Danger in Democrats Demonizing Putin

With the Clintons’ corporate money machine floundering after a devastating election defeat, Democrats are desperate to find someone to blame and have dangerously settled on Vladimir Putin, writes Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials’ emails and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Of course partisan spinners aren’t big on self-examination, especially if they’re aligned with the Democratic Party’s dominant corporate wing. And the option of continually fingering the Kremlin as the main villain of a 2016 morality play is clearly too juicy for functionary Democrats to pass up — even if that means scorching civil liberties and escalating a new cold war that could turn radioactively hot.

Much of the current fuel for the blame-Russia blaze has to do with the horrifying reality that Donald Trump will soon become president. Big media outlets are blowing oxygen into the inferno. But the flames are also being fanned by people who should know better.

Consider the Boston Globe article that John Shattuck — a former Washington legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union — wrote in mid-December. “A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump,” the civil libertarian wrote. “He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”

As quickly pointed out by Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University, raising the specter of treason “is simply wrong” — and “its wrongness matters, not just because hyperbole always weakens argument, but because the carefully restricted definition of the crime of treason is essential to protecting free speech and the freedom of association.”

A Liberal Zeitgeist

Is Shattuck’s piece a mere outlier? Sadly, no. Although full of gaping holes, it reflects a substantial portion of the current liberal zeitgeist. And so the argument that Shattuck made was carried forward into the new year by Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, who approvingly quoted Shattuck’s article in a Jan. 1 piece that flatly declared: “In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason.”

The momentum of fully justified loathing for Trump has drawn some normally level-headed people into untenable — and dangerous — positions. (The “treason” approach that Shattuck and Kuttner have embraced is particularly ironic and misplaced, given that Trump’s current course will soon make him legally deserving of impeachment due to extreme conflicts of interest that are set to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.)

Among the admirable progressives who supported Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign but have succumbed to Russia-baiting of Trump are former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Congressman Keith Ellison, who is a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Last week, in a widely circulated post on his Facebook page, Reich wrote: “Evidence continues to mount that Trump is on Putin’s side.” But Reich’s list of “evidence” hardly made the case that Trump “is on Putin’s side,” whatever that means.

A day later, when Trump tweeted a favorable comment about Putin, Rep. Ellison quickly echoed Democratic Party orthodoxy with a tweet: “Praising a foreign leader for undermining our democracy is a slap in the face to all who have served our country.”

Some of Putin’s policies are abhorrent, and criticizing his regime should be fair game as much as criticizing any other. At the same time, “do as we say, not as we do” isn’t apt to put the United States on high moral ground. The U.S. government has used a wide repertoire of regime change tactics including direct meddling in elections, and Uncle Sam has led the world in cyberattacks.

Intervention in the election of another country is categorically wrong. It’s also true that — contrary to conventional U.S. wisdom at this point — we don’t know much about a Russian role in last year’s election. We should not forget the long history of claims from agencies such as the CIA that turned out to be misleading or downright false.

Late last week, when the Obama administration released a drum-rolled report on the alleged Russian hacking, Democratic partisans and mainline journalists took it as something akin to gospel. But the editor of ConsortiumNews.com, former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry, wrote an assessment concluding that the latest report “again failed to demonstrate that there is any proof behind U.S. allegations that Russia both hacked into Democratic emails and distributed them via WikiLeaks to the American people.”

Key Questions

Even if the Russian government did intervene in the U.S. election by hacking emails and publicizing them, key questions remain. Such as:

–Do we really want to escalate a new cold war with a country that has thousands of nuclear weapons?

–Do we really want a witch-hunting environment here at home, targeting people with views that have some overlap with Kremlin positions?

–Can the president of Russia truly “undermine our democracy” — or aren’t the deficits of democracy in the United States overwhelmingly self-inflicted from within the U.S. borders?

It’s so much easier to fixate on Putin as a villainous plotter against our democracy instead of directly taking on our country’s racist and class biases, its structural mechanisms that relentlessly favor white and affluent voters, its subservience to obscene wealth and corporate power.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about refusing to normalize the Trump presidency. And that’s crucial. Yet we should also push back against normalizing the deflection of outrage at the U.S. political system’s chronic injustices and horrendous results — deflection that situates the crux of the problem in a foreign capital instead of our own.

We should reject the guidance of politicians and commentators who are all too willing to throw basic tenets of civil liberties overboard, while heightening the risks of brinkmanship that could end with the two biggest nuclear powers blowing up the world.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of the online activist group RootsAction.org. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

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40 comments for “Danger in Democrats Demonizing Putin

  1. Brian
    January 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

    October 29, 2016 Video: US-NATO are Beating the Drums of War. “The US is Threatening Every Country on Planet Earth”, Michel Chossudovsky

    The Debate: Michel Chossudovsky and Ian Williams By Press TV and Prof Michel Chossudovsky Press TV 27 October 2016

    NATO says it is going ahead with its plans to deploy thousands of troops and military hardware to three Baltic States and Poland that all border Russia. The military alliance claims that the measure is a response to a Russia’s military build-up and increased activity around NATO’s borders. The Russian president, however, has denounced NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe. President Putin has blamed the military alliance for global instability. NATO’s latest venture to encircle Russia & its repercussions, in this edition of the Debate.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-us-nato-are-beating-the-drums-of-war-the-us-is-threatening-every-country-on-planet-earth-michel-chossudovsky/5553678

  2. Brian
    January 3, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Nov 29, 2016 The Map That Shows Why Russia Fears War With USA – Mike Maloney

    https://youtu.be/L6hIlfHWaGU

  3. Joe Tedesky
    January 3, 2017 at 10:55 am

    This whole Russian hacking craziness is a sneaky vessel launched in order to take our First Amendment right away, and another slap in the face to destabilize Putin. It’s a bad plan, and yet it moves along through the halls of Congress none the less. Next will come the book burnings, and a great purge on free thought. This isn’t good shipmates, and I fear that if left unchecked our grandchildren will never know what was once called ‘freedom of speech’.

    Read this Oliver Stone essay…

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/01/no_author/dangerous-us-assault-russia/

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you for that link. Oliver Stone is perfect in tone, and the resource links are perfect, including many for Robert Parry…

      • Joe Tedesky
        January 3, 2017 at 3:28 pm

        It made me feel somewhat connected to Mr Stone that he references Robert Parry so much. Plus Oliver Stone’s thoughts ponder an angle of Trump’s association to Putin no one has.

      • Bill Bodden
        January 3, 2017 at 4:36 pm

        Ditto

  4. Josh Stern
    January 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

    This is a good article. There is a problem with the following chain of logic that people are invoking.

    Premise 1) If the FBI and the CIA claim there is evidence of the Russian State hacking the DNC, then there must be something to their claims.

    Premise 2) Info from e-mails was leaked to Wikileaks so probably Russia was responsible for that.

    Premise 3) It’s more appropriate to focus on a leak of e-mails than on the completely scandalous revelations of DNC fraud and corruption and potentially criminal behavior that was described in the e-mails.

    Premise 4) The leaked e-mails might have hurt HRC’s election chances, and it was a close election. Sure, there were lots of bigger problems with her campaign, but every issue could be decisive in a close election.

    Conclusion: It’s okay to blame Russia for criminal hacking that might well have altered the outcome of the US election.

    The problem is that premise 1,2, & 3 are more incorrect than correct. The bulk of evidence & reason suggests that each of them is false or, at best, misleading. Premise 4, I think, is okay, as far as it goes, if stated as above, and the Conclusion is not so terrible if the premises were all true, though the Conclusion justify starting a new Cold War or ignoring the last 60 years of USA destruction of democracy and self-government in huge numbers of countries all around the World – somewhere between 60-100 CIA coups and attempted coups, so far, and counting.

    The parent article can be praised for looking at both the weak evidence and the overreaction. But it would be better to be clear: serious consideration of the objective evidence supports the belief that the conclusion is false, as it is based on 3 different premises which each likely to be either false or misleading – e.g. the US claim, when it was noticed that it hacked Merkel’s cell phone was “Everybody spies”, which is quite different from claiming some special subterfuge directed in a partisan way to affect US politics. For the same reasons, the FBI and CIA may be assuming that the Russia did spy simply based on an analysis of how weak the DNC’s network security was. They may feel it would be something like due diligence for foreign spies to peak through under those conditions, knowing that they absolutely do, routinely, in other countries. That is an example of misleading with funny word play.

  5. exiled off mainstreet
    January 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

    It seems like the entire yankee “left” (in quotes because it no longer takes a left position) has jumped the shark over this. Erstwhile civil libertarians like Shattuck going fascist is a symptom of decline, just like the ACLU publishing articles by islamofascist Khizr Khan in support of the Iraq war. A new left has to be constituted independent of imperialist useful idiots paid for by Soros and other false imperialist cut-outs.

  6. Drew Hunkins
    January 3, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Matt Tiabbi had an otherwise excellent piece a couple days ago on the whole “Russia hacking the election!” imbroglio. But even Tiabbi felt it necessary toward the end of his essay to Putin bash, essentially calling Putin a thug scumbag, etc.

    Liberal writers and Dem operatives can say what they will about Putin (and I’m not deifying the guy in any way) but he does have close to a 90% approval rating, he’s reversed much of the negative life indicators that occurred under Yeltsin in the ’90s, he’s jailed some of the mafia-oligarchs, he defeated ISIS/alNusra in Aleppo, and he’s instituted some progressive reforms that take the edge off the free market capitalist sting that can land on millions of Russian citizens.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Bashing Putin, is like the wife beater making a big deal about his neighbor going out on Saturday night without his wife. The hypocrisy over this hacking accusation against Russia is stifling. From all that I’am learning about computer hacking at best the U.S. is reaching for straws. Although headlines being what they are, and Hillary supporters being who they are, we are now traveling down a slippery slope and that ain’t good. Common sense, and quality investigative reporting, left the building on this one.

  7. jean delarue
    January 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    How can exposing the TRUTH wrongly influence our elections?

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Because the MSM decided to ignore Hillary’s conniving ways, and instead our wonderful media thought it worth going after Putin, and our right to free speech.

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      January 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Because you are living in a corrupt culture that is founded on lies…….Remember the WEST entered the AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT after THE DARK AGES…….That Age of Enlightenment started by COLONIALISM, Slaughtering of the Natives in the Americas, and ENSLAVING the Blacks of Africa and Asia…..THAT is called Enlightenment ACCORDING to the WESTERN CULTURE and THOUGHT………Do you get it now?!

  8. Wobblie
    January 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    This is a symptom of our crumbling infrastructure.

    The coming tyranny is due to our crumbling democracy-less society.

    https://therulingclassobserver.com/2016/12/31/the-anti-democratic-origins-of-capitalism-the-transition/

  9. Adrian Engler
    January 3, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    What I find most worrying is that many media don’t write about leaks or hacks of DNC and Podesta e-mails (whoever was responsible for this in addition to the extreme negligence that made a simple phishing attack effective), but write about “hacking the elections”, which hardly anyone has seriously suggested. The effect of the revelations in the e-mails was probably rather limited – they mainly confirmed what many Sanders supporters had suspected, anyway, and when they mails were published, many Clinton supporters emphasized that these mails don’t contain any real scandal. The misleading formulations about “hacking the elections” have consequences: according to https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies-largely-depends-political-iden/ , 50% of Clinton supporters believe that “Russia tampered with vote tallies to help Donald Trump”.

    Effective propaganda can sometimes make people believe things that were not even claimed. A good example is the propaganda around the Iraq war that lead to a large percentage of people in the US believing that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, the US government attempted to construct some links between Iraq and Al Qaeda (which was very dubious because Saddam Hussein was an enemy of Wahhabi extremists), but, as far as I know, they did not go as far as claiming he was directly involved in the attacks on 9/11, but many people believed this, anyway. It was enough to create an alleged link between Iraq and Al Qaeda in the media to make people believe things that were not actually said.

    The current “hacked the election” propaganda may be an even better example. No one has seriously suggested that the actual vote counting was hacked, there are only allegations about who might be involved in the publication of e-mails of the DNC and Podesta. But this is still enough for half of Clinton voters believing something no one has seriously suggested, that the actual vote counting was hacked.

    Maybe such an interpretation can be seen as a part of a wider trend – 46% of Trump voters believe that the e-mails revealed something about a pedophilia ring, for which there is no evidence whatsoever. I don’t know how this came about (many people seem to be prone to believing in conspiracy theories without much evidence), but the idea that vote tallies were hacked probably partially comes from conscious “perception management” by at least some people in the media (other journalists probably just repeated formulations they read elsewhere).

  10. Brad Owen
    January 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    They’re nailing the lids shut on their political coffins. Good riddance. Any Rs that follow the same Cold War MIC/Wall Street diktats will also be nailing their lids shut. Good riddance too. There’s a gigantic paradigm-shift occurring as we speak. It got its legs in Russia and China; the One Road/One Belt/ World Land Bridge initiatives that are sweeping through the World like wildfire in a drought-stricken forest. Over one hundred nations (4.5 billion people; the majority) are signing up for the largest New Deal/Marshall Plan the World has ever seen, and our Establishment sits deaf and dumb to this earth-shaking paradigm-shift, because it overthrows their plans for World Empire, and they simply don’t know how to function without their Imperial designs that are so “19th century” in a 21st century cooperative World of sovereign Nations who do NOT define themselves by the enemies they keep. Their uniquenesses are complimented by the many similarities, and the same needs and desires, that they share with all other peoples and Nations everywhere. The Establishment’s ridiculous, hysterical attempt to poison cooperation between the US, Russia, and China, is doomed to fail, like the Polish Lancers who charged the blitzkreiging tanks that poured across their border in 1939. People are sick to death of war, these false “portfolio” wars for MIC profit. They want the peace that was supposed to follow in the Post-WWII U.N. era. They want the peace dividend that was supposed to follow the collapse of the USSR/Warsaw Pact. There is absolutely no good reason NOT to have peace right now, and begin the work of healing the people and the Nations and the Planet Herself, and explore our Solar System too.

  11. Brian
    January 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    01.01.2017 How a United Iran, Russia and China are Changing The World – For the Better

    The two previous articles have focused on the various geopolitical theories, their translations into modern concepts, and practical actions that the United States has taken in recent decades to aspire to global dominance. This segment will describe how Iran, China and Russia have over the years adopted a variety of economic and military actions to repel the continual assault on their sovereignty by the West; in particular, how the American drive for global hegemony has actually accelerated the end of the ‘unipolar moment’ thanks to the emergence of a multipolar world.

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/01/01/how-united-iran-russia-china-changing-world-better.html

  12. Thurgle
    January 3, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    One doesn’t interfere in an election by hacking, one does so by publishing hacked materials. Wikileaks did the publishing, so Russia can only have interfered in the election if it was Wikileaks’ source. But the US gov’t doesn’t even pretend to have evidence of this, making the claim of election interference based on hacking nothing more than groundless speculation. PLEASE try to keep the two questions separate, hacking and election interference. Otherwise, if the US can prove hacking, it will simply be assumed that that it has proven election interference as well.
    Russia is only one of innumerable parties that make it their business to know what prominent persons are up to around the globe. Others may have hacked Podesta and the DNC too but not have passed the info to Wikileaks, and there is no reason to assume that Russia, even if were one of the hackers, passed what they learned to third parties. Wikileaks denies Russia was its source, and if they were wrong or lying and the US gov’t knows it, why haven’t they arrested the person or persons who gave Wikileaks the information? Or at least issued arrest warrants and made their names known? The likely answer is that the US gov’t has zero evidence that Russia was Wikileaks’ source and is just spinning evidence of hacking as evidence of election interference for motives of its own. Consortium News musn’t let itself be spun as well.

  13. Bill Bodden
    January 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    There are two problems with this and many other articles.

    One is the reference to “liberals.” What is meant by “liberals”? The word for the last several years has been used to mean anything, as a pejorative, and an inference that “liberals” are the good guys. Consequently, the word, like so many other words in current American English usage has been rendered meaningless.

    (Talking of meaningless, consider all but very few oaths of office taken by Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and the members of the 115th Congress to be as meaningless as those taken in the past.)

    The other is that despite all said and done there is an inference that there are good liberals in the Democratic (sic) Party such as Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich and Keith Ellison who have demonstrated a willingness to align at times with the party oligarchs who are anything but good guys. Show me a Democrat willing to stand up to the Israel Lobby, and I’ll show you someone who is a profile in courage and is more a democrat than a Democrat.

  14. F. G. Sanford
    January 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    The banks, corporations and bought politicians are no doubt thrilled that all eyes have turned to Putin. How many more years will we hear, “Economic recovery is just around the corner!” before we realize it’s all just a big scam? Several commenters, including me, have noted that so-called “Democrats” have “jumped the shark”, “gone over to the dark side”, “jumped ship”, or “embraced their traditional ideological opponents”. Several of us have noted that recent Congressional initiatives infringing on civil liberties have received robust BIPARTISAN support. Liberal commentators are fixated on the supposed “humanitarian tragedy” Putin has created in Aleppo. Meanwhile, Aleppo’s residents are dancing in the streets. In Ukraine, the neo-Nazis are holding torchlight parades to celebrate a perpetrator of crimes against humanity. American neocons, many of them Jewish, put that regime into power. The recent passage of an “anti-propaganda bill” creating a “Global Engagement Center” (I prefer Goebbels Engagement Center) has also been identified by me and others as a marker indicating collapse. While much consternation is made over “fake news” and “Russian hacking”, we learn that Jeff Bezos, owner of the now notoriously untrustworthy Washington Post, has ensnared the entire U.S. intelligence Community – all seventeen agencies – with an Amazon contract to provide “cloud computing” services. From a National Security point of view, that’s tantamount to a screen door on a submarine. How smart can our “intelligence” agencies possibly be?

    Someone should really start asking the Democrats where they stand on democratic issues. If they can’t provide some answers to stuff like the Kennedy Assassination Records, they ought to be dropped like a hot potato. BOTH PARTIES collude in covering up national scandals. When will people get that through their heads?

    We’re witnessing the same national psychosis that gripped the Weimar Republic. We’re blaming all the wrong enemies. Krupp, Thyssen, Farben, Bayer and Quandt had tons of gold Reichsmarks in Swiss banks while the people starved. Everybody blamed the wrong perpetrators. Bruening destroyed anything left of the economy with “austerity measures”, then fled the country and became a renowned U.S. Economics Professor. Krupp et al held on to their gold until the right “Pied Piper” came along so they could steal even more gold. Then, they dug deep into their pockets and handed young Corporal Hitler plenty of gold. After the war, they were richer than ever, and a few hundred token “war criminals” went to the gallows. Take notice: our “Pied Pipers” have chosen the same “enemy” – Russia.

    Today’s American psychosis looks a lot like Weimar Germany. Of course, I don’t expect very many Americans to agree. I’m a man of average height, but the stack of books I’ve read on the subject is taller than I am. The only way out of this is to reel in the intelligence agencies, the foreign entanglements and the lunatic defense spending. The “Empire” is finished. It’s time to cut our losses and come home. We can’t afford this anymore. Corporate theft can only continue under cover of war, and that’s exactly where we are headed.

    I’m sorry to say it, but if Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were devout American patriots working for the American people, they’d be asking everybody to knock off the Russia bashing. And our Congress and Senate would be pushing for investigation of multiple executive agency crimes and misdemeanors. The Kennedy Assassination Records would be a “good faith” place to start. Remember, they tried to claim Lee Harvey Oswald was a “Communist sympathizer”. Truth is, he worked for both the FBI and CIA. Past is prologue. Wake the **** up, America.

    • Lois Gagnon
      January 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Great post! I am astonished at how easily the US public and especially the so called left allows itself to be punked by the corporate national security state as long as it’s the blue team making the accusations against Russia. You would think a large majority would have seen through the same game being played on them over and over again. But alas….. :(

    • Zachary Smith
      January 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Today’s American psychosis looks a lot like Weimar Germany. Of course, I don’t expect very many Americans to agree. I’m a man of average height, but the stack of books I’ve read on the subject is taller than I am.

      I’m of average height too, and my Weimar book total is not nearly 1 foot – yet. It’s just that I’m a late starter on this topic. I agree that era matches up well with what has been happening here in the US of A.

      To this day I don’t yet know which was the largest scam of the population – the German theft from everyone by the super-rich during the managed inflation event following WW1, or the 2008 horror story in the US where big banks made a similar rape of the population. Obviously both events had the full cooperation of both governments.

    • Brian
      January 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      You have nailed it right here! “Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!” Nathan Meyer Rothschild

      June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

      A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44864.htm

  15. Martha Elaine Seymour
    January 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I was with Soloman until the last bit. Even he needs someone to demonize for Hillary’s
    election loss, and takes the racist/classist path of demonizing whites, as if all whites are oppressors.
    A new left party must leave behind such assumptions and recognize that most of the working classes
    have suffered from the elite globalization process, regardless of skin color. And “resentment” of going downhill (in lifespan, income, hope for the future) when others are going up is NOT the same as racism (hating people for their racial grouping/skin color). And can one not worry about historically high immigration levels undercutting working class incomes, or maybe threatening a European consensus on secularism and gender equality without being called “racist”? Can we please drop the “racist” name-calling that Clinton fans are using to discredit anybody who voted for Trump out of desperation for change, and to stop the elite globalist project? We need some semantic clarity to understand the results and implications of the 2016 election. Falling for Clinton racism/treason tropes will prevent that analysis.

  16. Madeira
    January 3, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    “Some of Putin’s policies are abhorrent…”

    This seems to be par for the course whenever Putin is mentioned, but pray tell, which are the policies that are so abhorrent?

  17. James lake
    January 3, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    So Putin policies are abhorrent?? you know what I find abhorrent is the fact that Obama is in 7 wars and the media don’t cover it. Brown and black people around the world suffer due to Obama
    The spread of AFRICOM to over 3O plus nations in Africa to steal resources is abhorrent. All done by Obama
    Obama also holds meetings on Tuesday to apporive the kill list for drone attacks
    That is abhorrent
    Obama supporting Al quaeda and alnusra in Syria is abhorrent
    Bombing Lybia killing was abhorrent

    Obama has caused more damage world wide – and you are worried about Trump???? And include the obligatory anti Putin diatribe??

    The writer makes no sense on this issue

  18. roksob
    January 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    “Some of Putin’s policies are abhorrent, …..”.

    It would have been helpful if you had cited one or two actual examples. Otherwise your remark comes across as just another throw-away line to support the on-going media assault.

  19. Gregory Herr
    January 3, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Mr. Solomon raises an important question: “–Can the president of Russia truly “undermine our democracy” — or aren’t the deficits of democracy in the United States overwhelmingly self-inflicted from within the U.S. borders?”

    A deficit for any “democracy” would be related to access of reliable information and the relative freedom to disseminate and discuss our information. We definitely have a problem with reliability, particularly in what we hear from our supposed representatives, assorted power brokers, and the mass media clown show. We sure don’t need this compounded by problems exercising the basis of democracy itself, the First Amendment.

    To say that our democracy was undermined because the DNC, Podesta, Clinton, and others got found out on matters that should concern our “democracy” is ludicrous. And of course trying to tie it all in Russian ribbon is pathetic. It’s not that we didn’t think party politics in America is undemocratic and rotten, or that Secretary Clinton was well aware of mercenary terrorist funding and how it applied to Syria, or that Obama’s Cabinet looked like a wish list from Wall Street (turns out it was)…of course we did, but when it comes out in black and white for every citizen to see…well, that might be important. But not to the excuse-making whiner class of overgrown infants with their pettiness that obliviates any real understanding or perspective. Or truth. And that’s the problem.

    What is it about the JFK assassination records that after 53 years we can’t handle? Or are there too many threads that might lead to an understanding of current complexities? What is it about celebrating Syrians on Christmas in Aleppo that does not lead people to understand the nature of the situation? What is it about Mr. Putin, in his words, conduct, and policies that lead people to the caricatured impressions that so glibly roll from unthinking tongues? I just don’t see it.

  20. Dennis Merwood
    January 3, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    This was the Editorial in todays DOMINION POST, New Zealand’s main daily newspaper.
    It was also posted on their online newspaper.
    My comment refuting the lies of the editorial, and pointing out it’s utter hypocrisy was moderated and removed.
    I guess they took offense at my suggestion that the only stuff of nightmares was that the poor Kiwi’s would believe the Editorial boards complete inversion of the truth.

    Editorial: Russian hacking, Trump, and the future of the world
    Last updated 05:00, January 4 2017
    “Russian hackers tried to subvert the American election, and now outgoing president Barack Obama has decided to do something about it. His sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s hackers come much later than they should have, but they are certainly justified. The hacking is an attack not just on American sovereignty but on American democracy itself.
    But the most worrying thing about the whole hacking mess is the attitude of the president-elect, Donald Trump. Trump is an admirer of Putin and seems to think the United States should do nothing at all about the hacking. “I think we ought to get on with our lives,” he said.
    In this Trump is putting the interests of the Russian leader before the interests of his own country. Has any American president ever done this before? The extent of this high-level betrayal almost defies understanding, yet it does not seem to have much affected the American voters. It was obvious months before the election that the Russians were attempting to subvert the campaign. Trump supporters didn’t care.
    The question now is whether the incoming president will start to stand by his country instead of by a foreign demagogue. Clearly the hacking helped Trump and helped damage the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
    Whether it played a decisive part in the election seems doubtful. Clinton was an exceptionally poor candidate and was widely disliked, even among Democrats.The Russian hacks, leaked to Wikileaks and other whistle-blowing organisations, showed that the Democrats were divided even at senior levels, with some making disparaging and damaging private remarks about Clinton. But the political effect was probably marginal.
    Similarly, Trump’s candidacy had deep roots in the economic, social and political crisis now engulfing the United States. His campaign struck multiple nerves in a sick body politic; and the deeply unfair Electoral College system did the rest. The Russians were minor players.
    But Russian hacking is deeply sinister and transfers subversion and interference in a sovereign state’s affairs to the cyber level. It is important to the future security of the world that this form of Russian piracy be stopped. Unfortunately, Obama dithered for far too long before taking decisive action.
    It is clear that the administration was divided about what to do, partly out of concern about the possible effect of the presidential election then under way. But the United States needed to send the strongest possible signal to Russia that there would be damaging consequences if it persisted. Obama’s private warning to Putin during a “tense” one-on-one meeting at a Group of 20 summit meeting in China had little effect. A much more public show of force was needed.
    Now Obama has expelled 35 Russian officials and sanctioned agencies and individuals responsible for the attacks. He has also signalled that covert counter-hacking activities are likely.
    But Trump seems likely to put his own political interests first. Putin helped him win power, and he already admires the Russian strongman. What happens when Putin does something that threatens world security, such as further incursions into other countries in eastern Europe? Would Trump still do nothing?
    This is the stuff of nightmares”

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 3, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      You should be highly gratified this rag rejected your comments.

      • Dennis Merwood
        January 3, 2017 at 11:37 pm

        Joe, this was my comment that The Dominion Post moderated out of existence today….

        “Would the Dominion Post editors please provide evidence proving that “Russian hackers tried to subvert the American election”?
        And even it is true they “tried”, where is the proof that they succeeded. There isn’t any. They didn’t subvert anything.
        Without evidence, your whole January 4 Editorial is surely based on a lie.

        And your hypocrisy is staggering.
        The American’s have interfered with the elections of dozens of countries. Including Australia.
        The American’s have deposed democratically elected leaders and installed their puppets. The Ukraine being the most recent.
        The American’s have imposed Regime Change by illegal military invasion and occupation.
        If you think the American’s have not hacked other countries in cyberspace, you are surely naïve.

        I am also interested in Putin’s “incursions into (other) countries in eastern Europe”.
        I can’t recall these being covered by the Dominion Post?

        You just can’t help yourselves with the Putin and Trump bashing can you!
        The only stuff of nightmares is surely that your poor readers will believe your Editors complete inversion of the truth”

        I tried a few others…maybe less offensive… they also disappeared.
        Was I out of line?….I’m now feeling that I have the facts wrong.
        Dennis

        • Bill Bodden
          January 4, 2017 at 1:21 am

          You got it right, Dennis. Our local fishwrap is a distributor for Establishment propaganda. My submissions to it eventually hit a nerve with its editors so I’m no longer published, but I still give them a piece of my mind to let the editors know they are not fooling all the people all the time. The breaking point came after I made a comment critical of AIPAC. The op-ed page editor asked me what AIPAC was. After I explained it was the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee two-way communications ended.

    • fred
      January 4, 2017 at 9:22 am

      can you please inform us in what countries in eastern Europe there are russian incursions?
      as far as i know these countries in eastern Europe are crawling with US troops.

  21. SteveK9
    January 3, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Who could have imagined when Barack Obama was first elected President that he would finish with this kind of petty, disgraceful vindictiveness. Willing to do everything he can to demonize a country that could burn this one to ashes … with a pack of lies. For what? To take some kind of personal revenge?

    • Bill Bodden
      January 4, 2017 at 1:26 am

      Obama’s vindictiveness was at its worst when he went after Bradley/Chelsea Manning and other whistleblowers. Obama was shredding the Constitution then.

  22. Rob Roy
    January 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Thank god for Consortium news, its intelligent writers and all the savvy commentators without whom those of us out here who are appalled at what lies pass for news in the MSM would feel isolated and alone. I would appreciate one of the good journalists who write for this news site listing, not the things they assume is bad about Putin but the things they know are good because something should be cleared up. BTW, there’s NO proof that Putin/Russia hacked anything; it is the US who are the cyber hackers of the world. The US gov. hacks EVERYONE.
    Putin is seen through the eyes of our MSM as a bad person. It is accepted without question. He is not a bad person and there is plenty of proof of that. He turned his country around after the disaster of Boris Yeltzen, a drunken thug whom the US called “democratic,” since he was “ours,” you know, the kind of patsy the US likes. Putin is always mentioned as being KGB. Truth is, he was a mid-level analyst for a mere five years, spending most of that time in Dresden. He refused a promotion when back in Moscow and moved to St. Petersburg to be deputy mayor to Sobchek, a progressive, democratic leader. Thanks to Putin, somewhat of a renaissance has been going on in Russia. He recently built a huge theater in Vladivostock for ballet, theater, opera, symphony, which just had its first annual 12-day Art Festival. He has also offered any Russian a hectare of land in the east for free, in order to have more citizens living in the east. His 96% high rating by the people is for real. He is NOT aggressive, as the US press makes out. The US is the aggressor all over the world. How many bases does Russia have? How many does the US have? I’m sick of the propaganda that is accepted by most Americans who seem incapable of research. Clinton pushed hard the denigration of Putin because she was sure she would be president and in her emails stated she would bomb Iran and then take on regime change in Russia, moving right along into WWIII. Trump and Clinton were both very bad candidates. We had Jill Stein and the mainstream media refused to air both her and Bernie’s speeches. We are getting what we let happen. Obama is directly responsible for the election of Trump. If he had done his job there is no way a Trump would have been elected, nor a Clinton for that matter. At least with Trump the false flags to attack Russia may be lowered.

    • Reg Snail
      January 7, 2017 at 6:06 am

      Here is a good account of what Putin was up to in St Petersburg:

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/28/marina-salye

      Polls in Russia are usually conducted by telephone. In a country where opponents of the government are routinely murdered (Nemsov, Politkovskya, Litvinenko, etc, et, etc,) pollees are unlikely to give an honest response, given that they do not know who is on the other end of the line! It could be the local Stasi! Additionally, pollees that don’t commit either way are excluded from the result! I am always surprised when the figures claimed for Putin are not higher but nobody would believe 100% so the ‘result’ is always adjusted down! I know many Russians and I can assure you that the real figure is much, much, much, much lower!

      So Putin is not aggressive? No, he only has troops illegally in Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), Ukraine and Moldova (Transnistra). All are intended to prevent the respective countries from joining NATO. Where does the US have troops illegally?

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        January 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm

        I oppose the Russian support for the Ukrainian separatists, but you could say that you can see the stationing of troops in the Caucasus and Ukraine as both illegal AND legal – as most of the world has recognized the Ukrainian revolutionaries but not the breakaway states, it is illegal from their perspective, but as Russia supports Yanukovych AND has recognized the breakaway states (except Transnistria), from their perspective it IS legal (although the secession of all these states WAS illegal).

        Likewise, it can be argued that the occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S is legal AND illegal. That’s where the United States has stationed troops illegally.

        All of that being said, I have heard doubts about the polls in Russia, having heard news doubting it in 2014 – but not reading the article. Now I know, thanks to you, about a mechanism about how they are falsified – by intimating people through telephone tapping, you don’t even have to rig the results!

        • Reg Snail
          January 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

          Rikhard, Donetsk and Luhansk have only been partially recognised by South Ossetia! Nowhwere else! Russia signed the Budapest Memorandum respecting Ukraine’s independence, so their occupation of any region of Ukraine is illegal on that count alone.

          The USA had troops in Afghanistan at the invitation of the government so how is that illegal?

        • Reg Snail
          January 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm

          Polls can also be falsified by excluding those that decline, from the results. If you were to ask ten people their view and nine declined and one voted for Putin, under Russian ‘rules’ that would give 100% for Putin!

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