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Kiriakou writes: "MSNBC has a trio of darlings who comment nearly every day on Donald Trump, his administration, and the disaster that has befallen the American government with his election."

Former Defense Department chief of staff Jeremy Bash steps out of a secure area in the Capitol, where he was questioned by the House Benghazi Committee in a closed session in January, 2016. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Former Defense Department chief of staff Jeremy Bash steps out of a secure area in the Capitol, where he was questioned by the House Benghazi Committee in a closed session in January, 2016. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Meet MSNBC's Federal Law Enforcement Handlers

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

12 March 19


SNBC has a trio of darlings who comment nearly every day on Donald Trump, his administration, and the disaster that has befallen the American government with his election. Jeremy Bash, Chuck Rosenberg, and Matthew Miller are ever so well-informed, so experienced, and so insightful that they appear on virtually every show the network has, from “Morning Joe” at the start of the day to “The 11th Hour” at the end of it. But who are these guys? What are their biases? And why should we respect anything they have to say?

Jeremy Bash is the former chief of staff to Leon Panetta during the latter’s time as both CIA Director and Defense Secretary. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Judge Leonie Brinkema in the federal Eastern District of Virginia. (Brinkema is the judge who sent CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling and me to prison, who has reserved the Edward Snowden case for herself, and who is apparently overseeing the case against Julian Assange.)

Before signing on with Panetta, Bash had served as national security advisor on the 2000 Gore/Lieberman campaign, focusing mostly on the Middle East peace process, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, and counterproliferation. He then went to the Washington law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, one of the most prominent firms in the city, concentrating on congressional investigations and litigation. It was from that position that he moved on to the House Intelligence Committee, where he was minority chief counsel and the top intelligence advisor to Rep. Jane Harman, who later became the committee’s chairman.

Bash was in one of the seniormost positions in the CIA (remember, focusing on counterterrorism) when Panetta, his boss, decided to illegally give classified briefings – over a classified mock-up of the Osama bin Laden house – to the producer, director, and screenwriter of the film Zero Dark Thirty. That film falsely credited the CIA’s torture program with leading to bin Laden’s location. Weeks later, Panetta (again illegally) revealed the name of the Navy Seal who killed bin Laden during a classified speech where the same producer, director, and screenwriter were present. Panetta later apologized. As chief of staff, Bash would have reviewed the speech first and would have known that there were uncleared attendees. He did nothing to stop the disclosures.

Chuck Rosenberg also has had a long career in government. He was an Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, arguing cases before Leonie Brinkema, where he successfully prosecuted NFL quarterback Michael Vick and “the 20th hijacker,” Zacharias Mousawi. He then became counsel to the FBI Director, counsel to the Attorney General, and then chief of staff to the Deputy Attorney General. He also clerked for Judge T.S. Ellis, who gained notoriety last week when he sentenced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison on multiple charges of fraud and official corruption. He was named US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas (all under George W. Bush), and later chief of staff to FBI Director James Comey. At the end of the Obama administration, Rosenberg became director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, but resigned in protest in 2017 when President Donald Trump told a gathering of DEA agents that they should “rough up” drug suspects a little. He then went directly to MSNBC.

Matthew Miller is my least favorite of the three. Miller is a former functionary from the Democratic caucuses in both the House and the Senate. He headed communications for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign in Florida and later went to work for Chuck Schumer at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Interestingly, on his personal website, Miller even claims credit for eight Democrats being elected to the Senate in 2008. A year later, he joined the Obama administration as the Justice Department spokesman, working directly for Attorney General Eric Holder.

(It was in this capacity that Miller gleefully announced my arrest in January 2012, calling me a “bad actor” and saying that I was a threat to the national security. He later echoed Brinkema’s self-serving comment at my sentencing – in which I received a sentence of 30 months – that I deserved at least a decade in prison, adding “Sometimes the difference between blowing the whistle on wrongdoing and exposing a legitimate national security program is in the eye of the beholder. But some things are secret for a reason, and when government employees violate the law to disclose information that undermines our national security, there must be consequences. It may not be popular, but the administration is right to enforce these laws.” Miller has continued to speak out against me – and other national security whistleblowers, especially Sterling and NSA’s Thomas Drake – on MSNBC and in events at the National Press Club.”)

So these are the Washington experts, the swells, who are “educating” us at MSNBC. They’re all deep state actors with a vested interest in maintaining the same federal status quo that is the root of the problem. The problem with our government isn’t just Donald Trump. The root of the problem is that we have thousands of federal employees who answer to no one. They are involved in a revolving door of senior-level federal jobs. They move back and forth between the halls of power, the major law firms, the K Street lobbying firms, and the media. And worse, they’re almost certainly going to return to government when Trump is no longer in the White House, where they’ll have even more senior positions. It’s a never-ending cycle.

There’s still another question: What is MSNBC going to say when their talking heads are back in power? Will they criticize them? Will they call them out when they violate our civil rights and civil liberties, which of course they will do? Or will they give them a pass and welcome them back into the fold when they finish another round as our federal overseers. I expect the worst.

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John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-12 15:36
This is really disgusting. I've never seen MSNBC and now I will make sure I never do. The people John describes are the functionaries of fascism. They do the daily work that fascist rulers need done in order to rule. Sometimes such people are called "little Eichmanns" because at his trial Adolf Eichmann tried to minimize his role in the murder of Jews by saying that he was just doing his job as any bureaucrat would.

America is filled with these "little Eichmanns." They weave their way in and out of government offices, the media, the courts, think tanks, and universities. I wish I could believe they would all end up like Eichmann, but it is probably the case that they will become American Heroes.
+8 # HarryP 2019-03-12 22:22
If you don’t know anything about Eichmann, you shouldn’t bring up his name.

And since you don’t know anything about MSNBC (by your own admission) you really shouldn’t characterize it as “fascist.”

As suzyskier points out in her post (below), if you want a crypto-fascist analysis of what’s happening, turn to Judge Pirro and Tucker Carlson (he, of The Daily Caller) on Fox News. But, I suspect, you already do.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-13 17:29
HP -- well, perhaps I don't know much about Eichmann. Was he your uncle or something. Are you going to defend him? I've read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann is Jerusalem, and he's often mentioned in histories of the period. That's as much as I know. What do you know?

Here's is an article by Paul Street on MSNBC that makes much the same point I was trying to make -- that is, MSNBC is a right wing liberal news organization that is far more opposed to socialism and Sanders than they are to Trump.

“Please Step Away from the Socialism”: The Red Scare Dems at MSNBC
by Paul Street

It is on Counterpunch.or g.
+1 # HarryP 2019-03-13 22:54

Since you compared the commentators on MSNBC to Eichmann, I got the impression you thought he was a pundit on Radio Berlin. Turns out he was the architect of the Holocaust. Didn’t know Bash, Rosenberg & Miller were genocidal maniacs. Is that what you wanted to say?

Haven’t read Street’s article. But what the hell (your words) is a “right wing liberal news organization?” Does Street say the folks on MSNBC are little Eichmann’s murdering people?

MSNBC may not be as far left as Street (or I) would like, but they do a fine job giving you and Trump the heebie-jeebies.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-16 06:55
HP -- you are making two mistakes:

1. you are inflating Eichmann's resume. He was not an architect of the holocaust. He was the superintendent of Germany's railroad system. It was his job to be sure trains were scheduled so that all of the 41 groups of people declared undesirable by Hitler could be transported out of Germany and into camps in Eastern Europe. He had no animosity toward Jews or anyone. He just did his job.

2. I did not compare MSNBC commentators to Eichmann -- except to invoke the often used term "Little Eichmanns" to make the point that these are people who are just doing the jobs of empire and fascism. These are people who are given the assignment to cover America's latest enemy and they accept that as part of their jobs.

Just doing your job was a major point for Arendt. Police may not be personally racist, but they carry out orders of the department. Soldiers may not personally be war criminals but they follow orders. Drone pilots work in a base in Nevada and direct bombs on to people they have no knowledge of. They are just manipulating the technology with great skill and competence.

People must question the orders they are given by the nation's leaders. When I was drafted during the Vietnam era, I said "no, I won't fight your illegal war." In order not to be a Little Eichmann, we all must make our decisions personal. Don't follow wrong orders.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-14 07:41
HP -- do you know Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem? The subtitle of that book is " A Report on the Banality of Evil." This is a big theme with Arendt and Eichmann is her most important case in point. For her, evil is people just doing their jobs and following orders of their bosses. This is exactly how journalists at major media organizations now function -- according to the best critics of meda that we have such as Chomsky, Herman, Solomon, McChesney.

I think there is a different kind of evil. It is positive, visionary, and self-actuated. Dick Cheney is this sort of evil. But the vast majority of evil people are just functionaries of fascism, doing their jobs with energy and competence. They are good soldiers in an evil campaign. That's what these people Kiriakou describes really are.

Librarian below points out how MSNBC has fired everyone with a shred of independent thought. Independent thinker and fired journalist Krystina Borjesson has written a very important book -- "Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press."

She interviews dozens of very good journalists who were fired because they were not Little Eichmanns and also others who did take orders and still have their jobs. They all conclude that journalists need to functionaries of power if they are to say working. This is how fascism works. It is not just Big Brother on the posters. It is all the Little Eichmanns doing their jobs.
0 # HarryP 2019-03-14 10:55

Arendt ‘s topic is Eichmann, the main cog in the machinery that exterminated ca. 12 million people, someone who did his job (she writes) mindlessly, with a touch of banality. To compare MSNBC journalist to Eichmann is preposterous. Strangely, Kiriakou’s complaint is directled against commentators challenging the White House. You and Kiriakou may not like what they’re saying, but they do not do it mindlessly (a la Arendt’s fictitious Eichmann.) Nor do they engage in genocide.

You may know (or not) that Arendt’s thesis is not universally accepted. She described Eichmann as “neither perverted nor sadistic,” but as “perfectly normal.” She seemed to accept his defense that he was only doing his job. In fact, Arendt went a step further: Eichmann, while doing his job, never realized what he was doing. After all, he was just a careerist without ideological conviction who wanted to climb the Nazi bureaucratic ladder.

Arendt’s critics point out he knew exactly what he was doing. He destroyed the evidence and then fled to Argentina. He believed in Nazi ideology and racial purity. He was, he once said, “fighting for the freedom of my blood.” Blut und Boden, meine Herrschaften!

By your definition, everyone’s a “little Eichmann” - Rachel Maddow & Chris Hayes, the worker at the steel mill or at Dow, the farmer who feeds the armies, the USO & your local priest, etc....

My advice: Cut the banalities.
+5 # dbrize 2019-03-14 21:09
Banality is in the eye of the beholder. For starters Rodion did not compare the MSNBC crowd to Eichman. He compared their reporting biases and purposes to the defense Eichman used at his trial. He reiterated and expanded this point in his response to you.

Your attempt to utilize false equivalency and selective outrage to change the subject from MSNBC and their hired guns is a textbook definition of banal.

Physician, heal thyself.
+1 # Salus Populi 2019-03-15 21:56
Perhaps Eichmann is not the right symbol, given the pettishly prosecutorial mindset and viciously vindictive, splenetic attitude of the nasty and self-satisfied bureaucrats carrying out the _autos-da-fé_, but rather Vyshinsky, Stalin's chief inquisitor and junkyard dog during the Moscow trials.
+5 # WorkingClass 2019-03-13 08:37
Rodion: Even for you the position you take is ludicrous. You admit you have never watched MSNBC, but after reading this one article you are making judgements about the three individuals discussed by the author. What the author says may be an unbiased factual representation of the three, however it is just as likely it is a sour-apple revenge piece by someone who broke a law and got caught. (I am not making any judgement here on whether the law itself is just). I have watched all three of these people on MSNBC, and find much of their comment thoughtful and to the point. Having said that, after reading this article I may look at their comment more closely. What I won't do is stereotype everyone into one camp or another based on some preconceived view of how the world works. You might want to try that approach.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-13 17:37
Working -- maybe so. I've never had cable TV in my life, so all of these cable news programs are not part of my experience. Of course, they are very often commented on in articles I read. but that is all second hand references just like the article above.

I think we have to realize that there are left-wing reactionaries or fake liberals like Rachel Maddow who are really gold digging war mongers. And there are people who are called liberals like Chris Matthews who would not know what liberalism is if it bit him in the ass. He's another reactionary posing as a liberal.

I just don't watch much TV and certainly I don't go to TV for any news. TV is all just mindless entertainment. We need that some times, but I would never consider anything on TV as serious at all. I really see TV as a form of mass thought control. It has always been that way. There's MSNBC to control people who think they are liberals and FOX to do the same to people who think they are conservative.
+3 # Salus Populi 2019-03-15 22:21
Hi, Rodion Keep up the excellent commentary! I would recommend to you the book "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television," by Jerry Mander [published in the mid- to late-seventies, and probably out of print by now, but likely available through ABE Books]; its argument is that the problems with television are inherent in the medium and technology. With the Internet, some of its views may no longer be fully valid, but its basic premise, I would argue, has stood the test of time and, if anything, become more relevant with the advent of the political news media.

I also think that "sour-apple revenge piece by someone who broke a law and got caught" in WC's posting is a rather jaundiced and even insouciant way to refer to John Kiriakou's piece, and tells us much more about the poster than the author. After all, Kiriakou's "crime" was to expose the CIA's illegal and morally abominable torture program to the light of day, after vainly going through unresponsive channels within the organization. He is a hero for international law and accountability, like Chelsea Manning, and deserves the respect of anyone who claims to care about the law and decency. Unlike the Little Eichmanns, he was willing to go to jail for upholding both U.S. law and international justice.

Amidst all the bandwagon Brennanites featured in RSN, he stands out as one of the major reasons for continuing to support the the site.
+23 # suzyskier 2019-03-12 18:59
I will continue to watch MSNBC and there are absolutely no Fascists on that Network that is ridiculous. You might go to Fox if you want your daily serving of Fascism or just listen to our glorious leader, he’s fascist enough for anyone! A great admirer of A Hitler too!
+11 # ktony 2019-03-13 05:48
Quoting suzyskier:
I will continue to watch MSNBC and there are absolutely no Fascists on that Network that is ridiculous. You might go to Fox if you want your daily serving of Fascism or just listen to our glorious leader, he’s fascist enough for anyone! A great admirer of A Hitler too!

Turn off the TV and do a little reading. If you are so taken in by the corporate posers on MSNBC, you need to take a step back and consider their motives, which start with Control and end with Profits.
+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-13 07:03
suzy -- do you need to watch either one. Why get any news from MSNBC or FOX. Both are totally bad.

There are 1000s of news sources out there. Why not try something else?
+5 # harleysch 2019-03-13 09:58
A blindness regarding neo/cons who are "anti/Trump" is not only intellectually lazy, but dangerous. You seem to believe it is ok to violate our constitutional protections if the violator is a Democrat! Did you support regime change in Libya because it was done by Obama and Hillary?
+12 # HenryS1 2019-03-12 20:33
Not watching MSNBC does not mean you are drinking the Fox News Kool-Aid. There IS a middle ground, but you have to work a bit to avoid media that are captive to either the Republican or Democratic Party lines.

On the other hand, while I have NO knowledge of the facts here, clearly John Kiriakou has his own point of view and agenda. That being said, I consider him credible, personally, nonetheless. I give him points for including mentiions of circumstances that may bias hm in what he writes in this article. And he clearly knows the players here, and can "out" them.

Poor Bernie, he gets mauled from BOTH sides.
0 # HarryP 2019-03-12 22:14
This is a strange article. JK’s resentment of the Feds is on full display. And I can’t quite blame him, After all, they didn’t treat him particularly well.

But how does govt service undermine the MSNBC analysis on the part of, say, Bash? Besides, much of the Bash analysis deals with Leon Panetta.

Rosenberg’s crime seems to be that he, too, “had a long career in government.” He resigned from the Trump administration (because of his advocacy of police brutality) and “then went directly to MSNBC.” How awful!

JK’s criticism of Miller is personal. I understand that. Bit I wish that in addition to offering his readers a sample or two of what the MSNBC trio gets wrong on Russiagate, it would have been useful for JK to tell us his views: The Feds made it all up and Trump is innocent as the driven snow. Perhaps it is just as well that JK is no longer a CIA analyst.
+17 # librarian1984 2019-03-13 05:43
Kiriakou is exactly right. Watch MSDNC if you want to, but be aware of who they really are.

How many conservatives have shows? Many. How many neoliberals? Many many. How many true progressives? One?

And it's not just Bash, Rosenberg and Miller. There are dozens of people just like them on this and other networks, ex-military and -'intelligence' characters, the layer of enablers who make corruption possible.

But when's the last time you saw Chomsky or Nader, or Medea Benjamin? Why did they fire headliners like Phil Donahue, who had their number one show when he was flushed for speaking against the Iraq War? Was he right? Did he get his show back?

Jesse Ventura. Cenk Uyger. Ed Schultz, fired for covering Bernie.

We're bombarded 24/7 with manipulative drek, and this stunning machine is already out in full force, aimed directly at Sanders and his supporters, on tv, in newspapers and online.

we hear all kinds of misinformation, from people you think you can trust, spoken authoritatively and tied to your intelligence, your patriotism, your anger, your fears.

Watch MSDNC if you want to, but do so with the same skepticism you afford Fox, because they're not all that different. They each represent the powerful and the elite, and if you think Left Elite is somehow better than Right Fascists, then you may as well go ahead and pick out your slave name.

It's not easy to resist, but it's possible .... and it is absolutely essential.
+9 # HarryP 2019-03-13 11:06
A useful post - until your penultimate paragraph.
No difference between the “Elite Left” media and the “Right Fascists?”
What do you have in mind? Equating WaPo and the NYT with Breibart News & Newsmax?
Granted MSNBC has a political slant, but they don’t make shit up: the Bowling Green massacre, Pizzagate, Russian orphan adoptions, Seth Rich, NO COLLUSION, etc. Who do you think is more apt to investigate, say, of how Kushner got into Harvard, MSNBC or Sean Hannity? Or why the latest Boeing 737s are still flying in the US (even as US pilots experienced problems with them.)
MSNBC also doesn’t have Janine Pirro. I hope Fox News has a live feed when her head explodes, an image preserved on YouTube for all eternity.
You may not like MSNBC. I get it. But please no equivalence with Trump News.
+6 # librarian1984 2019-03-13 19:50
So what's your slave name going to be?

MSDNC may not have Janine Piro but they give *15 hours a week* to Joe Scarborough, with regulars like John Brennan, Michael Hayden and neocons galore, who can't not salivate at thoughts of attacking Iran or Venezuela.

They have a corporate slant.

Tell me the last story you saw that was anti-war or explored single payer. Do they cover whistleblowers or criticize Obama's trillion $ nuke makeover?

Maddow used to be a progressive; now she maniacally debases herself with persistent, dogmatic, Geraldo Rivera-esque coverage of Russian microaggressions.

Your defending them shows you don't yet appreciate the depths of their craven servitude to an establishment that pushes centrism and incrementalism as if that bullshit hadn't been disproved countless times. Pay attention to stories they DON'T cover.

Anne Frank is right. The only useful thing that comes from watching MSDNC is learning what the establishment wants us to think.

As for print, the NYT lies us into every war possible, while WaPo is owned by Bezos, has a huge contract with the CIA, offers face recognition software to police departments, published the at-the-time anonymous PropOrNot condemnation of alternative media outlets and relentlessly misinformed its readers about Sanders and his supporters .. so yeah, I think they're not part of the solution.

And who's more likely to cover real news, and do so accurately -- Glenn Greenwald.
-1 # HarryP 2019-03-13 23:19

I don’t care much for Scarborough, Brennan or Hayden. Maddow likes the military and if memory serves me, Olbermann and then she bent over backward thanking servicemen for a job poorly done in Iraq and Afghanistan. (This is not to say the poor job is the grunt’s fault.)

We can agree on a lot, except on what you quaintly call “Russian microaggression s.” Here’s where we part company. Maddow does a fine job I explaining how the Russians violated federal law and did what they could to give us Trump. I would like to see Interpol track down every Russian named in Mueller’s indictments. And I hope US authorities roll up every US itizen who conspired with them. Lock ‘em all up.

I’m glad we understand each other.

As for my slave name: either Spartacus or Denmark Vesey.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-14 07:48
We have a real problem in the US. Big media organizations are really good at marketing and branding. These are mostly about creating in people "brand loyalty." The product becomes a part of some person's identity. So there are FOX people. Maddow people, NYT people, and so on. They have all taken into their identity the brand of the media they admire.

So they also assimilate the lies that come from these media. The lies become them.

Actually FOX, MSNBC, NYT, Wapo, and all the rest are all part of the American Oligarchs assault on the people of America. They have different media organizations to control different people. So FOX controls one certain type and MSNBC controls another type. They all work for the same oligarchic class.

The totality of the media constitutes an illusion of free press and difference of opinion. But if you look more closely, they are all following the same play book.

The astonishing thing is how much people love their manipulators and masters. But this is where Orwell ended up --in the end we all love Big Brother. That's just ultimate job of all US media, even as it varies its style in order to appeal to different kinds of people.
+7 # Anne Frank 2019-03-13 09:48
I agree with Suzyskier that it is a mistake to refuse to watch MSNBC, if only to know what is the official fascist line. Obviously to frame any concept of our political reality one must delve far beyond the deep state's corporate media and keep an open mind. Thanks to RSN for publishing John Kiriakou's revelations, which MSNBC and the other corporate media try to censor.
-7 # BKnowswhitt 2019-03-13 15:32
Left Wing NBC has gone so far left they are around the sphere to now Liberal Elite Left .. they make dangerous claims against russia .. and are passive agressive war mongers .. given their past support of us military moves .. they a direct function of a liberal elite class and core Dem Party Aristocrats .. both in their views .. support of the deep state .. global warming etc .. they are the main driver of the Dem Platform as it is today ..
0 # DongiC 2019-03-15 08:20
A very enlightening and well thought out discussion here between several RSN regulars re the media and where they stand politically and then, BKnowswhitt entered the fray with his pro fascist orientation and did his best to screw everything up. Please, BK, stick with that Trump nonsense and avoid all critical thought on this web site.
+1 # Salus Populi 2019-03-15 22:55
There are objective tests that can be easily constructed regarding the equivalence of neo-lib, MSDNC/Clintonit e/Brennan-Clapp er-Hayden/CoNN/ Wapo-nyt-NPR propaganda, and that of the Drumpf/Fox/thRu sh/Hannity/GOP/ LindsayGraham matrix. The two that come most readily to mind are Venezuela and Julius Assange. When it comes to these two subjects, the one's being the plan to seize control of the largest reserve oil pool in the world and the other's being to effectively outlaw dissident media and repeal the First Amendment when it comes to speech and advocacy, both by using media narratives that are almost entirely constructed of deliberate lies -- well, it seems that they somehow both find common ground in supporting these detestable and flagrantly unconstitutiona l and criminal projects, and indeed go out of their way to cheer-lead them.

A further confluence of interests, predating the ascendancy of Trump-style Ill-douche fascism, is the agreement that the Nazi leaders of Ukraine, who burned alive protesters a little less than five years ago, are fundamentally decent democrats who are being oppressed by Russia.

Finally, the supposed liberals, with their purported openness to diversity of opinion, have joined the Faux Noose habit of demonizing the holders of opinions they don't like: While the Reicht attacks "socialists" and "terrorist-supp orters," the Stalinist "pwogwessives" prefer to slime their enemies as "anti-Semites" and "Putin apologists." Food for thought?

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