July 23, 2018

Russiagaters as Know Nothings: Foreign conspiracy theories that cause political violence, split the opposition, delay realignment, make civil war worse

The intensification of the Russia hysteria after the Helsinki summit, primarily among the propaganda nexus of the intel agencies and the news media, has convinced me 95% of the following parallels to the 1850s:

1. This end-of-an-era (or "disjunctive") phase of the Reagan period will last two terms instead of the usual one.

2. We are headed toward some degree of civil war.

3. The civil war will be made worse by the greater pressure built up during this prolonged disjunctive phase.

4. The prolonging of the disjunctive phase is due to a fragmenting opposition party.

Rather than rehash the arguments from that earlier post, let's examine more key parallels between the Democrat establishment of today and the Know Nothings of the 1850s. As a reminder, the Know Nothings were a splinter group from the opposition Whig party, and favored the dominant Democrat party on the main issue of the day, being pro-slavery rather than abolitionist. They viewed both the abolitionists and secessionists as extremes that needed to be avoided, lest they plunge the nation into civil war.

They campaigned on maintaining the status quo during a polarized period where two hostile sides were headed toward an impasse after an uneasy truce had been broken by the dominant party. The Democrats under Pierce passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, over-turning the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and leading to small-scale civil war during "Bleeding Kansas" that followed.

The other faction of the opposition Whigs were the Republicans, who leaned toward abolition of slavery. They did not want to pursue a phony neutrality, but to dethrone the dominant party and take their place, carrying out a whole new vision for the country -- not just winning another brief term nominally in control of government while still serving the big-picture agenda set by the dominant party.

Today, the dominant party is the GOP, whose neoliberal and militarist agenda began with Reagan in 1980. The opposition Democrats are splintered into two factions -- one promising to maintain the status quo, the other to re-shape society away from business as usual of the past 40 years. The Clintonites see both the GOP and their Bernie rivals within the opposition as extremes that must be avoided, lest they plunge the nation into civil war. And they're pretending neutrality is possible when the neoliberal and militarist agenda is advancing to levels thought impossible during the New Deal / Great Society era.

And yet, the status quo proponents still need an enemy to explain why things are so tense and why our stability is unraveling. Their whole message is "putting country above party," so the enemy can't be either party, or any of their factions, per se. Their view holds our own country to be indivisible as an agent, meaning some external power must be the malevolent source of our domestic tensions. For the Clintonites, it is Russia, the Kremlin, and Putin. For the Know Nothings, it was Catholicism, the Vatican, and the Pope.

A widespread misunderstanding of the Know Nothings is that they were nativist or anti-immigration. But they were just fine with Scotch-Irish immigrants, who were Protestant rather than Catholic like their fellow Celtic neighbors from Ireland. And they were fine with German Lutheran immigrants, who were Protestant rather than Catholic like their fellow Germanic neighbors from Germany. They were specifically worried about the Pope as an external puppet master -- Catholic immigrants were just his unwitting dupes or his willing foot soldiers, whereas true blame lay with the puppet master himself.

Likewise the Clintonites are not worried about all foreign leaders -- only those that sit like a dictator atop a rigidly hierarchical society, allowing them to play a puppet master role, akin to the Pope over the Catholic population (in their cartoon view). If such dictators align with American neoliberal and militarist interests -- like the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia -- well that's no problem for the Clintonites. But if that dictator went against our interests, like Putin, then he might be able to influence our domestic climate against the sacrosanct status quo. The tentacles of the Kremlin reach deep into the American population, in the Russiagaters' view, whether the Americans are unwitting dupes (Trump voters) or willing foot soldiers (Carter Page etc.).

The Know Nothings were even tolerant of Catholic immigrants, provided that we deprogrammed them from their Papal brainwashing by making them read Protestant versions of the Bible and so on. And the Clintonites do not want to strip the Trump voters or Bernie supporters of their voting rights -- they can keep them, provided they get deprogrammed of their Kremlin brainwashing by binge-watching the panels full of spooks and feds on Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper.

Despite their branding as upholding norms of civility, and avoiding extremes that might destabilize our nation into civil war, the Know Nothings were paranoid fanatics whose witch hunt hysteria provoked collective political violence within our own country. Their feverish followers started election day riots in Louisville, KY and Baltimore, MD, going after the witting or unwitting agents of the external puppet master (Catholic neighborhoods). Those states were strongholds for the Whigs throughout the Jacksonian era, and for their Know Nothing faction as the era came to a close.

That was in the mid-1850s, almost where we are in the cycle -- after the mid-terms of the first term of a disjunctive presidency. Who thinks it's impossible that a mob of grassroots Russiagaters will patrol polling stations and even start riots in GOP precincts -- to ensure Putin's dupes can't get away with influencing our elections? Antifa and related groups have already done that at Trump rallies during the 2016 campaign season. And like the Know Nothing riots, these were in states that were strongholds for the opposition party, and for its Russiagater faction in particular -- like California (home of Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Maxine Waters, etc.).

In 2020, you might have to watch your back at the polls in California not only if you're voting Republican in the general, but perhaps if you give off a Bernie vibe during the primary election day. The Russiagaters won't stand for Putin duping Democrat primary voters into selecting the less electable, extremist candidate -- and if the Russiagaters can't stop your brainwashing, they'll have to stop your voting.

The far greater violence that the Know Nothings caused was the more intense Civil War that resulted from a delay in realignment, which they caused by splitting the opposition. That built up the pressure for another disjunctive four years under Buchanan. His term saw the Dred Scott decision from the Supreme Court, which not only upheld slavery but said African slaves here were not citizens. A civil war was inevitable, but by delaying its onset, the Know Nothings allowed the problems to fester more, leading to a more hostile climate when war eventually did break out.

Likewise, the Russiagaters are going to split the opposition today, and prolong the inevitable. The Know Nothings were a flash-in-the-pan minority faction, just as the Russiagaters are today. But they're a big enough minority to delay the Bernie faction in realigning out of the Reagan era, just as the Republican faction realigned out of the Jacksonian era after getting delayed by the Know Nothings.

How exactly that delay takes shape remains to be seen -- the Russiagaters could use their minority status to run a spoiler third party, as the Know Nothings did in 1856, or they could alter the rules for the next Democrat nominating convention to screw over the Bernie faction. Either way, it's looking more and more likely that the Russiagaters will cause the dominant GOP to plod through a second disjunctive term after 2020, during which time things will get so bad that the Russiagaters won't have any support in 2024, and the Bernie faction will take over for good as the new dominant party (whether by taking over the Dems or replacing them with a new party).

In the meantime, the Democrat elite sectors that are not obsessed with Russia had better start kicking out those that are, or lay the groundwork for a replacement party to be led by the Bernie faction. That means removing the influence of the propaganda nexus -- the intel agencies and news media -- while keeping the finance sector, and some of the tech sector, perhaps also peeling off the agriculture sector from the GOP.


  1. thanks for another informative post. I remain perplexed that the Russian conspiracy narrative continues despite the FBI being exposed. Growing up in the 70s and 80s the leftists and media were very opposed the CIA and FBI and distrustful of our intelligence operatives. Now they are the staunches supporters of the intelligence community and now they are totally cool with FBI spies infiltrating a rival campaign, and support wiretaps of citizens, unmasking, and lying to federal judges, and the media do not want any of this investigated.

  2. It's centrists, not leftists, pumping Russiagate. They're joining with Bill Kristol and James Comey from the dominant party, not populists like Trump or Bannon.

    After Ocasio-Cortez's unseating of Crowley, the neolibs are ramping up Russiagate to tar and feather the Bernie wing of the opposition, not just Trump or his voters. That stems from their hardcore centrism -- Putin is behind the surge in extremism in America, which both Trump and Bernie reflect. Centrists want to keep the old balance, with Clinton and Bush.

    That has led most of the Left to even more loudly ridicule Russiagate -- no evidence, distraction from real economic / foreign policy issues, weaponized to attack the Left (Putin is sowing tension by supporting Trump and Bernie, the anti-status quo figures). A good round-up:


    The only Leftists who are not ridiculing Russiagate are The Young Turks. Some of them don't say anything one way or the other, some say we can't blindly reject the intel agencies / how can there be no "there" there with all the indictments? Etc.

    And of course they're a national media outlet, with donors / owners who come from the same news media cartel that pushes Russiagate in the corporate media.

    They would be akin to the handful of Know Nothings who came from New England -- unlike the national movement, the New England Know Nothings were more abolitionist, just as TYT are more Leftist than the Centrist Russiagaters.

    The Know Nothings rapidly collapsed in New England, turning to the other faction of former Whigs, the Republican party, and ran on abolition. Know Nothing-ism only held on in the border states (KY, TN, MO, MD, DE), where they were in favor of slavery.

    In a few years, Russiagate will be totally gone from the Left, after how bad the Russia hysteria squanders whatever gains the Dems make in the 2018 mid-terms, and bears responsibility for whatever happens in '19 and '20. It will only be present among the stubborn head-in-the-sand Centrists in Establishment strongholds like California.

  3. The shift of the intel agencies to the Dems has been going on for awhile now, at least back to the Valerie Plame affair during the mid-2000s. Bush and his circle were a threat to the sacrosanct geniuses of the surveillance state.

    At the time, it might have seemed like the pro-intel Dems would have emphasized how much the Bush WH lied about their intel on Iraq and WMDs. But those same people are saying no such thing about our intel on Syria and Assad, and are making shit up about Putin's nefarious grip over America.

    So, it's not principled -- subject WH claims to scrutiny, lest we get into a ruinous war -- but just blindly lining up behind the agenda of the intel agencies, whatever it happens to be (semi-anti-war in the Plame affair, rabidly pro-war in Russiagate).

    The Democrat coalition of sectors is informational rather than material -- finance, tech, media / entertainment. So it is a natural shift for the intel agencies to drift into the Democrat coalition. The material side of warmongering will remain staunchly Republican (arms manufacturers, troop commanders, etc.).

    And within the Dem coalition, their most natural partners are the news media, and the non-fictional info parts of the tech sector -- search engines, news feeds, social media.

    Not finance, though, whose interests have been damaged by the intel agencies' influence on foreign policy -- sanctions against Russia driving out US investment banks, and likewise the reinstated sanctions against Iran, where Western investment was about to begin. It has 2ndary effects, where US investment banks can't do business with any entity linked to a Russian oligarch -- even if it's outside Russia, but has investment from an oligarch (common for them, to park their wealth outside Russia, where Putin can't get it).

    Thankfully the finance sector has more power in the Dem coalition than the lowly, unprofitable news media, or the tech sector (which is propped up by the global central banks). It's a matter of time before the financiers and investors say "enough already" to the intel agencies and news media -- especially when the massive recession hits before election 2020.

    Liquidity-strapped banks will be looking for low-hanging fruit wherever possible, and if the propaganda nexus is thwarting that effort in Russia or Iran, they will get neutered within the Democrat coalition.

    What leverage do the intel agencies have over the finance sector anyway? Bankers don't run for public office, and already nobody trusts them or has a positive view of them. The intel agencies couldn't leak anything to the corporate media that would damage them anymore than the recession itself will do.

    Asymmetrically, the finance sector can de-fund the corporate media, give the go-ahead to the Wall Street puppets in the regulatory agencies to break up the media cartel (at least force them to spin off their news subsidiaries), etc.

    It may take until the GOP wins again in 2020 for Wall Street to finally pull the plug on the propaganda nexus in their coalition. Or seeing how pointless the Russiagaters' efforts in govt will be after the '18 mid-terms -- not focused on saving or protecting the collapsing finance sector, but empty airheaded shit about Putin.

  4. News media also has to rely on intel agencies for access to info on national current affairs, which is all the media covers anymore.

    The intel agencies have a monopoly on the resource of "inside info about domestic and foreign affairs". If they want to withhold access to it, the media have nothing to give their audience. So the media is more of a distribution arm for the intel agencies' propaganda.

    The raw information is partly organic, partly artificial. After extracting / manufacturing this resource, it's processed or refined somewhat by writers of reports, which get refined further by those who write press releases, go on talking heads panels, publish think tank reports, etc.

    But the story must be refined further for consumption by the public, and distributed to the retail public -- that's where the media comes in.

    Nobody would read NYT news articles written by a CIA operative -- not because they wouldn't trust an intel asset, but because those people don't know how to write for the intended audience. Ditto for why CIA operatives are not directly the news anchors -- no popular appeal or connectability.

    And the intel agencies have no info distribution network to get their message out there. That's privately owned by the media cartel.

    The intel agencies have more leverage over the media than vice versa, since the 24/7 news media want access to the info product more than the producers of info want to broadly distribute it to the public. It's a mutually beneficial partnership, but the media are the far more desperate and dependent partner.

    ...Unless they collected their own info, processed that raw material into stories by themselves, and covered a variety of topics not relating to national domestic / foreign affairs. Then they wouldn't rely on the intel agencies.

    But that is more costly than just distributing govt / corporate PR propaganda. In the era of profits uber alles and cost-cutting, that means regurgitation rather than investigation. And in the era of centralization, that means a national rather than regional or local focus.

  5. That also explains why finance is not dependent on intel agencies -- the only info the banks need is what the regulators or politicians are planning. And Wall Street can appoint the regulators, and have their elected puppets relay the inside info, without needing the CIA, NSA, etc.

    They might need sources inside the FBI, an agency that can investigate white-collar crime and recommend prosecution by the DoJ. But their army of puppets among regulators and politicians would have the scoop there already.

    Certainly finance does not depend on intel agency product for their basic business model of getting their money to make more money.

    Even for investing abroad, where the CIA might have relevant info, how do the banks know it isn't biased in favor of the US govt's Establishment foreign policy -- which might conflict with the investment bank's apolitical agenda of money-making? And how do the banks know the CIA won't try to stage a coup in a country that the banks have decided to invest in, where that investment would be collateral damage of political destabilization?

    Finance relies more on apolitical analysts for info about investing abroad (or domestically). The CIA and NSA could vanish entirely, and Wall Street bottom lines wouldn't even know it.

  6. "After Ocasio-Cortez's unseating of Crowley, the neolibs are ramping up Russiagate to tar and feather the Bernie wing of the opposition, not just Trump or his voters."

    Yes, they're so greedy and full of hubris they just can't help themselves. Phenomenal post getting at their emotional needs, I mean, it's pure folly to widen the net of who one's enemies are, but we've arrived at the point where Bernie people are now "suspect".

    I do recall that Newsweek in August 2017, when it looked like knowledge of Seth Rich's involvement with the DNC emails was going to hit critical mass (via Sy Hersh), rushed out an article saying their sources believed Rich was working for the Russians. Of course, the MSM beat it back even after it had done so much damage... but, yeah, they sure did try to paint that Bernie Bro as corrupted by Russia.

    What's troubling is how much this echo chamber is being fortified with assists from Never Trump (that tiny sliver of conservatives, but the only ones they interact with): they have lost their minds over Ocasio-Cortez. Trump was supposed to be an aberration, yet here she is...

    Finally, I'm so impressed with Rand Paul. He's having his moment, brave, standing almost entirely alone. So desperately needed.
    In just over a year, the man has been shot at, beaten up, threatened with an ax murder, and now he's got the entirety of the deranged Russiagaters on him...

    Pray for Rand, and pray for Julian.

  7. That Newsweek article which is just such a great example of how MSM works, especially since this nascent narrative was aborted:

    Burkman also says that about a month ago, a source at the DNC told him that in the early summer of 2016, Rich met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Kremlin-affiliated lawyer whom Donald Trump Jr. hosted at Trump Tower on June 9 of that year. Burkman believes that Rich angrily “presented her with a lot of emails” that were subsequently published by WikiLeaks on July 22, just days before Rich was murdered....

    "We have other leads," Burkman tells Newsweek, declining to elaborate. He is, however, "fairly certain there’s a Russia connection." He could say little more than that, not even if Rich—depicted by some as a disenchanted Sanders supporter upset by the DNC’s staunch pro-Clinton stance—was collaborating with Russian agents or attempting to thwart them. "I am not entirely sure if Seth was a good guy or a bad guy,” Burkman says, without explaining what nefarious intentions the young man might have had.



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