Students Demand That University Cancel Pence Event

Authored by Zachary Petrizzo via Campus Reform,

Students are demanding that Lee University in Tennessee cancel an upcoming appearance by Vice President Mike Pence because they disagree with Pence’s political positions.

The petition, started by student Cedes Harris, argues that Pence’s political views are directly at odds with the values of the Christian institution, asking on behalf of “concerned students, faculty, and alumni” that school administrators cancel the his scheduled appearance at Pangle Hall on July 21.

It offers seven reasons for why the event should be cancelled, three of which relate to Pence’s affiliation with America First Policies, a political advocacy group created to promote President Trump’s agenda.

“Both his involvement with the America First Policies organization and his exhortation of its values defy and ignore the following Christian values,” the list of complaints begins, citing Bible verses about caring for the poor and being hospitable to foreigners.

“America First Policies dehumanizes both refugees and immigrants who seek justice, liberty, and freedom from discrimination in the United States,” it continues, adding that “America First Policies, along with local sponsor Allan Jones, supports tax regulations and policies which will inevitably secure wealth for the middle and upper classes while further afflicting the working and poor classes of society.

The petition then begins to accuse Pence of outright bigotry, saying he “supports actions and policies against the LGBTQI+ community which shames [sic] and suppresses [sic] this community in ways which are harmful and disrespectful.”

Moreover, it alleges that Pence not only “refuses to acknowledge overt police brutality afflicting the black community,” but that he also “actively supports the further militarization of police and ICE officers, putting all of the aforementioned communities at greater risk of unnecessary violence.”

As of press time, 327 had signed the petition, but Harris told Campus Reform that she is also organizing a protest of Pence’s speech to supplement the effort.

“I will be protesting the event,” she vowed, adding that she “expects a good turnout” because “students will be traveling from their hometowns.” 

Even so, not everyone at Lee University is of the same mind as Harris, which she clarified at the school’s request in a disclaimer noting that the opinions expressed in the petition “do not represent the positions of all students and faculty nor of Lee University as an institution.”

“I say that hate speech isn’t constructive speech,” Harris told Campus Reform. “There are students who don’t feel comfortable nor safe with Pence or America First Policies stepping onto our campus.”

“Mike Pence is our Vice President and we ought as a student body to respect and feel honored to have him on our small campus,” said Alexa Hill, vice president of the Lee University College Republicans. “It’s important for a platform to exist whereby multiple viewpoints are welcome. When one seeks to curtail the enlightenment of another because there is a dichotomy of viewpoints; we find intolerance.”

Jerome Hammond, Lee University spokesman, assured Campus Reform that “Pence will be allowed and welcomed,” saying, “the university’s interpretation is that democracy is about learning to live together. It’s a difficult process…learning to live with someone is hard.” 

Hammond added that the petition “is a part of the working out of a democratic process,” observing that “we will have our disagreements but we must respect each other’s viewpoints.”

“Welcoming Vice President Pence is a part of the democratic process and the mission of the university. He has been elected democratically…and this is a part of the democratic process,” Hammond reiterated, noting that Lee University will also play host to Phil Bredesen, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, on August 17.

One thing Hammond made clear, though, was that “there will be ground rules [for the protest] which include no violence to others or property.”

Harris disavowed any destructive intent, telling Campus Reform that “I’m a pacifist and Vice President of our non-violent direct action club, Peacemakers. Everything we have organized and planned has been done in love and we have been in prayer for this since our university announced the event.”

According to the Times Free Press, Pence’s event will begin at 11:15 a.m., with doors opening at 9:15. Harris is planning to get started even earlier, though, encouraging fellow protesters to arrive at 7:30.

The World Explained: It’s Simple – Everyone Is Smart… Except Trump

Authored by Dov Fischer via The American Spectator,

That’s why they all are billionaires and all got elected president…

It really is quite simple. Everyone is smart except Donald J. Trump. That’s why they all are billionaires and all got elected President. Only Trump does not know what he is doing. Only Trump does not know how to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. Anderson Cooper knows how to stand up to Putin. The whole crowd at MSNBC does. All the journalists do.

They could not stand up to Matt Lauer at NBC. They could not stand up to Charlie Rose at CBS. They could not stand up to Mark Halperin at NBC. Nor up to Leon Wieseltier at the New Republic, nor Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, nor Michael Oreskes at NPR, at the New York Times, or at the Associated Press. But — oh, wow! — can they ever stand up to Putin! Only Trump is incapable of negotiating with the Russian tyrant.

Remember the four years when Anderson Cooper was President of the United States? And before that — when the entire Washington Post editorial staff jointly were elected to be President? Remember? Neither do I.

The Seedier Media never have negotiated life and death, not corporate life and death, and not human life and death. They think they know how to negotiate, but they do not know how. They go to a college, are told by peers that they are smart, get some good grades, proceed to a graduate degree in journalism, and get hired as analysts. Now they are experts, ready to take on Putin and the Iranian Ayatollahs at age 30.

That is not the road to expertise in tough dealing. The alternate road is that, along the way, maybe you get forced into some street fights. Sometimes the other guy wins, and sometimes you beat the intestines out of him. Then you deal with grown-ups as you mature, and you learn that people can be nasty, often after they smile and speak softly. You get cheated a few times, played. And you learn. Maybe you become an attorney litigating multi-million-dollar case matters. Say what you will about attorneys, but those years — not the years in law school, not the years drafting legal memoranda, but the years of meeting face-to-face and confronting opposing counsel — those years can teach a great deal. They can teach how to transition from sweet, gentle, diplomatic negotiating to tough negotiating. At some point, with enough tough-nosed experience, you figure out Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” yourself.

Trump’s voters get him because not only is he we, but we are he. We were not snowflaked-for-life by effete professors who themselves never had negotiated tough life-or-death serious deals. Instead we live in the real world, and we know how that works. Not based on social science theories, not based on “conceptual negotiating models.” But based on the people we have met over life and always will hate. That worst boss we ever had. The coworker who tried to sabotage us. We know the sons of bums whom we survived, the dastardly types who are out there, and we learned from those experiences how to deal with them. We won’t have John Kerry soothe us by having James Taylor sing “You’ve Got a Friend” carols.

The Bushes got us into all kinds of messes. The first one killed the economic miracle that Reagan had fashioned. The second one screwed up the Middle East, where Iraq and Iran beautifully were engaged in killing each other for years, and he got us mired into the middle of the muddle. Clinton was too busy with Monica Lewinsky to protect us from Osama bin Laden when we had him in our sights. Hillary gave us Benghazi and more. And Obama and Kerry gave us the Iran Deal, ISIS run amok, America in retreat. All to the daily praise of a media who now attack Trump every minute of every day.

So let us understand a few things:

Negotiating with NATO:

NATO is our friend. They also rip off America. They have been ripping us off forever. We saved their butts — before there even was a NATO — in World War I. They messed up, and 116,456 Americans had to die to save their butts. Then they messed up again for the next two decades because West Europeans are effete and so obsessed with their class manners and their rules of savoir faire and their socialist welfare states and their early retirements that they did not have the character to stand up to Hitler in the 1930s. Peace in our time. So they messed up, and we had to save their butts again. And another 405,399 Americans died for them during World War II. And then we had to rebuild them! And we had to station our boys in Germany and all over their blood-stained continent. So, hey, we love those guys. We love NATO.

And yet they still rip us off. We pay 4% of our gigantic gross domestic product to protect them, and they will not pay a lousy 2% of their GDP towards their own defense. Is there a culture more penny-pinching-cheap-and-stingy than the fine constituents of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization? These cheap baseborn prigs will not pay their fare. They are too cheap. They expect America to send boys to die for them in one world war, then another — hundreds of thousands — and then to pay for their NATO defense even a century later.

And then they have the temerity to cheat us further in trade. Long before Trump, they set up tariffs against us for so many things. If the average American knew how badly Europe has been ripping us off for decades with their tariffs, no one in this country would buy anything European again. We would say, as a matter of self-respect and personal pride, “I no longer will buy anything but American, no matter what it costs.”

Every American President has complained about the cheating and imbalance — the NATO penny-pinching-cheapness, the tariff and trade imbalances. In more recent years, the various Bushes complained about it. Even Obama complained about it. But they all did it so gently, so diplomatically. They would deliver the sermon, just as the pastor predictably tells the church-goers on Sunday morning that he is against sin, and the Europeans would sit quietly and nod their heads — nodding from sleeping, not from agreeing — and then they would go back out and sin some more. Another four years of America being suckered and snookered. All they had to do was give Obama a Nobel Peace Prize his ninth month in officeand let Kerry ride his bike around Paris.

So Trump did what any effective negotiator would do: he took note of past approaches to NATO and their failures, and correctly determined that the only way to get these penny-pinching-cheap baseborn prigs to pay their freight would be to bulldoze right into their faces, stare them right in their glazed eyes with cameras rolling, and tell them point-blank the equivalent of:

“You are the cheapest penny-pinching, miserly, stingy, tightwadded skinflints ever. And it is going to stop on my watch. Whatever it takes from my end, you selfish, curmudgeonly cheap prigs, you are going to pay your fair share. I am not being diplomatic. I am being All-Business: either you start to pay or, wow, are you in for some surprises! And you know what you read in the Fake News: I am crazy! I am out of control! So, lemme see. I know: We will go to trade war! How do you like that? Maybe we even will pull all our troops out of Europe. Hmmm. Yeah, maybe. Why not? Sounds good. Well, let’s see.”

So Trump stuffed it into their quiche-and-schnitzel ingesting faces. And he convinced them — thanks to America’s Seedier Media who are the real secret to the “Legend That is Trump” — that he just might be crazy enough to go to trade war and to pull American boys home. They knew that Clinton and Bush x 2 and Kerry and Hillary and Nobel Laureate Obama never would do it. But they also know that Trump just might. And if they think they are going to find comfort and moderating in his new advisers, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, alongside him….

Nuh-uh.

So CNN and the Washington Post and all the Seedier Media attacked Trump for days: He is destroying the alliance! He attacks our friends!

Baloney. Obama was the one whom the Left Echo Chamber… Chamber… Chamber never called out for attacking our friends — Israel, Britain, so many others — while cozying up to Hugo Chavezbowing to dictators, and dancing the tango for Raul Castro. Trump is just the opposite: He knows who the friends are, and he wants to maintain and strengthen those friendships. It is no different from a parent telling a 35-year-old son: “I have been supporting you for thirty-five years. I put you through college by signing four years and $100,000 in PLUS Loans. You graduated college fifteen years ago. For fifteen years I have been asking you nicely to look for a job and to start contributing. Instead, you sit home all day playing video games, texting your friends on a smartphone I pay for, and picking little fuzz balls out of your navel. So, look, I love you. You are my flesh and blood. But if you are not employed and earning a paycheck — and contributing to the cost of this household — in six months, we are throwing you out of the house.” That boy is NATO. Trump is Dad. And all of us have been signing for the PLUS Loans.

Negotiating with Putin

Putin is a bad guy. A really bad guy. He is better than Lenin. Better than Stalin, Khrushchev, Kosygin, Brezhnev, Pol Pot, Mao. But he is a really bad guy.

Here’s the thing: Putin is a dictator. He answers to no one. He does whatever he wants. If there arises an opponent, that guy dies. Maybe the opponent gets poked with a poisoned umbrella. Maybe he gets shot on the street. Maybe the opponent is forced to watch Susan Rice interviews telling the world that Benghazi happened because of a YouTube video seen by nine derelicts in Berkeley and that Bowe Berghdal served with honor and distinction. But, one way or another, the opponent dies.

Trump knows this about Putin. And here is what that means:

If you insult Putin in public, like by telling the newsmedia just before or after meeting with him that he is the Butcher of Crimea, and he messed with our elections, and is an overall jerk — then you will get nothing behind closed doors from Putin. Putin will decide “To heck with you, and to heck with the relationship we just forged.” Putin will get even, will take intense personal revenge, even if it is bad for Russia — even if it is bad for Putin. Because there are no institutional reins on him.

But if you go in public and tell everyone that Putin is a nice guy (y’know, just like Kim Jong Un) and that Putin intensely maintains that he did not mess with elections — not sweet little Putey Wutey (even though he obviously did) — then you next can maintain the momentum established beforehand in the private room. You can proceed to remind Putin what you told him privately: that this garbage has to stop — or else. That if he messes in Syria, we will do “X.” If he messes with our Iran boycott, we will do “Y.” We will generate so much oil from hydraulic fracturing and from ANWR and from all our sources that we will glut the market — if not tomorrow, then a year from now. We will send even more lethal offensive military weapons to Ukraine. We can restore the promised shield to Eastern Europe that Obama withdrew. And even if we cannot mess with Russian elections (because they have no elections), they do have computers — and, so help us, we will mess with their technology in a way they cannot imagine. Trump knows from his advisers what we can do. If he sweet-talks Putin in public — just Putin on the Ritz — then everything that Trump has told Putin privately can be reinforced with action, and he even can wedge concessions because, against that background, Putin knows that no one will believe that he made any concessions. Everyone is set to believe that Putin is getting whatever he wants, that Trump understands nothing. So, in that setting, Putin can make concessions and still save face.

That is why Trump talks about him that way. And that is the only possible way to do it when negotiating with a tyrant who has no checks and balances on him. If you embarrass the tyrant publicly, then the tyrant never will make concessions because he will fear that people will say he was intimidated and backed down. And that he never will do. Meanwhile, Trump has expelled 60 Russians from America, reversed Obama policy and sent lethal weapons to Ukraine, and is pressing Germany severely on its pipeline project with Russia.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, Donald Trump is over seventy years old. He has made many mistakes in his life. He still makes some. He is human. But Trump likewise has spent three score and a dozen years learning. He has seen some of his businesses go bankrupt, and he has learned from those experiences to be a billionaire and not let it happen again. No doubt that he has been fooled, outsmarted in years past. And he has learned from life.

He is a tough and smart negotiator. He sizes up his opponent, and he knows that the approach that works best for one is not the same as for another. It does not matter what he says publicly about his negotiating opponent. What matters is what results months later. In his first eighteen months in Washington, this man has turned around the American economy, brought us near full employment, reduced the welfare and food stamp lines, wiped out ISIS in Raqqa, moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, successfully has launched massive deregulation of the economy, has opened oil exploration in ANWR, is rebuilding the military massively, has walked out of the useless Paris Climate Accords that were negotiated by America’s amateurs who always get snookered, canned the disastrous Iran Deal, exited the bogus United Nations Human Rights Council. He has Canada and Mexico convinced he will walk out of NAFTA if they do not pony up, and he has the Europeans convinced he will walk out of NATO if they don’t stop being the cheap and lazy parasitic penny-pinchers they are. He has slashed income taxes, expanded legal protections for college students falsely accused of crimes, has taken real steps to protect religious freedoms and liberties promised in the First Amendment, boldly has taken on the lyme-disease-quality of a legislative mess that he inherited from Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama on immigration, and has appointed a steady line of remarkably brilliant conservative federal judges to sit on the district courts, the circuit appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.

What has Anderson Cooper achieved during that period? Jim Acosta or the editorial staffs of the New York Times and Washington Post? They have not even found the courage and strength to stand up to the coworkers and celebrities within their orbits who abuse sexually or psychologically or emotionally. They have no accomplishments to compare to his. Just their effete opinions, all echoing each other, all echoing, echoing, echoing. They gave us eight years of Nobel Peace Laureate Obama negotiating with the ISIS JV team, calming the rise of the oceans, and healing the planet.

We will take Trump negotiating with Putin any day.

Russian Warship “Carrying $133 Billion In Gold” Discovered Off South Korea

A South Korean marine exploration company claimed Tuesday to have discovered Dmitrii Donskoi, an armored cruiser built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1880s, reportedly transporting a cargo of gold worth an estimated $133 billion in today’s dollars.

Launched in St Petersburg in August 1883, the Dmitrii Donskoi was designed as a commerce raider and fitted with both a full set of sails and a coal-fired engine. The ship spent most of its career operating in the Mediterranean and the Far East and was deployed to Imperial Russia’s Second Pacific Squadron after the Japanese fleet destroyed the majority of Russia’s naval power in the Far East in the opening salvoes of the 1904 Russo-Japanese War.

The Dmitri Donskoii was sunk in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war

The squadron was then intercepted by the Japanese fleet in May 1905 and decimated at the Battle of Tsushima. Assigned to protect the transport ships at the rear of the formation, the Dmitrii Donskoi managed to evade the attacking force, but was later intercepted steaming for the Russian port of Vladivostok.

According to the Telegraph, the Dmitrii Donskoi was carrying the fleet’s funds and went down with 5,500 boxes containing gold bars as well as a separate haul of 200 tons of gold coins. The gold was being stored in the ship’s holds to stop the Japanese seizing it. Shinil Group estimates the gold would have a total value today of just over $130 billion.

The ship then disappeared for over a century, however it now appears its remains may have been found.

According to Aju Business Daily, the Shinil Group, a South Korean exploration company, has indicated that it found the ship Sunday less than a mile off the Jeodong port in Ulleungdo, a South Korean island located between the Korean peninsula and Japan, at a depth of 1,423 feet in the Sea of Japan.

“We found the body of the Dmitrii Donskoi 434 meters deep in seas 1.3 kilometers off Ulleung Island at around 9:50 a.m., Sunday,” Shinil Group said.

On Sunday, an expedition team mobilized two human-crewed submarines as it discovered what it believed to be Donskoi. The team confirmed later that the body and cannons of the ships captured via a high-definition video camera are consistent with the ship’s schematics.

The submarines found the ship’s name on its stern on Sunday, along with several cannons, deck guns, an anchor, two chimneys, three masts, a wooden deck and armored sides.

“The body of the ship was severely damaged by shelling, with its stern almost broken, and yet the ship’s deck and sides are well preserved,” the company said.

“Our discovery has finally put a stop to a controversy over Donskoi’s existence and sunken location. We’ll soon go ahead with procedures to rescue the ship,” Shinil group added.

Shinil did not say if gold bars or coins were discovered. The group plans to recover the gold later this year with the help from companies in China, Canada, and the U.K. Here is video from the moment the ship was identified:

The exploration firm estimates that there could be as much as 200 tons of gold ($133 billion) on the Dmitrii Donskoi. Shinil pledged to invest 10% of the treasure on Ulleung Island, which is a popular tourist destination for South Koreans. It has also worked out a deal with Russia, the rightful owner of the sunken ship, which Russia has said it would use the money for investments in railroads connecting Russia with South Korea via North Korea.

As for the $133 billion of gold on the sunken ship, it is anyone’s guess if it exists. But if it does, then it would undoubtedly dwarf the recent discovery of $17 billion in booty off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia.

The company said it is aiming to raise the ship in October or November. Half of any treasure found aboard the vessel would be handed over to the Russian government, which if the preliminary estimates are accurate, would amount to just over $66 billion. A portion of the rest of the treasure will be donated to joint projects to promote development in north-east Asia, the company said, such as a railway line from Russia to South Korea through North Korea.

Trump’s Trade War May Spark A Chinese Debt Crisis

Authored by Anne Stevenson-Yang, op-ed via BloombergQuint.com,

There’s no chance China will cut its trade surplus with the U.S. in response to President Donald Trump’s tariff threats. For starters, Washington has made no specific demand to which Beijing can respond. But its efforts may have an unexpected side effect: a debt crisis in China.

The 25 percent additional tariffs on exports of machinery and electronics looked, at first blush, like a stealth tax on offshoring. The focus on categories like semiconductors and nuclear components, in which U.S.-owned manufacturers in China are strong, recalled Trump’s 2016 promise to tax “any business that leaves our country.”

It seems, though, that offshoring wasn’t the target after all. Now, with the imposition of new tariffs on low-value exports that mostly involve Asian value chains, the simple fact of selling cheap products that the U.S. buys has become the problem.

Either way, the administration appears set on shrinking its current-account deficit (which, at a moderate 2.4 percent of GDP, is far lower than the 6 percent clocked in 2006-7) just as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Distress has already been registered in China. On July 19, the yuan (also known as the renminbi) hit 6.80 to the dollar, the weakest in a year and 7 percent lower than at the end of May.

Such a move is nothing earth-shaking for less controlled currencies. But a stable renminbi is a key plank in the leadership’s promise to its people, and the exchange rate is tightly managed by the central bank.

Chinese investors have been buying official assurances for a year that the renminbi would be a fortress, but now they’re not so sure and are exporting money again: May saw net capital outflows and a decline in the foreign-exchange reserves. The currency is the most visible sign of slippage in the image that China tries to project of an economy so brilliantly managed that the bright sun of GDP expansion is untroubled by even temporary clouds on trade, employment or consumption.

There are many other signs: The Shanghai Composite Index of stocks has declined 7 percent in a month, dropping below the government’s red line of 3,000 for the first time since September 2016. Corporate bonds are about to set a record for the most defaults in a year. Junk bond yields are spiking. The chorus of anxiety about debt is reaching a crescendo, with daily press reports on governments that can’t pay their employees or meet pension obligations. Property prices are tumbling in some cities and frozen in others whose governments have placed a finger in the dyke by halting transactions.

That the massive burden of debt will drag the economy into recession is as obvious as the empty towers that rise on every landscape. Precise estimates are difficult, since the government’s dedication to the optics of invincibility induces financial institutions to push debt into alternate, opaque channels. But on any metric, the amount of new lending each year grows faster than the economy, and the interest newly owed exceeds the incremental rise in GDP. In other words, the whole economy is a Ponzi scheme.

Many analysts point out that the Chinese government owns everything, including the banks, and can just issue renminbi to infinity to keep the economy solvent. The flaw in that argument is China’s role in the global economy: It’s the world’s biggest exporter and second-biggest importer. The currency acts as the interface between the domestic and international economies, and its value is a matter of supply and demand.

The Ponzi economy has been sustained by cheap dollars coming in through legitimate or illegitimate channels, and the problem now is that structural surpluses are disappearing and there is less ‘hot’ money from the U.S. seeking yield. When dollars enter, the central bank buys them and issues renminbi. If it has to issue more than is justified by the amount of inflows, it creates inflation, and inflation, which has toppled or almost toppled governments from the Ming dynasty to Tiananmen, is the third rail of Chinese politics.

That brings us back to Trump and his trade war. The fundamental idea underlying this salad of a trade agenda is an old one from the right wing of the Republican Party, which believes that the U.S. has paid too dearly for its postwar leadership role under the Bretton Woods regime; putting America first means America marching alone.

The dollar standard, and not trade policies, underpins the global system of commerce. The U.S. runs trade deficits as a consequence of its desire to own the currency that dominates global commerce, not as a casualty of predatory policies by China. The rise of the gold standard in the second half of the 19th century was the key foundation for the expansion of global trade. Its collapse, starting in 1913, drove a trade implosion.

After Bretton Woods, the dollar took over as a global standard, and, when former President Richard Nixon made the greenback no longer redeemable for gold, it was freed to become a pure fiat currency. That meant that the U.S. could project any level of currency around the world to support its national economic growth and lifestyle improvements that exceeded productivity gains. No wonder China wishes the renminbi could do the same.

It is tempting to see the recent yuan depreciation as a strategy to blunt the effect of U.S. tariffs, but really, the capital account is of much greater import to China Inc. than the current account. China’s central bank will almost certainly try to pull back the exchange rate in the near term: Authorities care more about the pile of reserve gold, successful stock-exchange debuts for Xiaomi Corp. and Ant Financial, and lucrative bond issues than about the private and largely foreign-owned companies that dominate exports.

The truth is that China has followed a mercantilist trading policy since Mao Zedong. Most significantly, the investment splurge in the reform years helped political elites rake billions off the forced savings of the Chinese people. That was enabled by incoming capital, and there is no indication that will change.

Until now, China has managed to keep its huge raft of nonperforming debt afloat thanks to capital inflows, as successive waves of quantitative easing pushed dollars into the world. A tighter dollar would seem to make the bursting of China’s credit bubble an inevitability. When that happens, the renminbi will have to depreciate sharply. This will have a deflationary impact on the world. It will also lead to a decline in China’s share of global GDP, dramatically reduce the nation’s demand for commodities, and diminish its role on the international political stage.

Much about Chinese trade practices is genuinely unfair. But the inequity flows as much from U.S. policy favoring big corporations at the expense of workers as it does from Chinese structural subsidies. Both are difficult problems to address — much harder than penalizing exports. No one will benefit when China shrinks and turns inward. Trump should be careful what he wishes for.

“The Eulogy Of An Immortal Russiagate Scandal”

By Elizabeth Lea Vos via Disobedient Media

Opinion: The Eulogy Of An Immortal Russiagate Scandal

From the latest joke-indictment by Robert Mueller to the hysterical press-coverage of the Trump-Putin summit, the way establishment media has been acting over the past week has been apoplectic. One might imagine, given their response, that the end was nigh and Putin personally commandeered the four horsemen of the apocalypse or something equally Biblical.

However, the certifiable insanity characterizing the media’s reaction to these events is not the focus of this article. Instead, we ask, how is it that the Russiagate issue is still being discussed in the first place? How did we get here, to the verge of a neo-McCarthyist second-coming, despite all aspects of this issue being repeatedly dismissed in the light of evidence?

When we part the curtain of staged madness, designed to provoke fear in the gullible and outrage in the skeptical, what do we actually glimpse?

The reality is that Russiagate, the neoliberal war-cry, is only spurred on by a constant shift in narrative focus. Yesterday we saw farcical indictments; today we are consumed by a summit. If the pattern holds, then tomorrow we will be delivered a new take on Mifsud, tailored to deceive and mislead once again.

In a recent Memorandum to the President penned by Bill Binney and Ray McGovern, they noted: “We now have forensic evidence that shows the data provided by Guccifer 2.0 had been manipulated and is a fabrication.”

The memo, published with Consortium News, continued: “If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.”

First, as mentioned by McGovern and Binney, we have the thoroughly debunked Guccifer 2.0 hacking narrative. But wait, we also have the collusion narrative spawned by the dossier produced by Christopher Steele, likewise discredited. Time to focus on a mutated and contradictory version of the Guccifer 2.0 narrative! Before anyone can notice the holes, we are spun back to a new incarnation of the Trump-Russian collusion scandal, Mifsud the most mysterious and magical scholar of them all! Do we sound like a street hawker yet?

In Mifsud, we saw a narrative built to replace the collusion allegations first based on the debunked, laughable Steele dossier. The corruption involved in framing Mifsud as a Russian intelligence asset also became painfully evident, in light of his close ties with UK and Western intelligence figures, and his long-standing history at campuses where these same intelligence agencies – including the CIA and FBI, conducted training programs.

This statement brings us to the crux of this piece: what do the unfolding chapters of the Russiagate fairytale have in common?

Each of them has a critical lack of evidence supporting their thesis and has been countered by credible evidence that would require a book to recount in full. Each of these branches has been shoved into the fore of press attention when convenient, for a brief moment becoming the singular focus of the establishment media’s echo-chamber. When their credibility quickly fails in the light of credible countering evidence, they are whipped from view, to be replaced by a freshly fabricated aspect of a different arm of the scandal. Focus shifts like eyes at a tennis match, between the Russian hacking narrative and the Trump-Russia collusion fantasy.

The following discussion is not intended to dismiss the incredible value and significance of work done by analysts including the ForensicatorAdam CarterChris BlackburnVIPS members including former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney and CIA Veteran analyst Ray McGovern, or thinkers as diverse as Julian Assange and Richard Levine. None of these individuals were funded by or associated with Russia, and all of them have focused on factual evidence instead of ideology.

Standing on the shoulders of this methodical evidence, it seems at this point that no amount of contrary evidence, exposure or implosion will ultimately kill the undead Russiagate monster. If that were possible, the Thing would have been put irrevocably into the ground over a year ago. Or six months ago. Or a few weeks ago.

Despite all of these facets of the Russiagate saga having been concretely refuted, the state-sanctioned legacy press continues to chant in unison in the wake of Mueller’s latest toothless indictments. Again, the significance isn’t in the extremity of the media hysteria, but in the fact that it continues despite evidence that should have ended “Russiagate” many times over.

It is unkillable, immune to factual refutation. No logical response will halt its diabolical momentum, based on deception and fear. The question is no longer whether Guccifer 2.0 hacked the DNC for the Kremlin, or did Mifsud work for Putin, but was the Steele dossier legitimate? Did Trump collude with Russia? These questions have long been answered, and yet the Thing lumbers on.

We must now recognize the underlying, silent reality of this charade. It is not intended to be answered, and it is brought before us with the knowledge that it does not stand on fact. From top to bottom, beginning to end, this entire scandal has been an intentional fabrication – one that is not based on a shred of truth and therefore is not intended to be believed any more than a street magician’s trick. This is what allows it to continue no matter how many facts one throws at it. Evidential refutation bounces endlessly off the facade of the Russiagate figment.

Why is this? How is it that facts don’t stop the progression of this catastrophic hurricane of lies? The immortality of Russiagate is thanks to the fact that it was never intended to be perceived as truthful in the first place – it was intended to distract, not to convince. To focus attention: it is the visible hand that deflects attention in the most basic sleight of hand magic trick.

In other words, the pundits whose eyes roll back in horror at the sight of a two-hour summit between Putin and Trump are not in actuality afraid of Putin – we only need recall Uranium One to know that the neoliberal establishment does not fear Putin. Media hysteria pushing us towards a nuclear holocaust is meant to do two things: provoke fear and sell outrage. Raise CIA paychecks, inflame viewership among believers and skeptics alike. Involve you in the charade. Make you believe it is real. Create an enemy, whether Putin or Mueller is your Satan of choice.

It doesn’t matter, as long as your eyes are on the Russiagate scandal. They are, thus, controlling the public narrative. That is the goal. Not proving that Russia interfered with the election, but making sure that the masses discuss nothing else. Not nuclear winter, but the threat of nuclear annihilation, because the first Cold War was good for business.

It doesn’t matter how many times you say: but here’s how it’s done, because the Thing works through distraction. It works by placing attention in the desired place in order to hide what is done in the dark. I have been guilty myself, of falling for the trick – not by believing in the veracity of the saga’s claims – but by following them in order to criticize them factually. I have been, like so many of us, the cat chasing the establishment’s laser pointer across a wall, trailing behind them to point out again and again that they have lied. But it has been chasing their figment nonetheless – attempting to catch that immaterial dot.

Through the observation that this soap opera was never intended to be perceived as truth but to hold attention, one finally undermines the reason for, and the reality of, its existence, in a way that factually based debunking never could.

We must now conclude that the entire fabrication of this epic was not intended to convince the public based on evidence, but was instead intended to deflect attention from the reality of the 2016 rigging of the Democratic Primary on the part of the DNC. To deflect from the US war machine in Yemen and Syria and around the world. To justify the silencing of journalists and political prisoners like Julian Assange. To ensure that the multitude of wrongs, crimes, and infinitude of acts committed in darkness never come to light.

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