I am sick and tired of hearing about Russia. I’m sorry, really I am, but it is so hard for me to care about something that, in my personal opinion, is so manufactured. If there is one thing all of us should know by now about how American media operates it is that, if they are unified in delivering a specific message, that message is most certainly a lie. Calling it a lie is almost too generous, it is an orchestrated assault on our ability to access truthful information. The point of this post is not to absolve Donald Trump of wrongdoing or somehow change your opinion on him or the Russian narrative, only to point out what it is… a narrative.
In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of information and our mainstream news services only have one setting (BREAKING BOMBSHELL MEGA-IMPORTANT NEWS!!!!!), making it difficult to step back and really analyze and digest news as it comes to us. I say this because, as far as I can tell, we stopped getting news entirely and now we are being fed (forcefully I might add) a 24-hour hysteria cycle with the goal of doing one thing. HALT TRUMP.
‘But Sal,’ you plead. ‘He brought this on himself with all his shady dealings with Putin.’
Yea. Here is my problem with that. The origins of the Russian meddling scandal can be traced back to the Democratic Primary where the Clinton campaign accused Bernie Sanders and his supporters (of which I was one) of being useful idiots to the grand regime of Vladimir Putin. This was rightly laughed off (because it was ridiculous). When the DNC and subsequently John Podesta had damning information stolen and leaked to the public domain the 'Left' needed a way to distract voters from the CONTENT of that information. The tactic chosen by the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration to combat this onslaught of terrible news was to shift focus on Russia, casting them as the agent behind these breaches. That assertion, up until the typing of this piece, has NEVER been proven to be true by any individual or agency (in fact there are strong cases against this claim). Yet, it gets recited ad nauseum as if it were the literal word of God.
It is on THIS CLAIM that the entire Russia-Trump collusion theory depends. The intelligence agencies have already told us that there is no evidence of votes being changed, they have stated that no voting machines were compromised. The entirety of Russian meddling is boiled down by our own intelligence agencies as a dis-info-propaganda campaign through media outlets like Sputnik and RT. Forgetting for a second the simple fact that the viewer/readership of those two outlets is practically negligible, it is hard to see how Donald Trump plays into that type of "meddling" at all.
‘Well, Trump told Russia to hack us and they did.’
They most likely did not. In the months since the election, we have been gifted with quite a bit of information from Wikileaks about the capabilities of our intelligence agencies when it comes to hacking. We now know that the CIA is entirely capable of hacking into nearly anything and once inside they can disguise their presence to make it look like a foreign actor committed the attack. So, hypothetically they could hack into your PC and make it look like a Russian was the one interested in what youtube videos you watch. That isn’t all we learned. We also now know CIA hackers can make it look like the foreign government they are framing tried REALLY HARD to hide their tracks, so not only would it look like a Russian broke into your computer, but it would look like a careful Russian expert broke into your computer and then tried his (or her) darndest to hide their tracks.
‘Come on. You don’t think the CIA hacked the DNC and blamed the Russians, that makes no sense,’ you say because for some reason you are still reading this.
You are correct. That does make no sense and that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that because the CIA lost control of ALL of their cyber warfare capabilities (did I forget to mention that?) and now any individual hacker out in the wild has essentially the same tools as the CIA, the hack could have happened from anywhere, by anyone. Assuming, of course, that it was a hack at all. Wikileaks has long maintained that the emails came through an insider leak and that seems to make a bunch of sense as well. Even if the hack had been done by the Russians and for some reason, they decided against using tools to hide their country of origin, there still would be no real way for anyone to be sure who was responsible.
CrowdStrike, the company charged with looking at the DNC hacked server (btw did you know the DNC refused to let the FBI examine their servers?), recently changed some key claims in its report that Russia was behind the hack and refuses to assert confidence that Russia is the cause at all. All of this is a long way to say that I guess my biggest problem with the Russia crisis is, I don’t really know what Donald Trump is being accused of. I mean, I would be 100% opposed to any elected official subverting democracy in any way, especially in collusion with a foreign government, but that doesn’t seem to be the ACTUAL claim... Despite how often it gets thrown around.
If the Russians were unsuccessful in changing any votes (if they tried to at all), if they can’t be 100% proven to behind the DNC hacking, if we cannot prove RT viewers somehow we’re brainwashed to do Putin’s bidding, WHY are we talking about this non-issue all the time? Is there really nothing else in the global arena happening worthy of discussion? We have been deprived of actual news in exchange for wild speculation designed to poison the well and stunt the popularity of an administration the former establishment does not consider legitimate. The goal of this obsession is absolutely to impeach Trump, but it has nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with our failing, corrupt rotting husk of a political system.
This is where it helps to understand how our media works. The ‘Mainstream media’ outlets in DC operate like an exclusive club. Though they will deny it, journalism and truth-telling come absolutely behind continued profit and future access. Gone are the days when our journalists spoke truth to power. Now our journalists have been replaced with bloggers and pundits and our truth tellers have been pushed to the margins. This is by design. As media companies consolidate, so too does power. With control of the flow of information comes control of the population. All of this may seem horrifically Orwellian, but I assure you it is pretty simple. Over the decades our political class and our entertainment class and our news class and our banking class have slowly become more and more conjoined. Their interests have all aligned. It has gotten to a point where politics is a revolving door gateway to a life of enrichment. Why are our congressmen and women multi-millionaires? Why do many go on to sit on executive boards for international banks or huge corporations?
‘Sal, this is really starting to sound like some wild conspiracy and when are we going to talk about Russia?’
Relax. We’re almost done. Conspiracy theory or not, this is the reality of the world we live in. Money has influenced our politics, news, and entertainment to the point where these institutions only know how to operate in one way: Unified Message. When Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were throwing around the term “establishment” they meant it. The establishment is a real thing. The mighty vessel that is the US government has been, essentially, helmed by the same crew for over 20 years. Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama were all players on the same team. I know that stings to hear (Sorry Obama fans) and sure they had their (minor) differences, but they all belonged to the same DC establishment, often referred to as ‘the Neo-cons’. This establishment cozied up to friendly reporters and punished journalists that hit too hard until they had total control of the dissemination of messages that they wanted the masses to hear. It is important to realize that every piece of CORPORATE MEDIA you read, listen to, or in other ways consume is in essence propaganda from Uncle Sam.
This isn’t to say we receive no true and honest information or that all news media should be ignored, rather it should be a welcome reminder to always question the motivations and the intentions behind stories, especially ones that pertain to US corporate, political, geopolitical, or economic interests. Most stories on the nightly news in ordinary times are completely fine for mindless consumption, but the past 18 months have been troubling for the neo-con establishment culminating in the election of someone they ALL HATE to the presidency: Donald J Trump.
This brings us back to Russia. Whenever you have ALL establishment media outlets spewing information in lockstep with the Intelligence agencies and the longest tenured DC figureheads, you can be pretty certain you are being lied to. The truth is often strange, but very rarely is it reported on uniformly from every direction. This is what the Russian narrative has been from day one, all those months ago: Damage control. First to excuse the pitiful (if not downright concerning) content of leaked information, then to taint the victory of an unpopular outsider, and now it is the last hope a dying power structure to preserve itself. In the end, that is the only thing the establishment always cares about. More power for themselves. It's evident in our infrastructure, in our wages, in our prison population, in near every aspect of our neglected society.
The takeaway should be this. While no one can definitely assert what Trump did, what Russia did, how it impacted us, our lives, or our election, America has much it needs to fix. So, go investigate and report back, but in the meantime shut up about it. And when the investigation returns with some evidence of anything we can revisit it, but right now this seems like the perfect distraction. A distraction from the fact that Trump may actually be set on destroying the previous establishment and there are many of us who believe that they deserve it. That is why Trump won. Not Russia. Russia is not the problem with America, a short attention span is and our media is designed to exploit that.