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Useful Idiots

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hillary_cover

I only engaged on Facebook with random “leftists,” which in 2016 and 2017 is not about policy but rather about how much one hates the Democratic Party, one time in the months before the election. This was right before the election. I was told that there was no reason to vote for the Democrats since Hillary would start World War III with Russia. I quickly regretted my decision. But we all know how happy the far left was to be useful idiots for Putin. Jill Stein traveling to Russia before the election was the peak but there was the consistently terrible coverage from The Nation, which of course is usually good on other issues than Russia. But it was all over the place. This is a good run-down of the useful idiots. And I bring you this particular anecdote.

Another Nation staple, contributing editor Doug Henwood, has maintained a professional relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, yet is apparently very tetchy about the collaboration, as I also discovered when I engaged him.

Henwood had planned to work with Assange on putting out a book about Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches—Henwood annotating, Assange writing the foreword—transcripts of which were of course originally hacked by Russian intelligence and disseminated through WikiLeaks, at least according to 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies, two of which concluded that this was done with the express purpose of helping Trump get elected. When I brought up this pending project, as detailed both on the book publisher’s website and in multiple articles, Henwood called me a “fucking idiot.” (Henwood’s publisher, when contacted for this story, noted that Henwood was no longer affiliated with the endeavor, saying that he had now grown “weary of chronicling Hillary Clinton’s boundless political shortcomings.”)

Henwood and Assange are made for each other. Which is tragic because when Henwood talks about the economy he is great and when he talks about politics he is absolutely out of his mind. But then I’m probably a “fucking idiot” too.

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  • Lost Left Coaster

    This was really thrust into my awareness when a good friend of mine for many years (we became buddies in middle school) started posting on Facebook that Hillary Clinton was going to start a war with Russia, and that was why everyone needed to support Jill Stein. To this day I still do not know where he was getting this concern from, but I have a strong feeling that it circulating in the Bernie-or-bust social media world.

    • liberal

      I voted for Hillary. Yet I still worried about her starting a war with Russia.

      Stephen Walt once tweeted,

      Hey folks: it is ok to think #HillaryClinton’s views on foreign policy are wrong/dangerous & also believe @realDonaldTrump would be worse.

      But I’m sure he’s just another useful idiot.

      • Rob in CT

        HillaryClinton’s views on foreign policy are wrong/dangerous != will start a war with Russia. Also, Walt clearly made the point that she was preferable to Trump, whereas other asshats pushed the not-a-dime’s-worth of-difference line, or worse! talked up Trump’s supposed dovishness.

        HRC’s FP instincts did worry me, but this idea that she’d kick off WWIII is what we’re talking about here.

        • djw

          HillaryClinton’s views on foreign policy are wrong/dangerous != will start a war with Russia.

          No kidding. What an absurd conflation. If you weren’t a little worried about her foreign policy instincts, you weren’t paying attention. To believe she would start a war with Russia required self-lobotomization.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Yeah, I agree with Walt there. And I was concerned with how Clinton’s proposed no-fly zone in Syria would play out in real life.

        However, what really interests me here is how Clinton’s supposed war with Russia became, for some people, the preeminent cause for supporting Stein. Especially since Trump is probably going to have the US at war with China within the next year or so.

        • djw

          what really interests me here is how Clinton’s supposed war with Russia became, for some people, the preeminent cause for supporting Stein.

          I think it’s simple enough. In order to convince yourself Clinton is no better than someone as awful as Trump you have to make up something really really bad about her. “Will bumble into WWIII” is almost necessary.

          • The Great God Pan

            From what I saw, they thought she was going to intentionally start a war rather than bumble into one. They basically think she is Satan.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              “they basically think she is Satan”

              except for when they think she’s incompetent. that shows up sometimes too. Same with Obama and conservatives

              • Cassiodorus

                I had a conversation once where the other person made both a “Hillary is incompetent” and “Hillary is too hard-nosed” argument at different parts. Both of them lead to him saying she’d get a carrier group sunk in the South China Sea.

        • Alex.S

          Basically, it allowed people to have a “factual” reason to say that Hillary was worse than Trump.

        • ColBatGuano

          And I was concerned with how Clinton’s proposed no-fly zone in Syria would play out in real life.

          Didn’t she propose that before Russia became involved?

      • pillsy

        I don’t think there’s anything useful about Stephen Walt.

        • Manny Kant

          I remember reading an article in grad school by his buddy John Mearsheimer from 1989 or 1990 that was just hilariously wrong headed about the geopolitical state of things post cold war. He said it would be necessary to give Germany nuclear weapons to prevent a return to pre-war style German expansionism in Central Europe.

          At that point I mostly stopped taking “realists” seriously

      • humanoid.panda

        I voted for Hillary. Yet I still worried about her starting a war with Russia.

        Do you also worry about her possibly ceding New Mexico to Ecuador? Because that’s about as likely as her starting a war (as opposed to proxy wars..) with Russia.

    • Rob in CT

      The line was that because she suggested (negotiating a) no-fly zone for Syria, and the Russian air force was operating in Syria, this meant that USAF would shoot down Russian planes, triggering WWIII.

      It was stupid, but the skids were greased (partly due to the decades-long smear campaign against her, and partly because she really has hawkish views for a 21st century Democrat) and some people bought it.

      • medrawt

        It’s also stupid because the whole “Hillary is Hawkish Against Russia” narrative presumes that Russia is just standing there innocently, hands in pockets, rocking from toes to heels, whistling a jaunty tune, when Evil WarClinton comes along and punches it in the back of the head.

        As Yglesias has multiply tweeted – GWBush and Obama both made a sincere attempt at a “reset” with Russia, and failed. What do the people around Trump think he’s going to put on the table to make things go differently?

        • What do the people around Trump think he’s going to put on the table to make things go differently?

          Abject submission.

          • rea

            What do the people around Trump think he’s going to put on the table to make things go differently?

            Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine.

            • tsam

              The Sudentenland

              • rea

                Or even worse, the Sudetenland

            • Nick never Nick

              Alaska

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                Yeah, Trump could sell Alaska back to Russia and brag about how much profit he made since we originally bought it for only $7.2MM.

          • Captain C

            What do the people around Trump think he’s going to put on the table to make things go differently?

            His privates, in a compromising video.

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          Being fair, with W the reset ran into a brick wall with the Eastern European countries joining NATO (David Remnick actually pinpoints this as the start of Russian illiberalization, although the idea that the countries’ actions would have been different without external input is rather suspect). The Obama reset died because of the 2012 election.

          That said: Yes. Not to mention, when Russia sours on Trump we’ll soon go back to actual McCarthyism.

        • Just his nuts, on a fuckin’ dresser.

          • witlesschum

            Putin ain’t nothin to fuck with?

      • Manny Kant

        I got into an argument about this on Twitter with Daniel Larison, I think, who seemed to think it was crazy or hackish special pleading to suggest that Clinton clearly wanted to negotiate a no fly zone, not impose one unilaterally and start shooting down Russian planes.

        • What irritates me is that one can’t just take as a given that a more hardline stance on Russia means an increased chance of war with Russia. “Appeasement” is mostly a meaningless slur at this point but when you’re dealing with a rival power like Russia there has to be a tradeoff between firm and conciliatory approaches. I say that as a lifelong opponent of war. Unless one is proposing to completely withdraw from all military alliances and seal the borders, there exists the risk that by not acting at this time the US will be forced to act at a future time. (Hypothetical example: if the US and NATO were to cede the Baltics to Russian influence, at some point in the future we might find ourselves drawn into a conflict between Germany and Russia.)

          • XerMom

            The question is, which of these two things is more likely to lead to WWIII:

            a) An attempt at a U.S. negotiated no-fly zone in Syria.
            b) Allowing the Syrian Civil War to play out as Assad and Putin wish.

            Both carry real risks. The former could heat things up very quickly between the U.S. and Russia, or it could result in U.S. concessions on Russia’s European goals that are even worse in the long term (although we likely got that with Trump anyway). The latter risks a further destabilization of the region due to the Syrian refugee crisis and Putin/Assad’s disinterest in crushing IS, and Turkey is a big enough mess even without that. It’s war today or war tomorrow!

            • Absolutely. Foreign policy is difficult and requires painful tradeoffs even in the best of times, and these are not. Which is why I try to vote for people with the best available combination of capability, intentions, and instinct and hope they can steer us through.

              Neither “kill ’em all” and “fuck this, America out” are acceptable foreign policy platforms to me.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            Unless one is proposing to completely withdraw from all military alliances and seal the borders,

            This is the actual position I heard from numerous Bernie-or-Busters.

        • nixnutz

          That does surprise me somewhat even given how much he wrote about the risks of Hillary and a no-fly zone in particular. It just seems so obvious that it wouldn’t have happened because not starting WWIII is a higher priority than Syria.

          One of the counterfactuals I was curious about is how Larison and particularly his commenters would have reacted if Sanders had won the nomination. I understand why Larison thought he was the only acceptable candidate in the whole field on FP, and his commenters sort of went along, but seeing the rationalizations they made to favor Trump I wonder how they would have treated Sanders as a genuine choice. I think Larison might have gone for him but it would have been entertaining to see the contortions his conservative fans would go through to support Trump.

        • Larison is a good guy, but has a bad blind spot where Russia’s concerned. Idk why – I just note it & enjoy the rest of his writing.

    • Hogan

      It was circulating in comments here.

  • Mike G

    Thank the FSM that Trump got elected and now we’ll only have 11(?) Goldman Sachs operatives in the executive branch, including the second-in-command behind God’s Work Blankfein.

  • Rob in CT

    he had now grown “weary of chronicling Hillary Clinton’s boundless political shortcomings.”

    Translation: she lost, my work here is done. ETA: not that Henwood personally cost her the election or anything.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Alternate translation- I don’t think many people will buy this book now, so it’s not worth writing.

  • Scott Lemieux

    Jason Chaffetz can write the introduction to his next re-write of Clinton Cash if Assange is unavailable.

  • Tom in BK

    I have a former friend (he unfriended me, not the other way around) whose only response to the election was, “Yay, my buddy totally called the result!”

    Grad students were a mistake.

  • SatanicPanic

    Holy shit, I knew Stein was a dunce and a crank but WTF:

    Indeed, her pro-Kremlin stance wasn’t limited to merely praising Putin’s amicability. Stein joined the Russian president and Kazakhstani dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev in describing Ukraine’s 2014 EuroMaidan revolution as a “coup,” and claimed, bizarrely, that NATO is currently “fighting… enemies we invent to give the weapons industry a reason to sell more stuff.”

    • tsam

      Wow. If there was ever a perfect statement that reflects the purity pony left, this has got to the the one.

  • MPAVictoria

    “RT even hosted her party’s 2016 presidential debate—a move Stein hailed as a “step towards real democracy.” RT also covered “live updates” from Stein’s reactions to the debates between Clinton and Trump, a decision Stein further praised.”

    My god… Jill Stein campaigned and tried to get media exposure for her candidacy? THE PERFIDIOUS LEFTISTS!!!!! Why didn’t she participate in a debate held on a network like NBC? I am sure she was invited to right?

    / I am no fan of Jill Stein or the American Green Party. I think she was dead wrong when she said Trump was more dangerous than Hillary. She has every right to campaign for votes though.

    • Rob in CT

      Her campaign was fundamentally dishonest. Soup to nuts.

      Of course she had the right to campaign. People have the right to point out that she did a bunch of ridiculous, mendacious and harmful things.

      Leave Jill Stein alooooooone!

      • MPAVictoria

        “People have the right to point out that she did a bunch of ridiculous, mendacious and harmful things.”

        Sure! Put participating in a debate and trying to get attention for her message is not one of them and listing this as an argument taints the rest of the piece for me.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          People have the right to point out that she did a bunch of ridiculous, mendacious and harmful things.

          Sure! Put participating in a debate and trying to get attention for her message is not one of them and listing this as an argument taints the rest of the piece for me.

          When her message is about the evils of Hillary Clinton, yes, it is.

          • MPAVictoria

            Was NBC planning to host a debate for her to participate in?

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Was NBC planning to host a debate for her to participate in?

              You should feel free to admit that you voted for her, you know.

              • MPAVictoria

                1. Canadian. Voted NDP last election here.

                https://www.ndp.ca/about-ndp

                2. I would have voted Clinton if I had a vote.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Oh, good. So you didn’t vote for her, but you did spend plenty of time trashing her on the internet where actual American voters could read it.

                • Nick never Nick

                  Out of curiosity, are you an actual member of the provincial assembly?

                • MPAVictoria

                  Nope. That would be an MPP or MLA depending on the Province :-)

        • Little Chak

          And she had to ally with the mouthpiece of a hard-right, anti-LGBT, journalist-killing, autocratic, pro-U.S. Republican Party regime in order to get out her left-wing, pro-peace message?

    • tsam

      I think she was dead wrong when she said Trump was more dangerous than Hillary.

      Is this missing a couple of words? Please tell me this is not what you meant to say.

      • Rob in CT

        Reversed. She said Hillary was more dangerous than Trump.

        • tsam

          Ok, good.

          “SEALs–stand down.”

        • MPAVictoria

          Oops….

          Yeah that is what I meant

          /Yikes what a typo

    • RT is a state propaganda outlet for a foreign power. The Green Party could and should have found a better outlet, even if that amounts to recording the debate themselves and releasing the video on YouTube.

    • djw

      She has every right to campaign for votes though.

      Indeed, her decision to partner with Putin’s propagandists is an exercise of her right to freedom of association. But unless you’ve got Sarah Palin’s secret constitution, the exercise of a right doesn’t imply she ought to be immune to criticism for it.

      If you see something in Erik’s post or the linked article suggesting she did not or should not have the right to conduct her campaign, you should probably point it out. Otherwise, you’re not saying anything.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Clearly if NBC did not give her a platform, the only alternative was a Russian government propaganda network that is actively working to undermine her own country’s interests.

    • ColBatGuano

      Maybe she could have gotten The Daily Stormer to help as well.

  • witlesschum

    Doug Henwood the podcaster and Doug Henwood the twitter personality and author are different people. That is the only sensible explanation for any of this.

    • Solar System Wolf

      For some reason I’ve been under the misapprehension that Doug Henwood was a stage magician. No?

      • witlesschum

        Why not?

      • Lurking Canadian

        On the outside chance that my snarkometer doesn’t need adjustment, the name of Canada’s greatest stage magician/politician was Henning.

        • Solar System Wolf

          Oh, thanks. That was bothering me.

  • Nick never Nick

    There are a few alternative news sites that I read — Zero Hedge and The Automatic Earth (both of which are kind of alt-financial or financial doomers, with zero hedge favouring conspiracy theories as well), and Naked Capitalism — and all of these have turned strangely, and obsequiously, pro-Russian. It’s really weird. The Automatic Earth, which is edited by someone who used to write about Peak Oil, and seems to care somewhat about human rights and environmental issues, actually wrote some fawning statement about Tillerson being criticized by neo-cons for his Russia views, and stated the equivalent of “Tillerson knows what he is doing.” (Can’t check at work.)

    It was very strange, as if Tillerson is someone those blogs have supported for a long time, know well, and trust. I don’t understand why all of this pro-Russian sentiment has suddenly appeared on blogs that, prior to Trump, didn’t particularly support Russia in any sense (though many of them would discuss Russia at times, from various perspectives).

    Have other people noticed this? Is this a function of people whose basic outlook is paranoia sticking with that? Or is it people whose politics favour chaos gravitating towards the most likely agent of that? What the hell is going on?

    • humanoid.panda

      Have other people noticed this? Is this a function of people whose basic outlook is paranoia sticking with that? Or is it people whose politics favour chaos gravitating towards the most likely agent of that? What the hell is going on?

      Yes to all questions. Russian propaganda is really well-attuned to the emotional needs of far-leftists, far-rightists, and general cranks, because it captures their common denominators: hatred of the liberal world order.

      • Nick never Nick

        I’m not convinced that this fills an ideological need, so much as an emotional one. My sense of what’s going on in America now (as estimated from Canada), is that it’s driven by feelings and not ideology. What I find destablizing, personally, is the sense of sudden consensus forming around issues that have always been considered fringe. I felt the same way when online, feelings hardened so quickly between the Clinton and Sanders communities.

        It’s just really damned strange — when did the memo go out, for example, that Tillerson represents a strong, wise hand at the tiller? Or even more stupidly, Trump? Shouldn’t people whose fundamental orientation is skepticism be able to see the giant baboon hand waving in front of their faces? Who would lavish praise on the head of Exxon without feeling stupid, especially someone with experience in ecology and oil economics?

        • humanoid.panda

          I’m not convinced that this fills an ideological need, so much as an emotional one

          This is why I said “emotional needs” :-)

          • humanoid.panda

            Who would lavish praise on the head of Exxon without feeling stupid, especially someone with experience in ecology and oil economics?

            FWIW, my feelings on Tillerson are mixed. He wouldn’t be in my top 50 nominee list, but he does have international experience, and does not seem to be an ideologue/conspiracy monger. I can see the argument he is among the least harmful nominees Trump could nominate.

            • Nick never Nick

              I agree with this too — but this is very far from the sort of Big Daddy confidence that he’s receiving; both the content and the tone.

              What it reminded me of more than anything else was how Andrew Sullivan would write about Dick Cheney, early on in Bush’s first term. I wonder if he’s deleted the post where he rambles on about how he just wanted to curl up on the rug at Cheney’s feet and purr?

              Edit: I suppose it’s possible not everyone here is familiar with that particular post, it simply stuck with me as the stupidest possible comment on politics, in this or any other world, and I still recall it clearly.

            • rea

              He knows where Russia is, anyway. That’s unusual among Republicans.

            • witlesschum

              FWIW, my feelings on Tillerson are mixed. He wouldn’t be in my top 50 nominee list, but he does have international experience, and does not seem to be an ideologue/conspiracy monger. I can see the argument he is among the least harmful nominees Trump could nominate.

              Rational evil rather than irrational evil is probably about the best we can hope for from a Trump foreign policy person.

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                I can’t imagine working for Trump who is so devoid of any fixed political positions. How could you possibly represent someone when you must know that you have no idea what he’s going to say, and even after he says it, he’s likely to say something different in a few days?

                In almost 50 years I’ve worked for some pretty disfunctional companies but none were anywhere close to what Trump is like.

          • Nick never Nick

            Yeh, you’re right . . . I was reacting to ‘liberal world order’ which kind of implies political thought, but on reading closely, it really doesn’t.

          • You’ve got to learn not to be so subtle.

            • Nick never Nick

              If they really cared, it would have been in all-caps.

              • The browser world went all to hell when the <blink> tag was deprecated.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          I think it isn’t so much a memo going out as people cobbling together rationalizations for, yeah, their emotional decisions: “I didn’t trust Clinton, so I voted for Trump because he’d shake things up and I think a serious businessman like Tillerson will be a steadying influence on Trump so he doesn’t shake up the wrong things” and so on. It all starts to come apart if you look at it closely and coldly, but for the moment it gets them by

          • humanoid.panda

            Right. If there is one thing we know is that people join parties first, and form their opinions second. So, if one decides to vote Trump for ostensibly leftist reasons, one needs to craft a worldview that will rationalize it.

      • Sly

        Yes to all questions. Russian propaganda is really well-attuned to the emotional needs of far-leftists, far-rightists, and general cranks, because it captures their common denominators: hatred of the liberal world order.

        Having 80+ years of experience doing this also helps.

    • AdamPShort

      I read Yves every day and i don’t think this is fair to him. I haven’t read anything”pro-Russia” on Naked Capitalism that i can recall. Being skeptical of CIA rumors about Russia leaking material through WikiLeaks is not the same as being pro-Russia any more than skepticism about CIA rumors about Saddam’nicked weapons program is the same as being pro-Saddam. Fine of you think the skepricism isn’t warranted, but many people who have no love of Russia or Putin don’t believe Russia was the source of the DNC leaks.

      • humanoid.panda

        Fine of you think the skepricism isn’t warranted, but many people who have no love of Russia or Putin don’t believe Russia was the source of the DNC leaks.

        Given that Russia is only perfunctory denying it, while all but doing a touchdown dance, should cue you in that that the only reason you don’t believe it was the Russians is because you don’t want to.

        • AdamPShort

          I mean, I’m willing to entertain this. I don’t have this chauvanistic view that i am insulated from this type of bias. I do wonder WHY i don’t want to believe it. I can’t figure out the source of the bias.

          What is the evidence that Russia is the source of the leak to WikiLeaks? I have seen a lot of evidence that Russian agents hacked the DNC bit no evidence those hacks were the source of the leaks.

          The only actual evidence I’ve seen on this subject is Craig Murray, who of course could be lying. But his claim that the source of the leaks was an American with legal access to the documents is AFAIK unrebutted.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I have seen a lot of evidence that Russian agents hacked the DNC bit no evidence those hacks were the source of the leaks.

            1. Occam’s razor. If you believe Russia did the hacking, why do you need a second group to release the info to Wikileaks?

            2. Russia clearly favored Trump over Clinton. The leaks furthered their ambitions.

            3. Supposed hackers have announced they’re “retiring” now that Clinton lost. Real hackers just move on to the next target. These people are political operatives using hacking as a method to achieve their ends. Hard to believe they’re not being paid. I spent some years in fairly left wing areas in the 70s and 80s, and the joke was that you could always tell the Communists because they were the ones who could afford the fancy print jobs.

            • AdamPShort

              1. I don’t really see how either competing story rests on more assumptions than the other. Craig Murray claims that the material was leaked to him by a disgruntled Democrat. The NSA claims that it was leaked electronically by Russian operatives. One of those stories is true and the other is false but neither rests on unfounded assumptions really.

              2. The fact that Putin wanted Trump to win is not, in fact, evidence that the DNC leak was the work of Russian operatives. It is a reason to suspect the Russians. It is not evidence.

              3. Are you talking about the Shadow Brokers? They have nothing to do with the DNC hacks, except that Snowden speculated once that their publicly announcing their 2013 hack of the NSA might be intended to scare the NSA off of blaming Russia for the DNC hacks. This is conspiratorial thinking, believing that two things must be connected because you connected them in your mind. ShadowBrokers “retirement” is not evidence of anything.

      • Nick never Nick

        Naked Capitalism publishes frequent blowhard articles from a Russian-based American journalist arguing that the evidence linking the downing of the passenger airline over the Ukraine does not point to Russia or the Russian-armed insurgents. They moderate comments on these articles to delete criticism.

        ‘Yves’ is the pen name of a woman.

        Who are the people who think the DNC leaks came from elsewhere? I haven’t seen any plausible evidence, of any kind, that suggests someone else did it; at most there is skepticism that the evidence seen so far implicates Russia.

        • Nick never Nick

          Go to Naked Capitalism and search for MH17 — you’ll find the following titles (no URLs, to escape moderation):

          “Four MH17 questions the answers to which prove the Dutch police, Ukrainian Secret Service, and US government are faking the evidence of the MH17 shootdown.”

          “Australian police, Dutch prosecutors, break with Dutch safety board at first coroners court inquest on MH17 crash.”

          “Australian and Dutch officials lose control.”

          “Dutch safety boards Tjibbe Joustra on MH17 — absence of evidence is not absence of evidence.”

          “What ambulance-chasing lawyers reveal about the MH17 shootdown — insufficient evidence for prosecution in any national or international court.”

          “MH17 — the lie to end all truths and new evidence.”

          “MH17 — Inadmissable evidence.”

          “The Dutch prepare missile attack on Moscow.”

          • humanoid.panda

            My favorite thing about the “Russia is just responding to Western encirclement” people is that they have pretend as though the countries like the Netherlands, Estonia, or even Germany (a huge proportion of whose army suffers from obesity) are aggressive military powers.

            • NoMoreMaltedCenter

              What do you mean “miss”?

              • humanoid.panda

                Here is the thing: those bases don’t contain that many soldiers. The American beef up of forces in the Baltic that is getting Putin butthear includes a whopping reinforced infantry battalion. The Polish army, which Americans are reinforcing has 77,000 soldiers. The American troops in Poland, sent there for the first time ever, are a 3,500 large contingent, not quite enough to have “hundreds of Abramses.” These troops can’t serve any military purpose but be a tripwire for Russian invasion.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to register a complaint!

                • humanoid.panda

                  So, what is exactly the threat NATO bases represent to Russia?

                • Nick never Nick

                  Then how can having military bases around Russia possibly be important? Have you ever heard Canada whining about the American military bases close to the Canadian border?

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  So, what is exactly the threat NATO bases represent to Russia?

                  We’re closin’ for lunch.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Are you seriously arguing that American power projection is fine anywhere as long as its intent is defensive?

                  Are you seriously arguing that a defensive fosture is threatening?

        • AdamPShort

          Ah ok fair point. I haven’t looked much at those MH17 articles as they aren’t well written. But isn’t that old news? It signed like you were talking about a more recent turn.

          I didn’t know Yves was actually Susan! Interesting!

          • Nick never Nick

            And look at today’s headline in Naked — it contains the assumption, which is apparently so obvious as to not need defending, that the main problem going on right now is that the CIA is trying to blackmail Trump in a sort of coup, with fake Russian material.

      • Nick never Nick

        In moderation, paraphrased below.

    • FlipYrWhig

      What the hell is going on?

      They egg each other on. They’re picking up stuff from the Greenwald set about Deep State this and Empire that, and they admire anyone who’s willing to gore the ox. Also, all of those entities absorb the logic of trolls, such that the more they upset people, they harder they dig in, because convention and normality are the enemy.

    • Bruce B.

      It’s not just you, I’ve seen this same sudden pro-Russia turn. I do think it’s it’s people following the simple logic of hating “neoliberal” Democrats that much, and a bit of regaining youthful thrills of sticking it to the (wo)Man, in the case of older folks.

      • NoMoreMaltedCenter

        Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

  • Mike in DC

    Missing Saint Glenn from that list. Not really left but feted by them.

    • petesh

      Not really left — sure, but I’d also say that many of the soi-disant left are not as left as they think they are.

      • NoMoreMaltedCenter

        Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

  • Nick never Nick

    I’ve decided that the term ‘useful idiot’ is too kind by far, it’s time to go back to the straightforward ‘idiot’; or if it needs qualifying, the more honest ‘useless idiot’.

    • ASV

      “Tool” works.

  • Nick never Nick

    Also, just for the heck of it, because sometimes the hardest thing to see is the mailed fist shaking under your nose — what are the chances that the actual event taking place, as we watch, is an alliance of the White Powers against the Chinese?

  • D.N. Nation

    I liked Doug Henwood getting huffy at Digby of all people. If Heather Parton is too neolib for you, I don’t think we make pills for your ills.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Like Erik, I like a lot of Doug’s work on subjects he actually knows something about, but he might have the highest can dish it out/can take it ratio of any American public intellectual except Freddie.

      • NoMoreAltCenter

        Translation: He disagrees with me that the highest priority in the universe for the entire Left is to elect Democrats year in and year out

        • ColBatGuano

          Your hot take is more like a steaming dump.

  • Aaron Morrow

    Not to mention the laziness of the meme; Chait was pushing Clinton Cash back in Spring 2015.

  • NoMoreMaltedCenter

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

    • Nick never Nick

      “Useful Idiots’ was a term used by the Russians (not, evidently, Lenin, to whom it’s often attributed), and it has always referred to naive people who support an extremist political program because they think it will achieve their own ends. It’s not a reactionary term in US politics.

      • NoMoreMaltedCenter

        No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

        • Nick never Nick

          Strains credulity, has citations, 6 of one, half a dozen of the other — what are you going to do? Evidence so hard to weigh, especially in foreign languages, and who trusts experts?

          It’s not reactionary at all — it’s a critique of centrists who support extremists, equally applicable to Log Cabin Republicans, Rockefeller Republicans, democratic socialists who support Pol Pot, etc.

          • NoMoreMaltedCenter

            Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

            • Nick never Nick

              I’d say that this comment suggests you are someone who knows a lot of facts, but isn’t coping very well with a CPU that’s not functioning at all. But who knows?

              Good luck!

              • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn’it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

                • Nick never Nick

                  I have long held that a willingness to accept the testimony of authorities on subjects I don’t understand, and a belief in the virtue of citations, underpins American imperialism. Forward, ye massed ranks of philologists!

                  Like I said, man, the CPU — get it looked at.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  ‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                Didn’t NMAC get banned for being super racist? Or was that someone else?

                -Bartlet

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

                • brad

                  You are such a VICTIM. You poor, misunderstood, put upon little boy, or girl, who’s merely ranting incoherently with words you don’t really understand because the mean ole establishment DNC of LGM commenters doesn’t let you define ideological purity regarding matters that actually exist outside how you want to see yourself.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

                • brad

                  Please, learn English and get back to us.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

                • brad

                  Keep carping about it and maybe.

          • humanoid.panda

            Heartbreaking as its the troll has a point here: the terms useful idiots was used as derogatory term in 19th century Russia, but not by the Bolsheviks. What they did use was the term fellow travelers (попутчики), meaning people you could exploit until they were no longer useful.

            • NoMoreMaltedCenter

              All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) ‘Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I’ve got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show…(owner hits the cage)

            • Rob in CT

              None of that adds up to the idiot having a point.

              Nick:

              “Useful Idiots’ was a term used by the Russians (not, evidently, Lenin, to whom it’s often attributed), and it has always referred to naive people who support an extremist political program because they think it will achieve their own ends. It’s not a reactionary term in US politics.

              Nick said, right from the outset, that it was not actually Lenin’s term and nothing in his comment says it was used by Bolsheviks.

              Idiot’s response:

              It strains credulity to believe that the Russians actually used the term, any more than the idea that the US would refer to its covert supporters in derogatory terms.

              But as you’ve pointed out, the Russians (not Bolsheviks, Russians, like Nick said) used the term in the 19th century.

              The responses from the idiot actually managed to make less sense from there.

              • Nick never Nick

                Thank you — I’m not sure why I’ve decided to spend part of my Friday afternoon arguing with a dishonest idiot. Thoughts?

                • Rob in CT

                  You and I suffer from the same affliction, clearly. I can’t explain it either.

                • so-in-so

                  “Someone is wrong on the internet!”

              • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                There, he moved!

                • Nick never Nick

                  Look at what I wrote — it contains an obscure hieroglyph known as a ‘comma’, (see, I used one right there) which indicates that ‘extremist political program’ does not have to be restricted to the object of the clause before it.

                  However, your comment suggests also that you think ‘extremist political program’ is something that was unknown in Russia prior to 1917. If that is the case, you might want to look up an obscure figure of Russian history known as ‘tsar’ or ‘czar’.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  No, he didn’t, that was you hitting the cage!

        • brad

          Your credulity is neither well attuned nor an actual limit on the world.
          N also, yeah, you don’t understand what carped means.

    • Rob in CT

      Speaking of useful idiots.

      By the way, carping is complaining. You carp about something (say, the election result). You do not “carp for” something/one.

      • NoMoreMaltedCenter

        I never!!

        • Rob in CT

          LOL. Word salad.

          • NoMoreMaltedCenter

            I never!!

    • D.N. Nation

      I attack people like you not because you’re on the left, but because I am.

    • Why hello, NoMoreAltCenter. Fancy seeing you here again.

      Stop attacking the Left (which you need to win elections)

      Apparently we are no longer allowed to criticize anyone on the left for anything at all: that’s attacking THE left.

      “Useful idiots” is straight out of Cold War conservatism.

      Any term ever used by a conservative is verboten. “Freedom”, for example, is mere propaganda, so that’s also no reason to oppose Trump, or Putin.

      This blog needs to stop losing its mind in general

      A concern troll is in our midst

  • mkadel

    Sadly, with the current hot house atmosphere, can’t say I’m surprised a front-pager posted something as reactionary, as sleazy as this. You’d think guilt by association is something liberals would be weary of. Does Erik, does anyone, have an argument? Obviously you can’t show that Stein, Henwood, et al are Russian-influenced or outright agents, much as the Kremlinologists in the comment section here wish to believe it; and it’s dubious to say that Stein swung the election (and insane to say the same of Henwood or the Nation). I guess Erik’s gist is: substantive criticism of the Dem Party makes you a defacto Putinite and defacto treasonous.

    I suppose it’s a necessary assumption for writers and pundits to believe that peoples’ minds are amorphous blobs brought rigidly to shape by the first printed words they encounter — and maybe that’s how the commenters here understand themselves. But it’s more likely the case that whomever was receptive to left Hillary criticism was already to some degree skeptical of Hillary and the Democratic Party. Most likely of all, and Erik might find this especially mind blowing, but statistically it’s true, a person, as an adult, could think, consume and agree with left Hillary criticism, and yet vote for her still.

    Perhaps a historian (not Erik, apparently) can trace the long sequence of events and various historical currents that laid the stage for present-day left dissent (which vivified the Bernie campaign and sustains enterprises like Henwood’s, not the other way around). In the meantime, I guess we can expect more liberal thought-policing, red-baiting and perverse great man theorizing that puts Putin at the center of all U.S. domestic activity.

    • NoMoreAltCenter

      Loomis basically lost his mind over Trump’s election, and it isn’t pretty.

      • If you didn’t lose your mind over the election of a fascist, you are the problem.

        • NoMoreAltCenter

          If you think the solution to fascism is Left Punching, you are much more of a problem.

          • Where “left punching” = “criticizing the left assisting the election of a fascist by liberal punching”

            Very useful analysis there

            • brad

              Give him a tiny bit of credit, at least he didn’t call it hippie punching. Hippies, after all, claimed to care about other people.

              • tsam

                He just doesn’t want to give the game away too early. Per Hogan: Never let your opponent see your chess pieces.

      • NoMoreAltCenter is parroting the propaganda of right-wing authoritarians, and that’s ugly as hell

        • NoMoreAltCenter

          Where?

          • Folks like Kellyanne Conway saying “the Dems are just talking about Russian interference in the election ‘cos they’re sore losers, because they can’t get over being beaten…move along, nothing to see here!” That kind of thing. And here you are, saying the same kind of thing.

            Oh, and equating criticism with attacks on personal freedoms- also very much an authoritarian right-wing trope. Remember, you said “you must stop attacking the left”, because criticism of any leftist ever for any reason is an attack on “the left”.

            I believe that particular call for silencing criticism has now been replaced by something more entertaining – an excerpt from the “Dead Parrot” sketch.

            Authoritarian thinking on the left does in many ways resemble that on the right, I’d say.

    • brad

      Yes, you might indeed need for a historian to teach you what “red-baiting” actually fucking means.
      Hint; it’s not about schilling for authoritarian, reactionary foreign powers.

      • NoMoreMaltedCenter

        ‘Ello, miss?

        • brad

          I know, words is hard.

          • NoMoreMaltedCenter

            I never, never did anything…

            • brad

              Alright, yeah, I did do that. Almost like you’re not worth taking seriously, what with the dismissing reality for what makes you feel good about yourself.

              • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) ‘ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

                (Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

                Now that’s what I call a dead parrot.

                • brad

                  Kid, no, seriously, get over yourself. I made a typo while laughing at you. My mistake, which I acknowledged. Your turn.

    • Nick never Nick

      I think it’s much simpler — Erik is arguing one of two things:

      1) that Stein is an idiot, whose pursuit of her own confused political goals has advanced the clear goals of actors who are inimical to her preferred outcomes.

      2) that Stein is an idiot, who has confused the goals of dishonest political actors who share an opponent with her, with her own goals.

      Since Erik has never argued that Bush, McCain, or the Green Party vice presidential candidate (all of whom criticized the Democratic party) are Putinites, that accusation doesn’t make any sense. If this was the criteria, David Brooks would be a Putinite, Black Lives Matter would be Putinites, Eric himself would be a Putinite.

      Your second paragraph is weird.

      There are about two, maybe four, real Communist countries left in the world. Russia isn’t one. How can ‘red baiting’ even come into this conversation?

      • NoMoreMaltedCenter

        “can ‘red baiting’ even come into this conversation?”

        No, no…..No, ‘e’s stunned!

        • Nick never Nick

          What do you mean, ‘subjectively’ — that you feel Clinton supporters do this, but you’ve never seen it and can’t identify it?

          Show me evidence that Russia is seen as a ‘non-specific but definitely alien ideological ‘other’.’ Leftists aren’t mystified by a typical authoritarian state.

          • NoMoreMaltedCenter

            “What do you mean, ‘subjectively’ — that you feel Clinton supporters do this, but you’ve never seen it and can’t identify it?”

            STUNNED?!?

            • Nick never Nick

              If you’ve seen it, why is it subjective? Here’s the definition:

              subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

              ‘Reactionary’ does not equal “‘non-specific, but definitely alien ideological ‘other'”. Are you sure you know what these words mean?

              • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                If you’ve seen it, why is it subjective? Here’s the definition:

                Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

                • Nick never Nick

                  So why, when I asked you what was ‘subjective’, you responded (and I quote): “No, I’ve seen it.”?

                  That has nothing to do with what Clinton supporters feel, or what decade they’re stuck in.

                  You don’t know the meaning of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’, do you? That’s weird, for someone so conversant with the Frankfurt School, and Russian philology.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

                  Please argue in a more interesting way or stop trying to get the last word.

                • tsam

                  Because people stuck in the 80’s have truthy feelings that Putin is still somehow a commie or crypto-commie

                  What the fuck does that have to do with us? We’re mad about Russian interference in our election and we don’t like Putin because he’s a cruel, autocratic asshole who murders dissenters and journalists.

                  I don’t think you really have any idea what you’re talking about.

                • Nick never Nick

                  I’m just trying to figure out what you meant by ‘No, I’ve seen it.’

                  That was your answer explaining why you used the term ‘subjective’. I mean, it’s not the last word I want — I’d just like to know what you intended? You keep throwing out stuff about Russia, Putin, red-baiting, etc. None of this pertains to ‘No, I’ve seen it.’

                  I’m just asking because I think it’s weird — ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ are pretty-well understood words, really. And even though you seem so intelligent, the way you’re writing makes it appear that you don’t know how to use them correctly.

                • NoMoreMaltedCenter

                  Well, he’s…he’s, ah…probably pining for the fjords.

                • tsam

                  Somebody was wrong on the internet therefore all of you are wrong on the internet. K.

                • djw

                  It is objectively incorrect to refer to Putinite Russia as communist. If, however, you have subjective feelings that he is a Communist or crypto-communist

                  It appears our troll thinks “subjective” is a synonym for “factually incorrect”. Odd.

    • Redbaiting?

      I was unaware Russia was a communist nation in 2017.

      I realize there are certain parts of the left that still see foreign policy as if it was 1971, a time when it didn’t make any sense to support the Soviet Union either, but whatever. At least the facts were correct that the USSR was communist.

      • mkadel

        Here’s the rhetorical move in the article that you think is good:

        “Moscow’s attempts to cultivate America’s far-left long predate the presidency of Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin, according to available evidence, donated more funds per capita to the U.S. Communist Party than any other communist claque during the Soviet period, when Moscow’s intelligence operations against the “main adversary” involved recruiting agents of influence and spies of a progressive background who were sympathetic to the Soviet cause. But the past 18 months have seen a noted spike in information warfare aimed at gulling the Bernie Bros and Occupy-besotted alternative-media set, which saw Clinton as more of a political danger than it did Trump.”

        Yes, Russia isn’t communist — good point. Obtuse literalism is a handy thing to hide behind. In other contexts, you’d have no problem seeing through rhetorical gambits that rely on longstanding historical/cultural associations and overtones in order to tarnish some unrelated thing in a certain sort of way. But then, I have my doubts about the scrupulous honesty of the piece and the motives of the writer and publisher!

        • NoMoreAltCenter

          If this was Twitter, I would retweet this with a few fire emojis.

          But, +1

        • rhetorical gambits that rely on longstanding historical/cultural associations and overtones in order to tarnish some unrelated thing in a certain sort of way.

          Can you provide some actual examples of people who are in no way related to or supportive of Russian interests who are being smeared with “guilt by association” in this article?

          All the examples I have seen are of people who have actually made pro-Russia statements, with examples.

    • Aexia

      Red-baiting is implying your support of, say, universal healthcare means you’re sympathetic to the Soviets.

      Red-baiting is *not* pointing out that a lot of the purity left is happy to parrot propaganda from an ethnonationalist authoritarian.

    • I suppose it’s a necessary assumption for writers and pundits to believe that peoples’ minds are amorphous blobs brought rigidly to shape by the first printed words they encounter

      (to the tune of “Soul Man”)

      It’s a straw man
      It’s a straw man
      It’s a straw man (come on!)
      It’s a straw man

      it’s more likely the case that whomever was receptive to left Hillary criticism was already to some degree skeptical of Hillary and the Democratic Party.

      How this is a rebuttal to either Erik or the linked article is unclear. If people were receptive to criticisms of Clinton it does not follow that these criticisms were justified, based in fact, or not the product of a propaganda campaign encouraged by a foreign power.

      Indeed, an effective propaganda campaign is one that targets the people most likely to be receptive to such appeals.

      I guess we can expect more liberal thought-policing, red-baiting and perverse great man theorizing that puts Putin at the center of all U.S. domestic activity.

      So, we’ve gone from one person saying we’re not allowed to criticize any “leftist” ever, to another accusing those who criticize leftists of being anti-free speech meanies, because criticism equals repression.

      perverse great man theorizing that puts Putin at the center of all U.S. domestic activity.

      Let’s hear it again! All together now!

      (to the tune of “Soul Man”)

      It’s a straw man
      It’s a straw man
      It’s a straw man (come on!)
      It’s a straw man

  • Mart

    I listen to Russian scholar Stephen Cohen (Prof at NYU) on Thom Hartman’s radio show. At first I found his discourse very interesting. Then it felt weird. Yesterday seemed like pure propaganda for dear leaders Putin and Trump.

    So dear Comrades, I looked him up on the Google. Russia scholar Stephen Cohen is married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the progressive magazine The Nation, where he is also a contributing editor.

    Also too, Hartman is on RT TV. So there is that, dear Comrades.

    • Vance Maverick

      Yes, he’s been known around here (and similar places) as a blight on the Nation for a while. It’s very strange.

      • pillsy

        Cohen is a hipster authoritarian douchebag.

        He was making intellectually and morally bankrupt excuses for Putin before it was cool. Before it was a scene, man.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Yeah I was reading him in the Nation a few years ago wondering what the hell his deal was.

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          He wasn’t always authoritarian – he was fairly critical of the USSR – but he went the bend after Putin first became president.

  • brad

    The thing that fascinates and frustrates me is that these folk are so goddamn certain of themselves. They’re supporting an authoritarian klepocrat who murders journalists and opposition figures, invades other countries, scapegoats homosexuals, foreign nationals, and ethnic minorities for support at home, while depending almost entirely on fossil fuels for what remains of an economy, but they’re the true leftists.
    It’s almost like the irrational displays being put on here and across the internet are self serving attempts to fool themselves.

    • NoMoreAltCenter

      I think most Leftists are convinced that the Dems are using social liberal values as a means of convincing the soft Left in the US to support a ramping of tensions with Putin. (Just as they have done with Islamic threats)

      The citizen’s duty is to be most critical of his own government’s imperialist designs.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        The citizen’s duty is to be most critical of his own government’s imperialist designs.

        The citizen’s duty is to protect the most vulnerable among us.

        • NoMoreAltCenter

          The most vulnerable people are the people who don’t have the world’s largest military defending their borders and, often, happen to be sitting on oil reserves

          • I’m all for being critical of US foreign intervention where warranted, but I fail to see how supporting Russia does anything for those people you mention.

            • NoMoreAltCenter

              You can dislike Putin without supporting the slow beating of war drums against him. It isn’t that hard people.

              • You can dislike Putin without supporting the slow beating of war drums against him.

                Who’s calling for war against Russia? Once more from the top!

                (To the rune of “Soul Man”)

                It’s a straw man
                It’s a straw man
                It’s a straw man…

      • brad

        So in other words, you don’t care about who he is and what his policies are, or who suffers for them, so long as it gives you a position you can pretend is anti-imperialist and opposed to an antagonism that exists mainly in the Russian press to help keep the Russian public and morons like you united.
        Cool story, bro.

        • tsam

          Well, both sides do it tho, see? It all makes sense if you don’t know very much stuff.

      • Rob in CT

        This is utterly delusional.

        • NoMoreAltCenter

          It sure seems to have worked

          • Rob in CT

            Delusional person thinks his delusions make sense, news at 11.

        • brad

          Look, Putin doesn’t have his own imperialist designs or policies. So there’s no fundamental hypocritical incoherence here. You just don’t believe that opposing one dubiously defined form of political dominance is worth sacrificing principle and (other people’s) lives for, you neolib.

          • NoMoreAltCenter

            So you don’t believe America is an imperialist state?

            • brad

              I think you value self regard and certainty and little else. You certainly are willing to sacrifice a hell of a lot of people who aren’t you in order to feel pure and special.
              If you want imperialist to have meaning, you have to accept Putin is more of one than this American boogeyman you’re posing against. But that wouldn’t make you feel good about yourself, so it cannot be.

              • NoMoreAltCenter

                Putin is an equal imperialist in intent, not capability. The US is the global empire par excellence of our age

                • He invaded Crimea and Ukraine, you sopping twit.

                • brad

                  So Putin’s offering more of the same, only worse, and that’s a good solution. Mhm.

                • tsam

                  He invaded Crimea and Ukraine, you sopping twit.

                  CONTESTED TERRITORIES–THIS HAS HISTORICAL PRECEDENTS WITH LOTS OF HAPPY ENDINGS

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  “He invaded Crimea and Ukraine, you sopping twit.”

                  Countries close to him, as opposed to massive countries a world away like the US did

                • tsam

                  Countries close to him, as opposed to massive countries a world away like the US did

                  Oh–well that’s completely different.

                  So if the USA had invaded Mexico only, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

            • Rob in CT

              Look, just admit it. You are happy Trump won because you see the US government as the enemy and hope that Trump will fuck up and harm the US.

              A weakened US is less capable of being an imperial power and, therefore, all is justified.

              [Of course, having a naked authoritarian become chief executive of this incredibly powerful imperial state is just fine, and the decline of said imperial state will go super smoothly. It’ll all work out in the end, and then there will be leftist utopia. At least you stopped the liberals!]

              • NoMoreAltCenter

                I am not happy Trump won. Quit being an intellectual coward.

              • ColBatGuano

                No, he’s happy Putin’s stooge won. It just happens to be Trump.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  Intellectual honesty not your thing, huh?

            • I don’t believe that supporting Trump and the Putin regime, and spouting their propaganda is a good way of opposing American imperialism. I don’t believe that telling people to shut about possible Russian involvement in a U.S. election, thus helping to impose a reactionary right-wing regime in Washington DC, is a good way to oppose U.S. imperialism. I don’t believe that supporting another country’s imperial ambitions is principled opposition to imperialism.

            • NoMoreAltCenter says:
              January 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm

              “He invaded Crimea and Ukraine, you sopping twit.”

              Countries close to him, as opposed to massive countries a world away like the US did

              So the US would totes be within its rights to invade Cuba, is that what I hear you saying?

              • NoMoreAltCenter

                No. Pay attention to context. I contended that Putin was equal in imperialist intent, but infinitely weaker militarily. Russia doesn’t have the capabilities to exert its will that the US has.

                • So what exactly is your point? The fact that Russia is a weaker military power than the US is not an argument in Russia’s favor, nor is it an argument for implying that Russian imperialism is OK because the US has more military power.

                  Nor, indeed, is it an argument against the idea that Russia has been playing games with US politics. In fact, it makes sense for Russia to do that, since it is weaker militarily. I get that. I just don’t see the point in thinking it’s not a problem for US politics to have that happening.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  I never argued Russia was better. You assumed that was what I was doing so you could keep strawmanning.

                • No, NoMoreAltCenter. That won’t do at all. Let me reiterate:

                  I asked “what is your point?”.

                  Then I said, if your point is x, y, or z, Russia’s being a lesser military power than the US supports none of them.

                  Instead of answering my question you got defensive about my mentioning x, y, and z as points you might possibly be making.

                  How can you say they are ‘straw men’ when you will not even say what point you are actually making? Why are you unable to answer my question? Does it suit you to remain elusive?

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  Nope. I was describing the world situation.

                  You came in and asked “What is your point” because the point I made didn’t advance the argument you incorrectly assumed I was making. Try again.

                • Still you do not answer my question. Presumably you were describing the world situation in the service of some point you were making, or was it like describing the weather – just a way of being social?

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  “Putin is an equal imperialist in intent, not capability. The US is the global empire par excellence of our age”

                  Was my original, accurate point.

                • ColBatGuano

                  It’s just as stupid the second time.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  Are you 7 years old?

                • “Putin is an equal imperialist in intent, not capability. The US is the global empire par excellence of our age”

                  And so? What I was asking was, what point that particular observation (which I don’t dispute) is that in aid of?

                  Bearing in mind that you have spent the last hour or so arguing here that any concern about Russian involvement in US politics, or disagreement with people speaking in support of Russian imperialism in the name of opposing US imperialism) is wrong, wrong, wrong, it is hardly a surprise that people put two and two together and proceed on the assumption that are using this observation to support arguments that you have made earlier.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  And so? What I was asking was, what point that particular observation (which I don’t dispute) is that in aid of?

                  I was replying to brad’s strawman that I thought Putin was innocent of Imperialism and was only criticizing the US and Slay Queen out of purity pony-ism.

              • I think brad did conclude from your statements that you are arguing that criticisms of Putin are warmongering because the US is the bigger imperialist power. Which is basically what you said.

      • “I think most Leftists are convinced that the Dems are using social liberal values as a means of convincing the soft Left in the US to support a ramping of tensions with Putin.”

        Marking this down as the stupidest thing I’ve read this week. There are 33 more hours for that to change.

        (I mean, unless the point is to say that “most Leftists” are nincompoops, which may be true.)

        • brad

          Not wanting to be beaten and jailed for being gay is just more centrist Dem identity politics. Who really cares?

          • NoMoreAltCenter

            It is like we are reinventing Neoconservatism right in this thread

            • brad

              You really don’t care what words mean, do you?

              • NoMoreAltCenter

                I used the word correctly.

                • brad

                  Disagreeing with you over whether wholesale abandonment of everything it means to be on the left in order to support one imperialist against another isn’t what it means, sorry.

                • brad

                  Ugh. My net crashed in mid edit. Delete “whether” from that first sentence.

                • Apparently NoMoreAltCenter thinks we’re all trying to start World War Three over gay rights in Russia.

                  Neo-conservatism! Regime change! Identity politics gone amok! Mushroom clouds galore!

                  “We’ll meet again,
                  Don’t know where, don’t know when
                  But we’ll meet again
                  Some sunny day”

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  More accurately, the illiberal social attitudes of Russia are being leveraged to encourage liberal to leftists to support whatever actions the US government wants to take in its great power game with Putin. It reeks of the same shit that was happening circa 2003 on the Left.

                • brad

                  Oy, vey. Disagreeing with you is not a sign that someone thought invading Iraq on transparently false pretenses could be justified as a humanitarian effort, you moron.

                • In short, according to NoMoreAltCenter, any criticism of Russian illiberalism is warmongering, and as such, is forbidden to all good leftists.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  I said “the Left”, not whatever chattering class group you are a part of, brad.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  “In short, according to NoMoreAltCenter, any criticism of Russian illiberalism is warmongering, and as such, is forbidden to all good leftists.”

                  No, I have criticized their illiberalism in this fucking thread. Jesus christ, you people are trying too hard.

                • ColBatGuano

                  And you’re not?

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  Not sure how it is possible to try too hard when 15 people are swarming you simultaneously, each willing to die for Slay Queen

                • brad

                  Being on the left doesn’t mean “whatever reactionary, simplisticly oppositional mash up of half understood or considered terms makes you feel wise and good”. Words aren’t yours to define, you really do need to learn this.

                  And you’re dancing yourself into a very, very empty space.

                • No, I have criticized their illiberalism in this fucking thread.

                  And then you implied that other people’s critiques of the very same thing are neocon justifications for war against Russia.

                  So I suppose it’s OK for some people to criticize Russia, but when others do it, or do it too forcefully, or something (God knows what your point is at this point) they’re beating the drum for war.

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  And then you implied that other people’s critiques of the very same thing are neocon justifications for war against Russia.

                  Yes, two groups of people can criticize the same thing for vastly different reasons.

                • Yes, two groups of people can criticize the same thing for vastly different reasons.

                  Indeed they can. Now, how do we divine people’s motives for such critiques?

                • NoMoreAltCenter

                  Apparently, in this thread, if someone critiques the Dems, we accuse them of being in league with Putin

      • Chetsky

        When did you immigrate here from Russia, NMAC? Must have been recently, eh? You clearly didn’t take your government classes.

        A citizen has a duty to protect the values and functioning of our democracy, and those values include that -our- government works for all of -us-. Sure, it’d be nice if -our- government worked for … say …. the citizens of Somalia. But that’s not the citizen’s first duty.

        Sure, we should be critical of our government’s imperialistic designs. But that’s -firstly- because history (going back, oh, idunno, at least a couple millennia) tells us that empires are bad for the governance of the metropole.

        Wait, am I going to fast for you? Maybe you need to translate this into Russia? I can wait ….

  • Mike in DC

    I’m seeing “alt left” used (on kos, anyway) as an epithet for “leftists” who defend Putin and attack the Democratic party establishment, Clinton and Obama.

  • veleda_k

    I like this new method of troll cleanup.

    • NoMoreAltCenter

      Yeah, it is super intellectually honest. Disagreeing with the general opinion of this blog’s commentariat is “trolling”. Doesn’t make you all look like sheltered loons at all.

      • There are other folks who’ve come here and strongly disagreed with “the general opinion of this blog’s commentariat” without having their comments removed for trollishness. Try again.

        • NoMoreAltCenter

          Nah. It is bspencer doing it because I pissed her off by implying “Bernie Bros” was a cynical election ploy. She did the same thing in the thread the other day.

          • So, you’ve changed your claim. First you say you were treated as a troll because you disagreed with “the general opinion of this blog’s commentariat”. Then, when that doesn’t wash, you claim it’s bspencer getting in a huff because of something you said that totally wasn’t trolling, honest to God.

            You do realize these are two very different claims? Why have you changed your story?

            • NoMoreAltCenter

              You claimed my posts being altered were proof I was a troll, and I countered that they were actually being altered because of personal dislike from bspencer, not for any justifiable reason that would validate your original counter.

              You are really bad at this, btw

    • Abbey Bartlet

      What new method?

      • Replacing the name NoMoreAltCenter with NoMoreMaltCenter AND replacing his more abusive comments with dialogue from Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch.

        A work of art!

        • Abbey Bartlet

          Omg.

          • Origami Isopod

            Indeed. I’m glad I didn’t see this thread until he’d been thoroughly parroted. I’m sure it’s been vastly improved.

        • rachelmap

          I’m still pulling for “I am Groot!”

    • I agree. I love the “Dead Parrot Sketch”

  • SqueakyRat

    Henwood’s book about Hilary was actually pretty good. He hates her, but doesn’t lie about her. (Full disclosure: I voted for her . . .)

  • Brien Jackson

    It’s an odd thing: The general quality of prominent “leftists” is itself the biggest reason “leftists” have no real political influence in America.

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