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How ‘dangerous’ is Putin’s Russia?

Despite the xenophobic and bellicose malarkey that passes for analysis these days, the U.S. president is hardly alone in desiring to seek better relations with Russia in order to safeguard U.S. national interests and also global security more generally.

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Enough about Russia already. If one likes ballet or nineteenth century literature, one could understand having a Russia obsession. Maybe some people have an unusual affinity for snow and cold, having a particular passion for ice hockey or luge. Perhaps then, this could be comprehended. If one trades in commodities, such as gas or wheat or timber, for a living maybe one could be forgiven.

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For those of us working in the national-security field, it’s true that there are some new developments, such as another successful test of the “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile—that can strike NATO ships at ranges up to eight hundred kilometers. But the system is most likely defensive in nature and, after all, Russia’s defense spending is a paltry 11 percent (or maybe even less) of U.S. military outlays.

That figure, of course, does not include the aggregate sum of NATO allies’ arms expenditures alongside of the United States that makes the total NATO-Russia asymmetry of power even more stunningly lopsided .

READ MORE: Russia’s T-80 Tank is No Joke

Yet none of the above explanations offer a plausible explanation for how it is that almost all major U.S. newspapers have written profusely, breathlessly, and—let’s be honest—nauseatingly on this subject, for at least the last two years, without any end in sight. By now, most Americans are likely convinced that Russia is a country full of hackers, homophobes, hooligans, hookers, and, lest anyone forget, spies.

In three decades of traveling to Russia, that is not what I have seen [Я сам этого не видел]. Has all the newsprint in our American papers on Russia in these years made us any wiser?

What if all that journalistic energy had been devoted to the complex nuances of the ongoing U.S. national crises in education and health care and infrastructure, not to mention the ultra sensitive and yet somehow perennially neglected issue of racial injustice ?

Journalists can perhaps be forgiven for taking a surficial view of the bilateral U.S.-Russia relationship—crisply dividing the subject into “good guys versus bad guys,” rather than adopting the realist framework of parsing national interests that actually reveals a decent alignment.

For the most part, those writing about Russia in the American media have no special training in Russia (language, history, etc.), nor any advanced schooling in the complexities of diplomacy either.

They, therefore, consistently fail to understand that some stolen emails constitute a minute and even trivial issue when compared with a nuclear arms rivalry that will cost both countries trillions of dollars and could also pave the road to global apocalypse.

They cannot seem to grasp that a single troll factory is just the tip of the iceberg in a larger “information war” that has continued for more than half a century, but that the resulting mindless blather is of little consequence against the all too real nuclear proliferation crises that continue to roil Northeast Asia and the Persian Gulf.

These reporters and their editors somehow do not comprehend that a campaign advisors’ financial dealings from long ago or a Russian graduate student’s liaisons with conservative political groups, while perhaps titillating and reinforcing TV-constructed stereotypes, are actually several quantum leaps more insignificant than the fate of tens of millions of miserable citizens of Syria (not to mention all the refugees), awaiting a genuinely viable truce among the great and regional powers.

Let’s not even pause to review other similarly tragic situation, such as Afghanistan or Yemen, which could also benefit from U.S.-Russia strategic cooperation (or at least a cooling of hot rivalry).

Enough about Helsinki already. Well, maybe not quite. I will attempt to take this analysis on a (brief) path not yet taken. Trump made an interesting and possibly revealing remark when he stated prior to the meeting with Putin that he intended to discuss, among several other issues, China and “our mutual friend President Xi.” It remains unknown what exactly it is about China that Trump wished to discuss with Putin.

That did not come up in any of the subsequent press conferences. However, one may justifiably speculate, given the current and intense bout of Sinophobia now fashionable at the White House (on issues ranging from trade to Taiwan to North Korea) that Trump may have sought to gauge Putin’s willingness to talk about possibly shared concerns regarding China’s rise.

As it happens, such an idea would not be completely far-fetched since there are Russians that are extremely concerned about the ascent of the eastern colossus. After all, the Middle Kingdom is much more proximate to Russia than to America—to state the obvious.

Indeed, the Russian national-security commentator Alexander Chramshikin wrote a fascinating, high-profile article a few months back that starkly warned the Kremlin against its pro-China inclinations.

The piece asserted that “too actively cooperating with Peking would lead to long-term problems for Moscow [Слишком активное сотрудничество с Пекином создает Москве долгосрочные проблемы].”

In a promising and refreshingly candid discussion about European security, this Russian analyst appears to admit that Kremlin strategic actions against Europe have been quite over the top: “If the goal is to intimidate Europe, then that is senseless. Europe is so intimidated by us that it is on the verge of fainting . . . but it is not in any way threatening us.” [Если целью было запугать Запад, то это бессмысленно. Европа и так запугана нами почти до обморока . . . но она нам . . . ничем не угрожает].”

READ MORE: Calling out The Guardian’s false, anti-Russian propaganda

Yet, Chramshikin is not quite a “softy” either, as he says Russia’s intervention in Syria was absolutely necessary and he even goes so far as to say Moscow must put aside sentimental attachments and treat Kiev as a genuine enemy, such that the “farce” of the Minsk Agreement can now be finally dispensed with, once and for all.

Yet, his overall conception (that is decidedly not politically correct in Moscow) may nevertheless have appeal for American conservatives since he maintains that “For us, China constitutes the most serious threat [Китай для нас—главная внешняя угроза].”

Chramshikin contends that China covets Russia’s resources and also territory. He claims that the supposed partnership between Moscow and Beijing has resulted in no benefit and only “troubles that are worse and worse because of the starkly unequal (in Beijing’s favor) bilateral relationship [вреда все больше и больше. Во-первых, из-за крайне неравноправного (в пользу Пекина, разумеется) характера двусторонних отношений].”

He views the pro-China tilt in Kremlin policy as a straight-jacket that inhibits better relations with other Asian powers, including both Japan and India, as well as the ASEAN countries. In working closely with China, he asserts that Russia is “digging its own grave [роем себе могилу].”

Above all, he is against the Kremlin having to make a dichotomous choice between the West and China, fearing that the choice may involve a dreaded capitulation to one or the other.

In the end, he seems to believe that Russia must resign itself to defense “in all directions [по всем азимутам],” noting that the newKinzhal and Sarmat missile programs are a good start on that ominous and obviously expensive project.

Again, many American strategists could be pleased to see Russian analysts opining about the “China threat” and hinting that the West is a logical partner within some kind of larger anti-China framework.

For my part, I would strongly caution against the seductions of the “Kissinger move in reverse”—if one harkens back to U.S. policy from the 1970s. First, Chramshikin may lack for an objective perspective. It is noteworthy that he presents no actual evidence regarding his assertions on Chinese revisionism with respect to Russian territory, nor Chinese foul play in commercial practices related to Russian resources.

To the contrary, it is worth asking what the Russian economy would look like today without trade and investment from China. I am told by various sources, for example, that Chinese investment in Russia is substantially underreported.

Indeed, there are signs of major new strategic synergies between Moscow and Beijing at present. Second, a related point is that Chramshikin’s perspective seems to be in the minority as most of the Russian foreign-policy elite accept the imperative for close ties with Beijing.

A rather more enlightened U.S. perspective will be one that recognizes that U.S. interests are not injured by close and continuing China-Russia cooperation, and the United States is actually more likely to be taken seriously as a partner if it ceases trying to play one Asian giant off the other—a variation of the old British colonial tactic of “ divide and rule .”

Returning to the subject of the crisis in U.S.-Russian relations, most everyone somehow considers the Helsinki summit a travesty or worse, but they are wrong.

To the contrary, the president’s decision to go ahead with the summit was actually brave and obviously supports the broader goal of world peace—not exactly a minor issue. If there was a major problem with the Summit, it was way too short.

Could the presidents be expected to make progress on nuclear arms control, nuclear proliferation, regional crises, counterterrorism, and commercial ties in the space of a few hours? Such important summits should take place over a few days not hours (and the same goes for U.S.-China summits, of course), spending more time on substantive talks and less distracted by the media circus.

American journalists, along with the “Blob” seem to want badly that American presidents spend more time with “friends” and less time with competitors.

Yet, that approach belies the obvious point that there is less to discuss among countries that are generally agreed on issues, world views, etc. In other words, U.S. presidents need to spend more time with competitors (or adversarial) regimes in order to bring about change on key issues of importance.

That would indeed constitute the “Art of the Deal” and yet the jury is still certainly out on whether this administration can “walk the walk” on that score—with doubts mounting that they have the requisite attention for detail and institutional competence.

For his part, President Trump may wish for advisors less interested in contradicting his agenda and more focused on delivering actual policy results for the American people, whether arms control agreements or creative and realistic peace proposals to mitigate regional crises.

Trump has been excoriated for daring to articulate that some U.S. policies with respect to Russia have been misguided and also for publicly laying bare his doubts about assessments by the various U.S. intelligence agencies. Yet, it has been quite common among U.S. national-security specialists to suggest that NATO expansion was a major mistake .

Was George Kennan, one of America’s greatest ever diplomats and geopolitical thinkers, a “traitor” for suggesting that such a move would engender a Russian nationalist backlash? Obvious not. Kennan’s perspective has proven prophetic and so Trump’s rendering was simply correct.

As for the intelligence agencies, an observer with vast experience (from inside the U.S. government) of U.S. intelligence practices, Russia and U.S. diplomacy generally cast serious doubt on that the intelligence community’s conclusions regarding alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

If former Ambassador James Matlock has grave doubts, then so can the American president. Indeed, anyone remotely familiar with the rather mixed record of the U.S. intelligence agencies over the last several decades should actually hope that the president would meet their conclusions with pronounced skepticism.

From a legal perspective, moreover, Daniel McCarthy rightly notes : “If Trump decides that Russia will not be our enemy, the intelligence community has no standing to challenge him. To do so, would be a coup d’état.”

Despite the xenophobic and bellicose malarkey that passes for analysis these days, the U.S. president is hardly alone in desiring to seek better relations with Moscow in order to safeguard U.S. national interests and also global security more generally.

Via National Interest

Lyle J. Goldstein is a research professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected].

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AM HantsJNDillardWillDippelVeeNarian (Yerevan)uncle tungsten Recent comment authors
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JNDillard
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JNDillard

I am leery about giving a minority anti-Chinese Russian voice (Chramshikin) the prominence this article and author are giving it. While interesting and serving the purpose of reminding us that an Atlanticist contingent still is fighting Putin, on the whole it is not responsible to highlight Chramshikin’s viewpoint, due to a number of obvious untruths and exaggerations in it, prominently that the EU has not made any threatening moves toward Russia (Sanctions and Supporting neo-nazis in Kiev anyone?) and that China has designs on Russian territory. This type of article feeds those voices like The Saker and Roberts, not to… Read more »

WillDippel
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WillDippel

As shown in this article, members of the United States Congress have additional plans in place to further sanction Russia through the establishment of a new anti-propaganda center:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/poking-russian-bear-proposed-national.html

The saddest thing about Washington’s whole anti-Russia narrative is that these legislative desk-jockey warriors won’t be anywhere near the front lines should hostilities break out between the United States and Russia.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

Too much waffle, that said nought, which switched me off from reading the rest of the article. China and Russia are working well together, both, needing what the other has. When did either nation last invade anybody, that was not related to defending their territory/dependent territories? How old are both Empires, compared with the ‘new kid on the block’ US? With regards the hysteria in the US, where does it all come from? Why has the US privatised her intelligence services, with those, with minimal intelligence knowledge? Ukrainian Intel Tall Tales- When Bellingcat Lied… https://www.opednews.com/articles/Ukrainian-Intel-Tall-Tales-by-George-Eliason-Counterintelligence_Hacktivism_Intelligence-Agencies_Propaganda-180626-646.html Fancy Bear Exposed Showing the… Read more »

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Goldstein is peeing in the wind, hoping for a US induced Russia-China fracture.
The US/EU/NATO Borg Collective assimilation games are up. There is NOTHING positive this dying empire can offer Russia. The only thing to work out is how to avoid nuclear war. That would be enough for the world.
This is the world that will develop on a new axis:
Russia>China>India>Pakistan>Iran>Iraq>Syria>Turkey, with the BRICS linking with the rest of the free world.

uncle tungsten
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uncle tungsten

There is simply no way that the russia/china alliance will be weakened or fractured by the dribble coming from the USA mouthpieces. The alliance building across the entire asian landmass is really unstoppable no matter how hard the zionazis and their puppets sqeal. It is end times for the USA hegemony and its people are mighty restless and feeling badly used. Thankfully there are still sane voices to be heard in the USA not so much in its subservient client states.

Guy
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Guy

Good article ,just a nit pick on the term “walk the walk” .I have heard this many times but the correct term should be “walk the talk” , as in do what you say .
Cheers.

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Goldstein, give it a rest, you lieing asshole, US and EU have driven Russia to partner up with those who can be relied upon and trusted to work together to make a better world for all, Asian interests ,EFFING-JOO !!!!!

Spike Munch
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Spike Munch

russia is only dangerous to countries which are smaller militarily that it. hence the repeated “NATO are encircling us. what can we do” cries from the tambov mafia and the crooks & thieves who rule the country

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WSJ Op-Ed Cracks The Code: Why Liberal Intellectuals Hate Trump

WSJ: The Real Reason They Hate Trump

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Via Zerohedge


As pundits continue to scratch their heads over the disruptive phenomenon known as Donald Trump, Yale computer science professor and chief scientist at Dittach, David Gelernter, has penned a refreshingly straightforward and blunt Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining why Trump has been so successful at winning hearts and minds, and why the left – especially those snarky ivory-tower intellectuals, hate him.

Gelernter argues that Trump – despite being a filthy rich “parody of the average American,” is is a regular guy who has successfully resonated with America’s underpinnings.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American,” writes Gelernter. “We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.”

He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton. –WSJ

Gelernter then suggests: “This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?“.

***

The Real Reason They Hate Trump via the Wall Street Journal.

He’s the average American in exaggerated form—blunt, simple, willing to fight, mistrustful of intellectuals.

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americans were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it—not such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”

Appeared in the October 22, 2018, print edition.

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The Trump Miracle and the Logical End of US Democracy: What Happened?

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I don’t wish to dine with a Clinton Snowflake.

And a Clinton Snowflake would rather see me off to San Quentin, the Deplorable that I am.

Something happened under Obama-Clinton rule that has never happened before, not even in the heat of passions culminating in the Civil War. The country polarized, splitting into two groupings. Forever.

Obama’s, Grand Canyon divide was cemented, subsequently, by Clinton’s “Deplorables” gaff interpreted as disdain and disrespect for the working, one-half of the country. Millions of Americans will never accept her and her Snowflakes and vice versa. “Never say never,” it’s said, often enough. But, this time, “never,” is an unequivocal: “Never!”

Quite simply, the Obama-Clinton regime politicized that which should never be politicized, namely, core beliefs and values, starting with God.

Debate is one thing, but the regime followed up with direct and indirect actions, which some writers call rainbow fascism. “You won’t bake a wedding cake for two gays out of some fossilized belief in scripture? We’ll shut you down.”

The regime’s aggression against the Church, the family, and the infant in the womb is dynamite inserted into the foundation on which the country stands.

Along with compassion and sensitivity to opposing views, compromise used to help mend political wounds. It allowed the nation to move on after an election. However, when religious tenets are challenged by a political Party with executive order power, the door on possible compromise slams shut. Obama-Clinton politicized the sacred and the Holy, a big no-no considering that politics divide. It wasn’t done out of ignorance, disrespect, or plain arrogance. It was a conscience, systematic attack by the Godless against God-fearing Christians.

God either exists or He doesn’t – no compromise, here. That is, “He might exist,” placates neither the believer nor the atheist. The Bible is either the Word of God as delivered through His prophets or it isn’t. No compromise possible.

Abortion-on-demand is another issue without compromise considering the commandment: Thou shalt not kill (murder). There is also common sense compassion, which makes us human and says that abortion is wrong. You’re either for murder of the defenseless or against it.

A partial birth abortion, despite the insinuation of compromise in the term, is actually a viler variant of infanticide because it’s performed in the last trimester, at 5-7 months. The well-developed, living infant is pulled out of the womb, legs first. The medical executioner then plunges a probe with a catheter into the living brain in order to suction out a bloody slurry and collapse the skull. Is it murder of the defenseless or a “woman’s right” as Snowflakes call it?

Clinton claims: “Fetuses feel no pain and have no rights.” Curiously, Himmler leaned on a nearly identical contention to justify ghoulish, medical experiments on pregnant women in Konzentrationslager. Is there a difference? Indeed, there is. Clinton is a woman, making her serial murders more of a monstrosity.

The Holy Bible is either the Word of God or it isn’t. It’s not a book to be adapted to one’s whims or sexual lusts. Scripture strictly condemns male homosexuality in at least three passages and, implicitly, in some one-half dozen others. Nonetheless, Obama-Clinton attached the promotion of LBGTq-ism to the Democratic plank, overriding scripture. Clinton informed one audience that Christians would have to change their beliefs on some issues.

Hold on! “I’m getting my musket,” as more than one American has said.

I used to enjoy dialogue. But a sour aftertaste remains from the last time that I waded, innocently enough, into an after-dinner, back-and-forth. The topic was the upcoming primaries.

Dodging a flurry of leftism hooks from a New York Cityite at a Hamptons hideaway, I smiled through early-round attacks recalling how Mohammed Ali used to taunt opponents and cockroaches until they lost their cool. It worked. My opponent promptly tangled himself up in the ropes of his emotions.

It became apparent, in the ensuing minutes, that the Achilles heel of the Left was the absence of a viable candidate. That is, one who could be liked – a leader with charisma with a realistic chance winning.

Hillary was the only figure looming big on the horizon. After flying about on her crooked broom, peddling influence and laundering bloody cash from terrorism-sponsoring sheiks, wads of cash stuffed her Pampers. The Wicked Witch of the West, as victims of her foreign policy still address her, apparently, had it all. Except likeability. Or, something new to offer millions of working Americans beyond the scandals, a world in flames, and the same old corrupt things, starting with her foundation, which kept the cash but forgot Hattian children.

Deep-down inside, my opponent knew that getting excited about Hillary would be a daunting task. It’s precisely Hillary’s inability to generate enthusiasm that eventually metamorphosed into, “What Happened?” It wasn’t Russia; it wasn’t the dog that ate her homework.

As Secretary of State, Clinton’s role in creating and sponsoring head-choppers, baby burners, and heart-eating fanatics in ISIS’s jumpsuits was already well-established for anyone who was interested in looking beyond the hyaluronic acid smile and the praise of her attendant, media handlers.

Propagandists led by CNN and MSNBC did their best to sequester her “Arab Spring” fiascos. Her ties and support of the Muslim Brotherhood, apparently, inspired by live-in aide and right-hand woman, Huma Abedin were off limits for the press. Lesbian lover or not, the real issue is the between-the sheets confidences of one woman, holding one of the highest positions in the US Government and another with connections to jihadist circles inspired by Sayyid Qutb, the godfather of al Qaeda. What would have been made of it by the press if Trump had a mistress whose grandfather was Osama bin Laden?

Clinton’s connivance, her intrigue, and her use of the sword to overthrow foreign governments constituted the essence of her foreign policy. Now, the rich, sweet thing is crying over supposed, Russian interference that she claims cost her the election! No proof of Russian involvement has been found, despite massive efforts and the wasteful expenditure of millions of dollars. Even so, in her warped sense of reality, it’s inconceivable that American voters chose a vulgar, thrice-married, casino operator who trash talks instead of her. Curiously, it was Christians, in particular – Catholics, Protestants and the Orthodox – fearing a de facto Obama third term, who voted in droves for Trump.

Jonathon Van Maren writes: “…Christians are having conversations around the dinner table about what do if the government forces curricula on them that they cannot accept, because their own government is increasingly indicating that Christian parents are too homophobic and too hateful to teach their own children.”

Fear is setting in at both ends of the political spectrum. Meltdown, weep-in snowflakes fear Trump yet he and Christians are not forcing the LGBTq groupings etc., to make lifestyle changes. In contrast, Obama-Clinton’s Rainbow Fascism demands core value changes, or else! It’s already ruining the lives of those who cannot compromise religious tenets. What’s next? Obviously, children must be taken away from homophobic and irresponsible parents. It’s already happening in Norway and Sweden.

Curiously, WaPo’s entire editorial board endorsed her. Isn’t endorsement of Clinton’s terrorism by proxy tantamount to being a terrorist? Can WaPo be trusted, again? Another liberally slanted paper, the NY Times largely swept Clinton’s sordid past under the carpet, with about 90 percent of its articles casting her in a positive light. In contrast, it was open season on Republicans and, soon enough, on Trump.

“Considering her international war crimes record, if you vote for her, as I’m sure you’ll end up doing, you’re going to be an accomplice. Of terrorism,” I sighed. “So unfriend me now, please.”

Swinging, aimlessly – now, a bug in my web – my opponent’s accusations turned Archie-Bunker-personal – “You’re a SOB, M#*/!er. All you do is criticize but you haven’t done squat! Do something in the community instead of blaming everything on Obama and Clinton.

“Some time ago, I saw little, practical sense in it,” I replied. “That is, in wasting time to change the system.”

If it was ever possible to improve matters on a local level, those days are gone. Plato, Socrates and Aristotle did not consider the rule of money to be compatible with democracy. After three, consecutive, two-term geniuses steering the US Titanic – Clinton, Bush, Obama – the scraping sounds of hitting the iceberg are all-too-audible. The mass media orchestra plays on yet the waterline has reached the nation’s gunwales.

“Sorry, trends are apparent enough. Liberty, freedom of expression – all on the wane. Government as well as media controls are tightening! Prisons are full. Stalin has been outdone. His maximum Gulag stay was 15 years regardless of the charge. What’s ours? A life sentence for being in a romantic relationship with a drug smuggler? Common sense is being pushed aside by nonsense. Sorry, I find little sense building sandcastles at ebbtide.”

My opponent had had enough. Spilling whisky to get away from me, he spewed more venom and parted the room. Forever.

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How American propaganda bypasses the Constitution

While the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, this amendment only guarantees the government will not manage the news.

Seraphim Hanisch

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We are in a propaganda war unlike anything anyone ever expected in the United States. As recently as the 1970’s and 1980’s, the common knowledge even among young elementary school students was that the Government of the United States cannot restrict the operation of a free press. Freedom of speech was taught and vaunted as one of our most precious rights, and the Soviet Union’s history of oppression was the catalyst by which love of the right of free speech was protected.

Do not let go of this freedom, or we will become like them, we were told.

But the most recent couple of years we are seeing media control in very clear obvious ways.

On October 11, Facebook’s internal news site noted that it was removing what it calls “inauthentic news sites”:

11 October 2018

Removing Additional Inauthentic Activity from Facebook

Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Given the activity we’ve seen — and its timing ahead of the US midterm elections — we wanted to give some details about the types of behavior that led to this action. Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.

But on October 20th, with this information known, Google searches on “Facebook fake news midterm” elections first revealed absolutely nothing any earlier than August, and nothing related to the recent developments in October.

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In research for this piece, one known article on The Duran was found and brought up. By use of the specific search term “removing additional inauthentic activity from Facebook”, we were then able to get the Facebook news page. Subsequent searches on “Facebook midterms fake news” revealed quite a different response:

Oh! There it is! But several Google searches made before directly fingering the information yielded nothing, just as though the news of FB’s efforts didn’t exist.

We already know that Facebook has a core corporate culture that leans left. We also know that many groups have been removed for suspicions of being dishonest or fake news.

What we may not get is how well intertwined the majority of information services on the Internet are, and how they cooperate to manage information.

Google was the search engine used in this research. And indeed, the big four major purveyors of information and social media are Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These sites are so widely used that they are easy to consider the first stop, the last stop and the only stop for anyone seeking information from the Internet about anything.

The absence of a search result is often enough to lead one to believe the story doesn’t really exist, or that it is a rumor. After all, if it is real news it must be on Google, right?

Wrong.

This would seem to fly in the face of the First Amendment, but it doesn’t, because the Amendment applies only to a limit of powers on the Federal Government. It cannot touch private industry, and indeed, the First Amendment actually protects the rights of individuals and companies to make any statements they wish, or to not make them.

Think of it this way: A newspaper that supports the conservative party writes and publishes news and opinion in such a manner as to bolster support for that party. The paper and its staff are entirely within their First Amendment rights to do so because the Constitution never said anything about reporting the truth. It only says that the press’ freedom cannot be abridged by the government.

So if a liberal paper wants to report the same news and give its editorial bias that supports its own causes, it may. There is not a soul in government that can stop them. But the owners of the company can.

However, those owners and editors can certainly be influenced by hidden efforts. While there is no law restricting free speech in the US, there is certainly a lot of power and money that can accomplish the same thing.

A sweetheart deal between a company CEO and his or her senator or congressman can subtly change the balance. There is no law to break involved here, though such efforts can rightly be called “collusion.” Collusion happens all the time, though, and it is always a cooperative effort so there is very little that can be done to stop it. It is not illegal in most situations, either.

Conservatives know this. They have seen the slant of mainstream media lean unerringly to the side of secular humanism, suppression or humiliation of traditional values and lifestyles, and the crazy, psychotic mixture of pacifism or warmongering as best suits the desires of the Left. We have observed this in stark fashion just this year, as critics hysterically railed at President Trump for his tough stance with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and as they hysterically railed at President Trump for going against his promise to get out of Syria, and then again for not attacking them, and sanctioning Russia even more.

The reasoning behind the Left’s attacks was simple: If Mr. Trump wanted it, they didn’t. This is simple reasoning, indeed but it is also hysterical reasoning, which means it is insane.

The most recent outburst of media control came during the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination and confirmation events. The eleventh-hour attacks alleging that Brett Kavanaugh was a drunken would-be rapist and the testimonies of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnik were reported with a heavy emphasis on “believe the women” and they were also tailored for a time to target Judge Kavanaugh for his anger in his response, with CNN heads saying that this anger shows that the Judge is unhinged.

Conservative media efforts to give the truth to this story were certainly going full force on Fox News and with conservative media hosts like Rush Limbaugh, but they were heading for failure. The reason for this was that the conservative arguments were not fielded on mainstream media, so they were not heard or read.

The Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation might not have gone through because of this. But one move saved this nomination.

President Trump began talking about it in his rallies, which the media had to cover. When Mr. Trump noted in clear language that none of these allegations were corroborated by anyone, most significantly the named witnesses of Dr Ford’s, the widespread dissemination of that news (because the press had no choice) helped turn that debacle into the nothing-burger it always was.

When news gets around that someone is trying to suppress a story, that often can result in the story getting much bigger. Social media networks have to give the appearance of fairness, after all, and refusing to report a huge story because it runs counter to the political opinion of the network is a risk no network (except maybe CNN) is willing to take.

The First Amendment means the government cannot control our news media. But this also means that the responsibility lies with the American people to control it, to uphold its freedom and to uphold the freedom of speech, be it risky or offensive or politically perilous. There is a good reason for that need.

The most risky, offensive and politically perilous pieces of news are quite often the truth.

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