Thursday, December 15, 2016


Sock puppets by Darice.
There's this piece of trolling, cited by Steve
And the liberal-hating left is also skeptical -- see, for instance, Jeremy Scahill and Jon Schwarz at the Intercept:
The current discourse on this issue is plagued by partisan gibberish -- there is a disturbing trend emerging that dictates that if you don’t believe Russia hacked the election or if you simply demand evidence for this tremendously significant allegation, you must be a Trump apologist or a Soviet agent.
And half an hour of idiocy from Professor Stephen Cohen on my radio this morning not only rejecting the Russia hacking hypothesis but also praising Trump for his sophisticated understanding of Russia and clever nomination of Exxon/Rosneft CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state (even as he announces that he is no supporter of Trump and regards supercapitalist Tillerson with horror) and arguing that he too, like Trump, can't possibly know what country the DNC's electronic burglars were working for, and this crap from some Greenwaldian or Grindelwaldian sock puppet pretending to be a supporter of Keith Ellison:

Shorter Cohen, offered without apparent irony by Phil Weiss:
we have entered a period of McCarthyism because his views are not published in the New York Times or Washington Post or on MSNBC, and younger scholars tell him that they would damage their careers if they expressed these ideas. 
There's a case of first time as tragedy, second time as farce for you. In the 1950s, McCarthyism wrecked thousands of careers and even lives, treating dissent as treason and jailing those who refused to cooperate with the secret police enforcers; now it stops Professor Emeritus Cohen from getting his three minutes on the Chris Hayes show (he has to make do with WNYC radio, mysteriously McCarthyism-free so far), and could do even worse than that, though we'll never know as long as those younger scholars continue preferring discretion to valor—oh, and while a pro-Russian government installs itself in Washington; I guess those New McCarthyites must not be completely omnipotent and the younger scholars might be able to find themselves gigs in the Tillerson state department where their views will be entirely welcome...

Do these people not even realize that they are speaking in the exact tone of privileged aggrievement as the National Review staff complaining that some fart rightwing pseudointellectual got booed when he delivered a commencement address at Brandeis or Brown?

Jeez, I'm really in a rage now.

The tell on all this is at the end of that quote from Scahill and Schwartz, with the reference to "Soviet agents". Obviously they're aware in fact that Soviets are no longer a thing, but the slip or snark (I can't tell which, honestly) shows they still think there's something socialist or "left" about the government of the Russian Federation, even though it sold itself off to the most extreme form of Mahagonny capitalism almost 30 years ago, and is now the home of the most flourishing brand of fascism extant in the world, with its macho personality cult of the supreme leader, its murderous opposition to labor unions and a free press, its deep entanglement with the oligarchy of private capital, its Franco-like cultivation of a patriarchal conservative religiosity, its imperial push on its western and southern borders, its fervent militarism, and its cultivation of militant rightwing organizations from Europe (France, Britain, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia) and elsewhere.

Steve really should have said "the left-hating people who call themselves left", because I reject the idea that such people deserve to be counted as part of the left at all, in the first place as having practically no consciousness of the economic issues of labor and inequality (beyond simplistic appeals to "single-payer" and "fight for fifteen" and the like), and still less of what they dismiss as "identity politics", defining leftism almost entirely in security-policy terms as opposition to the US government on any terms and whatever terrain, no matter who voted for it and what its program is. In this Russian matter they are allies of fascism and the extreme cruelty now ongoing in Syria and the endless war on Ukraine and, it now appears, efforts contributing to the fact that my country is about to be taken over by a preening psychopath and a legislature determined to eliminate every hint of generosity and tolerance from the government we have.

If they think the cast of clowns Trump is putting together in the US security establishment under Generals Mattis and Flynn and Kelly and Messrs. Pompeo and Tillerson is going to represent some kind of new peaceful dispensation, I just hope their descent to earth doesn't turn out to be too violent. For my kids' sake, not for theirs.

Also, while we're on the subject, a related bit I just ran across from last April with reference to Syria, by Sam Hamad at (you can by all means read the whole piece):
In the past, Chomsky’s political stasis seemed virtuous to me. In light of his position on the Syrian revolution, however, it has become dismally clear that a one-dimensional, moralistic politics is (and always has been) an expression of conservatism running through the left.
Though Chomsky and the wider left might not appreciate this, the part they are playing in Syria’s counter-revolution is discrediting leftism. In this way, their actions are comparable to those “socialists” who destroyed the left for generations because of a blind loyalty to the nightmare of Stalinism.
Sadly, the conservative, orientalist, and incoherent stance on Syria expressed by Chomsky and his supporters is symptomatic of a leftism that has no reason to exist beyond the narrow parameters of its own subculture.

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