Norman Solomon: Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?

By Norman Solomon,  the coordinator of the online activist group and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

The plan for Democrats to run against Russia may be falling apart.

After squandering much of the last six months on faulting Russians for the horrific presidency of Donald Trump…

After blaming America’s dire shortfalls of democracy on plutocrats in Russia more than on plutocrats in America…

After largely marketing the brand of their own party as more anti-Russian than pro-working-people…

After stampeding many Democratic Party-aligned organizations, pundits and activists into fixating more on Russia than on the thousand chronic cuts to democracy here at home…

After soaking up countless hours of TV airtime and vast quantities of ink and zillions of pixels to denounce Russia in place of offering progressive remedies to the deep economic worries of American voters…

Now, Democrats in Congress and other party leaders are starting to face an emerging reality: The “winning issue” of Russia is a losing issue.

The results of a reliable new nationwide poll — and what members of Congress keep hearing when they actually listen to constituents back home — cry out for a drastic reorientation of Democratic Party passions. And a growing number of Democrats in Congress are getting the message.

“Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia,” The Hill reported over the weekend. In sharp contrast to their party’s top spokespeople, “rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.”

The Hill coverage added: “In the wake of a string of special-election defeats, an increasing number of Democrats are calling for an adjustment in party messaging, one that swings the focus from Russia to the economy. The outcome of the 2018 elections, they say, hinges on how well the Democrats manage that shift.”

Such assessments aren’t just impressionistic or anecdotal. A major poll has just reached conclusions that indicate party leaders have been operating under political illusions.

Conducted last week, the Harvard-Harris national poll found a big disconnect between the Russia obsession of Democratic Party elites in Washington and voters around the country.

The poll “reveals the risks inherent for the Democrats, who are hoping to make big gains — or even win back the House — in 2018,” The Hill reported. “The survey found that while 58 percent of voters said they’re concerned that Trump may have business dealings with Moscow, 73 percent said they’re worried that the ongoing investigations are preventing Congress from tackling issues more vital to them.”

The co-director of the Harvard-Harris poll, Mark Penn, commented on the results: “While the voters have a keen interest in any Russian election interference, they are concerned that the investigations have become a distraction for the president and Congress that is hurting rather than helping the country.”

Such incoming data are sparking more outspoken dissent from House Democrats who want to get re-elected as well as depose Republicans from majority power. In short, if you don’t want a GOP speaker of the House, wise up to the politics at play across the country.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, a progressive Democrat, put it this way: “We should be focused relentlessly on economic improvement [and] we should stay away from just piling on the criticism of Trump, whether it’s about Russia, whether it’s about Comey. Because that has its own independent dynamic, it’s going to happen on its own without us piling on.”

Welch said, “We’re much better off if we just do the hard work of coming up with an agenda. Talking about Trump and Russia doesn’t create an agenda.”

Creating a compelling agenda would mean rejecting what has become the rote reflex of Democratic Party leadership — keep hammering Trump as a Kremlin tool. In a typical recent comment, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pounded away at a talking point already so worn out that it has the appearance of a bent nail: “What do the Russians have on Donald Trump?”

In contrast, another House Democrat, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, said: “If you see me treating Russia and criticisms of the president and things like that as a secondary matter, it’s because that’s how my constituents feel about it.”

But ever since the election last November, Democratic congressional leaders have been placing the party’s bets heavily on the Russia horse. And it’s now pulling up lame.

Yes, a truly independent investigation is needed to probe charges that the Russian government interfered with the U.S. election. And investigators should also dig to find out if there’s actual evidence that Trump or his campaign operatives engaged in nefarious activities before or after the election. At the same time, let’s get a grip. The partisan grandstanding on Capitol Hill, by leading Republicans and Democrats, hardly qualifies as “independent.”

In the top strata of the national Democratic Party, and especially for the Clinton wing of the party, blaming Russia has been of visceral importance. A recent book about Hillary Clinton’s latest presidential campaign — “Shattered,” by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes — includes a revealing passage. “Within 24 hours of her concession speech,” the authors report, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta “assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up.”

At that meeting, “they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

In early spring, the former communications director of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, summarized the post-election approach in a Washington Post opinion piece: “If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us.”

Polling data now indicate how wrong such claims are.

Initially in lockstep this year, Democrats on Capitol Hill probably didn’t give it a second thought if they read my article published by The Hill nearly six months ago under the headline “Democrats Are Playing With Fire on Russia.” At the outset, I warned that “the most cohesive message from congressional Democrats is: blame Russia. The party leaders have doubled down on an approach that got nowhere during the presidential campaign — trying to tie the Kremlin around Donald Trump’s neck.”

And I added: “Still more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency to Trump, top Democrats would much rather scapegoat Vladimir Putin than scrutinize how they’ve lost touch with working-class voters.”

But my main emphasis in that January 9 article was that “the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous. It could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each has thousands of nuclear weapons.”

I noted that “enthusiasm for banging the drum against Putin is fast becoming a big part of the Democratic Party’s public identity in 2017. And — insidiously — that’s apt to give the party a long-term political stake in further demonizing the Russian government.”

My article pointed out: “The reality is grim, and potentially catastrophic beyond comprehension. By pushing to further polarize with the Kremlin, congressional Democrats are increasing the chances of a military confrontation with Russia.”

Here’s a question worth pondering: How much time do members of Congress spend thinking about ways to reduce the risks of nuclear holocaust, compared to how much time they spend thinking about getting re-elected?

In political terms, The Hill’s June 24 news article headlined “Dems Push Leaders to Talk Less About Russia” should be a wakeup call. Held in the thrall of Russia-bashing incantations since early winter, some Democrats in Congress have started to realize that they must break the spell. But they will need help from constituents willing to bluntly tell them to snap out of it.

If there is to be a human future on this planet, it will require real diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia, the world’s two nuclear-weapons superpowers. Meanwhile — even if the nuclear threat from continuing to escalate hostility toward Russia doesn’t rank high on the list of Democrats’ concerns on Capitol Hill — maybe the prospects of failure in the elections next year will compel a major change. It’s time for the dangerous anti-Russia fever to break.


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  1. EndOfTheWorld

    The “Russiagate” farce had its waterloo moment when three CNN faux journalists were asked kindly to resign for being too faux even for the Clinton News Network.

    Yes, the Democrat politicians who have enough functioning brain cells to actually go back to their districts and meet with their random constituents can plainly see that the people want this BS to come to and end immediately if not three months ago.

      1. shinola

        Thanks for the link – confirms what I’ve suspected for months.

        If any of y’all have about 9 minutes to spare, this vid. is really interesting (& damning).

        1. John Zelnicker

          @shinola & Louis Fyne – Are you unaware of who James O’Keefe is? Are you unaware that he edits his videos in ways that are misleading at best and damaging fantasies at worst. This is not a person or company that deserves the dignity and exposure of being linked on NC.

    1. Thor's Hammer

      Debates about whether the Democrat wing of the Property Party should change its PR focus from trying to manufacture Russiaphobia to pretending to care about the welfare of the working class are worse than debating about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It’s embarrassing to watch a highly intelligent group of people like the NC readership engage in discussions like this while ignoring the facts before them.

      —The US is not a democracy. Policies bear little or no correspondence to the desires of the vast majority of citizens while being highly correlated with the belief systems and self-interest of a tiny ruling class.

      —Elections are circuses organized for the distraction of the underclasses. They are never contested on the basis of fundamental issues that determine the future of the country. Rather, they are pissing contests between advertising agencies who employ all means at hand to temporarily manipulate public opinion.

      —Regardless of which party wins, promises in party platforms are meaningless the day after the election and have little correlation to candidate behavior.

      —It follows that it matters little which candidate/figurehead is elected since they are simply entertainment, while the country continues to be governed by the banksters, war hawks, medical extortionists, and greedhead trillionaires who own it.

      NC has diligently documented the bankster fraud that characterized the 2007-2008 financial meltdown. Exactly how many of the perpetrators of this massive theft went to prison?

      The US has been at permanent war in the middle east for 20 years under Democrat and Republican administrations, employing fabrication of events, torture of prisoners, shock and awe bombing attacks, assassination by remote control drones, false flag attacks, and proxy funding of Islamic terrorist organizations. How many CIA torturers, generals, and politicians have been held accountable for their lies and war crimes?

      1. Joel Walsh

        Tell that to the people who have been living in terror as to whether they’ll even be allowed back into the country if they leave.

        1. Thor's Hammer

          By “people who have been living in terror” I assume your mean people who find themselves on the Trump banned country list? Unjust and anti-humanitarian perhaps, but hardly equivalent to terrorism.

          Terrorism is when your wedding party is bombed by a drone being piloted by a computer operator half a world away because the cyber spy satellites have detected too many cell phone conversations directed at one of the guests. Terrorism is when a delusional religious fundamentalist straps explosives to her body and blows herself up in a crowded nightclub. And terrorism is when a government funds the anti-human belief systems that lead to such mad acts.

        1. Allegorio

          The first and foremost action should be government funded elections. Take the money out of politics. Open up ballot access. Election day should be a national holiday. Paper ballots publicly counted. Free electioneering on our public airwaves. Run off elections so that the elected truly have a mandate. The malefactors of wealth completely control the electoral process. Tall order but nothing else can be accomplished unless we take back the electoral system, foundation of democracy.

      2. Lord Koos

        I find political strategy-speak such as “an adjustment in party messaging” to be sickening. The Democrats still seem to be talking about manipulating perception, rather than actually doing anything fundamentally different.

        1. Allegorio

          That was absolutely Nancy Pelosi’s line on CBS the other morning. We’re not doing anything wrong we’re just not getting our message out there. Delusional bought and paid for party hack. She has got to go.

      3. oh

        Agree. Here’s slight modification of one of you points:

        —Elections are circuses organized for the distraction of the underclasses. They are never contested on the basis of fundamental issues that determine the future of the country. Rather, they are pissing contests between advertising agencies who employ all means at hand to temporarily manipulate public opinion while maximizing their revenue.

      4. ChrisPacific

        All largely true; however, there remains a large contingent of non-NC readers (and traditional Democrat supporters) who remain unaware of most of this and who need to be convinced. Many of these people are our friends and relatives, and penetrating their illusions is essential if we are ever to reform the Democrat party by starving its more problematic members of voter support. The four points you mentioned, while largely accepted by NC readers, remain very much to be demonstrated when talking to these kind of people. We can’t just lead with something like “Hillary is a warmongering crony capitalist who sold out the working class a long time ago.” They will switch off if we do. We need to offer concrete, real-world examples that demonstrate it, along with the necessary context for them to understand the problem. If they follow along with the arguments then they will eventually reach the conclusion on their own. While this article may not be telling NC readers anything they don’t already know, it’s a good example of a narrative that we can use in those situations.

        1. Lord Koos

          I’ve been making headway with that on my facebook page… often linking to sites like NC to support my argument. People have gone from being pissed off at me to accepting some truth.

  2. Mark P.

    Thank you, PK.

    Your linked Guardian piece says: ‘It was determined that the story was posted without going through the expected checks and balances for a story of such sensitivity.’

    How could it go through the ‘expected checks,’ of course?

    At any rate, this report is actually a little encouraging. My initial expectation was that the three fired persons here would be token low-level staff reporters and such, but not the editorial scum who demanded it be written as it was. But no — Eric Lichtblau, an assistant managing editor in CNN’s Washington bureau, and Lex Harris, head of the investigations unit.

    Lichtblau is a name I’m quite familiar with. Excellent.

    1. EoinW

      Trojan Horse. It’s the Guardian(and CNN) saying: “we deal with faux news the moment it happens. Look at how clean we are!” The entire MSM will jump all over this and pretend they’ve cleaned house, fixed the one isolated incident, therefore we can once again trust them to be the truth tellers they are. A wonderful script for the Lefties and the pseudo-Left media, like the Guardian. It’s BS because they lie all the time about everything!

      1. Allegorio

        Please don’t conflate the left with the “Liberal Media”. There is no left mass media in this country.

  3. integer

    Why the Democratic party is doomed:

    1. The Democratic establishment has vortexed the party’s narrative energy into hysteria about Russia (a state with a lower GDP than South Korea). It is starkly obvious that were it not for this hysteria insurgent narratives of the type promoted by Bernie Sanders would rapidly dominate the party’s base and its relationship with the public. Without the “We didn’t lose–Russia won” narrative the party’s elite and those who exist under its patronage would be purged for being electorally incompetent and ideologically passé. The collapse of the Democratic vote over the last eight years is at every level, city, state, Congressional and presidential. It corresponds to the domination of Democratic decision making structures by a professional, educated, urban service class and to the shocking decline in health and longevity of white males, who together with their wives, daughters, mothers, etc. comprise 63% of the US population (2010 census). Unlike other industrialized countries US male real wages (all ethnic groups combined) have not increased since 1973. In trying to stimulate engagement of non-whites and women Democrats have aggressively promoted identity politics. This short-term tactic has led to the inevitable strategic catastrophe of the white and male super majorities responding by seeing themselves as an unserviced political identity group. Consequently in response to sotto-voce suggestions that Trump would service this group 53% of all men voted for Trump, 53% of white women and 63% of white men (PEW Research).

    2. The Trump-Russia collusion narrative is a political dead end. Despite vast resources, enormous incentives and a year of investigation, Democratic senators who have seen the classified intelligence at the CIA such as Senator Feinstein (as recently as March) are forced to admit that there is no evidence of collusion
    [ ]. Without collusion, we are left with the Democratic establishment blaming the public for being repelled by the words of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party establishment. Is it a problem that the public discovered what Hillary Clinton said to Goldman Sachs and what party elites said about fixing the DNC primaries against Bernie Sanders? A party elite that maintains that it is the “crime of the century” for the public and their membership to discover how they behave and what they believe invites scorn.

    3. The Democrat establishment needs the support of the security sector and media barons to push this diversionary conspiracy agenda, so they ingratiate themselves with these two classes leading to further perceptions that the Democrats act on behalf of an entrenched power elite. Eventually, Trump or Pence will ‘merge’ with the security state leaving Democrats in a vulnerable position having talked up two deeply unaccountable traditionally Republican-aligned organizations, in particular, the CIA and the FBI, who will be turned against them. Other than domestic diversion and geopolitical destabilization the primary result of the Russian narrative is increased influence and funding for the security sector which is primarily GOP owned or aligned.

    4. The twin result is to place the primary self-interest concerns of most Americans, class competition, freedom from crime and ill health and the empowerment of their children, into the shadows and project the Democrats as close to DC and media elites. This has further cemented Trump’s anti-establishment positioning and fettered attacks on Trump’s run away embrace of robber barons, dictators and gravitas-free buffoons like the CIA’s Mike Pompeo.

    5. GOP/Trump has open goals everywhere: broken promises, inequality, economy, healthcare, militarization, Goldman Sachs, Saudi Arabia & cronyism, but the Democrat establishment can’t kick these goals since the Russian collusion narrative has consumed all its energy and it is entangled with many of the same groups behind Trump’s policies.

    6. The Democratic base should move to start a new party since the party elite shows no signs that they will give up power. This can be done quickly and cheaply as a result of the internet and databases of peoples’ political preferences. This reality is proven in practice with the rapid construction of the Macron, Sanders and Trump campaigns from nothing. The existing Democratic party may well have negative reputational capital, stimulating a Macron-style clean slate approach. Regardless, in the face of such a threat, the Democratic establishment will either concede control or, as in the case of Macron, be eliminated by the new structure.

    1. Carolinian

      I agree with 6. The fact that the Dems reacted to their presidential loss by immediately accusing their opponent of treason shows how low they have sunk. Perhaps they thought they were justified in imitating Trump’s own shoot from the lip style but someone has to be the adult in the room. Meanwhile the country’s two leading newspapers turn themselves into social media sites. The ruling class seems to be cracking up.

      Suggested name for new third party: the Not Crazy party.

      1. different clue

        Another suggested name for new third party: the Fair Trade Single Payer party.

    2. fresno dan

      June 27, 2017 at 5:16 am
      Thanks for that!
      Again and Again and Again:
      “It corresponds to the domination of Democratic decision making structures by a professional, educated, urban service class and to the shocking decline in health and longevity of white males, who together with their wives, daughters, mothers, etc. comprise 63% of the US population (2010 census). Unlike other industrialized countries US male real wages (all ethnic groups combined) have not increased since 1973. In trying to stimulate engagement of non-whites and women Democrats have aggressively promoted identity politics. This short-term tactic has led to the inevitable strategic catastrophe of the white and male super majorities responding by seeing themselves as an unserviced political identity group. Consequently in response to sotto-voce suggestions that Trump would service this group 53% of all men voted for Trump, 53% of white women and 63% of white men (PEW Research).”

      1. Allegorio

        Identity politics is basically a divide and rule strategy to keep progressive candidates off the ballot, the real purpose of the Democratic Party establishment. That is what they are being paid for.

    3. Tim

      The only way to create a new party of actual importance is for it to not be originated from disenfranchised republicans or disenfranchised democrats, lest it be branded as extreme by existing power structures, and be resigned to a fate similar to the libertarian and green parties, which are spoilers at best.

      It would need to be a party that grows out of the moderate center. This is doable, because will all the gerrymandering they are becoming the least represented block of voters, that is compounded by the fact that in general 98% of the population are not represented by their representatives anyways.

      The center is open to facts and reasonable arguments as to policy solutions, such as single payer and a restructured health care industry.

      That is the executable path to republican and or democrat obsolescence.

    4. John k

      The first world has had enough neolib, pendulum has started moving the other way. Macron shows the desperation to try something new without embracing right wing LePen… an option not available here, so revulsion to neolib resulted in trump..

      Course, the something new macron is just neolib with a pretty face, French will be disappointed, either the left will join forces next time or French desperation will bring LE Pen to power.

      Fully agree dems have hollowed themselves out enough to create a vacuum, country desperate for third party. New media is displacing corp mouthpieces, never been easier to start new. Still think take over greens, make functional, because ballot access hard to get, particularly with dems fighting tooth and nail. Come to think of it, maybe they’re not completely dysfunctional, they did manage to get on the ballot in most states, not easy, and certainly dems didn’t help, they hate the greens.

      Dems 30, reps 30, indies 40.
      Bernie heading progressive greens gets 1/3 dems, 1/6 reps, 3/4 indies? 45 in three way race is landslide.

      1. oh

        I don’t think I’d count on Bernie. He loves his committee appointments too much and will never leave the DImRats.

    5. integer

      Just to be clear, the text in my comment above was written by Julian Assange, not me. See the link at the top of said comment.

    6. Andrew Watts

      In response to point number six:

      There are already significant legal barriers to the creation of a new party. Both parties will probably gang up on any new party development too.

      Secondly, Macron can’t be compared to Trump/Sanders. He’s just neoliberalism’s Potemkin village in France. Both Trump/Sanders aren’t really comparable as they both contained genuine political outsiders such as Bannon in Trump’s case. I wouldn’t compare Melenchon to Sanders either. Melenchon kinda seems like the Le Pen of the French left. By which I mean he would govern as a authoritarian.

      1. integer

        There are already significant legal barriers to the creation of a new party. Both parties will probably gang up on any new party development too.

        Granted, however it shouldn’t be forgotten that there are significant barriers to reforming the D-party too.

          1. integer

            There is certainly a case to be made that reforming the D-party is the better option. I disagree, however I do see the logic behind that approach. I would liken the relationship of the left* with the D-party to that of a spouse (who has signed a one-sided prenup) with a wealthy yet abusive partner. I think it is better to walk away and start from scratch in these kinds of circumstances. It’s certainly an imperfect metaphor, however I get the feeling that the D-party establishment would rather sabotage the party and burn the party’s assets to the ground before ceding control to the left.

            I also think it’s worth considering that these two approaches to political reform will be fought in different arenas. The “hostile takeover” approach will be fought on D-party territory, under their rules, while the “new party” approach, from what I understand, will largely consist of legal battles and convincing voters that they are not being served by the duopoly. I think the latter approach has the potential to highlight the problems with the current system, and is more likely to garner the kind of energy and enthusiasm that the Sanders campaign enjoyed. I also think it is highly likely that the liberal cohort will be equally hostile to either approach, so they should not be counted on for any assistance in either scenario, though they will likely wield more power in the “hostile takeover” scenario.

            Anyway, just some thoughts. Ideally, the two approaches would be comprehensively gamed out by people who know more about the the internal workings of the D-party and the US electoral system (and its accompanying laws) than I do before a decision is made wrt how the left should proceed.

            * As defined here at NC. Unfortunately, the impression I get from reading around the web is that a large segment of the US public associate the left with Hillary Clinton, liberals, and identity politics, and I don’t think anything is going to convince them otherwise. At this point, I think the term “left” has been thoroughly corrupted and is now a liability in the political arena, which is certainly not to say that the goals we at NC associate with the term should not be pursued.

              1. different clue

                If enough millions of people were to agree on a single word and were to make their political and etc. behavior consistent and predictable over time such that the word, whatever that chosen word happened to be, were to stand reliably for those millions of people and their predictable sustained behavior; that word would be detoxified. Or at least credibilized.

  4. fajensen

    The Dims – because that’s what these people truly are – will just assume that they haven’t put enough effort into “Russia” and go triple- or quadruple-up on every failed candidate, strategy, platform, message, consultant, focus-group and whatever else a sane leadership should by now have been tarring, feathering and releasing the hounds upon.

    Just imagine the staff meetings: ‘We gotta be right eventually, because Vince Lombardi said: “Winners never quit and quitters never win”‘ and politics is exactly like football. “Ohhh How Deep. Surely advice like that is worth paying 50 kUSD for”.

    1. Darn

      + for Dims. The Russia thing is irresistible because it’s supposed to get nationalistic rubes to turn against Trump while sucking up to the military-industrial complex. And yet, it didn’t work during the campaign either.

      1. Louis Fyne

        The Dims couldn’t even be bothered to have American flags on the podium during the first night of the Dim Convention in Phila.

        But after they lose the stereotypically anti-nationalistic DC Dims wrap themselves around the flag? Sounds right like the Dims alright.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Not one single American flag? In Philadelphia, of all places?

          If you can’t locate a flag in Philadelphia, you’re not trying very hard.

        2. Karl Kolchak

          Yep–they seem to have forgotten that their base is historically not into blind patriotism and too much flag waving turns them off.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        LOL! What the hell were they smoking during the “focus group” meetings. This thing was surely invented by some of the biggest dummies in the Democratic Party, and that’s saying something.

        When it was just starting, I remember seeing James (Mr. Kleen) Carville saying something about the KGB rigging the election. Not knowing, apparently, the KGB dissolved in 1991.

        I thought Carville was either having a bad acid dream or making some kind of surreal joke, but no, it was the Master Plan of the dem masterminds.

    2. polecat

      ‘If you are constantly pounding the pudding, shrieking endlessly, and hysterically so, about the evils of the PUTIN … and his supposed orange-coiffed minion, while refusing to look into a mirror !!! ……. You just might be a DIMOCRAT !”

    3. sid_finster

      Team D will continue to double down because it is in the interests of those running Team D to do so.

  5. Ignacio

    The fixation of Clintonites, or frustrated dems with russiagate is very telling and well explained here. It strikes me how the russiagate has treated so uncritically by the “liberal” press in Spain. Nobody, and I say nobody, has even thougth twice about the political risks associated with the demonization of Russia that coincides with Ukraine isues and natural gas supplies in Europe. Interestingly Germans have recently agreed with Russia a new pipeline through the baltic sea and there is clamor against these agreement amongst other european countries that do not benefit from the pipeline, and apparently the clamor is leaded by the US (the supposedly pro russian Trump government).

    Germany’s gas pact with Putin’s Russia endangers Atlantic alliance

    1. mundanomaniac

      and the german journalists, print or TV were ready 2014 like their collegues were1933, when Goebbels called . And no physical threat this time, only probe of character.
      And as the Germans since long have learnt to be eager to please their masters they did the trick again, alas now, when they are the par-agons of success in the west.

      But the president Donald, thank God, is disclosing all veils and Putin is showing a
      decent kind of leader on the planet.

      Cheers from Bavaria’s

  6. Benedict@Large

    So the bottom line is that Hillary, who wouldn’t work for anything better than ObamaCare, is ending up sacrificing ObamaCare itself, all because she got in a powder about people not buying her messageless campaign? We are literally a handful of days away from losing not only ObamaCare, but Medicaid as well, and the Democratic establishment has no strategy except to worry that Bernie Sanders might score a few points for merely repeating back to the party’s base what that base was already saying? Forty years of trying to create a “centrist” third party is in shambles, and these people still believe they are entitled to lead what little remains of the party of the working people.

    No wonder we were supposed to worry about the Russians. It was the furthest place they could find from where the problem really was.

  7. Mike

    As a side note, no one is mentioning the “progressive” bloggers and news sites (Young Turks, Majority Report, I’m lookin’ at ya) who jumped on this bandwagon after showing support for Sanders, then switched to standard form to oppose the “fascist” Trump. It says to me that, just like the more well-known Democratic Party fronts who could have made an effort to show independence, they are ultimately fronts, just more distantly positioned for maximum believability. It all smells, and progressives need to examine their principles before looking to these “saviors”.

    Even if “evidence” would appear after all this time, do we not suspect it has been cooked in the truth-telling factories of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, all in bed with right-wing warmongers who own both parties (not just Republicans – sorry, integer)? If anything shows the necessity of party realignment (creating new ones to replace existing), this idiocy is not just a brick in the wall, but an entire edifice.

    1. Louis Fyne

      I wonder if the political blogosphere is like the movie/pop culture blogosphere.

      Say something that the PR department at Sony doesn’t like, a previously credentialed blogger is blacklisted from events like advance screenings.

      if liberal bloggers say something off DNC script are they blacklisted by someone in DC and kicked off of the Nancy Pelosi Christmas card list?

      1. polecat

        I’ll bet a first-class ticket to He’ll that her card reads : ‘HAVE A MERRY F#CKING X-MAS … NOW GET IN LINE AND PAY-UP …… YOU CHUMPS !

      2. Synoia

        Daily Kos used that model.

        Noting negative about Clinton was permitted after the D primaries.

    2. integer

      Even if “evidence” would appear after all this time, do we not suspect it has been cooked in the truth-telling factories of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, all in bed with right-wing warmongers who own both parties (not just Republicans – sorry, integer)?

      Disappointed to read this, as I have never made that claim.

      1. Mike

        Comment was to your saying the security establishment “which is primarily GOP owned or aligned”.

        Both parties, in a sense, “own” it, and use segments of it to advantage when necessary. But further, both the parties and agencies are “owned” by the power of capital as it is currently operating, and this power behind the throne makes the security and party establishment dance. You and I are on the ground, trying to avoid the footwork.

        1. integer

          Why the Democratic party is doomed was written by Julian Assange. See the link at the top of the comment you are referring to.

  8. Arizona Slim

    In the last six months, I have gone from being curious about Russia to learning how to speak Russian. Thanks for the inspiration, Democrats.

      1. Arizona Slim

        It’s a challenge, all right. But I’m having fun.

        Hmmm, a Russian coworker just walked by my desk. He doesn’t know about this project — yet. Won’t he be surprised when I say “Good morning!” in Russian.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Ahah! Most Americans don’t learn foreign languages. This is irrefutable proof of a fifth columnist element in America plotting against Moose and Squirrel. Somebody tell the Hillary campaign!

      1. Anand Shah

        I beg to differ…

        If you read his blogs carefully, he is not a total supporter. He just finds Trump, to be a master persuader… which is another form of behavioral economics… Very few people could read Trump 6 months early…. The MSM was laughing its way to the bank on a Trump loss, and we saw that during the previous election edition, how they mistreated and laughed at Ron Paul’s chances…

        Just like many of the commentariat here, we just happen to hate HRC’s past, present and therefore the future more…. therefore Trump…

  9. Tom Stone

    But, but, it was HER TURN!
    And her investors are really pissed off.
    $1.5B up in smoke and not even a blue dress to show for it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Hillary with her celebrity and money can’t win, what does it say about the potential future political dreams of the Dems who enthusiastically supported her? Or even corporate gigs? What good is a Democrat who can’t deliver?

      NBCNews has hired Greta, Megan Kelly, and now Hugh Hewitt. The NYT hired a host of climate change deniers.

      For the Clintonistas especially, why would anyone hire them again? It’s really no different on their part than the “OMG Nader” narrative. In an election with voter suppression, misleading ballots, bizarre recounts, Joe Lieberman, high youth non-Cuban Hispanic turnout for Shrub, Katherine Harris, and the fantasy of simply winning Tennessee, who did Democrats blame? A powerless figure in Nader.

      1. RUKIdding

        Thank you. Yes the Shrub sham “election” was all, only & solely Nadar’s fault, and don’t you EVAH dare to forget it. Geez I still witness nincompoops on the so-called left bitching and whining about Nadar, who’s at fault for just about everything, I guess, except now when it’s Jill Stein’s or Bernie Sander’s fault.

        Color me an Independent.

      2. different clue

        Having-supported-Clinton should be the Mark of Cain to any voter who wants to vote for declintaminating the Democratic Party.

        Was this candidate/ strategist/consultant/whatever a Clinton supporter or Clinton delegate? Then this candidate/whatever should have its public life and career destroyed and should be driven deep into private obscurity.

    2. sid_finster

      This is one reason why russiagate is inevitable.

      Who wants to tell the donors that the Team D brain trust pissed away a billion and a half, with nothing to show for it?

      But if the election was somehow stolen (eeevil Russkies!) then it wasn’t really Team D’s fault you see, and then…

      1. Karl Kolchak

        Problem is, anyone smart enough to earn that much dough is likely too smart to fall for the Russia stole the election BS, which is why Dumbocrats’ fundraising has cratered.

        1. different clue

          Has it cratered? Has it really cratered? Has it cratered enough to where the Democratic Party faces a real risk of genuine extermination from political and physical existence?

          If it has, then this is an opportunity for Bitter Berners to donate to anti-Clintonitic anti-Clintonites, who will be thereby funded-up better than the Clintonites with their cratered and cratering donations. And getting such anti-Clintonites elected to offices might be a first step towards exterminating the Clintonite filth from every dark corner of the Democratic Party.

  10. John Wright

    The entire Russia-gate issue ignores/insults the voters the Democrats hope to influence.

    To some extent, the Democrats are telling the deplorable Trump voters, “The Russians influenced you to vote for Trump, someone who you have been aware of for many years, over the other well-known candidate Hillary Clinton”

    The Trump voter is probably more than a little irritated to have their voting actions viewed this way, they do not see themselves influenced by the Russians and do not understand why the Russians COULD significantly influence the election when the USA spends so much money on the CIA, FBI, NSA and US military.

    The USA is also widely viewed as attempting to influence elections overseas, with none other than Senator Hillary Clinton recorded stating that ‘We should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win’ in a Palestine election.

    Disclaimer, this link is from Trump’s son-in-law’s publication, but the audio has not been questioned AFAIK..

    I suspect the American voter does not believe they were “played” by the Russians.

    But they may believe that is what the Democrats are attempting to do with the entire Russia-gate campaign

    As James Carville said, “It’s the economy, stupid” when running Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign.

    The Democrats need to see this is still good guidance.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      The entire Russia-gate issue ignores/insults the voters the Democrats hope to influence.

      To some extent, the Democrats are telling the deplorable Trump voters, “The Russians influenced you to vote for Trump, someone who you have been aware of for many years, over the other well-known candidate Hillary Clinton”

      I think this is not right. The Dems have no interest in the votes of the deplorables. What only matters is the meme that HRC should have won. The charitable interpretation is that DNC is still convinced that demographics are in their favor (in the long run). So they do not have to diss their corporate patrons and offer real help to real people; they just need to hold out long enough for the demographics to kick in. The meme that HRC should have won is a rationale for staying the course.

      Of course, the uncharitable explanation is that they would rather lose than change.

    2. different clue

      But thanks to Carville, Clinton and the DLC ThirdWay Democrats in general, it is no longer the economy,stupid. Now it is the stupid economy. And the victims of the stupid economy, all the victims of NAFTA, WTO, MFN for China and etc., will remember that it was the New Pelosi New Clinton Democrats who made the economy stupid.

  11. flora

    “As James Carville said, “It’s the economy, stupid” when running Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign.

    The Democrats need to see this is still good guidance.”

    Yes, it is. Unfortunately for the voters Bill Clinton and Obama and the Dem estab are neoliberals. Bill and O were neoliberals running in New Deal clothing. The current Dem estab is neolib. A better “message” sans better policys isn’t any better than focusing on Russia, imo.

  12. Kevin Horlock

    Please just go away, Hillary and Hillary clones.

    When you think about it, increasing ever so slightly the risk of actual nuclear war, damaging the Democratic party, and doing untold damage to legitimate (hate to use the word anymore) “progressive” causes is more or less the end-game of all this.

    And all in service of, what? Vindicating the failures of the inane pundit class? (God forbid) setting up Hillary 2020?

    Shameful shit right there

  13. John D.

    Even on a purely political level, the whole Russiagate bullshit was doomed to failure, methinks.

    Gore Vidal (among others) used to point out that the dirty little secret of America’s anti-communist right was that they were actually jealous of the brutal tactics the commies could use against their dissenters and secretly – and in many cases, not so secretly – wished they could do the same thing here. It wasn’t that long ago that the right wing blog-o-sphere and certain wingnut writers were all swooning over Putin’s manliness (as opposed to Obama’s alleged ‘weakness’) like a pack of horny schoolgirls. The dumb bastards were composing mash notes to the butch Mr. Putin. It was embarrassing.

    So if the Dem “leadership” was hoping to turn our own home-grown reactionaries against Trump over being in bed with Putin, they should have known better. We all know the right are hypocrites. Even if there was anything to Russiagate, they wouldn’t care. And the rest of us wouldn’t give a shit, not if it meant ignoring every other problem that needs dealing with. Since it’s all a bunch of bullshit anyway…

    1. Synoia

      See also “War on Drugs” to suppress the advancement African Americans by the punishment disparities between possession of Crack Cocaine and Rich White People’s Cocaine.

  14. PKMKII

    Besides the short-term failure of the Russian angle, it’s got a long-term problem in that Trump will eventually not be president. What do they do with the Putin boogeyman then? It’s one thing to say “Corrupt businessman has corrupt dealings in corrupt country with corrupt oligarchs and corrupt dictator, ergo they are all working together to corrupt American democracy,” but when he’s gone the only way they could keep that ball rolling is by accusing the GOP as a whole with collusion with the Russians. And then you’re in Alex Jones territory.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They will blame ghosts or aliens.

      The hallmark of Team Blue is to blame anything especially the nebulous.

      2000 -Nader
      2002 -9/11
      2004 -Bush had so much money because no one knew there was election
      2006/8 -what election? Dims prefer these be forgotten
      2010 -tough environment and garbage about the “President’s party” always having a tough time
      2012 -what election? Obama changed his rhetoric considerably over the Summer, matching his more hopey and change style
      2014 -don’t worry. People are waiting for Hillary
      2016 -“OMG RUSSIA” please send money
      2018 -NADER!
      2020 -Ghosts!
      2022 -I think many people are worried about the lack of Nessie sightings in recent years and were too sad to vote.

  15. Indrid Cold

    What if “RussiaGate” was only really intended to pressure Trump hard against any diplomatic rapproachment with a country the Neocons have targeted?
    Trump’s foreign policy has been relentlessly steered into a direction the Clintons always intended to take it. Ticking off the last countries on Israel’s ‘enemy list’ as compiled by the PNAC creeps. Recall the statement of … Col. Wilkerson or one of those old guard people who wandered into an office in the Pentagon to find that there was a list of countries to be destroyed, starting with Iraq and ending finally with Iran. Syria and Libya were on it.
    This whole thing is about a high level grand strategic plan that involves destabilizing and overthrowing governments the US and Israel find annoying and insufficiently obeisant. The ultimate goal will be breaking the Russian Federation into a bunch of independent statelets. This isn’t ‘conspiracy theory’ – it’s what Brzezinski advocated and aligns neatly with the needs of the military-industrial-financial complex and its obsession with total control over world energy supplies as a lever for domination.
    Assad is really secondary to the main goals of:
    1) Getting the Russian naval presence out of the Mediterranean (note that Nuland -another PNAC operative- leverages unhappiness with the corruption in Ukraine to install a fascistic government that would certainly have seized the Russian naval assets at Sevastopol had Russia not seized the Crimea.
    2) Turning Isreal’s neighbors into a collection Mad Max style bantu-stans that can be manipulated easily by Saudi -which is ironically Israel’s ally.
    2) Controlling energy transit and access points.
    Again, I’m not saying anything that isn’t in the record.

    1. John Wright

      Re the country list.

      It was Wesley Clark who saw the list of middle east/African countries the USA would attack and destroy.

      Per Clark, “He said: “Sir, it’s worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said: “I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.””

      It was all supposed to occur within 5 years, so by 2008 the dream would have been accomplished.

      But maybe the neocons haven’t given up, not installing HRC was a downer, but maybe Trump can be pulled into line..

    2. Thor's Hammer

      Cold, you bring up a topic often ignored that I find highly credible. The Deep State with all its power to manufacture information and create chaos has a long-standing interest in maintaining Russiaphobia. The Soviet Union was certainly the best enemy they have ever known. Without it trillions of dollars of armaments would have never been sold and billions of dollars of spy agency bureaucracies never have been funded.

      The real power centers in the US are the bankster cabal, robber baron capitalists, medical extortionists, and the Homeland Insecurity war hawks. The first three have nothing to fear from a Trump presidency– indeed they probably will fare better than if the Clinton Crime Syndicate had triumphed. However (to the extent that he actually stands for anything) Trump’s goal of defusing tensions with Russia and doing oil deals with them is a direct threat to the War Hawks, and more than sufficient reason to cut him off at the knees

      You do fall into the trap of repeating Deep State propaganda though. Russia did not seize Crimea. Crimea has been part of the Russian sphere of influence for generations. It probably is as much Russian as Texas is American. It’s temporary incorporation into Ukraine when the Soviet Union fractured probably had as much to do with Khrushchev being Ukrainian as it had to do with creating the best fit. And when the choice was put before a popular referendum in 2014, 83% of the population turned out to vote and 96.77% voted to join the Russian Federation. Try getting that kind of turn out and consensus in an American election! And even if there was plenty of arm twisting behind the scenes, its hard to believe that the result didn’t represent the actual choice of the citizens.

      1. Indrid Cold

        Re Crimea – you’re correct of course. The Texas analogy is pretty good. There was no distinction between Russians and Ukrainians during the time of the Czars anyway. The territory used to be controlled by the Hellenes and then the Byzantines. The Germans wanted to annex it as part of their war goals in ww2

  16. kurtismayfield

    This has been mission accomplished for the Dems. You just have to assume they want the country to move right.

    1. Kick the left. Always.
    2. Pretend to #resist, while really you are in it to keep the political money spigot flowing.
    3. While distracting their supporters with Russia gate/GA-06/Trump’s latest twit, Medicare and ACA get gutted.
    4. Run on returning to the status quo on 2018, taking single payer will be off the table.

    It’s brilliant..if you know their goal is to move the country right and be a bulwark against the left.

  17. Code Name D

    I note that the Russia narrative has collapsed because it failed to catch fire. Not because none of it is true.

    1. bob

      “Not because none of it is true”

      First, define “IT”.

      Then, provide some sort of proof for IT.

      It’s very simple, I’ll go ahead and note that.

  18. Tyronius

    Great article and brilliant comments!

    It’s nice to know I’m not crazy, that the rabid Democrats in my life and political discussion circle are not seeing the bigger picture, that the real power is in keeping the public chasing its own tail while manipulating the process to their own ends.

    Enlightening, all round.

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