Dissent Is Needed More than Ever

W.J. Astore

Dissent and critical thought are needed most of all in times of war. Yet it’s precisely the time when people are pressured the most to silence their doubts, to mindlessly conform, and to wave the flag and to cheer for the “good” guys against the “bad” ones.

Dissent is easy to tolerate when it’s about trivial matters that don’t challenge or involve prevailing power structures. Chomsky and Herman famously wrote “Manufacturing Consent,” which is another way of saying that dissent itself is manufactured and controlled, providing us with an illusion that democratic debate is allowed and encouraged in America. But of course dissent isn’t tolerated when it threatens power structures, profit margins, and prevailing narratives.

We see this clearly in the amount of dissent policing and information quashing about the Russia/Ukraine war. Look at what happened to the RT (Russia Today) network in the USA (RT America). It was dropped by DirecTV and forced to layoff its staff and cease operations. It’s easy to cheer something like this if you think or have been told everything Russian is evil, but the loss is considerable to democracy and to free speech.

I didn’t watch a lot of RT America, but I appreciated the network’s support of informed critics like Chris Hedges and Jesse Ventura. Hedges and Ventura, both freethinkers, were excluded by the mainstream media in the U.S. Ventura’s case is especially revealing. He had a three-year, multi-million dollar contract with MSNBC for a talk show in 2003 that was cancelled when the network realized he was against the Iraq War. The network honored the contract, paying him roughly $6-8 million while keeping him off the air for three years. Millions in hush money for no work sounds like a good deal, but it’s obviously not in the interest of free speech.

Jesse Ventura on RT: An informative, provocative, and often funny show

When I started writing for TomDispatch.com in 2007, posting articles that called into question the official narrative of “progress” in the Iraq and Afghan Wars, there were exactly two TV networks that asked to interview me: Al-Jazeera and RT America. (I turned them down, mainly because I was working in rural Pennsylvania and had no time to travel to New York City for in-studio interviews.) No mainstream media network showed any interest. I’m not complaining here — I’m just stating facts. Ask yourself how many times you’ve seen and heard antiwar voices and penetrating criticism on NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, and similar networks. You won’t see and hear it there because it’s considered bad for business.

Why is it bad for business? Advertisers don’t like it. You know: companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and similar bastions of the military-industrial complex. Those same companies are often part of multi-national conglomerates that own the networks. They are not about to sanction shows or grant airtime to well-informed critics like Hedges and Ventura. Why would they? Profit and power trump free speech every time.

Dissenting voices are still out there, but they are kept on platforms where their reach is often limited by computer algorithms that send people to mainstream sites first. For what it’s worth, I look for alternative perspectives at the Jimmy Dore Show, at Useful Idiots, at Breaking Points, and from journalists like Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, and Caitlin Johnstone, among others.

I also continue to check mainstream sources like the New York Times, NBC News, and PBS, as well as subscribing to old-fashioned paper magazines like The Nation, The New Republic, and The Baffler. And I’m not above watching Tucker Carlson when he features important voices like former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Americans, citizens of what is allegedly a democracy, deserve access to the widest possible range of sources and critics. Denying the same to us is censorship. It limits thought, it stifles debate, and it makes us much less than what we could be as a democracy and as a people.

66 thoughts on “Dissent Is Needed More than Ever

  1. Dissenting voices! Very good points WJA! Chris Hedges is very interesting. I was listening to RT too for ”the other side of the coin”, but since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was really hard to keep from turning them off. Such rubbish propaganda! Some other excellent news sites: France 24 (English site) and DW (English site).

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    1. Yes — that’s the way to “punish” RT. Don’t censor them — don’t punish them — don’t suppress them. Just turn them off if it’s all baseless BS.

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    1. Good article. Nice set of pointed comparisons of chosen good and bad victims across a wide swath of situations.
      Scott Ritter does a similar long discussion, a narrower “swath,” within the Russian/US/Ukraine good/bad chosen subject lines. Kind of like the old “party lines” at Consortium News: https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/07/pity-the-nation/
      He opens with part of a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. That took me back so I reviewed some old material. There is a lot to be gleaned from his life (died in 2021 just a little before what would have been his 102cnd birthday). Much I had either forgotten or passed over originally.
      At the end of Ritter’s article he quotes Ferlinghetti: “Pity the nation,” Ferlinghetti wrote, “whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced, and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m of the opinion that dissent is the first American tradition, every flag (belief or ideology) is now a way to disguise the stick, and truth (as is now expected) is closer social extortion/validation than inquiry.

    The one standard seems to be that authoritarians of every type are ridiculously fragile and largely uninformed, but they are fun to watch, so I am thinking RedJenny’s afternoon “pitch-and-tingle” might be worth an hour, but I’m entertained by hand-chatters under pressure.

    Haven’t watched AmyGoodman since theOrangeMenace claimed the throne-is DN still Statist agitprop?

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  3. “It may not be necessary to question everything, but you should be prepared to question anything.”
    My 7th Grade American History teacher taught me that during the 1966/67 school year, while pointing out that a sharp suit and a well-modulated voice offered no guarantee you were hearing The Truth. He closed with, “But don’t take my word for it. Go and find out for yourself, otherwise you might as well be an ant.”
    I was fortunate to have other teachers (Jesuits among them) who emphasized critical thinking and “recta ratio” on a daily basis. They knew you had to instill such things at an early age. But we’re now several decades into standardized tests, and however many years of spending the waking hours living by the light of a cell phone (or similar device).
    The nation may have been born of dissent, but increasingly it seems (and as indicated by today’s post) such voices are becoming “as cries in the wilderness, uttered by pilgrims in an unholy land.”

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    1. Agree, BB. My teachers said basically the same thing, except my high school American government (required course) teacher DID say to question everything. We actually had exercises in analyzing news reports and researching facts, when such research involved trips to the library. I doubt students are taught such critical thinking skills these days.

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  4. I got this reply from Bell Canada February 28 to my complaint for dropping RT from their cable programming

    Hello,
    We apologize for your concerns regarding your Bell products and services. We have successfully captured the information below and routed it to our resolution experts.
    Reason for the concern Other
    Details of the situation: For all the US Propaganda the Russian government shuts down opposition News Media, Bell Canada is doing the exact same thing shutting down RT I subscribe to and enjoying watching to compare with US Propaganda.
    It’s hypocritical and shameful the Canadian government pressured Bell to follow the alleged Russian example.
    Our team will be in contact with you within the next 24 hours.

    I missed a call from Bell on Friday, but got this follow up email from executive.office_relations.clients@bell.ca
    Dear Mr. Cormier,
    I have not been able to reach you using the contact numbers on file. In order to resolve your concerns, please contact me by replying to this email.
    I will make further attempts to reach you on 2022-03-07 & 2022-03-08.

    February 28 was the same Day The Washing Post suspended me for a week from commenting on anything for posting this comment they deleted within a minute of it appearing.

    When Western governments openly declare it’s goal and objective is to destroy the Russian Economy without using bombs, Armageddon/WWIII already started.
    History proves it’s much easier to start Wars than to end them. It took 20 years and $2 TRILLION for the US to extricate itself from the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan.
    I expect Putin will use the ‘nuclear option’ in the Economic War and will turn off Nord stream I, and all oil and gas pipelines passing through Ukraine to keep Western Europe’s Economy going.

    The question will be who can endure material privation and want longer? Russians who are accustomed to it, or Western Europeans who aren’t, when both the Russian and European Economies crash?
    https://rayjc.com/2022/02/28/have-we-arrived-at-armageddon-wwiii

    This same Washington Post reported Saturday Putin said Economic Sanctions are tantamount to Acts of War

    The old adage TRUTH is the 1st casualty of WAR still applies with so many SINS of OMISSION in Western Propaganda on this War, no dissent tolerated.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I got confused with your comment under Bill’s upstream.
          In any case, Bell replied saying RT shut down on their own, not admitting they did not shut down willingly but were forced to shut down

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  5. Bill, one has to be careful about being a dissenter. One thing that has not benefitted me with my family, friends and workmates, is my constant expression of dissention with issues. This has rightly or wrongly had me labelled as a contrarian. And as a result I am aware that my opinions are not taken as seriously by others as I would like them to be. As a septuagenarian I nowadays just keep my mouth shut! LOL

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    1. A boss once told me, “Look, I only have so many bullets. If I go up against the company on such-and-such an issue, I have to be very aware that I won’t be able to fight them on something else.” I guess if you don’t pick your battles, you run out of bullets. So much for today’s military metaphors….

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  6. Another excellent dissertation by Scott Ritter
    ‘Pity the Nation’
    In the past few months, the United States has undergone a kind of transformation that one only reads about in history books — from a nation which imperfectly, yet stolidly, embraced the promise, if not principle, of freedom, especially when it came to that most basic of rights — the freedom of expression. Democracies live and die on the ability of an informed citizenry to engage in open debate, dialogue and discussion about difficult issues. Freedom of speech is one of the touch-stone tenets of American democracy — the idea that, no matter how out of step with mainstream society one’s beliefs might be, the retained right to freely express opinions thus derived without fear of censorship or repression existed.

    No more.

    In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russophobia which had taken grip in the United States since Russia’s first post-Cold War president, Boris Yeltsin, handed the reins of power over to his hand-picked successor, Vladimir Putin, has emerged much like the putrid core of an over-ripe boil. That this anti-Russian trend existed in the United States was, in and of itself, no secret. Indeed, the United States had, since 2000, pushed aside classic Russian area studies in the pursuit of a new school espousing the doctrine of “Putinism,” centered on the flawed notion that everything in Russia revolved around the singular person of Vladimir Putin…………………….

    https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/07/pity-the-nation/

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    1. Western nations generally believe that Putin/Russia does not need to paranoically sabre-rattle Russia’s nuclear weaponry at all, ever, since he surely must know that the west, including NATO, won’t initiate a nuclear exchange. But, really, how can he — or we, for that matter — know for sure whether that’s true?

      While Ronald Reagan may have been correct in his observation that “Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong”, I have long wondered what may have historically come to fruition had the U.S. remained the sole possessor of atomic weaponry. There’s a presumptive, and perhaps even arrogant, concept of American (and maybe also a theoretically nuclear-armed Canadian) governance as somehow, unless physically provoked, being morally/ethically above using nuclear weapons internationally.

      After President Harry S. Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur as commander of the forces warring with North Korea — for the latter’s public remarks about how he would/could use dozens of atomic bombs to promptly end the war — Americans’ approval-rating of the president dropped to 23 percent. It is still a record-breaking low, even lower than the worst approval-rating points of the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.

      Had it not been for the formidable international pressure on Truman (and perhaps his personal morality) to relieve MacArthur as commander, I wonder, could/would Truman eventually have succumbed to domestic political pressure to allow MacArthur’s command to continue?

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      1. Truman recognized Israel due to his desire for votes in his bid for re-election in 1948. His Secretary of State, no less a guy than George Marshall, objected so strongly to this approval of invasion for votes that he told Truman that if he recognized Israel, he (Marshall) would not vote for Truman in the coming election.

        What would Marshall say of today’s captive Congress and presidents who do nothing to oppose open occupation with no end, ethnic cleansing and apartheid?

        George Marshall, Smedley Butler, where are modern examples of your kind?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. A rather pertinent comment from one Moon of Alabama reader:

      “Russia has already been cut off from CNN, Pornhub and Facebook. The US is now working on depriving Russians of MacDonalds and CocaCola. If they keep going with these sanctions, Russians will soon be among the healthiest, well adjusted and best informed people on the planet.”

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  7. Especially relevant to the present moment with all its officially-fomented hysteria [bold font for emphasis added]:

    “Thought Control in Everyday Life”
    by
    James Alexander
    (United States: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1928) pages 233-234

    The word “crowd,” … means a collective body of men and women – people gathered together for some purpose in common.

    For the average man – the man with neither knowledge of Crowd Psychology, nor training in thought control – one of the most difficult things in the world is to control his thoughts when he is a member of a crowd. For the crowd, no matter what its constitution may be, whether made up of men of good birth and education, or men with neither of these advantages, ranks as the lowest form of human association.

    The crowd is a collective mind with little intelligence, and is largely dominated by its instincts and emotions. Attend a congress of any body of men and women; observe them carefully, and you will note how large a part the instincts and emotions play, and the far from high quality of the display of intelligence. You will see highly intelligent men and women, whom you have heard about or read of, and you will go home with a quite different conception of them; for you will judge them by their actions and the part they in the discussions. Most observers, in such conditions, will judge wrongly. For crowds are contagious, their speech and acts are contagious, and, for the time being, every man and woman in a crowd is a very different individual from what he or she is in private and in ordinary life. Any person who doubts this has only to make the experiment. Let him mix with any crowd where feeling runs high and opinions clash, and let him note the effect on his own mentality. One thing is sure to strike [the individual] when a member of such a crowd – the enormous power of suggestion and a weakening of his own power to resist its influence.

    The great thing to grasp is that the crowd mind is antagonistic to the individual mind. The crowd mind demands that you, as a member of the crowd, should think as it thinks. Never lose sight of that fact; be determined to think for yourself, and panic thoughts will have little power over you. One word more: watch closely your emotions when you are a member of a crowd; never allow them to develop; switch the mind away to the cool, calm, collected attitude of mind.

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  8. Every culture/nation has its own propaganda and core beliefs, true and false; though some culture/nations — usually the biggest, most powerful — are much more corrupt and brutal than the smaller, weaker ones. And western mainstream news-media are a significant part of this moral problem. Yet, the editors/journalists likely sleep well at night, nonetheless. …

    One can still hear or read praise, or conservatives’ scorn, heaped upon The New York Times for their supposed uncompromised integrity when it comes to humanitarianism and ethical journalism. Yet, did they not help create the Iraq War, through then-U.S.-VP Dick Cheney’s self-citing via the Times’ website? That would be the same Cheney who monetarily benefitted from the war via Iraqi oil fields — a war I consider to have been much more like a turkey shoot, considering the massive military might attacking the relatively weak country.

    I recall reading that The Times had essentially claimed honest-ignorance innocence on the grounds that it was its blogger’s overzealousness that was/is at fault. But is it really plausible that The Times did/does not insist upon securing the non-publishable yet accurate identity of its writers’ anonymous information sources — in this case, a devious Cheney — especially considering that Cheney himself would then use that anonymous source’s (i.e. his own) total BS about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify a declaration of war that inevitably resulted in genuine gratuitous mass suffering and slaughter, both abroad and domestically?

    I believe that The Times jumped on this atrocity-prone Iraq-invasion bandwagon also because of their close proximity to the massive 9/11 blow the city took only a few years prior. There was plenty of that particularly bitter bandwagon going around in Western circles back then.

    Quite memorable was Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman’s appearance on Charlie Rose’s show (May 29, 2003), where he ranted about the war’s justification and supposed success. “… We needed to go to that part of the world; and what they needed to see [was that] American boys and girls going house to house, from Basrah to Baghdad, [and] simply saying, ‘suck on this’.”

    It’s as though they all decided: ‘Just to be on the safe side, let’s error in favor of militarily assaulting, invading and devastating Iraq’.
    _____

    P.S. I’d have much greater respect for Liz Cheney regarding the brutal January 6 political aftermath she’s suffered (though I’ve read that her Congressional-riding electorate have mostly remained behind her and therefore her seat essentially secure) — if only she’d come out and denounce her then-VP father’s part in fraudulently manufacturing American consent for the 2003-11 attack on Iraq.

    Not surprisingly, many people (including me) would place Dick ahead of D. Trump on the Mr. Evil scale.

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    1. As my fellow Vietnam veteran, Daniel Ellsberg explained quite some time ago: “The United States invaded Iraq for three reasons: Oil, Israel, and Domestic Political Advantage.” Naturally, what passes for a “government” in the United States did not openly acknowledge these real purposes to the “democratic” citizenry who — rumor has it — ostensibly have a right to such information. So who in their right mind would ever again lend these corrupt charlatans the slightest degree of credence when they start foaming at the mouth about yet another “war” someplace that has only one purpose: namely, making an obscenely wealthy transnational oligarchy even wealthier?

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      1. You caused my blood pressure to spike 10 points. …

        When it comes to unhindered capitalism, I can see corporate CEOs shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. The shareholders meanwhile shrug their shoulders while defensively stating that they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.

        One wonders whether the unlimited-profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible to those biggest-of-big-businesses people, including the willingness to simultaneously allow an already squeezed consumer base to continue so — or be squeezed even further? It brings to my mind the allegorical fox stung by the instinct-abiding scorpion while ferrying it across the river, leaving both to drown.

        Still, there must be a point at which the lopsided status quo — where already large corporate profits are maintained or increased while many people are denied even basic securities, including environmental — can/will end up hurting big business’s own economic interests. I can imagine that a healthy, strong and large consumer base — and not just very wealthy consumers — are needed.

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        1. “Profits made out of the distress of the people are always much smaller than profits made out of the most lavish service of the people at the lowest prices that competent management can make possible.”

          – Henry Ford, 1922

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      2. I believe that the Iranian Revolution’s Western-nation expulsion was primarily due to U.S. (and even British) interest in further exploiting Iran’s plentiful oil resources.

        Not surprising, the expulsion was a big-profit-losing lesson learned by the foreign-nation oil corporation heads, which they, by way of accessing domestic political thus military muscle, would not willingly allow to happen to them again. Perhaps Iraq and its oil are an example of this.

        It may be that, if the relevant oil-company heads were/are in fact against Iran, then likely so are their related Western governments and, via general news-media support, national collective citizenry.

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  9. Here is my dissenting opinion:
    From Ecclesiastes 3:
    “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. ……. A time of love and a time of hate; a time of war and a time of peace.”

    Now is the time for war. We as Americans have a duty to stand with the Ukrainians in their fight for independence. I am not talking about the use of military force as that would almost certainly lead to WWIII. I am talking about demonstrating, writing one’s federal representative and senators asking for and supporting legislation that boycotts Russian oil, and all things Russian. I am talking about being ready to pay more for gasoline at the pump and almost everything else that depends on oil.

    I am for sending medical and non-lethal supplies to Ukraine. I am not sure how they would get there given the Russian control of all entry points.

    I just wrote a Thank You email to President Biden who has said he will boycott Russian oil.

    My default position is Peace, yet there are times and seasons when the only appropriate response is War.

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    1. War should be a last resort. It should be defensive rather than offensive. Rarely, it should be dedicated to overthrowing regimes that are thoroughly corrupted and inhumane (e.g. Nazi Germany) and that are expansionist.

      I don’t feel like I must boycott “all things Russian,” because that would hurt ordinary Russians, who are not my enemy. I won’t be pouring vodka into the streets 🙂

      I don’t believe U.S. national security is directly threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, therefore I don’t see it as a war America should be involved in militarily. Indeed, our goal should be to shorten the war and to save lives. Diplomacy could be vital. Why not just admit Ukraine shouldn’t join NATO? That NATO will expand no further? That promise alone might be instrumental in ending the killing and destruction.

      Let’s not fight to the last Ukrainian.

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      1. NATO was formed in 1949 at the end of WWII with US and Russian Forces facing each other in place in Germany.
        As allies with the Americans, Russia did more and suffered more to defeat Hitler than the Yanks did.
        Staying out of the European war for 2 years making money supplying the weapons, when Hitler was defeated, US Arms Merchants needed a new Enemy and Russia was it.

        West Germany was the buffer zone until 1955 when it joined NATO. That compelled the Soviets to form the Military Warsaw Pact opposite NATO.
        With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact with it, Russian troops were repatriated, believing Ukraine would be buffer between Russia and NATO.

        There is no denying it’s a tragedy to see the Humanitarian crisis this War is generating, but it could have been averted with no cost whatsoever, if the US sphere of influence called NATO listened to President Putin’s Red Line warnings about NATO advancing to Russia’s borders since 2007.

        Truth is still the 1st casualty of War, and there is a lot of Fake Propaganda coming from the Ukrainian side and the Western MSM are the Propagandists for Ukraine without question. In the fog of War, there are many ‘friendly fire’ incidents and automatically Russia is blamed for Ukraine mistakes.

        ‘Ukraine Is A Sacrificial Pawn On The Imperial Chessboard’
        https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/ukraine-is-a-sacrificial-pawn-on

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  10. Respectfully WJSCOTT2 you seem to have been taken in by the lies of the Western mainstream media.

    The Russian military theorist Clausewitz posited that “War is the continuation of politics by other means”. The Russians have been politely requesting the combined West, after 30 years of NATO expansion to the east, to “get off my porch.” Since these requests were summarily rejected by the addressees, Clausewitz dictum is in play.

    The Russians did not “start a war,” they terminated one. Namely, the U.S./UK/EU-NATO-instigated-and-fueled civil war ongoing for the past eight years since the coup of 2014.

    Also the Ukrainians amassing weaponry and using it to kill ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine on the Russian border while conducting provocative NATO military exercises on land and sea constituted a threat to Russia.

    There have been many articles posted in alternative media sites such as Information Clearing House and Consortium News presenting the truth of what is really going on with this war. Anyone who cannot see that Russia is not the aggressor here simply refuses — for whatever reason — to see the nakedly obvious. Putin has been provoked by the West to defend the sovereignty of Russia. This is not a case of the Ukrainians fighting for independence. America has no duty to stand with the Ukrainians.

    My default position is also Peace, yet there are times and seasons when the only appropriate response is War.

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    1. Yes, that Prussian guy knew a thing or two, but war is much more than just politics by other means.

      Neither Russia nor Ukraine is blameless. Nor is the USA. But I don’t think you “terminate” a nasty border dispute by launching a major war with tanks, artillery, missiles, and all the other weapons of destruction of modern conventional war.

      Putin may have been provoked, but you don’t “defend the sovereignty of Russia” by denying the same to Ukraine.

      We have to find a better way. Because when we don’t, far too many innocent people end up dead.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, Bill. Like many other people, I’ve read reams of commentary from all across the spectrum in the last few weeks. As you point out, none of the players is blameless in this situation. The consensus among the opinions I’ve reviewed is that multiple experts on Russia have warned for years that NATO expansion would be seen by Putin as threatening and provocative.

        All that said, what I keep coming down to is that Putin made a choice to invade a weaker country—-a choice. No one attacked his country. He invaded for his own reasons, citing provocation as a pretext. Yes, the U.S. has done similar things, but that only means Putin is as wrong as U.S. Presidents have been. If you say, “Putin was provoked, so he’s justified in his actions,” then by that reasoning, the Japanese were justified in attacking Pearl Harbor, because FDR quite deliberately cut off their fuel supplies, to….provoke them. Or at least, some historians contend that was the case.

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    2. Ex British Labour MP George Galloway always has the truth -as opposed to the Western Mainstream media lies on the Ukrainian war…..

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  11. Thank you so much for writing that!! I hope you have a lot of readers, because that needed to be said and said often! I’m getting a bit scared at the amount of propaganda that is being poured out in our network news and our papers, especially the NYT which I do look at and the Wash. Post which I don’t see, but I keep hearing about their propaganda too. I like your list of people to read or watch. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Scott Ritter or Ray McGovern who are both members of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Personnel for Sanity) along with other members, and I hope you are aware of Consortium News that does a pretty good job of debunking lies put out by our MSM and our government. The omission factor in our MSM is huge – like the almost total lack of reporting for the past 8 years and more of the fact that a lot of the Ukraine military and major parts of their government is Nazi. President Zelinsky may be jewish, but when he became president 2 years ago that is the fact he was faced with, and apparently he doesn’t mind or maybe he is being tutored by his enablers the U.S .

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  12. ‘Sanctions on Russia are shaking the world, including the West, which imposed them’

    “We cannot replace Russian gas overnight,” Germany announced, followed by France to confirm that “its stockpile of gas will not be enough if Russia stops supplying us.” Hungary did not hesitate to reveal that “its economy and local currency will collapse if energy-related sanctions are imposed on Russia.” Finland confirmed that it needs eight years to dispense with Russian gas, of which Europe imports 43% of its annual needs through the “Northern Stream I” and the “Yamal” lines. Indeed, the Russian gas flows at its total capacity and crosses Byelorussia, Poland, and Ukraine, still enjoying Russian gas despite the ongoing war.

    It is not rocket science to understand why Europe has taken successive steps to impose sanctions on its leading Russian economic partner in the energy field. But most affected by their own sanctions are the European states, especially after gas prices reached four times their original price ($4000 per thousand cubic meters) and oil prices skyrocketed to $139, dropping at a later stage to 131$. America, the largest importer of Russian oil, is significantly affected by its sanctions on Russia, like Europe and the rest of the world. However, the US has decided to apply the sanction to the Russian oil and all oil products it imports, fully aware that the energy price will become unaffordable for large numbers of the world population. It may reach beyond $200 a barrel, a price that would affect the cost of living all over the planet. President Biden recognized publicly that the war in Ukraine would involve “all of us”……………………….

    https://ejmagnier.com/2022/03/08/sanctions-on-russia-are-shaking-the-world-including-the-west-which-imposed-them/

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    1. Thanks Ray for bringing the issue of sanctions against Russia into the picture. As your link goes to lengths to explain these sanctions will severely impact the whole World.
      Gasoline is being reported at US$5.00+ in California today. All this will do is put further severe strains on the finances of beleaguered working Americans having to fill their cars to drive to their minimum wage jobs.
      Historically sanctions have never worked, and always have unintended consequences.

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      1. Thank you for mentioning the unintended consequences of “sanctions.”

        Historically, “sanctions” went by name of “embargoes” — attempts to economically strangle a nation or people. The target government or population, naturally and properly, regarded these embargoes as acts of war. See, for example, the U.S. embargo of oil and steel to Japan (at the insistence of politically influential missionaries in China) which resulted in Pearl Harbor and four bloody years of war in the Pacific.

        As a matter of fact, the Russian Federation has endured the increasingly wanton application of sanctions against it for something like two decades, beginning with the advent of “uncooperative” Vladimir Putin to the Presidency of the Russian Federation. The Russian people and their government understand completely that a state of undeclared war exists between the United States and themselves and that this would implacably continue — if not opposed — until the breakup and partition of Russia resulted.

        Therefore, it does no service to the cause of understanding for anyone to speak of a “war” between Russia and Ukraine.” The real war began and has continued at the insistence of the Nefarious American Terrorist Operation (NATO) and has inexorably increased in ferocity — eight years of domestic repression and civil war in two eastern Ukrainian regions on Russia’s borders — until it engendered a “kinetic” response by Russia: a response directed not at the Ukrainian people but at (1) the de facto US/UK/NATO-EU military infrastructure in Ukraine and (2) the Russophobic ultra-nationalist proxy-terrorists — actual nazis — installed in power by the U.S. and calling themselves “Ukrainians.”

        The Russians have had enough. They have told the Noxious American Trespassing Occupiers: “Move or we will move you.” The Numbskull Americans Threatening Oblivion have stupidly refused to move back to whence they came. Eventually they will. All that remains to know concerns the costs: not just to Ukrainians and Russians, but to Americans and their “allies, partners, and friends” (pardon the redundancies) as well.

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  13. There is a serious risk of escalation and miscalculation here. Polish MiG-29s to Ukraine? Along with all the Stinger and Javelin missiles sent there?

    Flooding weapons to Ukraine just boosts the pain to both countries while increasing the risks of a wider war. This is foolhardy in the extreme.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “The authorities of the Republic of Poland … are ready to deploy, immediately and free of charge, all their MiG-29 jets to the Rammstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America,” the foreign ministry said, according to Reuters.
      Yep, and the US is in the middle of this! What a surprise! So much for your MYOB (mind your own business) US foreign policy eh Bill! Why doesn’t Biden just keep the hell outa this?

      Like

      1. The Russian military knocked out the Ukronazi communications in the first days of this special operation. Nonetheless, the U.S. (CIA and Pentagram) continues to supply not just “lethal” weapons, but targeting information and communications support to their favored proxy killers. This means, of course, that the U.S. has long-since assumed co-belligerent status and it only remains to be seen how Russia will respond. Co-belligerency: a matter of degree, not of kind.

        And how can any of us, in all honesty, think that Joe Biden has any desire (much less ability) to control any of this? Especially since — as Vice President and point-man on Ukraine for President Obama — he (not to mention his son, Hunter) personally profited from the asset-stripping, shock-doctrine policies that the U.S. imposed on Ukraine starting in 2014.

        Orwell wrote of the “Oligarchical Collective” as the “Inner Party” that actually directs the affairs of Oceania. Research economist Michael Hudson calls these distributed interlocking oligarchies “the Blob.” In this arrangement, U.S. President Joe Biden has no greater role than “Outer Party” factotum; sort of like a senile Winston Smith laboring away revising language and history at his cubicle in the “Ministry of Truth.”

        Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Victoria Nuland-Kagan — all dedicated Russophobes — have more to say about this devolving disaster than Old-Man Joe. And these fanatical types never back off. They just double down. So, in the present hysterical crunch, whom will the CIA and/or Pentagram obey? Or will they just make it up themselves as they go along? Does the U.S. any longer even have a civilian “chief executive officer “in operational charge” of policy and personnel? It sure doesn’t look that way from where I sit here in southern Taiwan.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. If a wider military conflict breaks out, it will be due in part to the idiots America elects as president.

    Trump has gone on record as disguising U.S. F-22 fighters as Chinese, then using them to “bomb the shit” out of Russia. (F-22s are not bombers, by the way, but Trump isn’t known for his mastery of detail.)

    Biden is doing everything short of committing U.S. troops to the war. Sanctions, weapons, even shipping Russian-made MiG-29 jets to Ukraine, almost anything is “on the (war) table” except negotiations.

    When you elect dumb shit “leaders,” dumb shit happens; the tragedy is that these same “leaders’ never pay for their warmongering idiocy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even if the majority of Americans are kept in the dark about the Obama/Biden/Nuland Axis Coup/regime change of the Russian friendly government, installing a Neo-Nazi anti-Russian government in 2014, when Biden re-appointed Nuland as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, I’m sure the purpose was to reassure Putin there was nothing to worry about US intentions.

      Like

  15. We New Zealanders are often left shaking our heads at the actions of our neighbour across the ditch.
    But this news is a shocker….but maybe predictable
    Because of Ukraine, and Putin’s desire to take over the World, Australia must increase its defense budget!
    And of course the majority of Aussie weaponry purchases will be of American Hardware.

    Like

  16. From Patrick Lawrence and his profoundly disturbing essay The Casualties of Empire, Consortium News (March 8, 2022):

    [Begin quoted excerpt]

    The other day PBS Newshour ran an interview with one Artem Semenikhin, in which the small-town mayor was lionized for standing up to Russian soldiers. In the background, as the ever-alert Alan MacLeod points out, was a portrait of Stepan Bandera, the savage Russophobe, anti–Semite, and leader of Ukrainian Nazis.
    . . .
    What did PBS do about this careless oversight? It blurred the Bandera portrait and broadcast the interview with its Ukrainian hero. American journalism at its zenith.

    It strikes me as the perfect metaphor for what has happened to our reasoning faculties — or, better put, what we have allowed to be done to them. Factual realities that lie beyond dispute, if inconvenient, are blurred out of the movie we think we’re watching.

    [End quoted excerpt]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read that yesterday, but it is evidence Putin saw what is happening in Ukraine as the US Sacrificial lamb in the US War with Russia, and why Putin knows negotiations must be between the US and Russia, Zelensky being the US puppet.
      Many of the Media talking heads say Putin wants to install a “Russian friendly government” totally oblivious to the Historical reality the 2014 US Coup removed the Russian friendly government, installing a proxy Neo-Nazi anti-Russian government

      Doing what I can do by the Lights God gave me, I sent this single email this morning to Prime Minister Trudeau, 7 Senators, 2 Apostolic Nuncios, the 2 top Washington Post Editors, and 3 Canadian Media.

      Whether you’re a Believer or an Atheist, if you believe the 24/7 News Today, this world has finally arrived at this point of the Living Bible and the Revelation of Jesus Christ,

      And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth […] Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. (the kingdom of heaven is WITHIN you) Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

      The steady escalation Day by Day is inevitably leading this World to the fulfillment of these Biblical Prophecies as written, ‘Behold, I come as a thief – For behold, the Lord shall come with fire, and like a tempest, His chariots, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire, will the Lord contend, and with His sword with all flesh, and those slain by the Lord shall be many.’

      That will take this form, never possible before our Generations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VG2aJyIFrA

      The attached files are the Historical records of that possibility if the Direction is not changed

      RayJC

      The Kansas City Times, September 13, 1976, ‘Prophet Chooses Park For Vigil’
      The Kansas City Times, November 2, 1976, (ALL SOULS DAY) ‘Prophet Plans Appeal Of Conviction’

      Like

      1. ‘The case for talking peace with Putin’
        Eventually there will need to be serious discussions to end the Ukraine war and create a lasting and sustainable peace
        There has been little positive to report regarding the war in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country, but Vladimir Putin’s latest offering of Russian peace terms is cause for muted optimism.

        The Russian invasion is not going according to plan, and at least Putin wants to talk. He’s demanding four things.

        The first two are that Ukraine cease military action — one assumes as part of a wider ceasefire — and change its constitution to enshrine neutrality, likely meaning it must pledge to stay out of NATO. Putin is also demanding that Ukraine and the West acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory and recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

        If there is to be a meaningful peace, then we need to put aside — to a very limited extent at least — just how abhorrent the invasion is and focus on negotiation. Putin should not be let off the hook, but the realities of the situation cannot be ignored.

        There’s no question that the ferocity of Ukrainian resistance — and Western solidarity in the face of Russian aggression — are both positive developments. But let’s examine why these factors aren’t as positive as they might seem…………………….
        https://asiatimes.com/2022/03/the-case-for-talking-peace-with-putin/

        Like

  17. ‘The Rise of Global Fascism and the End of the World as We Know It’

    Barely three years into the 2020s, and we seem to be living out the prophesies of the Book of Revelation with its dire warnings about plague, poverty, hatred and war.

    Just as the government hysteria over the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be dying down, new threats have arisen to occupy our attention and fuel our fears: food shortages, spiking inflation, rocketing gas prices, and a Ukraine-Russia conflict that threatens to bring about a world war.

    Is this the end of the world as we know it? Or is this the beginning of the end of the world?

    https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_rise_of_global_fascism_and_the_end_of_the_world_as_we_know_it

    Like

  18. Time to whack the hornet’s nest again! The buzzing is music to my ears.

    1. Putin’s claim that Ukraine’s consideration for NATO membership is
    the reason for his invasion.
    Putin is claiming indirectly that if Ukraine joins NATO that Russia will be in danger of invasion by NATO. Has he ever come out and said this? Does anyone truly believe that NATO will invade Russia? NATO can hardly get its act together to collect the dues from all its members. Getting all the NATO countries to invade Russia would be nearly impossible. None of those countries has a desire to invade Russia. They know it would be WWIII. Even if the war were limited to conventional weapons, the deaths would be two to three times that of WWII. Any concerted effort by NATO as it stands now would involve the U.S.A. That would make it a superpower war which would likely degenerate to a nuclear war. One of the axioms of war is that there is only one rule, Win! Another axiom is that a country will use any and every weapon it has to prevent defeat. Russia is the likely one to initiate the use of a nuclear weapon if war between it and NATO should occur. As I pointed out in previous posts, NATO outnumbers Russian in troops and weapons by more that two to one.

    2. The claim that Ukraine’s government is Nazi is coming from Putin and Russia. I don’t see any evidence that the Ukrainian government is being run by Nazis. President Zelensky is Jewish, and Nazis by definition are anti-Semitic. Maybe this government is a Jewish Nazi party. They would be rounding up Aryans to exterminate them. I don’t hear of that either.
    The claim seems to be that there are a small minority of Nazis in the government. They do not control the government. It may be that Ukraine is more of a democracy than the U.S.A. because they allow Nazis to be elected and sit in their congress. This is democracy. As the theme of this topic says: Dissent Is Needed More Than Ever. Even when the dissent is repulsive, horrifying and against everything one stands for, those who dissent must still be tolerated. I am not saying tolerate any action they may do such as the persecution of those not of their liking.

    3. The claim that NATO is encircling Russia. Look at a map of Russia. There are only three NATO countries that border Russia: Estonia, Latvia, and Norway. Norway’s border is only about 80 miles long. 99% of Russia’s borders are not shared by NATO countries. Where did this term encirclement come from? I suspect Putin and Russia again. A term like encirclement implies predators forming a circle around their prey. This makes Russia look like the prey, and they are merely trying to break out of a death trap by attacking Ukraine. As geography shows this is not the case.

    4. Putin fears NATO but not in the way he makes the world believe. He is afraid of NATO and hates it because it is thwarting his plan to ‘Make Russia Great Again’. This means regaining all the lost territory that the U.S.S.R. used to control. If there is one thing that Putin and his invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated is that if you are part of NATO you are not likely to be invaded. Only non-NATO countries have been invaded by Russian since 1991 when the U.S.S.R broke apart. This has not been lost on the Finns and the Swedes who are now making sounds about joining NATO.

    Time to get my bee suit on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have a spare suit? I, too, have been shaking my head at the rationale that Putin invaded Ukraine because, in the long run, he’s supposedly afraid of being attacked by NATO. To me at least, that supposed fear doesn’t make sense, if only because of the devastation on all sides that a conflict like that would involve. He knows better.

      My take is that the factors involved are money (i.e., markets), and ego.

      Like

    2. I have no special insight into Putin’s mind, but using my vast mind-reading skills, here are my best guesses:

      1. Plenty of expert commentators in the West predicted that NATO expansion into Ukraine would be a country too far for Russia to tolerate. This has proven to be true. Who knows if Putin feared a NATO invasion. What he objects to is a planned NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia.

      2. There is a strong neo-Nazi element in Ukraine. (They shouldn’t be called Nazis; to me, that term should be restricted to the Third Reich.) There are also plenty of Ukrainians who reject neo-Nazis and their agenda. I assume the president is one of them.

      3. I wouldn’t say Russia is encircled; I would say NATO expansion is encroaching on Russia. My best guess is that Russia believes it is slowly being constricted. We in the West may think otherwise.

      4. I don’t see Russia trying to conquer all of the former Soviet republics. I very much doubt that’s his agenda here.

      Finland certainly has memories of the Russo-Finnish War on 1939-40. Sweden stayed neutral in WWII and managed to appease the Nazis (the latter needed Swedish iron ore, I believe). My guess is that they won’t join NATO.

      Finally, to state what should be obvious, I am against Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very well put WJA, although I respectfully disagree with points 1, 3 and 4.

        I want to make it clear that I am not anti-Russian, only anti-imperialistic Russia. The Russians who are demonstrating against this war have my highest admiration. It is truly an act of courage to oppose Putin.

        I propose we have a Thank You Russia Day; mainly for the Russians’ sacrifice in battling the Nazis in WWII. As you well know, the Russians did most of the fighting in Europe from June 1, 1940 to June 6, 1944. Much of the fighting and destruction was in Russia. 15 million Russians killed.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Important interview. Abby is sharp. I used to watch her on “Empire Files.” I forgot that was an RT show.

      Moral consistency is so important, as she says. If we’re going to be outraged at Russia’s invasion, we should be outraged at the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. What about U.S. torture? Prisons like Gitmo? We need to be outraged at Russia — and the USA, as appropriate. Life matters — everywhere, as Abby says. Her passion and anger are moving.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I urge everyone to watch this beginning at the 48 minute mark. Here is real integrity and honesty. Very moving.

      Like

  19. President Putin is not sitting at a long table separated from everyone, but Western Propaganda will not broadcast his remarks having tea with the laid off Aeroflot hostesses.
    Russian must be a complicated language taking so many more words than the brief English subtitles pressing the cc.

    Like

  20. Truth is always the 1st casualty of War and especially in this War.
    Has anyone else noticed the Ukrainian Hospital Russia is alleged to have bombed, is pockmarked with bullet holes all over the front of the building?
    The War Propaganda only has the sound of explosions but doesn’t actually show a Russian fighter dropping any bombs.
    With all the bullet holes, it’s unlikely a Russian helicopter of jet fighter could have gotten that close to ground level to do that with all the stinger anti-aircraft missiles the US and NATO is supplying.

    Like

    1. Zelensky was an actor playing the President of Ukraine on TV before he became the actual President. The thought entered my mind a lot of the War Propaganda coming out of Ukraine seemed stage managed as my comment above suggests and I just found this that confirms what I thought.

      https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/this-guy-flew-to-ukraine-to-see-whats-up-and-heres-what-he-discovered/

      This link is within the one above,

      Thoughts anyone?

      Like

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