How It Starts

America first, make America great, American interest prior to any other underlie the corporate media’s coverage of news for the past half year. The impeachment and 2020 presidential election contest have run as neck and neck distractions. If one doesn’t grab you, the other will. Even the current GOP impeachment defense relies on this media groomed linkage. Meghan and Harry are proffered as momentary comic relief. The large picture is always US, with the consensus assumption that we are resilient, we always get through it. What else could there be? The recent 75thcommemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army offered one, amongst many, glimpses into a different, larger picture. “Speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, Putin claimed that 40 percent of the Jews who died in the Holocaust were citizens of the Soviet Union.” (Times of Israel, 1-24-20). Putin’s claim is utterly false. US corporate media, distorted by the pretend ethics/conventional wisdom of fair and equal coverage to both sides of any story, would not touch Putin’s claim. How is this possible? Where did it come from? Putin’s Big Lie: In a series of comments in late December, the Russian president appeared to blame Poland for the outbreak of the Second World War (Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic, 1-5-20). Applebaum begins with a synopsis of the initial mutual Invasions of Poland in 1939 underwritten by the prior Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. “Readers will, I hope, forgive this long excursion into the past, but it is necessary background to the series of strange and otherwise inexplicable statements made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at several meetings in late December. For in the course of a single week, Putin brought up the subject of Polish responsibility for the Second World War no less than five times. He told a group of Russian businessmen that he was consulting with historians and reading up on Polish diplomacy in the 1930s in order to make this case. At a meeting at the Russian defense ministry, he angrily proclaimed that the Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany in the 1930s—not really, one would think, a person of tremendous relevance—had been “scum” and “an anti-Semite pig.” After yet another meeting with the president, the speaker of the Duma, Russia’s parliament, publicly called for Poland to apologize for starting the war. If this were some kind of caprice, just a little excursion into obscure events in the distant past, nobody would care. But these kinds of lies have a history of ending in catastrophe. The Soviet ethnic cleansing of eastern Poland and the Baltic states began immediately after the invasion, after all, with the arrest of hundreds of thousands of Poles and Balts and their deportation to settlements and concentration camps in the east. (The Nazi ethnic cleansing of western Poland began immediately too, with the mass arrest of university professors in Krakow, a city that was meant to become ethnically German, and—ominously—the construction of the first ghettos for Polish Jews.)” The AP deigned to dip its toe in these muddy waters with EU Comes to Aid of Poland Over WWII Row With Russia (1-15-20). “Putin has also lashed out against a resolution adopted by the European Parliament that says the Soviet Union partly bears responsibility for World War II alongside Germany because of the 1939 pact. The Russian leader has called that “sheer nonsense.” [EU Commissioner Vera] Jourova said, however, that the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939 “paved the way for World War II. The Nazi-Soviet alliance enabled the attack on Poland by Nazi Germany on 1 September 1939 and subsequently Soviet troops on 17 September.” She added that “these events marked the beginning of the Second World War. These are the facts.” She did say that once the Soviet Union turned against Nazi Germany, it was a major force in securing victory.” And, once again with the more recent assertion “World War II began in 1939 with Nazi Germany’s military invasion of Poland, followed two weeks later by the Soviet invasion.” (Poland Calls on Putin to Tell Truth at WWII Event in Israel, AP,  1-21-20) Analysis leaves the why’s of all this to better scholars. What is relevant is that in Helsinki “After the Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire asked Trump during a joint press conference with Putin who he believed and whether he would publicly denounce Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and warn Putin never to do it again, Trump declined to do so and appeared to pin the blame on the US. “We have two thoughts,” Trump said. “You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the [DNC] server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that.” He added: “With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me … They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia “I will say this,” Trump said. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Trump’s comments flew in the face of the US intelligence community’s findings in January 2017 that the Russian government mounted an elaborate, multifaceted campaign aimed at elevating Trump to the presidency.” “”Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,'”[former CIA director John] Brennan tweeted. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” (Trump says he doesn’t ‘see any reason’ why Russia would have hacked the US election when asked whether he believes Putin or the US intel community Sonam Sheth, Business Insider, 7-16-18) Less than a year earlier there was this exchange: “Trump: “I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs — and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch. “But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left — you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

Reporter: (Inaudible) “… both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the –”

Trump: “Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say.”

Reporter: “The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest –”

Trump: “Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” (In Context: Donald Trump’s ‘very fine people on both sides’ remarks (transcript Angie Drobnic Holan, Politifact, 4-26-19)

“No Constitution can protect us if right doesn’t matter anymore. And you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed — because right matters. Because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.” (Adam Schiff, US Senate impeachment trial closing remarks, 1-23-20)

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