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05 November 2017


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David Habakkuk

IZ, LeaNder,

Among the dedicatees of the book, apparently, is Seth Rich.

From the report in the ‘Bezos blog’ on Saturday:

‘Brazile describes her mounting anxiety about Russia’s theft of emails and other data from DNC servers, the slow process of discovering the full extent of the cyberattacks and the personal fallout. She likens the feeling to having rats in your basement: “You take measures to get rid of them, but knowing they are there, or have been there, means you never feel truly at peace.”

‘Brazile writes that she was haunted by the still-unsolved murder of DNC data staffer Seth Rich and feared for her own life, shutting the blinds to her office window so snipers could not see her and installing surveillance cameras at her home. She wonders whether Russians had placed a listening device in plants in the DNC executive suite.’

(See https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/brazile-i-considered-replacing-clinton-with-biden-as-2016-democratic-nominee/2017/11/04/f0b75418-bf4c-11e7-97d9-bdab5a0ab381_story.html?utm_term=.a1d535d6ce59 .)

The murder of Rich is not actually the basis of the ‘leaks versus hacking’ theory.

The merits and demerits of the claims made by the VIPS group – William Binney and others – that a proper analysis of the ‘cyber’ evidence definitively establishes that a leak was at issue have been discussed at length on SST.

For my own part, I think that some of the strongest evidence in favour of the ‘leak’ hypothesis relates to rather neglected subject of the British intervention in your election.

It is, of course, absolutely preposterous that the FBI did not themselves examine the DNC servers, but relied upon an analysis by Dmitri Alperovitch of ‘CrowdStrike.’

This claimed that, although the hackers were masters of their craft, the virtuosity of Alperovitch et al had managed to establish that the GRU were prime suspects.

The day following, the former GCHQ employee Matt Tait claimed that he had initially been sceptical, but had been persuaded when he identified, among other things, ‘Felix Edmundovich’ – founder of the Cheka – in the ‘metadata’ of the materials from ‘Guccifer 2.0.’

If anything had ‘incompetent British info-op’ written over it, it was this. For one thing, how can reconcile Alperovitch’s claim that the GRU hackers were virtuosi, with the suggestion that they were stupid enough to leave such an obvious clue?

And then, even someone with an amateurish interest in Russian history might be expected to be aware that relations between the leaders of the Red Army and the secret police created by that Lithuanian-Polish noble ‘Felix Edmundovich’ were not always cordial. True, the great ethnically Polish general, Rokossovskiy, who had been very brutally tortured by Dzerzhinsky’s people, was not personally involved in heading off his successor Beria’s bid for power.

But Zhukov’s troops frustrated it, Konev headed the tribunal, and Batitsky – personally – shot him. If you have seen your comrades tortured, a few million of your soldiers die, as also civilians, and your country come close to defeat, because of the activities of the secret police, you may be liable to be a bit ‘bitter and twisted.’

It takes people like Christopher Steele to be this ignorant about Russian history.

And indeed, it appears that the Clinton people brought in Steele – fresh from his success in bringing in the corrupt judge Sir Richard Owen to cover up the fact that MI6’s attempts to restore the corrupt oligarchs Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky to power had run out of control, resulting in Litvinenko accidentally ingesting polonium – to try and sort things out.

Involved with the attempts by MI6 to reinstall a ‘comprador élite – Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, and then Browder – in power in Russia was the production of ‘evidence’ designed to demonstrate that terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation etc, could all be laid at the door of the KGB and its supposed successors – Putin and his ‘siloviki’ associates.

As we saw a few days back, people like ‘Mike’ still fall hook, line and sinker for the ‘evidence’ produced by Litvinenko about Russian links to the PKK. (I do not normally quote Pete Seeger, but sometimes one has to say ‘When will they ever learn?)

Unfortunately, on this occasion Steele could no longer rely on his readers being totally gullible – and was clearly in a panic-stricken hurry. So much was this so that the ‘dossier’ for which he was supposedly responsible actually contradicted the versions of Alperovitch and Tait.

Yet more serious, it included preposterous claims which, predictably, produced lawsuits from the Alfa oligarchs (mispelled ‘Alpha’ in the dossier) and Aleksej Gubarev.

The most plausible explanation of the sequence of events involves first, the hypothesis that the DNC materials were obtained by a leak, rather than a hack – and second, the hypothesis that Rich was involved in the leak.

However, it is important to grasp what this does, and does not establish.

1. Particularly if those involved were aware that a leak involving Rich was at issue, even had they been genuinely convinced that his murder was a complete coincidence, they would have had every reason to panic. If this was so, they might have seen few options but to go into ‘full McCarthy’ mode;

2. Even if they believed that the murder was not coincidence, this would not establish that Hillary et al were the only suspects. As has become eminently clear, Democratic Party power structures, in common with many others in the West, are penetrated and infiltrated by all kinds of people from all kinds of places – both by electronic and more traditional, ‘humint-type’ means;

3. If someone wanting to prevent Hillary Clinton’s election, who was aware that Rich had been involved in leaking materials, was looking for a ‘Machiavellian’ strategy – what better than to have Rich assassinated?

It is a characteristic of ‘information operations’ that they commonly seek to, as it were, ‘snooker’ the opponent. And to create a situation where Hillary Clinton could not produce the real ‘alibi’, without admitting to the fact that Rich had had been involved in leaking the DNC materials, could have been a masterstroke.

This would, ironically, have made the Russians possible suspects. And it may indeed be that Donna Brasile suspects this – just as it may be that she suspects the Clintons, and does not want to say so openly.

In this, however, as in much else, I think the Russians are not very likely suspects. I think that Putin et al are scratching their heads, watching the spectacle of Americans descending into the kind of orgy of scapegoating in which their grandparents, or in the case of older people parents, were often involved, on one side or another (if not both) with utter bemusement.


It's not only a matter of Technology and Statecraft, so called "homo sapiens" LOVES killing and even the risk of being killed just for the adrenaline rush, look at the biggest success in video games:
The Existential Terror of Battle Royale


Well, to be honest, I was a Ted Cruz voter.

But, since you mention Trump, you might also look up the Russians that Dudley Do-Right, Bullwinkle, and Rocky were always having deal with: Natasha and Boris.

Ishmael Zechariah

re: " And it may indeed be that Donna Brasile suspects this – just as it may be that she suspects the Clintons, and does not want to say so openly."

Thank you for this thoughtful exposition. I have been puzzling over the MO of the Rich murder w/o buying the official narrative- but there is no proof. However there are too many coincidences. I believe we are past the canonical three. Now, if something happens to Brazile in the next few years: attempted robbery, slip-and-fall, traffic accident, heart attack, colitis, suicide, kidnapping by Martians...perhaps we would be past TTG's level of evidence for reaching a conclusion.

Thanks again
Ishmael Zechariah

Norman Kretz

Maybe I’m reading too much into it now, but back in February Donna Brazile hinted at something more than just politics or losing the election:

“...There are things we did in 2016 that I’m not proud of,” she said. “I’ve said I’m sorry millions of times, and I’ll continue to say it. I’m a Catholic girl.”


different clue

If any Democratic Party operatives or leader-thinkers are reading this thread, I say to them this:

Dear DemParty Operatives,

I want the DemParty to be a New Deal Reactionary party. The New Deal was a good deal for most of us. I miss my New Deal. I want my New Deal back.

If you nominate another evil Clintonite or another filthy Obamazoid, I will vote for Trump all over again.

If you nominate a bland nobody, then I will at least be free to vote for a Protest Candidate.

different clue


I wonder how useful these numbers even are. Since "unemployment" numbers are based on people without jobs who are actively countable as looking for work, the people who have given up on even looking any more are not counted.

A truer number might be the number of people who "could be" working versus the number of people who actually are working. That would give a picture of actual jobs growth.

Sylvia 1

This is facinating and it makes a lot of sense. Can you point me to any sources that could back any of this up?

"And indeed, it appears that the Clinton people brought in Steele – fresh from his success in bringing in the corrupt judge Sir Richard Owen to cover up the fact that MI6’s attempts to restore the corrupt oligarchs Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky to power had run out of control, resulting in Litvinenko accidentally ingesting polonium – to try and sort things out."

"Involved with the attempts by MI6 to reinstall a ‘comprador élite – Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, and then Browder – in power in Russia was the production of ‘evidence’ designed to demonstrate that terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation etc, could all be laid at the door of the KGB and its supposed successors – Putin and his ‘siloviki’ associates."



I doubt the Chinese currency will ever be world's reserve currency: China has enough political problems of its own (Xi has supposedly become nominally the most powerful Communist Party chief in decades, which means, in practice that all heck is about to break loose over the top spot in China, I think. Chinese leaders don't try to assume all the formal power if they have enough informal power to spare.) What's more likely is that countries will try to hoard apolitical assets, like gold. This has depressing (in multiple senses) economic implications written all over it.

English Outsider

MRW - you know your way round this stuff and I don't, so I'm (again) diffident about disagreeing with you but -

1. It is the underlying flow of goods and services that (in the long term) determines whether an economy is viable.

If the flow is not balanced then the fact that a currency is the reserve currency offers a breathing space but it does not offer a solution. The only true solution is to produce more and buy less.

This is why the Trump presidency is so important. He knows that in its international trading America must produce more and buy less. There were indications during his campaign that he is aware the breathing space is running out. If he can use whatever breathing space is left to get the American economy viable again he will have succeeded. If he runs out of time, or can't get the economy right, he will have failed. It's on a knife-edge and this is why we should all, Americans and non-Americans alike, be holding our breath and hoping he makes it.

2. There is a school of thought among economists that says this is all nonsense. Particularly in the case of a reserve currency it's thought that printing money is merely a question of sophisticated book-keeping. I'm afraid that's not true. If it were, then why not print a heap of currency and buy a few thousand bridges from China to upgrade derelict American infrastructure? Just pay for the stuff "with a keystroke". If it would "cost the US zip", why not?

You know why not. There are limits, even with a reserve currency. I think you and I would agree on that, even if we may not agree on where precisely those limits are.

The Colonel's been very generous with his space on this subject in the past so perhaps here is not the place to repeat or to expand previous arguments. I do think though, certainly in Europe and maybe in America too, that the arguments about Trump's style, and the bitter political infighting going on at the moment both sides of the Atlantic, obscure that fact that now is make or break time for the Western economies. If it's not used right we're going to look back on this time and bitterly regret how we frittered it away in inconsequential disputes.

There are other serious problems too. We can't not be aware of them given that we're both readers of this site; but I think we're both also aware that this underlying economic problem is urgent and cannot be ignored or magicked away with make-believe economic prescriptions.


iirc, Clinton would not concede to Obama - who needed to raise money and start campaigning against McCain... I always assumed she was promised the SOS position if she would accept the inevitable. On the flip-side, Obama didn't have any problem with his cabinet being selected for him... who knows?

David E. Solomon

I would never, under any circumstances vote for Trump. However, with to the rest of your comment I say: RIGHT ON!!!

Peter AU


Thanks for your reply. You mention the offshoring of manufacturing.
Manufacturing is or has generaly been an advanced country's largest source of employment. Without work, how do people pay for imported goods? With the offshoring of manufacturing, western countries talk of service based economy for employment but this I consider a parasitic industry. Services are required but only in amounts for service the agriculture/manufacturing and technology sectors which actualy produce goods.
Re trade, import export. Goods that an entity has an abundance of, have always been traded for other goods that a scarce, but are abundant elsewhere. This should be the basis of any trade.

In looking at the US now, I have the impression of someone who has sold the family farm by offshoring manufacturing, and pinned its hopes on ponzi schemes and maintaining the US$ as global trade currency.

different clue

David E. Solomon,

I can understand your distaste at the concept of voting for Trump. To me, Clinton presented a very special case. We had to stop the Clinton before it killed again, and the only way I could think of to do my little part in that was to vote for Trump. So that is what I did.

The Democratic Party has to be declintaminated and disobamafied. If that can't be achieved, then it has to be exterminated. To me, voting for Trump and if necessary voting for Trump after Trump after Trump is the only thing I can do to help disinfect the party or if it can't be disinfected, then exterminate it.


What interests me is that she appears to have bought into the "Russian hack" story. Either that or she is still involved in promoting it for her own reasons.

Since the DNC emails were a leak, not a hack, the question remains as to how the Clinton campaign managed to pull off this hoax. Given that the DNC refused to allow the FBI to investigate the alleged hack, how is it that Brazile has no knowledge of the fact that the hack was a hoax? Did the Clinton campaign and their officers in the DNC keep Brazile in the dark about the collusion between the campaign, the DNC and CrowdStrike?

Because there is no question that someone high up in the DNC had to collude with the Clinton campaign to cover up the fact that the hack was a false flag hoax intended to deflect from the leak and to tar and feather Trump with being Russia's "useful idiot."

If Sy Hersh is right and there is an FBI report that explicitly asserts Seth Rich was the source (or one of the sources) of the DNC leak, then that implies a full-scale coverup including the FBI, the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and CrowdStrke - and possibly others including Alexandra Chalupa, the Ukrainian Embassy, and parties in Ukraine.

A real investigation into this end of things would HAVE to be seriously revealing. It's doubtful that a conspiracy of this magnitude could be totally made invisible to a serious investigation.

But if the FBI is compromised, as it appears, who's going to do the investigation?

Pacifica Advocate

>>> Bernie's surprising run as a Socialist frightens me. It's just too junior high school thinking.

Odd you would say that. Everything he suggests is working well in some part of the world--much of it in many parts.

I guess the problem is the 'rest of the world' is still in junior high school, and Americans are the true adults.



How is socialism working in Venezuela or Zimbabwe?

Pacifica Advocate

>>>Goods that an entity has an abundance of, have always been traded for other goods that a scarce, but are abundant elsewhere.

I think what MRW was thinking of, here, is the fact that in colonized economies, commodities are extracted even though there is a conspicuous lack of goods and services. Thus, basic resources are exploitatively extracted in ways that do not serve the society's/nation's overall economy, which is a net expense. Meanwhile, the colonizing power processes those resources to create an abundance of products which it then exports to whatever group can pay for it. With the decline in manufacturing, its ratio of commodity-to-manufacturing exports has increased significantly, thus

Just an observation: in the 90s and 00s, exported products the world over notably withered in terms of quality and longevity; waves of style and fashion increased their periodicity, while the substance and utility of those exports steadily declined--Ikea, Wal-Mart, etc. There are very few objects purchased, these days, that are capable of lasting long enough to serve as an heirloom, or that may be disassembled and re-applied to build something else. Pretty much everything winds up in a landfill in a matter of years, if not months.

Pacifica Advocate


And unemployment doesn't measure under-employment, where people are working a job, but one that doesn't pay them enough, and where their capabilities as a worker are under-utilized.

I know a lot of computing engineers who are working 15-20 hours a week as an engineer, and the rest of the time pushing burgers and mowing lawns.



HRC might push you. Which makes me rethink what happened to Ron Brown since she had flown over there a week before he did. Oh, and Donna became terrified about the death of Seth rich and what might happen to her.



Colitis?!? LOL!! Yes, I'm watching too.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>What interests me is that she appears to have bought into the "Russian hack" story. Either that or she is still involved in promoting it for her own reasons.

It could well be that she's just playing along to make her personal account of the Clintonites' dirty deeds more appealing to Clinton's and Podesta's hard-core supporters.

Regardless if she does actually believe or not, it's simply not in her interest to fight that particular point, and entirely in her interest to just let it be. What I found surprising was her mention of Seth Rich; as Habakkuk pointed out above, there is no reason to assume that Rich was murdered as retaliation for leaking the e-mails; yet Brazile must know that for a lot of people out there, that is precisely what the conclusion has been. Thus, her bringing up Rich's murder--which has been forgotten, I think, by most core Democrats (but I may be wrong about that)--on a national news program was a big surprise, for me.



"If Sy Hersh is right and there is an FBI report that explicitly asserts Seth Rich was the source (or one of the sources) of the DNC leak"

Sy Hersh never confirmed this as anything but gossips. So does not matter how often you've repeated this disinformation, it will not be a fact.

David Habakkuk


A good starting point is a piece of mine posted here on SST immediately following the publication of Owen’s report, and the subsequent exchanges of comments.

(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html .)

At the end of the post, I link to three pieces which my collaborator David Loepp and I posted on his page on the ‘European Tribune’ site in December 2012 – see http://www.eurotrib.com/user/uid:46/diary . His research opened up the critical Italian end of the story, which none of the – utterly useless – MSM journalists had attempted seriously to explore, in so doing establishing the crucial role of the ‘information wars’ about ‘suitcase nukes’ getting into the hands of terrorists in the whole affair.

In turn, these pieces link to earlier ones by him and myself.

Almost all the material we discussed, and a great deal more, was made available to me in memoranda to Owen’s team, which I was informed were read. So it can be demonstrated very easily that his decision to ignore the problems our researches raised was deliberate.

On the role of Christopher Steele I have commented extensively here on SST, and also occasionally on Paul Robinson’s ‘Irrussianality’ blog and the ‘Unz Review’ site. Comments will come up if you Google ‘ “David Habakkuk” “Christopher Steele”’.

Briefly. What seems generally agreed is that Steele headed the Russia Desk at MI6 between 2005 and 2009 – also the period when Sir John Scarlett, instrumental in creating the famous ‘dodgy dossier’, which played a crucial role in facilitating the disastrous invasion of Iraq, headed the organisation.

When in January the BuzzFeed dossier was first published, and Steele credited as author, it was reported in the ‘Telegraph’ that he had been ‘selected as case officer for the FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko, whose state-sponsored assassination in 2006 affected him deeply.’

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/12/christopher-steelethe-former-british-spy-created-donald-trump/ .)

However, people seem to have got leery about emphasising the Litvinenko connection. Following Steele’s reappearance in March, a report in the ‘Guardian’ co-authored by Luke Harding concluded:

‘Several of the lurid stories about him that have appeared in the press have been wrong, said friends. The stories include claims that Steele met Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident who was murdered in 2006 with a radioactive cup of tea, probably on Putin’s orders.

‘As head of MI6’s Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko’s polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.’

(See https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/07/former-mi6-agent-christopher-steele-behind-trump-dossier-returns-to-work .)

The phrase about Steele ‘quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot’ is utter rubbish, and Harding should know this. In my SST post, I detailed briefly the way in which the claims about how the vehicle(s) on which Litvinenko travelled into London on the day he was supposedly poisoned, and how the vehicle was identified and found to be clear of contamination, changed.

In the early stages of Owen’s hearings, it became clear that, on the basis of interviews supposedly conducted by then Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt with Litvinenko shortly before his death, a completely new version of this journey was being presented by Counter Terrorism Command.

So we ended up with a sequence: From car, to No 134 bus identified by a £1.50 ticket, to No 134 bus identified by Oyster Card, to 134 bus identified by Oyster Card together with tube, to No 234 bus identified by Oyster Card together with tube. In itself, the changing stories – most of which were discussed by me in submissions to Owen’s team – generate the strongest possible of ‘prima facie’ cases that the interviews, and the forensic evidence which supposedly supports central claims made in them, are both forgeries.

Following the presentation of the new version to the Inquiry, I wrote to the journalists who have been involved in the earlier mutually contradictory reports, pointing out the inconsistency. Shortly before my discussion on SST was posted, I wrote to Luke Harding and his colleagues at the ‘Guardian’, providing detailed chapter and verse about the way that the claims made to journalists had changed.

Again, I know that the materials were noted, but no attempt was made by any of those involved was made either to modify or to defend the paper’s unquestioning adherence to the MI6 line.

As for my suggestion that Steele was intimately involved in ‘rigging’ the Inquiry, this is, I admit, supposition. However, there is every reason to believe that he was very closely involved in the ‘information operations’ practised by people in the circles around Berezovsky and the Yukos oligarchs – in particular Litvinenko, Yuri Shvets, and Mario Scaramella.

A central purpose of these was to counter suggestions by Putin that Russia and the West had a common interest in combating jihadist terrorism by claiming that this ‘overt’ agenda concealed a ‘covert’ agenda of sponsoring precisely such terrorism. A key part of this was the forging of evidence designed to show that the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich, while acting as an agent of the FSB and under Putin’s personal ‘krysha’, had been attempting to obtain a ‘mini-nuclear bomb’ (aka ‘suitcase nuke’) for Al Qaeda.

It is amply clear that precisely the figures who were involved in these attempts, in one way or another, were deployed by Steele in the ‘cover-up.’ In essence, Owen’s Inquiry provided a forum for the group to provide amended versions of the dubious claims they had made earlier, without any attempt whatsoever at critical cross-examination.

By the time the Inquiry opened, however, Berezovsky – the key figure – was dead. As is clear from submissions from his lawyers, he had been requested by the Inquest team to provide a fresh witness statement by 22 March 2013.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090719/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2012/12/Berezovsky-11.3.13-50092292_1.pdf">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2012/12/Berezovsky-11.3.13-50092292_1.pdf">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090719/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2012/12/Berezovsky-11.3.13-50092292_1.pdf .)

As part of the campaign by to salvage their prospects in the libel suits which the dossier have provoked, BuzzFeed produced, back in June, a series of pieces whose centrepiece was entitled ‘From Russia With Blood: 14 Suspected Hits On British Soil That The Government Ignored.’

(See https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/from-russia-with-blood-14-suspected-hits-on-british-soil?utm_term=.lr8kvlMq6#.ojO6DAJEO .)

Of the deaths supposedly to be laid at the door of the Russians, I dealt in the exchanges of comments on the original SST post with those of the Menatep lawyer Stephen Curtis, Berezovsky’s long-term partner – and Lugovoi’s patron – Arkadi ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili, and Berezovsky himself.

As to the last, if his death the day after he was supposed to provide a witness statement was not suicide – which it may have been – to say that the ‘cui bono’ arguments to do not point to Putin is something of an understatement.

In addition to the fact that at this time the Russian authorities would have been licking their lips at the prospect of cross-examining him at the Inquest, we know that he was negotiating with Putin for a return to Russia.

As it happens, Berezovsky’s former head of security, Sergei Sokolov, did return to Russia, bringing with him what puported to be a cache of documents which, among other things, was supposed to establish that William Browder was the agent of an MI6 destabilisation plot, in which Navalny played a key role.

As Gilbert Doctorow brought out in an invaluable discussion in April 2016, these documents are far from problem-free.

(See http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/agent-william-f-browder-smoking-gun/ri13858 .)

However, the conventional wisdom about the Magnitsky affair which Browder has so assiduously disseminated is clearly claptrap. At this point, moreover, given the involvement of Fusion GPS in this, we come sharply up against some very odd puzzles in relation to the dossier.

This morning, I learnt that Harding is once again acting as a conduit for Steele’s ‘information operations.’ A report on the ‘Publishers Weekly’ site which opened:

‘Just as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion begins issuing its first indictments, Penguin Random House plans to release Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win by Luke Harding, a book that claims to offer new details on the ongoing controversy over foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

‘The new book, which Harding began writing in January, will be published by Vintage Books on November 16.’

We also learn that:

‘Harding also claims to have met with Christopher Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence officer behind the infamous dossier on Donald Trump’s tainted Russian connections, in a London pub in December 2016 before the dossier’s existence was revealed.’

(See https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/promotionalss/article/75310-vintage-to-release-collusion-a-new-book-on-trump-russia-controversy.html .)

This, at least, is extremely probable. And it gives further reason to suppose that we may be dealing with a coordinated conspiracy, involving leading figures in the ‘intelligence communities’ on both sides of the Atlantic, and corrupt journalists, to cover up what they have done, by means involving the subversion of the constitutional order in the United States.

David E. Solomon

I am not at all sure that this piece can be copied here, but I will give it a try: From This Morning's Globe and Mail:

One year later: How Donald Trump ate our brains
Margaret Wente
Margaret Wente
16 hours ago
November 6, 2017

One year ago tomorrow, Americans were flocking to the polls. The entire media establishment was gearing up to declare a Hillary victory. I had dutifully written my column in advance.

Late in the afternoon on election day, my editor called. "What if she doesn't win?" she asked. I laughed merrily. "Impossible!" I said. She agreed. But she told me to prepare for Plan B, just in case.

Some time after 9 p.m., Hillary lost Ohio. The election party I was at had fallen grimly silent. I beat a hasty retreat to my computer and bashed out Plan B. I hazily recall that it predicted the end of democracy as we knew it.

That was not completely off the mark. Since then, like a berserk bull elephant, Donald Trump has been smashing the democratic norms we took for granted. He has flouted every rule of civilized decorum. His tweets have kept his worldwide audience outraged, amused, and mesmerized. The Donald Trump Show is the greatest reality show of all time, and we – to our discredit – are hopelessly addicted. By obsessing over him full-time, we give him exactly what he wants.

Much of the media commentary on Mr. Trump has achieved a sort of numbing repetition. He's awful! He's even more awful than you thought! We caught him in his 137th lie! Pundits write these things as if they were a revelation. Every few days they write that Mr. Trump has finally gone too far this time. He went too far with the Muslim travel ban. He went too far when he fired James Comey. This time he's in real trouble!

But he never is. That's why you should take the latest Russia revelations with a shovel full of salt. So far, there is no sign that Mr. Trump can or will be legitimately removed from office, even though he will surely cross a line next week too.

Many people predicted that Mr. Trump would become more presidential once he took the oath of office. These people were deluded. Others warned that he'd be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. They too were foolish. Mr. Trump is simply a garden-variety populist who wants to use his office to enrich his family fortunes. The main surprise of his first year is that the world has more or less survived him. His authoritarian impulses have been checked by his short attention span and impressive incompetence, as well as by the tendency of courts and government officials to obey the rule of law and ignore instructions they don't like.

That's the heartening part. The disheartening part is the utter disarray of both Republicans and Democrats, who seem equally unable to find a way forward. The few Republicans of principle have fled the party (except for John McCain, whose days are numbered), and the others are terrified of alienating the base. The Democrats are busy tearing themselves to shreds. They don't grasp that identity politics has been the ruin of them. Last week, someone at the Democratic National Committee sent out a memo to recruit new tech talent, requesting that the memo not be shared with "cisgender straight white males, since they're already in the majority." Which pretty much tells you why the party is in so much trouble.

Who knows what will rise from the ashes of the old-line parties? Right now they both deserve Americans' contempt. And despite Mr. Trump's plunging popularity, his platform is still a winner: Stay away from stupid foreign wars, get a grip on immigration, pursue nationalist economic policies, and show a middle finger to the elites. You might not like it. But show me someone with a better one.

That first plank is why I'm not losing so much sleep over North Korea. So long as the deranged dotard and the little rocket man stick to silly name-calling, nuclear war does not seem like that great a threat. The real threat is the void in the international order where American power used to be. Nobody takes the U.S. seriously any more. There is only one great power in the world right now – only one country with visionary leadership, a long-term strategy to build global alliances and influence, a thriving economy, sophisticated military technologies, and a confident, optimistic populace who believe their country's destiny is to take its place at the centre of the world stage. This country is, of course, China.

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China's leader, Xi Jinping believes that the United States has lost its leadership, its moral authority and its mind. He's right. All he needs to do is stand by and watch as the greatest country in the world devours and tweets itself to death.

As for those of us stuck in Trumplandia and its hinterland, there's only one thing we can do to protect our brains from further rot. Lock the door, draw the curtains, and pull the plug. Do not watch or read the news. Treat ourselves to a nice, long break from the Trump reality show. We probably won't miss a thing. The show will still be on when we get back.

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February 2021

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