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.
ps — "or is it something else?": what are you implying here? pic.twitter.com/RnsCYhwUiV
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 23, 2018
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.
Surreal having to not just correct false claims but also remind basic journalistic principles to people I respect. But ok. 1) "39 states" claim was later changed to 21, all w/ zero evidence it came from Russian gov't (have u seen it?). 2) And even that was walked back/denied: pic.twitter.com/tQAAJee4XD
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 23, 2018
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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