Summary: Another day, another smear about Trump. Our elites are desperate to suppress debate about the issues raised by Trump, hence the focus by political leaders and journalists on personalities, sound bites, and smears. Such as Trump, the tool of Putin!
The solution to the disturbing issues raised by Trump in Campaign 2016
The Left continues their attempts to prevent discussion of the issues raised by Trump (e.g., populism, immigration, globalization). The near-tie with Clinton in the polls show that so far their smears have failed (e.g., Trump as Hilter), so they have become more desperate. Yesterday’s post examined claims that Donald Trump has a perverted attraction to Ivanka. Here is another of their “throw smears on the wall and see what sticks”: “Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really A Thing” by Josh Marshal at Talking Points Memo. It’s gotten attention on the Left. Excerpt…
“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.”
It was immediately shown to be bogus: “Fact-Checking That ‘Trump & Putin’ Thing” by Jeffrey Carr — Excerpt…
“What follows are seven statements from the TPM article which Josh has claimed are facts. He only got two out of seven correct.
“…For the record, I despise Donald Trump. I can’t imagine a worse candidate for President and I’m shocked and appalled that he is the Republican nominee. However, there’s no need to invent Russian conspiracies to make the Trump boogeyman appear worse than he is.”
A more focused rebuttal: “The Central Claim in Josh Marshall’s Blog Post About Russia and Trump is False” by Michael Tracey (journalist) — Excerpt…
“A central claim in Josh Marshall’s widely-circulated blog post detailing Trump’s alleged ties to nefarious Russians has to do with the GOP platform-drafting process. Marshall first lays out a bunch of disparate facts showing that Trump has done deals with various people connected in one way or another to Russia. Taken alone, this might be interesting, but likely not indicative of any potential Kremlin-backed conspiracy to infiltrate the US electoral process.
“However, the kicker of the post comes when Marshall presents a knot that supposedly ties together all the loose ends: Trump, keen to upend the world order in Putin’s favor, conspicuously altered the GOP platform in such a way that empowers Russia. This is doubly notable, Marshall posits, because Trump otherwise took no interest in the platform.
“If Trump’s campaign representatives were in fact totally indifferent to every other aspect of the platform-drafting process, but out of nowhere scrambled to alter language pertaining to Ukraine, that might be worth pointing out. Unfortunately for Marshall, that’s not an accurate characterization of what happened. …”
Tracey gives additional color to this on Twitter.
“Bipartisan freakout over Trump/Putin shows once again that the DC establishment is united in its commitment to a belligerent foreign policy. And beyond just hysteria, they are fomenting the kind of tinderbox diplomatic tensions that could lead to an international conflagration. It really bears repeating: Every single pundit baselessly positing Russian subversion of the US political order is fomenting rank hysteria.”
Updates: Marshall reveals his real concern
Today Josh Marshall published at TPM a major walk-back of his claims.
“I don’t think Trump is being blackmailed or working for Putin. …What concerns me deeply is that Trump has bad, bellicose and impulsive instincts. He joins that with an almost total ignorance of actual policy facts on virtually every topic and what seems to be a militant refusal to learn them. …He’s had a lot of financial help from Russian money surrounding Putin and he’s got a group of advisors who are from the world where friendship with Putin is a necessity and do not hide the fact that they think the US should take a more accommodating stance toward Russia. The above is the most generous read of the facts we know, and it’s frankly terrible.”
Imagine thinking that the US should slow down the new Cold War! How can the Deep State thrive without bogus existential enemies to alarm the American people?
Also, here’s an earlier story about Trump’s Russian connections: “Putin’s Puppet” by Franklin Foer at Slate — “If the Russian president could design a candidate to undermine American interests — and advance his own — he’d look a lot like Donald Trump”
Other observations about this smear
There are plenty of reasons to detest Donald Trump without fat-ass Boomer nostalgia for the Russian menace.
— Chase Madar (@ChMadar) July 24, 2016
Beltway pols and hacks talk about Supervillain Putin the way Diane Keaton talks about her ex in “Manhattan,” the one played by Wallace Shawn
— Chase Madar (@ChMadar) July 25, 2016
You’re a joke if you blame Turkey coup on CIA, but A Very Serious Pundit if you say Trump is secretly controlled by Kremlin sorcerers
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) July 22, 2016
It’s a tried and true tactic. Like Charlie Brown, we fall for it every time.
“Everyone who ever disagrees with the US and UK establishment’s position is Putin’s ‘useful idiot.'”
— Bryan MacDonald (Irish journalist, who is based in Russia) on Twitter.
Bryan MacDonald gives some examples, and a summary of the game.
- “Alexis Tsipras looks to Moscow but risks becoming Putin’s useful idiot” by Natalie Nougayrède, op-ed in The Guardian, 2 April 2015.
- “Is Jeremy Corbyn Putin’s latest ‘useful idiot’ in Europe?” by Tom Porter in the IBT, 12 August 2015.
- “When it comes to Russian politics, Donald Trump is a useful idiot” by David Satter at National Review, 22 December 2015.
- “Is Juncker in danger of becoming Putin’s “useful idiot”?” by at I News, 6 June 2016.
Stages of western media
1. You disagree with the established elite
2. You are Putin’s ‘useful idiot’
3. Putin controls you
4. You are Putin
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) July 24, 2016
Our elites have powerful tools to shape the “news” and the narratives of Campaign 2016. So many lie so often to us because we so easily believe lies. The success of these lies depends on our passivity.
The unexpected performance of Sanders and Trump’s victory in this election show that we have the ability to control elections. A first step to regaining control of America is to learn skepticism. It will be the easiest step.
For More Information
Another odd analysis by Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine: “Why Some Leftists Are Defending Donald Trump’s Ties to Russia“. Best: his puzzlement that Leftists (victims of McCarthy’s smears about serving Russia) oppose today’s McCarthyite smears about Trump serving Russia.
- Why the Left is missing the rising populist movement.
- Trump wins because he says some sensible things which journalists can’t conceal — You must not see populism!
- What the press won’t tell you about Trump and populism — See Walter Russell Mead’s famous essay about Jackson.
- Liberals look at Trump and populism, but see only their prejudices.
- Why they lose: the Left tells us that Trump is like Hitler.
- The Left calls Trump an ‘authoritarian’, a false & futile attempt to suppress populism.
- The Left calls Trump a fascist instead of focusing on the issues. It’s why they lose.