Uranus is Agape at LaRussophobe

Uncle Volodya says, "A hot samovar and A Good Treaty, and I'm set for the day"

The Russian Flag, as it appears to readers of A Good Treaty

It’s not as if the blogger who calls himself “A Good Treaty” needs the likes of me to defend him. No, I’ll do it for the pleasure of once again discrediting the Duchess of Dunces, the Princess of Prevaricators – the High Priestess of Asshats, at La Russophobe. Parental Advisory: bare-naked stupidity will be exposed that may not be suitable for young and impressionable children.

La Russophobe’s post, “The Lying Jackass Blogging At “A Good Treaty” is a fairly predictable fit of playground petulance inspired by this interview, in which AGT was invited by the interviewer  (Anatoly Karlin of Sublime Oblivion, another of the best-informed anong the Russia-watchers) to offer his opinion of the web’s best and worst blogs on Russia and Russian politics. La Russophobe was described as one he doesn’t bother reading. Obviously, this does not square well with “Ms./Mr. Zigfeld’s” own opinion of his/her blog as “the best Russia politics blogger(s) in the world!” Well, let’s see who’s right. We’ll begin by looking at the criticism.

First, a minor quibble. La Russophobe suggests A Good Treaty is a “new Russia blog” that has “appeared”. If you click the archive link, you’ll see it has actually been on the web since February: 7 months, 69 posts. Maybe that qualifies as “new”, but I’ve seen quite a few blogs start up and die in half that period. Perhaps the intended implication is that it has only recently become worthy of notice, although that’s not true at all. Next comes the de rigueur suggestion that AGT must be on the Obama payroll, or the Kremlin’s, or both. There are some bloggers who do it for a living, but AGT is not one of them, and the assumption that nobody would compete for fairness for Russia unless they got paid for it is just automatic and childish spite.

Actually, just before that assertion is more demonstrable nonsense; to wit, the contention that AGT’s “purpose is to offer one-sided propaganda in support of the notion that Barack Obama’s sham treaty on nuclear weapons with Russia is a good idea and should be ratified as the U.S. Senate considers the document.” We can take this one apart fairly quickly: of 69 posts on the site, two relate directly to the new START treaty, and one peripherally (a criticism of what an idiot Mitt Romney is, which is nothing less than the truth). Allowing the most generous standard of measure, 3 of 69 posts relate to the START treaty, while the rest relate to Russian politics, the U.S/Russia relationship or personal observations. Does it look like the purpose of the site is to offer “one-sided Obama propaganda”?

Need more convincing? All right; here are a couple of excerpts. From “Why New Start is Lose-Lose for Neocons” – “I turned to Alexander Golts, one of Russia’s most prominent military affairs commentators, expecting to hear about what a great win this was for the Motherland. As it turns out, he thinks the treaty represents a complete defeat of Russian interests.” Is Alexander Golts an Obama-loving neoliberal hanky-waving pussy? Hardly – he’s La Russophobe’s go-to guy whenever she wants to heap scorn on the Russian military, such as here and here and here. Of course, then he’s a “Defense-Policy Expert”. Really? And he thinks the START treaty represents a defeat of Russian interests? Call yourself a Russophobe? Whose side are you on, anyway?

Wait – there’s more. From “The Piper’s Call“, we read, “So there does appear to be a degree of stupidity entrenched in realist aspirations of Obama’s diplomacy. Maybe it’s only rhetorical and, behind closed doors, the White House is in fact speaking more plainly about conflicts and zero sum. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the case. I attended a luncheon with Obama’s top Russia adviser, Michael McFaul, last year and there was zero indication that the U.S. is ready to acknowledge a sliver of legitimacy in Russia’s geopolitical ‘designs.’” What? Stupidity? Hey, that sounds critical of Obama! Actually speaking to politicians to assess their views? When will you learn – you just copy and paste from the Moscow Times!

A Good Treaty is available, in its entirety, in Russian. AGT does his own excellent and accurate translations. La Russophobe is available only in English, except for translations occasionally done by Dave Essel, who does these from the viewpoint of advocacy journalism and often draws hilarious conclusions from what he reads. If Russia actually collapsed as often as these two have forecast it “any minute now”, Russians would be dizzy indeed.

Let’s move on. Next up, the complaint that AGT claims in a post that the revision of Russian law that formalizes the FSB’s responsibilities is “no worse than America’s Patriot Act”. Does he? Where? In fact, the article points out that both the Patriot Act and the FSB law were hurriedly drafted following a terrorist attack (the attacks on September 11th, 2001 for the Patriot Act, and the Moscow Subway bombings for the FSB revision) and there was considerable pressure to pass them both quickly, citing “national securirty”. This is absolutely true. There’s the comical allegation by La Russophobe that this represents “a vast expansion of the KGB’s power to arrest and harrass”. Does it? Read it. And there has been no KGB in Russia since December 1995, when Boris Yeltsin signed the decree that disbanded the KGB, to be replaced by the FSB. Semantics aside, the new FSB law has the potential to actually increase judicial oversight of surveillance.

La Russophobe apparently has a better grasp of Indonesian folk dancing than of the Patriot Act.  According to the American Bar Association, which knows a thing or two about the law, the Patriot Act granted broad surveillance powers over ordinary American citizens engaged in lawful, First-Amendment-protected activities. Its purpose was most emphatically not “deportations of foreigners”: America loves foreigners, remember? Let’s take a look at a few of its provisions.

In Section 203, according to the ABA, “The definition goes on to specifically include information about a U.S. person that concerns a foreign power or foreign territory and “relates to the national defense or the security of the United States” or “the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.” The sharing of such a broad range of information raises the specter of intelligence agencies, once again, collecting, profiling, and potentially harassing U.S. persons engaged in lawful, First Amendment-protected activities.” Section 206 “allows a single wiretap to legally “roam” from device to device, to tap the person rather than the phone…for example, without the ascertainment requirement, it is conceivable that all the pay phones in an entire neighborhood could be tapped if suspected terrorists happened to be in that neighborhood.” Section 218 “loosens the standard of a FISA investigation by requiring a showing that the collection of foreign intelligence information is “a significant purpose” rather than “the purpose” of an investigation. Section 218 is an important tool for counterterrorism but, since probable cause is not required under FISA, it also raises the possibility that U.S. citizens who are not terrorists could have their homes searched and communications monitored without probable cause.” In conclusion, “…many aspects of the bill increase the opportunity for law enforcement and the intelligence community to return to an era where they monitored and sometimes harassed individuals who were merely exercising their First Amendment rights.” Does that sound like it was inspired by an interest in “deporting foreigners” to you?

Let’s take a quick look at another source – lawyers are probably necessary up to a point, but they’re boring to read. Let’s see what Slate Magazine said about the Patriot Act.  Well, under Section 215, ” third-party holders of your financial, library, travel, video rental, phone, medical, church, synagogue, and mosque records can be searched without your knowledge or consent, providing the government says it’s trying to protect against terrorism.” If the Patriot Act was harmless to ordinary Americans who hadn’t done anything wrong and had nothing to hide, why by 2003 had 89 cities and 3 states passed resolutions against it?

There’s lots more infantile word-twisting and projection, lots of, “So he’s saying…”, and then going on to suggest something he didn’t say at all, too much nonsense to rebut point by point.

An obvious reason for this twaddle, as I pointed out above, is a hurt-feelings reaction to being dismissed as a relatively harmless hysteric. Another is likely an attempt to increase readership by creating a controversy – both comments and readership at La Russophobe have been steadily declining. On some happy day in the not-too-distant future, it’ll be nothing more than a curiosity; a signpost marking an individual’s departure from the corner of Sanity and Reason at escape velocity.

Correction: As per comment by AGT, the blog is not available in Russian in its entirety. There is a selection of articles in Russian, at InoSMI, linked from the blog. As AGT also points out, Anatoly Karlin of Sublime Oblivion makes his blog available in both languages.

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12 Responses to Uranus is Agape at LaRussophobe

  1. 🙂

    One small note: AGT isn’t available in Russian in its entirety, sadly. InoSMI has translated just a few articles. I think props go to Sublime Oblivion in this department, who is one of the few Russia bloggers out there who actually takes the time to regularly lay it down in two languages.

    I look forward to the day when you, too, can provoke LR into a senseless diatribe against The Kremlin Stooge. Pro tip: write about Obama and things that don’t require too much research. LR seems to find that kind of thing easier to engage.

    • marknesop says:

      I stand corrected! I used to get much the same sort of blasting – jackass, gorilla, idiot – as a commenter, but it doesn’t have the same sort of oomph as having your entire blog excoriated. Well done, Sir!

    • Thanks for the props, AGT, but they’re quite undeserved. My output in Russian is embarrassingly small. Adomanis takes the big cake here with his weekly posts for InoSmi.

      PS. I asked LR when she’d “do me”. She said I was too insignificant to warrant her attention.😦

  2. donnyess says:

    “I look forward to the day when you, too, can provoke LR into a senseless diatribe”

    http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/editorial-an-idiotic-lying-jackass-is-blogging-at-a-good-treaty/

    We might be able to do that right now. The jackass image in the upper left was likely borrowed from the google image site; it’s a JPEG almost at the bottom of the page:

    http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=800&bih=445&q=jackass&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2

    Now look at the image from this David Duke video just before it morphs into a cartoon caricature of what looks like Elena Kagan of the US supreme court at 10:03 in. The image of the jackass is identical to the LR post.

    The politics of these two bloggers appear to be complete polar opposites except for the common thread of an apparent advocacy of freshman republican candidates for US congress. LR namedrops Duke in one of her posts.

    http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/editorial-the-rise-of-the-russian-gestapo/

    The two posts containing the identical jackass image were posted at same time Aug 15. What are the chances that this image was coincidentally chosen by two different website maintainers given the quantity of donkey images available? I would wager pretty slim.

    It’s worth noting that the last time a freshman republican congress was voted in with a democratic president midterm was 1994.

    http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/cnn-poll-1994-gop-democrats-obama-clinton-2010-tea-party/2010/08/12/id/367376

    The year after somebody thought it was a good idea to demolish a federal building in Oklahoma City and Bill Clinton used the event as a pretext to get his legislative agenda passed:

    http://victorian.fortunecity.com/vangogh/827/terror6-97.html

    I lay even money odds that another Oklahoma City happens next year if there is a republican sweep of the US congress this midterm election.

    • marknesop says:

      Wow. That’s some research. I sure hope you’re wrong about the bombing part. Still, I can’t believe a Republican sweep is likely or even possible. They consistently show themselves ready to push the envelope of crazy further and further. Haven’t Americans had enough of being led by crazies and dimwits? Could they really hand power back to the party that seems not simply ready, but eager to get right back to the George W. Bush governance model as quickly as possible? I don’t think the country would survive another Republican administration.

  3. Yalensis says:

    Of all the comments on LR’s original editorial (“Idiotic, Lying Jackass…”), the best one was left by someone called carpenter117:

    Сосни хуйца, Ким Зигфилд!

    This is a perfectly adequate response and should probably be adopted as the standard reply to all LR’s ravings.

    On the other hand….
    I am personally in the process of sketching out a harlequin-romance type story involving a “true romance” between LR and the “Proud KGB Colonel”. The story will involve Harley motorbikes, a biker gang meeting in Sebastopol, dangerous helicopter rides to quench wildfires, and a whirlwind excursion to Siberia to tag endangered white tigers. All of it focused on the violent yet tender relationship between LR and her steely-eyed yet vulnerable (in a macho way) KGB lover.

    Sounds pretty good, no?

    • kovane says:

      yalensis,

      I only wish I had your literary talent. It’s a great opportunity to finally put your degree to good use, so I’m really looking forward to the final draft. It’ll be a smash hit, no doubt here. If I may, I would like to cautiously suggest implementing such plot twists as polonium poisoning and strict no underwear policy for all female characters. This will definitely secure roaring sales. Anna Chapman and Alexander Litvinenko be praised!

      • Yalensis says:

        Hey, Kovane! Nice to hear from you again!
        I’m glad you like my story outline. Back in my carefree college days as a lit major, I did try to make some extra money by selling “romantic” stories, but I was only able to sell one story, and it didn’t pay so good. So eventually I switched to software development, which is more lucrative. But I still have the writing bug, obviously. Thank you for your creative suggestions, and I will take them into account. There definitely must be a scene involving polonium. As Anton Chekhov noted: “If you show the vial of polonium in Act I, then someone must definitely get poisoned in Act III, preferably Litvinenko.”
        Here’s my idea for the final scene of my masterpiece: The “proud KGB Colonel” finally reveals his vulnerable side to our lovely heroine, LR. He confesses that he has always loved her, and only her. He will never again even think of another woman, not even Kabaeva.
        As a final token of his love, our cruel-eyed hero will free Khodorkovsky from prison and give him his oil company back (well, not the whole thing, but a 55% share….), and will then abdicate all his power in the Kremlin, in favor of Boris Nemtsov.
        How’s that for a happy ending?

  4. carpenter117 says:

    2Yalensis

    Erm… Would it be the first russian porn-horror in 3D?

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