*(Jill Stein speaking at the Green Party Presidential Candidate Town Hall hosted by the Green Party of Arizona at the Mesa Public Library in Mesa, Arizona. Image credit: Gage Skidmore/ flickr)

"There's millions of commies in the freedom fight

"Yelling for Lenin and civil rights

"How do I know? I read it in the *Daily News*"

—Tom Paxton

Humanity faces climate and nuclear threats to its existence, spearheaded by the U.S. government. Survival proposals, or what your television calls fringe leftist schemes backed by Vladimir Putin (who, for the most part, does not back them), face many hurdles just to be heard. Unless you're a 15-year-old girl from Sweden or the Pope or have found some other magic loophole, there are many things that you just cannot say in U.S. corporate media: the earth's dying; the U.S. government is an oligarchy; meat and dairy are deadly; nuclear apocalypse is highly likely; war is illegal; weapons dealing is evil; military spending has made the U.S. a third-world nation; single-payer healthcare more than pays for itself; a peaceful sustainable society would be easy to create and cost less and make us safer and not slaughter so many people; a position shared by two major political parties can nonetheless be catastrophically awful, unpopular, corrupt, illegal, and sadistic.

In recent decades there has been one way an ordinary decent person could say such things and have at least a little fraction of them distorted and mocked in the corporate media. Such a person could tap into the ridiculous, anti-democratic, immobilizing pretense that the only things people can do are gripe and moan or vote. Such a person could run for office. But the returns on such efforts have been diminishing. The corporate media has largely whited out unwanted candidates. Lesser-evil voting is more firmly established than ever. And, just to seal the deal, any candidate not operating under the banner of one of the two corporate parties is now reported to be a product of a demonized foreign government, as indeed are various candidates belonging to one of the mega-parties also reported to be.

According to NBC News, Jill Stein in 2016 was a "fringe" candidate backed by Russia. The evidence for this — or, rather, the excuse to claim this — is the typical alleged puny amount of bizarre social media posts that nobody even suggests could have possibly impacted anything, allegedly posted by people with some sort of connection to the Russian government. To make this particular twist on Russiagate especially laughable, it relies in part on a company that has openly admitted to manufacturing  phony "Russian" support for a U.S. Senate candidate in order to falsely claim exactly what it is claiming about Stein, and that has openly admitted to posting weird inconsequential stuff on social media in that race in exactly the style depicted in Russiagate lore, but apparently without any of the unacceptability, much less the comparisons to Pearl Harbor, by virtue of the fact that, I guess, no Russians were employed in the efforts.

I asked Jill Stein to comment, and she said:

"The NBC attack article is a pathetic example of the political intimidation and warmongering that go hand in hand with resurgent McCarthyism. This puts us all at risk, and gives more reason than ever to mobilize for peace and a Green New Deal to transform our economy, turn the tide on climate change and make wars for oil and empire obsolete. The attack by NBC, mirrored by the operatives at Center for American Progress, suggests the Democratic establishment is revving up its attack on progressive voices as the illusion of Democratic progressivism unravels - with the return of their opposition to Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, peace in the Middle East etc., now that election day has passed. This underscores again why we need independent, non-corporate politics capable of representing everyday people, not the economic elites pulling the strings on the establishment political parties. Putting the Democratic Party back in the driver seat will continue the bipartisan policies of austerity, inequality and war that are generating right-wing extremism all over the world. It's time for a politics for people, planet and peace over profit, and voting reforms - like Ranked Choice Voting - that will liberate the political will to make it happen."

True believers in all things Russiagate will have to conclude that any left-leaning initiative in the United States is a Russian plot. There's no upcoming major the-WMD-are-nowhere-to-be-found moment of something happening or failing to happen that will erase that nonsense from people's minds. But they may not have to go on believing that Trump and Putin got together and rigged the election that defeated the Democratic nominee who had rigged a primary against a stronger candidate with zero help from Russia, ISIS, or the tooth fairy. That's because there may come a moment when the corporate media admit that Russiagate uncovered all the sorts of crimes one would expect of powerful political figures in the United States but nothing to support the original fantasy of a Trump-Putin swindle.

When Russiagate ends without its central case, its fans ought to take serious consolation from the fact that numerous other allegations against Donald Trump are indisputably established, and articles of impeachment drafted and ready to go, even if none of the other charges that can be brought against Trump boosts the risk of nuclear apocalypse so well as the Russiagate scandal that is simultaneously serving to discourage survival thinking.