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Do you think Russia is controlling you? Senator Graham does

If Senator Graham is correct, then Americans are incapable of reasoning for themselves, and Russians are running the world. Really??

Seraphim Hanisch

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Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, is known especially in the last year for being a most outspoken advocate for President Trump. Senator Graham gave a press conference on Monday after the Russiagate determination from Robert Mueller was released. However, listen to this clip of his press conference. (if the video starts from the beginning, go to 24:40 to hear the clip we are quoting):

It is amazing how easily the Senator says what he says. Let’s put it in print so we can consider it in a static format rather than the cool, slickly delivered public speaking format:

PRESS QUESTION: “Is it your belief that the Russians were trying to collude…?

SENATOR GRAHAM: Absolutely! I think – there’s things I can’t tell you – they were out to get us all.

Here is what I told Trump, for whatever it’s worth: I think the dossier – a lot of it – came from the Russian intelligence service. If you just think Russia just likes Trump and hates Clinton, you are missing the point of what they are trying to do. They are trying to divide all of us against each other, and they have done a pretty good job of it. They’re still at it, by the way. They are still doing this, and one of the things I want to take away from this whole endeavor, is to try to find ways to fix it.

Critical infrastructure before this debate was power companies, financial services; now it’s got to be the political system. Parties need to realize that they are subject to being attacked. That the vote – vote [sic] tallying process needs to be hardened. That the social media outlets that we all rely upon and enrich our lives, can be co-opted top spread lies, to pit one American against the other.

If we don’t take that from this investigation, that the Russians tried to do it, and they are going to keep trying, then we missed a real big point.

This set of remarks is amazing, astounding and there may be fair cause to even say that it is frightening. Here are some reasons why this is so:

First and foremost, the First Amendment to the US Constitution says:

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

In other words, the press is free in America. Anyone can say anything they want. They can even lie outrageously in print or any other media. The thing that keeps honesty in the press is, in theory, the fact that given enough time, lies become exposed and the truth wins. Russiagate was a two-year long lie, but eventually its basic premise was exposed as the sham that it always was. However, before Russiagate the press of foreign powers were able to write anything they wanted about the US. The Internet made it accessible to Americans, but the ability of the American people to sort through the mess to the truth does remain intact to some degree.

The idea that – first – Russian or anyone’s input into the stream of political news – would make any difference in what people think is also amazing. It might work if someone successfully hit the whole of American media with a false narrative. Again, this happened with Russiagate itself, enough to sway the opinions of some of the American population so that now, 53% of eligible voters said in a poll that they thought President Trump really did collude with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.

But consider – this was a two year effort – even longer by some accounts, and it was literally wall-to-wall across all the major networks as such, with only Fox News disputing it. The known impact of the Internet Research Agency at best was some few thousands of dollars worth of ads on Facebook that apparently very few people knew about. We did find a purported example of one such ad, posted by Democrat Representative Adam Schiff. Take a look:

It is remarkably unclear how these images are evidence of Russia efforts to pit Americans against one another, even so, how much it would have affected anyone. Indeed, the rather sly Mr. Schiff said that these were ‘attempts to hijack legitimate events meant to do good…’ but if one tries to think this through and see how this influences anyone – How!?

Another claim written about was in an article published by The Atlantic entitled “What Putin Really Wants.” The piece is quite well written if one wants to read a novel, but it makes unsubstantiated claims of its own. Most interesting are these two paragraphs, not adjacent to one another in the original piece. We have added emphasis:

Even if the public notice went unheeded, the Obama administration felt that the Russians had heard its warnings behind the scenes. According to Soldatov and two former Obama-administration officials, Moscow seemed to have backed off its probes of U.S. election infrastructure by October. But the leaks and bogus news stories never stopped. Obama feared that going public with anything more would look like he was putting his thumb on the scale for Clinton. And he was sure that she would win anyway—then deal with the Russians once she took office…

A forgery, a couple of groups of hackers, and a drip of well-timed leaks were all it took to throw American politics into chaos. Whether and to what extent the Trump campaign was complicit in the Russian efforts is the subject of active inquiries today. Regardless, Putin pulled off a spectacular geopolitical heist on a shoestring budget—about $200 million, according to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. This point is lost on many Americans: The subversion of the election was as much a product of improvisation and entropy as it was of long-range vision. What makes Putin effective, what makes him dangerous, is not strategic brilliance but a tactical flexibility and adaptability—a willingness to experiment, to disrupt, and to take big risks…

This is unsubstantiated – we were not able to find what the “bogus” new pieces actually were. This is a purely speculative point, but the photos from Adam Schiff’s Twitter comment are at least related to real issues. There is nothing to suggest “Fake issues” and any person can create such memes. Why Russian-generated graphics should be so incredibly powerful as to control American voter’s minds in any way at all is incomprehensible. As a thought experiment, the reader might consider the effects of such ads on himself or herself personally. How gullible are we? Probably not very. The success of the Russiagate collusion story’s penetration into the minds of enough people to actually move a poll lay in its pervasiveness and persistence. But the number of people it actually moved is probably statistically rather low. Most people have their minds made up pretty well on their own, don’t they?

So by saying that the Russians actually have the ability to manipulate Americans is an amazing statement. Why can they do something we cannot do ourselves? The idea is rather absurd. Remember this woman’s reaction? Oh, but wait, this is Russia Today’s take. Prepare for your mind to be controlled… (wink, wink!)

RT actually makes the home point. Anything that might have been coming into the US internet from abroad would have no real effect were it not already capitalizing on existing themes. Russians turning Americans against one another? Given the enormous amount of effort that Americans already spend in argument based on passion (and not on discursive reasoning), there is little any outside agency could do.

To be fair, Senator Graham has shown himself to be a man with a fair sense of integrity. In a way, perhaps, one cannot fault him for saying so easily what has been rather baked in to the American narrative on all things Russia and Russiagate. But he ought to consider carefully what he said in this press conference on this issue. For what he indicated was a frightening set of ideas:

  • Americans cannot think for themselves.
  • They can be manipulated by anyone who wants to do so, even by people from other countries.
  • The freedom of the press and social media needs to be abridged because Americans cannot handle the responsibility of processing information they consume.

Admittedly, there ARE news agencies operating abroad that seek to try to disseminate more reliable and honest information about the US or the rest of the world than that which the mainstream outlets like Reuters, CNN, the Associated Press, or Fox would like to run. The Duran is one such resource, as we try to offer information and perspective the mainstream media finds inconvenient to report or maybe even just does not want Americans to have access to for whatever reason. There are many such press agencies, and some of them operate in Russia. RT is an example of a more mainstream type of outlet, USA Really is another that is far less mainstream, and we have ZeroHedge, the Strategic Culture Foundation, and many others, all of whom offer a wide range of thought to read and study. But the notion that these networks exist to turn Americans against one another…?

This is to misinterpret the entire reason of a free press. That misunderstanding does not start and end with Senator Graham either. One report after the conclusion of the Russiagate investigation said that CNN’s CEO Jeff Zucker maintained that “We are not investigators. We are journalists” Really? It used to be that news fit for print had to be double- or triple- checked. Watch All the President’s Men and you will see how this principle mandated that the Washington Post reports got Watergate exactly right before going to print. Anything less was dangerous for the paper’s existence. But now, Mr. Zucker basically stated that journalists just pass on gossip. Since gossip exists, it is fact and can be reported as news. QED.

This whole idea of Russian interference falls apart immediately when placed under discursive scrutiny. This piece barely scratches the surface of the matter before the believability of it falls to pieces. Yet we have a prominent, respected American conservative senator giving away such power by saying that outside forces control us.

One might ask himself, perhaps: Is this true?

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You can call me ALyokkkerCurious GeorgePutin the Anti-AntiChristIL Pompino (mandated by GOD) Recent comment authors
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You can call me AL
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You can call me AL

To any Americans; “Do you know how pathetic, delusional, retarded and STUPID you look and sound to anyone outside the US ?.”.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Generally speaking, have Americans ever cared what is thought of them??? There used to be this saying…America, love it or leave it. Doesn’t help solving problems, does it?

Normski
Member
Normski

USA is a complete madhouse!.

IL Pompino (mandated by GOD)
Guest
IL Pompino (mandated by GOD)

I’d call it a manicomio if I could pronounce it.

Curious George
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Curious George

What’s GOD got in store for the world this week, Sr. Pompey?

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

Well George, good to see you are retaining curiosity, it could be the focus turns on Clinton, the Russians beef up the threats concerning Venezuela, Pakistan and India ups the ante, China dumps 1 trillion + US bonds, who can tell ….. it is a wonderful world and we cannot red the future. Any ideas?

jrkrideau
Guest
jrkrideau

They probably do not. Americans do not seem to understand that the internet does not stop at the US border. One constantly sees and reads US politicians talking complete tommyrot for the internal audience and seem to think that no one else in the world will see or read it.

It boggles the mind.

American Graffiti
Guest
American Graffiti

Yes, indeed we do. Inside too, though to far too few.

America’s a madhouse, run by political madmen of both parties. Consider yourself blessed that you don’t live in the belly of this hybrid beast.

Terry Wall
Guest
Terry Wall

It is one of life’s truths – you will eventually become what you eat. Or to put it another way, don’t eat crap, like many Americans have been for over 65 years.

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

It’s the drugs, Al. Somebody slipped me a mickey and made me into a pre-programmed zombie.

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

AY, but that only lasted a few hours, that’s your right of passage and one, I envy you for at the moment

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Americans are not capable of reasoning by themselves, in the sense that they are so easily influenced by others and so gullible. Thinking ‘outside the box’ seems to have gone the Dodo bird way. As I see it, it isn’t Russia trying to turn Americans against each other…it is the present poisonous atmosphere and divisiveness in the US that is accomplishing this without any help from outside.

Normski
Member
Normski

I could not have put it better myself.

Nexus321
Guest
Nexus321

My guess is that Russians don’t give a f–k and would really prefer not to deal with the sociopathic degenerates in Washington

Dan Kuhn
Guest

So Fox News is the only credible news source in the USA today? What kind of monumental F**K up could possibly make that happen? Oh yeah it`s called Russiagate. Got to hand it to the Democratic Party, there are not many organizations in the USA that could make Fox News come out smelling like a rose but they managed it.

5 dancing shlomos
Guest
5 dancing shlomos

compromising pictures.

john vieira
Guest

Why are some people unable and or unwilling to acknowledge the fact that there IS an enemy within…No borders = NO COUNTRY!!! Abolishing the Electoral College WILL destroy the Constitutional Republic…Let your little grey cells take it from there…

Nexus321
Guest
Nexus321

The dumbest nation in human history. Vast country, great natural wealth, etc. and they have pissed it all away on stupid wars.

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

Why do I look like I’ve been drugged in that first photo?

Putin the Anti-AntiChrist
Guest
Putin the Anti-AntiChrist

I did it, to make you look like a jackass. Worked pretty good, eh? To be honest, it was overkill.

yokkker
Guest

“Russia trying to turn Americans against one another” …… as far as I have knowledge, that is the work of the REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRATIC parties

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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