Thursday, August 31, 2017

North Korea Is Not The Problem

Thomas Riggins

This article is really slanted against the North Koreans: "rogue dictator," etc., why not "rogue president" for Trump (leaving the Paris climate agreement). The North Koreans are making rational demands and the US is refusing to act rationally . They have agreed to negotiate for an end to their nuclear weapons program for 1. a no first strike guarantee from the US; 2. an end to provocative joint military exercises with the South Koreans (war games to threaten the North); 3. initiate steps to sign a peace treaty to officially end the state of war leading to normal diplomatic relations. The only "rogue" behavior is the US refusing every rational solution to the problem and insisting that North Korea give up its major defensive bargaining chip against continual US bullying (its weapons program) before we will negotiate! Anyone with a half a brain can see this whole problem is the result of the US wanting to throw its weight around in this region (as in every other) of the world. North Korea is not the problem.

In a Twitter post, the president said the country has been paying North Korea for 25 years, though it was not clear what money he was referring to.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Trumpty Dumpty After Charlottesville

Trumpty Dumpty sat in his bower,
Trumpty Dumpty fell out of his tower,
And all of Fox News and the President's men
Couldn't put Trumpty Dumpty together again.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Russia-gate and the Democrats (Robert Parry's View)

Thomas Riggins

We can thank the Clintoncrat leadership in the DP and Congress as well as the GOP for the war rhetoric or worse surrounding the DPRK"s defense program. I hope the elements on the left that still mourn for the HRC gang will abandon their support for US imperialism (objectively if not subjectively) and get back to supporting working class internationalism. HRC was a necessary evil in the fight to prevent Trump's victory, now she is an unnecessary evil and we should acknowledge the fact and get on with the fight against Trump.

Exclusive: By pushing the Russia-gate “scandal” and neutering President Trump’s ability to conduct diplomacy, Democrats and Congress have encouraged his war-making side on North Korea, writes Robert Parry. By Robert Parry There was always…

Friday, August 04, 2017

Russia worse off without the USSR by Thomas Riggins

This article indicates that the decline of Russia, despite its resurgent military, is entirely due to the fall of the Soviet Union and abolishment of Soviet socialism based on central planning (which allowed Russia to rise from a semi-feudal backwards peasant country to a major industrialized world power) and its replacement by a capitalist economic system manipulated by oligarchs. The NYT, of course, doesn't put it quite that way, but it's there if you read between the lines (it's the unconscious subtext).
Contrary to President Vladimir V. Putin’s claims of population growth, rural areas — long considered the wellspring of Russian culture and identity — are dying.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cold War Games

Thomas Riggins
Just substitute USA for Russia, CIA for KGB and other relevent substitutions and this article could be a Russian oped about the US and its attempts to interfer and subvert the Russian government. This is what the cold war was all about and it really is not in Russia's interests to start it up again but it seems that both military and political forces in the USA that benefited and profited from the cold war would like to restart it. The Russians are reacting to our pokes and pushes, they are not deliberately trying to antagonize us. (New York Times Comments)
Russian intelligence was probably behind Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Kremlin-linked people last year, and they meant for it to be discovered.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Richard Dawkins and Free Speech

Thomas Riggins
Considering all the different views people have it seems impossible not to express religious and political views that might "hurt people." Richard Dawkins has said some incredibility stupid things about Islam and Moslems but should he be banned from giving a talk on evolution, or science, or atheism when he is internationally recognized as a scholar in these fields? 
The station's general manager says “We believe that it is our free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful or hurtful language against a community that is already under attack.” So he cancelled Dawkins' talk. His comment amounts to "We believe in free speech as long as we agree with it." Well we couldn't use "hurtful" language against the Nazi movement since it's a community being attacked.
Granted that as a scientist Dawkins should not get carried away with his emotions and make really dumb unscientific pronouncements about Islam but pointing them out should be sufficient remedy without attacking free speech rights.
Examples: Nobody calling himself a "rationalist" would make this stupid Dawkins tweet: "I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today. I've said so, often and loudly." There is no such thing "Islam" tout court -- there are Sunni's, and Shites, and Alawites, and Sufi's, etc., and many permutations of all the above -- saints and sinners just like any other group of humans. Such a general tweet is just foolish ("evil" isn't even a useful term for a rationalist).
" In 2015, he wondered whether Ahmed Mohamed — the boy in Texas who was suspended after bringing a homemade clock to school that officials said resembled a bomb — wanted to get arrested given that the episode led to an invitation to the White House and crowdfunding." Dawkins must think the young man has prescience.
Just like the rest of us Dawkins says stupid things and doesn't always let logic and science overrule his emotions. As a "passionate rationalist" we can hope he will be more rational and less passionate but even if he isn't he shouldn't be censored and have his talks canceled by hypocrites.

A Berkeley radio station canceled an event promoting Mr. Dawkins’s new book, citing past comments and tweets that it said had “hurt people.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chit-Chat or After Dinner Conspiracy?

Thomas Riggins

Undisclosed? They sat and talked in full few of the people at the dinner. This article is so slanted it looks like the liberal version of a report by Bill Riley. Look at this ridiculous comment the NYT reproduces from one of its hearsay sources who wasn't even there: “We have the worst relationship as a country right now with Russia that we have in decades, and yet we have these two leaders that, for reasons that do not make sense and have not been explained to anyone’s satisfaction, are hellbent on adoring each other,” Mr. Bremmer said. “You can take everything that’s been given to us, and it doesn’t add up.” Really? 1. It makes perfect sense to try and improve the "worse relationship" so Trump's initiating a one on one talk at a dinner is a positive development. The idea that he was lured into this by Putin (expressed elsewhere in the article) is laughable -- he went over to talk with him on his own. 2. Nothing either of them has done indicates that Putin is "hellbent on adoring" Trump (or vice versa). This is just propagandist hyperbole more suited to the NY Post but becoming more frequent these days in the NYT as well. What doesn't add up is the nonsense passing as "news" concerning Russia and Putin in the mainstream media. There are millions of our fellow citizens completely ignorant of anything going on outside of their own backyards, their occasional contact with the press should alleviate not reinforce this ignorance. They should especially check out, online, The People's World (while occasionally succumbing to this meme it provides a much more realistic portrayal of realty than the mainstream corporate reality).
There is no official American record of the prolonged discussion between the two presidents on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Democratic Party Base Must Oust Corporate Leadership

Thomas Riggins

There are two sides to every story and this one by Robert Parry (one of our best investigative reporters) points out that while the Clinton campaign, and past presidential candidates, have all engaged in the same kind of "dirt search" as Trump Jr, the Russiangate narrative of the corporate media and reactionary Clinton-wing of the DP is ignoring the past to make Trump's behavior stand out. Seen in historical context, this is what is going on. Trump is an ultra-right domestic extremist who has an anti-working class agenda and must be fought against with all means possible. The focus must be on his disastrous environmental policies and betrayal of the interests of the people on behalf of private business interests. The DP under Clinton essentially abandoned its alliance with working people and sought a new base in the upper middle class professionals and moderate to liberal independents. A major sector of the US economy is based on the military industrial complex [MIC] and prospers from military spending and the active promotion of armed conflicts and confrontations around the world. The MIC uses three main sticks to beat the American people into line in supporting its goals --1) Iran is one of the major sources of Islamic terrorism and is a major threat to the US, 2) Russian aggression is an on going problem and needs to be constantly resisted, 3) China is a growing threat to American interests. All three of these are political myths to keep the MIC in power and to befool the American people. The Clinton wing of the DP and the Republican establishment promote all three of these myths as does the corporate mass media. Trump is not a whole hearted supporter of #'s 2 and 3 (as were the Clintons, Bush and Obama) and the MIC worries that real rapprochement with Russia and not confronting the growing power of China will threatened its monopoly of power and wealth. This entire attempt to drum up a new cold war and new McCarthyism with regard to Putin is based on this and has two aims 1. to whip Trump into line or replace him with Pence 2. to sabotage the resistance of the American people to the dominance of the ultra-right by keeping the Clinton corporate wing of the DP in the leadership position of the party (which is manifested by trying to split the popular fightback by advocating alliance with the reactionary corporatist Democrats instead of exposing them for they are). The left should ignore the Russiagate red herring and concentrate on the domestic struggle against Trumpism and continue to support the peace movement internationally.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Academic Effort and Social Class

Thomas Riggins

"What this implies is that in order to promote meaningful sustained academic effort, researchers, educators and policymakers should consider what sorts of systemic changes to the educational environment might provide these students with concrete routes to mobility that are viable for students from their backgrounds." [In our capitalist caste system background is usually destiny.]
Beautiful! Educate the poor for "viable routes to mobility" considering their low social economic status. We already have a defacto two tier educational system -- one for the well off and one for those who wait on them (and a diminishing middle class of waiters striving to become more waited upon).
This article shows that those groups within our capitalist society that do poorly academically do so because society has stacked the chips against them and they know it. The social "science" solution of the bourgeoisie is not to get rid of capitalism but to modify "the educational environment" to make the poor better satisfied with their role at the bottom of the heap. Betsy DeVos is doing her job.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump. the NYT, and the Great Hearsay Email

1. The email itself wasn't sent by any Russian entity but by "Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter."
2. The email doesn't seem to be available so we have to rely on the hearsay evidence of " three people with knowledge of the email."
3. There is no evidence that this incidence has anything to do with the alleged hacking of computers by the Russian government.
4. It seems Goldstone sent his email based on hearsay he got from a chain of other people with hearsay evidence: ''One person who was briefed on the emails said it appeared that he was passing along information that had been passed through several others.'' I.e., the NYT story is about hearsay about an email containing hearsay.
5. The rest of the article is speculation about who said what and why to Mr Goldstone and what sort of information was involved other than what might have been some secret financing from Russia to the Clinton campaign (no interest in following up on that).
6. As to the notion that a political campaign might be interested to checking out some info to get dirt on another campaign, the NYT thinks " such a meeting was unusual for a political campaign.'' Really. The morally pristine high standards of American politicians and their campaign supporters may have been sullied by this meeting. This hearsay gossip of collusion is more troublesome than the actually available emails showing collusion at the top of the Democratic Party with the Clinton campaign to derail the Sanders campaign. Well, the ruling class decides what news is fit to print and if a footnote should be a headline. Marx said the ruling class determines the "truth" and ours doesn't trust Trump and hates the Russians for interfering with its plans for how the world should be run.
Trump is doing enough real damage, we don't need red herrings to distract us.
The president’s son was told in an email that the Russian government wanted to help Donald J. Trump’s election bid last year.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Proof is a Diversionary Tactic -- The New York Times

Thomas Riggins

An amazing editorial wherein the NYT just accepts as "truth" what the CIA et al announces it to be and then adds "... Mr. Putin denied involvement in the election, as he has in the past, and asked the Americans fogr proof — a familiar diversionary tactic by Russians caught red-handed." Being caught "red-handed" implies unassailable proof of an action but the reason Putin asks for proof of Russian government hacking is because the US has never provided any real proof -- just allegations that we are supposed accept because the CIA etc., says it's so! This is the same thing Trump expects when he asserts one of his alternate reality factoids and the NYT now decides that CIA factoids are acceptable and peddles its own alternate reality based on its adherence to outmoded anti-Russian cold war policies! It's nice to know that if someone asks either the US government, or now the NYT, for proof of what it says the new paradigm is "Asking for proof is a diversionary tactic." All the news fit to print indeed!
The president, meeting with his Russian counterpart, seems too eager to put the hacking issue behind him.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Racism, Housing, and the Government

Thomas Riggins

"What this means [i.e.,only putting projects and funding in minority neighborhoods] fair-housing advocates say, is that the government is essentially helping to maintain entrenched racial divides, even though federal law requires government agencies to promote integration." This is an example of the system's structural racism: the racial divide is automatically perpetuated due to the economic "laws" of supply and demand plus the function of bourgeois democracy within a pre-existing racist cultural environment. The democratic rights of upper income people living in a specific area have to be curtailed (their rights to vote on the zoning rules and building codes enacted in their area) since their pre-existing cultural prejudices lead them to vote for discriminatory laws that curtail the democratic rights of low income people to be able to choose where to live. Under capitalism the two rights are in conflict. The solution involves a lessening of income inequality and a strengthening of public state controlled education to ensure equal educational opportunities for all. These two factors, at the present time, are exactly the opposite of what the capitalist state is promoting. The solution can only be provided by a socialist alternative and that is why the struggle to change the present top leadership within the Democratic Party and replace it with a progressive working class leadership is so important as one of first steps (along with other progressive civil society movements) in the direction of a truly enlightened democratic socialist solution (based on Marxist principles) to the structural racism in the United States.

In Houston and in other cities, efforts to build low-income homes in wealthy, majority white neighborhoods have stalled.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Fourth of July 2017

Thomas Riggins

OK for the 4th of July (who likes George III anyway). But do we want to get rid of RACISM and do we believe Black lives matter (of course ALL lives matter but in our country Black lives are being assaulted and disrespected in ways that other lives are not and the government acts as if Black lives don't matter that much so the government needs forceful reminding).  If we want to eliminate government supported racism then we have to be serious, serious beyond removing a few statues from public places (they should be removed including the one honoring Robert E. Lee that stands in the nation's Capitol rotunda!
And talk about GOVERNMENT SUPPORTED RACISM the following states have official holidays celebrating the BIRTHDAY  of Robert E. Lee -- a traitor to the US and a man who led the insurrectionist armies in a failed rebellion to perpetuate racism and slavery! These pro-racist states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas,  and Virginia (it has Lee-Jackson Day). What does that say to minority citizens? These states have to quit officially honoring Robert E. Lee, a traitor. And three of them also have state holidays in honor of Jefferson Davis - another traitor who supported slavery and racism -- i.e., Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. On top of that  all of the above, except for Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia and adding North Carolina dishonor all the veterans and members of the armed forces who died serving the US by having official celebrations of Confederate Memorial Day honoring those who took up arms against the United States to fight for slavery and racism! As long as these holidays are on the books and these states continue to celebrate those who tried to destroy the US -- the very country that Lee and Davis took oaths to defend, then the message is loud and clear -- racism and white supremacy are not only ok -- but the governments of some states openly laud its perpetrators and honor their memory. Until these shameful holidays are abolished  and reparations made to the victims of racism throughout this country -- all the victims of white supremacy -- let no one think on the 4th that, in the words of the Pledge, we have "liberty and justice for all."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Will US Confront Russia in Syria: A Trial Balloon

Thomas Riggins
Here is a nice trial balloon to prepare us for a military confrontation with Russia in Syria. How the world reacts to this balloon will decide whether there will be a wider war in the Middle East. Here is the basic story line. 1. The US does not want a military confrontation with Russia and is trying to avoid it. 2. There could be an inadvertent confrontation that accidentally leads to conflict with Russia. 3. This will be Russia's fault because (a) Moscow likes “escalation dominance” and (b) unlike the US "Russia has never been shy about escalation." Meanwhile, since 9/11 the US has fostered the escalation of military confrontations in 6 countries in the region (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia) and aided and abetted Israel's escalation of conflict with the Palestinians (so that makes 7). Russia has engaged in 1 (counter) escalation in Syria in response to the US entering the civil war and trying to overthrow Russia's ally the legal government of Syria. Make no mistake about it -- the American people really are getting flooded with "fake news" just as the Germans were in 1939 when they read about the Polish invasion of Germany and the German counter attack in self defense, and from the same kinds of sources -- war mongering fascists dressed in the uniforms of democratic patriots: Trump will carry out the grand plans that he inherited from the Obama/Clinton regime that were originally drawn up by the neoliberals of the Bush/Cheney era and have been slowly hatching in the pentagon since the end of WW2.
Recently the United States has shot down a Syrian warplane, came close to shooting another and downed two Iranian-made drones that were nearing American-backed…

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Politico and McCarthyism

Thomas Riggins

"We're certainly interested in any efforts the Russians made to influence our election,” says California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the election. “There have been public reports, I think, that Jill Stein was also in Russia attending the RT function, so we’re going to need to look at any efforts the Russians made through whatever means to influence our elections."
This is pure unadulterated McCarthyism coming out of the neoliberal Clintonite wing of the Democratic Party (Schiff supports the Saudi slaughter in Yemen). This entire article is nothing but speculation, innuendo, and typical center-right BS: if it is typical of Politico, then reading Politico is probably a waste of time.
Whatever you think about Jill Stein and the democratic rights of people who are neither Democrats nor Repubicans, HRC is history; it's time to move on.
The Green Party candidate has no regrets, even as Democrats accuse her of helping elect Donald Trump and cozying up to Vladimir Putin.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Philosophical Reflections on Micah Goodman NYT Article

Thomas Riggins
Some philosophical reflections: 1) " Mr. Goodman argues, both remaining in the West Bank and leaving it could spell the end of the Zionist project." This is a paradox he has discovered as a result of trying to maintain a mono-ethnic or religious state when there are two ethnic/religious groups involved. It is a function of philosophy to resolve paradoxes so it appears the conclusion is to abandon the Zionist project.
2) "Mr. Goodman lives in the settlement of Kfar Adumim, but “I would rather not be called a settler,” he said. “It’s where I live, not who I am.”" This appears to be an example of what Sartre called "mauvaise foi" (bad faith). He is certainly not just a settler but he is choosing to live on other people's land taken by conquest and colonized by his group and he is a "settler" despite his druthers.
3) "The occupation does not lead to a lack of morality,” he wrote. “The occupation itself is immoral." The occupation is the logical result of trying to maintain the paradox discussed in 1) and the logical implication is that Zionism itself is immoral (as is, perhaps, any philosophy based on religious or ethnic exclusivity).
4) He seeks to “shrink the amount of occupation without dramatically shrinking the amount of security for Israelis.” If the occupation qua occupation is immoral this solution amounts to shrinking the amount of immorality. But it is a goal of philosophy (ethics) to eliminate immorality not justify its perpetuation.
5) Conclusion: The present security of Israel has resulted in an immoral occupation of another people's land and must be ended. The security of Israel can be assured by a guarantee of a condominium of the Great Powers and the UN to protect the existence of the Israeli state in an analogous way as Kuwait was protected from an invasion by Iraq. Hypothesis: A deeper study would reveal all attempts to justify Israeli behavior on the grounds of "security" are bogus and are really motivated by racism and a desire to dispossess a militarily weaker people of their land and liberty; this behavior is analogous to the treatment of native Americans by the US government.

In a provocative new book, Micah Goodman, 42, concludes that there is no possibility of any comprehensive final peace deal with the Palestinians.
NYTIMES.COMA Best-Selling Israeli Philosopher Examines His Country’s ...
Jun 08, 2017 · ... Philosopher Examines His Country’s Inner ... A Best-Selling Israeli PhilosopherExamines His ... inner struggle over their conflict ...

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Reactive Mismeasures: The New Yorker and the "New" Cold War Propaganda (Part 5) Turbulence Theory

Thomas Riggins

This  is the fifth part (of 5 ) of a paragraph by paragraph commentary on a recent article posing as journalism in the March 6, 2017 issue of The New Yorker. I hope to demonstrate that this article is basically a totally mendacious concoction of cold war US propaganda constructed out of unsubstantiated opinions expressed by US government officials and various journalists and others who are hostile to the current Russian government. There are a few paragraphs exempt from this characterization and they are duly noted. I have put a link to the article itself so that my commentary can be compared, paragraph by paragraph, to the  original. However, the commentary can be read on its own. I contend it expresses the real meaning of the original paragraph  and my evaluation of that meaning. The original is there for anyone to check to see if I have distorted rather than clarified what the paragraph's actual meaning is. It is my position that this article is junk journalism which misrepresents the objective reality it purports to describe and that my commentary points out the misrepresentations and attempts to correct them. I hold that no self respecting journalist would write an article such as this New Yorker piece and palm it off on the public. My commentary is also an object lesson on how to distinguish between reportage that at least attempts to be unbiased and obvious nonobjective propaganda. You will know more about Trump, Putin and the New Cold War from the commentary than you will ever know from the original article.

Active measures were used by both sides throughout the Cold War. In the nineteen-sixties, ... Evan Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008, ...

Section Five “Turbulence Theory”  This last section contains 16 paragraphs.

1. The Russians were “gleeful” over Clinton’s loss as they saw theTrump victory as upsetting the established political consensus in Washington. [Putin may have felt his ambitions to have normal relations with Washington and the EU and lower the hostile actions of NATO would be possible to achieve. If so, it appears he was mistaken] .

2. The “News of the Week” anchor Dmitry Kiselyov, revealed how benighted the social consciousness of many in the Russian elite has become since the demise of the Soviet state. Their ambassador to the US has either failed to enlightened them about Trump’s base or he has been ignored, as Kiselyov informed his audience that Trump’s views revealed neither any racism nor sexism, only “a real man” who believed in the family (with three wives to show it), as proved by the fact he doesn’t approve “of protecting the rights of gays and lesbians.” I’m surprised this reactionary commentator even thinks gays and lesbians have rights to protect.

3. The article now does an about face. Having spent four sections insinuating that Putin and the Russians were a major cause of Trump’s victory they declare it’s not so after all. They were factors (even this is unproved) but not “the dominant force.” The most important factor is ‘’resentment.”  This sentiment has resulted from “the effects of globalization and deindustrialization.” Resentment has caused the rise of the right in Europe and the US. So, let’s forget about the DNC and the election. The real problem is a paranoid fear that Putin is out to take over the world and Trump lacks the cojones to stop him. We shall see this is not a real fear but is totally concocted as an excuse to try and hold together militarily a teetering world order constructed by the ‘West” after WWII in order to ensure American and European control of the world economy: an order that is unraveling because capitalism cannot regulate itself and is resulting in war, famine, pestilence, and environmental destruction on an apocalyptic scale.  The authors assert “many fear that Trump cannot be counted on” to defend the West: he says (or said) nice things about Putin, also about Brexit, and has “doubts” about NATO — oh my, what is the world coming to? If Trump backs way from the usual US stance re NATO and the Russian “Threat” [Russia has been a threat, it seems, since Peter the Great, what ever system it has: feudal, communist, or capitalist] then, we are told by a British ex deputy commander of NATO  “it gives Putin all kinds of opportunities.” For example, he might not have to invade the Baltic states to dominate them. [No evidence is presented that Putin has any plans, or even desires, “to invade” the Baltic states but that’s the excuse for NATO’s build up. Would it signal the imminent fall of the West if Trump and Putin agreed to de-escalate the tensions along the Russia border?] The general also says there may be a “re-nationalization “ of Europe if Trump doesn’t stand up for keeping the EU together.

4. An “advisor” to Reagan and Clinton is quoted. The authors have a habit of selectively quoting journalists, “advisors,” generals, etc., with whom they happen to agree. They evidently believe it makes their article more credible. They simply ignore equally qualified, or more qualified sources, whose opinions would under cut their viewpoint. They share this methodology on “fair and balanced” reporting with Fox News. Anyway, the advisor ponders how long Angela Merkel can “hold out against” Trump. She is alone in Europe and Putin will soon be seen as “the preeminent power in Europe.” Germany versus Russia; we’ve been here before. A conservative German news weekly is quoted (“Der Spiegel”) to the effect that Germany must stand up to Trump who is turning into “a danger to the world.” Well that lets Putin on off the hook (Russia is a “regional power” remember.)

5.  Next up on the New Yorker’s Fantasy Island is the Clinton advisor “Strobe Talbott who really does have an almost apocalyptic vision of the what the future portends ( we could have been saved this by HRC!). Talbott thinks that Trump (who had one casual encounter some years ago with Putin) is a “pal” of Putin’s [they have a “perverse pal-ship”] and that Trump has an “almost unfathomable respect” for Putin.  Because of this we may have a “second Cold War” [why if they are pals?] and we may lose it! Trump is also putting “the world in danger” because he doesn’t respect [i.e., has called into question NATO and the world wide net of American military bases] the world order established by the “political West “(the US) over the last 70 years. It doesn’t occur to Talbott (or the authors) that it is precisely that political world order, sustained by American hegemony, which is beginning to unravel of its own accord by its failure prevent worsening climate change and to provide economic security for hundreds of millions of people because of growing inequality, that is putting “the world in danger.” Trump is a symptom not a cause. Talbott doesn’t see this. He sees that we may lose our position in the world  and it will take years, and years to regain it: “we the United States and we the champions of the liberal world order.”  We, the liberal order that put Pinochet in power in Chile, killed 5 million Vietnamese peasants in a colonial war, lied and invaded Iraq and virtually destroyed the Middle East in a trumpeted up war, who can’t even properly feed, clothe, house and medically care for our own people properly: we are doomed because Donald Trump suggested he could sit down with Putin and make a “deal.” 

6. If Talbott’s  not enough we are treated to the totally ridiculous musings of one  the corrupt oligarchical Yelsin regime’s former ministers who has resettled in Washington and who tells us the “same people” [he means kind of people] are in the Kremlin as in the White House. Trump’s people and Putin’s “like each other and feel that they are alike”. I can just imagine Putin watching Trump and reading his tweets,  rubbing his hands together in glee and thinking, “That Trump, he’s  just like me!’’  The two groups “ care less for democracy and values, and more for personal success . however that is defined.” That also pretty much describes Yeltsin, Clinton and most politicians; but it’s how “success” is defined that is really important and whether or not your personal success coincides with that of your country and its people or not. 

7. The authors now decide, towards the end of an article that pounded away on the trope of Russian interference, that maybe it’s not the “master narrative” of Trump’s victory after all.  While, they say Russia’s tampering with our election “appears convincing” [to those at any rate  who are convinced by hearsay, speculation, bare assertions and the lack of any definite proof]  it is never the less the case that Trump “is a phenomenon of America’s own making.” In fact, they could have junked all of the previous paragraphs and said all they had to say in these last 10   paragraphs which conclude the article. 

8. A long paragraph using McCarthyite guilt by association techniques to suggest that maybe the “phenomenon” is not so American after all. Examples: Putin likes Tillerson types as they “don’t talk about human rights.” Trump didn’t make any negative , comments about  Russian court cases i.e., Russia’s internal affairs (Putin “controls” the courts) involving charges against an  opposition figure charged with fraud (he was convicted after the charge had been overturned by another court — Putin’s “control” of the courts must have slipped up the first time). “The Russians see friendly faces in the Administration.’’ [Why no Gerasamov type frowns? ] Tillerson , when he was CEO of Exxon, had a “close relationship” with the head of the state oil company who is both rich and close to Putin. Michael Flynn was paid a $40,000 fee  by “the Russian propaganda station  RT” to attend an anniversary celebration dinner (he sat next to Putin). [RT is partially funded by the government as is PBS, is the latter “the American propaganda network”? Is the BBC “the UK propaganda network”? It seems any news outlet subsidized by a “hostile” government is automatically a “propaganda” outlet. Radio Havana: propaganda. Radio Free Cuba: news and entertainment.]

9. Obama, near the very end of his term, expelled 35 Russian officials and closed a couple of Russian diplomatic compounds as a result of the allegations of Russian election hacking. Initially Russia said it would retaliate but later Putin reversed this. During this period Michael Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had contact with Russia’s ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. Michael Flynn lied to Vice-President Pence about his meeting and had to resign as a result. Obama had placed sanctions against Russia and Flynn is suspected to have had inappropriate conservations with Kisyak. But the reason he was fired was for lying to the Vice-President.

10. Over the years Trump has made contradictory statements regarding Russia and Putin.  He has said he has and hasn’t met Putin. Basically it seems this confusion has developed as a result of the 2013 Miss Universe contest which was held in Moscow. Investigations are in progress to sort all this out.

11. By early 2017 US officials had collected multiple examples of contacts between “Russians” and Trump “associates.” What remains to be seen, as a result of the called for investigations, [there is apparently not enough evidence at present to draw any conclusions even though “conclusions” have been drawn all over the place] is if there is any proof “for potential illegal or unethical entanglement with Russian government or business representatives.” [Well, the use of the word “potential” muddies the water  as there is always the “potential” for people to collude  in improper behavior; the investigations need a stronger  resolution such as finding they actually  colluded  in such behavior. Mixing up governmental activities with private business dealings is also problematic.  There is a big difference in working against your own government and engaging in corrupt business practices. Finally, “illegal’’ practices and “unethical” practices should not be lumped together.  So far, nothing has been proven!]

12. A question is posed by one of Obama’s top advisors: Celeste Wallander. The question assumes that there will be some proof of Putin’s election hacking. Putin recently stated there can be no proof since he ordered no hacking. The question: “Will Putin expose the failings of American democracy or will he inadvertently expose the strength of American democracy?” [It would have to be inadvertent since it’s difficult to see the strength of a “democracy” in which the person with the lesser number votes wins and the one with the most votes loses.]

13. It seems the Russians were “stunned” by Trump’s victory. [Who wasn’t?] The authors tell us the “working theory” of the agents involved in the Russian election interference case is that it wasn’t a  well thought out plan but it was improvised. [ When all is said and done, I think we will find out it was the US government’s charges of Russian hacking and election tampering that was improvised and not well thought out.]

14. Mr. Trump (and Mr. Putin) learns a lesson. Being a candidate and being a President are qualitatively different. Candidate Trump made comments making it seem as if he really wanted to reset the US relations with Russia and move from an offensive hostile approach towards lessening tensions and more respect and cooperation. In other words he would  not act as if the US was the world’s  policeman and other countries could like it or lump it . But this would violate the 70 year old “world order” set up by a bipartisan Republican/Democratic foreign policy elite and constructed  by the US based on it’s becoming the only world superpower  and whose interests were paramount. The Russians, thinking this was his intention, initially praised his victory over HRC. But the US intelligence community and national security apparatus went to work blowing up a Trump/Russian electoral conspiracy theory that makes it impossible for Trump to fundamentally change the direction of US foreign policy with regard to Russia. The  Russians have realized this and “the Kremlin ordered television outlets to be more reserved in their coverage of the new President.”

15. Next we get some totally unreliable hearsay via Konstantin von Eggert who hosts a television show in Russia. He says a friend told him that he saw an “edict” sent to state owned media. The friend told him the edict amounted to “no more Trump.” Von Eggert then explains what the “implicit” meaning of the edict (which he never saw) means; in fact he tells us what “the Kremlin has apparently decided.”  [It’s fairly obvious that the authors are not too scrupulous with regard to the sources of credible “evidence” of what the “Kremlin” is thinking. So, lets forget von Eggert’s speculations and simply report that Russian state media has toned down its uncritical  coverage of Trump.]

16. The last paragraph ends the article, not with a bang but a whimper. The editor of the anti-Putin “Echo of Moscow”, Alexey Vendiktov, with “deep contacts” in the elite, make some “suggestions” which the authors evidently think we should take seriously. Vendiktov suggests that Putin supported Trump because he upset the traditional [cold war] elite in the US with his unconventional foreign policy views. It’s also unclear how important a world power Russia really is — “So, well then we have to create turbulence inside America itself .” [So it all boils down to Putin’s inferiority complex.] The final suggestion is once America “is beset by turbulence” it will close “up on itself — and Russia’s hands are freed.” Freed for what? Our whole problem with Russia is that the US wanted a free hand in Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine (it already has one in the Baltic states and East Europe) and our “free hand” resulted in negative discriminatory behavior against the Russian speaking minorities in Georgia and Ukraine who fought back and elicited counter meddling by Russia to our meddling and the same in Syria where Russia intervened to help an ally and to protect its naval base on the Syrian coast. The US wants a free hand to continue its encirclement of Russia with military bases (we are already moving into former Soviet republics in Central Asia) and the sponsorship of anti-Russian governments along Russia’s borders. The “New Yorker” may support these foreign policy objectives of the US and the New Cold War we are launching but they are naive in the extreme to think publishing disinformation articles such as this will dissuade the Russians from defending their legitimate state interests from the machinations of US super power hegemony.  

 This is the end of part five and the last part of this article. From reading part five of The New Yorker Article you  will not have learned anything at all about whether or not the Russian government or Putin had anything to do with the "hacking" of the DNC or if they interfered with our elections.  In fact, there is nothing in the whole article regarding Putin and the alleged hacking of our election process except innuendo and unproven assertions. And this is The New Yorker! Once upon a time, not that long ago, it was a better and more reliable source of information. Seymour Hersh where are you?