Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Russophobia Made Simple

Uniting a torn electorate of American citizen-consumers against a common enemy, and diverting our attention away from the class war, and disguising the true predatory purpose of the American Deep State: that's hard even in the best of times. And these, the end-times of late capitalism, are some of the hardest and worst of the worst of times.

It's especially hard when the Deep State -- or what is grotesquely called the "intelligence community" -- seems to be cracking up itself. The Clinton/Obama/CIA faction wants the enemy to be Russia, and the Trump/crony capitalist/anti-CIA faction is aiming its own beady sights on China. 

Thanks to the proto-fascist nature of American democracy itself, no candidate with a peace platform has ever been allowed anywhere near the exclusive electoral process. Jill Stein of the pacifist Green Party got some belated corporate press only because of her failed ballot recount campaign in aid of Hillary Clinton.

Just when we thought that the Neoliberal Death Match -- or what is grotesquely called a democratic presidential campaign -- was finally over, the curtain is now rising with a vengeance on Act Two of the Battle of the Oligarchs.

Pouncing on the undeniable fact that Hillary Clinton received 2.7 million more votes than Donald Trump, this whole democracy experiment is being relitigated in the court of public opinion. The arcane Electoral College has become such a "thing" that the Democrats and some GOP'ers are pressuring its members to disregard the votes of the Rust Belt states that barely nudged Trump over the finish line. The electors' mission, if they choose to accept it, is to become conscientious objectors to Trump's war on neoliberal decency.

The implicit message is that Donald Trump is a traitor. And if the electors do their sworn Constitutional duty and vote a traitor into office, then his Putinesque blood will be on their hands. It's the same gaslighting technique that was used on ordinary voters throughout the interminable campaign season. A vote for Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or None of the Above was an act of rank treason and a sure sign that you were a tool of Vladimir Putin.

The fact that the orchestrated campaign to subject the electors to top-secret intelligence briefings in an effort to guilt them into changing their votes is "bipartisan" should be the first clue that denying the presidency to Trump is not so much a matter of the public interest as it is of the corporate private interest. A cabal of Deep State centrist Democrats and Republican Neocons are joining forces in an attempt to, at the very least, wound Trump before his inauguration. They are seething that Hillary Clinton's imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria as an escalation in the war on Putin was thwarted by the very Pied Piper candidate they propped up as an easy target for the hawks.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) and  multimillionaire House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are finding common cause with Republican war hawks John McCain and Lindsay Graham in drumming up a new surge of Russophobia. It helps that Nancy's daughter Christine is herself an appointed elector.

To help sway public opinion toward overturning the vote, the elitist obsession with Russia as the enemy to end all enemies is everywhere you look.

If you're a reasonably sane person, you're probably scared to death that Trump's nomination of the Exxon-Mobil CEO to head the State Department will rev up the already turbo-charged destruction of the planet by fossil fuels. But the Anthropocene epoch and mass extinctions aren't what the New York Times wants you to be afraid of. The Times wants you to be afraid of those damned Russians.
President-elect Donald J. Trump on Tuesday officially selected Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to be his secretary of state. In saying he will nominate Mr. Tillerson, the president-elect is dismissing bipartisan concerns that the globe-trotting leader of an energy giant has a too-cozy relationship with Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia.
In the past several days, Republican and Democratic lawmakers had warned that Mr. Tillerson would face intense scrutiny over his two-decade relationship with Russia, which awarded him its Order of Friendship in 2013, and with Mr. Putin.
The hearings will also put a focus on Exxon Mobil’s business dealings with Moscow. The company has billions of dollars in oil contracts that can go forward only if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia, and Mr. Tillerson’s stake in Russia’s energy industry could create a very blurry line between his interests as an oilman and his role as America’s leading diplomat.
So it's not that you and I and our children and our grandchildren and all the animals and plants will be dying more quickly if an oil magnate is granted even more power to physically damage us. It's that one faction of obscenely wealthy people doesn't want another faction of obscenely wealthy people to beat them in the greed sweepstakes.

And never mind that the main purpose of the State Department is to grease the skids for and ensure the safety of multinational corporations and the banking mafia wanting to do business abroad. The Times doesn't mention that the State Department acts as the broker for the annual sales of billions of dollars' worth of arms and war materials to such autocratic regimes as Saudi Arabia. State is the international counterpart of the Health and Human Services Administration. It does corporate welfare on a grand, global scale. It makes plunder easier for the plunderers.

The world is already ruled by 62 billionaires who own as much wealth as the entire bottom half of the population. So to tamp down the resulting domestic unrest, our rulers and their propagandists are singling out just one faraway oligarch in hopes of limiting the populist wrath here at home.

Donald Trump, for his part, is bringing the whole sordid pathocratic process out into the open. He is not showing due deference to the Intelligence Community family and to establishment media. And that is making the ruling class very, very nervous. Former acting CIA Director Mike Morell is even hysterically calling the alleged meddling of Russians "the political equivalent of 9/11." (Never mind the CIA's own seven decades of international political meddling and orchestrated coups.)

This bluster and disrespect from an autocratic president-elect makes it so much harder for the ruling class to manufacture public consent. No wonder that they are also freaking out about what we call independent investigatory journalism, and they call "fake news." Their control of "the narrative" is slipping, so they're reduced to conflating scurrilous internet rumor-mill sites with legitimate fact-based and free-thinking journalistic outlets with the chutzpah to be critical of the wrong things.

The New York Times is not, of course, the only site for all the corporate Russophobia that's fit to print. 

Here's a sampling of today's curiously similar headlines, which fear-monger not over climate change and pollution, but over the specter of TrumPutin:

"Moscow's Mule"; "Kremlin Rejoices"; "Bipartisan Alarm Over Ties to Moscow" -- Huffington Post.

"Rex Tillerson: An Appointment that Confirms Putin's Election Win" -- The Guardian

"Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state is a Putin-friendly Exxon CEO" -- Vox

"Graham Wants Tillerson's Russia Ties Front and Center" -- Politico.

"McCain Voices Concerns About Tillerson's Ties to Putin" -- The Hill


It's only when its status as the world's sole Superpower is even mildly threatened that the United States Uniparty takes a stand against a multinational corporation like Exxon.

when the oil behemoth wants to plunder and bribe in other autocracies, or wherever China has aimed its capitalistic sights, the smoky skies are the limit. The American ruling class usually has no problem with Tillerson and his ilk at all. Take the whole continent of Africa, for instance.

The Obamas and the Bushes met up in Tanzania in 2013 to help spread the oily Exxon goodness around. The wives of the presidents enthusiastically gave identity-politics cover to the extraction of that continent's rich natural reserves by the greedy oil conglomerate. They cast the plunder as the perfect trickle-down "women's opportunity" as they commiserated like desperate housewives over their First Lady status and their silly old hubbies.

The confab of wives was such a resounding P.R. success for the giant polluter that Michelle Obama and George and Laura Bush reunited in Washington the following year for a "Spousal Summit" orchestrated and funded, in large part, by Exxon-Mobil. They wanted to let us know that all the African first ladies were also totally on board with the plunder of their continent. It's all about the freedom of oligarchs to extract and exploit while donating a little medication and genetically modified seed and allowing entrepreneurial womenfolk the chance to learn and to read.... as they gasp for air and struggle to find a source of unpolluted drinking water for themselves and their families.

Under Obama, the American militarization of the continent known as Africom continues apace. How else to protect multinationals like Exxon-Mobil from "militants?" The conglomerate just recently "discovered" another billion barrels of oil off the Nigerian coast. Somebody (the US State Dept, the CIA and the Pentagon) has to protect their tender hides and grasping tentacles. Somebody has to hold them harmless for their serial destruction of soil, water and forests.

President Obama also never had a problem with Exxon-Mobil when it's wanted to destroy the environment in our own backyard, either. Just a few years after the worst oil explosion disaster in history continues to inflict ongoing damage in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama granted Putin-loving Tillerson's company new drilling leases in the Gulf for the proposed extraction of 172 million barrels of oil. 

The Democrats' and some Republicans' opposition to Tillerson as Secretary of State has nothing to do with concern for the environment and the obscene corporate welfare for polluters who dictate government policy. After all, Obama's own energy secretary, Sally Jewell, came through the revolving door from Exxon Mobil when it was still known as Mobil.

This is all about a tiny group of plutocrats grasping and grabbing for their share of the global pie. These bullies don't like to share, even with each other. And forget about the other 99.9% of the population. The rest of us are lucky get a few crumbs of oily political P.R. along with the foul water and the dirty air and the damaged lungs.

But never forget: the only thing we have to fear is Putin himself.


voice-in-wilderness said...

Are you telling us that the USA is not all about promoting peace and democracy around the world? Gasp!

The real irony in all this, is to contrast the imagined fears of Russia and China with the actual behavior of the United States over the last 25+ years. There is no country on the planet that can match us for dealing out death and destruction. Our specialty is to attack a country, wreck it, then throw up our hands and blame the citizens of the wrecked country. Meanwhile the arms shipments keep flowing.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Thanks for this article, Karen. Most readers who come here no doubt suspect in a general or inchoate way how phony the new Russian scare is. It is being whipped up for a variety of reasons by a variety of elites. But in your analysis posted yesterday you pull together more detail and put it into a shape that puts a sharper edge on our understanding.

Where else yesterday were we able to read an informed and rounded view of what's really going on with this Russian business, which is tied in to the election business, which is linked to the war profiteers and which is all owing to the nuts running around waving their supposed mandates in complete disregard to the likelihood of the next big extinction? "Alice in Wonderland" was never this much fun.

Last night the readership of Sardonicky held a secret meeting at an undisclosed site. (Yes, we have our little conspiracies, too.) We have decided to nominate you for the next Annual Howard Zinn Prize. I have to run to an appointment right now, but other readers will probably fill you in about the speech you have to give to collect the prize, when and where the black tie event takes place, etc., etc.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Jay.

For a truly epic take-down of the Russophobic hypocrisy, read the excellent Robert Parry's latest:


Also, the also-excellent Andrew Cockburn's list of questions for conscientious objector electors to ask the CIA:


I especially appreciated his observation that if James Comey was so instrumental in electing Trump, why isn't he being investigated as a traitor or Russian spy himself?

Zee said...


Thank your for your excellent article on “Russophobia Simplified,” along with the companion articles that you suggested from consortiumnews and counterpunch.

The “Russian diversion” on the part of Hilliary-o-crats is truly amazing.

Having failed to convince the American public that the election was “stolen” from the Queen by (1) FBI Director James Comey, (2) serious miscounts in Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, (3) a popular vote that matters not at all in an Electoral-College system, and (4) God-Knows-What-All-Else-explanations, the Russkis now become the favorite scapegoat to explain how the Empress lost her coronation.


The very most that the DNC “hacks” exposed—if “hacks” they were indeed, and whether by the Russkis or someone else—were that the DNC itself was incredibly corrupt and biased toward the Queen from the start and dedicated to destroying Bernie Sanders. Truth hurts, but it’s still truth,

That seems to be totally lost in the Democratic “reanalysis.” Quelle surprise, when much more palatable explanations—excuse me, “excuses”—are still readily at hand, viz. imagined Ruski intervention.

I think that I’m getting tired of listening to Hillary-o-cratic whining.

annenigma said...

Thanks for another great post, Karen.

And then there's this: 'WikiLeaks Figure Says ‘Disgusted’ Democrat Leaked Clinton Campaign Emails'


Murray claims it was an insider LEAK, not a hack by Russia. If I had to take a guess on a leaker, I'd go with someone in Bill's orbit such as his longtime sidekick, Doug Band, but it could be anyone. Where there's politics, there's treachery.

And the secret homebrew server that no one was ever supposed to know about until a FOIA lawsuit forced it into the open? If it wasn't Bill's idea, he certainly didn't prevent her from using his server or successfully advise her against it. Strangely, neither did Obama. Anyway, if Hillary had gone to Wisconsin to campaign instead of taking her tin cup to Barbra Steisand's house to beg for even more money, she would have had a chance of winning the electoral votes game - the only game that counts.

And that popular vote she won? How 'popular' was Hillary with those 2.5 million, and perhaps a whole lot more, who voted for her with a clothespin on their nose or from media-hyped fear of Trump? Hillary even ran a nuclear bomb ad against Trump, ala Barry Goldwater. Popular votes hardly translate into popularity, especially when it comes to the notorious HRC.

Does the MSM and their Democratic conspirators actually believe that after what they did to Bernie, then how they reported as fact that Trump was un-electable, and after Wikileaks proved they're in cahoots, that we're now going to start believing that Hillary isn't behind this Russia fear-mongering based only on anonymous, evidence-free leaks from the State Dept's partner-in-crime, the CIA? When the media doesn't show skepticism but the public does, you know they're up to no good. A lot of powerful people desperately want Hillary back in the game.

Hillary Clinton has never had a life outside of politics. To my knowledge she has no hobbies or outside interests, no leisure activities except fundraising. Even now she's throwing expensive parties to 'thank' her major donors to keep the money flowing. Power is an addiction and Hillary, like Obama, prefers to operate in secret and behind the scenes. I'm sure she'll do all she can to delegitimize and undermine the Trump administration. The Clinton cabal have the dark art of politics down to a science, as in Psy-Ops.

If we know anything for certain about Hillary, it's that SHE.NEVER.QUITS.

Jamie said...

Great article, even though I am a climate denier. I also don't believe Hillary got 2.6 million more votes -- the snowflakes are just stuffing the late ballots to ease their pain. I can picture them crying in their California precincts, ripping apart or changing Trump ballots in anger ... .

Zee said...


And that is, indeed, the sad, sick truth about Hillary: SHE.NEVER.QUITS.

Even though a large segment of the country--including many of those who voted for her with "a clothespin on their nose"--had hoped they had seen the last of her on the morning of November 10, 2016.

Now I guess that I'll have to wait until sometime on the evening of December 19 to be absolutely certain that a holly stake has FINALLY been driven through the heart of Clinton, Inc.-- figuratively speaking, of course, in case the NSA or the FBI are listening in--and a bulb of garlic has been stuffed in "its" mouth as "it" is laid to rest--or eternal damnation--in "its" coffin.

Please, God, let that be the END of them!

ScottW said...

I came to your brilliant column after choking on Krugman's awful rant today. Read your column aloud to my wife who remarked it should go viral. But sadly, the Dems are brain dead along with Dr. K. They will continue losing while condemning the people who oppose them as idiots. They are all "useful idiots" as Dr. K called Trump, but just have different benefactors. Keep up the great work and know it is appreciated by those of us who enjoying thinking.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, readers, for your kind and supportive words.

One lining on the storm-cloud: as ScottW says, the Dems are imploding, or at least still stuck in the denial stage of their grief. Perhaps a new leftist party will emerge from the ashes. I simply can't see Red Scare Redux lasting much longer. These things come in waves or cycles. But it's very unusualthat it's the Dems who are attacking from the right and calling for what amounts to censorship.

Re Krugman: I hardly read his drivel any more, let alone comment on it, but I happened to awaken in the pre-dawn hours today because I was freezing to death and got up to crank up the heat and get another blankie. So by then I was wide awake enough at 4 a.m. to skim the Times. Krugman really seems to have a galloping case of OCD. Judging from the other comments, the Russophobia campaign seems to working on the readership very well, but I was still heartened to see a few other free-thinking standouts in the mix.

Full disclosure: I have a Russian background on my paternal grandfather's side. Actually Russian-German, because my ancestors were evangelical refugees from Worms whom Catherine the Great allowed to settle in her country to farm. Unlike the serfs, they were allowed to stay independent and remained unassimilated re culture for centuries, until one of the tsars made them subject to the draft -- and they went back to Germany for awhile before many emigrated to America in the late 19th century.

Putin is basically just another neoliberal kleptocrat who likes to wheel and deal and schmooze with multinationals. It all got started with Reagan and Thatcher and then Clinton and Blair continued the enablement of the Russian oligarchy. But you'd never know this if Krugman was your only source of info.

annenigma said...

The media-induced Putin hysteria will end abruptly on December 19th after the Electoral College meets - Mission Unaccomplished.