Archive for the ‘Max Blumenthal’ Category

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

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

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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How the GOP Became the Party of Putin – POLITICO Magazine

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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.”

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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.

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

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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.

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

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July 14, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Notorious ‘New Atheist’ Sam Harris Outrageously Calls to ‘Keep the Number of Muslims Down in Any Society’ – AlterNet


AlterNet
Notorious 'New Atheist' Sam Harris Outrageously Calls to 'Keep the Number of Muslims Down in Any Society'
AlterNet
As AlterNet's Max Blumenthal and Nafeez Ahmed have documented, 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 …

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Notorious ‘New Atheist’ Sam Harris Outrageously Calls to ‘Keep the Number of Muslims Down in Any Society’ – AlterNet

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July 13, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

RT America — July 07, 2017 RT USA – RT.com – RT

Published time: 8 Jul, 2017 01:49

CNN hires pro-Syrian Al-Qaeda propagandist, erases him from credits Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American living in regions of Syria controlled by the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, has been referred as “our media man” by top Al-Qaeda clerics. So why did CNN hire him to work on an undercover documentary project, then erase him from the credits? “They didn’t care and just wanted to further the regime change editorial line,” says author and investigative journalist Max Blumenthal, who joins RT America’s Manila Chan to discuss his research into Kareem.

US coalition ‘looks the other way’ when ISIS takes cities journalist In the past few months, US-backed forces in Syria near At Tanf have attacked Syrian forces while claiming self-defense. Yet, they’ve done little fighting against Islamic State despite the United States only stated objective in Syria being to destroy the group, according to journalist Sharmine Narwani, who says the US has a history of looking the other way when Islamic State captures Syrian cities.

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July 9, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Anti-Islamist chic Mondoweiss – Mondoweiss

Yesterday on the NPR show Fresh Air, Terry Gross hosted Haroon Moghul, discussing his memoir, How to Be a Muslim. Moghul is charming and intelligent. The book involves his struggle to reconcile a sophisticated American life with the traditional code he grew up with.

Moghul: I wanted to be Muslim, and I wanted to figure out a way to do that on my own terms.

Gross: Its so important for you to challenge the stereotypes that some Americans have of Islam the stereotype of like, you know, terrorism that in order to challenge those stereotypes, does that make it difficult for you to also challenge the parts of Islam that you dont like, you know, the dictators, ISIS?

Moghul: Its like walking a tightrope. How do you be publicly critical of a community and a religion that you love? And at a time when those identities are under attack, what does it mean to be sincerely critical of your own community?

Last year Bernie Sanders said theres a war for the soul of Islam, and no doubt he is right about this. A number of Arab societies have problems with dictators, as Gross points out. But what about the war for the soul of Judaism? Today a great number of Jewish institutions are committed to a militant nationalist ideology, Zionism, that is completely out of step with 21st century pluralist values, an ideology that roughly half of the people under Israels governance reject the non-Jews and that has no other devotees outside the intolerant rightwing Christian community, which ought to tell you something. But both Gross and Sanders remain committed to this traditional code, so they cant interrogate it. It really is much easier to see the mote in someone elses eye than the beam in your own.

The mainstream cant get enough of the anti-Islamist struggle. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and another Muslim woman lately gave testimony to Congress on Islamist oppression. A few days later they were featured on the New York Times op-ed page. The same page that employs a stable of Zionist columnists, and not an anti-Zionist in sight.

There really is something camp about all the anti-Islamist material in these venues. Because its not ours. We have our own crap to deal with militant religious nationalism and theres a war for the soul of Judaism over it but youd never know it from these leading media figures. Terry Gross has never featured Miko Peled or Max Blumenthal or Anna Baltzer or Alice Rothchild Jewish authors who are struggling with their communitys Zionist inheritance. The most important issue in Jewish political culture: swept under the rug. The New York Times cant go near this struggle either. Except to dis anti-Zionists.

Chris Hayes at MSNBC isnt much better, by the way. Hes from the Nation, and he knows the story about Palestine. But even as he brags about being open to rightwing Republicans

he cant find Alice Rothchild or Max Blumenthals phone number. Hayes has never to my knowledge had an anti-Zionist on air to talk about the war for the soul of Judaism. Could that have anything to do with the fact that the top execs at Comcast have Zionist bona fides, David Cohen having raised money for the Israeli army and for the effort to redeem the Jewish land of Israel? But of course. Over at Time Warner, a top exec has served as a speechwriter for Benjamin Netanyahu. No problem!

Speaking of the monoculture, Grosss guest, Haroon Moghul also works for a Zionist institution, the Shalom Hartman Institute. Though Moghul was careful to say hes not a Zionist.

One thing I do for Hartman, however, is I do teach courses on Islam and the Muslim world and share my perspective and Muslim and Palestinian perspectives on the conflict, again, not because I want my audience to necessarily agree with everything Im saying but simply to develop an appreciation for a narrative they may have never encountered. And I say that as someone whos studied the region academically, whos traveled throughout the region and feels deeply invested in the conflict.

Despite his deep investment, Gross asked him nothing about the Palestinian story yesterday. Monocultures are unstable, monocultures can disappear. There are too many oaks in the forests in upstate New York. There used to be too many chestnuts. A squirrel could go from Maine to Florida just leaping from one chestnut to another, it was said. Now theyre almost all gone. The same thing is going to happen to this anti-Islamist chic.

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Anti-Islamist chic Mondoweiss – Mondoweiss

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July 8, 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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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July 14, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Notorious ‘New Atheist’ Sam Harris Outrageously Calls to ‘Keep the Number of Muslims Down in Any Society’ – AlterNet

AlterNet Notorious 'New Atheist' Sam Harris Outrageously Calls to 'Keep the Number of Muslims Down in Any Society' AlterNet As AlterNet's Max Blumenthal and Nafeez Ahmed have documented, 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 …

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July 13, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

RT America — July 07, 2017 RT USA – RT.com – RT

Published time: 8 Jul, 2017 01:49 CNN hires pro-Syrian Al-Qaeda propagandist, erases him from credits Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American living in regions of Syria controlled by the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, has been referred as “our media man” by top Al-Qaeda clerics. So why did CNN hire him to work on an undercover documentary project, then erase him from the credits? “They didn’t care and just wanted to further the regime change editorial line,” says author and investigative journalist Max Blumenthal, who joins RT America’s Manila Chan to discuss his research into Kareem. US coalition ‘looks the other way’ when ISIS takes cities journalist In the past few months, US-backed forces in Syria near At Tanf have attacked Syrian forces while claiming self-defense. Yet, they’ve done little fighting against Islamic State despite the United States only stated objective in Syria being to destroy the group, according to journalist Sharmine Narwani, who says the US has a history of looking the other way when Islamic State captures Syrian cities.

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July 9, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Anti-Islamist chic Mondoweiss – Mondoweiss

Yesterday on the NPR show Fresh Air, Terry Gross hosted Haroon Moghul, discussing his memoir, How to Be a Muslim. Moghul is charming and intelligent. The book involves his struggle to reconcile a sophisticated American life with the traditional code he grew up with. Moghul: I wanted to be Muslim, and I wanted to figure out a way to do that on my own terms. Gross: Its so important for you to challenge the stereotypes that some Americans have of Islam the stereotype of like, you know, terrorism that in order to challenge those stereotypes, does that make it difficult for you to also challenge the parts of Islam that you dont like, you know, the dictators, ISIS? Moghul: Its like walking a tightrope. How do you be publicly critical of a community and a religion that you love? And at a time when those identities are under attack, what does it mean to be sincerely critical of your own community? Last year Bernie Sanders said theres a war for the soul of Islam, and no doubt he is right about this. A number of Arab societies have problems with dictators, as Gross points out. But what about the war for the soul of Judaism? Today a great number of Jewish institutions are committed to a militant nationalist ideology, Zionism, that is completely out of step with 21st century pluralist values, an ideology that roughly half of the people under Israels governance reject the non-Jews and that has no other devotees outside the intolerant rightwing Christian community, which ought to tell you something. But both Gross and Sanders remain committed to this traditional code, so they cant interrogate it. It really is much easier to see the mote in someone elses eye than the beam in your own. The mainstream cant get enough of the anti-Islamist struggle. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and another Muslim woman lately gave testimony to Congress on Islamist oppression. A few days later they were featured on the New York Times op-ed page. The same page that employs a stable of Zionist columnists, and not an anti-Zionist in sight. There really is something camp about all the anti-Islamist material in these venues. Because its not ours. We have our own crap to deal with militant religious nationalism and theres a war for the soul of Judaism over it but youd never know it from these leading media figures. Terry Gross has never featured Miko Peled or Max Blumenthal or Anna Baltzer or Alice Rothchild Jewish authors who are struggling with their communitys Zionist inheritance. The most important issue in Jewish political culture: swept under the rug. The New York Times cant go near this struggle either. Except to dis anti-Zionists. Chris Hayes at MSNBC isnt much better, by the way. Hes from the Nation, and he knows the story about Palestine. But even as he brags about being open to rightwing Republicans he cant find Alice Rothchild or Max Blumenthals phone number. Hayes has never to my knowledge had an anti-Zionist on air to talk about the war for the soul of Judaism. Could that have anything to do with the fact that the top execs at Comcast have Zionist bona fides, David Cohen having raised money for the Israeli army and for the effort to redeem the Jewish land of Israel? But of course. Over at Time Warner, a top exec has served as a speechwriter for Benjamin Netanyahu. No problem! Speaking of the monoculture, Grosss guest, Haroon Moghul also works for a Zionist institution, the Shalom Hartman Institute. Though Moghul was careful to say hes not a Zionist. One thing I do for Hartman, however, is I do teach courses on Islam and the Muslim world and share my perspective and Muslim and Palestinian perspectives on the conflict, again, not because I want my audience to necessarily agree with everything Im saying but simply to develop an appreciation for a narrative they may have never encountered. And I say that as someone whos studied the region academically, whos traveled throughout the region and feels deeply invested in the conflict. Despite his deep investment, Gross asked him nothing about the Palestinian story yesterday. Monocultures are unstable, monocultures can disappear. There are too many oaks in the forests in upstate New York. There used to be too many chestnuts. A squirrel could go from Maine to Florida just leaping from one chestnut to another, it was said. Now theyre almost all gone. The same thing is going to happen to this anti-Islamist chic.

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July 8, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed


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