HomeArticleThe Single Stupidest Argument In The Entire Stupid Salad Of Russiagate

The Single Stupidest Argument In The Entire Stupid Salad Of Russiagate

The other day Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard came out with what remains the strongest rejection of the Trump administration’s regime change interventionism in Venezuela out of anyone likely to run for the presidency in 2020.

“The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela,” Gabbard tweeted. “Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders–so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”

Boom. Unambiguous, unequivocal, and without any of the “Yeah Maduro is an evil monster, but” modifiers that other officials (including Bernie Sanders) have been prefacing their feeble objections to Trump’s campaign to topple the Venezuelan government with. Which of course outraged all the usual war pundits, including the Washington Post‘s most reliable military-industrial complex fluffer Josh Rogin.

“Again, @TulsiGabbard shares the same foreign policy position as Russia and the Assad regime,” Rogin tweeted in response to Gabbard’s statement. “It’s probably just a coincidence. #TusiAssad2020”

This man calls himself a journalist. He works for one of the most respected and influential news outlets in America.

Rogin’s post is obnoxious and idiotic for a whole host of reasons, among them the fact that Trump is consistently painted as a Kremlin stooge by pundits like Rogin, yet opposing Trump is somehow being depicted as Kremlin servitude. But the reason his tweet deserves an article of its own today is because the argument he is using is one you see recurring over and over again in the psychotic, pants-on-head, screaming-at-traffic stupid salad that is collectively referred to as Russiagate.

Another way to write Rogin’s tweet would be as follows:

“Hmmm, you think the US should refrain from destroying countries all around the world? You know who else thinks that? The Kremlin! Hmmm, it’s very interesting that you and the Kremlin share that same view all the time, hmmmm, hmmmmmmm, hmmmmmmmmmmm probably just a coincidence though!”

You see this obnoxious McCarthyite talking point regurgitated over and over and over again by people eager to paint anyone who objects to US interventionism and the political establishment responsible for it as Russian agents, and it’s about as moronic an argument as any you’ll ever see.

Last year I had a brief interaction with a popular Twitter account calling itself Conspirador Norteño, an anonymous user who spends their time promulgating conspiracy theories about Russian bots and Kremlin trolls using those weird “who’s tweeting about subject X” graphs that Russiagaters like to use as imaginary evidence. The account is often cited by the Atlantic Council’s NATO propaganda firm DFR Lab, and by its allied narrative control firms Bellingcat and PropOrNot, as well as mainstream media outlets like the BBC and Mother Jones.

Conspirador Norteño and his goon squad of counterintelligence-LARPing followers spent the entirety of our interaction attempting to argue that because a private British citizen named Ian Shilling sometimes shared Russian state media and often found himself in agreement with Russia on foreign policy, he could fairly be labeled a propagandist for the Russian Federation.

“If a Twitter account a) consistently parrots the views of the Kremlin over a period of several years and b) uses Russian state media as major primary sources, as @Ian56789 does, then it is reasonable to classify that account as propaganda,” the account insisted.

“You’re also ignoring the fact that his positions are in lockstep with the Kremlin’s; pushing the viewpoint and agenda of a government is propaganda, regardless of which government it is,” the account claimed.

The reason this popular McCarthyite argument is so face-meltingly stupid is simple: there are many, many reasons for someone to oppose the interventionism and foreign aggression of the US and its allies besides having loyalty to the Russian Federation. Russia opposes the interventionism of the US-centralized empire because it is a nation with its own allies and agendas, and because it is a longtime target for subversion and undermining by imperial government agencies since it refuses to be absorbed into the blob of the western power alliance. This does not mean that Russia’s reasons for opposing western interventionism are the only reasons to oppose western interventionism, and anyone who believes that it is is a slobbering idiot.

This is a non-satirical version of the “Hitler drank water” meme, which mocks this style of argumentation by pointing out the fact that both Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump drank water, implying they must therefore be aligned.

The argument that is advanced by all the Josh Rogins and Conspirador Norteños of the gibbering McCarthyite mad house holds that the only possible reason anyone could possibly oppose an establishment which is in an endless state of regime change interventionism, which is pushing us ever closer to the likelihood of nuclear armageddon by escalating tensions between nuclear superpowers, and which is shoving us toward extinction via climate chaos with a policy of unchecked ecocidal corporatism, is some form of Kremlin servitude. They claim there’s no acceptable reason anyone could be “in lockstep with the Kremlin” on foreign policy, despite the fact that a worldview which opposes western interventionism necessarily will be the same as the position of the Kremlin’s because Russia, like so many other sovereign nations, opposes western interventionism.

US-led interventionism is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful in modern times, and you don’t need to be aligned with Moscow or Damascus to see that. The power establishment which crushes any nation that refuses to bow to its demands is responsible for the deaths of untold millions of human beings, and wanting that power establishment to crumble is a very legitimate and reasonable thing. Every good and decent person in the world should want the same.

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Latest comments

  • I agree with Caitlan that it is important to call out the propagandists for interventionist wars and regime change particularly when they operate subtlely and attempt to undermine the simple truth of Tulsi’s position on the matter which is non-interventionist. Reading the comments, the issue becomes obfuscated to detract from the point (labels or insults).
    I don’t know if this is intentional or not but I have found this used against me when attempting to communicate my abbhorence of what is happening to Venezuela. I say, say it like it is and to hell with the language police. We are talking about murder and mahem once again fostered by the US on the good people of Venezuela. I may need the help of an entheogen this weekend with all the spin and propaganda going on to justify crimes against humanity.

  • Caitlin knocks another one out of the park! Let’s all moon these ologarchic pigs!

  • Caitlin
    Your work is insipred and inspiring.
    My only complaint would be that at times it gives me hope and restores some faith to know there are still decent rational people – at my work they are all Russia haters who see nothing wrong with what US is doing. I feel like person in scifi movie who sees the population for the monsters they are.
    OK so what I wanted to say id the proplrm is that your great thoughts flow over the dam with the tempoaral flow. I could re-read the many times and often do. You are writing our hidtory. I would hope people in the future would read it.

  • Just recently discovered the wonderful essays of Ms Johnstone, who really cuts through the BS to get to the heart of the matter. I’ve completely given up hope on the US, which has become the evil empire our mother always warned us about. As for the mainstream media and their Russia-bashing, it managed to brainwash a generation of dimwits 40 years ago, why wouldn’t it work again today? And it really does, sadly. I overhear conversations at work that vilify Russia in every other breath. Because most people are dumb as toast, and have no critical thinking skills at all. Even the internet news sites – both left and right – are by and large full of crap. Everybody seems to have an agenda nowadays. I’m sure I’ll even disagree with Ms Johnstone at some point, but so far, so good!

    • A good book helps:
      History of Russis
      Bernard Pares 1953

    • Toast is smarter. And good to eat.

  • Caitlin:

    == =
    “Hmmm, you think the US should refrain from destroying countries all around the world? You know who else thinks that? The Kremlin! Hmmm, it’s very interesting that you and the Kremlin share that same view all the time, hmmmm, hmmmmmmm, hmmmmmmmmmmm probably just a coincidence though!”

    You see this obnoxious McCarthyite talking point regurgitated over and over and over again by people eager to paint anyone who objects to US interventionism and the political establishment responsible for it as Russian agents, and it’s about as moronic an argument as any you’ll ever see.
    = ==

    What I find interesting about this stupid argument is that it is stupid on a number of levels. When you target individuals, on a personal level, rather than targetting ideas that they hold which you are arguing (cleverly or not) are faulty, you don’t win them over. Rather, You antagonize them. Now, It’s true that this sort of thinking and behavior is naturally to be found among the rich and powerful who are comfortable and feel unthreatened and can afford to babble – sometimes quite revealingly – at us because “What are you going to do about it?” But that doesn’t make the stupidity any less stupid.

    • Arby, “When you target individuals, on a personal level, rather than targetting ideas that they hold…”

      This is exactly what the left does. That is the whole point of the left calling someone a racist or sexist or homophobe or islamaphobe etc! Or violently attacking free speech. The left is about bullying for power and not about a free exchange of ideas.

      • You are exactly right! Except that it’s not the Left that does that evil. It’s the Right. I don’t even consider the Right to be a moral equivalent of the Left.

        • LOL! If this is the case then you shouldn’t have any trouble providing an example of the right behaving like the left i.e. attacking people with “isms” and “phobias” and rioting to prevent free speech. The right has its own issues but silencing others with whom they disagree is not one of them. That is a leftist issue 99%.

  • “Trump is consistently painted as a Kremlin stooge by pundits like Rogin, yet opposing Trump is somehow being depicted as Kremlin servitude.”

    This is what actual newspeak and doublethink looks like.

    All 3 major world leaders are advised by Henry Kissinger. We live in a 1984 world underneath the bootheel of the Anglo-Zionist empire. Any country that dares not to go along with their plans are crushed in particular if you decide to drop the U.S. dollar, see Libya, Iraq and now Venezuela.

    • To be honest, I didn’t get that (Caitlin’s) statement. It may have been a typo. Or maybe I’m missing something.

      • It is the Rogins of the world engaging in doublethink and newspeak not Johnstone.

  • Gabbard: “…We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders–so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”
    .
    Johnstone: “Boom. Unambiguous, unequivocal, and without any of the ‘Yeah Maduro is an evil monster, but’ modifiers that other officials (including Bernie Sanders) have been prefacing their feeble objections to Trump’s campaign to topple the Venezuelan government with.”
    .
    Yes, and note that is the dynamic I referred to recently where people like Bernie seem to be desperate to find common ground with stark raving mad people. This is extremely common. It doesn’t make any sense but they would rather sacrifice reason than stand firm and argue logically with unreasonable people.
    .
    However, I think it would be more accurate to call it the US govt’s campaign than Trump’s campaign.
    .
    And since propaganda is a theme of this essay, it might be instructive to think about the word “Russiagate.” What is Russiagate? What exactly does that term mean? Well, it’s a compound word combining Russia, the country and “gate.” What does the gate refer to? It refers to Watergate, a DC hotel that became famous when Richard Nixon’s CREEP illegally broke into it.
    .
    So, not only does Russiagate associate Trump with Russia. It also associates Trump with Nixon and illegal activities. The term Russiagate is being used to describe something that the author wishes to show as a farce, but to do so, the author inadvertently reinforces the association with the very illogical conclusions she wishes to upend.
    .
    Russiagate is not Russiagate. Rather it is the Trump Russia conspiracy theory. The words the proponents of the so-called “narrative” want people to stay away from are “conspiracy theory.” This is again, a form of propaganda. The objective is to call it pretty much anything but what it is. Now, if the IC can get the opposition to their mission to speak in the terms they want used, that’s a plus for them. If they can get the opposition to avoid using the most accurate terms, that’s mission accomplished.
    .
    The talking heads on CNN blanch at the mention of conspiracy theory to describe their endless dot connecting blockbuster headline talking points. They reserve this term for Alex Jones or any other speculations they want to discredit. And that’s how it works. Conspiracy theory has a well known connotation. It’s used in conjunction with terms like crackpot.
    .
    Do I know what I’m writing about? Yes, I do.
    .
    Words are weapons. Choose your weapons wisely.

    • Absolutely correct Rod.
      In challenging the narrative that same narrative is being sub-consciously reinforced and affirmed if the subtleties of linguistics are not carefully managed.
      Very rarely, if ever is the so-called “Russiagate” fantasy exposed in the mass media for what it really is, a proposterous, flimsy and factless conspiracy theory.
      It gains traction by being vigorously propagandised into the public consciousness as being factual and worthy of discourse.

      This nonsense however floats about in an empirical vacumn.
      This seems to be a standout feature of the current era of false discourse and synthetic narratives.
      However it’s sparkle has the allure of very cheap costume jewellery and plastic chandeliers if subjected to any reasonable scrutiny.
      It’s fake, baloney, a crock of BS dressed up as being real.
      Some might call it a deception, or maybe propaganda.
      It is certainly a distraction.
      To call it “Russiagate” suggests that something otherwise hidden from view has been revealed.
      In reality all that has been revealed is the apparently insatiable appetite of the general public to reject common sense and rationality and replace it with magical thinking and a Jumbo size pack of several flavours of Confirmation bias.

  • Thank you Ms. Johnston for another inspiring and accurate article! Your criticism of the mainstream media makes it bearable to keep looking at and oppose their vile tactics .

  • Welcome to your own party, pal! Leftists engaged in smear campaigns against those they disagree? Guilt by association charges? Attempts to shut down any opposition by “marginalizing” them? A refusal to let facts or the lack of facts guide their thinking? Anyone not following the leftist religion to the letter is branded “unpure”? Attempts to silence their critics by any means necessary? Why, the devil you say!

    • There is nothing “leftist” about the Democratic Party except the window dressing (and not even much of that these days). Their position on The Political Compass is virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party, both far to the right and high up the authoritarian/libertarian axis.

      • Ash, I did not claim it is a Democratic party thing (my opening sentence was a reference to the movie Die Hard). I agree that there is only one uniparty – in the pockets of AIPAC. But everything I listed and more are everyday tactics of the left against anyone with whom they disagree. I just find it enjoyable to watch the left eat their own, as the left always does eventually.

  • Suffice it to say that Mr Putin:

    1. Believes that 1 + 1 = 2;
    2. Believes in Newton’s Laws of Motion (as modified by Einstein’s Theories of Relativity);
    3. Is a practicing Christian who seeks to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ;
    4. Studies, respects and obeys laws and treaties.

    Does it follow that, to be a decent human being, one must do otherwise in each of those four cases?

    (Although, come to think of it, it does seem to be necessary if one seeks to rise to the top of Western politics).

  • People who pay attention, and know something about how propaganda works understand that Josh Rogin is a presstitute. He bends over to take it up the rear end from his corporate pay masters and he will write whatever they demand he write will driving home their point. To add insult to injury, they drive it home for him without lube, but he doesn’t care because he’s a presstitute who gets paid. The only thing uncertain about Josh read end ream boy Rogin is whether or not he smokes a cigarette after he’s been presstituting.

  • Josh Bogin must work for “NewsGuard”, Microsofts new piece of garbage being installed with the next lot of crap updates they flog onto their crap system, Windows 10, to continue the deceit and lies being spread by MSM crap. One big happy family of criminal assholes, just like our government and criminal system, that protects the real criminals, themselves!

    • Who the fu(* uses Microsoft? Anyone not using an open source Linux distro for their PC operating system is a moron. Microsoft, Google, Farcebook (half of Farcebook’s accounts are fake, and the company is about to be sued for fraud due to stock price manipulation because of it), Twatter, and Meetup are all part of the shadow government, and card carrying members of the #GoogleGestapo. Eric Schmidt would have been a Hitler Youth had he been alive during the Third Reich.

      • Perhaps, instead of calling me and others who use Microsoft’s operating system morons, you could make the same point, namely it’s a good idea ‘not’ to, without insulting strangers.

        If Microsoft imposes Newsguard on me, I will indeed switch to Linux. I’m not looking forward to it, but that’s only because I’m not tech savvy and I don’t have tech savvy friends who can help me with the transition. Geeks are not sympathetic. They (usually) think that those who don’t know what they know about computers should. And they are cliquish. They refuse to talk to non techies in plain English and, from their standpoint, that’s our problem, not their’s.

        I was all ready to switch to Linux when windows 10 came out. I felt I had no choice. I sampled the metro desktop that I thought would be windows 10 and found it unuseable. Then a friend sat with me and showed me how to customize windows 10 to pretty much work as windows 8 had. I didn’t want to switch because I have enough to do, including a full time job, and, as I said, no one around to get me up to speed on Linux. I don’t feel like being dead in the water for who knows how long while learning Linux. But if I have to…

        • I
          Have a look at something like Ubuntu or, maybe Manjero. Unless you want to do some strange things they are pretty user–friendly. You can boot Ubuntu from a usb stick to see what it is like without having to install it.

          It can get hairy if you want to install XXX software that only three people have heard of but most users will never need to do this.

          The help groups on line are often very helpful. Linux geeks are, I am sure, very nice people but a) they really cannot speak normal English[1] any more and they never have had to explain things to a normal person.

          Just think, no software licences, no 240 character serial numbers, massive amounts of free software!

          I have been using Linux for ten years and I shudder at the thought of having to use Windows especially Windows 10.

          1. Insert your preferred language.here.

          • Acknowledged. Thanks!

  • The abhorrence of progressives in America by team HATE has become pathological.

  • US DoD and HUD didnt dissappear $21Trillion of public govt funds because of Russian propagandists, thats for sure! We would only be so lucky to have intelligent functional leaders like Russia often exhibits, vs the incompetent and corrupt Bilderberger bots posing as elected representatives whil transferring public funds into offshorw wealth accounts!

  • But but, Trump is drinking water just like Hitler, so he must support Hitler! Many great points raised Caitlin. Great work! You know, it never ceases to amaze me just how many idiots and brainless whores out there, just like Josh Zionist Bogin!

    • She’s another useful idiot just like Bernie Silly Sanders, a complete moron, and she’s only in this as a sop to the idiots on the left. The right, being equally gullible, fell for pedo GHW Bush who pretended to be a conservative when he was nothing more than a sexual deviant creep who, according to Franklin Scandal victim Paul Bonacci, who won a nearly $1 million judgement in his federal law suit, said he saw pedo GHW Bush leave a pedo party with a young black boy. Think of the asswipes the Bush Crime Family put on the SCOTUS, all globalist scum.

  • VERY GOOD article, thank you Caitlin!!

    VERY GOOD!!

  • Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the U.S. empire–??
    The Caitlin knows.
    Thank you.

  • If, as Conspirador Norteño claimed, anybody who agrees with the viewpoint of Russia on a given number of topics is, by definition, spreading Russian propaganda, then anybody who, like Conspirador Norteño, agrees with the viewpoint of the US on a given number of topics is, by definition, spreading US propaganda, and anybody who agrees with the viewpoint of Saudi Arabia on a given number of topics is, by definition, spreading Saudi propaganda. So maybe we should just agree that we are all, at any given moment, spreading *some* nefarious power’s propaganda and instead focus, more productively, only on the question *whose* propaganda also happens to be objectively *true* in each particular instance.
    .
    As long as the US has adversaries, they will be looking for claims that they can use in order to object to the policies of the US. They may, of course, use false claims to object to the US, but if there happen to be any *true* claims that can be used to object to the US, its aversaries would be very stupid not to use them! Hence, if the adversaries of the US are using a given claim to object to the US, this does not by itself mean that it is false. When a lawyer uses an argument in favour of her client in a court of law, only an idiot would try to refute it by saying: ‘You’re only saying that because you’re her lawyer!’ Finding some kind of argument is the job of the lawyer, but that doesn’t mean the argument is false. Instead, one discusses whether the argument is valid. Dismissing any claim, true or false, just because it is a talking point of the *American* establishment would obviously not be considered a legitimate argument by the Neo-McCarthyites. This is just common sense, but these people do not want to apply or tolerate common sense, they want to use tribalist emotional manipulation in order to shout it down and override it.
    .
    I saw a perfect example on Aaron Maté’s twitter feed recently: https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1090076547304820736
    .
    Maté points out that a given Ukrainian politician is a neo-Nazi, Carpenter responds by basically saying ‘Well, I won’t discuss whether this is actually true, but regardless of whether it’s true, the fact is that Russia is saying it, so how dare you say a thing that Russia also says, you traitor?’ Utterly pathetic.

  • As a teacher of senior high students in western Japan we read Ian Serraillier’s classec 1956 anti-war novel The Silver Sword. We’d selected it while George Dubya B was letting loose his own dogs of war against Iraq – in fact as he was threatening to do so – then events played out as they did. US cousins “serving” in that disgusting war sent photos of the stuff on the ground in Iraq – and we wrote to Ian’s widow Anne with our reports of our anti-war stance – reports passed on to noted playwright Christopher Fry (The Lady’s Not for Burning) just two years before his death aged 98 in 2005. I have always said that my teaching of History and of Literature was to ensure that my students were never sent to fight the wars of unstable politicians (such as Trump, Obama, Bush…et al) in the US, in Japan, or in my own Australia where the Deputy Sheriff’s to the US – PMs such as Howard and Abbott, Turnbull and now Morrison prod the US into into its unholy mass murders of people in other lands!

    • I take your point but upon reflection, no Australian Prime Minister has taken a stand against the US since Gough Whitlam. Our two main political parties are so submissive to the US it’s embarrassing. Whether the CIA had a hand in Gough’s dismissal or not is immaterial, we are the American’s puppet state.

  • Beautifully expressed as always!

  • TWIT…TWIT…
    Again, Indian restaurant item @roginjosh pimps Trump MAGA foreign policy. Probably just a coincidence.
    #HystericalCentrist

  • Perfectly stated.

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