideologically or politically over the past few years, or do you think theres kind of a political realignment or readjustment taking place in the wake of Trumps victory that explains this? Or is it some of both, or none? Whats your view on all that?

TC: Id say its both. I mean, my views have changed. My views are always changing, and I think, you know, ones views ought to change. You ought to look up every once in awhile from your ideology and measure it against the results that you anticipated, and ask yourself, Is this working? Are my preconceptions, my assumptions are they still valid? And the one, maybe the best thing about Trumps election is that it forced a lot of people to kind of traipse up to the mental attic and take stock. And so, you know, certain moments shock you out of your stupor and force you to reassess. The Iraq War did that for me. In December of 03, I went to Iraq after someone I knew was killed there, and I was starting to become suspicious not just of that war, but of the pretext for it, and of the kind of intellectual predicates that led to it. And that experience kind of freed me from a lot of things that I thought I believed, and allowed me to say what I was coming to believe. And Trumps election, I think, had the same effect.

In fact, one of the really sad things about the mass hysteria thats descended upon Washington is that it has prevented or at least forestalled like a real discussion about whats important and what we think about it. And, you know, Ive never been partisan, but Ive certainly been which is to say, Ive never had an emotional allegiance to a political party. Ive never worked in politics or anything like that. Ive mostly voted Republican because Ive been a right-winger my whole life. But all of a sudden, just because I read for a living, I started seeing pieces that I really agreed with, coming from people not only whom I disagreed with, but with whom Id been at odds for like decades, including you. In fact, I havent done this, but I probably should. Itd be amusing to type in both of our names into Google pre-2015 and see how many pieces each of us has written attacking the other. [Laughs] Quite a few.

GG: Right. I kind of thought the Iraq War was gonna be this fundamental political event for people to change how they thought about a whole range of issues. I mean, I wasnt even working on politics in 2003. I was practicing law. And thats a big part of what made me start writing about politics. And for a long time, I thought it was gonna change peoples views, not just of the wisdom of those kinds of invasions, but the extent to which we trust anonymous sources, claims from the intelligence community, how the media conducts itself, its relationship to those factions. And for a time, I thought that that was happening, and now I think it isnt. I mean, I think that the prevailing sentiment among the establishment wings of both political parties is this idea that we do place faith in the intelligence community. We do believe there are claims, even when disseminated anonymously. We still believe in the necessity or virtue of U.S. force; not in self-defense, but to produce good in the world and other countries that we barely understand. Talk a little bit more about what changed for you as a result of what had been your support for the Iraq War, and then your ultimate or subsequent view that that was just terribly wrong.

TC: Well, my support for it was always tepid. Part of the problem for me was I was working on a debate show at the time, Crossfire, on which you sort of had to pick a side. And so, I actually was never comfortable with it. Because I dont have a super high IQ, I tend to ask the obvious questions, like what does Iraq have to do with 9/11? And I could never get a satisfying answer. So, that made me think, as it always does, if someone cant give a straight answer that you can understand, either he doesnt understand it himself, or hes lying about it. So, it always made me uncomfortable. I was won over to the idea that the government of Saddam Hussein posed this imminent threat to America because of WMD by someone in the government whom I knew well and was close to from a former life. And he convinced me of that single handedly. And so, I kind of was for it in the last few months. And then I went there, and I was reminded of all the things that I sort of knew were like inchoate thoughts that I had had before. The law of unintended consequences is never gonna be repealed. Like, you dont know. You think you know whats gonna happen when you do something, but you really dont. And so, humility is a prerequisite for wise decision-making. And whenever you have people telling you people like Max Boot, for example we know exactly whats gonna happen when we do this, thats a tipoff that these are very unwise people who shouldnt have power. And so, I just thought, boy, this is scary, more than anything, on a political level.

So, basically what you saw in Washington is what youre seeing now, and what I will be against until the day I die, which is hyperventilating group think, where people convince themselves of a thesis and then stop asking critical questions of that thesis. Like, they start with, heres what we know, okay? Heres just heres what we know. And by the way, if you dont agree to that fact, like if you ask any questions at all, then youre clearly, you know, immoral. Youre a sinner. Thats exactly what happened before the Iraq War in Washington, and thats exactly whats happening now with this Russia stuff. And by the way, just to skip ahead, I just want to say this emphatically Im totally agnostic on Russia. Never been there. I dont have strong feelings about its government. Im glad I dont live there, you know what I mean? Im like the last person whos carrying water for Russia, but its almost like my main objection is to the psychological phenomenon Im watching in progress, and its totally the product of a ruling class thats utterly homogenous, not racially, but culturally.

GG: So, one of the things that I found really interesting was, I think before I even went on your show, you interviewed Congressman Adam Schiff of California, whos a Democrat, who has become, I guess you could say, the leader of the Democrats, in the House at least, when it comes to sounding the shrill alarm about Russia and Trump and the threat that is posed by the Kremlin. And he had that interview with you where you were just simply asking him for evidence of the claims that he was making about Putin ordering these hacks and about the motive that Putin had in doing so.

TC: You know what? Youre dodging.

Adam Schiff: And, and Tucker? Look, you are

TC: To look and say, I know they did John Podestas emails

AS: I think that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave.

TC: Ronald Reagan would be fine. Ronald Reagan

AS: That youre carrying water for the Kremlin, which you and the president elect

TC: Im not carrying water for the Im youre making look, youre a sitting member of Congress on the intel committee, and you cant say they hawked hacked

AS: Youre gonna have to move your show to RT, Russian television, because this is perfect

TC: You know what? Thats just so

GG: This has been one of the things that has concerned me most, because I got into writing about politics in the post 9/11 era, when I felt like there was a lot of equating of criticism of the government or questioning of the government line with treason, or equating of dissent with some kind of suspicion about your loyalties. And I see very much, although different people are doing it, those tactics being used now. Would you agree that these kind of tactics that youre objecting to now that are often being applied to you have been tactics that the right has used for a long time to kind of delegitimize dissent and questioning of government policies?

TC: Theres no question. And I hate to think about the degree to which I participated in it, and I dont want to ever be confronted with video evidence that Ive done it. Im sure I have. Its too easy. Its too hard to resist. The obvious example that comes to mind is Barbara Lees vote against military action in Afghanistan, which by the way, I think is justified, you know. The Taliban were based in Afghanistan. They were a terrible regime. They hosted al Qaeda, which, you know, sent 19 hijackers here and killed 3,000 Americans. So, like, I dont know. I would still support military action against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. On the other hand, I think in retrospect, it was probably pretty useful to have at least somebody stand up and say, wait a second, you know. How long are we going there? This seems a little open-ended.

GG: Yeah, given that were 16 years later, not only are we still there, but the Talibans still there.

TC: Exactly. Thats exactly right. So, yes. To answer your question in a word, yes. This is an old tactic. Its been employed by the Right. Again, Im sure it has been employed by me, and Im ashamed of that. But what Im so surprised by in this moment, and Im sure it happened after 9/11 too, and I know it happened during the run up to the Iraq War, is: skepticism is being treated as sinful. And thats when you know youre not really part of a policy debate. This is a theological debate. You know these are people looking for apostates. And I just feel like its incumbent upon all of us in this business to assert our right to express skepticism. And I have to say, you know, I dont want to log roll here or, you know, be ass-kissy. But, you know, you wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago in which you went after the press, not on behalf of Trump youre obviously not a Trump supporter but on the basis of their willingness, you attacked them for accepting intelligence information or intel from the intel agencies on a background basis without ever vetting it, and accepting it as true. That is not what were supposed to be doing. Were supposed to be relentlessly skeptical about everything we hear. And the press all of a sudden isnt, and its bad.

GG: Theres a lot of criticism of you that I think is very partisan in nature, very ideological in nature, stuff that comes from Media Matters and the like that is boring and worthless and worth ignoring. And then theres some criticism of what you do on your show that I think is at least legitimate and valid enough to discuss. And I wanted to ask you about a couple of those lines of critique.

TC: Sure.

GG: One of which is the way in which you cover crime, domestic crime in the United States, is extremely selective and designed to advance an agenda as opposed to giving a realistic depiction of what the nature of violence in the United States is. And I wanted to ask you about a couple of areas, the first of which is police abuse. Last week, there were two really talked about cases involving police violence. One was, theres a police officer in Bald Springs, Texas. His name is Ray Oliver. Hes a white police officer who was indicted for the fatal shooting of a black teenager, Jordan Edwards. News of that indictment broke on July 15th, the same day that the fatal shooting took place in Minneapolis, where a Somali-American police officer shot a white Australian woman. Your show covered the Minneapolis shooting, I think, on at least several occasions, including you emphasizing that the police officer was an immigrant from Somalia, and you asked

TC: Well, theres a lot going on in this story, a lot of we dont know. Mohammed Noor was an immigrant from Somalia. Is that a relevant fact? We dont know. But its being treated as one by many news organizations. How do you know that? Because theyre not reporting it.

GG: But didnt talk about the indictment of this white police officer. Now, I realize, you know, I get criticized for selective coverage, and as one person with one show, you can only cover certain things. You have only an hour each night. Youre gonna necessarily leave out newsworthy stories. But do you think its at least a valid point that in choosing which stories to cover, that its important not to inflame tensions against particular groups of people, especially given the impact of the platform you have? And do you think its a fair critique that you tend to focus on violence when committed by minorities more than violence committed by white people?

TC: I would say part of that criticism is fair. My coverage is selective. I mean, by the nature of the show, I select what to cover, and its informed by a lot of other opinions that I have that have nothing to do with the particular crime. Now in this case I just pulled this up as you were talking maybe this is embarrassing. I was not aware of the shooting of Jordan Edwards. So, maybe Im reading the wrong things. I didnt know that that happened. So, theres that.

GG: Well, the case in Minneapolis, like why was that case so interesting to you?

TC: Ill tell you. Because Im very upset about immigration in the United States. I think the whole system is destabilizing to the country. I dont think you can have this much demographic change and not have all kinds of unintended consequences. But the main reason Im upset by it is because I think its driven by economic factors, and I think that the people who are benefiting from it are really disingenuous about that.

GG: How does this incident shed light on that concern? I mean, this is a guy who came to the U.S. as a kid. By all accounts, hes been law-abiding his whole life. If he became a police officer I mean, dont you see why theres a view that the reason this case is of interest to a Fox News audience is because of how inflammatory it is? Its a Somali-American immigrant cop shooting a white woman whos Australian, whereas the majority of controversies involving police abuse are white police officers shooting black people under suspicious circumstances. And so, if you focus so much on the former and give little attention to the latter, this concern arises that youre using your platform to fuel resentments against people who are more vulnerable and marginalized.

TC: Right. I hope Ive been clear on my show and other shows that Ive had, I am worried about the behavior of police. Ive defended body cam requirements for all cops for that reason. I am. I dont like the abuse of power, and I think that some police officers engage in it, and I think they too often get a pass from conservatives. And Ive said that. I continue to think it. For whatever its worth, Ive been hassled twice in a big way by the police, and I know that it happens, and I dont like it. Second point I would make, is that I really dont want to do anything to inflame racial tensions. And so, you know, thats certainly unintentional. I dont like that Im worried about racial tensions in the United States. Im worried about tribalism. And so, I dont want to be a part of that at all. I really kind of

GG: But there is tension between those two objectives, right? Because you can legitimately be concerned about immigration without having racist motives.

TC: Yes.

GG: And in fact, there was a lot of concern on the left for a long time about the effect that immigration would have on depressing the wages of U.S. workers. So, no question about that. But at the same time, you would acknowledge, right, that the reason why immigration can be such an inflammatory issue, not just in the U.S. but around the world, is because we are tribal beings by instinct. We have other instincts that balance that, and we can suppress that, like we can with all those things. So, you agree that its important at least to be careful in talking about, say, the perils of immigration, if youre somebody who believes that there are dangers to it, not to inflame those kind of terrible tribal instincts that are certainly part of

TC: Yes.

GG: The immigration debate in the United States and elsewhere.

TC: I do. I do think that. And Im sure that there are many times when Ive fallen down in doing that, and not thought through my language enough, or have gotten upset and been unfair. I mean I you know, thats a constant struggle for me, to try to be fair even when Im mad about something, or even when I think theres a larger and more important point at stake, or again, to be unfair. I dont want to be unfair. So, Im sorry if I was.

Fox News: So, you want to stop all legal immigration?

TC: Absolutely.

FN: So, people like, people like me [crosstalk]

TC: You, you look at it no, Im talking about not a hundred years ago or 50 years ago or 20. Im talking about 2015. You look into the faces of the tens of millions of unemployed in this country and say, Im bringing in new people. How does that help you? You have to answer that question. Youre not even trying.

FN: So, during the Great Depression

GG: You know, Peter Beinart wrote this article about your show that I largely agree with, which is that he said, you know, even though he disagrees with you on a lot I forget exactly the terminology, but he said that your show is kind of what conservative cable news could be if its intellectually engaging. And he talked about how you advocate positions that are even too dovish for mainstream Democrats, including telling Ralph Peters that you dont even know for certain that Iran is an actual domestic threat to the U.S., which is something that you would never hear any mainstream Democratic politician saying. I agree with the praise that he had for your show. But you had this segment a couple weeks ago that I do think highlights the validity of this critique that I was asking you about. And I have to say, this is the one that bothered me the most, about this friction that you said took place or was emerging between residents of California, Pennsylvania, which is this tiny little town of 6,000 people, and this ethnic Roma population that had come from Romania seeking asylum in the U.S., and I think there was a grand total of like three dozen of them. And the segment kind of played into all of these negative stereotypes about the Roma, who are one of the most marginalized and hated groups on the planet.

TC: Roma are seeking asylum, saying they suffered racism in their native Romania. Immigration is not going well. According to residents, the Roma have little regard, either for the law or public decency. Citizens say they defecate in public, chop the heads off chickens, leave trash everywhere, and more. Theyre upset. Some of them are, anywhere. George Eli is a filmmaker who

GG: Its this tiny little conflict that, I dont know, didnt seem to have any repercussions to me, and had little effect on what I think on your audience other than to kind of inflame tensions about the Roma. Im just wondering why, with a platform as significant as yours, given the conflicts that are so important in the world to cover, you do cover this. Because I do have to say, it does seem like pandering to the Fox audience when you do stuff like that. Im just interested in

TC: Ill tell you exactly Ill tell you exactly why. No, that was sincere on my part. And for whatever its worth, I think the Roma are actually kind of interesting, and Ive read a bunch of books on them just because Im interested in any culture that remains distinct over a thousand years through a dozen countries. So, I think theres a lot thats cool about the Roma. But I personally think that the most marginalized population in America is rural people, or people living in post-industrial parts of the country, whose life expectancy is actually in decline. Now, I live for a fair amount of the year in rural Maine in a post-industrial area that was, you know, all paper companies, timber products. Its totally collapsed. And Ive seen this exact thing happen there, where Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services or some group that thinks its doing good moves refugees into a depressed community and then leaves. And its massively disruptive for the people who live there. Massively. And nobody cares. And that drives me insane.

Read this article:

Intercepted Podcast: Glenn Greenwald on the New Cold War – The Intercept

Fair Usage Law

July 28, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Donald Trump’s Defenders on the Left – The Atlantic

When it comes to possible collusion with Russia, Donald Trumps most interesting defenders dont reside on the political right. They reside on the political left.

Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich arent defending a principle. Theyre defending a patron. Until recently they were ultra-hawks. Now, to downplay Russias meddling in the 2016 elections, they sound like ultra-doves. All that matters is supporting their ally in the White House.

For left-wing defenders like Max Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald, by contrast, ideology is king. Blumenthal and Greenwald loathe Trump. But they loathe hawkish foreign policy more. So they minimize Russias election meddling to oppose what they see as a new Cold War.

Its a genuinely principled position. The problem is that principles are blinding them to facts.

On Tuesday on the Tucker Carlson show, Blumenthal laid out the progressive case against Russia hysteria. His first point was that, by obsessing about the Russia scandal, Democrats are forfeiting the chance to outline a genuinely progressive alternative to Trump. For the corporate sellout establishment that cant agree on a big economic message, that doesnt favor single payer [health care], Blumenthal argued, this is just convenient because this gives them a way of opposing Trump without having to do anything remotely progressive.

This is wrong. While its true that Democratic politicians and liberal pundits have spent a lot of time discussing the Russia scandal, its not true that they havent done anything remotely progressive. To the contrary, Democrats in Congress have opposed Trumps agenda more militantly than did congressional Democrats during the Reagan and George W. Bush years. In 1981, 48 Democrats in the House and 37 in the Senate voted for Reagans tax cuts. In 2001, 10 Democrats in the House and 12 in the Senate supported Bushs. By contrast, every House Democrat opposed Trumps first big legislative push, repealing and replacing Obamacare. (Had a repeal bill come to a vote in the Senate, Democratic opposition would likely have been unanimous there too.)

Its the same with Supreme Court nominations. In 1986, every Senate Democrat voted to confirm Antonin Scalia. In 2005, half of Senate Democrats voted to confirm John Roberts. This year, only three Democratic Senators voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch. Part of this, of course, is partisan sorting. There are fewer Democrats from conservative states and districts than there were decades ago. But its also because Democratic members of Congress are more responsive to their liberal base. In 2001, Californias Dianne Feinstein voted for Bushs tax cuts. A California Democrat voting for a Trump tax cut would be inconceivable today.

Blumenthal is right that Democrats dont have a big economic message. But thats not primarily because of the Russia scandal. Parties that are out of power rarely have a clear agenda. Its hard to develop a clear message when you dont have a clear leader. Narratives emerge during presidential campaigns. And the early evidence is that the progressive themes Bernie Sanders pushed last yearsingle-payer health care, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wagewill carry more weight inside the Democratic Party in 2020 than they did in 2016.

Blumenthals second argument is that the anti-Moscow line Democrats are now pushing will come back to haunt them. It will be repurposed by the political establishment so that anyone on the left who steps out of line on the issues of permanent war or of corporate free trade will be painted as Russia puppets. Greenwald has made a similar argument. On Monday he savaged a new foreign policy group, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which brings Clinton campaign veterans together with neoconservatives like Bill Kristol. The song Democrats are now singing about Russia and Putin, wrote Greenwald, is one the neocons wrote many years ago, and all of the accompanying rhetorical tacticsaccusing those who seek better relations with Moscow of being Putins stooges, unpatriotic, of suspect loyalties, etc.are the ones that have defined the neocons smear campaigns for decades.

Theres a basis to this fear. Democrats have unleashed dangerous forces by getting to the GOPs right on foreign policy before. In 1992, for instance, Bill Clinton criticized George H.W. Bush for not deposing Saddam Hussein. In so doing, he helped lay the foundation for the push for regime change that culminated a decade later in the Iraq War. (A war I mistakenly supported.)

But the problem with downplaying Russian election meddling because youre afraid it will fuel militarism is that it evades the central question: How worrisome is the meddling itself? When it comes to Russians interference in the 2016 election, progressives like Blumenthal are behaving the way many conservatives behave on climate change. Conservatives fear that progressives will use climate change to impose new regulations on the economy. And because they oppose the solution, they claim theres no problem.

As with climate change, the evidence that Russia interfered in last years election appears quite strong. The CIA, the FBI, and the NSA all believe with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 designed to undermine public faith in the US democratic process. The CIA and FBI also believe with high confidenceand the NSA believes with moderate confidencethat Putin was trying to elect Trump. They claim the Kremlin did this, in part, by stealing and leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee and top Democratic officials. It also obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.

Its easy to say that because Americas intelligence agencies were wrong about Iraqs weapons of mass destruction, progressives shouldnt believe them now. But there are critical differences. In 2002, the intelligence agencies faced intense pressure from the Bush White House and Pentagon to make Saddam Husseins weapons programs seem more menacing. They faced no similar political pressure to exaggerate the severity of Russias election meddling.

Whats more, officials in France and Germany say Russia has tried to subvert their elections too. And in his email to Donald Trump Jr., Rob Goldstone, who was arranging a meeting with a lawyer close to figures in the Kremlin, wrote about Russia and its governments support of Mr. Trump. Blumenthal can deride a bootlicking press and a bootlicking kind of liberal opposition that believes all intelligence agencies. But Special Counsel Robert Mueller and four congressional committees are investigating the intelligence agencies conclusions. By the end of their inquiries, Americans will have a much fuller picture of Russian involvement in last years election than they had about Iraqi WMD on the eve of the Iraq War.

Blumenthal and Greenwald have an ideological problem. On foreign policy, they are anti-interventionists, or what Walter Russell Mead calls Jeffersonians. They believe that Americas empire threatens not only peace and justice abroad, but liberty at home. They want the United States to stop defending its imperial borders in Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, and the Middle East, because they believe such efforts cost Americans money, cost American lives, and create a pretext for surveillance that makes Americans less free.

Thats a totally legitimate view. As Mead notes, John Quincy Adams, Walter Lippmann, and George Kennan were all, in different ways, Jeffersonians. Andrew Bacevich and Ron Paul are today. And American foreign policy, which is dominated by an interventionist bipartisan elite, can benefit from a Jeffersonian critique. How does it benefit ordinary Americans to continue an endless, almost certainly unwinnable, war in Afghanistan? Why is the United States considering expanding NATO when it means pledging American lives to defend countries that many Americans have never even heard of?

But its one thing to oppose defending the American empire. Its another to oppose defending the American homeland. By intervening in the 2016 election, Russia did not threaten American influence in Afghanistan or Ukraine or Syria. It threatened America itself.

Near the heart of American democracy lies the idea that Americansnot foreign governmentsshould choose Americas leaders. It appears Russia challenged that by mounting a widespread, largely clandestine, campaign to get a particular candidate elected. And to make matters worse, the candidate it helped elect himself poses a serious threat to the rule of law in the United States.

Already, American liberal democracy is weaker because of what Russia did. If Russia casts doubt on the legitimacy of future American electionsby hacking into voting machines or spreading disinformation to discredit the resultsit could do even greater harm. If Blumenthal and Greenwald are indignant about Kris Kobachs efforts to limit Americans ability to choose their leaders, they should be indignant about Vladimir Putins too.

In his interview with Carlson, Blumenthal attacked Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin for calling Russias meddling a political Pearl Harbor. But in some ways, its an apt analogy. Until December 7, 1941, Americas conflict with Japan had been waged far from Americas shores. Tokyo wanted a sphere of influence in East Asia, its own Monroe Doctrine. The United States wanted to deny Japan hegemony over China, Indochina, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. It was a contest over imperial frontiers. Then, on December 7, Japan unexpectedly crossed the Pacific and attacked the United States itself. Suddenly, even Jeffersonians had to acknowledge that Japan constituted a threat.

Similarly, in recent years the United States has waged proxy battles against Russia in places like Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan, which are far from American shores. Jeffersonians can legitimately argue that Americas struggle for influence in those countries does more harm than good.

But last year, Russia unexpectedly attacked the United States itself in ways that genuinely harmed ordinary Americans. Trying to prevent Russia from doing so again doesnt make you an imperialist or a hawk. No matter how anti-interventionist you are, you need to protect your own country.

Blumenthal and Greenwald need not respond to Russias meddling by supporting NATO expansion or greater military intervention in Syria. But Jeffersonians should offer their own vision for how the United States protects its elections. If that involves treaties and international organizations rather than sanctions and arms sales, thats fine. If it involves American pledges to restrain its overseas cyber attacks, thats fine too. What America badly needs is a debate, across the ideological spectrum, about how to safeguard American democracy from the new foreign threats that technology enables.

Jeffersonians can play a crucial role in responding to that problem. But not if they are so afraid of the potential answers that they deny theres a problem at all.

Read the rest here:

Donald Trump’s Defenders on the Left – The Atlantic

Fair Usage Law

July 23, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Americans have been ‘brainwashed’ to believe Russia has taken over their country Max Blumenthal – RT

Were seeing more and more congressional Democrats attempting to push the concept of Russian collusion onto the American electorate. I am just challenging it because it is a dangerous narrative, Max Blumenthal, American author and journalist, told RT.

The White House accused the media of “Russia fever” over reports about a supposed secret meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit earlier this month.

It has emerged that the leaders did speak for a second time, but only during a joint dinner with other leaders.

President Trump dubbed the story “Fake News” in a tweet, saying that the press was aware of the dinner, and that all the G-20 leaders were present.

Furthermore, Democratic member of the US House of Representatives Jamie Raskin was challenged by a journalist Max Blumenthal after he claimed that Trump’s ex-advisor was a host on this channel.

RT spoke to Max Blumenthal.

RT: You’re known for having left-wing leanings, why did you decide to confront this Democratic congressman on the claims he made during his speech?

Max Blumenthal: I am much closer to Congressman Raskin ideologically than Roger Stone. I really dont support anything Roger Stone or Donald Trump stand for. I think Stone is kind of a sleazy character. But when Jamie Raskin gets up before a rally of Democrats attempting to prove that there is a secret Russian plot to subvert American democracy and tells us a series of lies, I challenge those lies.

This clip that you showed [on RT] was just part of the series of challenges I put to Raskin about Russian hacking in the elections, about his calls for regime change, including of democratically elected governments, like the government of Venezuela. Raskin really had no coherent response to me. And that is what were seeing more and more from the congressional Democrats, who were attempting to push the concept of Russian collusion onto the American electorate. I am just challenging it because it is a dangerous narrative. I think that having a new Cold War will be terrible for progressive elements in the US. We need to examine the evidence in a clear rational way, and so far that hasnt happened. And then beyond that, it is interesting that the only networks that will allow me to come on and speak from a progressive perspective and challenge this new Cold War hysteria are really the major networks Fox News and RT. That says a lot about liberal media and the kind of exclusive club theyre running.

RT: Did the response youve got from the Congressman surprise you?

MB: It surprised me that Jamie Raskin, whose father directed one of the first one of the sort of left-wing, anti-war thing tanks in Washington, the Institute for Policy Studies, that he would make these kind of neo-conservative arguments. It appeared to me that some think-tankers, who are pushing for a new Cold War for their own interest, have basically written his speech.

It was also shocking if you watch my video from this rally youll see interviews with people who have basically been brainwashed into believing that Russia has essentially taken over their country, subverted their democracy. These are people who otherwise would be supporting progressive causes this is the democratic base. So that really shocks me. The lack of information these people had, who told me that they read the New York Times and the Washington Post, and their conspiratorial perspective was shocking as well.

RT: President Trump said that he and his team are subject to a political witch-hunt? Do you agree with that, or is it going too far?

MB: When Trump was elected I would have never thought Id find myself in a position of agreeing with something like that. But it does appear to be the case, and there are many legitimate reasons to oppose Trump for his unconstitutional Muslim ban; for his wholesale sell out to Goldman Sachs in the big banks for his gutting of the environmental protection agency. But the Democrats dont want to take him on in a progressive way. What they have done, they have relied on intelligence services, allies of former CIA Director John Brennan, to sabotage Trumps attempt at detente with Russia through anonymous leaks. Everyday youll see in the Washington Post a story framed to paint Trump as some kind of Russian puppet for doing things that might be rational like defunding jihadist rebels in Syria. Today the headline in the Washington Post is that it is a major concession Trump is making to Russia.

RT: Why do you think the mainstream media and politicians are still obsessed with the Trump-Russia collusion story?

MB: It may be that Russian hackers were responsible for the Democratic National Committee [DNC] hacks, but no intelligence agency not the FBI, not the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] – has examined the e-mail servers. The DNC has in fact obstructed the FBI from examining those servers and handed over the task of attribution of the hacks to a for-profit private firm called Crowdstrike, which is now valued at $1 billion since it made the high-profile attribution of those hacks to the Russian government. It is clear that there is something very shady going, and the public has not seen the evidence. It may actually be impossible to make that attribution. Beyond that there has been simply no debate in the public realm about the evidence. Everyone just simply accepts the intelligence agencies at their word, and that to me is a deeply undemocratic impulse.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Original post:

Americans have been ‘brainwashed’ to believe Russia has taken over their country Max Blumenthal – RT

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Trump/Putin Collusion: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It? – Patriot Post

Mark Alexander Jul. 19, 2017

But the fact being once established, that the press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood, I leave to others to restore it to its strength, by recalling it within the pale of truth. Thomas Jefferson (1805)

In 1974, former Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) was the ranking minority member of the Senate committee investigating the Watergate cover-up conspiracy. The Senate endeavored to determine if Republican President Richard Nixon, who won his 1972 re-election bid by the fourth-largest margin (23.15%) in history, had concealed after-the-fact knowledge of a break-in at the Democrat National Committee headquarters by Republican operatives. (Now, apparently, breaking into the DNC or the secret email server of a Democrat presidential candidate is much easier done by computer.)

At a critical juncture in that investigation, Baker (who later served as Ronald Reagans chief of staff in 1987) posited, What did the president know and when did he know it? He and his then-young understudy and chief counsel, Fred Thompson, went on to aggressively pursue the truth regarding their partys president. Baker said, Ill dig for the facts, and Ill follow wherever they lead, and indeed, they did.

Those were the glory days of The Washington Post, whose journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are credited with uncovering information about the break-in, including involvement by the Justice Department, FBI, CIA and the White House leading to Nixon.

Facing the certainty of impeachment in the Democrat-controlled House and conviction by the Democrat-controlled Senate, Nixon at least had the integrity to resign his office on August 9, 1974, rather than drag the nation through an impeachment proceeding. As you recall, Bill Clinton possessed no such integrity when he was impeached by the House in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was ultimately acquitted of those charges by the Senate a year later in a 50-50 vote.

Fast forward to the present Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy breaking news propagated daily by the MSM.

Regarding this fake news fabrication, nobody is asking, What did they know and when did they know it?

However, in this instance, the question should not be directed at President Donald Trump, but at The Washington Post and The New York Times the primary Leftmedia outlets in collusion with the Democrat Party that form the Demo/MSM propaganda machine.

Let me explain why they should answer this question but wont.

Earlier this week, Julie Pace, the liberal Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press, observed quizzically, Every time [the Trump administration] finds [its] footing, every time they feel like theyve had a positive message, something on the Russia investigation emerges.

Apparently, one of the APs ranking journalists believes this correlation is complete coincidence.

Hmmm. Well, Julie, could it be that the Leftmedia is holding back its Russia cards and playing them as needed every time the Trump administration finds its footing or has a positive message?

There was a time when the collusion between the Democrat Party and mainstream media dezinformatsiya outlets could rely solely on Donald Trump to singlehandedly undermine his success by issuing stupid social media posts.

But a week before Trumps inaugural, former FBI Director James Comey added a powerful propaganda weapon to the Leftmedias arsenal in its relentless effort to undermine Trumps agenda.

He gave Barack Obama a copy of the completely debunked Trump/Russia dossier. The fact that the FBI was investigating that fake dossier was then leaked to the press most likely by Comey, who in May acknowledged that he had leaked other memos to the press in hopes that a special counsel would be appointed to investigate Trump. (Comeys treachery paid off when his old friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, was appointed as special counsel.)

That Russia fabrication and leak was, and remains, the source for the Demos Trump/Putin conspiracy theories. In fact, now there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Democrat operatives were behind the dossier, but neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times are concerned with facts, having become masters in the art of the BIG lie.

Again, as the APs Julie Pace noted, every time Trump achieves favorable reviews, predictably another Trump/Putin story emerges, which almost always originate with the Times or the Post.

Pace was referencing the most recent case in point

After Trumps widely applauded NATO address in Poland and his G-20 summit 10 days ago, that success was derailed in short order by the latest revelation regarding the Russian collusion delusion that in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. spent a few minutes with a Russian lawyer, in a meeting set up by a third party who claimed she might have some useful (read: damaging) info on Hillary Clinton. In political and corporate parlance, that is called opposition research or competitor intelligence, but never mind that it amounted to nothing.

What an amazing coincidence that on the heels of Trumps successful week abroad, yet another Russian collusion story emerged.

For the record, in my considered opinion, The New York Times and The Washington Post have been, and still are, holding Trump/Putin cards, and theyre timing the play of those cards to undercut any Trump agenda momentum.

Thus, this is the question every Beltway and New York media journalist should be asking: Beyond what the Post and Times knew about the Trump Jr. meeting, when did they know it? (Memo to Bob Woodward)

Did the Times or Post have this information for weeks or months prior to making headlines with it, and if so, why did they not release it sooner?

Of course, there are few journalists remaining in either of those markets to ask such an important question especially one that would challenge Leftmedia Goliaths.

This critical question would better be directed to the ombudsman at the Post and Times. Ombudsmen are those charged with reviewing the journalistic integrity of a media outlet, having sufficient independent authority to investigate cases of journalistic abuse and recommend the perpetrators for prosecution and/or termination a media independent counsel. Unfortunately, after leftwing limo liberal Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013, he eliminated their ombudsman post. Andthe New York Times eliminated their ombudsman post in May of this year

So, why is this question so important?

Because the most dangerous collusion threatening American Liberty today is that between Democrats and their mainstream media partisans. They now brazenly use their media outlets for obstruction and sabotage in order to block Trumps agenda, primarily with counterfeit Trump/Putin news. Clearly, Trumps conservative agenda is wholly antithetical to their own.

This mass media malpractice constitutes a perilous betrayal of the First Amendment.

As I have noted since that fake Russian dossier first emerged, the endless loop of the Demo/MSMs Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy coverage is utterly baseless. Its nothing more than a political diversion and obfuscation tactic to destabilize Trumps agenda and, by extension, that of the Republican Congress. And its working!

Contemplate this if Vladimir Putins goal is to weaken the American peoples confidence in their political system, then the Democrat/MSM collusion is certainly accomplishing his objective.

Undermining Trumps presidency sows discord among Republicans in the House and Senate ahead of the 2018 midterm election and ensures the failure of critical initiatives such as the effort to repeal and replace the so-called Affordable Care Act this week.

Every card-carrying member of the Demo/MSM consortium knows the Trump/Putin collusion fabrication is a political charade unless their brains have been totally consumed with Potomac fever.

Notably, however, many younger Leftmedia activists arent biting, and in fact are becoming more outspoken in their objection to the Russia ruse.

Left-wing protagonist Max Blumenthal, senior editor of AlterNet, offered this assessment this week: As someone on the left who has protested against Trump, I didnt expect this hysteria to completely take over. The Democrats are pushing Russia scandalmongering nonstop. Its subsumed all of the progressive grassroots movements and its basically burning the left. People who are progressive, who are falling into it, I need to know what the long-term consequences of this cynical narrative are. There is definitely a political class in Washington that sees Russia scandalmongering as the silver bullet to take out Trump. The Democrat establishment cant agree on a big economic message so this [collusion conspiracy] is convenient because it gives them a way of opposing Trump without having to do anything remotely progressive.

Blumenthal calls the Demo/MSM the boot-licking press. He adds, Theres never any clear sourcing, never any sources on the record.

When asked by political commentator Tucker Carlson what kind of response have you received from the Leftmedia and liberals since registering your objections to the Russia charade, Blumenthal responded, Ill probably get called a Putin puppet.

And while the fictional Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy is this summers blockbuster hit inside the Beltway, Americans across the country are increasingly tuning out the Leftmedia. And notably, those who supported Trump in 2016 are now overwhelmingly unimpressed with the collusion conspiracy claptrap. Turns out that outside the Beltway swamp political and media echo chambers, Americans are more concerned about the economy which, Demo-gogues Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer might recall, is why Trump won!

That notwithstanding, some of the more hysterical Democrats are now calling for Trumps impeachment, including Hillary Clintons kooky 2016 running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine: Were now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of whats being investigated. This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason.

Political analyst Michael Barone notes that this ludicrous overreach by Democratic politicians who havent given up on dreams of somehow ousting Trump from office and who are eager as always to delegitimize his presidency might backfire.

But the Demo/MSM demolition derby shows no signs of letting up and it wont, because its underwritten in large measure by socialist Hungarian billionaire George Soros and others, like socialist American billionaire Tom Steyer.

So I ask again: Beyond what the Post and Times knew about the Trump Jr. meeting, when did they know it?

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis Pro Deo et Libertate 1776

See the rest here:

Trump/Putin Collusion: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It? – Patriot Post

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

As Trump Shores Up Assad’s Genocidal Regime, America’s Hard Left Is Cheering Him on – Haaretz

Surprised by the Max Blumenthal and Tucker Carlson love-in? America’s real collusion story is how the far right and far left whitewash the Kremlin and Assad’s war crimes together

Prominent left wing blogger and self-declared “anti-imperialist” Max Blumenthal was recently the special guest ofFox News Tucker Carlson. Blumenthal took to the airwaves of a hard-right, Islamophobic propaganda network to rail against sanctions and dismiss irrefutable accusations of collusion between Donald Trumps election campaign and the Kremlin.

Normally a situation in which the far-left find kinship with the far-right would raise more of an eyebrow, but in the world of Trump-Russia it barely registers anymore. This is because these voices have found ideological bedfellows on the Western far-right.

Blumenthals appearance on Fox wasnt an anomaly, for the editor of the ‘Grayzone Project, supposedly dedicated to “combatting Islamophobia”, has long been at the forefront of a group of Western bloggers, pundits and academics promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda and regurgitatingwidely debunked Islamophobic conspiracy theories about Syrians.

Blumenthal, along with his colleagues and frequent Russia Today contributors Gareth Porter, Benjamin Norton & Rania Khalek have spent the best part of the last 18 months publishing smear attacks against NGOs, medics, journalists, first responders and Syrian civil society groups.

Virtually any group that speaks out on the Assad regimes campaign of systematic slaughter have been targeted by this coterie with the express intention of defending a regimeguilty of human extermination. This work is focused squarely on painting any grassroots opposition to the Assad regime as either the work of U.S. imperialism or borne from violent Sunni extremists. Blumenthal and his crew have also positioned themselves as the enemies of truth, by frequently using their platforms to deny or dismiss the war crimes of the Assad regime.

The irony is that Blumenthal used his appearance on Fox to dismiss the credibility of irrefutable Trump-Russia connections on a supposed lack of evidence, whereas in Syria, Blumenthal and his AlterNet Grayzone colleagues have repeatedly ignored evidence in favour of fact-free war crimes denial narratives, even when those narratives contradict each other.

We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting.

Please try again later.

This email address has already registered for this newsletter.

But those who have followed Blumenthals evidence-free approach to Assad should not be shocked by his desire to jump into bed with the pro-Putin right-wing chorus.

Take for example the Assad regimes air strike on the Ain al-Fijeh water springs in the Damascus enclave of Wadi Barada.Whenthe spring was bombed, temporarilycuttingoff fresh water supplies for large parts of Damascus, the regime claimed that the rebels poisoned the water supply with diesel fuel. Despite there being no evidence of this,Blumenthal ran with this lie. Following a UN investigation that found the Assad regime responsible for the war crime, not only did Blumenthal fail to retract the lie, his colleague Rania Khalek rejected the UN investigation andagain mouthed the regime line.

The same thing happened following the regimes bombardment of the Aleppo aid convoy in September 2016. Again, AlterNet writers startedpushing the Kremlin line and, following the United Nations conclusive report finding the regime culpable, theyrefuted the conclusions of the investigation in favour of Russian claims. This has been repeated time and time again by these bloggers, whetherdismissing recorded attacks against field hospitals or outright denying regime culpability for chemical weapons attacks based on claims from one anonymous source. The reality is these pundits arent interested in the veracity of evidence when it comes to using fabricated claims to defend Russia or Assad from allegations of war crimes, even following conclusive independent United Nations investigations.

This evidence-free, propaganda heavy position on Syria has been fawned over by the far-right. Blumenthals work has received gushing praise from Americas leading racist commentators includingAnn Coulter, Pamela Geller and former KKK leaderDavid Duke.

Earlier in Julythis yearinan interview Blumenthal declared: “The[American]national security state has completely abrogated what should be its top mission, which is to take on these[anti-Assad]Sunni jihadist organizations which have repeatedly attacked soft targets in the West and caused chaos. They should be fighting them.”

Blumenthal is conflating all anti-Assad forces with ISIS and Al Qaeda, as he has frequentlydenied the existence of any moderate Syrian rebels, a frequent trope to delegitimize all anti-Assad forces.

These are the words not of a Leftist or “anti-imperialist”, but of a Westerner fully embracing the expansion of Bush, Obama and now Trump’s ‘war on terror, with a specific remit totarget Sunnis. With a healthy dose of sectarian hypocrisy, a longstanding defender of the designated Shia terrorist organisation Hezbollah has openly called for the expansion of Trumps bombardment of civilians in the Middle East.

What Blumenthal fails to disclose is that this campaign is already firmly under way and has already seen civilian deaths jump from 80 per month under Obama to 360 per month under Trump. As well asopenly supporting the Russian-backed offensive against Aleppo, which waslabelled a war crime by the UN, it seems Blumenthal is not opposed to the bombing of Syria as long as Assads enemies are the target.

The U.S. is bombing Syria, and the thousands ofcoalition air strikes carried out against ISIS in favour of pro-Assad militias around Palmyra or Deir ez-Zour or againstal-Qaeda-affiliated opposition militants in Idlib or Aleppo prove this, however Blumenthals loudest protests are saved for Assads air bases, not Trumps coalitionbombing civilians in mosques. It is no coincidence that during the campaign trail Benjamin Nortonendorsed Trumps foreign policy, sentiment that was alsoechoed by mainstream backer of AlterNets pro-Assad crowd Glenn Greenwald.

The sectarian rot of these bloggers isnt even particularly well hidden, as evidenced by Benjamin Nortons faux-media outrage over the use of the word stronghold. When it comes to Beirut and Hezbollah,Norton is enraged by the use of the word strongholdto describe areas under its control,however in Idlib, theentirety of the population is reduced to a stronghold belonging to a terrorist organisation.

This kind of language is deliberately used by these bloggers exclusively to dehumanize Syrian civilians, and on this issue, these far-left activists have found ideological kinship against “manufactured liberal hysteria” with the most reactionary elements of the far-right.

While these supposed leftists continue to present themselves as “anti-war” or “anti-imperialist”, they are in fact acting as full-time advocates for Russian and Iranian military imperialism in Syriaand to provide them immunity in the American public square from war crimes charges.This American far-left: far-right coalition on Syria looks set to keep flourishing, on the backs of millions ofalmost exclusively Syrian Sunni Arab victims, whom theyve thrown to their eager Assad-supporting predators.

Oz Katerji is a writer, filmmaker and conflict journalist with a focus on the Middle East and former Lesvos project coordinator for British charity Help Refugees. Twitter: @OzKaterji

This piece was originally published on ozkaterji.wordpress.com

Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

Here is the original post:

As Trump Shores Up Assad’s Genocidal Regime, America’s Hard Left Is Cheering Him on – Haaretz

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

How the GOP Became the Party of Putin – POLITICO Magazine

Would somebody please help me out here: Im confused, read the email to me from a conservative Republican activist and donor. The Russians are alleged to have interfered in the 2016 election by hacking into Dem party servers that were inadequately protected, some being kept in Hillarys basement and finding emails that were actually written by members of the Clinton campaign and releasing those emails so that they could be read by the American people who what, didnt have the right to read these emails? And this is bad? Shouldnt we be thanking the Russians for making the election more transparent?

Put aside the factual inaccuracies in this missive (it was not Hillary Clintons controversial private server the Russians are alleged to have hacked, despite Donald Trumps explicit pleading with them to do so, but rather those of the Democratic National Committee and her campaign chairman, John Podesta). Here, laid bare, are the impulses of a large swathe of todays Republican Party. In any other era, our political leaders would be aghast at the rank opportunism, moral flippancy and borderline treasonous instincts on display.

Story Continued Below

Instead, we get this from the president of the United States, explaining away his sons encounter with Russian operatives who were advertised as working on behalf of the Kremlin: Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. Thats politics! And from elected Republicans, we get mostly silenceor embarrassing excuses.

Never mind that Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was about adoption, not a Russian offer of ultra sensitive dirt on Hillary Clinton. Weve gone from the Trump team saying they never even met with Russians to the president himself now essentially saying: So what if we did?

None of this should surprise anyone who paid attention during last years campaign. Trump Sr., after all, explicitly implored Russia to hack Clintons private email server. He ran as the most pro-Russian candidate for president since Henry Wallace helmed the Soviet fellow-traveling Progressive Party ticket in 1948, extolling Vladimir Putins manly virtues at every opportunity while bringing Kremlin-style moral relativism to the campaign trail. Worst of all, GOP voters never punished him for it. This is what they voted for.

Nor was Trump Jr. the only Republican to seek Russian assistance against Clinton. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Florida Republican operative sought and received hacked Democratic Party voter-turnout analyses from Guccifer 2.0, a hacker the U.S. government has said is working for Russias intelligence services. The Journal has also reported that Republican operative Peter W. Smith, who is now deceased, mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clintons private server, likely by Russian hackers.

Amid a raft of congressional and law enforcement probes into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election, its still unclear whether members of Trumps campaign actively colluded with Moscow. But we now know that they had no problem accepting the Kremlins helpin fact, Trump Jr. professes disappointment that his Russian interlocutors didnt deliver the goods. Forty-eight percent of Republicans, meanwhile, think Don Jr. was right to take the meeting. During the campaign, as operatives linked to Russian intelligence dumped hacked emails onto the internet, few Republicans stood on principle, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and condemned their provenance. I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of WikiLeaks, Rubio said at the time. And he issued a stark warning to members of his party who were looking to take advantage of Clintons misfortune: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Rubios GOP colleagues completely ignored his counsel. Suddenly, Republican leaders and conservative media figures who not long ago were demanding prison time (or worse) for Julian Assange were praising the Australian anarchist to the skies. Every morsel in the DNC and Podesta emails, no matter how innocuous, was pored over and exaggerated to maximum effect. Republican politicians and their allies in the conservative media behaved exactly as the Kremlin intended. The derivation of the emails (stolen by Russian hackers) and the purpose of their dissemination (to sow dissension among the American body politic) have either been ignored, or, in the case of my conservative interlocutor, ludicrously held up as an example of Russian altruism meant to save American democracy from the perfidious Clinton clan.

Contrast Rubios principled stand with that of current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who, while now appropriately calling WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service that overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from antidemocratic countries, was more than happy to retail its ill-gotten gains during the campaign. Today, just one-third of Republican voters even believe the intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, no doubt influenced by the presidents equivocations on the matter.

I was no fan of Barack Obamas foreign policy. I criticized his Russian reset, his Iran nuclear deal, his opening to Cuba, even his handling of political conflict in Honduras. For the past four years, I worked at a think tank, the Foreign Policy Initiative, that was bankrolled by Republican donors and regularly criticized the Obama administration. Anyone whos followed my writing knows Ive infuriated liberals and Democrats plenty over the years, and I have the metaphorical scars to prove it.

What I never expected was that the Republican Partywhich once stood for a muscular, moralistic approach to the world, and which helped bring down the Soviet Unionwould become a willing accomplice of what the previous Republican presidential nominee rightly called our No. 1 geopolitical foe: Vladimir Putins Russia. My message for todays GOP is to paraphrase Barack Obama when he mocked Romney for saying precisely that: 2012 calledit wants its foreign policy back.

***

I should not have been surprised. Ive been following Russias cultivation of the American right for years, long before it became a popular subject, and I have been amazed at just how deep and effective the campaign to shift conservative views on Russia has been. Four years ago, I began writing a series of articles about the growing sympathy for Russia among some American conservatives. Back then, the Putin fan club was limited to seemingly fringe figures like Pat Buchanan (Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative? he asked, answering in the affirmative), a bunch of cranks organized around the Ron Paul Institute and some anti-gay marriage bitter-enders so resentful at their domestic political loss they would ally themselves with an authoritarian regime that not so long ago they would have condemned for exporting godless communism.

Today, these figures are no longer on the fringe of GOP politics. According to a Morning Consult-Politico poll from May, an astonishing 49 percent of Republicans consider Russia an ally. Favorable views of Putin a career KGB officer who hates America have nearly tripled among Republicans in the past two years, with 32 percent expressing a positive opinion.

It would be a mistake to attribute this shift solely to Trump and his odd solicitousness toward Moscow. Russia has been targeting the American right since at least 2013, the year Putin enacted a law targeting pro-gay rights organizing and delivered a state-of-the-nation address extolling Russias traditional values and assailing the Wests genderless and infertile liberalism. That same year, a Kremlin-connected think tank released a report entitled, Putin: World Conservativisms New Leader. In 2015, Russia hosted a delegation from the National Rifle Association, one of Americas most influential conservative lobby groups, which included David Keene, then-president of the NRA and now editor of the Washington Times editorial page, which regularly features voices calling for a friendlier relationship with Moscow. (It should be noted here that Russia, a country run by its security services where the leader recently created a 400,000-strong praetorian guard, doesnt exactly embrace the individual right to bear arms.) A recent investigation by Politico Magazine, meanwhile, revealed how Russian intelligence services have been using the internet and social networks to target another redoubt of American conservativism: the military community.

Today, its hard to judge this Russian effort as anything other than a smashing success. Turn on Fox News and you will come across the networks most popular star, Sean Hannity, citing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a reliable source of information or retailing Russian disinformation such as the conspiracy theory that murdered DNC staffer Seth Richwho police say was killed during a robbery attemptwas the source of last summers leaks, not Russian hackers. Foxs rising star Tucker Carlson regularly uses his time slot to ridicule the entire Russian meddling scandal and portray Putin critics as bloodthirsty warmongers. On Monday night, he went so far as to give a platform to fringe leftist Max Blumenthal author of a book comparing Israel to the Third Reich and a vocal supporter of the Assad regime in Syria to assail the bootlicking press for reporting on Trumps Russia ties. (When Blumenthal alleged that the entire Russia scandal was really just a militarist pretext for NATO enlargement, Carlson flippantly raised the prospect of his son having to fight a war against Russia, as he did in a contentious exchange earlier this year with Russian dissident Garry Kasparov. At the time, I asked Carlson if his son serves in the military. He didnt respond).

Meanwhile the Heritage Foundation, one of Washingtons most influential conservative think tanks and a former bastion of Cold War hawkishness, has enlisted itself in the campaign against George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist whose work promoting democracy and good governance in the former Soviet space has made him one of the Kremlins main whipping boys.

And its not just conservative political operatives and media hacks who have come around on Russia. Pro-Putin feelings are now being elucidated by some conservative intellectuals as well. Echoing Kremlin complaints that Russia is a country which has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled a self-pitying justification for Russian aggression throughout history Weekly Standard senior editor Christopher Caldwell extolls Putin as the pre-eminent statesman of our time.

How did the party of Ronald Reagans moral clarity morph into that of Donald Trumps moral vacuity? Russias intelligence operatives are among the worlds best. I believe they made a keen study of the American political scene and realized that, during the Obama years, the conservative movement had become ripe for manipulation. Long gone was its principled opposition to the evil empire. What was left was an intellectually and morally desiccated carcass populated by con artists, opportunists, entertainers and grifters operating massively profitable book publishers, radio empires, websites, and a TV network whose stock-in-trade are not ideas but resentments. If a political officer at the Russian Embassy in Washington visited the zoo that is the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, theyd see a movement that embraces a ludicrous performance artist like Milo Yiannopoulos as some sort of intellectual heavyweight. When conservative bloggers are willing to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from Malaysias authoritarian government to launch a smear campaign against a democratic opposition leader they know nothing about, how much of a jump is it to line up and defend what at the very least was attempted collusion on the part of a brain-dead dauphin like Donald Trump Jr.?

Surveying this lamentable scene, why wouldn’t Russia try to turn the American right, whose ethical rot necessarily precedes its rank unscrupulousness? It is this ethical rot that allows Dennis Prager, one of the rights more unctuous professional moralists, to opine with a straight face that The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does. Why wouldnt a religious right that embraced a boastfully immoral charlatan like Donald Trump not turn a blind eye towardor, in the case of Franklin Graham, embracean oppressive regime like that ruling Russia? American conservatism is no better encapsulated today than by the self-satisfied, smirking mug of Carlson, the living embodiment of what Lionel Trilling meant when he wrote that the conservative impulse is defined by irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.

***

The entire Trump-Russia saga strikes at a deeper issue which most Republicans have shown little care in examining: What is it about Donald Trump that attracted the Kremlin so?

Such an effort would be like staging an intervention for a drunk and abusive family member: painful but necessary. One would have thought a U.S. intelligence community assessment concluding that the Russians preferred their partys nominee over Hillary Clinton would have introduced a bit of introspection on the right. Moments for such soul-searching had arrived much earlier, however, like when Trump hired a former advisor to the corrupt, pro-Russian president of Ukraine as his campaign manager last summer. Or when he praised Putin on Morning Joe in December of 2015. Republicans ought to have considered how an America First foreign policy, despite its promises to build up the military and bomb the shit out of ISIS, might actually be more attractive to Moscow than the warts-and-all liberal internationalism of the Democratic nominee, who, whatever her faults, has never called into question the very existence of institutions like the European Union and NATO, pillars of the transatlantic democratic alliance. Now that hes president, Trumps fitful behavior, alienating close allies like Britain and Germany, ought give Republicans pause about how closely the presidents actions accord with Russian objectives.

But alas there has been no such reckoning within the party of Reagan. Instead, the Russia scandal has incurred a wrathful defensiveness among conservatives, who are reaching for anything paranoid attacks on the so-called American deep state, allegations of conspiracy among Obama administration holdovers to distract attention from the very grave reality of Russian active measures. To be sure, the Republican Congress, at least on paper, remains hawkish on the Kremlin, as evidenced by the recent 98-2 Senate vote to increase sanctions against Russia for its election meddling and other offenses. But in no way can they be said anymore to represent the GOP party base, which has been led to believe by the president and his allies in the pro-Trump media that the Russia story is a giant hoax. It wasnt long ago that the GOP used to mock Democratic presidential candidates for supposedly winning endorsements from foreign adversaries, like when a Hamas official said he liked Barack Obama in 2008. Today, most Republicans evince no shame in the fact that their candidate was the clearly expressed preference of a murderous thug like Vladimir Putin.

If Republicans put country before party, they would want to know what the Russians did, why they did it and how to prevent it from happening again. But that, of course, would raise questions implicating Donald Trump and all those who have enabled him, questions that most Republicans prefer to remain unanswered.

James Kirchick, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age. This article is a co-publication with Eurozine.

The rest is here:

How the GOP Became the Party of Putin – POLITICO Magazine

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

‘Maddow’s Dots May Never Connect’: Left-Wing Author Blasts Trump … – Fox News Insider

Pence Hits Back at Dem Who Accused Him of Health Care ‘Evil’

‘Lose the Fake Robin Hood Shtick’: Bolling Blasts Bernie & Jane Sanders for FBI Probe

While many on the left continue to accuse President Trump and his administration of colluding with the Russians, one well-known progressive thinker said such actions hurt their cause.

Author Max Blumenthal said he’s skeptical of the Russia narrative, remarking that “Rachel Maddow’s dots may never connect.”

Maddow, an MSNBC host, has been one of the president’s top critics in the media when it comes to the Russia narrative.

Blumenthal called Trump the “apotheosis of a failed political establishment,” saying the Russia story is simply a cover for establishment Republicans and progressive Democrats to be able to avoid “do[ing] anything progressive.”

He accused both parties of “scandal-mongering” and criticized the left for abandoning their anti-war ideology just to attack the president.

He and Tucker Carlson discussed how some Democrats have advocated supporting insurgent elements in Syria for the sake of irritating Vladimir Putin.

Blumenthal, the son of former Clinton adviser Sid Blumenthal, warned such behavior on-the-whole will have “long-term consequences for the left in this country.”

Watch more above.

‘If You Work Your Butt Off and Pay Taxes…’: Kid Rock Offers Senate Platform

NAACP Leader: Evangelicals Praying With Trump ‘Theological Malpractice Bordering on Heresy’

Napoleon Dynamite? Watters Quizzes Jersey Beachgoers on Bastille Day

Visit link:

‘Maddow’s Dots May Never Connect’: Left-Wing Author Blasts Trump … – Fox News Insider

Fair Usage Law

July 18, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Notorious ‘New Atheist’ Sam Harris outrageously calls to ‘keep the number of Muslims down in any society’ – Raw Story

In language eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric of the fascist far right, New Atheist pundit Sam Harris has called for reducing the number of Muslims in society, warning on the January episode of his popular podcast, You cant have too many Muslims in your culture if you want it to remain enlightened.

On his program Waking Up, Harris echoed anti-refugee talking points and proposed figuring out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether were honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly its rational to want to do this.

I think many people will feel, what is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society? he added. It seems perfectly rational to say, we dont want any more.

Harris made these remarks in an interview with the British pundit and self-styled counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz. As AlterNets Max Blumenthal and Nafeez Ahmed havedocumented, Nawaz concocted significant portions of his memoir and falsely branded members of his own family as Islamic extremists.

Nawaz issued his approval, declaring that Harris proposal to limit the Muslim population in the West is not irrational; its not even inhuman.

Harris and Nawaz also bashed the left and called for more Western military intervention in the Middle East, despite it being the primary force drivingSalafi-jihadist violence and the refugee crisis.

Well-established history of bigotry

Sam Harris, who identifies as a liberal centrist, has previously said that the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe areactually fascists. He has a long history of anti-Muslim extremism, going so far as to claim we are at warwith Islam.

The popular leader of the so-called New Atheists a right-wing, pro-war segment of the larger secular movement has also openly stated, We should profile Muslimsor anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

The January episode of Harris podcast is not the first time he has flirted with racist talking points. It was soon followed by another episode in April,in which Harris advanced rhetoric that resembles the pseudoscientific race realism of white supremacists. Harris insisted that average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups, implying that people of African descent have lower IQs, while people of European descent are smarter.

Harris, who has also harshly criticized the Black Lives Mattermovement as irrational, staunchly maintains he is not racist, and has gone out of his way to condemn white supremacists. His IQ comments, however, were applauded by white nationalists and the rebranded fascist movement that calls itself the alt-right.

The April episode featured an extended interview with Charles Murray, a notorious right-wingacademic who did secret counterinsurgency work with the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. Murray also helped to create the racist system of mass incarceration, and he successfully campaigned to dismantle welfare programs.

In the January episode, both Harris and Nawaz praised another Murray: the neoconservative British writer Douglas Murray, who wrote a book titledThe Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, which laments that Europe is becoming lesswhite and Christian and calls for far-right anti-immigration policies as an antidote. Harris cited Douglas Murray multiple times, and referred to him as a mutual friend with Nawaz.

What is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society?

Sam Harris has a longtime habit of running away from his own words, accusing critics of taking his extreme statements out of context. This latest episode is no exception. Thus, the timestamps for comments quoted in this article show that they were quoted accurately and in context.

In a segment that begins at 1:11:00 in the January podcast episode, Harris made a lengthy argument for restricting Muslim migration into Western societies, using right-wing talking points drawn from those used to justify racial quotas in immigration centuries ago. Harris said his anti-immigrant bigotry was simply the gut reaction that I know millions upon millions of people are having, in response to attacks by Salafi-jihadist militants.

If you take a community of Muslims from Syria or Iraq or any other country on Earth and place them in the heart of Europe, you are importing, by definition, some percentage, however small, of radicalized people, or people who will be prone to radicalism at some future date where they just decide to start watching too many Anwar al-Awlaki videos, Harris said at 1:11:50. And again, this only happens to Muslims or people who are likely to become Muslim.

Harris went on, at 1:12:26: I think many people will feel, what is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society? It seems perfectly rational to say, we dont want any more. We have enough. And certainly increasing the percentage is not a help to anyone who loves freedom of speech and anything else, any of the other liberal values.

Its not worth the trouble, Harris continued. And if we can figure out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether were honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly its rational to want to do this.

This is where someone like Robert Spencer would say amen, I would presume, he added, referring positively to a far-right anti-Muslim extremist who was banned from traveling to the U.K. due to comments the British government said incite violence.

This is not an expression of xenophobia, Harris insisted. This is an expression of the implication of statistics and the fact that its only rational not to want to live in a world that looks more and more like Jerusalem at the height of the Intifada.

Nawaz agreed. Yes, he said at 1:13:33. Its not irrational; its not even inhuman, for people to react that way. He then proceeded to attack the political left.

Nawaz added that this xenophobia is natural: Its a very human response. People like familiarity. People like a sense of predictability around their environment and the culture that they expect others to adhere to. He claimed ideologues on the left are in denial about this natural bigotry.

Anti-Muslim double standard

Harris openly acknowledged in the podcast that he maintains a double standard against Muslims. In an attempt to shield himself from accusations of racism, Harris noted at 1:15:04 that if an Indian family moved next door, he would have no problem; he would in fact welcome them.

But if these new neighbors were Muslim, Harris said he would be concerned: What I worry about is bad beliefs.

Harris made it clear that his animus against Muslims is exceptional. He went out of his way to claim that there is an Islamic exceptionalism that Islam has uniquely bad special challenges other religions do not have. Nawaz said yeah in agreement.

Harris then, at 1:22:55, suggested that Germany could accept migrants from Spain and Portugal to be used as labor, but not from Muslim-majority countries.

The fundamental concern is that once you get a sufficient percentage of Muslims in any society, Harris explained at 1:23:09, the character of that community begins to change.

Its just a formula for religious oppression, getting enough Muslims in your society, however they got there originally, Harris continued. You cant have too many Muslims in your culture if you want it to remain enlightened.

Attacking antiracists and shieldings extremists

For holding extreme views like those he expressed on Harris podcast, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the leading monitor of hate groups in the U.S., has designated Maajid Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist.

The so-called alt-right a rebranding of white supremacy and neo-fascism has viciously attacked the SPLC for documenting its racist machinations. Harris and Nawaz opened the January episode vociferously condemning the SPLC, branding the group as fascist for creating a list of right-wing extremists. Nawaz suggested he would pursue legal action against the group over its criticism of his public statements, and accused the SPLC of defamation.

In the episode, Harris refused to criticize Robert Spencer (not to be confused with white nationalist Richard Spencer), the Islamophobia industry godfather who also appeared on the SPLCs anti-Muslim extremist list. Harris noted that Spencer is unjustly stigmatized, and saidhe does not want to speak ill of him.

Robert Spencer is a far-right fanatic who has advanced a number of outlandish conspiracies, including the myth that former president Barack Obama is secretly Muslim. As the SPLC highlighted in its listing, Spencer has condemned multiculturalism as heresy that will result in denigrating and ultimately destroying the Judeo-Christian West.

Spencer has glowingly endorsed numerous neo-fascist politicians, including the Netherlands Geert Wilders and Frances Jean-Marie Le Pen. He has also recommended the genocidal fantasy novelCamp of the Saints, also a favorite of Donald Trumps chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Amid his calls for fewer Muslims in the West, Sam Harris went out of his way to emphasize to listeners of his podcast that he opposes the term Islamophobia, insisting its very existence is mythical. But as usual, his own words contradict him.

This is Part I of a three-part series on Sam Harris and his allies.Stay tuned for more this week.

View post:

Notorious ‘New Atheist’ Sam Harris outrageously calls to ‘keep the number of Muslims down in any society’ – Raw Story

Fair Usage Law

July 18, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Al-Qaeda Propagandist Employed By CNN To Make Prize-Winning Syria Doc – Mintpress News (blog)

CNN is trying to distance itself from an al-Qaeda propagandist who helped the network create a documentary about the Syrian conflict. The mans ties to the network are just the latest in a series of scandals that have dealt a blow to the networks already tenuous grasp on credibility.

CNN is seeking to distance itself from Bilal Abdul Kareem, pictured here, a known propagandist for al-Qaeda, who was hired to create the networks award-winning documentary, Undercover in Syria. (Photo: Facebook)

ATLANTA CNN has had a difficult few weeks, with scandals ranging from false reporting in order to boost ratings to blackmailing a private citizen who created a meme lampooning the network. As a result, CNN has seen a massive drop in its prime-time ratings, suggesting that its viewership is shrinking amid the controversy.

Now, yet another controversy for the embattled network has come to light in the making of its award-winning Undercover in Syria documentary.

Related:Syrian Social Media All-Stars Spread Pro-War Propaganda In News & Social Media

The documentary revolves around CNN reporter Clarissa Wards undercover trip to extremist-held portions of Aleppo that pushed for Western intervention in Syria last year and placed the blame for the citys suffering on the Russian, Syrian and Iranian governments. After the documentary aired, Ward was invited by then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to testify on her experiences in rebel-held Aleppo.

However, CNN hired a known member of the terror group al-Qaeda, Bilal Abdul Kareem, in order to obtain the on-the-ground footage used in the documentary and to assist Ward in gaining access to rebel territories, a feat that claimed the lives of other journalists. In addition, the network has recently sought to distance itself from its key source on the ground after the documentary started picking up awards.

Kareem, however, did not plan to have his key role in the making of the documentary go unnoticed. In June, he took to Twitter, writing that the piece I filmed w/ CNN (Undercover in Syria) won Overseas Press Club & Peabody awards but CNN forgot to mention me. But Im smiling!

Included in the tweet was a video of Kareem venting his frustration at the network in which he stated: This Undercover in Syria, you can Google it it won the prestigious Peabody Award, and it won the prestigious Overseas Press Club Award, which are basically the highest awards in journalism for international reporting. Now, [CNN] barely mentioned my name! Im telling you, somehow CNN must have forgotten that I was the one that filmed it, I guess they forgot that.

Given Kareems key role in filming the documentary, the fact that he was hardly mentioned in the Peabody Awards press release is certainly unusual. However, CNN likely didnt forget Kareem, but instead intentionally chose to exclude his name once the documentary gained fame, as Kareem is a known English-language propagandist for Jabhat al-Nusra, otherwise known as the al-Nusra Front, a Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.

Kareem was not always an al-Qaeda propagandist. An American citizen from Mount Vernon, New York who later moved to Egypt, Kareem has a background in comedy and theater that proved useful following his hire by Saudi-funded Huda TV and the later creation of his own media group On The Ground News, which has focused on the Syrian conflict.

Bilal Abdul Kareem with the leader of Syrian rebel forces in Aleppo.

Kareem has been actively involved in the Syrian conflict for years. Middle Eastern news outlets, such as Al Arabiya, have stated that Kareem officially joined al-Nusra in 2012 and is known as the extremists publicist. According to reports, Kareem has stated that fighting in Syria is a religious duty, that anti-Assad forces in Syria are the first line of defense in fighting Shiites and that the desire of anti-Assad extremist groups in Syria is the formation of an Islamic state. Kareem has also interviewed Abdullah al-Muhaysini, the Saudi cleric recognized as al-Nusras religious leader, whom he praised as probably the most loved cleric in the Syrian territories today.

In addition, rebels in Syria who spoke to Max Blumenthal of Alternet confirmed that Kareem was a well-known member of al-Nusra and was commonly referred to as the American mujahid. A member of Kataib Thawar al-Sham told Blumenthal that Kareem had made several videos for the official YouTube channel of Jaish al-Fatah, the extremist coalition led by al-Nusra, and stated that Kareem used the alias Abu Osama for that work.

The militia member, who chose to use an alias in his interview with Blumenthal, stated that he himself had aided Kareem in making videos for the al-Nusra-affiliated YouTube channel Knowledge is Key. The videos frequently feature Salafi cleric Abdul Razzaq al-Mahdi, an ideological leader of extremists in Syria and a co-founder of al-Nusras rebranding into Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

While Kareem has denied being affiliated with al-Qaeda, stating in a Facebook video that I am not, nor have I ever been, nor do I need to be a part of al-Qaeda. I dont have any need for that, Kareems privileged access to al-Nusra members and territory suggests the opposite. Indeed, in the same video where he denies ties to al-Qaeda, Kareem states that the reason he has not faced the same dangers as other journalists in al-Nusra territory is because mutual respect exists between him and the terror group.

Then, last month, Kareem appeared on a special program on al-Muhaysinis Jihads Callers Center, where he was introduced as an American in Syria who is with the rebels and mujahideen. Al-Muhaysini personally welcomed him onto the program, stating: Greetings to our media man, the great innovator, Bilal Abdul Kareem!

With Kareem having been praised by al-Nusras religious leader as our media man just last month, his denial of ties to the group seems disingenuous at best. Kareems extensive ties to the terror group, more than the failing memories of CNN producers, is likely to blame for CNNs decision to largely omit his name from mention regarding the Undercover in Syria documentary.

CNNs confirmed ties with Kareem will only add to the networks growing list of problems in providing the American people with honest journalism.

Visit link:

Al-Qaeda Propagandist Employed By CNN To Make Prize-Winning Syria Doc – Mintpress News (blog)

Fair Usage Law

July 14, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Intercepted Podcast: Glenn Greenwald on the New Cold War – The Intercept

Subscribe to the Intercepted podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and other platforms. New to podcasting? Click here. With all theconstant hype about Russia, youd think we were living in a new Cold War. This week on Intercepted: Glenn Greenwald fills in for Jeremy Scahill, and we take a deep dive into the origins and evolution of the Trump-Russia story. Fox Newss Tucker Carlson and Glenn find something they can actually agree on (the Democratic establishments Russia hysteria), but diverge on Tuckers coverage of immigration and crime. Glenn responds to stories by Peter Beinart and Jeet Heer. And Russian-American writer Masha Gessen explains how conspiracy thinking is a mirror of the leaders we put in power, and why its so tempting and dangerous to believe in simplistic reasons for Trumps election. Lost Boys: Rufio! Rufio! Rufio! Ru-fi-oooo! (Following the Leader) Donald J. Trump: Who the hell wants to speak about politics when Im in front of the Boy Scouts? LB: [Cheering] DJT: And by the way, under the Trump administration, youll be saying Merry Christmas again when you go shopping, believe me. LB: Ru-fi-ooo! DJT: Merry Christmas. Robin Williams as Peter Pan in Hook: Thats enough! What is this, some sort of Lord of the Flies preschool? Where are your parents? Whos in charge here? No. Nooo, Mr. Skunkhead with too much mousse. I want to speak to a grownup! DJT: Tom, youre fired! LB: Ru-fi-ooo! RW: You are a very poor role model for these kids, did you know that? LB: (Whistling) RW: I bet you dont even have a fourth grade reading level. LB: (Whistling) DJT: Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree? LB: Ru-fi-ooo! RW: Someone has a severe caca mouth, do you know that? DJT: Make America great again. LB: (Cheering) RW: Substitute chemistry teacher. LB: Come on, Rufio, hit him back! DJT: The polls, thats also fake news. Theyre fake polls. RW: Math tutor. Prison barber. Nearsighted gynecologist. DJT: Fake media. Fake news. RW: You lewd, crude, rude, bag of pre-chewed food, dude. LB: Bangarang, Peter! [Music interlude] Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted. [Music interlude] Glenn Greenwald: Im Glenn Greenwald, sitting in this week for Jeremy Scahill, and Im coming to you from The Intercept in Brazil. This is episode 24 of Intercepted. Jared Kushner: Let me be very clear. I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. GG: Russia has once again dominated the news cycle in the United States this past week. And as part of that discussion, there have been two articles, one published by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic, and another by Jeet Heer published in The New Republic that criticises, quite harshly, multiple people on the Left who, in their view, have been minimizing the Russia election meddling story. And I think that both of these articles are worth discussing, in part because they do extensively critique my own views, and Id like to respond. But also, I think they highlight some of the really critical points about how this Russia story has been discussed over the course of the last year in the United States, and what the implications are. And I have two guests who come at this topic from very different perspectives. One is Tucker Carlson, the host on Fox News, who has become one of the more vocal skeptics on the Russia story, and has been subjected to a wide array of accusations. And the other is the American-Russian journalist Masha Gessen, who is a longtime critic of Vladimir Putin, and yet has also expressed some serious concerns about how this story has been discussed. And I think both of those conversations really get to the heart of what these two articles also raise. So, I want to make a couple of points about both of these articles. One, the one by Peter Beinart, and the one by Jeet Heer. And interestingly, both of them were, I think, rare and commendable good faith attempts to engage the arguments by those of us who have been skeptics on this story from the beginning without purposely distorting our views, or even worse, using innuendo about treason or allegiances to the Kremlin as a way of dismissing or demonizing the arguments about the evidence that weve been making. And yet, despite the good faith attempt by both writers in the article to engage the actual arguments without that kind of innuendo, the headline writers for each of these magazines did not have that same integrity. So, I thought it was extremely telling that the headline in The Atlantic over Peter Beinarts article was Donald Trumps Defenders on the Left. And then the sub-headline was, Why Some Progressives are Minimizing Russias Election Meddling. And the headline on the New Republic story might even actually be worse. It was Why the Anti-War Left Should Attack Putin Too. Thats the headline. And the sub-headline is His being Putins Leftist Apologist in the U.S. Media Arent Just Blind to Russias Election Meddling, But to Putins Xenophobia and Homophobia. And the reason I think those headlines are worth flagging is because there is a valid legitimate debate that I think both Beinart and Jeet are trying to have about how persuasive is the evidence that has been presented publicly about whether the Russian government under the direction of Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking, and whether they were actually motivated by a desire to help Trump, as well as whether or not there was actual collusion in those hacking crimes with the Trump campaign. And my view has been not an ideological one or a partisan one, but simply an epistemological one, that theres no tangible evidence presented, or virtually none, by the U.S. government to corroborate the claims of the intelligence community. And one can certainly dispute that. One can disagree with it. Lots of people do. But to cast those questions, that skepticism, that comes not only from me but from the other people the New Republic article names, such as Max Blumenthal, and Noam Chomsky, and Oliver Stone, and others to cast that skepticism about the evidence as being supporters of Donald Trump, or apologists for Vladimir Putin, is really the lowliest kind of rhetorical tactics that has sullied and corrupted U.S. political discourse for many years. If you go back to those who questioned the sufficiency of the evidence about Saddam Husseins weapons capability in 2002 and 2003, you find that those who were attacking people who were expressing skepticism were accusing them not of being wrong, but of being sympathizers or apologists for Saddam Hussein. You find that those who were questioning the George Bush/Dick Cheney war on terror were accused not of being wrong, but of being al Qaeda sympathizers. And now you find that those of us who question the sufficiency of the evidence about Russia, the Russia hacking story, or the implications of it, are accused not of being wrong, but of being supporters of Donald Trump or apologists for Vladimir Putin. And both of these writers, the central point that theyre making in these articles and in critiquing those of us who are skeptical the story is to say, you can be worried about Russian meddling and Russia hacking without actually trying to rejuvenate a Cold War. Theyre saying that theyre in the middle. Theyre worried about Russian hacking, but they share the concerns that it would be dangerous to revitalize a Cold War. And yet, even in their article, while they deny that they want a new Cold War, they use language that strongly suggests thats exactly what their view of the world would provoke, whether intentionally or not. So, Jeet here in his article, for example, has this paragraph that says, Fighting Trumpism in America is not enough. Leftists have to be ready to battle it in all forms, at home and abroad. So, while hes denying that he wants a new Cold War, hes demanding that leftists battle Putin and Trump and their international ideology in all forms at home and abroad. And this language to me seems to be exactly the language of the traditional Cold War years, that theres an international ideological movement spreading throughout the world thats dangerous, thats coming from the Kremlin, thats coming from Moscow, and that we as liberals are duty-bound to go fight it, not just here at home, but abroad. Peter Beinart has a sentence that is even more vivid in terms of the issue of whether its really genuine when he says he doesnt want a Cold War. He says, In his interview with Tucker Carlson, Max Blumenthal attacked Senator Ben Cardin for calling Russias meddling a political Pearl Harbor. But, writes Beinart, in some ways, its an apt analogy. So, you have two nuclear-armed countries who have in the past come very close to nuclear war that would annihilate the species, and the reason those of us who are worried about where this is going are so worried isnt because we love Vladimir Putin or support Donald Trump. Its because weve seen the effects, the incredibly destructive effects, when this kind of militaristic confrontational rhetoric takes hold of the American opinion elite class, and where that leads to. And it seems, to put it mildly, not worth risking another Cold War, another military confrontation between the United States and Russia, over what, even if you believe the claims of the CIA, notwithstanding that theres no evidence for it even if you believe them, its nothing more than some garden variety hacking that countries do to one another all the time. And at the very least, I hope going forward that we can have this debate without papering over those actual concerns and trying to suggest that those of us who are skeptical are motivated by nefarious and treasonous motives. So, I think that is an excellent framework for the discussions that Im about to have. Joining me now is the host of Weeknights on Fox News, Tucker Carlson. Tucker, welcome to Intercepted. Tucker Carlson: Thanks, Glenn. GG: I want to begin by observing that if I had to pick one word to describe U.S. political culture in the wake of Trumps victory, it would probably be manic. And I say that for a lot of reasons, primarily the fact that so many peoples longstanding position seems to be uprooted and kind of scrambled and confused. And a lot of longstanding political alliances and adversaries that have shaped U.S. politics for a long time seem to have shifted in a really short period of time, often radically. And I think that your journey is kind of illustrative of that. Just in the last week alone, for example, you had two very widely discussed Id say pretty vituperative exchanges, interviews on your Fox show, one with Max Boot, whos a longtime pro-war activist. Never met a war he didnt like. TC: And then to hear you say we need to knock off the Assad regime and things will be better in Syria you sort of wonder, like, well, maybe you should choose another profession. Selling insurance, house painting. Something youre good at. GG: And the other one is Ralph Peters, who has been a longtime kind of rightwing commentator on Foreign Affairs. Ralph Peters: He assassinates dissidents and journalists. He bombs women and children on purpose in Syria. He is as bad as Hitler. And yet, you want us to align with the Russians, with Iran, with Assad. TC: I want us to act in Americas interest RP: So do I. TC: And stop making shallow, sweeping moral claims about countries we dont fully understand, and then hope everything will be fine in the end. If a country we dont like takes active steps to kill people who are a threat to us, Im going to pause and applaud. GG: And you had very sharp disagreements with them that became kind of hostile. And then in the very same week, you had on your show Max Blumenthal, who is as far to the left as those two have been to the right. And the two of you found a lot of common ground, a lot of harmony on one of the most important or at least widely discussed political issues being discussed, which is Russia. Max Blumenthal: You know, as someone on the left whos actually gone out and protested Trump, I didnt expect this hysteria to completely take over. But now I see what the point is of it. Mark my words, Tucker, when Trump is gone, this narrative, this Russia hysteria will be repurposed by the political establishment to attack the left and anyone on the left. GG: Do you think that you have changed ideologically or politically over the past few years, or do you think theres kind of a political realignment or readjustment taking place in the wake of Trumps victory that explains this? Or is it some of both, or none? Whats your view on all that? TC: Id say its both. I mean, my views have changed. My views are always changing, and I think, you know, ones views ought to change. You ought to look up every once in awhile from your ideology and measure it against the results that you anticipated, and ask yourself, Is this working? Are my preconceptions, my assumptions are they still valid? And the one, maybe the best thing about Trumps election is that it forced a lot of people to kind of traipse up to the mental attic and take stock. And so, you know, certain moments shock you out of your stupor and force you to reassess. The Iraq War did that for me. In December of 03, I went to Iraq after someone I knew was killed there, and I was starting to become suspicious not just of that war, but of the pretext for it, and of the kind of intellectual predicates that led to it. And that experience kind of freed me from a lot of things that I thought I believed, and allowed me to say what I was coming to believe. And Trumps election, I think, had the same effect. In fact, one of the really sad things about the mass hysteria thats descended upon Washington is that it has prevented or at least forestalled like a real discussion about whats important and what we think about it. And, you know, Ive never been partisan, but Ive certainly been which is to say, Ive never had an emotional allegiance to a political party. Ive never worked in politics or anything like that. Ive mostly voted Republican because Ive been a right-winger my whole life. But all of a sudden, just because I read for a living, I started seeing pieces that I really agreed with, coming from people not only whom I disagreed with, but with whom Id been at odds for like decades, including you. In fact, I havent done this, but I probably should. Itd be amusing to type in both of our names into Google pre-2015 and see how many pieces each of us has written attacking the other. [Laughs] Quite a few. GG: Right. I kind of thought the Iraq War was gonna be this fundamental political event for people to change how they thought about a whole range of issues. I mean, I wasnt even working on politics in 2003. I was practicing law. And thats a big part of what made me start writing about politics. And for a long time, I thought it was gonna change peoples views, not just of the wisdom of those kinds of invasions, but the extent to which we trust anonymous sources, claims from the intelligence community, how the media conducts itself, its relationship to those factions. And for a time, I thought that that was happening, and now I think it isnt. I mean, I think that the prevailing sentiment among the establishment wings of both political parties is this idea that we do place faith in the intelligence community. We do believe there are claims, even when disseminated anonymously. We still believe in the necessity or virtue of U.S. force; not in self-defense, but to produce good in the world and other countries that we barely understand. Talk a little bit more about what changed for you as a result of what had been your support for the Iraq War, and then your ultimate or subsequent view that that was just terribly wrong. TC: Well, my support for it was always tepid. Part of the problem for me was I was working on a debate show at the time, Crossfire, on which you sort of had to pick a side. And so, I actually was never comfortable with it. Because I dont have a super high IQ, I tend to ask the obvious questions, like what does Iraq have to do with 9/11? And I could never get a satisfying answer. So, that made me think, as it always does, if someone cant give a straight answer that you can understand, either he doesnt understand it himself, or hes lying about it. So, it always made me uncomfortable. I was won over to the idea that the government of Saddam Hussein posed this imminent threat to America because of WMD by someone in the government whom I knew well and was close to from a former life. And he convinced me of that single handedly. And so, I kind of was for it in the last few months. And then I went there, and I was reminded of all the things that I sort of knew were like inchoate thoughts that I had had before. The law of unintended consequences is never gonna be repealed. Like, you dont know. You think you know whats gonna happen when you do something, but you really dont. And so, humility is a prerequisite for wise decision-making. And whenever you have people telling you people like Max Boot, for example we know exactly whats gonna happen when we do this, thats a tipoff that these are very unwise people who shouldnt have power. And so, I just thought, boy, this is scary, more than anything, on a political level. So, basically what you saw in Washington is what youre seeing now, and what I will be against until the day I die, which is hyperventilating group think, where people convince themselves of a thesis and then stop asking critical questions of that thesis. Like, they start with, heres what we know, okay? Heres just heres what we know. And by the way, if you dont agree to that fact, like if you ask any questions at all, then youre clearly, you know, immoral. Youre a sinner. Thats exactly what happened before the Iraq War in Washington, and thats exactly whats happening now with this Russia stuff. And by the way, just to skip ahead, I just want to say this emphatically Im totally agnostic on Russia. Never been there. I dont have strong feelings about its government. Im glad I dont live there, you know what I mean? Im like the last person whos carrying water for Russia, but its almost like my main objection is to the psychological phenomenon Im watching in progress, and its totally the product of a ruling class thats utterly homogenous, not racially, but culturally. GG: So, one of the things that I found really interesting was, I think before I even went on your show, you interviewed Congressman Adam Schiff of California, whos a Democrat, who has become, I guess you could say, the leader of the Democrats, in the House at least, when it comes to sounding the shrill alarm about Russia and Trump and the threat that is posed by the Kremlin. And he had that interview with you where you were just simply asking him for evidence of the claims that he was making about Putin ordering these hacks and about the motive that Putin had in doing so. TC: You know what? Youre dodging. Adam Schiff: And, and Tucker? Look, you are TC: To look and say, I know they did John Podestas emails AS: I think that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave. TC: Ronald Reagan would be fine. Ronald Reagan AS: That youre carrying water for the Kremlin, which you and the president elect TC: Im not carrying water for the Im youre making look, youre a sitting member of Congress on the intel committee, and you cant say they hawked hacked AS: Youre gonna have to move your show to RT, Russian television, because this is perfect TC: You know what? Thats just so GG: This has been one of the things that has concerned me most, because I got into writing about politics in the post 9/11 era, when I felt like there was a lot of equating of criticism of the government or questioning of the government line with treason, or equating of dissent with some kind of suspicion about your loyalties. And I see very much, although different people are doing it, those tactics being used now. Would you agree that these kind of tactics that youre objecting to now that are often being applied to you have been tactics that the right has used for a long time to kind of delegitimize dissent and questioning of government policies? TC: Theres no question. And I hate to think about the degree to which I participated in it, and I dont want to ever be confronted with video evidence that Ive done it. Im sure I have. Its too easy. Its too hard to resist. The obvious example that comes to mind is Barbara Lees vote against military action in Afghanistan, which by the way, I think is justified, you know. The Taliban were based in Afghanistan. They were a terrible regime. They hosted al Qaeda, which, you know, sent 19 hijackers here and killed 3,000 Americans. So, like, I dont know. I would still support military action against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. On the other hand, I think in retrospect, it was probably pretty useful to have at least somebody stand up and say, wait a second, you know. How long are we going there? This seems a little open-ended. GG: Yeah, given that were 16 years later, not only are we still there, but the Talibans still there. TC: Exactly. Thats exactly right. So, yes. To answer your question in a word, yes. This is an old tactic. Its been employed by the Right. Again, Im sure it has been employed by me, and Im ashamed of that. But what Im so surprised by in this moment, and Im sure it happened after 9/11 too, and I know it happened during the run up to the Iraq War, is: skepticism is being treated as sinful. And thats when you know youre not really part of a policy debate. This is a theological debate. You know these are people looking for apostates. And I just feel like its incumbent upon all of us in this business to assert our right to express skepticism. And I have to say, you know, I dont want to log roll here or, you know, be ass-kissy. But, you know, you wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago in which you went after the press, not on behalf of Trump youre obviously not a Trump supporter but on the basis of their willingness, you attacked them for accepting intelligence information or intel from the intel agencies on a background basis without ever vetting it, and accepting it as true. That is not what were supposed to be doing. Were supposed to be relentlessly skeptical about everything we hear. And the press all of a sudden isnt, and its bad. GG: Theres a lot of criticism of you that I think is very partisan in nature, very ideological in nature, stuff that comes from Media Matters and the like that is boring and worthless and worth ignoring. And then theres some criticism of what you do on your show that I think is at least legitimate and valid enough to discuss. And I wanted to ask you about a couple of those lines of critique. TC: Sure. GG: One of which is the way in which you cover crime, domestic crime in the United States, is extremely selective and designed to advance an agenda as opposed to giving a realistic depiction of what the nature of violence in the United States is. And I wanted to ask you about a couple of areas, the first of which is police abuse. Last week, there were two really talked about cases involving police violence. One was, theres a police officer in Bald Springs, Texas. His name is Ray Oliver. Hes a white police officer who was indicted for the fatal shooting of a black teenager, Jordan Edwards. News of that indictment broke on July 15th, the same day that the fatal shooting took place in Minneapolis, where a Somali-American police officer shot a white Australian woman. Your show covered the Minneapolis shooting, I think, on at least several occasions, including you emphasizing that the police officer was an immigrant from Somalia, and you asked TC: Well, theres a lot going on in this story, a lot of we dont know. Mohammed Noor was an immigrant from Somalia. Is that a relevant fact? We dont know. But its being treated as one by many news organizations. How do you know that? Because theyre not reporting it. GG: But didnt talk about the indictment of this white police officer. Now, I realize, you know, I get criticized for selective coverage, and as one person with one show, you can only cover certain things. You have only an hour each night. Youre gonna necessarily leave out newsworthy stories. But do you think its at least a valid point that in choosing which stories to cover, that its important not to inflame tensions against particular groups of people, especially given the impact of the platform you have? And do you think its a fair critique that you tend to focus on violence when committed by minorities more than violence committed by white people? TC: I would say part of that criticism is fair. My coverage is selective. I mean, by the nature of the show, I select what to cover, and its informed by a lot of other opinions that I have that have nothing to do with the particular crime. Now in this case I just pulled this up as you were talking maybe this is embarrassing. I was not aware of the shooting of Jordan Edwards. So, maybe Im reading the wrong things. I didnt know that that happened. So, theres that. GG: Well, the case in Minneapolis, like why was that case so interesting to you? TC: Ill tell you. Because Im very upset about immigration in the United States. I think the whole system is destabilizing to the country. I dont think you can have this much demographic change and not have all kinds of unintended consequences. But the main reason Im upset by it is because I think its driven by economic factors, and I think that the people who are benefiting from it are really disingenuous about that. GG: How does this incident shed light on that concern? I mean, this is a guy who came to the U.S. as a kid. By all accounts, hes been law-abiding his whole life. If he became a police officer I mean, dont you see why theres a view that the reason this case is of interest to a Fox News audience is because of how inflammatory it is? Its a Somali-American immigrant cop shooting a white woman whos Australian, whereas the majority of controversies involving police abuse are white police officers shooting black people under suspicious circumstances. And so, if you focus so much on the former and give little attention to the latter, this concern arises that youre using your platform to fuel resentments against people who are more vulnerable and marginalized. TC: Right. I hope Ive been clear on my show and other shows that Ive had, I am worried about the behavior of police. Ive defended body cam requirements for all cops for that reason. I am. I dont like the abuse of power, and I think that some police officers engage in it, and I think they too often get a pass from conservatives. And Ive said that. I continue to think it. For whatever its worth, Ive been hassled twice in a big way by the police, and I know that it happens, and I dont like it. Second point I would make, is that I really dont want to do anything to inflame racial tensions. And so, you know, thats certainly unintentional. I dont like that Im worried about racial tensions in the United States. Im worried about tribalism. And so, I dont want to be a part of that at all. I really kind of GG: But there is tension between those two objectives, right? Because you can legitimately be concerned about immigration without having racist motives. TC: Yes. GG: And in fact, there was a lot of concern on the left for a long time about the effect that immigration would have on depressing the wages of U.S. workers. So, no question about that. But at the same time, you would acknowledge, right, that the reason why immigration can be such an inflammatory issue, not just in the U.S. but around the world, is because we are tribal beings by instinct. We have other instincts that balance that, and we can suppress that, like we can with all those things. So, you agree that its important at least to be careful in talking about, say, the perils of immigration, if youre somebody who believes that there are dangers to it, not to inflame those kind of terrible tribal instincts that are certainly part of TC: Yes. GG: The immigration debate in the United States and elsewhere. TC: I do. I do think that. And Im sure that there are many times when Ive fallen down in doing that, and not thought through my language enough, or have gotten upset and been unfair. I mean I you know, thats a constant struggle for me, to try to be fair even when Im mad about something, or even when I think theres a larger and more important point at stake, or again, to be unfair. I dont want to be unfair. So, Im sorry if I was. Fox News: So, you want to stop all legal immigration? TC: Absolutely. FN: So, people like, people like me [crosstalk] TC: You, you look at it no, Im talking about not a hundred years ago or 50 years ago or 20. Im talking about 2015. You look into the faces of the tens of millions of unemployed in this country and say, Im bringing in new people. How does that help you? You have to answer that question. Youre not even trying. FN: So, during the Great Depression GG: You know, Peter Beinart wrote this article about your show that I largely agree with, which is that he said, you know, even though he disagrees with you on a lot I forget exactly the terminology, but he said that your show is kind of what conservative cable news could be if its intellectually engaging. And he talked about how you advocate positions that are even too dovish for mainstream Democrats, including telling Ralph Peters that you dont even know for certain that Iran is an actual domestic threat to the U.S., which is something that you would never hear any mainstream Democratic politician saying. I agree with the praise that he had for your show. But you had this segment a couple weeks ago that I do think highlights the validity of this critique that I was asking you about. And I have to say, this is the one that bothered me the most, about this friction that you said took place or was emerging between residents of California, Pennsylvania, which is this tiny little town of 6,000 people, and this ethnic Roma population that had come from Romania seeking asylum in the U.S., and I think there was a grand total of like three dozen of them. And the segment kind of played into all of these negative stereotypes about the Roma, who are one of the most marginalized and hated groups on the planet. TC: Roma are seeking asylum, saying they suffered racism in their native Romania. Immigration is not going well. According to residents, the Roma have little regard, either for the law or public decency. Citizens say they defecate in public, chop the heads off chickens, leave trash everywhere, and more. Theyre upset. Some of them are, anywhere. George Eli is a filmmaker who GG: Its this tiny little conflict that, I dont know, didnt seem to have any repercussions to me, and had little effect on what I think on your audience other than to kind of inflame tensions about the Roma. Im just wondering why, with a platform as significant as yours, given the conflicts that are so important in the world to cover, you do cover this. Because I do have to say, it does seem like pandering to the Fox audience when you do stuff like that. Im just interested in TC: Ill tell you exactly Ill tell you exactly why. No, that was sincere on my part. And for whatever its worth, I think the Roma are actually kind of interesting, and Ive read a bunch of books on them just because Im interested in any culture that remains distinct over a thousand years through a dozen countries. So, I think theres a lot thats cool about the Roma. But I personally think that the most marginalized population in America is rural people, or people living in post-industrial parts of the country, whose life expectancy is actually in decline. Now, I live for a fair amount of the year in rural Maine in a post-industrial area that was, you know, all paper companies, timber products. Its totally collapsed. And Ive seen this exact thing happen there, where Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services or some group that thinks its doing good moves refugees into a depressed community and then leaves. And its massively disruptive for the people who live there. Massively. And nobody cares. And that drives me insane.

Fair Usage Law

July 28, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Donald Trump’s Defenders on the Left – The Atlantic

When it comes to possible collusion with Russia, Donald Trumps most interesting defenders dont reside on the political right. They reside on the political left. Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich arent defending a principle. Theyre defending a patron. Until recently they were ultra-hawks. Now, to downplay Russias meddling in the 2016 elections, they sound like ultra-doves. All that matters is supporting their ally in the White House. For left-wing defenders like Max Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald, by contrast, ideology is king. Blumenthal and Greenwald loathe Trump. But they loathe hawkish foreign policy more. So they minimize Russias election meddling to oppose what they see as a new Cold War. Its a genuinely principled position. The problem is that principles are blinding them to facts. On Tuesday on the Tucker Carlson show, Blumenthal laid out the progressive case against Russia hysteria. His first point was that, by obsessing about the Russia scandal, Democrats are forfeiting the chance to outline a genuinely progressive alternative to Trump. For the corporate sellout establishment that cant agree on a big economic message, that doesnt favor single payer [health care], Blumenthal argued, this is just convenient because this gives them a way of opposing Trump without having to do anything remotely progressive. This is wrong. While its true that Democratic politicians and liberal pundits have spent a lot of time discussing the Russia scandal, its not true that they havent done anything remotely progressive. To the contrary, Democrats in Congress have opposed Trumps agenda more militantly than did congressional Democrats during the Reagan and George W. Bush years. In 1981, 48 Democrats in the House and 37 in the Senate voted for Reagans tax cuts. In 2001, 10 Democrats in the House and 12 in the Senate supported Bushs. By contrast, every House Democrat opposed Trumps first big legislative push, repealing and replacing Obamacare. (Had a repeal bill come to a vote in the Senate, Democratic opposition would likely have been unanimous there too.) Its the same with Supreme Court nominations. In 1986, every Senate Democrat voted to confirm Antonin Scalia. In 2005, half of Senate Democrats voted to confirm John Roberts. This year, only three Democratic Senators voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch. Part of this, of course, is partisan sorting. There are fewer Democrats from conservative states and districts than there were decades ago. But its also because Democratic members of Congress are more responsive to their liberal base. In 2001, Californias Dianne Feinstein voted for Bushs tax cuts. A California Democrat voting for a Trump tax cut would be inconceivable today. Blumenthal is right that Democrats dont have a big economic message. But thats not primarily because of the Russia scandal. Parties that are out of power rarely have a clear agenda. Its hard to develop a clear message when you dont have a clear leader. Narratives emerge during presidential campaigns. And the early evidence is that the progressive themes Bernie Sanders pushed last yearsingle-payer health care, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wagewill carry more weight inside the Democratic Party in 2020 than they did in 2016. Blumenthals second argument is that the anti-Moscow line Democrats are now pushing will come back to haunt them. It will be repurposed by the political establishment so that anyone on the left who steps out of line on the issues of permanent war or of corporate free trade will be painted as Russia puppets. Greenwald has made a similar argument. On Monday he savaged a new foreign policy group, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which brings Clinton campaign veterans together with neoconservatives like Bill Kristol. The song Democrats are now singing about Russia and Putin, wrote Greenwald, is one the neocons wrote many years ago, and all of the accompanying rhetorical tacticsaccusing those who seek better relations with Moscow of being Putins stooges, unpatriotic, of suspect loyalties, etc.are the ones that have defined the neocons smear campaigns for decades. Theres a basis to this fear. Democrats have unleashed dangerous forces by getting to the GOPs right on foreign policy before. In 1992, for instance, Bill Clinton criticized George H.W. Bush for not deposing Saddam Hussein. In so doing, he helped lay the foundation for the push for regime change that culminated a decade later in the Iraq War. (A war I mistakenly supported.) But the problem with downplaying Russian election meddling because youre afraid it will fuel militarism is that it evades the central question: How worrisome is the meddling itself? When it comes to Russians interference in the 2016 election, progressives like Blumenthal are behaving the way many conservatives behave on climate change. Conservatives fear that progressives will use climate change to impose new regulations on the economy. And because they oppose the solution, they claim theres no problem. As with climate change, the evidence that Russia interfered in last years election appears quite strong. The CIA, the FBI, and the NSA all believe with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 designed to undermine public faith in the US democratic process. The CIA and FBI also believe with high confidenceand the NSA believes with moderate confidencethat Putin was trying to elect Trump. They claim the Kremlin did this, in part, by stealing and leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee and top Democratic officials. It also obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. Its easy to say that because Americas intelligence agencies were wrong about Iraqs weapons of mass destruction, progressives shouldnt believe them now. But there are critical differences. In 2002, the intelligence agencies faced intense pressure from the Bush White House and Pentagon to make Saddam Husseins weapons programs seem more menacing. They faced no similar political pressure to exaggerate the severity of Russias election meddling. Whats more, officials in France and Germany say Russia has tried to subvert their elections too. And in his email to Donald Trump Jr., Rob Goldstone, who was arranging a meeting with a lawyer close to figures in the Kremlin, wrote about Russia and its governments support of Mr. Trump. Blumenthal can deride a bootlicking press and a bootlicking kind of liberal opposition that believes all intelligence agencies. But Special Counsel Robert Mueller and four congressional committees are investigating the intelligence agencies conclusions. By the end of their inquiries, Americans will have a much fuller picture of Russian involvement in last years election than they had about Iraqi WMD on the eve of the Iraq War. Blumenthal and Greenwald have an ideological problem. On foreign policy, they are anti-interventionists, or what Walter Russell Mead calls Jeffersonians. They believe that Americas empire threatens not only peace and justice abroad, but liberty at home. They want the United States to stop defending its imperial borders in Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, and the Middle East, because they believe such efforts cost Americans money, cost American lives, and create a pretext for surveillance that makes Americans less free. Thats a totally legitimate view. As Mead notes, John Quincy Adams, Walter Lippmann, and George Kennan were all, in different ways, Jeffersonians. Andrew Bacevich and Ron Paul are today. And American foreign policy, which is dominated by an interventionist bipartisan elite, can benefit from a Jeffersonian critique. How does it benefit ordinary Americans to continue an endless, almost certainly unwinnable, war in Afghanistan? Why is the United States considering expanding NATO when it means pledging American lives to defend countries that many Americans have never even heard of? But its one thing to oppose defending the American empire. Its another to oppose defending the American homeland. By intervening in the 2016 election, Russia did not threaten American influence in Afghanistan or Ukraine or Syria. It threatened America itself. Near the heart of American democracy lies the idea that Americansnot foreign governmentsshould choose Americas leaders. It appears Russia challenged that by mounting a widespread, largely clandestine, campaign to get a particular candidate elected. And to make matters worse, the candidate it helped elect himself poses a serious threat to the rule of law in the United States. Already, American liberal democracy is weaker because of what Russia did. If Russia casts doubt on the legitimacy of future American electionsby hacking into voting machines or spreading disinformation to discredit the resultsit could do even greater harm. If Blumenthal and Greenwald are indignant about Kris Kobachs efforts to limit Americans ability to choose their leaders, they should be indignant about Vladimir Putins too. In his interview with Carlson, Blumenthal attacked Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin for calling Russias meddling a political Pearl Harbor. But in some ways, its an apt analogy. Until December 7, 1941, Americas conflict with Japan had been waged far from Americas shores. Tokyo wanted a sphere of influence in East Asia, its own Monroe Doctrine. The United States wanted to deny Japan hegemony over China, Indochina, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. It was a contest over imperial frontiers. Then, on December 7, Japan unexpectedly crossed the Pacific and attacked the United States itself. Suddenly, even Jeffersonians had to acknowledge that Japan constituted a threat. Similarly, in recent years the United States has waged proxy battles against Russia in places like Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan, which are far from American shores. Jeffersonians can legitimately argue that Americas struggle for influence in those countries does more harm than good. But last year, Russia unexpectedly attacked the United States itself in ways that genuinely harmed ordinary Americans. Trying to prevent Russia from doing so again doesnt make you an imperialist or a hawk. No matter how anti-interventionist you are, you need to protect your own country. Blumenthal and Greenwald need not respond to Russias meddling by supporting NATO expansion or greater military intervention in Syria. But Jeffersonians should offer their own vision for how the United States protects its elections. If that involves treaties and international organizations rather than sanctions and arms sales, thats fine. If it involves American pledges to restrain its overseas cyber attacks, thats fine too. What America badly needs is a debate, across the ideological spectrum, about how to safeguard American democracy from the new foreign threats that technology enables. Jeffersonians can play a crucial role in responding to that problem. But not if they are so afraid of the potential answers that they deny theres a problem at all.

Fair Usage Law

July 23, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Americans have been ‘brainwashed’ to believe Russia has taken over their country Max Blumenthal – RT

Were seeing more and more congressional Democrats attempting to push the concept of Russian collusion onto the American electorate. I am just challenging it because it is a dangerous narrative, Max Blumenthal, American author and journalist, told RT. The White House accused the media of “Russia fever” over reports about a supposed secret meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit earlier this month. It has emerged that the leaders did speak for a second time, but only during a joint dinner with other leaders. President Trump dubbed the story “Fake News” in a tweet, saying that the press was aware of the dinner, and that all the G-20 leaders were present. Furthermore, Democratic member of the US House of Representatives Jamie Raskin was challenged by a journalist Max Blumenthal after he claimed that Trump’s ex-advisor was a host on this channel. RT spoke to Max Blumenthal. RT: You’re known for having left-wing leanings, why did you decide to confront this Democratic congressman on the claims he made during his speech? Max Blumenthal: I am much closer to Congressman Raskin ideologically than Roger Stone. I really dont support anything Roger Stone or Donald Trump stand for. I think Stone is kind of a sleazy character. But when Jamie Raskin gets up before a rally of Democrats attempting to prove that there is a secret Russian plot to subvert American democracy and tells us a series of lies, I challenge those lies. This clip that you showed [on RT] was just part of the series of challenges I put to Raskin about Russian hacking in the elections, about his calls for regime change, including of democratically elected governments, like the government of Venezuela. Raskin really had no coherent response to me. And that is what were seeing more and more from the congressional Democrats, who were attempting to push the concept of Russian collusion onto the American electorate. I am just challenging it because it is a dangerous narrative. I think that having a new Cold War will be terrible for progressive elements in the US. We need to examine the evidence in a clear rational way, and so far that hasnt happened. And then beyond that, it is interesting that the only networks that will allow me to come on and speak from a progressive perspective and challenge this new Cold War hysteria are really the major networks Fox News and RT. That says a lot about liberal media and the kind of exclusive club theyre running. RT: Did the response youve got from the Congressman surprise you? MB: It surprised me that Jamie Raskin, whose father directed one of the first one of the sort of left-wing, anti-war thing tanks in Washington, the Institute for Policy Studies, that he would make these kind of neo-conservative arguments. It appeared to me that some think-tankers, who are pushing for a new Cold War for their own interest, have basically written his speech. It was also shocking if you watch my video from this rally youll see interviews with people who have basically been brainwashed into believing that Russia has essentially taken over their country, subverted their democracy. These are people who otherwise would be supporting progressive causes this is the democratic base. So that really shocks me. The lack of information these people had, who told me that they read the New York Times and the Washington Post, and their conspiratorial perspective was shocking as well. RT: President Trump said that he and his team are subject to a political witch-hunt? Do you agree with that, or is it going too far? MB: When Trump was elected I would have never thought Id find myself in a position of agreeing with something like that. But it does appear to be the case, and there are many legitimate reasons to oppose Trump for his unconstitutional Muslim ban; for his wholesale sell out to Goldman Sachs in the big banks for his gutting of the environmental protection agency. But the Democrats dont want to take him on in a progressive way. What they have done, they have relied on intelligence services, allies of former CIA Director John Brennan, to sabotage Trumps attempt at detente with Russia through anonymous leaks. Everyday youll see in the Washington Post a story framed to paint Trump as some kind of Russian puppet for doing things that might be rational like defunding jihadist rebels in Syria. Today the headline in the Washington Post is that it is a major concession Trump is making to Russia. RT: Why do you think the mainstream media and politicians are still obsessed with the Trump-Russia collusion story? MB: It may be that Russian hackers were responsible for the Democratic National Committee [DNC] hacks, but no intelligence agency not the FBI, not the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] – has examined the e-mail servers. The DNC has in fact obstructed the FBI from examining those servers and handed over the task of attribution of the hacks to a for-profit private firm called Crowdstrike, which is now valued at $1 billion since it made the high-profile attribution of those hacks to the Russian government. It is clear that there is something very shady going, and the public has not seen the evidence. It may actually be impossible to make that attribution. Beyond that there has been simply no debate in the public realm about the evidence. Everyone just simply accepts the intelligence agencies at their word, and that to me is a deeply undemocratic impulse. The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Trump/Putin Collusion: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It? – Patriot Post

Mark Alexander Jul. 19, 2017 But the fact being once established, that the press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood, I leave to others to restore it to its strength, by recalling it within the pale of truth. Thomas Jefferson (1805) In 1974, former Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) was the ranking minority member of the Senate committee investigating the Watergate cover-up conspiracy. The Senate endeavored to determine if Republican President Richard Nixon, who won his 1972 re-election bid by the fourth-largest margin (23.15%) in history, had concealed after-the-fact knowledge of a break-in at the Democrat National Committee headquarters by Republican operatives. (Now, apparently, breaking into the DNC or the secret email server of a Democrat presidential candidate is much easier done by computer.) At a critical juncture in that investigation, Baker (who later served as Ronald Reagans chief of staff in 1987) posited, What did the president know and when did he know it? He and his then-young understudy and chief counsel, Fred Thompson, went on to aggressively pursue the truth regarding their partys president. Baker said, Ill dig for the facts, and Ill follow wherever they lead, and indeed, they did. Those were the glory days of The Washington Post, whose journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are credited with uncovering information about the break-in, including involvement by the Justice Department, FBI, CIA and the White House leading to Nixon. Facing the certainty of impeachment in the Democrat-controlled House and conviction by the Democrat-controlled Senate, Nixon at least had the integrity to resign his office on August 9, 1974, rather than drag the nation through an impeachment proceeding. As you recall, Bill Clinton possessed no such integrity when he was impeached by the House in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was ultimately acquitted of those charges by the Senate a year later in a 50-50 vote. Fast forward to the present Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy breaking news propagated daily by the MSM. Regarding this fake news fabrication, nobody is asking, What did they know and when did they know it? However, in this instance, the question should not be directed at President Donald Trump, but at The Washington Post and The New York Times the primary Leftmedia outlets in collusion with the Democrat Party that form the Demo/MSM propaganda machine. Let me explain why they should answer this question but wont. Earlier this week, Julie Pace, the liberal Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press, observed quizzically, Every time [the Trump administration] finds [its] footing, every time they feel like theyve had a positive message, something on the Russia investigation emerges. Apparently, one of the APs ranking journalists believes this correlation is complete coincidence. Hmmm. Well, Julie, could it be that the Leftmedia is holding back its Russia cards and playing them as needed every time the Trump administration finds its footing or has a positive message? There was a time when the collusion between the Democrat Party and mainstream media dezinformatsiya outlets could rely solely on Donald Trump to singlehandedly undermine his success by issuing stupid social media posts. But a week before Trumps inaugural, former FBI Director James Comey added a powerful propaganda weapon to the Leftmedias arsenal in its relentless effort to undermine Trumps agenda. He gave Barack Obama a copy of the completely debunked Trump/Russia dossier. The fact that the FBI was investigating that fake dossier was then leaked to the press most likely by Comey, who in May acknowledged that he had leaked other memos to the press in hopes that a special counsel would be appointed to investigate Trump. (Comeys treachery paid off when his old friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, was appointed as special counsel.) That Russia fabrication and leak was, and remains, the source for the Demos Trump/Putin conspiracy theories. In fact, now there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Democrat operatives were behind the dossier, but neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times are concerned with facts, having become masters in the art of the BIG lie. Again, as the APs Julie Pace noted, every time Trump achieves favorable reviews, predictably another Trump/Putin story emerges, which almost always originate with the Times or the Post. Pace was referencing the most recent case in point After Trumps widely applauded NATO address in Poland and his G-20 summit 10 days ago, that success was derailed in short order by the latest revelation regarding the Russian collusion delusion that in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. spent a few minutes with a Russian lawyer, in a meeting set up by a third party who claimed she might have some useful (read: damaging) info on Hillary Clinton. In political and corporate parlance, that is called opposition research or competitor intelligence, but never mind that it amounted to nothing. What an amazing coincidence that on the heels of Trumps successful week abroad, yet another Russian collusion story emerged. For the record, in my considered opinion, The New York Times and The Washington Post have been, and still are, holding Trump/Putin cards, and theyre timing the play of those cards to undercut any Trump agenda momentum. Thus, this is the question every Beltway and New York media journalist should be asking: Beyond what the Post and Times knew about the Trump Jr. meeting, when did they know it? (Memo to Bob Woodward) Did the Times or Post have this information for weeks or months prior to making headlines with it, and if so, why did they not release it sooner? Of course, there are few journalists remaining in either of those markets to ask such an important question especially one that would challenge Leftmedia Goliaths. This critical question would better be directed to the ombudsman at the Post and Times. Ombudsmen are those charged with reviewing the journalistic integrity of a media outlet, having sufficient independent authority to investigate cases of journalistic abuse and recommend the perpetrators for prosecution and/or termination a media independent counsel. Unfortunately, after leftwing limo liberal Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013, he eliminated their ombudsman post. Andthe New York Times eliminated their ombudsman post in May of this year So, why is this question so important? Because the most dangerous collusion threatening American Liberty today is that between Democrats and their mainstream media partisans. They now brazenly use their media outlets for obstruction and sabotage in order to block Trumps agenda, primarily with counterfeit Trump/Putin news. Clearly, Trumps conservative agenda is wholly antithetical to their own. This mass media malpractice constitutes a perilous betrayal of the First Amendment. As I have noted since that fake Russian dossier first emerged, the endless loop of the Demo/MSMs Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy coverage is utterly baseless. Its nothing more than a political diversion and obfuscation tactic to destabilize Trumps agenda and, by extension, that of the Republican Congress. And its working! Contemplate this if Vladimir Putins goal is to weaken the American peoples confidence in their political system, then the Democrat/MSM collusion is certainly accomplishing his objective. Undermining Trumps presidency sows discord among Republicans in the House and Senate ahead of the 2018 midterm election and ensures the failure of critical initiatives such as the effort to repeal and replace the so-called Affordable Care Act this week. Every card-carrying member of the Demo/MSM consortium knows the Trump/Putin collusion fabrication is a political charade unless their brains have been totally consumed with Potomac fever. Notably, however, many younger Leftmedia activists arent biting, and in fact are becoming more outspoken in their objection to the Russia ruse. Left-wing protagonist Max Blumenthal, senior editor of AlterNet, offered this assessment this week: As someone on the left who has protested against Trump, I didnt expect this hysteria to completely take over. The Democrats are pushing Russia scandalmongering nonstop. Its subsumed all of the progressive grassroots movements and its basically burning the left. People who are progressive, who are falling into it, I need to know what the long-term consequences of this cynical narrative are. There is definitely a political class in Washington that sees Russia scandalmongering as the silver bullet to take out Trump. The Democrat establishment cant agree on a big economic message so this [collusion conspiracy] is convenient because it gives them a way of opposing Trump without having to do anything remotely progressive. Blumenthal calls the Demo/MSM the boot-licking press. He adds, Theres never any clear sourcing, never any sources on the record. When asked by political commentator Tucker Carlson what kind of response have you received from the Leftmedia and liberals since registering your objections to the Russia charade, Blumenthal responded, Ill probably get called a Putin puppet. And while the fictional Trump/Putin collusion conspiracy is this summers blockbuster hit inside the Beltway, Americans across the country are increasingly tuning out the Leftmedia. And notably, those who supported Trump in 2016 are now overwhelmingly unimpressed with the collusion conspiracy claptrap. Turns out that outside the Beltway swamp political and media echo chambers, Americans are more concerned about the economy which, Demo-gogues Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer might recall, is why Trump won! That notwithstanding, some of the more hysterical Democrats are now calling for Trumps impeachment, including Hillary Clintons kooky 2016 running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine: Were now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of whats being investigated. This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason. Political analyst Michael Barone notes that this ludicrous overreach by Democratic politicians who havent given up on dreams of somehow ousting Trump from office and who are eager as always to delegitimize his presidency might backfire. But the Demo/MSM demolition derby shows no signs of letting up and it wont, because its underwritten in large measure by socialist Hungarian billionaire George Soros and others, like socialist American billionaire Tom Steyer. So I ask again: Beyond what the Post and Times knew about the Trump Jr. meeting, when did they know it? Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis Pro Deo et Libertate 1776

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

As Trump Shores Up Assad’s Genocidal Regime, America’s Hard Left Is Cheering Him on – Haaretz

Surprised by the Max Blumenthal and Tucker Carlson love-in? America’s real collusion story is how the far right and far left whitewash the Kremlin and Assad’s war crimes together Prominent left wing blogger and self-declared “anti-imperialist” Max Blumenthal was recently the special guest ofFox News Tucker Carlson. Blumenthal took to the airwaves of a hard-right, Islamophobic propaganda network to rail against sanctions and dismiss irrefutable accusations of collusion between Donald Trumps election campaign and the Kremlin. Normally a situation in which the far-left find kinship with the far-right would raise more of an eyebrow, but in the world of Trump-Russia it barely registers anymore. This is because these voices have found ideological bedfellows on the Western far-right. Blumenthals appearance on Fox wasnt an anomaly, for the editor of the ‘Grayzone Project, supposedly dedicated to “combatting Islamophobia”, has long been at the forefront of a group of Western bloggers, pundits and academics promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda and regurgitatingwidely debunked Islamophobic conspiracy theories about Syrians. Blumenthal, along with his colleagues and frequent Russia Today contributors Gareth Porter, Benjamin Norton & Rania Khalek have spent the best part of the last 18 months publishing smear attacks against NGOs, medics, journalists, first responders and Syrian civil society groups. Virtually any group that speaks out on the Assad regimes campaign of systematic slaughter have been targeted by this coterie with the express intention of defending a regimeguilty of human extermination. This work is focused squarely on painting any grassroots opposition to the Assad regime as either the work of U.S. imperialism or borne from violent Sunni extremists. Blumenthal and his crew have also positioned themselves as the enemies of truth, by frequently using their platforms to deny or dismiss the war crimes of the Assad regime. The irony is that Blumenthal used his appearance on Fox to dismiss the credibility of irrefutable Trump-Russia connections on a supposed lack of evidence, whereas in Syria, Blumenthal and his AlterNet Grayzone colleagues have repeatedly ignored evidence in favour of fact-free war crimes denial narratives, even when those narratives contradict each other. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. But those who have followed Blumenthals evidence-free approach to Assad should not be shocked by his desire to jump into bed with the pro-Putin right-wing chorus. Take for example the Assad regimes air strike on the Ain al-Fijeh water springs in the Damascus enclave of Wadi Barada.Whenthe spring was bombed, temporarilycuttingoff fresh water supplies for large parts of Damascus, the regime claimed that the rebels poisoned the water supply with diesel fuel. Despite there being no evidence of this,Blumenthal ran with this lie. Following a UN investigation that found the Assad regime responsible for the war crime, not only did Blumenthal fail to retract the lie, his colleague Rania Khalek rejected the UN investigation andagain mouthed the regime line. The same thing happened following the regimes bombardment of the Aleppo aid convoy in September 2016. Again, AlterNet writers startedpushing the Kremlin line and, following the United Nations conclusive report finding the regime culpable, theyrefuted the conclusions of the investigation in favour of Russian claims. This has been repeated time and time again by these bloggers, whetherdismissing recorded attacks against field hospitals or outright denying regime culpability for chemical weapons attacks based on claims from one anonymous source. The reality is these pundits arent interested in the veracity of evidence when it comes to using fabricated claims to defend Russia or Assad from allegations of war crimes, even following conclusive independent United Nations investigations. This evidence-free, propaganda heavy position on Syria has been fawned over by the far-right. Blumenthals work has received gushing praise from Americas leading racist commentators includingAnn Coulter, Pamela Geller and former KKK leaderDavid Duke. Earlier in Julythis yearinan interview Blumenthal declared: “The[American]national security state has completely abrogated what should be its top mission, which is to take on these[anti-Assad]Sunni jihadist organizations which have repeatedly attacked soft targets in the West and caused chaos. They should be fighting them.” Blumenthal is conflating all anti-Assad forces with ISIS and Al Qaeda, as he has frequentlydenied the existence of any moderate Syrian rebels, a frequent trope to delegitimize all anti-Assad forces. These are the words not of a Leftist or “anti-imperialist”, but of a Westerner fully embracing the expansion of Bush, Obama and now Trump’s ‘war on terror, with a specific remit totarget Sunnis. With a healthy dose of sectarian hypocrisy, a longstanding defender of the designated Shia terrorist organisation Hezbollah has openly called for the expansion of Trumps bombardment of civilians in the Middle East. What Blumenthal fails to disclose is that this campaign is already firmly under way and has already seen civilian deaths jump from 80 per month under Obama to 360 per month under Trump. As well asopenly supporting the Russian-backed offensive against Aleppo, which waslabelled a war crime by the UN, it seems Blumenthal is not opposed to the bombing of Syria as long as Assads enemies are the target. The U.S. is bombing Syria, and the thousands ofcoalition air strikes carried out against ISIS in favour of pro-Assad militias around Palmyra or Deir ez-Zour or againstal-Qaeda-affiliated opposition militants in Idlib or Aleppo prove this, however Blumenthals loudest protests are saved for Assads air bases, not Trumps coalitionbombing civilians in mosques. It is no coincidence that during the campaign trail Benjamin Nortonendorsed Trumps foreign policy, sentiment that was alsoechoed by mainstream backer of AlterNets pro-Assad crowd Glenn Greenwald. The sectarian rot of these bloggers isnt even particularly well hidden, as evidenced by Benjamin Nortons faux-media outrage over the use of the word stronghold. When it comes to Beirut and Hezbollah,Norton is enraged by the use of the word strongholdto describe areas under its control,however in Idlib, theentirety of the population is reduced to a stronghold belonging to a terrorist organisation. This kind of language is deliberately used by these bloggers exclusively to dehumanize Syrian civilians, and on this issue, these far-left activists have found ideological kinship against “manufactured liberal hysteria” with the most reactionary elements of the far-right. While these supposed leftists continue to present themselves as “anti-war” or “anti-imperialist”, they are in fact acting as full-time advocates for Russian and Iranian military imperialism in Syriaand to provide them immunity in the American public square from war crimes charges.This American far-left: far-right coalition on Syria looks set to keep flourishing, on the backs of millions ofalmost exclusively Syrian Sunni Arab victims, whom theyve thrown to their eager Assad-supporting predators. Oz Katerji is a writer, filmmaker and conflict journalist with a focus on the Middle East and former Lesvos project coordinator for British charity Help Refugees. Twitter: @OzKaterji This piece was originally published on ozkaterji.wordpress.com Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

How the GOP Became the Party of Putin – POLITICO Magazine

Would somebody please help me out here: Im confused, read the email to me from a conservative Republican activist and donor. The Russians are alleged to have interfered in the 2016 election by hacking into Dem party servers that were inadequately protected, some being kept in Hillarys basement and finding emails that were actually written by members of the Clinton campaign and releasing those emails so that they could be read by the American people who what, didnt have the right to read these emails? And this is bad? Shouldnt we be thanking the Russians for making the election more transparent? Put aside the factual inaccuracies in this missive (it was not Hillary Clintons controversial private server the Russians are alleged to have hacked, despite Donald Trumps explicit pleading with them to do so, but rather those of the Democratic National Committee and her campaign chairman, John Podesta). Here, laid bare, are the impulses of a large swathe of todays Republican Party. In any other era, our political leaders would be aghast at the rank opportunism, moral flippancy and borderline treasonous instincts on display. Story Continued Below Instead, we get this from the president of the United States, explaining away his sons encounter with Russian operatives who were advertised as working on behalf of the Kremlin: Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. Thats politics! And from elected Republicans, we get mostly silenceor embarrassing excuses. Never mind that Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was about adoption, not a Russian offer of ultra sensitive dirt on Hillary Clinton. Weve gone from the Trump team saying they never even met with Russians to the president himself now essentially saying: So what if we did? None of this should surprise anyone who paid attention during last years campaign. Trump Sr., after all, explicitly implored Russia to hack Clintons private email server. He ran as the most pro-Russian candidate for president since Henry Wallace helmed the Soviet fellow-traveling Progressive Party ticket in 1948, extolling Vladimir Putins manly virtues at every opportunity while bringing Kremlin-style moral relativism to the campaign trail. Worst of all, GOP voters never punished him for it. This is what they voted for. Nor was Trump Jr. the only Republican to seek Russian assistance against Clinton. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Florida Republican operative sought and received hacked Democratic Party voter-turnout analyses from Guccifer 2.0, a hacker the U.S. government has said is working for Russias intelligence services. The Journal has also reported that Republican operative Peter W. Smith, who is now deceased, mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clintons private server, likely by Russian hackers. Amid a raft of congressional and law enforcement probes into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election, its still unclear whether members of Trumps campaign actively colluded with Moscow. But we now know that they had no problem accepting the Kremlins helpin fact, Trump Jr. professes disappointment that his Russian interlocutors didnt deliver the goods. Forty-eight percent of Republicans, meanwhile, think Don Jr. was right to take the meeting. During the campaign, as operatives linked to Russian intelligence dumped hacked emails onto the internet, few Republicans stood on principle, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and condemned their provenance. I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of WikiLeaks, Rubio said at the time. And he issued a stark warning to members of his party who were looking to take advantage of Clintons misfortune: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Rubios GOP colleagues completely ignored his counsel. Suddenly, Republican leaders and conservative media figures who not long ago were demanding prison time (or worse) for Julian Assange were praising the Australian anarchist to the skies. Every morsel in the DNC and Podesta emails, no matter how innocuous, was pored over and exaggerated to maximum effect. Republican politicians and their allies in the conservative media behaved exactly as the Kremlin intended. The derivation of the emails (stolen by Russian hackers) and the purpose of their dissemination (to sow dissension among the American body politic) have either been ignored, or, in the case of my conservative interlocutor, ludicrously held up as an example of Russian altruism meant to save American democracy from the perfidious Clinton clan. Contrast Rubios principled stand with that of current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who, while now appropriately calling WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service that overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from antidemocratic countries, was more than happy to retail its ill-gotten gains during the campaign. Today, just one-third of Republican voters even believe the intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, no doubt influenced by the presidents equivocations on the matter. I was no fan of Barack Obamas foreign policy. I criticized his Russian reset, his Iran nuclear deal, his opening to Cuba, even his handling of political conflict in Honduras. For the past four years, I worked at a think tank, the Foreign Policy Initiative, that was bankrolled by Republican donors and regularly criticized the Obama administration. Anyone whos followed my writing knows Ive infuriated liberals and Democrats plenty over the years, and I have the metaphorical scars to prove it. What I never expected was that the Republican Partywhich once stood for a muscular, moralistic approach to the world, and which helped bring down the Soviet Unionwould become a willing accomplice of what the previous Republican presidential nominee rightly called our No. 1 geopolitical foe: Vladimir Putins Russia. My message for todays GOP is to paraphrase Barack Obama when he mocked Romney for saying precisely that: 2012 calledit wants its foreign policy back. *** I should not have been surprised. Ive been following Russias cultivation of the American right for years, long before it became a popular subject, and I have been amazed at just how deep and effective the campaign to shift conservative views on Russia has been. Four years ago, I began writing a series of articles about the growing sympathy for Russia among some American conservatives. Back then, the Putin fan club was limited to seemingly fringe figures like Pat Buchanan (Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative? he asked, answering in the affirmative), a bunch of cranks organized around the Ron Paul Institute and some anti-gay marriage bitter-enders so resentful at their domestic political loss they would ally themselves with an authoritarian regime that not so long ago they would have condemned for exporting godless communism. Today, these figures are no longer on the fringe of GOP politics. According to a Morning Consult-Politico poll from May, an astonishing 49 percent of Republicans consider Russia an ally. Favorable views of Putin a career KGB officer who hates America have nearly tripled among Republicans in the past two years, with 32 percent expressing a positive opinion. It would be a mistake to attribute this shift solely to Trump and his odd solicitousness toward Moscow. Russia has been targeting the American right since at least 2013, the year Putin enacted a law targeting pro-gay rights organizing and delivered a state-of-the-nation address extolling Russias traditional values and assailing the Wests genderless and infertile liberalism. That same year, a Kremlin-connected think tank released a report entitled, Putin: World Conservativisms New Leader. In 2015, Russia hosted a delegation from the National Rifle Association, one of Americas most influential conservative lobby groups, which included David Keene, then-president of the NRA and now editor of the Washington Times editorial page, which regularly features voices calling for a friendlier relationship with Moscow. (It should be noted here that Russia, a country run by its security services where the leader recently created a 400,000-strong praetorian guard, doesnt exactly embrace the individual right to bear arms.) A recent investigation by Politico Magazine, meanwhile, revealed how Russian intelligence services have been using the internet and social networks to target another redoubt of American conservativism: the military community. Today, its hard to judge this Russian effort as anything other than a smashing success. Turn on Fox News and you will come across the networks most popular star, Sean Hannity, citing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a reliable source of information or retailing Russian disinformation such as the conspiracy theory that murdered DNC staffer Seth Richwho police say was killed during a robbery attemptwas the source of last summers leaks, not Russian hackers. Foxs rising star Tucker Carlson regularly uses his time slot to ridicule the entire Russian meddling scandal and portray Putin critics as bloodthirsty warmongers. On Monday night, he went so far as to give a platform to fringe leftist Max Blumenthal author of a book comparing Israel to the Third Reich and a vocal supporter of the Assad regime in Syria to assail the bootlicking press for reporting on Trumps Russia ties. (When Blumenthal alleged that the entire Russia scandal was really just a militarist pretext for NATO enlargement, Carlson flippantly raised the prospect of his son having to fight a war against Russia, as he did in a contentious exchange earlier this year with Russian dissident Garry Kasparov. At the time, I asked Carlson if his son serves in the military. He didnt respond). Meanwhile the Heritage Foundation, one of Washingtons most influential conservative think tanks and a former bastion of Cold War hawkishness, has enlisted itself in the campaign against George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist whose work promoting democracy and good governance in the former Soviet space has made him one of the Kremlins main whipping boys. And its not just conservative political operatives and media hacks who have come around on Russia. Pro-Putin feelings are now being elucidated by some conservative intellectuals as well. Echoing Kremlin complaints that Russia is a country which has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled a self-pitying justification for Russian aggression throughout history Weekly Standard senior editor Christopher Caldwell extolls Putin as the pre-eminent statesman of our time. How did the party of Ronald Reagans moral clarity morph into that of Donald Trumps moral vacuity? Russias intelligence operatives are among the worlds best. I believe they made a keen study of the American political scene and realized that, during the Obama years, the conservative movement had become ripe for manipulation. Long gone was its principled opposition to the evil empire. What was left was an intellectually and morally desiccated carcass populated by con artists, opportunists, entertainers and grifters operating massively profitable book publishers, radio empires, websites, and a TV network whose stock-in-trade are not ideas but resentments. If a political officer at the Russian Embassy in Washington visited the zoo that is the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, theyd see a movement that embraces a ludicrous performance artist like Milo Yiannopoulos as some sort of intellectual heavyweight. When conservative bloggers are willing to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from Malaysias authoritarian government to launch a smear campaign against a democratic opposition leader they know nothing about, how much of a jump is it to line up and defend what at the very least was attempted collusion on the part of a brain-dead dauphin like Donald Trump Jr.? Surveying this lamentable scene, why wouldn’t Russia try to turn the American right, whose ethical rot necessarily precedes its rank unscrupulousness? It is this ethical rot that allows Dennis Prager, one of the rights more unctuous professional moralists, to opine with a straight face that The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does. Why wouldnt a religious right that embraced a boastfully immoral charlatan like Donald Trump not turn a blind eye towardor, in the case of Franklin Graham, embracean oppressive regime like that ruling Russia? American conservatism is no better encapsulated today than by the self-satisfied, smirking mug of Carlson, the living embodiment of what Lionel Trilling meant when he wrote that the conservative impulse is defined by irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas. *** The entire Trump-Russia saga strikes at a deeper issue which most Republicans have shown little care in examining: What is it about Donald Trump that attracted the Kremlin so? Such an effort would be like staging an intervention for a drunk and abusive family member: painful but necessary. One would have thought a U.S. intelligence community assessment concluding that the Russians preferred their partys nominee over Hillary Clinton would have introduced a bit of introspection on the right. Moments for such soul-searching had arrived much earlier, however, like when Trump hired a former advisor to the corrupt, pro-Russian president of Ukraine as his campaign manager last summer. Or when he praised Putin on Morning Joe in December of 2015. Republicans ought to have considered how an America First foreign policy, despite its promises to build up the military and bomb the shit out of ISIS, might actually be more attractive to Moscow than the warts-and-all liberal internationalism of the Democratic nominee, who, whatever her faults, has never called into question the very existence of institutions like the European Union and NATO, pillars of the transatlantic democratic alliance. Now that hes president, Trumps fitful behavior, alienating close allies like Britain and Germany, ought give Republicans pause about how closely the presidents actions accord with Russian objectives. But alas there has been no such reckoning within the party of Reagan. Instead, the Russia scandal has incurred a wrathful defensiveness among conservatives, who are reaching for anything paranoid attacks on the so-called American deep state, allegations of conspiracy among Obama administration holdovers to distract attention from the very grave reality of Russian active measures. To be sure, the Republican Congress, at least on paper, remains hawkish on the Kremlin, as evidenced by the recent 98-2 Senate vote to increase sanctions against Russia for its election meddling and other offenses. But in no way can they be said anymore to represent the GOP party base, which has been led to believe by the president and his allies in the pro-Trump media that the Russia story is a giant hoax. It wasnt long ago that the GOP used to mock Democratic presidential candidates for supposedly winning endorsements from foreign adversaries, like when a Hamas official said he liked Barack Obama in 2008. Today, most Republicans evince no shame in the fact that their candidate was the clearly expressed preference of a murderous thug like Vladimir Putin. If Republicans put country before party, they would want to know what the Russians did, why they did it and how to prevent it from happening again. But that, of course, would raise questions implicating Donald Trump and all those who have enabled him, questions that most Republicans prefer to remain unanswered. James Kirchick, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age. This article is a co-publication with Eurozine.

Fair Usage Law

July 20, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

‘Maddow’s Dots May Never Connect’: Left-Wing Author Blasts Trump … – Fox News Insider

Pence Hits Back at Dem Who Accused Him of Health Care ‘Evil’ ‘Lose the Fake Robin Hood Shtick’: Bolling Blasts Bernie & Jane Sanders for FBI Probe While many on the left continue to accuse President Trump and his administration of colluding with the Russians, one well-known progressive thinker said such actions hurt their cause. Author Max Blumenthal said he’s skeptical of the Russia narrative, remarking that “Rachel Maddow’s dots may never connect.” Maddow, an MSNBC host, has been one of the president’s top critics in the media when it comes to the Russia narrative. Blumenthal called Trump the “apotheosis of a failed political establishment,” saying the Russia story is simply a cover for establishment Republicans and progressive Democrats to be able to avoid “do[ing] anything progressive.” He accused both parties of “scandal-mongering” and criticized the left for abandoning their anti-war ideology just to attack the president. He and Tucker Carlson discussed how some Democrats have advocated supporting insurgent elements in Syria for the sake of irritating Vladimir Putin. Blumenthal, the son of former Clinton adviser Sid Blumenthal, warned such behavior on-the-whole will have “long-term consequences for the left in this country.” Watch more above. ‘If You Work Your Butt Off and Pay Taxes…’: Kid Rock Offers Senate Platform NAACP Leader: Evangelicals Praying With Trump ‘Theological Malpractice Bordering on Heresy’ Napoleon Dynamite? Watters Quizzes Jersey Beachgoers on Bastille Day

Fair Usage Law

July 18, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Notorious ‘New Atheist’ Sam Harris outrageously calls to ‘keep the number of Muslims down in any society’ – Raw Story

In language eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric of the fascist far right, New Atheist pundit Sam Harris has called for reducing the number of Muslims in society, warning on the January episode of his popular podcast, You cant have too many Muslims in your culture if you want it to remain enlightened. On his program Waking Up, Harris echoed anti-refugee talking points and proposed figuring out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether were honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly its rational to want to do this. I think many people will feel, what is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society? he added. It seems perfectly rational to say, we dont want any more. Harris made these remarks in an interview with the British pundit and self-styled counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz. As AlterNets Max Blumenthal and Nafeez Ahmed havedocumented, Nawaz concocted significant portions of his memoir and falsely branded members of his own family as Islamic extremists. Nawaz issued his approval, declaring that Harris proposal to limit the Muslim population in the West is not irrational; its not even inhuman. Harris and Nawaz also bashed the left and called for more Western military intervention in the Middle East, despite it being the primary force drivingSalafi-jihadist violence and the refugee crisis. Well-established history of bigotry Sam Harris, who identifies as a liberal centrist, has previously said that the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe areactually fascists. He has a long history of anti-Muslim extremism, going so far as to claim we are at warwith Islam. The popular leader of the so-called New Atheists a right-wing, pro-war segment of the larger secular movement has also openly stated, We should profile Muslimsor anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. The January episode of Harris podcast is not the first time he has flirted with racist talking points. It was soon followed by another episode in April,in which Harris advanced rhetoric that resembles the pseudoscientific race realism of white supremacists. Harris insisted that average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups, implying that people of African descent have lower IQs, while people of European descent are smarter. Harris, who has also harshly criticized the Black Lives Mattermovement as irrational, staunchly maintains he is not racist, and has gone out of his way to condemn white supremacists. His IQ comments, however, were applauded by white nationalists and the rebranded fascist movement that calls itself the alt-right. The April episode featured an extended interview with Charles Murray, a notorious right-wingacademic who did secret counterinsurgency work with the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. Murray also helped to create the racist system of mass incarceration, and he successfully campaigned to dismantle welfare programs. In the January episode, both Harris and Nawaz praised another Murray: the neoconservative British writer Douglas Murray, who wrote a book titledThe Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, which laments that Europe is becoming lesswhite and Christian and calls for far-right anti-immigration policies as an antidote. Harris cited Douglas Murray multiple times, and referred to him as a mutual friend with Nawaz. What is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society? Sam Harris has a longtime habit of running away from his own words, accusing critics of taking his extreme statements out of context. This latest episode is no exception. Thus, the timestamps for comments quoted in this article show that they were quoted accurately and in context. In a segment that begins at 1:11:00 in the January podcast episode, Harris made a lengthy argument for restricting Muslim migration into Western societies, using right-wing talking points drawn from those used to justify racial quotas in immigration centuries ago. Harris said his anti-immigrant bigotry was simply the gut reaction that I know millions upon millions of people are having, in response to attacks by Salafi-jihadist militants. If you take a community of Muslims from Syria or Iraq or any other country on Earth and place them in the heart of Europe, you are importing, by definition, some percentage, however small, of radicalized people, or people who will be prone to radicalism at some future date where they just decide to start watching too many Anwar al-Awlaki videos, Harris said at 1:11:50. And again, this only happens to Muslims or people who are likely to become Muslim. Harris went on, at 1:12:26: I think many people will feel, what is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society? It seems perfectly rational to say, we dont want any more. We have enough. And certainly increasing the percentage is not a help to anyone who loves freedom of speech and anything else, any of the other liberal values. Its not worth the trouble, Harris continued. And if we can figure out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether were honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly its rational to want to do this. This is where someone like Robert Spencer would say amen, I would presume, he added, referring positively to a far-right anti-Muslim extremist who was banned from traveling to the U.K. due to comments the British government said incite violence. This is not an expression of xenophobia, Harris insisted. This is an expression of the implication of statistics and the fact that its only rational not to want to live in a world that looks more and more like Jerusalem at the height of the Intifada. Nawaz agreed. Yes, he said at 1:13:33. Its not irrational; its not even inhuman, for people to react that way. He then proceeded to attack the political left. Nawaz added that this xenophobia is natural: Its a very human response. People like familiarity. People like a sense of predictability around their environment and the culture that they expect others to adhere to. He claimed ideologues on the left are in denial about this natural bigotry. Anti-Muslim double standard Harris openly acknowledged in the podcast that he maintains a double standard against Muslims. In an attempt to shield himself from accusations of racism, Harris noted at 1:15:04 that if an Indian family moved next door, he would have no problem; he would in fact welcome them. But if these new neighbors were Muslim, Harris said he would be concerned: What I worry about is bad beliefs. Harris made it clear that his animus against Muslims is exceptional. He went out of his way to claim that there is an Islamic exceptionalism that Islam has uniquely bad special challenges other religions do not have. Nawaz said yeah in agreement. Harris then, at 1:22:55, suggested that Germany could accept migrants from Spain and Portugal to be used as labor, but not from Muslim-majority countries. The fundamental concern is that once you get a sufficient percentage of Muslims in any society, Harris explained at 1:23:09, the character of that community begins to change. Its just a formula for religious oppression, getting enough Muslims in your society, however they got there originally, Harris continued. You cant have too many Muslims in your culture if you want it to remain enlightened. Attacking antiracists and shieldings extremists For holding extreme views like those he expressed on Harris podcast, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the leading monitor of hate groups in the U.S., has designated Maajid Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist. The so-called alt-right a rebranding of white supremacy and neo-fascism has viciously attacked the SPLC for documenting its racist machinations. Harris and Nawaz opened the January episode vociferously condemning the SPLC, branding the group as fascist for creating a list of right-wing extremists. Nawaz suggested he would pursue legal action against the group over its criticism of his public statements, and accused the SPLC of defamation. In the episode, Harris refused to criticize Robert Spencer (not to be confused with white nationalist Richard Spencer), the Islamophobia industry godfather who also appeared on the SPLCs anti-Muslim extremist list. Harris noted that Spencer is unjustly stigmatized, and saidhe does not want to speak ill of him. Robert Spencer is a far-right fanatic who has advanced a number of outlandish conspiracies, including the myth that former president Barack Obama is secretly Muslim. As the SPLC highlighted in its listing, Spencer has condemned multiculturalism as heresy that will result in denigrating and ultimately destroying the Judeo-Christian West. Spencer has glowingly endorsed numerous neo-fascist politicians, including the Netherlands Geert Wilders and Frances Jean-Marie Le Pen. He has also recommended the genocidal fantasy novelCamp of the Saints, also a favorite of Donald Trumps chief strategist Steve Bannon. Amid his calls for fewer Muslims in the West, Sam Harris went out of his way to emphasize to listeners of his podcast that he opposes the term Islamophobia, insisting its very existence is mythical. But as usual, his own words contradict him. This is Part I of a three-part series on Sam Harris and his allies.Stay tuned for more this week.

Fair Usage Law

July 18, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Al-Qaeda Propagandist Employed By CNN To Make Prize-Winning Syria Doc – Mintpress News (blog)

CNN is trying to distance itself from an al-Qaeda propagandist who helped the network create a documentary about the Syrian conflict. The mans ties to the network are just the latest in a series of scandals that have dealt a blow to the networks already tenuous grasp on credibility. CNN is seeking to distance itself from Bilal Abdul Kareem, pictured here, a known propagandist for al-Qaeda, who was hired to create the networks award-winning documentary, Undercover in Syria. (Photo: Facebook) ATLANTA CNN has had a difficult few weeks, with scandals ranging from false reporting in order to boost ratings to blackmailing a private citizen who created a meme lampooning the network. As a result, CNN has seen a massive drop in its prime-time ratings, suggesting that its viewership is shrinking amid the controversy. Now, yet another controversy for the embattled network has come to light in the making of its award-winning Undercover in Syria documentary. Related:Syrian Social Media All-Stars Spread Pro-War Propaganda In News & Social Media The documentary revolves around CNN reporter Clarissa Wards undercover trip to extremist-held portions of Aleppo that pushed for Western intervention in Syria last year and placed the blame for the citys suffering on the Russian, Syrian and Iranian governments. After the documentary aired, Ward was invited by then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to testify on her experiences in rebel-held Aleppo. However, CNN hired a known member of the terror group al-Qaeda, Bilal Abdul Kareem, in order to obtain the on-the-ground footage used in the documentary and to assist Ward in gaining access to rebel territories, a feat that claimed the lives of other journalists. In addition, the network has recently sought to distance itself from its key source on the ground after the documentary started picking up awards. Kareem, however, did not plan to have his key role in the making of the documentary go unnoticed. In June, he took to Twitter, writing that the piece I filmed w/ CNN (Undercover in Syria) won Overseas Press Club & Peabody awards but CNN forgot to mention me. But Im smiling! Included in the tweet was a video of Kareem venting his frustration at the network in which he stated: This Undercover in Syria, you can Google it it won the prestigious Peabody Award, and it won the prestigious Overseas Press Club Award, which are basically the highest awards in journalism for international reporting. Now, [CNN] barely mentioned my name! Im telling you, somehow CNN must have forgotten that I was the one that filmed it, I guess they forgot that. Given Kareems key role in filming the documentary, the fact that he was hardly mentioned in the Peabody Awards press release is certainly unusual. However, CNN likely didnt forget Kareem, but instead intentionally chose to exclude his name once the documentary gained fame, as Kareem is a known English-language propagandist for Jabhat al-Nusra, otherwise known as the al-Nusra Front, a Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. Kareem was not always an al-Qaeda propagandist. An American citizen from Mount Vernon, New York who later moved to Egypt, Kareem has a background in comedy and theater that proved useful following his hire by Saudi-funded Huda TV and the later creation of his own media group On The Ground News, which has focused on the Syrian conflict. Bilal Abdul Kareem with the leader of Syrian rebel forces in Aleppo. Kareem has been actively involved in the Syrian conflict for years. Middle Eastern news outlets, such as Al Arabiya, have stated that Kareem officially joined al-Nusra in 2012 and is known as the extremists publicist. According to reports, Kareem has stated that fighting in Syria is a religious duty, that anti-Assad forces in Syria are the first line of defense in fighting Shiites and that the desire of anti-Assad extremist groups in Syria is the formation of an Islamic state. Kareem has also interviewed Abdullah al-Muhaysini, the Saudi cleric recognized as al-Nusras religious leader, whom he praised as probably the most loved cleric in the Syrian territories today. In addition, rebels in Syria who spoke to Max Blumenthal of Alternet confirmed that Kareem was a well-known member of al-Nusra and was commonly referred to as the American mujahid. A member of Kataib Thawar al-Sham told Blumenthal that Kareem had made several videos for the official YouTube channel of Jaish al-Fatah, the extremist coalition led by al-Nusra, and stated that Kareem used the alias Abu Osama for that work. The militia member, who chose to use an alias in his interview with Blumenthal, stated that he himself had aided Kareem in making videos for the al-Nusra-affiliated YouTube channel Knowledge is Key. The videos frequently feature Salafi cleric Abdul Razzaq al-Mahdi, an ideological leader of extremists in Syria and a co-founder of al-Nusras rebranding into Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. While Kareem has denied being affiliated with al-Qaeda, stating in a Facebook video that I am not, nor have I ever been, nor do I need to be a part of al-Qaeda. I dont have any need for that, Kareems privileged access to al-Nusra members and territory suggests the opposite. Indeed, in the same video where he denies ties to al-Qaeda, Kareem states that the reason he has not faced the same dangers as other journalists in al-Nusra territory is because mutual respect exists between him and the terror group. https://twitter.com/walid970721/status/873609620346085376 Then, last month, Kareem appeared on a special program on al-Muhaysinis Jihads Callers Center, where he was introduced as an American in Syria who is with the rebels and mujahideen. Al-Muhaysini personally welcomed him onto the program, stating: Greetings to our media man, the great innovator, Bilal Abdul Kareem! With Kareem having been praised by al-Nusras religious leader as our media man just last month, his denial of ties to the group seems disingenuous at best. Kareems extensive ties to the terror group, more than the failing memories of CNN producers, is likely to blame for CNNs decision to largely omit his name from mention regarding the Undercover in Syria documentary. CNNs confirmed ties with Kareem will only add to the networks growing list of problems in providing the American people with honest journalism.

Fair Usage Law

July 14, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed


Fair Use Disclaimer

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."