HomeArticleOnly Idiots And Liars Say You Can Advance Both Progressivism And Russiagate

Only Idiots And Liars Say You Can Advance Both Progressivism And Russiagate

Cenk Uygur’s gigantic head has been attacking people on the left who express skepticism of the establishment Russia narrative again, this time using blatantly false claims and appallingly sleazy McCarthyite insinuations. Such attacks are nothing new for Uygur; his attack on The Real News‘ Aaron Maté‏ at the same time as his appearance on Uygur’s The Young Turks reeks of the same product perception management he aired about his own staff member Michael Tracey last year for the exact same reason.

The Young Turks, Uygur’s popular progressive media outlet, has been consistently running programming to keep its audience in line with the CNN/CIA Russia narrative, up to and including criticizing Donald Trump for being insufficiently hawkish and aggressive toward Moscow. Since TYT’s audience spans across the spectrum from actual leftists to casual MSNBC viewers, this behavior often gets pushback from the anti-imperialist left, eventually culminating in public tantrums in which Cenk and his underlings proclaim that it is possible to advance progressive agendas while still fanning the flames of Russia hysteria.

When they do this, they are lying. It is not possible to play along with the “Russia! Russia!” frenzy while still advancing progressive agendas. Know how I know? Because they don’t. We’re more than halfway done with 2018, and all anyone’s still talking about is Russia. It dominates the national conversation and sucks all oxygen out of the room for discussions of Medicare for All, tuition-free college, a living wage, social safety nets, or literally any issues of economic injustice, as well as police brutality, military expansionism, the corruption and election meddling that went on and continues to go on in Democratic primaries, mass surveillance and other important progressive issues.

People say “We can do both! We can walk and chew gum at the same time!” No you can’t. You can’t and you don’t. That’s why the new cold war has been steadily escalating, the US military budget has been increased by an amount greater than Russia’s entire military budget, and in the last two years progressives have accomplished, what? One successful progressive primary challenge? With a woman who is already retreating back to the establishment line on Israel and who, like Bernie Sanders, is already being labeled a Kremlin asset by establishment Democrats? In the same party that has spent the last two years proclaiming all criticisms of Hillary Clinton on new media were the result of a Kremlin conspiracy? Including criticisms stemming from authentic emails consisting of nothing other than officials within that party talking to one another?

It has not happened, it is not happening, and it will not happen. The entire reason the “Russia! Russia!” narrative has been so enthusiastically embraced by beltway Democrats is because it allows them to attack Republicans with a weapon that entails changing absolutely nothing about themselves or how they operate. They don’t want to attack Trump’s continuation and expansion of all of his predecessors’ neoconservative warmongering, neoliberal economic exploitation or Orwellian surveillance and police state policies because they fully intend to keep doing all of those things in order to keep their plutocratic donors happy. But if they can keep everyone laser-focused on advancing an agenda that requires no leftward change whatsoever, threatens none of their donors in any way, and may in fact be a complete propaganda construct from the ground up, they can maintain party viability without making a single uncomfortable adjustment to their lucrative political careers.

If you help the Democrats advance the “Russia! Russia!” hysteria, you are helping them do this. You are helping them maintain a political strategy which kills the need to make any concessions to the progressive base, you are helping them manufacture support for military expansionism and dangerous cold war escalations, and you are helping them divert attention away from all progressive agendas. If this narrative continues at its current frenetic level, they will be able to bully and cajole progressives to Vote Blue No Matter Who again and again and “Russia! Russia!” everyone to the right on every issue every single time. This will necessarily happen.

I barely write about the Democratic Party anymore because Russiagate madness has made it completely worthless and boring to talk about. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t make it any more interesting because a breath mint in a barrel of pig turds is still a barrel of pig turds. The only thing that would possibly make it interesting and worthwhile is if progressives, including Bernie Sanders, stop advancing longstanding neoconservative agendas against Russia and actually turn their energy toward manifesting the values they claim to stand for.

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  • It seems that in the hysterical aftermath and fallout over Donald Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that certain FACTS and THE REALITY of America’s relationship with Russia have been ignored or forgotten. Please allow me to also remind the bellicose hotheads who seem ready to go war with Russia of just what that means.

    All, or almost all, of the “problems” in America’s relationship with Russia were caused by AMERICA! The unspoken underlying problem is that America refuses to recognize Russia’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. America wants to break Russia up into several smaller states that America can dominate and exploit.

    Americans are the ones who broke Daddy Bush and James Baker’s promise to Mikhail Gorbachev that if Russia didn’t oppose the reunification of Germany and closed its military bases in Eastern Europe and withdrew its troops, we would close our military bases in Western Europe and withdraw our troops as well. We also promised that we would not expand NATO one inch eastward from Germany. We reneged on BOTH promises! Our military bases in Europe are still open, we did not withdraw our troops, and, most provocatively of all, we expanded NATO eastward to include Eastern Europe and the Baltic States!

    Today, American and NATO troops sit on Russia’s western border and we have stationed ABM missiles in Poland and Romania with the intention of gaining a “first strike” nuclear superiority over Russia’s land based ICBM missiles — another major provocation against a country that we are at peace with.

    Russia is pursuing its interests in what it calls “the near abroad,” the former, now independent, republics of the old Soviet Union, just like WE DO in the Western Hemisphere!

    We should stay out of the intramural squabbles between Russia and its neighbors, like we would expect them to stay out our interests in the Western Hemisphere.

    Russia may never be a close friend of America’s, it will probably always be an adversary on some level, but Russia does not have to be THE ENEMY like it was during the Cold War.

    Also, it should ALWAYS be kept in mind that, except for its formidable nuclear arsenal, Russia IS NOT in a position to rival America as a world power. Russia has an economy about the same size as that major European superpower, wait for it … ITALY!

    Let’s not make the mistake of blowing Russia up into a major bogeyman again, because IT’S NOT!

    The Russians have major economic and other internal problems that they desperately want to deal with. Peace and good relations with America would allow that — if America would drop its reflexive, knee jerk hostility.

    The Cold War ended on December 31, 1991 with the collapse of the old, unlamented, sclerotic Bolshevik dictatorship in Russia, the Soviet Union. Let America and Russia be friends where they can, adversaries where they must, but never the bitter, sworn enemies like we were during the chilliest depths of the Cold War, and may we always be willing to seek a mutually beneficial negotiated settlement wherever there are sticking points in our relationship.

    Remember — both sides have more than enough nuclear firepower to reduce the other to a wasteland of smoking, radioactive ashes where the living will be left to envy the dead, and all human life on Earth will perish slowly in the aftermath.

    And only the rats, cockroaches, and grass will be left to tell the tale of our suicidal folly.

    • Wow, great comment! And let’s not forget that because of a US-sponsored coup that removed a democratically-elected government, there are actual fascists in Ukraine operating as part of the Ukrainian armed forces. A net search for “Nazi helmet Ukraine” will show the helmets and symbols these militias are wearing: The lightning-bolt “SS” and the actual swastika used by German troops during WWII. The last time Russia faced troops with these symbols on their uniforms, 27 million Russians died! It’s no wonder Russia is freaked out.

      Your last warning is right. War corporations have no conscience or intelligence, only a mindless desire for profit. We are idiots for letting them ramp up tensions with the most technologically-advanced military power on earth, since a wrong move means the end of the human race.

  • The neoliberal Democratic Party “Establishment” seems determined to start a war with Russia regardless of what the Party rank and file and the rest of America wants. These blithering idiots seem to have forgotten that the Russians have a large and potent nuclear arsenal of their own capable of destroying America and all life on Earth several times over. The most psychopathic of the Democratic “Establishment” believes that a “limited” nuclear war is not only possible, it is winnable. And having installed ABM missiles in Poland and Romania, America is driving for “first strike” nuclear superiority over Russia — a prospect the Democratic “Establishment” no doubt welcomes with great enthusiasm — no matter how destabilizing, delusional, and insane it seems to cooler heads both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

  • First, I do believe that, on social issues, Bernie Sanders’ position is pretty much unchanged from 2016. In other matters, including ‘Russia Russia’ he has fully embraced the Democratic Party ideals.
    My personal opinion is that only one or both of two things will bring about the necessary changes in the U.S. They are the development of politically strong and dominant third parties and violent revolution.
    AS much as I would like to see, ‘All the people sharing all the world,’ I do not see it happening peacefully under the current system unchanged.

  • Those of us old enough to remember Cold War v1 but were too young then to remember how it started are now watching in real time the start of another Cold War (maybe hotter this time).

    The elites pushing the Russiagate nonsense are behaving like reckless morons playing with the future of millions. That they have killed around four to five millions in the MENA since the end of Cold War v1 and the American people seems happy with that tells me that they will unleash much greater levels of carnage in the near future.

    What will stop them? My last hope is the Russia/China alliance that the combined force of the West cannot defeat or subdue. If the EU gets a spine and stops thinking and acting as a US vassal that would put a dent in the US but Europe is a totally captured US vassal and very unlikely to change.

    • We just happen to live in ‘interesting times’ where just about everything has been colonized. I think we’re looking at the re-colonization now, which is daunting and horrifying.

  • Cenk Uygur did the same thing in the run-up to the attack on Libya, Ukraine before and after the coup, and in Syria. He (and Anna Kasparian and John Iadarola) were repeating neoconservative atrocity propaganda against these official enemies. All the while Cenk kept saying that he didn’t want war. A neat little trick. That way, he doesn’t have to accept responsibility for the inevitable consequences. Problem is, though, that the neocon atrocity propaganda TYT was repeating was designed exclusively for one purpose: to manufacture consent for a military attack on these countries and regime change. Uygur is either incredibly naive or incredibly stupid if he doesn’t realize that by repeating this neocon propaganda he’s helping to create a climate where people either accept or acquiesce to Western military aggression. Katie Halper asked Uygur once what the end-game of this whole Russia-gate hysteria was? He didn’t have an answer, except to say he didn’t want war. It may be true, who knows? But he’s doing everything possible to bring the world to the brink of war with Russia, and he apparently has not the slightest clue what happens once we get there. Doesn’t inspire me with a whole heck of a lot of confidence…

  • …and the worst of the lot is St. Bernard “Sheepdog Warmonger” Sanders, Sen. Northrop-Grumman.

    The possibility is nonexistent that Sanders doesn’t know that the “Russiagate” idiocy is nonsense. Only a completely uneducated teevee-watcher would believe it, and Sanders is no such thing. He knows what he is doing in pushing the lies. Now the question is why. But if you look at his record, I’m afraid it’s consistent with what he has always done, and that’s support the military-industrial complex; and now he’s pushing for war with Russia, for no other reason but that his MIC masters are desperate for another source of unlimited income. Sanders has always voted FOR monstrous military budgets, including for the hyper-wasteful F-35 which is being built in Vermont largely due to his efforts. In fact he has never voted against a final bill involving military procurement. Even his vaunted “no” vote on the Iraq war was a fraud, because he voted for the bill funding it and the AUMF authorizing it. Consider these facts about Sanders:

    1.) “Bernie Sanders: Silent partner of American militarism” World Socialist Web Site, 27 August 2015. From the article:

    “…Sanders has taken on a range of foreign policy issues, based on his voting record as a congressman and senator. His profile is typical of liberal Democrats, supporting the Clinton administration’s war against Serbia in 1999 and the Bush administration’s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, while voting against the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq in 2002. Sanders criticized Obama’s bombing of Libya in 2011—mainly because he did not seek congressional authorization—but backed his bombing of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

    “Sanders is a down-the-line supporter of the state of Israel, repeatedly endorsing Israeli onslaughts against the Gaza Strip, most recently the savage bombardment of July-August 2014 which killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including more than 500 children. At an August 2014 town hall meeting, Sanders notoriously demanded that audience members ‘shut up’ when they questioned his support for Israel’s criminal actions.

    “He is a vociferous opponent of China in both economic and foreign policy, and backed the US intervention in Ukraine to foment a coup spearheaded by fascist elements to overthrow the pro-Russian government and set up a pro-Western stooge regime. ‘The entire world has got to stand up to Putin,’ Sanders declared last year, at a time when the warmongering campaign in the US and European media was at its height.

    “Yahoo News summed up the candidate’s foreign policy profile as follows: ‘The picture that emerges is less that of a firebrand anti-war radical than a pragmatic liberal who regards military force as a second choice in almost any situation—but a choice that sometimes must be made.’

    “CBS News, in a profile of Sanders last week, noted his general alignment with the foreign policy of the Obama administration, including its war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, its nuclear agreement with Iran, and its decision to normalize relations with Cuba.

    “The continued silence of Sanders on foreign and military policy has become something of an embarrassment to some of his left-liberal supporters…”

    2.) “Bernie Sanders Voting Record Antithetical To His Purported Anti-War Stance” Mint Press News, July 29, 2015. From the article:

    “…Sanders’ socialist beliefs and actions evolved into almost complete support of the Democratic Party after leaving the stage of Vermont politics and entering the national arena. Smith points out that Sanders voted with Democrats more consistently than many other Democrats: Ninety-eight percent of the time at the writing of Smith’s article. Sanders’ support for Democrats soon was reflected in their financing of his campaigns.

    “And here is where Sanders greatest equivocation has come. In spite of claims of being antiwar, his ‘hawkish’ support of Clinton’s military actions in the 1999 Kosovo War caused one of his advisers to quit. When antiwar activists occupied Sanders’ office in 1999 because of that support of Clinton’s war policies, he had them arrested.

    “In 2001, Sanders did not support the vote in Congress to oppose the war in Afghanistan. Congresswoman Barbara Lee stood alone! This vote was followed by his support for appropriations to support both the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2003 he supported the resolution that gave support to George W. Bush in both Iraq and in the larger war against terrorism, although Sanders has been a critic of the Iraq War.

    “Then Sanders supported only a gradual withdrawal from Iraq. When impeachment was on the so-called table against George W. Bush in 2006, he said that impeachment was ‘impractical.’…”

    3.) “Blood Traces: Bernie’s Iraq War Hypocrisy” CounterPunch, 16 Feb. 2016 From the article:
    “…Both Clinton and Sanders are seasoned interventionists, often advancing their hawkish policies under the ragged banner of ‘humanitarianism.’ (See: Queen of Chaos by Diana Johnstone.)
    “Sanders supported Bill Clinton’s war on Serbia, voted for the 2001 Authorization Unilateral Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which pretty much allowed Bush to wage war wherever he wanted, backed Obama’s Libyan debacle and supports an expanded US role in the Syrian Civil War.

    “More problematic for the Senator in Birkenstocks is the little-known fact that Bernie Sanders himself voted twice in support of regime change in Iraq. In 1998 Sanders voted in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which said: ‘It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.’

    And I say all that as a former Bernie supporter and troll-hunter. My wife and I spent $5700 and many hours of work trying to get Sanders nominated, mainly because we knew what Hillary Clinton is and wanted to block her, only to see Sanders give our hard-earned money to the devil herself. It came clear to me shortly after Trump’s victory that Sanders would run again in ’20, aiming to be the next Barack Obama (you know, lots of pretty language but nothing but more war after he’s elected). And he is aware of the weaknesses of his war record, and will make many noises about how much of a peaceful hippie he is: Remember “Birdie Sanders”? Sanders saying when the little bird landed on his podium: “That may look like a sparrow but it’s really a dove of peace.” I remember thinking that sounded a little too pat, but I was still enamored of the candidacy, and let it go. But later, of course, it became unavoidably clear: He’s just another tired servant of the war thieves, one with a really unusual schtick, but one nonetheless. And any wishful thinking to the contrary is just self-delusion now that he’s come out as a “Russiagate” warmonger.

    • I agree. There is zero chance that Sanders doesn’t know Russiagate is complete, unadulterated bullshit, and has known from the start. After all, it was conjured up in order to distract from the rigged primary.

      • In retrospect Sanders reminded me of the dog that catches the car when he won the nomination: “OMG what do I do now??” The way he ran to hide behind Clinton’s skirts while he threw his supporters under the bus at the Convention makes me believe he never thought he’d actually have any chance to win, that he was only there to “sheepdog” what they thought would be the couple of percent of “radical lefties” toward Clinton in the general. Then when he won, he didn’t know what to do and ran to his owners (the banksters and war corpororations who also own the Clintons) so slavishly it made it obvious what he was up to.

        The sooner the Democratic Party dies, the better. Because it only exists to protect the corporatocracy’s left flank by suppressing “real” left challenges to the plutocrats’ power–the only challenge they really fear. Sanders is just another cog in their domination machine.

        I had a .jpg done of Sanders as a Hillary-supporting sheepdog. If I can figure out how to upload it to this site I’m going to do it. I own it but it’s free to use by anyone so long as it’s not altered. If anyone wants a copy, give me an edress and I’ll email it to you.

  • The title is harsh and the premise exclusionary, but the argument is valid. Educated progressives know better than to buy into the faux election meddling distraction from the realities discovered about the 2016 elections and the horrible neoliberal and neoconservative political realities confronting us. The reality that neither major party deserves a single progressive vote.

  • 1) Bernie pulled his punches in the debates with Hillary
    2) Bernie aggressively supported Hillary though she stood opposite him on all major issues
    3) Bernie is poking the bear now

    once is happenstance, twice is coincidence. thrice is enemy action

    he should’ve run green, it now appears he was meant to shepherd people who turned out not to be sheep
    i loved him i hate him now – same thing happened to me with obama

    • joseph mirzoeff — yes. i feel the same as you.

    • #MeToo!

  • Bravo!

  • Don the tin-foil caps everybody, we’re gonna go round the bend, bend round the go, and swirl down the total-lack-of-trust toilet vortex. Tune in Alex Jones if you got a conspiracy jones, he’ll fill the bill. If its the other side of the spectrum maybe Caitlin can do it for you. Previously I have found her more or less convincing, but this current hysteria smells like some kinda plant to me.

    The US is in the process (been going on some decades now) of falling apart. The fracture lines have been visible since St Ron made his pilgrimage to Miss. They have been growing wider as the US imperium of military might and economic extortion expanded across the globe. The chasms are now Grand Canyon scale, but most prefer not to see it, pointing fingers at “others” who are to blame. Meanwhile on right and left we’re in Wiley Coyote land, feet spinning under the illusion we’re still going anywhere but down.

    Caitlin: America will never have single-payer, wrap up its MIC empire, and all the nice good liberal stuff you are talking about. It will rip itself apart first, have some kind of fascist phase (deep into that now), and fall apart into 4 or 5 or 6 separate political/cultural entities. It will doubtless be a very nasty journey getting there, but then that’s what empires do at the end. Despite it’s self-delusions to the contrary, in this respect (and most others) the USA is NOT “Exceptional”. It is a massive, owing to changed technological means, empire stumbling around in the last steps before it collapses. Being BIG and global, the reverberations will be massive and effect the entire world – as they already are.

    This squabble about Russia vs “Progressive” etc. is minor league. I have zero doubts the Russians are messing about as best they can in our internal politics for they have very good reason to do so. There is no doubt we mess around in theirs. Red herrings travel in groups.

  • Both parties in the U.S. believe the post WW2 global world order story. Below is a fairly long, surprisingly honest, ‘what’s it all about article’ (you’ll have to read between the lines here & there, it is Cato!) about what the fight in the world is really all about. Straight from one of the horse’s ass’s mouth.

    https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/world-imagined-nostalgia-liberal-order#_idTextAnchor044

  • Always trustworthy – always the unvarnished emphatic truth. Even when or especially with “rude” words! Brava, Team Caitlin!

  • joseph, just leave out the words you find offensive and put an ellipsis in their place (…) to indicate there was a word there. it will still make sense, just not have the impact is has for the rest of us.

  • Hmmm. You can’t seem to let this go. Which is odd. Plenty of other topics to deal with, but no… pot calling kettle black. Hello?

    It’s not up to you in any case (the narrative, the truth, the reporting, the media, etc., etc.) so it’s actually pointless to rant on about this anyway. We all know where this is going. You’re still trying to swim against the tide and you’re drowning.

    • So you’re just saying we should shut up and accept the neoliberalism takeover? Why even bother to comment? #Brockhole

    • God, JR. If you don’t like her, why do you read her. You a troll? You getting paid? Hope its good money. Go away.

  • I think it’s just the way US media works. One of Noam chomsky’s media filters is a “common enemy,” like communism, terrorism, and now Russia. Some great evil to justify invading other countries and rescinding the bill of rights (as well as distracting from Medicare4all and such). Great article as always Caitlin.

    I don’t think Bernie is necessarily making the right decisions either, but if he were to say anything even a little off the establishment narrative he’d be crucified. They’re already trying to smear him as a Russian asset who’s going to divide the dems in 2020 and he’s completely gone with their shit. If he brought up a different opinion that would be all the media talked about whenever his name came up.

  • I steal superfluous road signs and drive without a license or insurance. I’m totally fine with anybody believing if some orange dude is not controlled by the Russians, or is, makes no difference to me. Believe in a flying spagetti monster if it makes you happy.

    As long as the state goons keeps planting this high quality hot galvanized steal everywhere for the taking, what do I care? This stuff is great… it’s pre-drilled on all four sides every inch… I’d pay hundreds of dollars for this stuff in the store…

  • We like to quote you, share your arguments to discuss issues in social media. You wrote this:

    Only assholes and morons oppose these peace talks. If you want to help steer this ship into the iceberg of nuclear holocaust, then I want you thrown overboard. Get a fucking grip, you raving lunatics. Stop this. Stop this immediately.

    and then there is the title of this article

    Only Idiots And Liars Say You Can Advance Both Progressivism And Russiagate

    Many of us can’t quote you with such insults imbedded – stops your word from spreading.

  • I think that the whole Russia narrative is nothing more than a smokescreen. If it wasn’t for “Russia” then the media would be forced to devote more air time to the 33,000 e-mails that Hillary erased, the Uranium One scandal, the deep state going after Trump using the office of the FBI illegally and so on. The one thing that you can always count on is that the lying sacks of weasel droppings in the media will do anything to cover the butts of the political crime party owned by Hillary Clinton.

    • Or, they’d have to devote more air time to the blatant corruption in the Trump cabinet. Either or which they don’t seem eager to do.

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