Mueller Indictment: ‘Russian Influence’ Is Commercial Marketing Scheme

| Educate!

Above photo:

Note: When Coleen Rowley shared this article she wrote” “What’s easier to indict than a ham sandwich?  13 Russians.”  If the German writer of “Moon of Alabama” has this right, his analysis of the Mueller indictment is devastating. It makes a mockery of Russiagate and the media, Democrats and neocons caught up in it.  – KZ

February 17, 2018 – Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department indicted the Russian Internet Research Agency on some dubious legal grounds. It covers thirteen Russian people and three Russian legal entities. The main count of the indictment is an alleged “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.

The published indictment gives support to our long held belief that there was no “Russian influence” campaign during the U.S. election. What is described and denounced as such was instead a commercial marketing scheme, which ran click-bait websites to generate advertisement revenue and created online crowds around virtual persona to promote whatever its commercial customers wanted to promote. The size of the operation was tiny when compared to the hundreds of millions in campaign expenditures. It had no influence on the election outcome.

The indictment is fodder for the public to prove that the Mueller investigation is “doing something”. It distracts from further questioning  the origin of the Steele dossier. It is full of unproven assertions and assumptions. It is a sham in that none of the Russian persons or companies indicted will ever come in front of a U.S. court. That is bad because the indictment is built on the theory of a new crime which, unless a court throws it out, can be used to incriminate other people in other cases and might even apply to this blog. The later part of this post will refer to that.

In the early 1990s some dude in St.Petersburg made a good business selling hot dogs. He opened a colorful restaurant. Local celebrities and politicians were invited to gain notoriety while the restaurant served cheap food for too high prices. It was a good business. A few years later he moved to Moscow and gained contracts to cater to schools and to the military. The food he served was still substandard.

But catering bad food as school lunches gave him, by chance, the idea for a new business:

Parents were soon up in arms. Their children wouldn’t eat the food, saying it smelled rotten.As the bad publicity mounted, Mr. Prigozhin’s company, Concord Catering, launched a counterattack, a former colleague said. He hired young men and women to overwhelm the internet with comments and blog posts praising the food and dismissing the parents’ protests.

“In five minutes, pages were drowning in comments,” said Andrei Ilin, whose website serves as a discussion board about public schools. “And all the trolls were supporting Concord.”

The trick worked beyond expectations. Prigozhin had found a new business. He hired some IT staff and low-paid temps to populate various message boards, social networks and the general internet with whatever his customers asked him for.

You have a bad online reputation? Prigozhin can help. His internet company will fill the net with positive stories and remarks about you. Your old and bad reputation will be drowned by the new and good one. Want to promote a product or service? Prigozhin’s online marketeers can address the right crowds.

To achieve those results the few temps who worked on such projects needed to multiply their online personalities. It is better to have fifty people vouch for you online than just five. No one cares if these are real people or just virtual ones. The internet makes it easy to create such sock-puppets. The virtual crowd can then be used to push personalities, products or political opinions. Such schemes are nothing new or special. Every decent “western” public relations and marketing company will offer a similar service and has done so for years.

While it is relatively easy to have sock-puppets swamp the comment threads of such sites as this blog, it is more difficult to have a real effect on social networks. These depend on multiplier effects. To gain many real “likes”, “re-tweets” or “followers” an online persona needs a certain history and reputation. Real people need to feel attached to it. It takes some time and effort to build such a multiplier personality, be it real or virtual.

At some point Prigozhin, or whoever by then owned the internet marketing company, decided to expand into the lucrative English speaking market. This would require to build many English language online persona and to give those some history and time to gain crowds of followers and a credible reputation. The company sent a few of its staff to the U.S. to gain some impressions, pictures and experience of the surroundings. They would later use these to impersonate as U.S. locals. It was a medium size, long-term investment of maybe a hundred-thousand bucks over two or three years.

The U.S. election provided an excellent environment to build reputable online persona with large followings of people with discriminable mindsets. The political affinity was not important. The personalities only had to be very engaged and stick to their issue – be it left or right or whatever. The sole point was to gain as many followers as possible who could be segmented along social-political lines and marketed to the companies customers.

Again – there is nothing new to this. It is something hundreds, if not thousands of companies are doing as their daily business. The Russian company hoped to enter the business with a cost advantage. Even its mid-ranking managers were paid as little as $1,200 per month. The students and other temporary workers who would ‘work’ the virtual personas as puppeteers would earn even less. Any U.S. company in a similar business would have higher costs.

In parallel to building virtual online persona the company also built some click-bait websites and groups and promoted these through mini Facebook advertisements. These were the “Russian influence ads” on Facebook the U.S. media were so enraged about. They included the promotion of a Facebook page about cute puppies. Back in October we described how those “Russian influence” ads (most of which were shown after the election or were not seen at all) were simply part of a commercial scheme:

The pages described and the ads leading to them are typical click-bait, not part of a political influence op.

One builds pages with “hot” stuff that hopefully attracts lots of viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and fills it with Google ads. One attracts viewers and promotes the spiked pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them. The mini-ads are targeted at the most susceptible groups.A few thousand users will come and look at such pages. Some will ‘like’ the puppy pictures or the rant for or against LGBT and further spread them. Some will click the Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scaleable and parts of it can be automatized.

Because of the myriad of U.S. sanctions against Russia the monetization of these business schemes required some creativity. One can easily find the name of a real U.S. person together with the assigned social security number and its date of birth. Those data are enough to open, for example, a Paypal account under a U.S. name. A U.S. customer of the cloaked Russian Internet company could then pay to the Paypal account and the money could be transferred from there to Moscow. These accounts could also be used to buy advertisement on Facebook. The person who’s data was used to create the account would never learn of it and would have no loss or other damage. Another scheme is to simply pay some U.S. person to open a U.S. bank account and to then hand over the ‘keys’ to that account.

The Justice Department indictment is quite long and detailed. It must have been expensive. If you read it do so with the above in mind. Skip over the assumptions and claims of political interference and digest only the facts. All that is left is, as explained, a commercial marketing scheme.

I will not go into all its detail of the indictment but here are some points that support the above description.

Point 4:

Defendants, posing as US. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive US. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by US. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants’ means to reach significant numbers of Americans …

Point 10d:

By in or around April 2014, the ORGANIZATION formed a department that went by various names but was at times referred to as the “translator project.” This project focused on the US. population and conducted operations on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. By approximately July 2016, more than eighty ORGANIZATION employees were assigned to the translator project.

(Some U.S. media today made the false claim that $1.25 million per month were spend by the company for its U.S. campaign. But Point 11 of the indictment says that the company ran a number of such projects directed at a Russian audience while only the one described in 10d above is aimed at an U.S. audience. All these projects together had a monthly budget of $1.25 million.)

(Point 17, 18 and 19 indict individual persons who have worked for the “translator” project” “to at least in and around [some month] 2014”. It is completely unclear how these persons, who seem to have left the company two years before the U.S. election, are supposed to have anything to do with the claimed “Russian influence” on the U.S. election and the indictment.)

Point 32:

Defendants and their co-conspirators, through fraud and deceit, created hundreds of social media accounts and used them to develop certain fictitious U.S. personas into “leader[s] of public opinion” in the United States.

The indictment then goes on and on describing the “political activities” of the sock-puppet personas. Some posted pro-Hillary slogans, some anti-Hillary stuff, some were pro-Trump, some anti-everyone, some urged not to vote, others to vote for third party candidates. The sock-puppets did not create or post fake news. They posted mainstream media stories.

Some of the persona called for going to anti-Islam rallies while others promoted pro-Islam rallies. The Mueller indictment lists a total of eight rallies. Most of these did not take place at all. No one joined the “Miners For Trump” rallies in Philly and Pittsburgh. A “Charlotte against Trump” march on November 19 – after the election – was attended by one hundred people. Eight people came for a pro-Trump rally in Fort Myers.

The sock-puppets called for rallies to establish themselves as  ‘activist’ and ‘leadership’ persona, to generated more online traffic and additional followers. There was in fact no overall political trend in what the sock-puppets did. The sole point of all such activities was to create a large total following by having multiple personas which together covered all potential social-political strata.

At Point 86 the indictment turns to Count Two – “Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud”. The puppeteers opened, as explained above, various Paypal accounts using ‘borrowed’ data.

Then comes the point which confirms the commercial marketing story as laid out above:

Point 95:

Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

There you have it. There was no political point to what the Russian company did. Whatever political slogans one of the company’s sock-puppets posted had only one aim: to increase the number of followers for that sock-puppet. The sole point of creating a diverse army of sock-puppets with large following crowds was to sell the ‘eyeballs’ of the followers to the paying customers of the marketing company.

There were, according to the indictment, eighty people working on the “translator project”. These controlled “hundreds” of sock-puppets online accounts each with a distinct “political” personality. Each of these sock-puppets had a large number of followers – in total several hundred-thousands. Now let’s assume that one to five promotional posts can be sold per day on each of the sock-puppets content stream. The scheme generates several thousand dollars per day ($25 per promo, hundreds of sock-puppets, 1-5 promos per day per sock-puppet). The costs for this were limited to the wages of up to eighty persons in Moscow, many of them temps, of which the highest paid received some $1,000 per month. While the upfront multiyear investment to create and establish the virtual personas was probably significant, this likely was, over all, a profitable business.

Again – this had nothing to do with political influence on the election. The sole point of political posts was to create ‘engagement’ and a larger number of followers in each potential social-political segment. People who buy promotional posts want these to be targeted at a specific audience. The Russian company could offer whatever audience was needed. It had sock-puppets with pro-LGBT view and a large following and sock-puppets with anti-LGBT views and a large following. It could provide pro-2nd amendment crowds as well as Jill Stein followers. Each of the sock-puppets had over time generated a group of followers that were like minded. The entity buying the promotion simply had to choose which group it preferred to address.

The panic of the U.S. establishment over the loss of their preferred candidate created an artificial storm over “Russian influence” and assumed “collusion” with the Trump campaign. (Certain Democrats though, like Adam Schiff, profit from creating a new Cold War through their sponsoring armament companies.)

The Mueller investigation found no “collusion” between anything Russia and the Trump campaign. The indictment does not mentions any. The whole “Russian influence” storm is based on a misunderstanding of commercial activities of a Russian marketing company in U.S. social networks.

There is a danger in this. The indictment sets up a new theory of nefarious foreign influence that could be applied to even this blog. As U.S. lawyer Robert Barns explains:

The only thing frightening about this indictment is the dangerous and dumb precedent it could set: foreign nationals criminally prohibited from public expression in the US during elections unless registered as foreign agents and reporting their expenditures to the FEC.

Mueller’s new crime only requires 3 elements: 1) a foreign national; 2) outspoken on US social media during US election; and 3) failed to register as a foreign agent or failed to report receipts/expenditures of speech activity. Could indict millions under that theory.

The legal theory of the indictment for most of the defendants and most of the charges alleges that the “fraud” was simply not registering as a foreign agent or not reporting expenses to the FEC because they were a foreign national expressing views in a US election.

Author Leonid Bershidsky, who prominently writes for Bloombergremarks:

I’m actually surprised I haven’t been indicted. I’m Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent.

As most of you will know your author writing this is German. I write pseudo-anonymously for a mostly U.S. audience. My postings are political and during the U.S. election campaign expressed an anti-Hillary view. The blog is hosted on U.S, infrastructure paid for by me. I am not registered as Foreign Agent or with the Federal Election Commission.

Under the theory on which the indictment is based I could also be indicted for a similar “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.

(Are those of you who kindly donate for this blog co-conspiractors?)

When Yevgeni Prigozhin, the hot dog caterer who allegedly owns the internet promotion business, was asked about the indictment he responded:

“The Americans are really impressionable people, they see what they want to see. […] If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”

  • jemcgloin

    This indictment was serious enough that both Trump and Sean Hannity had to admit that Russia tried to interfere in our elections, after a year of denials.

    I have been researching abuses by the FBI and intelligence agencies for decades, using primary documents. The FBI infiltrated and spied on Occupy and Anonymous, not to mention older abuses like Cointellpro, etc. The CIA has been interfering in the domestic politics of foreign nations since it was the OSS. NSA and other organizations are conducting mass unconstitutional surveillance in the US, with the help of both parties. I am not naive.

    But now I find myself trying to protect the FBI, and intelligence services from a massive attack by the president of the United States. Why? Because the only thing worse than the illusion of democracy is to have that illusion taken away, which would result in a bloodbath.

    It is important to remember that the true issue here is not Russia. We mess with other country’s elections, and some even mess with ours.

    The issue is, why is Trump taking the side of the hostile intelligence service above our own intelligence service. And the Trump administration is simultaneously using the threat of Russian nukes as the official reason to build tactical nuclear weapons, because they say they are the enemy. If there is a government attempt to make a case against Russia, as we are doing in Venezuela, for example, it would be Trump’s job to make that case! It is not like Trump is not a billionaire oligarch surrounded by billionaire oligarchs including Goldman Sachs, Exxon, etc. If this was Bernie I would be suspicious, but Bernie would not be undermining his own Justice Department, FBI, State Department, etc. He would be using constitutional methods to make changes, not undermining the constitution.

    In Venezuela, Maduro is defending against the US interference.
    In the US Trump was asking for interference on TV. Please Mr. Putin hack US government emails.

    The author of this piece is whitewashing this indictment, which I have read. It is true that these people will likely not be tried, but they are accused of stealing American identities to wage a propaganda campaign to incite both extremes of our political system. (Coincidentally(?) one regular at Occupy was the “Russian Bear” a huge guy waving a Hammer and Sickle Flag, who suddenly was handing out Trump literature at the Staten Island Ferry. How do you explain a flip like that?)
    On the left, outlets like RT seem beneficial, but on the right they are bringing the white supremacists (the true terrorists in this country) out of the woodwork. The KKK is so bold they are not wearing hoods anymore.
    It is true that they were using real news in their propaganda because that is what is effective. The indictment says they were getting 70,000,000 views per week. (We do the same thing around the world.). They were also setting up protests (and any activist know that a couple hundred people is a pretty good turnout) and paying people to dress up like Hillary in prison suits. (i voted for Jill Stein instead of either of the corporate candidates. Unlike Flynn, she did not praise Putin when she went to Russia, but called on him to stop wars.)
    Notice that not only is the Mueller investigation saying these people tried to divide the country, Facebook and Twitter have corroborated the basic premise, and Facebook has released corroborating evidence. The author of this piece also glosses over the fact that the owner of this operation is a billionaire Russian oligarch closely allied to Putin.

    And to claim that a bunch of Republican appointees in the Trump White House are trying to cover for Hillary’s loss by blaming it on Russia is absurd. (It is also absurd that many Democrats do blame it on Russia instead of their “lesser evil” candidate, but that is beside the point).

    There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence that Trump is likely to be an asset of Russian intelligence, wittingly or unwittingly (SEE MY REPLY BELOW). The point of this indictment was to show exactly how “Collusion” would actually be a crime, contradicting a year of propaganda from Fox News. It is telling that Trump was asking the FBI for a letter clearing him of collusion (which is actually a polite term for treason) as soon as he got into office. What other president starts his term by asking to be cleared of treason?

    But as a person that knows what I don’t know, and a follower of the scientific method, I do not claim to know the underlying truth behind this barrage of bizarre facts. There are many possible explanations including a giant coincidence. There may be nothing here but Trump’s desire to mend things with Russia.

    But Trump is waging war on the constitutional underpinnings of the United States. That is obvious. (See also my reply below). He is undermining the constitution and the rule of law at every opportunity. This seems far more in tune with the wishes of the global billionaires (which he claims to be) then the left activists I know trying to save the world from them. So why would anyone try to act like this is “red baiting,” when Russia is no longer communist, but blatantly capitalist?

    It has taken 500 years of struggle to go from the Magna Carta to our current illusion of democracy. We can keep going forward, or we can go back to the future with a corporate feudalism that replaces a representative democracy manipulated by global billionaires with “free markets” where they directly own the police, military, etc, and no longer have to pretend to follow the rule of law.
    If Trump undermine the rule of law (such as it is) and make personal loyalty to him, rather than upholding the constitution, the basis of the law, his heavily armed base of Neo-Confederate, Neo Nazi, Neo-Soviet, Neo-Monarchist, Same-Old-KKK right wing “christian” Evangelicals (who support Israel to bring on Armegeddon, even though they hate Jews) will run rampant with the help of an FBI “purged” by Trump and replaced with proud white supremacists. Look at the people Trump supports like Joe Arpaio ( who ran self described “concentration camps”) and Roy Moore (who is against the last 37 Amendments to the Constitution including the women’s vote and the abolition of slavery). Then they will have a real purge that lasts decades.

    This scares the hell out of me. And Hillary supporters don’t seem to take it seriously, even as they call him a traitor. And many on the left, who I look up to, don’t seem to be taking it seriously either. And that makes my stomach turn.

    Trump is not just a Republican President. He is attacking everything in the Constitution that keeps left activists from disappearing by the thousands like they did in South America for decades. We have been doing it around the world, and now they want to do it here. And those that discredit the Mueller investigation are helping.

  • jemcgloin

    Direct evidence of Trump working with Russia is the numerous times that he went on TV and asked Putin to hack U.S. Government emails. (His defense is that he was joking.)
    Circumstantial evidence includes about TWENTY of his appointees to his campaign, transition, and or administration having secret meetings with Russians connected to Putin and then lying about it. Some of them lied about it on FBI forms that warn on every page that it is a federal crime to lie on the forms.
    Kushner had to update his form multiple times because he left out people at the meetings. Some of the meetings were about “adoptions” which everyone knows is really about sanctions Obama placed on Russians, and “dirt” on Hillary.
    Then there are the two guilty pleas of Trump administration officials, and indictments of two more.
    Papadopoulos was being tracked since 2014, because Russians got caught trying to turn him into an asset. That is why he was being surveilled, even according to the Nunez Memo, which tried to blame it on the “dossier.” Read the last paragragh of the memo.
    Trump announced years ago that he doesn’t need American banks (because they would no longer do business with him) so he was getting loans from a Russian bank that has been fined for money laundering (and since Trump sells luxury apartments to billionaires, his properties were probably used to launder money too). This would provide motive, if proven.
    Then you have Trump attacks on the Justice Department and FBI. Trump accuses Republicans, including his own appointees of being out to get him. He said on national TV that he fired Comey over the “Russia thing,” then went and told the Russian ambassador that the pressure was off because he fired Comey.
    When his intelligence chiefs unanimously accused Russia of attacking our elections, he said, no I believe Putin.
    He has relentlessly sought to paint all of these Republicans as Democratic sympathizers loyal to Hillary, and his supporters have called for a purge of the FBI. This smells like obstruction of justice.
    If Trump was an asset of the Russian government, you would expect him to attack the the basic institutions of our government.
    Trump keeps demanding personal loyalty from government employees who swear not to a person, but to uphold and protect the constitution. He asked Rosenstein if he was a “team player.” Comey swore in an affidavit that he asked for his personal loyalty and to go easy on Flynn. Then Trump had his cabinet sit around a big table and thank him, and did the same with Republican congressional leaders, in a separate branch of government.
    Trump has also refused to enact the sanctions called for in a bill that he signed, decimated the State Department, alienated traditional allies, and made continuing attacks on the Judiciary, a co-equal branch off government, including nominating completely unqualified judges, personal and often racist attacks on judges, calling the entire judiciary “broken,” and pardoning Sheriff Arpaio for his conviction on CONTEMPT OF COURT because he ordered his department to ignore judges’ orders to to stop putting people in what Arpaio described as “concentration camps” and to process rape kits. And he supported Roy Moore, an avowed white supremacist, who was twice removed from the bench by fellow judges for blatant violations of the constitution, a man who believes in a religious test for public office and who is against the last 37 amendments to the constitution.

    That seems like a mountain to me.
    This is what I remember off the top of my head. Many people have been executed on far less evidence than this. But there is a higher standard to protect the president from political attacks, so that is why the investigation must take a long time and connect all of the dots.
    There are things the Russians offered and things the Russians got. There are possible ways that they could be blackmailing Trump. There is apparent obstruction of justice at many levels. Mueller’s job is to connect the quids to the quos.

    There are many possible explanations for all of this. It may be a huge conspiracy by the billionaire class to get rid of a fellow billionaire. It may be the world’s biggest coincidence. Trump may have no idea that the Russians have surrounded him with people connected to him. He may be being blackmailed into helping, or he may be a true fan of Putin. It may be that Mueller is politically biased toward a fellow Republican and all the attacks on him are just to give him credibility. My deepest desire is that he is purposefully destroying the Republican party from the top down.
    Whatever it is, we need the investigation to continue until Mueller presents his full case to the people.

    And all of you leftists out there better understand that if you allow Trump to “purge” the FBI, and/or gut the constitution (by making loyalty to the president the measure of patriotism), he will fill the FBI with evangelical thugs, and we will all be in danger of ending up in Guantanamo, or worse.
    Trump is a walking constitutional crisis, and helping him in his attacks on our government is suicidal for anyone that considers themselves a left activist.

  • kevinzeese

    It seems like you believe the Russiagate theory — abnd it is only a theory as nothing is close to proven. You know the history of the FBI and intelligence agencies lying to us and the world, yet you beleve them without proof. Why? Is it because you do not like Trump? (Understable, not to like him, by the way.) Do you see why they would make up the Russiagate theory? How conflict with Russia is good for their budgets? Having an enemy is good for the business of intelliegence and war, getting along with Russia is bad for business.

    The author, Moon of Alabama, has an excellent record of analysis that challenges the corporate media, intelliegence agencies and the Pentagon. If you can break away from the Russiagate rhetoric we are surrounded by you might find his analysis makes sense.

    Open your mind to the reality that we might be being lied to and Russiagate is a big hoax.

  • DHFabian

    Except that the insanity in the states began with the Clinton camp claiming that “Russia stole the election,” followed by months of allegations that Russia hacked into voting machines, etc., etc. From there, we can ask if Americans need to be protected from ideas that do not conform to the official government line. How much censorship is needed to protect these unfortunate, gullible minds?

  • jemcgloin

    This investigation started in 2014.

  • jemcgloin

    I didn’t say I believe them with out proof. I said that Mueller must be allowed to finish his investigation so that we can see the entire picture.We have obvious quids and obvious quos. They need to be connected with a serious pro. Quid Pro Quo would mean premeditated treason.

    There are many possible hypotheses and without enough evidence to rule one out, a true historian keeps all of them alive in their head at the same time.

    You’re so worried about protecting Russia’s reputation that you can’t be bothered to consider what would happen if Trump is allowed to rip up the constitution.
    And since he speaks easily in the not so subtle code of white supremacist terrorists, my guess is that it would be a wave of right wing terror directed from the white house, with no rule of law to give lip service to. Rubber bullets and water cannons would be replaced with real bullets and heavy machine guns.

    Russia is not the issue here. We can apologize to Russia later. The issue is Trump. And its not that I don’t like Trump (a despica. I didn’t like Bush either, but I never thought he was on the edge of declaring martial law and canceling elections, like I am afraid Trump may.

    Collusion is a polite term for treason. The official policy of the Trump administration is that Russia is the enemy,so we have to spend billions on tactical nuclear weapons. There is a reason why almost everyone in the Trump circle had meetings with Russians and lied about it.We need to know that reason.

  • Grumpyollady

    This comment is right on. I too have been watching the FBI since the 1970’s! More American’s need to read a bit of history so they can stop being so damn naive. And to KevinZeese, everything is not black and white.. You can agree with some things and not others, from the same organization..it is called LIFE and logical thinking. I love the way this author just glances over key facts to their assumptions.. like “the Russian company was then owned by someone”.

  • chetdude

    I’ve been “worrying” about “my own Republic” since being a (very minor) target of the FBI’s CoIntelPro in the early 70s…

    F*ck them all… The FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, DHS and the rest of the USAmerican Gestapo protecting the Empire. You’re being played…

    (“This investigation started in 2014” – Hillary’s run for pResident started in the 90s…what’s your point?)

  • chetdude

    “Why? Because the only thing worse than the illusion of democracy is to have that illusion taken away, which would result in a bloodbath.” Or, hey maybe if a critical mass demands it could result in REAL democracy…

    Wanna’ hot dog?

  • chetdude

    Ah, the Constitution — a document that like the wholly book of sky-god myths and Jewish fables, the bible, can be used to justify anything…

  • Helga Fellay

    I didn’t read the rest of your comment after “the only thing worse than the illusion of democracy is to have that illusion taken away, which would result in a bloodbath.” That was soooo stupid I couldn’t continue reading. No. the only thing worse than the illusion of democracy is to continue fighting to keep an allusion, a lie, a hypocrisy, alive, just because the truth is too frightening? Draining the swamp does not include a bloodbath. Perhaps is means opening your eyes and searching for the truth, after it has been revealed that what you thought was the truth has turned out to be a lie.

  • ThisOldMan

    Advertising for bad hotdogs may indeed be how the Internet Research Agency got started, but that doesn’t mean the Russian intelligence or other government actors didn’t hire them to do what they did, even if they did do a little advertising on the side. The CIA etc. does things like that all the time, especially when plausible deniability is desired (as it usually is). Some superficial support for such an interpretation of events may be found here: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-19/mueller-s-indictment-of-russian-trolls-may-backfire

  • kevinzeese

    Approver

  • PDX_listener

    The idea that Trump is undermining the constitution is way overblown.

    Furthermore, the idea that Trump alone represents the global billionaires and free markets (neo-liberalism?) is incorrect. Hillary also represented Wall Street’s interests. In fact, both parties do.

    Where Trump diverged the most from Establishment policies was on free trade and foreign intervention. These were in fact threats to the Establishment.

    HRC, the Dems, and the media are simply scapegoating Russia to 1) prevent any rapprochement and 2) undermine Trump’s legitimacy.

    You don’t have to like Trump – I didn’t vote for him – but you should be able to acknowledge that he won the election. And there will be new elections in the future when he can be replaced.

  • jemcgloin

    The point is you can’t say that the investigation was begun in 2014 in other too give for Hillary’s loss in 2016.
    The worst elements in law enforcement are Trump fans. The Gestapo disappeared 12 million people and the Trump base worships it for that. The minimal limits that he Bill of Rights puts on law enforcement keeps millions of people alive. Attacking the Russia investigation makes them stronger.
    Compare Cointelpro to Operation Condor too see the difference between the illusion of democracy and blatant violent oppression.

  • jemcgloin

    Notice that the attorney had already made up good minds based on limited evidence. I have an open mind. He does not.
    I just wasn’t to see Mueller’s entire case.

  • jemcgloin

    The Bill of Rights keeps millions of Peele alive. It represents 500 of struggle, though there is at least a thousand more to go.
    Helping the Wing Terrorists decimate the Constitution because it is a flawed document with flawed implementation ignores the alternative.
    The left cannot win open warfare with the most heavily armed and highly trained terrorists in he planet .
    If you help them kill the Bill of Rights, not to mention, the 13 and 14th amendments the war of words will be over.

  • jemcgloin

    Trump isn’t draining the swamp. Trump donated to both Clintons. Trump bragged about bribing all of the other Republicans in the debate stage.
    Hillary is paid by the swamp. Trump is the swamp. Look at his cabinet and his policies.

    The illusion of democracy keeps them very busy justifying things for the sake of public opinion.
    Take that away and they do be very busy murdering a thousand times more people than they murder now.

  • jemcgloin

    So you will help the right wing white supremacists take control of the government, and rip up the constitution, and then suddenly we will establish direct democracy?

    Good luck with that.

  • jemcgloin

    Of course he is. I spent a year telling people Hillary is more dangerous than Trump because the slow motion coup run by the the establishment center was continuously poking holes in the constitution.
    Hillary gets paid by global billionaires. Trump is a global billionaire. It is their coup.

    But with their election of Trump the coup is in high gear and the attacks on the constitution have gone from subtle legalistic arguments to “the Courts are broken,” and he solution is more judges like Roy Moore, and more Sheriff’s like Joe Arpaio.

    Analysis of the constitution that does not compare it to the world before constitutional democracies is childish and ahistorical.

    We can move forward only if we do not let them push us back hundreds of years.

  • chetdude

    “THEM” is a bi-partisan effort…

  • chetdude

    Where the f*ck do you get that from my posts, eh?

    Typical ignorance…typical strawman…

  • jemcgloin

    Trump and the Clintons are on the same side. And is not my side.
    But Trump keeps attacking all of the norms of constitutional presidential behaviour. A pathological liar as president who attacke the separation of powers is a constitutional crisis.
    Trump stole the TPP issue from Bernie because he knew it was working for him.
    Trump is not gluing to fix world trade, unless by fix you mean corrupt.
    This is not really about Russia. It is about Trump. Trump may have invented the Russia thing himself. No one brings it up more often. School shooting in Florida? “No Collison.No collusion.”

  • PDX_listener

    Care to elaborate on this constitutional crisis? All I can see is he didn’t divest ownership of his businesses and there is some nepotism with Jared and Ivanka. Not ideal but but hardly a crisis. What is it that you see?

  • jemcgloin

    I get that from your dismissal of the Constitution as a document that limits the power of state actors to commit violence.
    Yes the constitution is interpreted by the Supreme Court, and how that happens depends on the members of he court. But the people also have the power to clarify the constitution with amendments, like the ones that gave women the vote and ended slavery.

    If the People were on the verge of a socialist/anarchist direct democracy, criticizing the current structure may make sense in a historical context, but when the president and the majority party are constantly undermining the constitution, making those arguments are helping them in their mission.
    Listen to then talk. Everything they say contradicts the constitution.
    Trump and his party support Roy Moore, and half of Alabama voted for him specifically because he opposes the separation of church and state, and the last 37 amendments to the constitution.

  • jemcgloin

    Yes I have been saying that for years too.

  • jemcgloin

    I disliked Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and after I saw him actually govern, Obama, but I never considered any of them an immediate threat to the entire constitution. Obama got together with the Republicans to undermine Habeas Corpus, and expand illegal wiretapping, for example, but this is much bigger.
    Here is a partial list of the the ways Trump is undermining the constitution and the rule of law.

    1. He is a pathological liar. That is easily proven by comparing what he says to what he says soon after. He constantly contradicts himself, which is mathematical proof that he is lying. Not only that, but he obviously enjoys using lies to disrupt the system. He uses lies as a weapon.
    The rule of law is supposed to be a search for justice though truth. The president of the United States is not supposed to attack the idea of truth by claiming the truth is whatever he says it is at any given moment. This one facet of his personality is a constitutional crisis by itself.

    2. Trump makes constant attacks on the judiciary, a co-equal branch of government. The judiciary has no police to enforce its decisions. It depends on the traditional cooperation from the executive branch.
    a. Trump is a long time fan of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who ran what he described as “concentration camps,” refused to process rape kits, etc. Federal Judges ordered him to stop these practices, but he ordered his department to ignore these orders, so he was convicted on multiple counts of Contempt of Court.
    Trump pardoned him for CONTEMPT of court, a deliberate insult to the Judiciary and the Rule of Law. Arpaio is now running for senate with Trump’s support.
    b. Trump supports Judge Roy Moore, who was twice removed from the bench by fellow judges for blatant and repeated violations of the constitution, including trying to base US law (which is based on the Constitution and English Common Law) on the Ten Commandments which he continued to hang in his courtroom despite orders from the Supreme Court to take them down.
    Moore also believes in a religious test for public office, saying only Christians should be allowed to take office, a direct contradiction of the constitution.
    Moore has also said that he is against the last 37 amendments to the constitution, which include the women’s vote and the abolition of slavery.
    c. Trump nominates completely unqualified judges to the federal bench, based on their credentials as politically active Evangelicals. Four were called “unqualified” by the National Bar, and one could not answer softball, first year law questions from a Republican Senator.
    d. Trump has made repeated personal attacks (often based on race and ethnicity) on sitting judges who rule against him.
    e. Trump called the entire Judiciary “broken.”

    3. Trump makes constant attacks on the Justice Department and the FBI (never known to be bastions of the left)
    a. The president is not the constitution and not above the law. The president is an equal citizen in high office, subject to the rule of law. That means that the justice department must be independent of him and that it must be able to pursue investigations into the president without interference. After a year in office, he is still convinced that he should be able to give direct orders to the justice department regarding investigations into him.
    b. He fired the Director of the FBI because he refused to drop an investigation into “the Russia thing,” admitting that on national TV. Even if the Russia thing is not true, he has no right to do that.
    According to Comey (a Bush appointee) he repeatedly asked him for personal loyalty, and also asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn. Trump also took it as a personal betrayal when Sessions recused himself from the investigation.
    Trump is accusing Republican appointees of the justice department, some of whom he appointed, of conducting a witch hunt against him. Why would they do that? It is not like he is trying to actually drain the swamp. All of the Bannon types were fired and replaced by global billionaires resenting global banking, global oil, gobal polluters , etc. Why would those who pay the Clintons attack him for that?
    Even if you assume the Russia thing is nonsense, the duty of the president is to let the investigation run its course. The courts are supposed to judge the merits of the case.
    c. Just this weekend he said that the FBI, which has 35,000 employees, could not stop a mass shooter in Florida because a handful of them are involved in the Mueller investigation. (More likely it is because word has come down from the top to lay off white supremacists.) Its mathematical nonsense. It is an attack on the FBI and the rule of law.

    4. Trump keeps making demands for personal loyalty from government employees. It is ok for government employees to have personal loyalty for their boss as long as they put the constitution first But is unconstitutional for him to demand it. Public Servants swear an oath to uphold and protect the constitution. That includes the presidency, not the person sitting in that office. Asking people at the justice department for personal loyalty, and personal favors is abusive of his office and he is asking them to abuse their office.

    5. Trump gives aid and comfort to the those who worship traditional enemies of the US: Neo-Confederates, Neo-Nazis, who we vanquished at the cost of many lives and the Klu Klux Klan, and other domestic terror organizations who have killed more Americans than Muslim terrorists (who he uses to paint all of Islam as terrorists.).
    When a crowd of armed white men with torches marched in a column chanting Nazi Slogans, he called them, “fine people.”
    He has to woodenly read condemnations of these white supremacists, but can speak their code off the top of his head in anger. For example, when fascists are confronted by antifascists, he says “both sides,” even though the murderer in the crowd was a white supremacist fascist, and they know that is support for them. If you are familiar with how white supremacists communicate without exactly admitting what they are really talking about, you will recognize that in Trump’s language.
    Again, we defeated the Confederates and the Nazis in wars they started. These are enemies of the constitution that want to replace it with their hateful version of “christian” law.The only reason we still have to deal with these descendants of the enemy is that “liberals” like Lincoln did not have them all hung at the end of the war.

    6. He encourages the worst elements in law enforcement who attack peaceful Water Protectors (with Obama’s blessing), BLM protesters, etc, with state violence, while encouraging a hands off approach to right wing terrorists who carry assault weapons, even past the first security line at the GOP National Convention, in the same city where a black 12 year old was murdered for playing alone in a park with a toy gun. (Nikolas Cruz has a MAGA hat.)
    He tells the police to go ahead and bang the head of suspects as they put him in the car.
    Like any fascist dictator wanna be Trump attacks the rule of law, but praises “law enforcement” and the military. Every solution that he has for a problem involves state violence, but at the same time he attacks the Bill of Rights as “technicalities.”

    7. The flag and the anthem are symbols of the country, but the Constitution is the DNA, the operating instructions of our Republic. When black athletes respectfully take a knee to protest institutional racism, as the First Amendment Provides, Trump ignores the constitution to call them unpatriotic, using the flag and anthem as distractions from their constitutional rights. He even demanded that they be fired. A private citizen has a right to their opinion. The president has a right to express constitutional opinions only.

    8. He is supporting prosecution of peaceful protesters who were at a rally against him, for accessory to crimes committed by other protesters at the same rally, that did not commit those crimes, in an anti-constitutional game of guilt by association. Many of these casees have already been thrown out by judges, but many peaceful activists are still facing long prison sentences for crimes they did not commit. A president that was interested in the rule of law would be calling that out as the violation of the constitution that it is.

    9. Trump is using the office of the presidency for personal gain at an unprecedented level. He refused to release his tax returns so we cannot get a clear picture of his conflicts of interest. We do know that the massive tax cuts that he signed were heavily weighted toward the real estate industry and toward the limited liability corporations of which he owns hundreds, probably using them for money laundering.
    He did not sell his holdings, and gave control to his son, who he sees all of the time. He charges exorbitant fees to the secret service to stay in his hotels.
    And all sorts of private business people with business before the government and foreign government representatives are paying him large amounts of money for staying in his resorts. Income at these properties has approximately doubled since he came into office.
    One of the first things he did was make it easier for Chinese nationals to get visas to the US by buying property in the US, while his daughter was in China selling NY real estate.
    He put people in charge of government agencies, historically opposed to the missions of those agencies, where they have been

    10. Trump is staffing his White House with friends and family who have no understanding of the constitution, and who can’t get national security clearances. After 13 months in office 130 staff members are still operating on temporary clearances, including his on in law Kushner, who lied on his clearance forms multiple times.. This is known as nepotism and was one of the reasons we got rid of the aristocracy.

    11. Trump has destaffed the State Department and alienated traditional allies of the US, weakening our position on the world stage.

    12. Trump has redefined the definition of the term “Deep State” and uses it to attack the institutions of our Republic, created by the Constitution and its laws.
    Career government employees (mostly union employees) already have a name, “the bureaucracy,” with all of its connotations (see Utopia of Rules by David Graeber for a wonderful analysis). These employees are hired under the constitution to fulfill constitutional functions, with protections under the law.
    The term Deep State was not coined to replace the term bureaucracy. The Deep State refers to the richest, most connected political donors who operate behind the politicians they rent, through the heads of agencies they appoint.
    (An obvious example of how the Deep State perverts the system is the Iraq War. It was planned in advance when Dick Cheney, also a shareholder, met with global oil execs and divided up a map of Iraq between them. When 9/11 occurred, Cheney exclaimed, now we can do Iraq. In order to make the case for war (only required in a constitutional government by the way) they overruled the career employees in intelligence and at the energy department to take out caveats and exceptions that weakened the case. The intelligence was being “fixed around the decision” to go to war (Downing Street Memo) The Deep State overruled the bureaucracy. After the war we changed the Iraqi constitution to give control of the oil and the money to global oil corporations. (We did not take it ourselves as any independent “empire” would by the way.))
    Trump is a member of the Deep State, claiming to have bribed Clinton and all of the other Republicans with him on the debate stage. He as brought the Deep State out into the open, naming them to head all of the hen houses.
    By using the term to attack the bureaucracy he is attacking the career employees that protect the institutions of our democracy , make our Republic run, and who are the institutional memory of our Republic. And he is not using the law to root out unconstitutional practices like institutional racism, but to make blanket attacks on the institutions of our Republic,

    Need I go on?

    A combination of a few of these things would make him a typical Republican or a centrist democrat. Notice that very little of this has to do with the Russians. People need to stop focusing on Russia and start focusing on what Trump says and does.
    Trump is doing all of the things that a president would do if he wanted to declare martial law and cancel elections. A poll by USA today said that half of Republicans would support the suspension of elections.
    As someone who takes a very long view of history, spending decades studying the world for fun as much as anything, I have usually seen it as the same thing happening over and over.
    But just as dropping grains of sad on a pile has no effect until there is a sudden shift, history is shifting. We are riding a landslide. The young are trying to move the country into the future, and Trump, his fellow global billionaires, and the their white supremacist thugs are intent on undoing the constitution that inconveniences them.

    I have felt like Chicken Little for a long time now. we are at a critical junction. When will people look up?

    Happy President’s Week

  • jemcgloin

    Russia is not the point. Russia is one country out of 140 something countries. The important thing is the actions of the President of your country, the U.S.

  • jemcgloin

    I disliked Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and after I saw him actually govern, Obama, but I never considered any of them an immediate threat to the entire constitution. Obama got together with the Republicans to undermine Habeas Corpus, and expand illegal wiretapping, for example, but this is much bigger.
    Here is a partial list of the the ways Trump is undermining the constitution and the rule of law.

    1. He is a pathological liar. That is easily proven by comparing what he says to what he says soon after. He constantly contradicts himself, which is mathematical proof that he is lying. Not only that, but he obviously enjoys using lies to disrupt the system. He uses lies as a weapon.
    The rule of law is supposed to be a search for justice though truth. The president of the United States is not supposed to attack the idea of truth by claiming the truth is whatever he says it is at any given moment. This one facet of his personality is a constitutional crisis by itself.

    2. Trump makes constant attacks on the judiciary, a co-equal branch of government. The judiciary has no police to enforce its decisions. It depends on the traditional cooperation from the executive branch.
    a. Trump is a long time fan of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who ran what he described as “concentration camps,” refused to process rape kits, etc. Federal Judges ordered him to stop these practices, but he ordered his department to ignore these orders, so he was convicted on multiple counts of Contempt of Court.
    Trump pardoned him for CONTEMPT of court, a deliberate insult to the Judiciary and the Rule of Law. Arpaio is now running for senate with Trump’s support.
    b. Trump supports Judge Roy Moore, who was twice removed from the bench by fellow judges for blatant and repeated violations of the constitution, including trying to base US law (which is based on the Constitution and English Common Law) on the Ten Commandments which he continued to hang in his courtroom despite orders from the Supreme Court to take them down.
    Moore also believes in a religious test for public office, saying only Christians should be allowed to take office, a direct contradiction of the constitution.
    Moore has also said that he is against the last 37 amendments to the constitution, which include the women’s vote and the abolition of slavery.
    c. Trump nominates completely unqualified judges to the federal bench, based on their credentials as politically active Evangelicals. Four were called “unqualified” by the National Bar, and one could not answer softball, first year law questions from a Republican Senator.
    d. Trump has made repeated personal attacks (often based on race and ethnicity) on sitting judges who rule against him.
    e. Trump called the entire Judiciary “broken.”

    3. Trump makes constant attacks on the Justice Department and the FBI (never known to be bastions of the left)
    a. The president is not the constitution and not above the law. The president is an equal citizen in high office, subject to the rule of law. That means that the justice department must be independent of him and that it must be able to pursue investigations into the president without interference. After a year in office, he is still convinced that he should be able to give direct orders to the justice department regarding investigations into him.
    b. He fired the Director of the FBI because he refused to drop an investigation into “the Russia thing,” admitting that on national TV. Even if the Russia thing is not true, he has no right to do that.
    According to Comey (a Bush appointee) he repeatedly asked him for personal loyalty, and also asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn. Trump also took it as a personal betrayal when Sessions recused himself from the investigation.
    Trump is accusing Republican appointees of the justice department, some of whom he appointed, of conducting a witch hunt against him. Why would they do that? It is not like he is trying to actually drain the swamp. All of the Bannon types were fired and replaced by global billionaires resenting global banking, global oil, gobal polluters , etc. Why would those who pay the Clintons attack him for that?
    Even if you assume the Russia thing is nonsense, the duty of the president is to let the investigation run its course. The courts are supposed to judge the merits of the case.
    c. Just this weekend he said that the FBI, which has 35,000 employees, could not stop a mass shooter in Florida because a handful of them are involved in the Mueller investigation. (More likely it is because word has come down from the top to lay off white supremacists.) Its mathematical nonsense. It is an attack on the FBI and the rule of law.

    4. Trump keeps making demands for personal loyalty from government employees. It is ok for government employees to have personal loyalty for their boss as long as they put the constitution first But is unconstitutional for him to demand it. Public Servants swear an oath to uphold and protect the constitution. That includes the presidency, not the person sitting in that office. Asking people at the justice department for personal loyalty, and personal favors is abusive of his office and he is asking them to abuse their office.

    5. Trump gives aid and comfort to the those who worship traditional enemies of the US: Neo-Confederates, Neo-Nazis, who we vanquished at the cost of many lives and the Klu Klux Klan, and other domestic terror organizations who have killed more Americans than Muslim terrorists (who he uses to paint all of Islam as terrorists.).
    When a crowd of armed white men with torches marched in a column chanting Nazi Slogans, he called them, “fine people.”
    He has to woodenly read condemnations of these white supremacists, but can speak their code off the top of his head in anger. For example, when fascists are confronted by antifascists, he says “both sides,” even though the murderer in the crowd was a white supremacist fascist, and they know that is support for them. If you are familiar with how white supremacists communicate without exactly admitting what they are really talking about, you will recognize that in Trump’s language.
    Again, we defeated the Confederates and the Nazis in wars they started. These are enemies of the constitution that want to replace it with their hateful version of “christian” law.The only reason we still have to deal with these descendants of the enemy is that “liberals” like Lincoln did not have them all hung at the end of the war.

    6. He encourages the worst elements in law enforcement who attack peaceful Water Protectors (with Obama’s blessing), BLM protesters, etc, with state violence, while encouraging a hands off approach to right wing terrorists who carry assault weapons, even past the first security line at the GOP National Convention, in the same city where a black 12 year old was murdered for playing alone in a park with a toy gun. (Nikolas Cruz has a MAGA hat.)
    He tells the police to go ahead and bang the head of suspects as they put him in the car.
    Like any fascist dictator wanna be Trump attacks the rule of law, but praises “law enforcement” and the military. Every solution that he has for a problem involves state violence, but at the same time he attacks the Bill of Rights as “technicalities.”

    7. The flag and the anthem are symbols of the country, but the Constitution is the DNA, the operating instructions of our Republic. When black athletes respectfully take a knee to protest institutional racism, as the First Amendment Provides, Trump ignores the constitution to call them unpatriotic, using the flag and anthem as distractions from their constitutional rights. He even demanded that they be fired. A private citizen has a right to their opinion. The president has a right to express constitutional opinions only.

    8. He is supporting prosecution of peaceful protesters who were at a rally against him, for accessory to crimes committed by other protesters at the same rally, that did not commit those crimes, in an anti-constitutional game of guilt by association. Many of these casees have already been thrown out by judges, but many peaceful activists are still facing long prison sentences for crimes they did not commit. A president that was interested in the rule of law would be calling that out as the violation of the constitution that it is.

    9. Trump is using the office of the presidency for personal gain at an unprecedented level. He refused to release his tax returns so we cannot get a clear picture of his conflicts of interest. We do know that the massive tax cuts that he signed were heavily weighted toward the real estate industry and toward the limited liability corporations of which he owns hundreds, probably using them for money laundering.
    He did not sell his holdings, and gave control to his son, who he sees all of the time. He charges exorbitant fees to the secret service to stay in his hotels.
    And all sorts of private business people with business before the government and foreign government representatives are paying him large amounts of money for staying in his resorts. Income at these properties has approximately doubled since he came into office.
    One of the first things he did was make it easier for Chinese nationals to get visas to the US by buying property in the US, while his daughter was in China selling NY real estate.
    He put people in charge of government agencies, historically opposed to the missions of those agencies, where they have been

    10. Trump is staffing his White House with friends and family who have no understanding of the constitution, and who can’t get national security clearances. After 13 months in office 130 staff members are still operating on temporary clearances, including his on in law Kushner, who lied on his clearance forms multiple times.. This is known as nepotism and was one of the reasons we got rid of the aristocracy.

    11. Trump has destaffed the State Department and alienated traditional allies of the US, weakening our position on the world stage.

    12. Trump has redefined the definition of the term “Deep State” and uses it to attack the institutions of our Republic, created by the Constitution and its laws.
    Career government employees (mostly union employees) already have a name, “the bureaucracy,” with all of its connotations (see Utopia of Rules by David Graeber for a wonderful analysis). These employees are hired under the constitution to fulfill constitutional functions, with protections under the law.
    The term Deep State was not coined to replace the term bureaucracy. The Deep State refers to the richest, most connected political donors who operate behind the politicians they rent, through the heads of agencies they appoint.
    (An obvious example of how the Deep State perverts the system is the Iraq War. It was planned in advance when Dick Cheney, also a shareholder, met with global oil execs and divided up a map of Iraq between them. When 9/11 occurred, Cheney exclaimed, now we can do Iraq. In order to make the case for war (only required in a constitutional government by the way) they overruled the career employees in intelligence and at the energy department to take out caveats and exceptions that weakened the case. The intelligence was being “fixed around the decision” to go to war (Downing Street Memo) The Deep State overruled the bureaucracy. After the war we changed the Iraqi constitution to give control of the oil and the money to global oil corporations. (We did not take it ourselves as any independent “empire” would by the way.))
    Trump is a member of the Deep State, claiming to have bribed Clinton and all of the other Republicans with him on the debate stage. He as brought the Deep State out into the open, naming them to head all of the hen houses.
    By using the term to attack the bureaucracy he is attacking the career employees that protect the institutions of our democracy , make our Republic run, and who are the institutional memory of our Republic. And he is not using the law to root out unconstitutional practices like institutional racism, but to make blanket attacks on the institutions of our Republic,

    Need I go on?

    A combination of a few of these things would make him a typical Republican or a centrist democrat. Notice that very little of this has to do with the Russians. People need to stop focusing on Russia and start focusing on what Trump says and does.
    Trump is doing all of the things that a president would do if he wanted to declare martial law and cancel elections. A poll by USA today said that half of Republicans would support the suspension of elections.
    As someone who takes a very long view of history, spending decades studying the world for fun as much as anything, I have usually seen it as the same thing happening over and over.
    But just as dropping grains of sad on a pile has no effect until there is a sudden shift, history is shifting. We are riding a landslide. The young are trying to move the country into the future, and Trump, his fellow global billionaires, and the their white supremacist thugs are intent on undoing the constitution that inconveniences them.

    I have felt like Chicken Little for a long time now. we are at a critical junction. When will people look up?

  • chetdude

    Or one could consider the fact that Trump is the perfect embodiment of the status quo that was somewhat well hidden by Reagan/bush/Clinton/bush and Obama that is now exposing all of its warts, internal contradiction and evil…

    Hell, like his old friends the Clintons – he’s a very “successful” product of the status-quo…

  • chetdude

    “Constitution as a document that limits the power of state actors to commit violence.” Oh, wow. Just wow… History tells us otherwise…

  • Rupert Chappelle

    American has the best bullshit artists in the world, Russia got nothing but amateurs.

    Muller is a bottom feeder and there is nothing but tiny shrimp and krill for lunch.

    VICTORY BANQUET!!!

    Them Tuna were probably rotten anyway.

  • PDX_listener

    Thank you for taking the time to write a lengthy and thoughtful response.

    I still think you overstate the case that Trump is a threat to the Constitution. He is one person with a four year term, eight at the most. He is not going to bring down the Republic. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his flaws. I agree with many of your criticisms.

    Re: Russia-gate – FBI is executive branch. They all report to the president on the org chart. He can fire them if he wants to. I don’t think that is very smart politically, but I believe the constitution would in fact allow that. That wouldn’t stop all the investigations. Both the Senate and the House have their own investigations. The major problem with it is 1) it is a distraction 2) it stops the Dems from actually examining why they lost and adjusting their policies and 3) it increases the likelihood of a military confrontation with Russia.

    Re: Deep State – I have a different perspective. The Deep State is the network of individuals in finance (Wall St.), media, think tanks, MIC, government bureaucracy. Trump ran as a populist with an agenda against free trade and against foreign intervention. He was in fact very critical of US foreign policy in the Middle East: Iraq was a mistake, let Assad stay in power, work with the Russians. Fundamentally at odds with previous foreign policy. I don’t now if this was Bannon (I think it was), Flynn, or whoever else was advising him. This is why the Deep State or the Establishment wanted to get rid of him. He didn’t play the game the way they wanted. HOWEVER, that was on the campaign. Bannon and Flynn are gone. Trump as a person probably doesn’t have educated, informed opinions of his own. Now the military generals have him in their sway.
    On the economic issues he seems to have been a faux populist.Again Bannon is gone. But Trump seems to be advocating for a standard Republican agenda.

    There are certainly problems. And I think you and I could agree on some of the major points, especially: a corporate oligarchy that runs the country against the wishes of the people. However, this all existed before Trump. He is not the cause of it.

  • jemcgloin

    Thank you for your response.
    His whole campaign was a lie except tax cuts.
    Well see where the investigation goes. Then we’ll see how far Trump is willing to go.

  • jemcgloin

    Yes, I can list the abuses, but it’s not Iraq. It’s not Pinochet.
    Throw it the constitution and all of the complaining about “technicalities” stil be over.
    What do you think keeps justifications like Code Pink alive?
    What would Ferguson have looked like without the Bill of Rights?

  • My question for Mueller is why would you hang your reputation on this stupid indictment? You have spent over a year on this and this is what you came up with? Seriously?

    The other people who you have charged had nothing to do with the election, so how does that fit in with what you were hired to do?

    If i were you, I’d tell everyone that this was just a stupid thing to do just because Hillary lost the election. This makes her a sore loser. Nothing more.

  • You are reaching. It’s over.

  • RT

    the democratic primary should have shattered your democracy “illusion” unless you were not paying attention….Russia had NOTHING to do with that

  • jemcgloin

    The fact that they had a primary at all shows that they are trying to maintain “legitimacy.” That desire to maintain legitimacy is how we as a world moved from monarchy to modern constitutional political systems.

    The right is against the constitution because it limits their ability to declare people guilty of anything they don’t like and executing then for it on the spot.
    Some people in the left are against the constitution because it doesn’t always keep that from happening. But most of the time it does keep that from happening.
    The point is not to end the constitution, but to extend out to everyone.
    Without the constitution, there is no argument about rights at all, might makes right, and if you have a militia with an arsenal, peaceful protesters are target practice.
    Without a constitution, who is to say otherwise.

  • chetdude

    “Compare Cointelpro to Operation Condor”

    Tell that to Fred Hampton among many others…

  • chetdude

    The “Constitution” is only as good as the bits that your local Community of human beings grant to each other…

    It’s a Granfalloon…

  • jemcgloin

    Count the political murders here here and compare them to political murders in South America.
    If you help Trump and his white supremacist base further undermine the constitution, what mechanism will keep them from murdering tens of thousands of people every year?

    Research the concept of political legitimacy and how it has been used to force the ruling class to give concessions for hundred of years. It is good to criticize abuses, but it is not good to pretend the constitution is not the battle ground of public discourse and to pretend that if the constitution were to go away things would be better.
    Those with the weapons don’t need the rule of law. Those without the weapons rely on it to survive.

  • chetdude

    Since USAmerica has the most effective Oligarchy utilizing the most powerful propaganda machine in history, they don’t need to engage in physical political murder since their technique creating an utterly ignorant population works much better…

    The “Constitution” is meaningless — it’s Foma…

  • jemcgloin

    You refuse to see what raw power unchecked actually means.
    If you help Trump and his white supremacist “evangelicals” take over the FBI, etc, and help them erase any need to justify their actions under the law and in the court of public opinion, they will just kill anyone they disagree with: Code Pink dead, Black Lives matter dead, Water Protectors dead, Trade Justice dead, Idle No More dead, Anti-Fa dead, anyone that criticizes Trump dead. Climate activists dead, Backbone dead. Teen Opponents of the NRA, dead.
    That is what they did in South America, Africa, much of Asia, etc, and that is what they will do here.
    If Americans were mentally and spiritually ready to move past Republic to truly democratic consensus building, and a left movement was building consensus to make that happen, I would be in.
    But this is not that. Trump represents the people like Roy Moore (and the half of Alabama who voted for him) who think that ending slavery and giving women the vote, etc. are against God, and that the solution is mass violence.
    Go to the Breitbart comments pages and read what they would do to the left if they didn’t have to pretend to believe in the constitution.
    The fascists have assault rifles and military training. The anti-fascists have sticks and pamphlets.
    Before constitutional government, the history of the world was most people were slaves or serfs and those that complained were tortured to death in public and their heads stuck on pikes in the public square. Trump and his billionaire brethren think that is the natural order of the world and they use racism and other divisions to convince those that worship the Confederacy and Nazis that they should be fighting for that vision of the world.
    Raw power that doesn’t need to justify itself in constitutional language makes constitutional abuses look peaceful.

  • kevinzeese

    Every issue you list is a challenge no matter who is in office and would have been a challenge with Hillary Clinton. In some cases Hillary would have been worse, e.g. a no fly zone over Syria leading to conflict with Russia.

    Our job is to build an independent mass movement. That continues as it did under Obama when Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, debt resistance and tuition for students, blockading of pipelines, opposition to war . . . Yes, Trump is bad and needs to be opposed but the sky is not falling. You hyperbole undermines your credibility.

  • jemcgloin

    Now Trump goes in front of a bunch of rich people at a fund raiser, and praises Xi as a “great gentleman,”‘ who just made himself “president four life,” followed by “maybe we should do that here.”

    But my fears, and long lists of evidence that Trump wants to be president for life are hyperbole?
    He demands personal loyalty from an independent justice department. Has all of this supporters saying “Thank You President Trump.” Calls the opposition party “traitors” because they didn’t clap for his State of the Union speech. Attacks the judiciary repeatedly from every direction, attacks the press, supports the Washington police trying to put left activists away for decades because they were at the same protest as someone that broke windows, expanded military spending by $ 165 billion and tells police to go ahead and bang the suspect’s head on the car, calls white supremacists fine people and retweets their bizarre anti-Muslim posts, and to reiterate, keeps talking about suspending elections and being “president for life.”
    But you say I’m engaged in hyperbole, while you print articles that attack the investigation into him and praise Putin and Russia?

    If you are a citizen of the U.S., you need to protect the constitution and use amendments to improve it. The constitution keeps left activists alive. Attacking the investigation that is trying to determine if the president is a traitor does nothing for the search for truth, and does nothing to advance the working people of this country.

    The danger of Republican FBI agents investigating a Republican administration is not that they will be too hard on Trump, but too easy on him.

  • jemcgloin

    Now Trump is praising Xi for making himself president for life in China and says “maybe we should try that here.”

    How much evidence do you need?

  • jemcgloin

    So if the establishment is attacking one of its own, why would you get in the way of that fight?

  • kevinzeese

    Your fears are hyperbole. Praising Xi is not proof Trump wants to be a dictator. It is not 1 +1 = 2 logic.

    There is a lot I do not like about Trump and it is hard to think of anything I do like. But, your claims are lacking in evidence and logic. As you say they are fears. I heard the same fears about George W. Bush when he was president. It is the typical Dem fear mongering – Republicans are fascist and want to be dicators. While the Republicans claim the Democrats are socialists. This is how the two party ping pong words. The blue team creates fear about the red team and the red team creates fear about the blue team and voters are manipulated into voting against their interests by false fears. Your views on Russigate and in this comment show you have been well manipulated.

  • jemcgloin

    Here’s the full quote on Xi who just had term militia for himself abolished in China.
    “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great, And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day,”

    Trump has also said maybe we should postpone elections.

    Anyone who is not alarmed that a president of the U.S., who by the way obviously supports white supremacist terrorists, would say something like that is either fooling themselves, or the enemy.

    Learn something about the history of the world and the long hard fight for constitutional democracy, and the fields of government that came before it and what they do, before being so eager to hands over the government to Trump and his heavily armed supporters.

    Nikolas Cruz was a white supremacist with a MAGA hat., mostly ignored by corporate media. A leader of a local hate group said he was one of their members , until he changed his mind. The murdered 17 people as pay of a right wing terrorist campaign.

    Trump doesn’t do comedy. Her does pushing the envelope to see how far he can go, and how many abuses of the constitution he can normalize, but I’m engaged in hyperbole?

    It isn’t Trump that scares me so much, but that Fox News keeps backing these attacks on the constitution, and that some of the left are repeating Fox News talking points.
    I don’t know if it’s the Russians, or our billionaires or their billionaires or all the billionaires, but it is obvious that the very Foundation of democracy in America is under attack.
    If the constitution is ripped up tomorrow there is no socialist/anarchist direct democracy ready to take its place, especially not one that can protect itself from millions of right wing, white supremacist gun nuts.

    If you let Trump normalize the idea of canceling elections, you are on his side.

  • kevinzeese

    You are so fixated and in fear thanks to the Democratic Party-partisan media but even the Democratic-leaning Huff Post said that it was not clear whether these comments were a joke.

    This reminds me so much of George W. Bush era reporting when we were told that he wanted to postpone elections.

    Elections are not going to be cancelled. Be serious and get out of your fear cycle.

  • chetdude

    The “Russiagate” nonsense is what’s getting in the way of the establishment attacking one of its own…