“At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Once upon a time, there were actual liberals in the United States of America.
This noble breed, now all but extinct, reflexively doubted the unsupported claims of warmongering politicians and America’s serially dishonest intelligence agencies. They viewed with derision dangerously rabid McCarthyites like Roy Cohn, Richard Pipes, William Casey, and Richard Nixon. And they admired Americans like Joseph N. Welch, the chief counsel of the U.S. Army who courageously responded to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt — the witch hunt of a previous era — with the rebuke: “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Indeed, Sen. McCarthy, the raging alcoholic and moral monster, had none. And before long, like the RussiaGating degenerates of today, he was utterly discredited, his wild, ever-changing allegations disintegrated.
Today’s version: “Russia hacked the election… well, no, but they colluded… well, no, but they interfered… well, with a few Facebook ads, possibly… 25% of which were never seen (period)… 56% of which appeared after the election… the majority of which were apolitical in nature… none of which have been linked to the Kremlin… well… well, shit! All we’ve done is help Trump, quash progressives, damage journalism, and help launch the New Cold War.”
Today’s nominal liberals would have Joseph Welch declared a “Kremlin asset” and drummed him out of public life for daring to challenge the dominant narrative of the warmongering far-right. Facebook, Twitter, and Google would have Welch removed from their highly censored, establishment-kowtowing platforms. Some Democratic politicians would demand an investigation of the principled man’s suddenly manufactured “Russian connections,” while others would joke, half-serious, “Can’t we just drone this guy?”
(Now, there’s a fascist for you!)
Today’s liberal class — a group-thinking, jingoist mob — dismisses RussiaGate skeptics out of hand, no matter how distinguished or credible they are. No matter how eloquent, substantive, and authoritative they are. Fingers in their ears, blaring “la la la,” today’s liberals faithfully return to the neoconservative/intelligence agent-staffed echo chambers of MSNBC, CNN, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, and the Koch brother-dominated Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Today’s liberal class prefers the unhinged ravings of Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann to the brilliance of Noam Chomsky and the scholarship of Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen F. Cohen. They follow the late-night punditry of misogynist bigot Bill Maher and partisan parrot Stephen Colbert rather than the acclaimed journalism of Robert Scheer, Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Mate, Robert Parry (RIP), Katrina vanden Heuvel, Chris Hedges, Max Blumenthal, and Seymour Hersh.
And they pooh-pooh the terrifying and well-documented reality that RussiaGate has brought U.S.-Russia relations to an all-time low. Apparently, the growing threat of nuclear Armageddon doesn’t register even the tiniest “blip” on their radars. Nothing does, as long as they can continue fueling their hatred of Donald Trump — on whatever basis, it matters not — as long as they can imagine Trump’s impeachment at the end of the rainbow.
All of this makes today’s “liberals” the most reckless, blithe warmongers in modern U.S. history — more pro-war than the GOP, by far — and far more inclined to believe the corporate media and U.S. intelligence agencies than Republicans are, per recent polling conducted by the Gallup and the Knight Foundation.
Today’s nominal liberals are the new McCarthyites. Every bit as rabidly xenophobic as their predecessors, only draped in the cloak of Identity Politics as well as the flag… even as they routinely champion genocidal neocons, serial racists, and right-wing torture-advocating propagandists like James Comey and Robert Mueller.
It is for these reasons that I have had a falling out with the center-left “Blue No Matter Who” crowd. This falling out has been very painful to me, and costly, in my personal life.
But I refuse to back down or conform.
I remain a liberal in the classic mode: anti-war, skeptical of U.S. intelligence agency pronouncements, dedicated to good journalism and good scholarship, and inclined to subject all sources of information, even those I’ve trusted in the past, to rigorous doubt and unsparing questions.
Perhaps I’m being smug, but I can’t ever picture myself supporting the propaganda of the far-right — David Frum, Max Boot, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Robert Mueller, Wolf Blitzer, Hillary Clinton, Jeffrey Goldberg, Richard Perle, et al.
Not now. Not ever. (As little as I care for the word, those people are downright EVIL.)
And that is why I have endeavored to use this platform to promote the marginalized voices of the reasonable and rational — anti-war activists, progressive politicians, brilliant journalists, and erudite scholars — all of whom have been systematically marginalized and smeared by the “mainstream” media (corporatized and corrupted by the neo-fascist .001%, especially since the passage of the incomparably destructive Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed into law by Bill Clinton).
Because the dangers are real, and they threaten all of our futures.
While I’ve recently quoted the brilliant Noam Chomsky and the incomparable Glenn Greenwald — debunking the ludicrous notion that Trump has governed like “Putin’s puppet” when, in truth, Trump, the malleable, amoral buffoon, has dramatically escalated Washington’s war on Moscow — I’d like to highlight the perspicacious words of a few others today.
1. Here is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Chris Hedges, on the ratcheting up of tensions between Moscow and Washington and the suicidal damage that RussiaGate has inflicted on journalism in America:
“The Trump administration has carried out policies that, rather than serve Russian interests, have further antagonized our relationship with Moscow. It has imposed sanctions. It is openly attempting to overthrow the government of a country that Russia supports, Venezuela. It is attempting to block the sale of Russian natural gas to Europe. It has sold weapons to Ukraine, a foe of the Kremlin. It has armed insurgents in Syria and carried out airstrikes, even as Russian troops seek to prop up the Syrian regime. It has withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. But facts matter little to Russian-conspiracy theorists.
“It is not only Trump who has obliterated the line between fact and fiction. It is the press. It hyped and reported allegations it never investigated or confirmed. And by doing this, repeating failures of the kind that appeared in its coverage of the invasion of Iraq, it has committed suicide. A nation that lacks a functioning press becomes a tyranny. This is not Trump’s fault, but our own.”
2. And here’s celebrated journalist Matt Taibbi, discussing the massive damage that RussiaGate has done to journalism:
“We won’t know how much of any of this to take seriously until the press gets out of bed with the security services and looks at this whole series of events all over again with fresh eyes, as journalists, not political actors. That means being open to asking what went wrong with this story, in addition to focusing so much energy on Trump and Russia.
“The WMD mess had massive real-world negative impact, leading to over a hundred thousand deaths and trillions in lost taxpayer dollars. Unless Russiagate leads to a nuclear conflict, we’re unlikely to ever see that level of consequence.
“Still, Russiagate has led to unprecedented cooperation between the government and Internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, all of which are censoring pages on the left, right, and in between in the name of preventing the “sowing of discord.” The story also had a profound impact on the situation in places like Syria, where Russian and American troops have sat across the Euphrates River from one another, two amped-up nuclear powers at a crossroads.”
3. And finally, here’s Princeton University’s Prof. Stephen F. Cohen (only America’s preeminent scholar on Russia) detailing RussiaGate’s drastic erosion of U.S.-Russia relations:
“The new US-Russian Cold War is more dangerous than was its 40-year predecessor that the world survived. The chances are even greater that this one could result, inadvertently or intentionally, in actual war between the two nuclear superpowers. Herein lies another ominous indication. During the preceding Cold War, the possibility of nuclear catastrophe was in the forefront of American mainstream political and media discussion, and of policy-making. During the new one, it rarely seems to be even a concern.”
Prof. Cohen continues:
“…by fall 2018, current and former US officials were making nearly unprecedented threats against Moscow. The ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, threatened to ‘take out’ any Russian missiles she thought violated a 1987 treaty, a step that would certainly risk nuclear war. The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, threatened a naval ‘blockade’ of Russia. In yet another Russophobic outburst, the ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, declared that ‘lying, cheating and rogue behavior’ are a ‘norm of Russian culture.’”
“Now another Cold War front has also become more fraught, the US-Russian proxy war in Ukraine having acquired a new dimension. In addition to the civil war in Donbass, Moscow, and Kiev have been challenging each other’s ships in the Sea of Azov, near the newly built bridge connecting Russia with Crimea. On November 25, this erupted into a small but potentially explosive military conflict at sea. Trump is being pressured to help Kiev escalate the maritime war—yet another potential trip wire. Here, too, the president should instead put his administration’s weight behind the long-stalled Minsk peace accords. But that approach also seems to be ruled out by Russiagate, which by October 6 included yet another Times columnist, Frank Bruni, branding all such initiatives by Trump as ‘pimping for Putin.’
“After five years of extremism, as demonstrated by these recent examples of risking war with Russia, there remained, for the first time in decades of Cold War history, no countervailing forces in Washington—no pro-détente wing of the Democratic or Republican Party, no influential anti–Cold War opposition anywhere, no real public debate.”
Actually, Professor Cohen’s entire article is essential reading, IMO: https://www.thenation.com/article/cold-war-russia/
I would literally fall to the earth and kiss the ground in thanks, if only America’s liberal class could return from the brink of insanity and once again embrace the wisdom of those they once venerated. If liberals again championed journalists over propagandists it might actually give me hope for the future.
Let’s hope that day is coming soon.