I was born in 1969, so the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation were major themes in the political and emotional landscapes of my childhood. When the neighborhood kids got together, “nuclear war” was one of the games we played. This was in Omaha, Nebraska, and we were told that our city would be one of the first hit by the Russians due to the location of the Strategic Air Command nearby. This was taken as reassuring by some since it was assumed that in the utter horror of a post-nuclear exchange world, the survivors would “envy the dead” (in the famous words of Herman Kahn).
Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the Cold War was regularly referenced not just on the news, but in movies, songs and television. It was omnipresent and inescapable, a threat that never went away. Authority figures, including the nuns at my school, used it as a hammer to keep people in line. I hated it. I don’t think anyone enjoyed it except the arms manufacturers and politicians.
It was a great relief, then, when (as it seemed to me at the time) Gorbachev stepped back from the whole terrible business, and with the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, ended the Cold War. It felt like the world had been given a new lease on life, like taking a deep, free breath after years of suffocating and terrifying constriction.
So I was alarmed when Hillary Clinton started revving up the anti-Russia rhetoric during the presidential campaign in 2016. Don’t we have enough challenges to face in the world today without adding that one back into the mix?
Soon enough I was also angered as Democratic partisans fell into line and began parroting her. I’m not talking about DNC politicians here, but the rank and file. The “good liberals” who listen to NPR, read the New York Times and are proud of themselves for recycling and supporting gay marriage. The ones who didn’t make a peep about the brutality of US foreign policy for eight years because it was Obama who was (literally) calling the shots.
What was wrong with these people? I wondered. I knew many of them were old enough to remember the relentless dread of the Cold War. Were they willing to revive it just because Hillary said so? As it turns out—yes, unfortunately, they were.
Over the course of the campaign, the Russia line changed. As Wikileaks revealed more and more information that embarrassed Hillary and the DNC, it became necessary to slander both the organization and its founder, Julian Assange, by tying them into the Russia narrative. I watched as the liberal class that had cheered for Wikileaks a few years earlier took up anti-Assange messaging with religious fervor. “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.” Time for Two Minutes Hate.
The Russia story took another turn after the election, when the blame for Hillary’s loss was pinned on alleged Russian meddling (and on Jill Stein, and Sanders supporters, and the FBI, etc., etc…) Shocked Hillary fans were happy to jump on any and every excuse and pass each one around like gospel, regardless of whether they were true or even coherent. At this time, the Washington Post published a slanderous hit piece attempting to link alternative media to Russia. “Fake News” was born, and it bore the marks of a psy-op.
From January through June of this year, I spent most of my time WiFi-less, either camping out in the desert or working on farms in the sticks and so I was repeatedly away from news for two to three weeks at a time. Whenever I logged back in to catch up between these gigs, I would be both surprised and disappointed to see that the Russia non-story was still a story, with only the angle of attack shifting as each approach wore itself out.
No evidence has yet to be offered. None. Zero. Zip. And regardless of that, we get the same shrill insistence from the liberal chattering class and their bots and their followers, who hang on and won’t let go. If only such persistence could be turned to other ends, like fighting racism, militarism or ecocide! I have been repeatedly disgusted to see so much propaganda spouted by people I’ve known for years who are “otherwise intelligent,” as they say (though my doubts about that characterization are growing).
One cannot take Russiagate seriously unless one sets aside all intellectual rigor. The theory only has credence within the arena of belief; it does not inhabit the world of facts. This is ironic considering the unremitting skepticism for “faith-based” ideas espoused within the very circles of educated liberals who refuse to let go of this shit.
No one seem cognizant of the size of the bite that’s been taken and how unchewable it is. That is to say, the people ferrying this crap are apparently oblivious that Russia-baiting could lead to very serious, planet-killing results. Do you really want to be poking a nuclear-armed bear with a sharp stick? ‘Cuz that’s what you’re doing!
From my non-partisan perspective, it is obvious that Russiagate both plays cover for and justifies the increasingly belligerent behavior of the US toward Russia. Contrast how many people know about NATO’s provocative military maneuvers on Russia’s borders (see this, this, this and this) with the number who have heard the baseless accusations of “election hacking.” Imagine if Russia were holding military exercises along the Rio Grande in Mexico or establishing bases in Quebec. How would the US be reacting? With a flurry of drones, MOABs and white phosphorous, you can be sure. All things considered, I would say that Russia is being admirably restrained, but we cannot count on that lasting forever. Everyone has a breaking point.
If an explanation is needed for why Hillary lost besides the fact that she was a profoundly unpalatable politician with unpopular positions, then there’s a simple one, and journalist Greg Palast wrote about it before the election took place. To wit, many thousands of voters were purposely and improperly removed from voter rolls in 27 states, including swing states that cost Hillary the electoral college. The purged voters were overwhelmingly people of color, the majority of whom would’ve voted Democratic. After the election, Palast showed how enough voters were excluded in the right states for Trump to win.
The method that was used for kicking off these voters is called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, or just “Crosscheck” for short. The corporate media has almost universally disregarded this story, though it is highly scandalous. So have the Democratic partisans. Thus the racism of the voter purge itself is compounded by the racism of ignoring it. Push the blame overseas so as not to deal with the real trouble at home. I need an entire thesaurus entry to describe how I feel about this.
There’s very few people on the Left who are willing to take on Russiagate as the pack of revolving lies that it is. You’ll be accused of supporting Trump or of being a shill for Putin if you do. We’ve all heard of “crowdsourcing”—well, this is “crowdstoning”. It’s ugly, but that’s partisanship for you. It’s never pretty.
The issues facing the world right now are of deadly gravity. Environmental degradation and the threat of runaway climate change, for example, represent existential threats to life on the planet. We’ve got to focus on the serious stuff if we are going to survive. That means dropping Russiagate immediately. Continuing to pursue it would be an exercise in extreme immaturity and unforgivable irresponsibility. Risking war with a nuclear power rather than facing political reality is insanely reckless. C’mon, partisan Dems—grow up and drop this crap!
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Caitlin Johnstone – “rogue journalist” in Australia. See her comprehensive Big Fat Compendium Of Russiagate Debunkery.
Margaret Kimberly – editor and contributor for the Black Agenda Report
Robert Parry – investigative reporter, and others at Consortium News
- The Russia Hacking Fiasco: No Evidence Required, by Mike Whitney
- How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again, by Paul Street
- Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals, by Anthony Dimaggio
- Putin Derangement Syndrome Arrives, by Matt Taibbi – Whatever the truth about Trump and Russia, the speculation surrounding it has become a dangerous case of mass hysteria
- Red Alert: Russian Focus Might Save Trump’s Hide, by Chris Floyd