GOP and Corporate Dems Gain When Democrats Run Against Putin

Hammering on Russia is a losing strategy for progressives as most Americans care about economic issues and it is the Republicans and corporate Democrats who stand to gain, argues Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

Progressives should figure it out. Amplifying the anti-Russia din helps to drown out the left’s core messages for economic fairness, equal rights, environmental protection, diplomacy and so much more. Echoing the racket of blaming Russia for the USA’s severe shortages of democracy plays into the hands of Republicans and corporate Democrats eager to block progressive momentum.

When riding on the “Russiagate” bandwagon, progressives unwittingly aid political forces that are eager to sideline progressive messages. And with the midterm elections now scarcely 100 days away, the torrents of hyperbolic and hypocritical claims about Russia keep diverting attention from why it’s so important to defeat Republicans.

As a practical matter, devoting massive amounts of time and resources to focusing on Russia has reduced capacities to effectively challenge the domestic forces that are assaulting democratic possibilities at home — with such tactics as state voter ID laws, purging of voter rolls, and numerous barriers to suppress turnout by people of color.

Instead of keeping eyes on the prize, some of the Democratic base has been watching and trusting media outlets like MSNBC. An extreme Russia obsession at the network has left precious little airtime to expose and challenge the vast quantity of terrible domestic-policy measures being advanced by the Trump administration every day.

Likewise with the U.S. government’s militarism. While some Democrats and Republicans in Congress have put forward legislation to end the active U.S. role in Saudi Arabia’s mass-murderous war on Yemen, those efforts face a steeper uphill climb because of MSNBC.

This week, under the headline “It’s Been Over a Year Since MSNBC Has Mentioned U.S. War in Yemen,” journalist Adam Johnson reported for the media watchdog group FAIR about the collapse of journalistic decency at MSNBC, under the weight of the network’s Russia Russia Russia obsession. Johnson’s article asks a big-type question: “Why is the No. 1 outlet of alleged anti-Trump #resistance completely ignoring his most devastating war?”

Maddow: Most Americans don’t care for her obsession.  

The FAIR report says: “What seems most likely is MSNBC has found that attacking Russia from the right on matters of foreign policy is the most elegant way to preserve its ‘progressive’ image while still serving traditional centers of power — namely, the Democratic Party establishment, corporate sponsors, and their own revolving door of ex-spook and military contractor-funded talking heads.”

Russia Doesn’t Concern Americans

Corporate media have been exerting enormous pressure on Democratic officeholders and candidates to follow a thin blue party line on Russia. Yet polling shows that few Americans see Russia as a threat to their well-being; they’re far more concerned about such matters as healthcare, education, housing and overall economic security.

The gap between most Americans and media elites is clear in a nationwide poll taken after the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, which was fiercely condemned by the punditocracy. As The Hill newspaper reported this week under the headline “Most Americans Back Trump’s Call for Follow-Up Summit With Putin,” 54 percent of respondents favored plans for a second summit. “The survey also found that 61 percent of Americans say better relations with Russia are in the best interest of the United States.”

Yet most Democratic Party leaders have very different priorities. After investing so much political capital in portraying Putin’s government as an implacable enemy of the United States, top Democrats on Capitol Hill are hardly inclined to help thaw relations between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

It would be easy for news watchers to see that the Democratic Party is much more committed to a hard line against Russia than a hard line against the corporate forces imposing extreme economic inequality here at home.

National polling underscores just how out of whack and out of touch the party’s top dogs are. Last month, the Gallup organization asked: “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” The results were telling. “Situation with Russia” came in at below one-half of 1 percent.

The day after the Helsinki summit, The Washington Post reported: “Citing polls and focus groups that have put Trump and Russia far down the list of voter priorities, Democratic strategists have counseled candidates and party leaders for months to discuss ‘kitchen table’ issues. Now, after a remarkable 46-minute news conference on foreign soil where Trump stood side by side with a former KGB agent to praise his ‘strong’ denials of election interference and criticize the FBI, those strategists believe the ground may have shifted.”

Prominent corporate Democrats who want to beat back the current progressive groundswell inside their party are leading the charge. Jim Kessler, a senior vice president at the “centrist” Third Way organization, was quick to proclaim after the summit: “It got simple real fast. I’ve talked to a lot of Democrats that are running in purple and red states and districts who have said that Russia rarely comes up back home, and I think that has now changed.”

The Democratic National Committee and other official arms of the party keep sending out Russia-bashing emails to millions of people on a nearly daily basis. At times the goals seem to involve generating and exploiting manic panic.

At the end of last week, as soon as the White House announced plans (later postponed) for Vladimir Putin to meet with President Trump in Washington this fall, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fired off a mass email — from “RUSSIA ALERT (via DCCC)” — declaring that the Russian president “must NOT be allowed to set foot in our country.” The email strained to conflate a summit with Russian interference in U.S. elections. “We cannot overstate how dangerous this is,” the DCCC gravely warned. And: “We need to stop him at all costs.”

For Democrats who move in elite circles, running against Putin might seem like a smart election move. But for voters worried about economic insecurity and many other social ills, a political party obsessed with Russia is likely to seem aloof and irrelevant to their lives.

Norman Solomon is the national coordinator of the online activist group and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

89 comments for “GOP and Corporate Dems Gain When Democrats Run Against Putin

  1. Drspock
    August 3, 2018 at 09:53

    Notice how the adversaries that require our fear have shifted almost seamlessly from Al Qieda, to ISIS and now to Russia. Fear, fear and more fear reverberate like a drumbeat from the cable news outlets. It resembles the basic principles of advertising and psychological conditioning rather than news and honest journalism.

  2. Bob Ford
    August 1, 2018 at 01:11

    I agree with the author’s description of the voters’ attitude about the whole anti-Russia hysteria. However, he misplaces it. The people who most emphasize Russia!Russia!Russia! are the Democratic Party, the Washington establishment, and the corporate mass media. Progressives are split between the #Resistance crowd, who are still loyal to the Democratic Party and who are spoon fed their world view by mass media propaganda, and progressives who have, to a great extent, split from both the party and corporate media. Many progressives think official Washington and the Washington press corps have lost their minds. We also think the Democratic Party is both morally and intellectually bankrupt.

    • August 2, 2018 at 06:55

      “However, he misplaces it. The people who most emphasize Russia!Russia!Russia! are the Democratic Party, the Washington establishment, and the corporate mass media.”

      Bob, Forgive me but I thought that’s what the whole article was saying??

    • Pam Ryan
      August 2, 2018 at 23:07

      Spot on.

  3. Delia Ruhe
    July 31, 2018 at 14:41

    Americans have always had a unique way of designating where their two political parties stand on the political spectrum. Just because the Democrats have traditionally stood a bit to the left of the GOP, they must be leftist. In other words, if the two parties change their policies, embracing issues they haven’t addressed before, Americans merely adjust the political spectrum to make the parties look as if they still represent Left and Right. American political observers and analysist have had to invent something called Moderate, which takes up a position between Democrats and Republicans.

    However, one cannot “move” liberalism from the centre of the political spectrum. We all live in the Western world of Liberal Democracy, which is the immovable centre. In keeping with the evolution of Liberal Democracy, the party whose platform places itself at the centre has the task of balancing public and private sectors. If one envisions the two American parties on such a perspective, one sees clearly that America doesn’t have a left at all.

    FDR was a social liberal—a “welfare liberal,” if you will. He was a dyed-in-the-wool true liberal who was enough of a pragmatist to see that the balance between private and public sectors was way out of wack, so he came up with the idea of the New Deal to try to get the two sectors a bit more in balance. One half of his New Deal involved the creation of social programs; the other half involved heavily taxing the private sector to pay for them, i.e., getting the private sector to pay off the years of privilege they had enjoyed by dint of the upward redistribution of wealth. In other words, what FDR was trying to do was start the project of redistributing wealth a little more evenly across both sectors. Unfortunately, he never got to finish that project, and it remains unfinished to this day—indeed, today, what’s left of the New Deal is being trashed.

    Today, the GOP is the party of billionaires which supports an upward distribution of wealth unknown since feudalism. The Democrats are the party of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and any concern with the growing distress within the public sector is empty rhetoric. Moderates are squeezed in between the two, but don’t ask me what’s so “moderate” about that.

    Solomon says that the Democrat obsession with Russia and Putin drowns out
    “the left’s core messages for economic fairness, equal rights, environmental protection, diplomacy and so much more…” He’s right. Neither party is articulating that “core message.” Same goes for the capacity “to effectively challenge the domestic forces that are assaulting democratic possibilities at home — with such tactics as state voter ID laws, purging of voter rolls, and numerous barriers to suppress turnout by people of color.” If the pseudo-leftist Democrat party is even weakly challenging this GOP disenfranchisement campaign, I haven’t heard a word of it; that challenge has also been drowned out. From where I sit north of 49, both parties continue their lurch to the right, and there is so little room left on the right wing of spectrum that I wonder which of the two parties will be the first to slide off entirely and into fascism.

    July 31, 2018 at 14:29

    Bravo, Norman! I, personally, have joined the Social Democrats. Curios if people are concerned about the issue of nuclear weapons.

  5. Nop
    July 31, 2018 at 10:38

    “Amplifying the anti-Russia din helps to drown out the left’s core messages for economic fairness, equal rights, environmental protection, diplomacy and so much more.”

    That, of course, is the purpose and intent. Just like hobbling the ‘left’ with absurd identity politics.

  6. Bill Goldman
    July 30, 2018 at 18:44

    If the Democrats don’t turn primaries into housecleaning out establishment Dems, they will gain no seats in the midterm election and Trump will retain his Republican majority in both chambers. Putin is an heroic figure to the global electorates. They admire and respect him and even wish he were running on their tickets. Most Americans want nothing to do with mainstream media be it the NYT, WSJ, Fox, Financial Times, Guardian, MSNBC, or CNN. They are mostly viewed as extreme liars and propagandists of the Goebbels variety. The real action is in the alternative media who realize capitalist wars are military-industrial rackets. The play is at RT, Sputnik International, Consortium, The Saker, New Eastern Outlook, and Greenville Post, among others.

  7. Taras77
    July 30, 2018 at 11:42

    Not sure where this link would fit but here it is:

    Article is strong on self-pity and whine-evidently this neo con had a serious case of the vapors when putin made an “offer” to interview him.

    It remains to be seen as to the extent of mcfaul’s cooperation with browder, who he describes simply as a british businessman.

  8. Furtive
    July 30, 2018 at 11:27

    It was ok when Hillary said we need a “strong” Russia:
    “We want very much to have a strong Russia because a strong, competent, prosperous, stable Russia is , we think, in the interests of the world,” Clinton said as Obama’s secretary of state in her 2010 interview with the partially Russian government-owned First Channel Television.

    Russia is not the USSR, although PMSNBC wants the ignorant to “stay ignorant, my friend..”
    Thedems are their own worst enemy.

  9. Lois Gagnon
    July 29, 2018 at 23:41

    Rachel Maddow is unfortunately a cult hero in my neck of the Western Mass woods as she makes her permanent home here. It’s impossible to penetrate the total brainwashing she has managed to accomplish among the pink hat wearing crowd. It’s very dispiriting.

    This is a great interview with Russian scholar Prof. Stephen Cohen on the Real News. Maybe it will at least cause a few second thoughts among the not completely zombified.

  10. H Beazley
    July 29, 2018 at 21:55

    I have a foolproof method for proving which journalists are controlled by the C.I.A. The agency always advocates for war and always claims that JFK was killed by a “lone nut.” Rachel Maddow always goes along with war propaganda and supports the Warren Commission every November 22. Therefore, she is a tool for the C.I.A. and cannot be trusted.

  11. CitizenOne
    July 29, 2018 at 21:26

    Today on ABC Martha Raddatz hosted “This Week” which featured James Lankford a Republican from Oklahoma describing how Russia and Putin were actively trying to ruin our democracy and also were trying to influence elections at every possible turn. The Russian Bear and Putin according to Lankford were also trying to rewrite the Constitution, trying to upend every election and were seeking to disrupt our national electrical grid not to be confused with our national election grid which they were also trying to destroy as well as to control the most local elections by a means of electronic control that was beyond any means to control.

    Of course no mention was made about possible solutions to thwart the Russians was mentioned and it is doubtful that there are any serious efforts to counteract the alleged Russian hacking of US elections since not one single preventive action to stop the Orwellian monster of Russia, like Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty Four” was put forth.

    Apparently ABC and the other media are trying to convince Americans that there is an overwhelming force in Russia that is somehow able to infiltrate and control all our national elections. Apparently the Russians are unstoppable.

    It is a sham.

    It is a sham since no evidence of election influence by the Russians was provided and no preventive or corrective measures our government is taking to prevent Emmanuel Goldstein (The Russians) from further attacking and usurping our elections was put forth.

    Instead the publishers of “This Week” on ABC were content to provide evidence-free incriminations of Russia and attribute all manner of influence in our elections to the incredibly sneaky and unstoppable Russian-Putin election Influencing machine which is unstoppable by our intelligence agencies.

    What is missing from Martha Radditz’s show? There will never be any admission that they have jobs because of Citizens United, their corporate benefactors (Koch Industries), Gerrymandering, Dark Money, Media Bias which ensures that the Iron Triangle of corporate election dark money flows to hand picked political candidates that will support conservative causes or that these are the real election influencing mechanisms which have the most power in our country to influence elections.

    As long as ABC, NBC, CBS and other cable news shows fail to correctly identify the real reasons of election corruption which is our very near and dear corporate money funded political organizations we will continue to be duped by the free press to believe that Russia has control over our national elections and not believe that US Corporations hold all the power.

  12. Cassandra
    July 29, 2018 at 20:43

    Hell hath no fury like a Clinton scorned. The Goldwater Girl just can’t over her loss to El Chumpo. It had to be the Russians, not the thoroughly disgusted American people who voted with their feet by not going to the polls at all.

  13. rosemerry
    July 28, 2018 at 18:39

    Thanks to Norman for reminding us of the continued waste of time and effort on the ‘russiagate’ stories based on allegations and indictments, NOT evidence or possible reasons for such behavior. The USA is fully capable of unfair election practices, helped by the undemocratic system of electoral college, partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression, lack of response to voter desires…….plus of course Israel being the very large external factor.
    Trump’s influence on workers, environment, USA’s reputation are negative, but blaming Russia when this is in nobody’s real interest is hardly the way forward for the Democratic Party.

  14. SteveK9
    July 28, 2018 at 15:57

    Incredible as it seems, the re-election of Donald Trump (assuming he is not deposed or killed before then) is not essential to preserve our democracy. If they bring him down (whatever you may think of him), then we might just as well have a ‘Star Chamber’ of the Military/Industrial/Intelligence complex choose the President, not that it would matter who that might be.

    • SteveK9
      July 28, 2018 at 15:57

      now essential … sorry. I wish there were a way to edit comments.

  15. July 28, 2018 at 09:35

    It really is peculiar what’s happened to these dimwit Dems. I used to listen to Thom Hartmann and Rachel Maddow when they were on Air America, and their main political positions were for working people. Now, all they do is partisan politics which they don’t seem to understand benefits only the Deep State war party.

    Incidentally, State of the Nation website,, has an article by Alex Krainer, who wrote the book about Bill Browder’s crooked dealings in Russia. His book, which was suppressed by Browder first, i think is “Grand Deception”, now available from Red Pill Press for $25 (and must be selling well because it’s being reprinted). I wrote this hastily but you’ll see it on Russia’s resurgence under Putin is nothing short of astounding.

    Also, there is a video on Youtube, “The Rise of Putin and the Fall of the Russian Jewish Oligarchs”, 2 parts. I only saw the beginning showing how the Russian people were given state vouchers that led to the oligarchs buying them up for their own profit and plunging Russians into shock therapy disaster instigated by IMF and other US led monetary agencies including Harvard. This is why it is so incredible how Americans receive political “perception control” when the truth is exactly opposite of what they are being told. At least more people are realizing the lies being told about Russia and Putin.

  16. Drew Hunkins
    July 27, 2018 at 15:51

    Maddow, Corn and the rest of them are playing a dangerous game. This weekend there’s a guy over at Counterpunch (“The curious case of pro-Trump leftism”) who’s essentially saying that any progressives or liberal minded folks who concede that Trump’s on the righteous path in pursuing a detente of sorts with the Kremlin is a naive fool and isn’t to be taken seriously (Thom Hartmann also had a recent piece saying similar things). He sets up a Manichean world in which you either see Trump as the sole embodiment of evil or you’re a dupe playing into rightwing hands. I for one, and most others at CN, have been highly critical of 90% of Trump’s platform and policies but we’re also not dunderheaded dolts, we know when to give the man a modicum of credit for going against the military industrial media complex on at least this one particular issue.

    • Realist
      July 27, 2018 at 21:26

      All those loons you mentioned are effectively practicing a religion, in which there is a dogma everyone must believe to be virtuous and a set of commandments every believer must live by to gain salvation. Don’t toe the line on every bit of it and you are rejected as an apostate.

      I’m surprised that some of those folks, notably Thom Hartmann, choose not to practice what they preach–you know, the platitudes about studying the facts and coming to your own conclusions rather than following the herd. They rightly condemn acting on prejudice, out of pure self-interest, without verifiable facts (indeed at odds with empirical fact) and using group intimidation, as per McCarthyist tactics, and then they go ahead and embrace those vices to their own ends.

      It is my process on everything in this life to learn as much as I can on my own, without being brainwashed by any group or movement, and only backing a cause if it is congruent with my own conclusions. Unfortunately, most people do the opposite: they are joiners first and analysts only if their biases are not threatened.

      I feel entirely justified in agreeing with movements on some things and not others. I doubt that human beings have arrived at definitive answers about most phenomena in the real world or that any single organised group of us has it all down accurate and pat on everything. Listen to any casual debate on the questions big and small in science: the give and take, back and forth, can go on as long as the participants have the interest and energy. I never give my interlocutors any respite, because there is always one more thing to be considered or one more way of looking at a problem. I’m sure I would have been burned at the stake in many previous lives and so would a lot of the readers here.

      Dogmatic party-line Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Islamists, Rastafarians, Bokononites and all the rest suffer from the same malady of checking their minds at the door when it comes to movement politics. They will never do the unthinkable and cooperate with the opposition even if they happen to agree on an issue. This is a manifestation of the Manichean approach you mentioned, Drew. Admit that the opposition is right about anything and you open the door to the possibility that they are right about more, AND that you may (heaven forbid!) be wrong more often than absolutely never. The main exception, at least in America, seems to be warfare, which both main factions and a lot of the marginal ones agree enthusiastically upon and engage with relish.

      • marcyincny
        July 29, 2018 at 10:40

        I have no idea who Hartmann is so I did a search and found him described as: “Thomas Carl Hartmann is an American radio personality, author, former psychotherapist, businessman, and progressive political commentator.” That’s a of hats! Jack of all trades, master of none?

      • Bob Ford
        August 1, 2018 at 01:26

        I see now why Thom Hartmann left his show at RT America. On RT, he had to remain more or less balanced and rooted in fact-based news coverage. It was not evident then that he wanted to get into some Washington establishment-style Trump-bashing and Russia scare-mongering. He couldn’t do that at RT and retain any credibility.

        • Skip Scott
          August 1, 2018 at 07:53

          He’s lost all credibility anyway, along with sheep dog Bernie.

        • Realist
          August 1, 2018 at 17:43

          I did not know he flipped on RT and has chosen the Russophobia path. He was probably loathe to lose his connections to the Democratic Party. Maybe they are demanding loyalty oaths and simply haven’t gotten to me yet. Or maybe the ratcheting up of the New McCarthyism right after the summit, basically calling for an insurrection against “treason,” threw a scare into him and he fears living out his life in an internment camp.

          You know who else seems to have joined the “Russia stole the election with 3 million tweets” bandwagon? Nate Silver at 538. His rag used to be mostly noncommittal on the subject. Now it’s just a given that the Russian state (not just generic Russkies) flooded social media with lies and they proved effective in turning the election. You know, pure hogwash based on numbers represented as “data.” Too bad the “data maestro” did not catch the glitch in real time, as even he predicted a Hillary landslide. Therefore, it had to be skullduggery if the received wisdom turned out to be fallacious. The establishment is still working on its version of history.

    • Eddie
      July 27, 2018 at 23:26

      Yes, good points Drew. I view Maddow as a liberal Rush Limbaugh, trying to win a Leni Riefenstahl award from the DNC, and having to be satisfied with her purported $9M/yr salary (which definitely DOES buy a LOT of co-opting).

      In support of your argument, I would add that ultimately we should be voting for a candidate based on his/her POLICIES, as evidenced by their prior political voting record and whatever political actions they’ve taken, NOT based on what they SAY they believe — that’s 1st period high school civics as I recall. It’s too easy for candidates to say this or that during a campaign. Trump’s policy of detente w/Russia, is — like the proverbial ‘blind squirrel who occasionally finds a nut’ — probably random chance or perhaps a way to penetrate a relatively untapped market with his hucksterism. But so what?? For something as IMPORTANT as NOT having a nuclear war, I’m all for any honest, significant efforts in that direction. Even Nixon, whose presidency I disliked greatly, did a good thing by ‘going to China’ — I don’t recall anybody on the liberal side at that time saying he was Mao’s dupe or foolishness like that. Did Nixon do it as a cynical ploy to draw attention away from other political problems, and did he previously help aggravate/perpetuate a lot of the conflict w/China? Sure, but the act of rapprochement w/China was in-and-of-itself desirable and laudable in that it moved the world a major step AWAY from possible nuclear war. And full-scale nuclear war trumps (no pun intended) virtually all other problems, with the possible exception of climate change, so a POTUS should devote extra energy to that task. Ideally, they should be ramping down the militarism and nationalism, but unfortunately those are campaign tactics that are too easy for either major party to set aside (with 1/2 the fault lying in the electorate who too often endorses those ‘isms).

      • Eddie
        July 27, 2018 at 23:29

        Correction: last sentence, the “set aside” should’ve been “use”.

      • michael
        July 28, 2018 at 11:47

        Nixon opened the door to China but the Clintons gave China, a communist country, permanent favored nation status, relaxed technology restrictions, and set up the path to offshoring jobs. These things in combination helped build up China’s economy to what it is today, a great return on the illegal $366,000 given by Communist China to the DNC, which (after the Election) was paid back. Russiagate is probably modeled on Chinagate, except there were no consequences for the Clintons.

        • Eddie
          July 28, 2018 at 12:49

          Yes, that’s what finally (after being shocked by his Balkans bombings) turned me away from the POTUS Dems was when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA and similar agreements like the one you mentioned, for his short-term political gain. (ie; many middle class consumers could buy cheap goods, which distracted from the shuttering of major industries that couldn’t compete with a Chinese wage of $3.57/hr and no pollution laws, etc). Nowadays, for instance,TRY to find a normally-priced shoe or shirt made in the USA (sure, you might find an exotic, botique-made version, but no high-volume/mass-produced versions for the middle-class).

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 28, 2018 at 16:31

        “Trump’s policy of detente w/Russia, is — like the proverbial ‘blind squirrel who occasionally finds a nut’ — probably random chance or perhaps a way to penetrate a relatively untapped market with his hucksterism. But so what?? For something as IMPORTANT as NOT having a nuclear war, I’m all for any honest, significant efforts in that direction.”


      • rosemerry
        July 28, 2018 at 18:47

        Nixon, by the way, helped bring in many of the important environmental laws Ralph Nader did so much to bring to prominence and Trump is successfully destroying.

    • Skip Scott
      July 28, 2018 at 06:11

      et tu, Thom Hartmann? God help us.

    • Nik
      July 28, 2018 at 09:10

      Is not Maddow well compensated for her anti-Russian stance that is so valued by the Military-Industrial Complex? She is a profiteer.

  17. Dario Zuddu
    July 27, 2018 at 15:36

    Nothing new by now about ultra-corrupted MSM serving the interests of the war establishment.
    Yet, the article falls back to usual sociological errors while overlooking important subtleties.
    True, Russia certainly does not top Americans’ priorities – how could it in the current situation? – but these much trumpeted surveys are hardly the compelling evidence of their views on US relations with Moscow (and how Trump plays in it) that the piece, and other equally imprudent media coverage, would have you believe.
    Recent history should teach us extreme caution about surveys’ reliability, but let the facts speak.
    The cited “nationwide poll” actually interviewed a very modest sample of 1,001 citizens, which might not be small by surveys’ standards, but, well, that only strengthens the point that surveys must be taken cum grano salis.
    Look at American readers’ approving, vitriolic comments on much of the same MSM Russo-phobic coverage : they number in the thousands, day by day, and far exceed the sample of the survey. Of course they probably mostly represent the view of Democrats, but you should remember that in terms of registered voters, democrats have frequently outweighed republicans.
    In any event, the popular base of the mentioned national poll is way too negligible to draw the very meaningful conclusion of the article.
    This is a structural limit of sociological analysis that we must take an effort to regard as definitive.
    But the claim that so many Americans would have markedly different view from the establishment on Russia-Trump issues is also very dubious, to say the least, in another respect.
    It does not take into account the possibility, quite palpable if you scratch the surface, that many liberal democrats still hope that the so called Russiagate might bring Trump down – through a possible impeachment or compelled resignation.
    Now, that is not only unlikely, but it would also be a very wrong way to go for any future viable and stable political success of the Democratic Party. Such an outcome would only reinforce the view of Trump voters that the political establishment in D.C. does not respect the popular will and would do anything to undermine it.
    Trump needs to be beaten at the voting polls.
    Yet, plenty of liberal democrat voters still seem to think otherwise.

  18. Jeff Harrison
    July 27, 2018 at 13:56

    Re-reading this today for some reason really popped a few things up for me. The first one right in my face was: “Now, after a remarkable 46-minute news conference on foreign soil where Trump stood side by side with a former KGB agent to praise his ‘strong’ denials of election interference and criticize the FBI, those strategists believe the ground may have shifted.”

    Can someone explain to me what the hell “foreign soil” has to do with the price of tea in China? Trump has given plenty of pressers “on foreign soil” but that phrase nor anything like it is ever mentioned. Trump stood side by side with a former KGB agent…Talk about a lack of respect and blatant bias. He stood side by side with the democratically elected President of the Russian Federation who, by the way, won his election by a clear majority of the vote unlike Mr. Trump who would have lost the election had it been held in Russia. One wonders what would have happened had WaPo and the NYT said something like Russian President Gorbachev stood side by side with the former head of the KGB… I mean CIA without ever saying President Bush?

    It’s also blindingly obvious how screwed we are. We really only have one political party in the US – the US Corporate Party. There is, indeed, very little reason to vote as a recent survey pointed out Congressional votes correspond to the people’s preferences as determined by polling only about 5% of the time.

  19. Gregory Herr
    July 27, 2018 at 12:08

    Progressives, particularly those few taken tokens the Democrats allow for, should have realised long ago that MSNBC is all in on the corporatist controlled economy and leans heavily forward in the quest for War and Profits.

    FAIR is correct to point to the “traditional centers of power” that MSNBC services, but the farcical “coverage” of Russiagate inanity certainly doesn’t “preserve” a “progressive image” and is not “elegant” in any way.

    The war on Yemen and the weapons contracting with the Saudi terrorist regime was already “steroidal” during Obama’s Administration. In October 2016, warplanes bombed a community hall in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, where mourners had gathered for a funeral, killing at least 140 people and wounding hundreds. We should note that the U.S. provided intelligence assistance in identifying targets and mid-air refueling for Saudi aircraft and helped blockade the ports of Yemen during Obama’s tenure.

    • Nik
      July 28, 2018 at 09:13

      “Progressives, particularly those few taken tokens the Democrats allow for, should have realised long ago that MSNBC is all in on the corporatist controlled economy and leans heavily forward in the quest for War and Profits.”
      Oh, they do. Look how pro-war and pro-CIA the so-called progressives had become overnight. It is the size of a paycheck that makes the “progressives” so articulate. Maddow is an example numero One.

  20. David H.
    July 27, 2018 at 09:33

    Yes, but author neglects to mention that “Russiagate” is a lie, i.e., it is not true.

    Maybe that matters too?

  21. mike k
    July 27, 2018 at 08:39

    The whole corrupt, crazy political process is a distraction from our real problems, and an endless maze of futility. The illusion of democracy is collapsing all around us, and safety lies in abandoning it. We need a new way of thinking and acting that clearly and directly sees our problems and deals with them. Politics as now understood is a dead end.

    • July 28, 2018 at 10:36

      Agreed. Our entire national political debate is a theater of smoke and mirrors. The facts most obvious and degrading to the national interest are ignored at all costs, e.g., an out of control military-industrial-intelligence complex that now swallows up an obscene $1 trillion annually (including “defense related expenditures”). Even the fact that we no longer live in a democracy but an oligarchy, according to objective studies and noted commentators, including former president Carter, is never commented upon by the miscreant pundits posing as reporters (Hayes, Maddow, Anderson, Cuomo, et al).

  22. Realist
    July 27, 2018 at 06:33

    My plans for the upcoming Democratic primary in Florida: I will write “none of these clowns” at the top of the ballot. Under that I will write “Stop the warmongering and phony Russia-bashing. Stop the obstructionism just to damage Trump and exonerate Hillary for losing a poorly-run campaign. I cannot vote for my party this November, and never again until you stop trying to run to the right of the Republicans.” Maybe someone reading the ballot will pass the message on to the party leadership and adjustments will at least be considered.

    If not, eff ’em. We will be better off sweeping corrupt corporatist cronies of Hillary, like Wasserman-Schultz, out of congress. Then there will be no doubt that the GOP needs to go too, after they use their mandate to totally wreck all before them, and maybe, after a few election cycles, some third party representing the interests of the people rather than Wall Street and the MIC can emerge. Maybe the Greens and the Libertarians can become at least equal players with the corporatist Dems and GOPers.

    Somebody new is going to have to preside over the coming economic and societal collapse, and do we want that to be the military, the police and the spooks? That is who will seize power (not just covertly but overtly) if the usually mercenary politicians cannot effect some workable changes.

    • July 27, 2018 at 08:52

      Right on except “Maybe…adjustments will at least be considered.”

      Not a chance but you might feel better.

      If you took it to your local DNC office, told them in person and put out a video of it I’m pretty sure you’d feel a hundred times better. I’d have to get drunk first and it would be a totally different video.

    • Broompilot
      July 27, 2018 at 19:01

      Like the Eastern Roman Empire, we could wax and wane for 1000 years with the power we possess. Or, like the Soviet Union, we could suffer an economic collapse over a decade throwing a large percentage of us into poverty. I tend to think that the Cold War bankrupted us as well as the soviets, but we just haven’t figured it that out yet.

      • Realist
        July 27, 2018 at 21:48

        “I tend to think that the Cold War bankrupted us as well as the soviets, but we just haven’t figured that out yet.”

        Because we prefer to blow off science and empirically-supported concepts like the first law of thermodynamics which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transferred or changed in form.

        We choose to believe that we can endlessly create money, which is a token representing access to available stored energy, out of nothing by issuing debt. Even if the tokens are infinite, on a finite planet the available energy is certainly not.

        Most of the human race has been speeding towards the cliff at 100 mph like Thelma and Louise. Certainly America has been. It’s getting ever closer. We will get there. Don’t expect Zeno’s paradox to save us.

        • Broompilot
          July 28, 2018 at 05:35

          dayum – I was counting on Zeno. – lol

    • Nik
      July 28, 2018 at 09:22

      Is not the Awan affair a grave insult to the US “Intelligence Community?”
      For several years, a family of foreign nationals (and not only Wassermannn-Schultz) has been surfing the congressional computers while having no security clearance.
      Then there was a criminal negligence by H. Clinton who made her emails, filled with the highest-level classified information, available to Chinese (not the Russians).
      Both Debbie and Hillary should be in federal prison already. Clinton used to be fond of droning Assange for divulging the criminal and illegal activities of the state. What Debbie and Hillary did has been much more dangerous to the US national security.

  23. Ma Laoshi
    July 27, 2018 at 05:37

    We are long past the point that this extreme Russophobia has revealed itself to be plain old race hatred. These bouts of hysteria have always been part of the American DNA, and it has been most instructive how fast and seamless the switch has been from Muslims to Russians as the hated Other. Progressives have solemnly declared themselves to be the good guys without much introspection, so one would expect them to be more susceptible to this bigotry, not less; a more astute observer might have asked “When will the machine turn on me next?”, as is of course already happening to Sanders and others.

    Yes RussiaGating is a losing strategy, but most of the evidence is that progressives ARE losers. So there’s no surprise that they’re falling for it, and little to indicate that they deserve any better.

  24. Mike
    July 26, 2018 at 23:43

    Never voted for Republican congressmen in the past. Never. This time I will. Democrats are the party of open borders and war. Now they want conflict with Russia over this ginned up fake investigation. They don’t represent working people any more. I don’t even think they put AMERICANS over illegal immigrants. Why is it wrong that people should be forced to obey immigration law? The laws for citizens are enforced. Never thought I’d vote Republican.

    • July 27, 2018 at 09:18

      I can’t think of any reason to vote for 99.9% of the Democrats. The more everyone including the media lies about Russia, the more I empathize with them.

      I’d guess the business owners that rely on illegals vote for Republicans because they’re business owners. We need to eat and they need to make more money than they deserve so neither party is going to stand in the way of it as long as they bribe their politicians and anybody else that feels entitled to free stuff. Democrats won’t get rid of ICE soon, if ever.

      Nearly all people coming from the South are escaping conditions we’ve created and are granted asylum when allowed to make their case in court.

      I think treating defenseless people terribly to show how mean we can be is wrong.

    • July 28, 2018 at 08:05

      I share your setiment about the Democrats but voting for Republicans just because is equally foolish. Why support banning labor unions, corporate very expensive health care, greatly reducing and eventually eliminating social security and Medicare, privitzing all public infrastructure and bailing out wall Street at all cost. I could go on but you get the idea. Vote for candidates that stand for the American people and have the guts to stand up to the elites. If no such candidates exist in a particular election don’t vote simple as that.

      • glitch
        July 28, 2018 at 11:28

        If you can’t vote third party write in none of the above on a paper ballot. If those aren’t options spoil your ballot but turn it in.
        Not voting doesn’t register your disdain, it’s easier for them to ignore as apathy.
        And non votes can be spoofed (stolen).
        Stealing a “none of the above” write-in requires the ballot be destroyed, so it can provide a paper trail and/or a potential theft exposure point.

  25. July 26, 2018 at 22:20

    I am a registered Democrat; I will NOT be voting for them this fall. They no longer have any credibility with me. Rachel helped them shoot themselves in the foot as far as I’m concerned. How are they any different from neocons??? I’m grateful WikiLeaks pulled off their mask. I’m a historian and know a lot of both CIA and Russian history and am not buying Russiagate or Democrats.

  26. July 26, 2018 at 21:33

    I like that, the “Demented-crats”! They are so completely clueless, in their overpaid bubbles, nothing to say about the Race-to-the-Bottom, Hunger Games society they have helped create. Meanwhile, over in Russia, the government with leadership of Vladimir Putin has increased the Russians’ standard of living, much as was done for Americans under FDR and the New Deal. (Never a word about the 80+ governments the USA/CIA has destabilized or directly overthrown, including Russia’s — oh no! We’re exceptional, didn’t you know?)

  27. will
    July 26, 2018 at 20:28
  28. July 26, 2018 at 19:12

    Yea, I don’t get it. Who the hell do you consider to be the progressives!?! Most people I know who consider themselves to be progressives aren’t all wrapped up in the Russian narrative. The loyal shrills to Clinton? Those aren’t progressives. Clinton herself pretty much backed away from that stamp during the election cycle. Pelosi has quite obviously made it clear she can’t even see that side of the fence. Or will she allow it the light of day. In case you missed it, there’s a war on progressives going on. And we aren’t allowed in that club over there. I follow a hand full of Green Party sites on face hack, and they aren’t having the Russia did it by any means. Only those loyal to the liberal democrats have the ignorance to bellow out the talking points and support for Sanders. Yea, those people that wouldn’t give him the light of day during that same election cycle when we thought he was a progressive. Easy Bob! Just a hic cup. I hope! Rest peacefully!

    • Realist
      July 27, 2018 at 06:46

      As Jimmy Dore keeps telling us: the Democratic leadership, which is totally corporatist and neocon, would rather lose to the GOP candidate than to see a progressive or liberal Democrat win the office. The Dems have no independent policies of their own and are merely enablers to make sure that the hard right agenda always prevails. They are a sham party. Enough “blue dogs” and GOP-light types always win as Democrats to ensure that no progressive legislation will ever be enacted even when “the party” has 60% majorities in both houses–as they did in Obama’s first term. This is by design. Even the putative Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama functioned as center-right Republicans. Obama said as much. Clinton didn’t have to as his policies were all reactionary and brought us to the impending economic collapse.

  29. Zim
    July 26, 2018 at 17:39

    Looks like the Inauthentic Opposition Party is gearing up for another ass whooping at the polls. The hypocrisy, the cluelessness is astounding.

  30. JMG
    July 26, 2018 at 17:33

    From this excellent Norman Solomon’s article:

    “As The Hill newspaper reported this week under the headline “Most Americans Back Trump’s Call for Follow-Up Summit With Putin,” 54 percent of respondents favored plans for a second summit. “The survey also found that 61 percent of Americans say better relations with Russia are in the best interest of the United States.””

    This is very important.

  31. Jay
    July 26, 2018 at 17:24

    And I see Bernie Sanders was spewing this neo-McCarthyite crap on a Sunday morning talk show earlier this week.

    He really should know better.

    • Realist
      July 27, 2018 at 07:01

      He’s been co-opted. He’s been told that the blame will be his when the Democratic Party collapses unless he works like hell to keep his sheep in the fold. He’s following orders from the DNC which believes that the party’s last best hope for a comeback, indeed to stave off annihilation, is to keep bashing Putin and Trump because they have no policies, no credibility and no candidates that the people eagerly want to get behind. They think that lies and war are the winning combination. How did that work out for LBJ, Bushdaddy, and Dubya’s organisation?

  32. mrtmbrnmn
    July 26, 2018 at 17:15

    Ever since the Bonnie & Clyde Clinton years, the sclerotic Establishment Dementedcrats have essentially despised their base. They only speak AT them. Never FOR them. Or else they SCOLD them or simply IGNORE them. I hope now they are beginning to FEAR them.

  33. mike
    July 26, 2018 at 16:47

    Putin isn’t running

  34. jose
    July 26, 2018 at 16:22

    Personally speaking, I am yet to see any serious evidence against allege Russia meddling in US elections. And I am not alone in this regard; For instance, according to counterpunch news, ” The decision to blame Russian meddling for Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss was made in the immediate aftermath of the election by her senior campaign staff.” According to Mike Whitney, “So far, no single piece of evidence has been made public proving that the Trump campaign joined with Russia to steal the US presidency.” Isaac Christiansen observes that “As Democrats seek to shift blame away from the discontent with our economic system, their party and their chosen Neoliberal candidate, we are told that Trump came to power almost solely due to Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election.” I reckon that any rational person should believe any Russian interference in US electoral system only when presented with real iron-clad prove. Otherwise, it would be foolhardy to accept at face value speculations and innuendo of a foreign interference that purportedly put Trump in the White House.

  35. DH Fabian
    July 26, 2018 at 15:28

    Well, a couple of issues here. Liberals have not been about economic justice, but about protecting the advantages of the middle class (with an occasional pat on the head to min. wage workers).They’ve forgotten that we’re over 20 years into one hell of a war on the poor. Not everyone can work, and there aren’t jobs for all. The US began shipping out jobs in the ’80s, ended actual welfare aid in the ’90s — lost over 6 million manufacturing jobs alone since 2000. What is” justice” for today’s jobless poor?

    Remember how the entire anti-Russian theme began? The Clinton team used Russia as their excuse for losing 2016. It didn’t get much attention at first because the party/candidate that loses inevitably blames someone or something other than the candidate/party. But the Democrats ran with it from there, using much of the media marketed to liberals to build the Russian Tale. The most insane thing about the claims that Russia hacked voting machines for Trump, etc.: In spite of much Dem voter opposition to the Clinton right wing, H. Clinton got the most votes. (Did Russia do that, and if so, why?) Trump is president because of our antiquated electoral college process. Meanwhile, while Dems ramble on about a Putin/Trump bromance, the sane world has watched as Trump set the stage for our final war, US vs. Russia and China.

    • Realist
      July 27, 2018 at 07:09

      “Meanwhile, while Dems ramble on about a Putin/Trump bromance, the sane world has watched as Trump set the stage for our final war, US vs. Russia and China.”

      So very right. Everything gets conspicuously twisted by a biased media, yet no one (of consequence) says anything about that. Even as Trump gets bashed, he gets cheered whenever he does something dangerous and stupid, such as launching missiles in the aftermath of an obvious false flag incident. We see the matrix being blatantly and clumsily spun right before our eyes and nobody says a word about the emperor’s nakedness.

  36. Pablo Diablo
    July 26, 2018 at 15:16


    • JMG
      July 26, 2018 at 16:27


    • A
      July 26, 2018 at 23:06

      the right wing people are already here. we do not need fear Russians. We have enough of our own home grown people. I do not fear them unless they have their guns in their pockets.

    • Al Pinto
      July 27, 2018 at 22:43

      For argument sake, let’s say they are coming and will arrive soon…

      Maybe we can finally have government provided health care, housing, eduction for everyone, like they have now in Russia. Maybe we can retire at age 55 (women), or 60 (men) with government pension. Sounds a lot better than the current circumstances in the US…

      What are you afraid of?

  37. Skip Scott
    July 26, 2018 at 14:27

    It is time for the progressives to flee the Democratic party en masse and go their own way. If they haven’t learned anything from the 2016 election, they are doomed. The DNC has a stranglehold on the Progressive movement, and sheep dog Bernie will once again herd them over to the corporate sponsored candidate in the end.

    For the midterms, this is what the Democrats have planned:

    “One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates.”

    The Green Party has a truly Progressive platform on Domestic and Foreign policy, and are our only hope at this point. They just need the right standard bearers to break through the MSM censorship. If they could get a charismatic candidate for President in 2020 and break the 15% threshold for the debates, the American people would finally see that they really do have a choice for a better future.

    • DH Fabian
      July 26, 2018 at 15:36

      We haven’t seen any progressives in years. Progressive politics isn’t a new invention. In the US, it goes back at least to the early 1900s. It’s about building a better nation from the bottom up — legit aid for the poor at one end, firm restraints in the rich at the other end.We have nothing like that today. This isn’t about “political purity,” but about not calling an apple an armadillo.

      It’s true that the Green Party platform does include legitimatrely addressing poverty, but perhaps understandably, this fact was swept under the carpet during their 2016 campaign.

      • will
        July 26, 2018 at 20:32

        “We haven’t seen any progressives in years” Apparently you don’t get out much.

    • hetro
      July 26, 2018 at 16:14

      Skip, let’s hope we don’t have the “hold your nose and vote Democrat” arguments again, with Greens as a vote for Trump (or Putin?). Interestingly, the following poll from FOX news indicates the strum und feces hysteria of the current Democratic machine may not be working out all that well, as 7 in 10 respondents here indicate the political atmosphere in the US at this time is “overheated.”

      Well, a good deal of that overheat is coming from the “them Russians them Russians” meme continually pushed–and way over the top for most American people trying to “have a great day!” This poll does indicate Dems are ahead at this point, and in the past several election cycles there has been a regular switch every two years in congressional domination.

    • July 26, 2018 at 16:59

      “The Green Party has a truly Progressive platform on Domestic and Foreign policy, and are our only hope at this point.”

      The Green Party is a Capitalist party, just the kindest and gentlest Capitalism of any of the Capitalist parties with the most stringent leash on the mad killer dog that is Capitalism and the best safety net for those chased off the cliff by that mad killer dog.

      For those of us who see that Capitalism is the problem, that makes voting Green actually a lesser evil choice. If we’re going to vote lesser evil, we might as well vote for the most progressive Democrats, or even centrist ones when they’re running against fire breathing Randian Republicans who combine that with a Fundamentalist Christian Theocratic agenda (a combination that makes no sense, but who said the GOP makes sense?)

      There are few viable Socialist parties in the US anymore. The biggest jettisoned Socialism nearly 50 years ago when it also jettisoned actually being a political party and decided to just be a lobby group within the Democratic Party. The only political heir of Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party USA, is now a fringe group whose national conventions are more like a picnic gathering of a few friends. The other organizations that seem more viable are actually Trotskyite groups, and Trotsky was not non-violent at all, which I am.

      I am really at a lost what to do as far as the less important task of voting (which is less important than ongoing activism.) I just did my primary ballot. We’ve got this terrible top two primary, a system that basically kills movement building.

      I could have voted for Gigi Ferguson, the independent, who was endorsed by the Green Party, running for senate against NeoLiberal phony environmentalist Maria Cantwell and not the poser, who said he was Green, (parties have no say in candidates’ statements of which party they prefer,) but is for privatizing Social Security. But I instead voted for Steve Hoffman, the only avowed Socialist on the ballot in any race, even though his Freedom Socialist Party is Troskyite.

      I voted for Stoney Bird, a real Green, running against TPP loving and indefinite detention loving and NeoLiberal anti-Single Payer Rick Larsen for Congress.

      My state legislation had two positions. In one I voted for Alex Ramel, an ecological activist, over the preferred establishment choice of Identity Politics candidate (tribal,) Debra Lekanoff. In the other the incumbent, Jeff Morris, another establishment Democrat, ran unopposed. I wrote in “None.” (Morris having the same family name as my mother’s maiden name didn’t affect me at all.)

      But it was all an exercise in futility, voting for my conscience as much as possible. I have little doubt that none of my choices, except maybe Ramel, will make it to the top two. Cantwell and Larsen are shoo-ins and they’ll surely face the establishment GOP candidate. Thus cutting out all other options in the Fall.

      I’ll have to write in my choices then. Oh well.

      • maryam
        July 27, 2018 at 04:54

        Over here in Europe (not UK) and faced with the similar problem of inapt candidates, we sometimes need to vote creatively: so we vote, of course, but choose to make the ballot sheet invalid. this way our voice is noted and we show that we care about the electoral process, while it also makes clear that we do not care much about the cabdidate(s). “we” will vote, but “they” are not very trustworthy.

        • Pam Ryan
          August 3, 2018 at 00:04

          France is another recent example. A neolib vs a nationalist populist. Ugh.

      • MBeaver
        July 27, 2018 at 08:12

        Yep. We in Germany had that lesson already. The Green party was one of the most corrupt one when they finally got elected into the government.
        They also harmed the social systems massively and supported the first offensive war with German support since WW2.
        Even as opposition they show all the time how much they lie about their true intentions.
        They are not an option, because they are hypocrites.

      • ronnie mitchell
        July 27, 2018 at 16:09

        Interesting comment with some good information that I appreciate.\ I live in Bellingham and have filled out my vote for Stony Bird over Rick Larsen whom I truly despise. In fact in previous election cycles I voted for Mike Lapointe instead but he quit running more than a few years ago so the last time I just left it blank and the same goes for the general election vote for Congress.
        With the TPP issue Rick Larsen had a townhall meeting at City hall building which was packed and he starts off by saying he hasn’t read any of the text of the TPP yet so he was free from answering most questions however he would be checking it out BUT no there would be no further meeting before the voting. In other words he was giving us NOTHING.
        I had been part of the protesters outside his fundraising gathering (private and by invitation only) and have been to his local office many times (it’s two blocks from where I live) and when myself and a small group were in opposition to building the largest coal terminal in north America at Cherry Point. He would never say he was against it or for it but his fundraisers were backers of the terminal and as each of our group stepped forward to give a statement to his office workers on the issue (Rick was in DC,aka District of Corruption at the time) they just politely listened but neither recorded nor wrote down ANYTHING we said.
        The list is long regarding issues on which he is on the opposite side of his constituents wishes and at one gathering was smugly dismissive of requests to represent the votes of the people and not use his super delegate status(not Democratic) to endorse Hillary Clinton because votes in Caucuses were overwhelmingly for Sen. Sanders.
        I could go on but it would be too long of a comment but you’ve given me some good ideas for other choices on the ballot which I needed in particular with Maria Cantwell whom (like fellow neoliberal Patty Murray) I have refused to support in the last two elections.For one of many examples of why, one big one was their stand against importing cheaper medicines from Canada which was word for word straight out of the Big PHarma handbook of talking points, but they DID get quite a lot of flak for it.

        I’ll look into some of your other suggestions as well before I turn in this ballot, thanks for your comment.

    • TS
      July 27, 2018 at 04:06

      > Skip Scott

      > …If they could get a charismatic candidate for President in 2020 and break the 15% threshold for the debates,…

      And what makes you think the people who decide wouldn’t simply shift the goalposts?

      • Skip Scott
        July 27, 2018 at 14:48

        I’m sure that would be attempted, but with a strong candidate hopefully there’d be enough of a fuss made to get them to back off. I’d also like to dream that some of the more progressive Democrats in congress would see the writing on the wall, and declare themselves Greens. That’d give us a toehold in two branches of government. I know I’m being overly optimistic, but it keeps me away from the whiskey bottle.

        • Piotr Berman
          July 28, 2018 at 15:06

          I have some misgivings to “eco politics”, I am not sure to what extend they apply to Greens, and I am sorry to say, liberals have a knack to pick the worst parts of any progressive idea.

          Any goal has to consider trade-off. If we think that emitting carbon to the atmosphere is a major problem, solutions must follow economic calculus. Instead, there was two much stress on “aesthetic solutions” and sometimes scientifically unsound solutions. For example, aesthetic solution is electric vehicles, but hybrid vehicles offer a much smaller cost per amount of carbon that is saved, only when majority of vehicles already gain from regenerative braking and having engines work only in fuel optimal conditions (battery absorbing surplus or augmenting the engine power when the amount of needed power is outside parameters optimal for the internal combustion engine) you may get better cost from electric engines.

          Or excluding nuclear power from the “approved solutions”. One of my many objections on “Republicans on energy” that they promised a few times to be “rational” but they never delivered.

          Philosophically, there should be a fat carbon tax and social policies and subsidies to avoid poor people to loose.

          “Hyperrational” progressive approach would be to make a balance: as a society, where do we waste, and where do we spent too little.

          1. Military/foreign policy. In aggregate, spendings are huge and nobody is overly proud from the results. An open question if this category of spending should be decreased by 50% or 75%, if we proceed in stages we can reach satisfactory point. Mind you, the largest ticket items are improving nuclear weapons or conventional weapon systems that are needed against very few most sophisticated adversaries who also waste resources. USA, Russia, China, the rest of NATO etc. could agree to some disarmament, Russia and China actually accelerated weapon development in response to “Let America dominate forever” policies, bad news are they they do it for less money.

          2. Medical robbery complex. Private insurance and lack of costs control leads to spending on medical care around 18% of GDP rather than 10%. This waste is actually larger than all spending on defense.

          3. Infrastructure (large public role) and other capital investments (small public role but essential fiscal policies and “thoughtful protectionism”), we spent too little, can be covered by a part of 1 and 2.

          I could continue with “hyperrational progressive manifesto” but I will give one example. Enforcing labor standards may eliminate 90% of illegal employment without walls, concentration camps for aliens etc. Some industries cannot make it without cheap illegal aliens, if they REALLY cannot, workers should work legally in their home countries and resulting imports should be encouraged. If picking carrots is too expensive in USA, we may get them from other countries in Western Hemisphere. On that note, lately there are enough jobs in USA, but native born citizens do not flock to carrot picking, they would rather have jobs that required large capital investments and there are too few of those.

          Hyperrational rhetoric can borrow from libertarians: if our allies do not feel secure when they spend X times more than their regional adversaries (especially if we add our own regional expenditures), that says that money alone cannot cure their “secure feeling” deficit and we and they are already spending too much. We do not need to hate or demean anyone to reach such conclusions.

          • Skip Scott
            July 29, 2018 at 13:09


            I am all in favor of rational solutions to our environmental problems. The problem is the entrenched power of the existing exploitive industries. An incredible amount of progress could be made through on-site power generation and energy efficient building design.

            I’m am not in favor of current nuclear power plants, but I am not opposed to research, and I’ve heard good things about recent designs, especially thorium nukes. I am no engineer, but if we had safe nukes, we could go with hydrogen fuel cells for automobiles. There are plenty of other creative ideas as well for things such as localized food production.

            If we find common purpose with the Libertarians to stop the war machine, the amount of energy and resources and creative potential to bring humanity forward would be tremendous. First we have to stop the war machine, and then we can argue about the extent of the role of government in a free society.

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