An amicus brief to a lawsuit filed against Roger Stone and the Trump campaign raises troubling questions over the right to political speech.
Of all the various twists and turns of the year-and-a-half-long national drama known as #Russiagate, the effort to marginalize and stigmatize dissent from the consensus Russia-Trump narrative, particularly by former intelligence and national-security officials and operatives, is among the more alarming.
An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, filed in July 2017 by a former DNC official and two Democratic donors, alleges that they suffered “significant distress and anxiety and will require lifelong vigilance and expense” because their personal information was exposed as a result of the e-mail hack of the DNC, which, the suit claims, was part of a conspiracy between Roger Stone and the Trump campaign.
According to a report in The New York Times published at the time of the suit’s filing, “Mr. Trump and his political advisers, including Mr. Stone, have repeatedly denied colluding with Russia, and the 44-page complaint, filed on Wednesday in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, does not contain any hard evidence that his campaign did.” (Emphasis added.)
In a new development, in early December, 14 former high-ranking US intelligence and national-security officials, including former deputy secretary of state William Burns; former CIA director John Brennan; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; and former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (a longtime proponent of democracy promotion, which presumably includes free speech), filed an amicus brief as part of the lawsuit.
The amicus brief purports to explain to the court how Russia deploys “active measures” that seek “to undermine confidence in democratic leaders and institutions; sow discord between the United States and its allies; discredit candidates for office perceived as hostile to the Kremlin; influence public opinion against U.S. military, economic and political programs; and create distrust or confusion over sources of information.”
The former officials portray the amicus brief as an offering of neutral (“Amici submit this brief on behalf of neither party”) expertise (“to offer the Court their broad perspective, informed by careers spent working inside the U.S. government”).
The brief claims that Putin’s Russia has not only “actively spread disinformation online in order to exploit racial, cultural and political divisions across the country” but also “conducted cyber espionage operations…to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process and, in the general election, influence the results against Secretary Hillary Clinton.”
Much of this has been said before. But where the briefers branch off into new territory is in their attempt to characterize journalism and political speech with which they disagree as acts of subversion on behalf of a foreign power.
According to the 14 former officials, Russia’s active-measure campaign relies “on intermediaries or ‘cut outs’ inside a country,” which are rather broadly defined as “political organizers and activists, academics, journalists, web operators, shell companies, nationalists and militant groups, and prominent pro-Russian businessmen.”
Such “intermediaries” can range from “the unwitting accomplice who is manipulated to act in what he believes is his best interest, to the ideological or economic ally who broadly shares Russian interests, to the knowing agent of influence who is recruited or coerced to directly advance Russian operations and objectives.”
In other words, a Russian “cut out” (or fifth columnist) can be defined as those “activists, academics, journalists, [or] web operators” who dissent from the shared ideology of the 14 signatories of the amicus brief.
In a recent essay for the London Review of Books, the historian Jackson Lears observed that “the religion of the Russian hack depends not on evidence but on ex cathedra pronouncements on the part of authoritative institutions and their overlords.” And this amicus brief is one such pronouncement.
In spite of the brief’s high-flown language (“The threat posed to our democracy by Russian active measures campaigns is serious, ongoing and will require vigilance on the part of the U.S. government and people”), it is little more than yet another effort to stigmatize political speech that questions the necessity of demonizing Russia—political speech, in other words, with which these former high-ranking intelligence and national-security officials surely disagree.
Professor Lears also observed that as regards Russiagate, “In its capacity to exclude dissent, it is like no other formation of mass opinion in my adult life, though it recalls a few dim childhood memories of anti-communist hysteria during the early 1950s.”
That is only too true; indeed, as of this writing, the Russia-Trump collusion narrative is fast devolving into an effort to stigmatize and marginalize expressions of dissent, with the overarching aim of short-circuiting and stifling debate over US-Russia policy.
No Nation Is An Idea
The concept that “America is a timeless placeholder of ideas” is a common talking point that has been in circulation from both Conservative Inc., and the broader American Left for many years now. This saying is typically used as a divergence from addressing important policies as they pertain to mass immigration. Often, it is also used to stifle the growth of an American National Populist movement. Clearly, the unelected elites calling shots around the Western world seek to undermine valid and critical debate of the role of National Populism. Rather than emphasizing the importance of health, stable families, community, housing, and wages, our leaders have an obsession with growing GDP, doing the bidding of predatory crony capitalists who are constantly pushing to import cheap labor, and retaining power for generations to come.
The fact of the matter is, Americans (and humans in general) seek more than cheap, 4k television sets, quirky tupper-ware for last night’s leftovers, and salad shooters that break after a few uses. We are innately spiritual beings who long for community, order, and social cohesion. The United States of America is not an idea… actually, no nation is an idea. As further disorder ensues among the population, the elites have made sure to use their corporate-funded foot soldiers as a means to promote a very new, Neo-Liberal agenda. This agenda is the concept that the beautiful mountains, forests, and lakes of our Nation would mean absolutely nothing without this arbitrary term of “ideas.” The blood, sweat, and tears American workers shed producing automobiles in Michigan, the early mornings for the farmers of Iowa, and the dedicated fishermen of California, all mean nothing if this is but a plot of land where the British came to talk about the importance of small government.
Although we can appreciate the writings of philosophers like John Stuart Mill, John Locke, and Adam Smith, the “marketplace of ideas” means absolutely nothing to people who see the world completely different than you. It is apparent that the philosophy of our ancestors and founding fathers have changed the world. In an American context, the very concepts of things like liberty, freedom of speech, and the right to bear arms should be held in the highest regard. Among Conservatives and the American Right, these values are not even up for debate. Unfortunately, much of Conservative Inc. (who are just liberals who want to keep more of their money) do not recognize (or are blatantly ignorant to) the sacrifices made by the ones who came before them.
To put this into perspective, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk previously stated, “I have loyalty to ideas.” Kirk says, “Of course I love the Grand Canyon. I love the Rocky Mountains. And I love Boston. And I love Chicago. But if all that disappeared, if all I had was ideas, and we were on an island, that’s America. That’s Israel. And that’s what people have to realize, America’s just a placeholder for timeless ideas. And if you fall too in love with, oh, the specific place, and all this…that’s not what it is.” What Kirk fails to recognize is that the physical reality of a Nation is what manifests those very ideas he holds so dear.
Nations are unique, with celebrations and folktales that those who inhabit the land feel relation to. Nations are made up of a people. Nations are traditions. Nations are land, resources, and landmarks. Nations are history – the good, the bad, and the ugly. No Nation is an idea.
The ‘Alt-Lite’ Has No Answers For Real Conservatives, Ask More Questions
As was with the answer to my Demographics question by Charlie Kirk on October 23rd (the third “Groyper” question of them all), insufficient, so is the entire ‘grifter right’ and gateway keepers answers on the right to legitimate concerns of Americans across the spectrum, left or right. Global, corporate, and government sponsored legal immigration, mass migration, demographic changes in Western Countries, the destruction of the Christian Religion, the Family, and the decrease in the value of labor.
— Pop Wire (@populist_wire) October 24, 2019
— Pop Wire (@populist_wire) October 24, 2019
Charlie Kirk embodies the 21st century establishment Libertarian side of the Republican party, being an ex-libertarian I can see how it’s appealing. However, as much as it is appealing it is even more destructive to our culture and politics than perhaps progressives. Giving up on key issues such as abortion, morals, religion, demographics, free trade, and open borders.
This is a fairly new hive-mind of new and old Republican talking points, however this ‘Corporate’ or ‘Conservative Inc.’ style control over the conversation on the right is leading us back into the same problems with middle of the ground “Conservative” leaders like John McCain and Mitt Romney, you can see the Alt-Lite gearing up to endorse Nikki Haley or Dan Crenshaw to be President in 2024. Attempting to usurp and hop on the Populist Wave Trump rode in on.
The same host of Never-Trumpers who now play ball as Trump supporters only to not be completely tarnished by Trump’s Populist base, are seething at the idea that the actual Conservative Right, who wishes to actually conserve Western Culture & Christian Values in America, instead of making this a “place holder” for Wood Stock and Wall-Street Culture, to continue to sacrifice the American Middle Class. This is also the same class of people who endlessly call for Wars in the Middle East at the behest of Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc, and criticize Trump on a regular basis of his “liberal” handling on the Middle East, aka withdrawing our Troops, and as Trump declares, “without a drop of blood.” Something that must really get the blood boiling of the Neo-Con Establishment.
— ZOA National (@ZOA_National) November 1, 2019
It is ever imperative we make sure this establishment force within the Republican Party is shut out and completely shunned into the corner of Politics, along with failed trade deals, endless overseas wars, bail outs of the elites, and a slew of other misguided policies. The only way to keep these sell outs on their toes is to always ask them questions that can ultimately either continually expose their hypocrisy, or open their eyes to the truth, otherwise they will attempt to continue to use the “leftist” tactics of smear campaigns, silencing you, get you fired, etc. It is not so different from the Antifa tactics that are used of the far left.
why does everyone who hates nick fuentes look like this pic.twitter.com/Vutu1dYZRx
— SNOWpai~ ⛄🎄 (@stembrandt) November 3, 2019
We’ve posted the graphic below of the continued “Groyper Wars” events and will be continuing the coverage of this:
Bill Maher Defends Kavanaugh
On his show Friday night, Bill Maher and his panel got into a heated debate over the “new” allegations about Brett Kavanaugh – yes, the ones even his accuser can’t remember. Maher even turned on his liberal comrades, adopting the position that rehashing events from when Kavanaugh was 17 years old hurt the Democrats in 2018… and could hurt them again.
Citing polling from 2018, Maher said that Democrats could have done better in the midterm elections had it not been for the Kavanaugh hearings: “People did not like going after a guy for what he did in high school. It looked bad and now Democrats are talking about impeaching him again?” Maher said.
Guest Andrew Sullivan seemed to agree. “He probably did some shitty things in high school drunk,” he said.
And when liberal guest Heather McGhee tried to jump in, asking “May the woman please speak about what this felt like?”, Sullivan shot her down immediately: “Please don’t play that card. You’re making my point.”
When Kavanaugh’s temperament was brought up, Sullivan responded: “You try maintaining a good temperament when you’re being accused of something, you had no idea it was coming at you, came at the last minute, and that happened years and years and years ago.”
As McGhee tried to make the point that being a Supreme Court justice isn’t just a “normal job”, Maher immediately fired back: “So you’re saying at 17 you have to have your fully formed character?”
He continued: “Live in reality, man! That’s who they put up. We don’t have the votes, and now we lost seats! Are we gonna do it again? Ruth Bader Ginsburg said glowing things about him… What were you like at 17?”