NORTH ADAMS >> I realize that in arguing against Donald Trump, arguing a dictatorship is on the way is useless, since that's what his core supporters want.

How can anyone think otherwise following his announcement that he wants to enlist "observers" to man the polls on election day, or Pence's assertion that, yes, "facilities" are required to process non-Muslim immigrants to make sure they aren't "compromised."

Thugs? Camps? If you support Trump, I guess that's exactly what you want.

Little word from the progressive left about this. They don't get outraged about Trump these days, too busy combusting about Bernie Sanders' summer house. I've seen more than one conspiratorial screed accusing Sanders of being paid off by the Democratic National Committee in the form of a summer house.

Conspiracies are fun and exciting, but reality is mundane. The reality is that this was bought from the money the Sanders got from the sale of their Maine summer house, which had been in Jane Sanders' family since 1903 but they had, diabolically, never used much. They want something closer to home, so they sold it and directed that money to the Vermont house. Smoking gun!

Conspiratorial progressives aren't getting upset about the "secret ledger" revealing millions of dollars in undisclosed payments to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort from Ukrainian president and close Putin ally Viktor F. Yanukovych. There are even photos of the ledger in the New York Times.


What makes progressive eyes literally pop out of their head are the released emails showing Clinton's advisers working to connect a Clinton Foundation contributor with the State Department. The meeting never happened, but the suggestion did. Is it troubling? Yes. Is it the same kind of troubling as thugs and camps and payoffs from Putin associates? In an ordinary election year, I wouldn't think so.

But this is the kind of election year that someone like Jill Stein gets a lot of attention. Not investigative attention, more puff piece attention. Even the criticisms amount to puff criticisms, like the anti-vax allegations. This helps with the saintliness narrative that followers create.

That's why you won't hear much about Stein's Federal Election Commission submission, which puts the anti-wealth candidate as being worth $3.9 million, according to the Center For Public Integrity.

Does she have a summer house? I have no idea. The FEC papers also reveal the anti-Wall Street candidate owns stocks in Merck pharmaceutical, as well as Johnson & Johnson, Walt Disney, Home Depot. In the real world, this is known as hypocrisy.

There's also the problem of her Russian connection. Stein met with Putin at a conference earlier this year — there are photos of them at a banquet table together. Stein took the opportunity criticize human rights in America. Fair enough, but she sadly doesn't lob the policy toward Russia, which is no friend to our LBGTQ friends.

Stein has criticized the U.S. military actions in Syria, despite the destruction wrought by President Bashar Assad's forces and the Russians.

And her running mate, human rights activist Ajamu Baraka, also has defended Assad vigorously. There are laws against being gay in Syria, subject to prison — if you make it that far alive, that is. Baraka is also associated with Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett, appearing on his radio show and in anthologies he has edited. Baraka is also a well-known 9-11 truther, the gold standard of 21st Century conspiracy theories.

Stein is the only presidential candidate who gets as much positive airplay on RT as Trump. RT, a state-run Russian news network, recently ran a piece vigorously "debunking" the criticisms against Stein, which makes you wonder what stake the network has in the election.

I'm sure it would love for Stein to take votes away from Clinton, since Trump is so successful at pushing votes away from himself. He needs all the help he can get. Russian media is willing.

Contact John Seven at Follow him on Twitter @damnjohnseven. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.