High Fives to Jimmy Dore for Laughing Russiagate Out of the Room

Jimmy Dore is a comic who has taken on Russiagate, a deadly serious matter. He is one of those brave souls who count themselves as progressives but dared to call into question Russiagate.

There are those who will tell you that Trump is a despicable human; and so if Russiagate tarnished Trump, the argument goes, what did it matter whether it was true. (The proposition that Trump is more monstrous than his predecessors, Obama, W or the Clintons is highly dubious to say the least – but that is a different topic.). There is, however, a very good reason why it does matter whether the charges making up Russiagate are true; for opposing Trump over his tax policies or stance on health care is quite a different matter from labeling him a Manchurian Candidate who colluded with Vlad Putin in 2016. Russiagate put a US President in a position where he was unable to negotiate crucial issues with the other nuclear superpower. To do so invited charges of being a Putin puppet, as evidenced by the howls that went up from the Establishment and most progressives over the Helsinki Summit.

What if the tensions between the US and Russia were to spin out of control in hot spots like Syria, where troops from the two nuclear superpowers pass within a whisker of one another, or Ukraine or even Venezuela? To extract us from such a predicament, Putin and Trump would need to make concessions to one another, as Kennedy and Krushchev did successfully in the Cuban Missile Crisis. But with the cloud of Russiagate hanging over his head Trump could make no such concession without being labeled a treasonous Putin puppet. So Russiagate took away from Trump the ability to negotiate his way out of an existential threat should one emerge. As such it should have been based on the highest levels of evidence. In fact it was not based on any hard evidence at all – there was none for the central charge of collusion. And the Mueller investigation finally admitted this. Given this, those who knowingly concocted Russiagate owe us all a great apology, for they committed the most serious of crimes by creating a situation that potentially threatened the existence of the American and Russian peoples – and perhaps all of humanity.

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Woodward: No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion, I Searched Hard for Two Years

Bob Woodward’s book Fear has been a sensation in many respects. But one aspect has barely been mentioned. After two years of exhaustive research for his book, Woodward says that he has found no evidence of collusion between Putin’s government and Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. Zilch, nada, zero. And Woodward strained very hard looking for it.

This largely ignored blockbuster admission came in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt reported by Real Clear Politics here, where a recording of the full interview can also be found. Real Clear Politics reports the text of the exchange thus:

"In an interview with Hugh Hewitt on Friday, Bob Woodward said that in his two years of investigating for his new book, Fear, he found no evidence of collusion or espionage between Trump and Russia. Woodward said he looked for it ‘hard’ and yet turned up nothing.

"’Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research in your interviews that sounded like espionage or collusion?’ Hugh Hewitt asked Woodward.

“’I did not, and of course, I looked for it, looked for it hard,’ Woodward answered. ‘And so you know, there we are. …..’ (Emphasis, jw)

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John Walsh says Progressive Democrats Hate Trump More Than War or Nuclear Disaster

"It is rare that we praise Donald Trump, but meeting with both Kim Jung Un and Vladimir Putin was the right thing to do. If our goal is to build peace, then calm talks, rather than threats and military escalation, are always the better path to take."

CodePink Statement, June 17, 2018. (Emphasis in the original.)

Thus read CodePink’s remarkable and courageous statement in the wake of the Helsinki Summit. To link the word "praise" with President Trump is to invite ostracism in progressive circles – even when nuclear Armageddon is the issue. But CodePink succumbed neither to Trump Derangement Syndrome nor to the related disorder Russophobia.

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Tribute to Journalistic Giant, Robert Parry, Founder of Consortium News, May 19, Berkeley

On Saturday afternoon, May 19, at 2pm, a Tribute to Robert Parry, Founder and Editor of Consortium News will be held at Berkeley Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar St. in Berkeley, CA. Open to the public. Tickets at Brownpapertickets.com or at the door ($10, $15, $20 – sliding scale).

It is no exaggeration to say that Bob Parry who died last January at the age of 68 was an exemplar of journalistic independence and integrity, and a very talented one. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) had this to say of him:

Journalism lost one of its most valuable investigators when Robert Parry died from pancreatic cancer on January 27, at the age of 68. He was the first reporter to reveal Oliver North’s operation in the White House basement (AP, 6/10/1985), and the co-author of the first report on Contra drug-smuggling (AP, 12/21/1985). He did some of the most important work investigating the 1980 Reagan campaign’s efforts to delay the return of US hostages held in Iran, a scandal known as the October Surprise.

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American Public Troubled by ‘Deep State’

"Public Troubled by Deep State" is the headline that the Monmouth University Polling Institute tags to its recent poll.

Polling about the term "Deep State" is problematical, because as the polling report says: "Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term "Deep State;" another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term."

So the careful pollsters at Monmouth defined the term as follows for their interviewees: "The term Deep State refers to the possible existence of a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy." Then they asked whether such a group exists.

Monmouth reports the results as follows: "Nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington. This includes 27% who say it definitely exists and 47% who say it probably exists. Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist (16% probably not and 5% definitely not)."

Furthermore, these opinions do not follow a partisan divide. The report continues: "Belief in the probable existence of a Deep State comes from more than 7-in-10 Americans in each partisan group, although Republicans (31%) and independents (33%) are somewhat more likely than Democrats (19%) to say that the Deep State definitely exists."

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Veterans for Peace 162 Supports Direct Talks between USA and North Korea

The East Bay Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Chapter #162 (which includes Oakland and Berkeley) has passed the following resolution in support of the Kim-Trump meeting:

Veterans for Peace 162 Supports Direct Talks between USA and North Korea

Veterans for Peace East Bay Chapter 162 strongly supports direct talks between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It is time to end the state of war between the US and North Korea. The prospect of a US attack on North Korea leading to North Korean nuclear retaliation is horrendous. We are appalled at the negative attitude towards these direct talks between North Korea and the US now evident in much of mainstream media. We wish to remind everyone that it was “the experts” who led us into previous disastrous foreign policy actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Direct talks and negotiations toward peace on the Korean Peninsula will be a positive step for all of humanity.