There you go again, Counterpunch

Publishing yet another politically correct, psuedo-leftwing fraud's trashing of Russian intevention in Syria and Donbass.

The title of the article (Once again, I refuse to link to this pile of propaganda.) sounds progressive enough:

Why must we sanction Russia?

But the basic stance of the author is that Putin is a bad guy who's only virtue is that he is less bad than all the people he (and his equally bad allies) is inconflict with. So we get slam after slam on Putin, lightened by the attitude that things could be worse. What meretricious humbug. What damning with faint approbrium.

After stripping away the "it could be worse" tropes, here is what Mr. (again, never heard of him) Tommy Raskin has to say about Putin and Russia:

1. Putin’s aid to Assad is still condemnable, of course,

2. Russian violence in the Donbas does not justify sanctions either...the region’s Russian separatists align with Moscow’s villains,

3. As for Putin’s interference in the U.S. presidential election? We still do not know precisely what happened, but it seems clear that any Russian intrusion was largely defensive...It is no far stretch to suppose that... the Kremlin resolved to prevent this tried-and-true militaristic busybody from antagonizing Russia as the United States’ next president.

4. Although his authoritarian sympathies and skepticism of the West probably date back to the Cold War, Putin and President George W. Bush actually managed to maintain an amicable relationship

Nowhere in this article does Mr. Raskin even consider the facts that completely debunk his villainization of Putin. Fact one: the US and KSA funded the terrorists in Syria and Iraq from day one. They operate today in Syria illegally; whereas the Russians were invited in and have defeated ISIS. OTOH, the US sent targeting intelligence to ISIS and bombed the Syrian Army to support them. Fact two: the US funded the Maidan coup d'etat. Just last week, three men told their story of being hired by cronies of ex-Georgian, ex-Ukranian sociopath, Shalikashvilli, to randomly shoot into Maidan crowds. Fact three: there is not one shred of EVIDENCE to support the theory that Russia (as in the government, not any old hacker posting some clickbait for profit) "meddled" (howTF do you define that?) in our election.

You would never learn any of these facts that contradict his propaganda piece from fake leftwinger Raskin. You will learn no fact that is not consistent with the corporate media/CIA party line on the ongoing series of US-driven destabilization campaigns, and sanctions against Russia and Iran, from what appears in Mr. Raskin's one-sided pile of left-handed complements.

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If you look for Mr. Raskin's biography, you find he is part of the so-called "secular humanist" movement - which was created to reify a non-existent boogeyman of the right. That is, there was no such thing as a secular humanist movement until someone (gee, I wonder who?) paid for its creation.

Mr. Raskin is also involved in something called the "Good Men Movement", another dip in the Identity Poltitics sewer that is polarizing the coutntry by amplifying people's "with em or against em" attitudes about various exclusionary "tribes".

In response to my earlier post about Counterpunch's poor editorial choices, Cassiodorus said that they will publish just about anything. Well, here they go again. This article is a "trapdoor argument", a Gish Gallop of false analysis piled on false fact. The reason these arguments are called trapdoor, in analogy to cryptographic codes, is that they take much more work to refute than to state.

My opinion of Counterpunch continues to decline as blatant establishment propaganda by clearly faux progressive authors continues to be posted on a regular basis.

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Big Al's picture

although I do remember emailing the Kremlin in 2011 asking them if they had anyone that knew what the fuck they were doing. That was in reference to the war in Libya and Russia's approval of the no fly zone requested by the U.S. I never did get a reply but probably got put on some list.

There have been a few people who have left this site because of differences in views on Putin. One, now I can't remember her name, taught me a few things about antiwar, anti-imperialism and consistency. She was against Putin and Russian military involvement in Syria because she was against all involvement in war that killed innocent people. Could Putin have approached the situation in Syria differently? I believe he could have. Hell yes, he's head of one of seven countries on the UN security council.

Now he's selling weapons to the highest bidder just like the US and Russia as its own military industrial complex and while not practicing the imperialism the U.S. does, is certainly, like China, spreading its capitalist tentacles across the planet.

He's not the answer.

I wouldn't excoriate Counterpunch for this. I think it's good food for thought about what we really want in this world.

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@Big Al

Its a lie that Russia "meddled" in our election. After 18 months there is zero proof, and the charges keep falling on their face.

Its a lie that Russia's intervention in Syria was "condemnable". The US has intervened there illegally to foment chaos and murder.

My point is that this nobody fake lefist is parroting the corporate party line: smearing Russia while ignoring the much worse offenses of the US/KSA/Ukro-Nazi crowd. I felt like I was reading the NY Times, not a purportedly left wing site.

My issue is the lies used to make the author's bogus points, and the classic propaganda technique of simply asserting stuff while giving no proof.

Yeah, Putin is nasty. You'd be nasty too if the US raped your country, pushed the borders of NATO right into the middle of the territory that Hitler took a year to get to in WW2, and started installing ABM systems in that territory.

Your omissions about what Putin is reacting to make your comment as one-sided as the OP.

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Dude, you emailed the Kremlin? Do you have a death wish? You must be on every NSA watchlist on the planet.

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Big Al's picture

@arendt @arendt I've been a big critic of the lies, exaggerations, and misdirection coming from our media and government about Russia clearly intended to paint them as an enemy and prepare for war.

But perhaps you've missed my railings against the U.S. government and it's recent leaders Bush, Obama and Trump.

So I don't think I've been one sided.

I said my views have changed over the last few years and one of those views is that I'm adamantly opposed to one person having as much power as we give our president and Russia gives theirs. So it's a fine line to me to defend Putin and Russia against U.S. crimes and encroachments versus their own crimes and transgressions and system of government. We're not dealing with altruistic innocents here. Putin is a lesser evil to me and I don't accept lesser evils. That was my primary point.

As far as the article, the author made it clear he was against sanctions against Russia. Relative to meddling in the U.S. election, he said,

"As for Putin’s interference in the U.S. presidential election? We still do not know precisely what happened, but it seems clear that any Russian intrusion was largely defensive."

So he didn't say Russia did meddle, he said we don't know what happened but whatever Russia might have done was "largely defensive". I don't have a problem with that, it's very likely that Russia did position itself as it felt necessary regarding who was going to lead the country that wants to obliterate them.

As for the Syria war, like I said in my original comment, I can't condone more violence to solve violence. People might think Putin's only choice was to use his military to bomb in Syria, but that's the mentality that got us to where we're at. So I'm just trying to say that we can't accept that as the solutions to our problems.

As for my omission, it was a late night comment, after I rec'd your essay, and due to my history of criticism against the US govt and the corporate media monopoly on this site, I didn't think it was necessary to reiterate those points.

You got a thing about Counterpunch, fine don't read it. Pointing out inconsistencies and what you would consider propaganda is fine but we need to balance that with a realistic view of other governments on the planet.

We need an international working class movement against all oligarchy, plutocracy and undemocratic governments and even though Putin and his government are not the evil ours is, they're not a model we the people should be praising either.

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@Big Al

I can't condone more violence to solve violence. People might think Putin's only choice was to use his military to bomb in Syria, but that's the mentality that got us to where we're at. So I'm just trying to say that we can't accept that as the solutions to our problems.

Are you against violence in genuine (as opposed to excuse-to-attack) self-defense? The Syrian government had the right to self-defense against an outside insurgency. They invited the Russians, who felt that losing Syria was a direct threat to Russia, to help in self-defense. I think its a little naive, given the gangsters who run our country, to think they can be stopped without violence.

So it's a fine line to me to defend Putin and Russia against U.S. crimes and encroachments versus their own crimes and transgressions and system of government. We're not dealing with altruistic innocents here. Putin is a lesser evil to me and I don't accept lesser evils.

I would also add that we should not judge Russia by our standards. The country has never known a stable democracy. They went from Czarist absolutism to Stalinist terror to Western Shock Doctrine looting. To them, democracy was what brought the 1990s. The first step to having a democracy is having laws that are both fair and respected, and having civil order. Russia had neither of those before Putin got a muzzle on the oligarchs. Under Putin, the Russian mob is somewhat less violent, the financial looting is way less.

Got to run. Would say more, but no time.

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Big Al's picture

@Big Al by Putin.

"The military cooperation with the UAE is a good example to illustrate the increasingly growing demand for Russian weapons in the Middle East. Orders from Arab countries account for roughly 20 percent of Russian weapons' exports. Last year, Russia delivered more than $1.5 billion in arms to Algeria, $37 million to Egypt, $374 million to Iran and $300 million to Iraq. Today, the Russia's portfolio of weaponry orders from the countries of the region is $8 billion. In 2017, the Russian defence industry has been making major inroads in the Middle East and North Africa. Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia are interested in purchasing Russian weapon systems."

"In early October, Russia had signed a number of landmark arms contracts with Riyadh, following President Vladimir Putin's talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The deal includes the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, as well as Kornet-EM anti-tank missile systems, TOS-1A "Buratino" heavy flame systems, AGS-30 grenade launchers and Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles. The parties agreed to organize the licensed production of Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles and ammunition in Saudi Arabia."

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/18/russia-arms-sales-midd...

That's unacceptable no matter who does it and the argument can be made it's all illegal under international law. I reject all militarism, war and imperialism.

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@Big Al
1. Find a map showing US bases around Russia in 1990 and another one showing the same thing today. Then you'll have context for what Russia is reacting to.
2. Russian attacks have killed people in Syria. But they were invited in by the Syrian government. More importantly, by helping the government reestablish order to end a US-Saudi provoked civil war, Russian involvement including killing is likely to reduce the total number of deaths.
3. Waiting impatiently for volcanic eruptions of pixie dust to transform the thinking of people who have been in conflict for centuries and introduce a utopian socialist world isn't an answer either.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Big Al It's not about which team we are on--pro-Putin or anti-Putin.

It's about whether someone is peddling lies for the establishment.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

snoopydawg's picture

the author seems to be saying that Trump has been as big a war criminal as other president, but he has a choice to make different decisions to de-escalate the situation with Russia that our government is hell bent on creating.

His opinion on the Ukraine coup is totally wrong because Russia wasn't the aggressor, we were as well as other countries. He has also bought the Russian propaganda about the election.
Same with Syria. Putin was invited to defend Assad from being overthrown by our military for Israel, so I see your point on this.

Counterpunch has been wishy washy lately, but I think most of its articles are good.

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a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

@snoopydawg

is the thin edge of the wedge. If this stuff goes unrefuted, then they will just put more of the same out there.

It is how TPTB pollute, hijack, and extinguish opposition - slowly, insidiously. They have all the time and money in the world. They just keep the pressure on, keep trying all the doors and windows until they get in.

At this point, I treat Counterpunch like a more dangerous version of ZeroHedge. There is some good stuff there, some anti-establishment stuff; but in general, the political correctness (secular humanist? way past its sell-by date.) of Counterpunch is as offensive as the screaming Libertarianism of ZH.

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snoopydawg's picture

@arendt

the Russian propaganda about its interference with the election is just as bogus as what he stated about the Ukraine situation. You are right that this has no place on a website like CP.

My understanding of the propaganda is so that congress could make Trump put sanctions on Russia instead of working with him like he said during the election.

The mueller investigation arrests have nothing to do with them working with Putin, they broke lobbying rules, but people aren't separating the two issues.

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a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

TheOtherMaven's picture

@snoopydawg

It's "Russia" this and "Russia" that, always by association or insinuation, or sometimes flat assertion. Never any facts, never any evidence. Just "Russia, Russia, Russia".

I'm convinced CNN is a Deep State front, along with most of the rest of the Mad Media. (Only time I hear it is when I'm visiting Mom - she has it on breakfast to bedtime and it's rotted her brain.)

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

snoopydawg's picture

@TheOtherMaven

It's not just CNN though that is a front for the Deep State, it's pretty much all of the mainstream media who is their mouthpieces. They repeat what they are told to tell us.
When 90% of it is owned by 5 companies who are owned by defense contractors, they aren't even trying to hide it.

IMG_1598.JPG

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a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg The ability to analyze two distinct things being done by the same person as different is declining rapidly in this country.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@arendt I agree with you that Counterpunch and Zerohedge need to be sifted through carefully.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

lotlizard's picture

was someone I could rely on for enlightened politics — until he, and Time magazine, came out in favor of supporting the Contras in Nicaragua.
https://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1075086,00.html

I think Counterpunch still publishes a lot of good things as well. But there is also a saying, the gist of which is: when people and institutions do or say something that reveal who they really are, believe them.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Salon.

Personally I think our first obligation is to disabuse ourselves of the notion that we have any choice. Are any of us planning to go over to Syria or Ukraine to fight for one side or another, and even if we were to do such a thing, would it make the least bit of difference?

Or maybe we would like a better government for ourselves, here in the States, so that our foreign and other policies aren't crap? Plenty of people say they'd like something better, but are they really paying attention? When the Democrats lose about a thousand legislative seats without the rank-and-file so much as batting an eyelash, you have to imagine that what is going on is akin to the mass hypnosis you see in major sporting events. Only, unlike with major sporting events, in which both sides are genuinely opposed to each other, with domestic politics both sides are opposed to you, and one side is handing off to the other to avoid any appearance that you might be able to score a win or two.

It would be nice if we could keep the focus where it belongs, y'know, before abrupt climate change wipes us all out or, even more urgently, before we all end up like the main characters of Margaret Atwood's most recent dystopia "The Heart Goes Last," living in third-hand Hondas because we have neither jobs nor housing.

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"Earth/Gaia is maker and destroyer, not resource to be exploited or ward to be protected or nursing mother promising nourishment." - Donna Haraway

snoopydawg's picture

@Cassiodorus

Only, unlike with major sporting events, in which both sides are genuinely opposed to each other, with domestic politics both sides are opposed to you, and one side is handing off to the other to avoid any appearance that you might be able to score a win or two.

this is so blatantly obvious to me that this is what the democrats did during Obama's tenure. First they lose control of congress so that Obama just can't pass all the legislation that he campaigned on because the republicans were mean and wouldn't let him. His cover on this was blown though because he kept pre-caving to what they were asking for, or he would give them more that they asked for.
Then they continued to let republicans either run unopposed or would offer up such a weak candidate that no one would vote for them.
Now the republicans and Trump are in a position to dismantle the country from the inside and those poor democrats wish that they were in a position to help us, but sadly, they don't have any power.
What is happening in congress now has removed any doubts that there is a difference between the two parties.
Just waiting for the rest of the country to see this.

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a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

Cassiodorus's picture

@snoopydawg The Democratic Party is closer to the pseudo-revolt, the folks who beg the government to do something, so the Dem leadership finds itself obliged to crush the pseudo-revolt more consistently. This is what constitutes the difference between the two parties, and this the continued appearance of democracy in what is in fact an oligarchy.

The fact that the Dems can lose a thousand legislative seats without batting an eyelash means, then, that both parties are against you, just in different ways.

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"Earth/Gaia is maker and destroyer, not resource to be exploited or ward to be protected or nursing mother promising nourishment." - Donna Haraway

snoopydawg's picture

@Cassiodorus

The fact that the Dems can lose a thousand legislative seats without batting an eyelash means, then, that both parties are against you, just in different ways.

Plus there's Pelosi saying that the DP doesn't need to change directions, just get a better message. The message that they are running on now is that we shouldn't have stayed home and not voted for Herheinous because Trump is that bad.
"Had enough of Trump yet? Then it's time for you to return to us again and we'll make all the bad things go away"

It's too bad that they said that in 2006, 2008, 2010' 2012 and 2016. They betrayed us the first time when they said they would roll back the Bush abuses if we put them in power, and we know how that turned out.

Even now, I'm not seeing democrats saying anything about what republicans did behind the scenes when they rolled back most of Obama's later legislation. Or any of the other issues that they are trying to accomplish. Staying silent is their motto.

However, I've seen comments about what happens when they do take back congress. They believe that the democrats will undo everything that the republicans have done, including their tax cuts and net neutrality. Others are being more realistic and saying that democrats will need to have 60 votes to pass anything and make sure that some of them don't vote with republicans....
You know, their same excuses for why they can't seem to help us.

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a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway

earth is the insane asylum for the universe

@Cassiodorus

Its hard to stay focused when every leftwing forum is full of the crap I complained about in the OP.

Let me offer an analogy. Each article like the one I am complaining about represents one chisel-mark in the ongoing defacement campaign against the left. Like 5th centtury Christian fanatics, TPTB are intent on erasing any record that there was legitimate criticism of the neoliberal/neoconservative orthodoxy.

My aggravation at the failure of Counterpunch to police authors like Tommy Raskin is based on the idea that the left is in a war of attrition against TPTB. Every article like Tommy Raskin's is part of a larger effort to destroy the left and its critique. Every repetition of the lies about Russia, about Syria, about MbS, about the Ukraine is one more shovel full of dirt in the campaign to bury the left alive.

TPTB know that some kind of populist revolt against the neoliberal orthodoxy is inevitable. So, they want the leftwing version of populism DEAD prior to the inevitable revolt. Right wing populism is easily contained/coopted by the corporate/billionaire class. So, the idea of articles like Tommy Raskins is to embed the corporate version of populism as a defense against genuine populism.

It is my attitude that TPTB literally want to kill the left, to silence its critique forever that drives my outrage at sites like Counterpunch, who pretend to be leftwing while chipping away at the leftwing narrative.

I'm not sure how this commentary plays with your comment. Sorry if this seems unrelated.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cassiodorus Plenty of eyelashes were batted. Not sure what you mean.

It seems to me that not only the Berniecrat part of the Democratic Party, but also a fairly sizable chunk of the neoliberal side was wringing their hands over losing 1,000 seats. That plaint came up not only in places like the Jimmy Dore Show but also in the mainstream press, mainly because, I think, the Clinton wing of the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party (heh) wanted to saddle Obama with all the blame for it. It's not that Obama doesn't share the blame--of course he does--but what's hilarious about all that is that the seats were lost because the party took a Clintonian direction in the late 80s, and has kept to that stubbornly despite changing political conditions on the ground. Obama taking a Clintonian direction rather than, er, changing things, is what resulted in the loss of seats under Obama. But in a classic Clintonian--and Rovian--manner, the Clintons decided to accuse Obama of the rotten choices they themselves had made. I'm guessing the next statement would have been "If only we had chosen Hillary in 2008, this never would have happened!"

Now, I don't personally care much about the Obama/Clinton struggle, except in a popcorn kind of way, though I suppose Obama is very slightly better than her on foreign policy---which is like me saying I'm very slightly better than Wal-Mart on labor.

But there were plenty of eyelashes batted over the loss of seats. Didn't do much good; the party can't actually change, so all it can do is trash the reputation of each new standard-bearer in succession. The stupidity of the Democratic rank-and-file is part groupthink, like you said--but it's also part of the larger stupidity of the American people expressed in our worship of individualism. It's making us unable to think and analyze political situations, and it's wreaking havoc on our tactics. Bernie's Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, the Obama movement, even to some extent the Dean movement--all those are (or were) based on the idea that if we just put the right individual in the right place, everything would be all right, because then the right individual would use the strength of his or her moral character and make the right choices, and resist the Bad in Congress, and change the laws, which would then change conditions for the people.

Well, maybe they're right. I strongly doubt it, but I have no way of knowing because right individuals of strong moral character rarely win high office, because the entire system is constructed to prevent such people from attaining power.

However, I notice that we all thought that both Obama and Donna Edwards were right individuals of strong moral character. Were we hoodwinked in both cases? Or is the problem perhaps that even if you sent a right individual with a good character into that mass of lunatic moray eels we call "government," that individual would have to do bad things to survive--or else get driven out of the place?

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q