Senate’s Russia Hearings Will Lead Nowhere: Michael Hudson

Transcrpt of Interview of Michael Hudson by Kim Brown on the Real Network News.    April 3, 2017
KIM BROWN: Welcome to The Real News Network in Baltimore. I’m Kim Brown.
On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first hearing, as part of an inquiry as to whether or not there was collusion between Russian officials, and the Trump campaign of 2016, along with the subsequent transition team into the White House. There’s been a lot of speculation –- a lot of leaks –- coming from the intelligence community, about whether or not Donald Trump and his associates had extensive contact with Russian officials, and this Senate Intelligence Committee hopes to try to get to the bottom of that.

But, is this much to do about nothing? Or is there actually smoke, and subsequent fire? Well, to discuss this, we’re joined today with Michael Hudson. Michael is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He’s also the author of many books, including, “The Bubble and Beyond, and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents,” “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy,” and most recently, “J is for Junk Economics: A Survivors Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception.” He joins us today from New York.
Michael, welcome back to The Real News.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here.
KIM BROWN: Michael, this committee hearing seems to culminate weeks now, of a lot of speculation, not just from the left, or not just from Democrats, rather, about whether or not there was collusion between members of the Trump campaign, and his transition team, and Russians, in order to propel him into the Oval Office. Your thoughts about today’s opening hearing, and whether or not the premise behind this hearing, is valid in the first place?

MICHAEL HUDSON: The premise is not valid, and it’s fake news, and the one thing that the Senate committee does not want to find, is anything about where these leaks come from. The one thing they do not want to do, is have any discussion of the actual evidence. The evidence itself, is notoriously fake. You remember when the DNC ostensibly hired somebody to find out who got their information.

They hired a propaganda organization. They handle… a lobbyist. They hired CrowdStrike, which is not only connected to the DNC, but to the pro-war neocon Atlantic Council, which is the lobbyist for pushing for military confrontation with Russia.

KIM BROWN: Michael, I’m sorry… Not to cut you off -– really quick, but you’re saying that this particular firm hired by the Democrats, that they hired this firm to look into the hacking of the DNC over the summer of 2016 -– is that what you’re referring to?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes. But that’s not what they tried to do. They didn’t want them… the one thing they did not want CrowdSource (ED: CrowdStrike) to do was look into the so-called hacking and who got the information. They hired CrowdSource (ED: CrowdStrike) as a propaganda organization, to make accusations against Russia that had no evidence whatsoever. And James Clapper, of The Deep State, himself has said there is no evidence.

So, CrowdSource (ED: CrowdStrike) was hired because it’s part of the neocon establishment, the Atlantic Council, and represents the Ukraine, also… the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, they hired a propaganda organization. And the FBI said they also went to the FBI, to Mr. Comey, who is a Democrat, and said we don’t want the FBI to look into it because if the FBI looks into it, they’ll find that probably there wasn’t Russian hacking. And so, what happened was that you had the Democrats come out, and say something obviously false on the surface of it, 17 intelligence agencies have all believed that there is Russian hacking.

The 17 –- this would include the Coast Guard Intelligence and other things. The reality is, there were only three intelligence agencies involved: the National Security Council, the CIA and the FBI. None of these organizations came out with any evidence whatsoever. And in fact, WikiLeaks, who actually got the information, said that it came from a DNC member who didn’t hack it, who just copied the information, delivered it to him. And the hint that they told me when I was in London, was that this was… the hacker was the DNC worker who was mysteriously killed, in an unsolved crime two days… a few days later, walking in the park.

So, what should be asked is: how did WikiLeaks get the information from the DNC? Nobody’s asking that. They don’t want to look at it, because they want to make the unjustified claim that this was a Russian hacking, and the intelligence professionals all sort of agree that anybody could’ve done the hacking. There’s no evidence of one person or another -– if indeed there was hacking -– neither the FBI, nor the NSC, nor the CIA have every examined the computer to try to find out.
Only the propaganda lobbyist organization that the DNC hired, for essentially to try to fight Trump, and not only fight Trump, but to fight Trump’s attempt to make a rapprochement with Russia. To try to fight against the ISIS, and Al-Nusra that the Obama administration and… was backing, in Syria and in Libya. And the Russians have said… met with the Americans and said, look, let’s have a meeting between the Justice Department and the Russia Prosecutor General on cyber-crime. We want an international… treaty against it.

Well, completely open, the United States refused it, because they said, well, we can’t sign any international treaty, because then we would have to obey its rules. And we have no intention whatsoever of obeying any rules of any international treaty, when it comes to cyber-crime.

In other words, America can do cyber-crime, and hacking of foreign countries, but claims that they’re hacking us, when there’s no evidence at all. And why is this fake story coming out? It’s come out in order to discredit any attempt that President Trump may have to wind down the confrontation with Russia, to try to do what Ronald Reagan did, and disarm the atomic warfare, to stop the build-up of atomic weapons around Russia, and basically to wind back the military-industrial complex.

The neocons and the military-industrial complex are all sort of a unit, because the military-industrial complex needs an enemy. It needs a, somehow, basis to put all of these weapons it is producing at enormous profits in, and the only place to put them logically, is around Russia and China. And when you put the weapons that close to these countries, you’re increasing the risk of war. And Trump wanted to wind that down, and the neocons, the Democratic Party, the Atlantic Council, and the Senate Committee, they’re the pro-war, anti-Russian group, so you..
.
KIM BROWN: Well, Michael… Michael… Let me ask you about… in your opinion, what is the difference between the so-called Russian reset of the earlier part of the Obama administration, when Barack Obama was sending Hillary Clinton, and then eventually John Kerry, out to negotiate with the Russians, particularly about nuclear treaties in order to draw down the amount of nuclear weapons in each country’s respective stockpiles.

Now, the Russian reset has been largely touted as a failed diplomatic attempt, because of different relationships, the dynamic I suppose, between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. But so, what’s the difference between the Obama-Russian reset, and what Donald Trump is attempting to do?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Just the names attached to them. The Russian reset wasn’t a reset at all. It was really a new Cold War. He appointed a virulent anti-Russian as the ambassador to there. Someone who was trying to promote an orange revolution, and local protest movements within Russia.
..
KIM BROWN: Ambassador Michael McFaul.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Michael McFaul. Yeah. Notorious anti-Ru… just the kind of person you would not want to have as a serious ambassador. And when Kerry tried to make some agreements with Russia in Syria, the military immediately worked against them. So, sending Kerry was just sort of a distraction, because it was really very early in Obama’s administration, he gave in to the NSA and the CIA and said, “Okay, boys, I’ll do whatever you want, you know, just tell me what to do.”

And yeah, he didn’t… there was never any intention of dismantling military build-up, but just the opposite. To build up, which is exactly what occurred. And Trump wanted to reverse the new Cold War pressure of the Democrats, the Obama administration, and you’ll see what they’re trying to do. They say, if you oppose the Atlantic Council and the neocons, we’re going to essentially… wreck your career, and that’s what the House Committee is doing.

The attention you should be focusing on is not the Senate investigation, but the House investigation, under Nunes, that’s trying to say wait a minute, who leaked all this national security information about Trump? Trump used an obsolete word, saying, “They wiretapped me,” and people don’t wiretap anymore. When I grew up, we were wiretapped by J. Edgar Hoover. To wiretap politicians to put together the blackmail files.
But the NSA now is doing computer… they just go right into the server, and they hack, not wiretap. And if they don’t do it, they’ll ask the British to do it. So they can say, “We didn’t do any hacking.” We’re not saying that the British didn’t. The House Committee wants to see who leaked this information on Trump.

This is like the Russians used to do under Stalin, called “Kompromat”. The Secret Police would get blackmail information, and they’d leak it to political enemies. That’s what’s happening in the United States. The CIA and the NSC and the FBI, now have the equivalent of J. Edgar Hoover’s blackmail files, and if you don’t have real blackmail, you’ll make it up. And I think that’s what they’re doing against Trump. They’re making it up, that there’s smoke with the Russia connection, and there isn’t any smoke that anybody’s found.

Clapper has even acknowledged there’s nothing that they’ve found, so this is purely a propaganda effort to make Trump too politically unable, to make a real reset with Russia. Or, a real wind-down of the military confrontation with Russia, not only directly on its borders, but also in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere in the Near East.

KIM BROWN: Well, if it’s a propaganda mission, whoever is initiating it, is doing a bang-up job, because there’s a hell of a lot of smoke floating around in the news about these alleged connections between Russia and the Trump administration and the Trump White House.

So, we will certainly keep an eye on the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, as well as the House Intelligence Committee hearings when they resume under Congressman Nunes, who has been under fire himself for his very close relationship with the Trump White House. So, there’s a lot going on here, Michael, and we appreciate your analysis today.

We’ve been speaking with Michael Hudson. He is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, at the University of Missouri, at Kansas City. Michael, thank you again, as always.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here. Thank you for the discussion.
KIM BROWN: And thanks for watching The Real News Network.

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The World’s Happiest Countries–2017

OVERVIEW

The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2017, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels, will be released today at the United Nations at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness. The report, the fifth one to come out since 2012, continues to gain global recognition as governments, organizations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to inform their policy-making decisions. In addition to the rankings, this year’s report includes an analysis of happiness in the workplace and a deeper look at China and Africa.

WHR 2017 CoverThe first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. Now on the International Day of Happiness, March 20th, we launch the World Happiness Report 2017, once again back at the United Nations, again published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and now supported by a generous three-year grant from the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

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“Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you feel worse today than you did 10 years ago. Don’t worry, it’s not you. This is a national problem: America’s rank on the happiness scale is falling.

When it comes to happiness, the U.S. ranked 19th among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development in 2016, down from third among 24 countries on a similar measure in 2007, according to the World Happiness Report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and funded by the Ernesto Illy Foundation.”

The Nordics dominate the top 10. What will move the needle for the U.S.?
BLOOMBERG.COM
 
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“Norwegians have one more reason to smile, not that they need it.

After placing fourth last year, Norway is now the world’s happiest country, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, released on Monday. The Central African Republic was the least happy of 155 countries.

The authors of the report found that a half-dozen socioeconomic factors explain much of the difference in happiness among countries, but that social factors play an underappreciated role. As evidence, they cite periods of substantial economic growth that were nonetheless matched by declining happiness in China and the United States, which ranked 14th.”

Nordic countries top the rankings in the latest World Happiness Report, which explores who’s happiest and why.
NYTIMES.COM
 
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“(CNN)Norwegians have more reason than ever to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.

After ranking fourth for the last two years, Norway jumped three spots and displaced three-time winner Denmark to take the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time.
Denmark dropped to second place this year, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden (which tied for ninth place), according to the latest World Happiness Report, released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.”

People in the world’s happiest countries live longer, freer, more generous lives, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, released on World Happiness Day.
CNN.COM
 
 

Resistance in the Age of Trump: Chris Hedges and Kevin Zeese

From RT.com–On Contact

–Published time: 5 Mar, 2017 06:46

Also published at Dandelion Salad

Excellent interview by Chris Hedges of Kevin Zeese co-founder of Popular Resistance.  This  is a must-see video which you can see by clicking on link immediately below the picture.

“On this weriek’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses successful strategies for resistance in the age of Trump with activist and attorney, Kevin Zeese. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at how Republican lawmakers are attempting to quell demonstrations across the U.S.”

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Thomas Paine, Common Sense (Audio book) Plus Chris Hedges on Why Thomas Paine is Important

Published on Nov 3, 2015
Common Sense is perhaps the work single most responsible for the American Revolution. It brought the idea of freedom and liberty down from the intellectuals to the common American colonist. Written by Thomas Paine and published January 10th, 1776, it was the first publication to openly ask for independence from Britain.

When it was released, it was an instant best seller. Most every literate colonist was very familiar with it. In fact, it sold an amazing 600,000 copies to a population of only three million. Of the three million colonists at the time, twenty percent were slaves and fifty percent were indentured servants. For the colonies as a whole, it provided a rallying cry uniting the colonists in the common cause of liberty.

There probably is no other document that served such a vital role in creating American independence than Common Sense. Common Sense was used by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and helped George Washington decide for succession. Many of the founding documents rely on it and without it, history would have no doubt played out vastly differently.

If you are at all interested in American history or the cause of freedom, take the time to listen to Common Sense.

This Audio shared with permission from FreeAudio.org.

flickr photo by democracychronicles http://flickr.com/photos/democracychr… shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

AUDIO BOOK, PART I OF II.

 

PART II OF II.

 

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Why Thomas Paine’s Common Sense Is Important: Chris Hedges & Cornel West (2014)

Published on Nov 23, 2015

Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and .

Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and .

Thomas Paine began writing Common Sense in late 1775 under the working title of Plain Truth. With Benjamin Rush, who helped him edit it, publish it, and .

Laura Flanders, Moderator Professors Chris Hedges, Cornel West and Richard Wolff begin a ten part series at the Left Form that will focus on the great modern .

US late-night comics fall into (anti-Russian) line – World Socialist Web Site

“The various well-heeled comedians have responded instinctively—and eagerly—to the McCarthyite, anti-Russian initiative launched by the Democratic Party, the New York Times and other media outlets, along with important portions of the US military and intelligence apparatus.”

“The comics are working off a script provided for them by the Democrats and the media and political establishment as a whole. Stupid, irresponsible and conformist, they take the line of least resistance. In fact, in pursuing the campaign against Russia, they are able to feel at one with powerful political and social forces. It is a warm, comforting sensation.

Their wealth is a significant element in their political and social conformism. These are not individuals who want to rock the boat. O’Brien’s net worth is an estimated $75 million, Colbert’s is $45 million, Kimmel’s is $35 million, Fallon’s is $25 million, Olbermann’s is also $25 million, Maher’s is calculated to be between $23 and $30 million and Meyers’ is $10 million.

For eight years, these people shut their mouths about the crimes of the Obama administration against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. They kept quiet about the growing misery of the American working class. They proved themselves the worst sort of sycophants and toadies.

Now they’ve “come to life,” opposing Trump on the most unprincipled and reactionary basis. They deserve only contempt.”

Predictably, America’s late-night comics and television talk show hosts have joined the right-wing campaign to depict Trump as an ally or even pawn of…
WSWS.ORG|BY DAVID WALSH
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US late-night comics fall into (anti-Russian) line

By David Walsh
18 February 2017

Predictably, America’s late-night comics and television talk show hosts have joined the right-wing campaign to depict Donald Trump as an ally or even pawn of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The various well-heeled comedians have responded instinctively—and eagerly—to the McCarthyite, anti-Russian initiative launched by the Democratic Party, the New York Times and other media outlets, along with important portions of the US military and intelligence apparatus. These elements of the ruling elite have been terrified by the mass popular opposition to Trump’s right-wing policies and are making every effort to divert the outrage into reactionary channels.

Everything about the talk show hosts, their histories, outlooks and social positions, ensured they would take up this campaign. As we have noted before, the comic monologues on the late-night talk shows are an integral part of a painstaking process—the daily cycle by which “public opinion” and an official “national consensus” are formed in the US.

On his program Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, staked out an especially persistent and repugnant position.

Colbert first took part in a “remake” of a scene from the 1995 film, The Usual Suspects. He played the part of an individual under police questioning. In response to his interrogator’s comment (Chazz Palminteri as a detective in the original film), “You’re not telling us everything, I know you know something,” Colbert replied, “Yes, I do know something, and I’m telling you everything. You’re just not listening! I’ve been telling you for like a year! There’s something weird going on between Trump and the Russians!” The sketch went on from there.

Colbert devoted much of his opening monologue Wednesday night to the “Russian question.” These are samples:

“We just learned from multiple intelligence sources that Trump aides were in ‘constant touch’ with senior Russian officials during the campaign. ‘Constant touch,’ by the way, is also Trump’s Secret Service code.”

“We do know that Trump’s campaign was talking to the Russians a lot, and ‘the frequency of the communication and the proximity to Trump of those involved ‘raised a red flag’ with US intelligence.’ Yes, intelligence were worried that once he got in the White House, he might raise a red flag.”

“But he [Trump] did not take the opportunity of the press conference to address any of the rumors that he’s being run by the Kremlin, and the two handpicked reporters he called on were polite enough not to ask whether our country is over.”

Brilliant, witty material.

Colbert also described Russia as “America’s greatest foe since World War II” and referred to contact between former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and the Russian ambassador as an “act of treason.” In response to the claims of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that he had “never knowingly spoken” to Russian intelligence officers on the telephone, who, after all, did not wear badges that said, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer,’ Colbert joked, “Well, how do you know? You were on the phone! You can’t hear a badge… the guy on the other end could have a hammer-and-sickle face tattoo for all you know.”

This is filthy stuff, which makes an effort, among other things, to revive the anticommunist propaganda of the Cold War era.

Colbert is hardly alone. Also on Wednesday night, Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC, chimed in with this: “The big story is that last night, the New York Times published a bombshell report that President Trump’s campaign was in contact with Russian intelligence since 2015. When asked if it was true, Trump said, ‘Nyet! I mean, no!’”

Seth Meyers too, host of NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, focused Wednesday on Trump and his “ties” and “regular contact” with Russia during his “Closer Look” segment. Meyers displayed the old Soviet flag as well, with its hammer and sickle, and suggested that “this one is about to make a comeback.”

On his January 23 program, Meyers, formerly a head writer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live (2001–2014), quipped, “During his inaugural address, President Trump said that the ideology for his administration will be ‘America First.’ Which also happens to be Putin’s ideology: ‘America first, then we go into Ukraine, then Eastern Europe…’”

On the February 11 edition of the long-running Saturday Night Live program, a mock Trump played by Alec Baldwin appeared in “People’s Court” over his travel ban and called in a faux Vladimir Putin as a “character witness.” Baldwin-Trump described Putin as “Someone who’s known me for years, he’s family, he’s an incredible person with impeccable credentials.” As Putin (Beck Bennett) swaggered into the courtroom, the narrator commented, “This is Russian President Vladimir Putin. He’s an authoritarian leader who has invaded other countries and killed rivals. He’s President Trump’s long-time crush.”

Referring to Trump, the shirtless Bennett-Putin explained to the court, “This man is a great friend. He’s my little American Happy Meal. He’d do anything for you. Go against his own country just to make you happy.” The skit was genuinely foul.

Bill Maher, of the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, has been almost pathological about Trump’s alleged Russian connections. On the night of the inauguration, in his opening monologue, Maher said, “We have a new leader… [long pause] Vladimir Putin.” Later, he referred to Trump as “a president from Moscow.”

One of his guests on the same program, Keith Olbermann, former host of a political commentary program on MSNBC, described Trump as “a Russian puppet” and the inauguration as a coup d’état. Olbermann declared, “We were invaded, is what it boils down to… We’re now only debating at this point… how much the Russians decided our election.”

Not to be outdone, Conan O’Brien, host of Conan on the cable channel TBS, commented January 11, “In a tweet today, Donald Trump compared the way he’s been treated to Nazi Germany. Which is unfair, because everyone knows Hitler won his election without the help of the Russians.”

In the “Confusing Question of the Day” segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC recently, one of Kimmel’s sidekicks asked people on the street, along with other things, how concerned should Americans be about Russian interference in US elections.

Of course, the various hosts and programs have also mocked other moves by the new president, including his travel ban, the presence in the White House of extreme right-wingers like Steve Bannon and the activities of such Trump aides as Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller. The theme they always return to, however, and whose presentation seems most deeply felt, is the anti-Russian one.

The comics are working off a script provided for them by the Democrats and the media and political establishment as a whole. Stupid, irresponsible and conformist, they take the line of least resistance. In fact, in pursuing the campaign against Russia, they are able to feel at one with powerful political and social forces. It is a warm, comforting sensation.

Their wealth is a significant element in their political and social conformism. These are not individuals who want to rock the boat. O’Brien’s net worth is an estimated $75 million, Colbert’s is $45 million, Kimmel’s is $35 million, Fallon’s is $25 million, Olbermann’s is also $25 million, Maher’s is calculated to be between $23 and $30 million and Meyers’ is $10 million.

For eight years, these people shut their mouths about the crimes of the Obama administration against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. They kept quiet about the growing misery of the American working class. They proved themselves the worst sort of sycophants and toadies.

Now they’ve “come to life,” opposing Trump on the most unprincipled and reactionary basis. They deserve only contempt.

Demonizing Russia: Fake News And The Conflict Of Interest Involving Amazon, The Washington Post, And The CIA

Reproduced from Medium Com  

SarahRRunge

As the controversy over fake news rages on, a notable conflict of interest exists concerning one of the media outlets that has driven much of the conversation.

While much of the blame for so-called “fake news” has been placed on smaller, more independent publications, it may turn out that the lion’s share of responsibility actually belongs to the more established media outlets.

As a leading American publication, the Washington Post has earned an air of legitimacy that many newer, less well-known publications do not yet possess. This may not last however, as the conflict of interest that was created when the ownership of the Washington Post changed hands recently may have already begin to call into question the credibility of one of America’s most distinguished publications.

In 2013, the Washington Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon. That same year, Amazon also obtained a CIA contract worth $600 million. At the time, the Nation pointed out the conflict of interest that these dealings posed.

[Jeff Bezos] recently secured a $600 million contract from the CIA. That’s at least twice what Bezos paid for the Post this year. Bezos recently disclosedthat the company’s Web-services business is building a ‘private cloud’ for the CIA to use for its data needs.

Additionally, The Institute for Public Accuracy released a statement by Robert McChesney condemning the move.

When the main shareholder in one of the very largest corporations in the world benefits from a massive contract with the CIA on the one hand, and that same billionaire owns the Washington Post on the other hand, there are serious problems. The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media. Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.

If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation — say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government — the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”

However, despite condemnation, the Washington Post continued to operate without addressing the conflict presented by Bezos’ financial interests at Amazon being intertwined with the interests of the CIA. Shortly after the CIA contract was finalized, Amazon issued a statement, saying simply, “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

Bezos’ conflict of interest is again worth mentioning after the Washington Post used highly questionable sources to promote identifying and blacklisting “fake news” sites in late November. Using a sensationalized headline claiming Russian involvement, this story relied on unnamed analysts from an shadowy group known as PropOrNot to cast suspicion on Russia.

While Rolling Stone condemned the article, calling it “shameful and disgusting” and saying that the PropOrNot group sounded more like an angry teenager than a sophisticated organization, the Post’s credibility became the catalyst for an flurry of anti-Russian sentiments and fake news anxiety.

“Any sane reporter would have booted them out the door. You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won’t put your name to your claims? Take a hike. Yet the Post thought otherwise, and its report was uncritically picked up by other outlets like USA Today and the Daily Beast. The ‘Russians did it’ story was greedily devoured by a growing segment of blue-state America that is beginning to fall victim to the same conspiracist tendencies that became epidemic on the political right in the last few years.”

In an article for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald also criticized the Washington Post, zeroing in on the hypocrisy of both the publication and the PropOrNot researchers.

“The article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics.”

Ironically, as Greenwald pointed out, the Washington Post’s fake news expose was riddled with questionable information and unsubstantiated claims.

“In casting the group behind this website as ‘experts,’ the Post described PropOrNot simply as ‘a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.’ Not one individual at the organization is named. The executive director is quoted, but only on the condition of anonymity, which the Post said it was providing the group ‘to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.’

In other words, the individuals behind this newly created group are publicly branding journalists and news outlets as tools of Russian propaganda — even calling on the FBI to investigate them for espionage — while cowardly hiding their own identities.”

Several weeks later, in early December, the Washington Post again created controversy by alleging Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Although the source of the email leaks that plagued the Democratic party this year remains unclear, the Washington Post nonetheless published a bombshell report accusing Russia of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. The article cited an anonymous CIA source with knowledge of a secret assessment that allegedly confirmed Russia had actively worked to help Trump win the White House. While no substantiating evidence of this accusation was given, the unknown source was adamant that the Russians were to blame.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. That’s the consensus view.”

However, in an interview with The Guardian, Craig Murray, a U.K. Ambassador and close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, quickly refuted that claim.

“I know who leaked them. I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.”

In response to the report, the White House ordered a full investigation into the matter. A spokesperson for President-elect Donald Trump simply dismissed the charges, taking a swipe at the CIA’s credibility in the process.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

As Norman Solomon wrote for CommonDreams several months after the Washington Post changed hands, the job of the media is to expose potential corruption, not cover it up.

“News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.”

Now that the Washington Post has published multiple stories based on unnamed sources that seem intent on painting Russia as a villain, it’s worth questioning where the propaganda is actually coming from. When the owner of the Washington Post also owns the majority of Amazon, at a minimum, it should be disclosed to the public that Amazon earns massive profits directly from the CIA, and Bezos has a financial incentive to keep his clients happy.

For the Washington Post to promote the conversation about fake news without being honest about their own conflicts of interest perfectly exemplifies the manufactured fake news crisis. If a well-known, highly-respected media outlet doesn’t hold itself to this very basic standard of journalism, we shouldn’t act surprised when people begin turning to alternate sources to find the truth.

Socialism “101” and Socialism for Dummies–Poccast and Videos

rose-new-symbol-of-socialism

It’s an American symbol. The rose, on the other hand, is the most widely used symbol by democratic socialist, social democratic, and labor parties.Aug 29, 2013

New Appeal to Reason: The Rose: Symbol of Socialism  newappeal.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-rose-symbol-of-socialism.html

socialism-for-dummies-richard-wolff

It is frequently mentioned in presentations on the subject of Socialism that groups of Americans are beginning to realize that Capitalism is failing, perhaps catastrophically.  Along with that obsservation, many in the alternative media are regularly giving evidence that the Americxan Empire is in decline and giving way to a multipolar powers which include both Russia and China.  Even the all powerful Military Industrial Complex (MIC) is being met with new challenges by these powers.

Although some believe from polling data the favor of Socialism over Capitalism appears to be gaining strength, one must question whether people really have an indepth understanding of what that actually means.  This is because media forces with the help of policial forces have continually demonized Socialism as being equivalent to Communism since the period of the Cold War and as far back as the 1920’s.  Years of indoctrination and false information have served as an impediment for Americans to learn much about Socialism and, thankfully this is changing.

This report and subsequent ones will serve to better inform the public because the need for a new system and a new way of thinking is being clearly demonstrated from Capitalism failure to address the masses economic and basic needs.  The income/wealth distribution has reached disastrous levels with extremely harmful results and resuling in increasing levels of American distress, with increased levels of societal unrest.

I present here two important and somewhat recent presentations.  The first is a podcast by Carson’s Corner.  The first thirty minutes of the podcast is a presentation entitled “Socialism 101” and given by Christopher Driscoll.  A converstation continues by Bob Carson and Thomas Baldwin contributing.

The main presentations here are YouTube presentations by Professor Richard Wolff which are entitled “Socialism for Dummies” and are part of his monthly program.  Readers and viewers are strongly urged to subscribe to Professor Wolff’s work which can be reached at www.rdwolff.com and www.democracyatwork.info.

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Carson’s Corner: Socialism 101

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Join us Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, at 11 pm Eastern Standard Time, for Carson’s Corner with the Election Boycott Advocates. On Carson’s Corner, we discuss the news and events of the last week, with a socialist, revolutionary, and non-electoral perspective.This week’s episode is devoted to a special topic: socialism, what is it and what is it not?

With most of the country favoring ideas and programs first introduced by socialists; with more than half of all millennials and 36 percent of all adults favoring socialism over capitalism, there are more people interested in socialism now than possibly at any other time in U.S. history, certainly more than in the memories of most alive today.

This turn toward socialist ideas and away from blind faith in capitalism presents a excellent opportunity for the revolutionary socialist left to promote our ideas, to recruit to the revolutionary socialist movement and to organize.

It also presents great risks and potential pitfalls. Over the last 8 years, as the economic downturn known as “The Great Recession,” has pushed large numbers of working class, and even middle class people to seek an alternative to the calamity of capitalism, there have been many faux socialists, pied pipers and charlatans attempting to win these tens of millions of new socialists over to some tired, old, failed strategies. Chief among those failed ideas are reformism, electoralism, parliamentarianism, reliance on the American plutocratic form of government and the twin parties of capitalism, the Democrats and Republicans.

We will discuss why those strategies failed and why only revolutionary socialism offers a solution.  Join us, and call in with your questions and comments at: (347) 326-9749

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Published on May 17, 2015

Professor Richard D. Wolff explains in 50 minutes what socialism is NOT.
Where does the American fear of Socialism, Communism and Marxism come from?

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Published on Jun 14, 2015

Professor Richard D. Wolff continues his lecture on socialism….
The Past, Present and possible future of America!

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Published on Apr 25, 2016

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Friday, April 22, 2016
4:45–6:30 pm

Levy Economics Institute Conference Room

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. Wolff has also taught economics at Yale University, City University of New York, and the University of Paris I (Sorbonne). Wolff has published many books and articles, both scholarly and popular. Most recently, in 2012, he published Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism (Haymarket Books) and Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian, with Stephen Resnick (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT University Press). He writes regularly for Truthout.org and has been interviewed on The Charlie Rose Show, Up With Chris Hayes, Bill Maher’s Real Time, RT-TV, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English, Thom Hartman, National Public Radio, Alternative Radio, and many other radio and TV programs in the United States and abroad. The New York Times Magazine has named him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist.” Sponsored by: Economics Club; Economics Program; Hannah Arendt Center; Levy Economics Institute.

For more information, call 845-758-7714, or e-mail khitaris@levy.org