Misty Water-Coloured Memories…Of the Way We Were

Uncle Volodya says, "We begin bombing America in five minutes"

The Russian Flag, flying over a country that can pay its bills

At the instigation of my much-admired colleague at Sublime Oblivion, we’re going to take a closer look today at La Russophobe’s revulsion for the Obama government, as well as her longing for the good ol’ days when Ronald “Saint Ronnie” Reagan – that godhead of conservative ideology – was ringmaster of the American political circus. Were Ronald Reagan’s hawkish policies toward the Soviet Union really that effective? We’ll see. I expect I will attract a degree of criticism for picking the low-hanging fruit from the Idiot Tree, but what can I tell you? I’ve always been a low-hanging-fruit kind of guy.

Really, you can’t be a passionate lover of Reaganite philosophy without being also a lover of conservatism, because much of the adoring nostalgia surrounding Reagan’s policies is felt by those who don’t really remember his government all that well. Ronald Reagan ran deficits for the hell of it, because he didn’t really have to. So, being a disciple of Reaganite philosophy today likely means you are a Republican, as La Russophobe evidently is. Without getting too deeply into American politics, Republicans will sell their siblings into indentured servitude before they will advocate for raising taxes (although Ronald Reagan raised taxes – he just did it quietly, and Democrats let him), and feel that deficits don’t matter until everything has gone decidedly pear-shaped on the economic front, to the degree that ordinary Americans have become convinced you can buy a 5-bedroom house when you don’t have a job. At that point, it’s Democrats’ fault.

We’ll get into some of that a bit later, because selective memory of the way Republicans run things is a malady much more recent than Reagan and the Soviet Union. But for now, we want to take a look at the present government’s policies toward what is now Russia, because Russia is the only thing La Russophobe hates more than Obama.

The specific criticism is that the recent statement by the Obama government on the arrests of Strategy 31 protesters in Russia was “mealy-mouthed, craven gibberish” that should nonetheless have been delivered by the President himself; or, at a minimum, by his Secretary of State, instead of by “an anonymous underling deep in the bowels of the State Department”. For the record, Philip “P.J.” Crowley is the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, a 26-year Air Force veteran with service in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, who retired with the rank of Colonel. He also served as Director of Homeland Security with the Center for American Progress. I can see, though, how those accomplishments might seem insignificant to, say, a crackpot internet make-believe journalist from New York who writes nonsense about Russia. Anyway, the substance of the complaint, besides it not having come from the varnished dead lips of Reagan’s corpse, was that it did not name names, like Nemtsov’s.

Again with Nemtsov. Christ on a skateboard; how many times are we going to have to go over this? In Russia, which is the country he’d like to take over as leader, Boris Nemtsov is just not that popular. His “Solidarity” movement enjoys little public support, and its leaders (Nemtsov and Kasparov) are “not perceived by the vast majority of the population as representing the average person’s interests”. When he was leader of the Union of Right Forces in 2003, the party did not even achieve the necessary minimum of 5% of the vote required to enter parliament, and lost all its seats in the Duma. As a candidate for mayor of Sochi, his home town, he polled less than 15% of the vote, despite having once been Russia’s most popular and recognized politician. You can’t tell me the Kremlin has so intimidated the entire population of Russia that they will not vote for the man they know in their hearts to be the true leader and representative of their deepest desires. What nonsense! If they voted him in, all that intimidation would disappear, and they’d get what they wanted! It’d be happy days, right? Do you think Russians are stupid? For what I devoutly hope will be the last time, Boris Nemtsov is an attention junkie who gets arrested to get attention; as a millionaire, he can easily afford the $15.00 USD fine, and since he is not employed as a salaryman, he can afford the half-day or so he spends in jail, too. It’s worth it, to see the western press make a big deal out of it in their attempt to influence future elections. For a group that gets as testy as Americans do about the sanctity of American elections – no outsiders’ opinions welcome – they sure seem to feel their input in elections held in other countries will be important.

The Union of Right Forces was supported by the International Democrat Union (IDU), an (obviously) international coalition headquartered in Oslo, Norway and numbering as members former British PM Margaret Thatcher, former President George H.W. Bush, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former French President Jacques Chirac. How do you think the United States would like the idea of one of its political parties taking advice from the French and the Germans? Boost their domestic popularity? I guess not.

If you want to hold a peaceful protest in a major Russian city, you have to have a permit. If you get a permit to hold a rally, and then decide to turn it into a march through the streets of the city, is that okay? No, of course not. Can you hold a rally in New York without a permit for a public assembly? NO!! If you get a permit to hold a rally in New York, can you decide on the spot to turn it into a march instead? NO!! Note also, for all those who suggested it was barbaric to deny Yury Shevchuk the right to use amplifiers to broadcast his protest songs about the evil government far from Pushkin Square – if you want to use amplified sound for a public event in New York, you will require a permit from the NYPD, 5 days in advance; Section 108 of Title 10, Administrative Code of the City of New York. Police presence at demonstrations throughout North America and Europe is routine – not because the police can’t wait to crack your skull with a baton, but because peaceful demonstrations of all types are regularly inflitrated by hooligans who want to heave bricks through windows from the cover of a crowd, and because even peaceful demonstrations attract those opposed to your agenda, and who may become violent. You just know that if Nemtsov got roughed up at a rally by civilians who disagreed with his politics, the first question plaintively posed by the western press would be, “where were the police who are supposed to prevent this sort of savage attack?”

Anyway, we got kind of sidetracked; sorry about that. We were going to talk about La Russophobe’s contention that touchy-feely assholery like Obama’s way of dealing with Russia didn’t happen under great leaders like Reagan. Reagan called a spade a spade, as it were. Well, maybe so.  It’s true Reagan introduced what came to be known – for obvious reasons – as the “Reagan Doctrine”; a policy of confrontation with the Soviet Union through economic pressure, military buildup and support for anti-Communist insurgent groups. It’s also true that one of those supported anti-Communist insurgents was later responsible for flying a couple of airliners into the World Trade Center, sending the United States on an orgy of war and unaccountable spending. As we’ve previously mentioned, Reagan wasn’t afraid of deficits. He increased defense spending 35% over his two terms, and spent billions on the Strategic Defense Initiative – sometimes called “Star Wars”, it was a chronic failure and money pit at the expense of social programs and the debt; in 1986, the U.S. National Debt hit $1 Trillion.

Did all that accomplish anything? Not according to Foreign Affairs Magazine, who wrote in 1983 that “Despite various adjustments and adaptations, both the domestic and foreign policies of the Reagan administration, like the Reagan campaign, continue to display the characteristics of an ideological crusade”. The result of this, we’re told, was “…a sharp worsening of U.S. – Soviet relations to a level of serious new confrontation and mutual suspicion”.

An ideological crusade. Hmmm….can you think of a more recent situation, again involving a Republican president, that strums a mental chord of memory when you hear that phrase? Such as, perhaps, the one who presided over a proposed $60 Billion junket in the desert that ended up costing better than $3 Trillion? Still think it’s the guy who inherited that debt – and who’s doing his best to fix it – that is the idiot, the weakling? At a time when the voters emphatically declare in poll after poll that the economy is their biggest worry, and not Boris Nemtsov or who is the next leader of Russia? Are you sure?

Yes, when they made Ronald Reagan, they broke the mold. Just to be sure, they should have beat the crap out of the mold-maker, too. To discourage him from making any more.

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39 Responses to Misty Water-Coloured Memories…Of the Way We Were

  1. kovane says:

    the man at least knew how to tell Soviet jokes🙂


    The economic situation in the US is quite dire indeed: there’s no reduction of the state budget deficit and improving the balance of trade on the horizon, common citizens are overburdened with debt to the hilt and, more importantly, the political system proved to be incapable of solving any serious problem so far. And they manage to worry about Nemtsov! Truly, some people lost their grip on reality.

  2. marknesop says:

    True, but the economic problems America is currently experiencing are not insoluble – the situation continues to worsen because of Republican obstructionism and deliberate disinformation spread by Republicans who know better, and media complicity in getting the Republican narrative out. A good progressive site that reviews U.S. news on the economy is http://www.washingtonmonthly.com . If you do an onsite search for “Republican obstructionism”, you’re in for an eye-opener.

    There are many examples of prominent Republican politicians deliberately spreading falsehoods, such as Mitt Romney and Scott Brown (who holds Ted Kennedy’s old seat) repeating the nonsense that “the stimulus has not created one job”. This is foolishness by any standard of measure, but the media dutifully repeats it and a large element of the public is like horses that smell smoke. They’re just looking for a reason to be terrified. There are repeated incidents of Republican radicals railing against the stimulus as wasteful spending, and then quietly showing up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for public projects in their own districts that were built with stimulus money, to take their share of the credit.

    I’ve never seen such a dirty political war as the one being waged against Obama by the Republican party. The Republicans have pledged to shut down the government if they make significant gains in November. If that happens, Obama will likely be impeached as a next step, because it will be clear the Republicans will not let the country move forward until he is gone. If it happened in any other country – assuming Americans liked the leader who was the victim of it – the Republicans would be in the front row of the group crying for the traitors to the government to be shot for treason.

    • kovane says:

      I’m afraid that the problem is much more deep-seated than the simple formula “bad Republicans, good and progressive Democrats”. First of all, future government spending are going to rise anyway, government programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid will seriously hamper the US ‘s ability to come out of recession, if left unchanged. Servicing the debt is not becoming easier either. So, a decisive political action is absolutely required to prevent the worst outcome. And what we see instead? Nobody wants to make any concessions. There’s no doubt that the US’ current financial system is a disgrace and huge money funnel, but the financial regulation bill is nothing more than a populist step to calm down people. Everybody knows that the health care system is ineffective and costly, but the Senate passes the bill that don’t address a single serious problem, obliging people to buy insurance instead. America’s financial difficulties are not a big secret, but the military complex pushes for new expenses. Every major lobbyist blocks the bills that can harm their interest. It’s just kicking the can down the road, sooner or later America will have to face its problems, but it cannot be done without desperate austerity means.

      • marknesop says:

        I mostly agree. The problem has never been as simple as “bad Republicans, good and progressive Democrats”. However, the Republicans have always been able to roll the Democrats and force them onto the defensive. Even when they’re trying to get something through that is clearly in the country’s best interests, they find themselves apologizing and justifying themselves for doing it. The Republicans have always been better at message control, and the Democrats have never learned that believing in the essential rightness of their actions is not enough. You can point out until you’re blue in the face that years of Republican rule have consistently led to a crisis of some form or other, but as soon as the Democrats have straightened it out, the Republicans clamor to be given back the keys and the public – not at all unlike Charle Brown falling for the football trick over and over – obliges.

        There are several aspects about the current political situation, however, that are without precedent. The obstruction to Democratic initiatives has never before been so automatic, to the point that literally nothing can get approved without a bitter fight. Republicans are deliberately forcing the country to fail, so that the public will become angry at the government and throw them out and they will win by default. By all accounts, it seems to be working. Even though the Republicans foamed with hatred for Clinton, he governed with a Republican-dominated House and Senate in his second term and still managed to get many major initiatives passed – because Republicans would not deliberately hurt the country in order to settle scores with Clinton. That restriction is gone, and Clinton could never govern in this environment.

        America has owed a pile of money before, so that’s nothing new or even especially alarming except for the unprecedented amount. What is new is the principal debtor – China, an ideological opponent. China now has unprecedented leverage to influence both the market and American policy. There have already been experimental forays into manipulating the market, such as China’s musing that it might switch to the Euro as its benchmark currency. The government quickly denied having any such intention, but the Dow dropped like a rock before recovering, and the message was clear.

        You may well be right that middle-class America is seeing the taillights of major entitlement programs it once took for granted. But it certainly didn’t have to get to this point now. Medicare and Social Security could have gone on easily, self-sustaining for years – if the bitter fight over taxes hadn’t erupted and gone on and on, to the point that successive administrations dare not raise taxes a penny, and the only tax initiatives that are greeted with raucous cheers are cuts and more cuts. The George W Bush presidency greatly accelerated the collapse by cutting taxes while paying for a war with “emergency supplementals” that weren’t in the budget, while simultaneously and fiercely shutting up anyone who warned of impending doom. Consequently, banks had already started to fail before Mr. and Mrs. America noticed there was actually a problem, and political embarrassments like John McCain argued that the solution was to remove whatever regulation still remained.

        I personally believe the U.S. will not survive another Republican administration, at least not before things are allowed to get back to normal. The clowns waiting in the wings are committed to riding the faltering giant right into the ground, and are not interested in recovery.

        • kovane says:

          “America has owed a pile of money before, so that’s nothing new or even especially alarming except for the unprecedented amount.”

          That’s not exactly so. Yes, the record was set in 40s, immediately after WW2, when the gross debt reached 120% of GDP. Now, the debt is approaching the 100% mark, but the circumstances are completely different.

          After WW2 the US had the foremost and the most competitive economy, while the rest of the world lay in ruins. Moreover, the war advanced new technologies that were actively being implemented in the economy at the time.

          What’s different now? Only a handful of high-tech industry giants along with the financial sector have a competitive edge; there’s no new markets, like it was after WW2 or after the Soviet Union’s fall; the US had emerged from the Great Depression and WW2 then, and the citizens understood the necessity of those considerable efforts and were full of optimism about the future. Now, they are spoiled by a high standard of living and severely disenchanted with their political system. How will they meet the news that the retirement age should be raised or that inflation has eaten away their incomes? I have no deep understanding of the American culture and backroom politics, so I can only make wild guesses here.

          • marknesop says:

            Ummm….actually, that sounds like a pretty good understanding of the situation as it sits right now. Looking at it that way, I guess it is a lot worse than any comparable previous recession. I wonder if that’s why this article appeared today, speculating on the wisdom of building stronger trade ties with the BRIC countries, in case the U.S. doesn’t come out of recession as quickly as expected, if at all. Maybe it just can’t be done. But I’ve seen America do the impossible before. However, that was when the country united and pulled together. Maybe that’s not possible now, either.

            You might be right. Sure makes you wonder where anybody finds the time to worry about Nemtsov being arrested for a half-day, doesn’t it?

  3. Yalensis says:

    I mostly agree with kovane. Although to back Mark’s point about how especially evil Reaganism was, I should point out that the Reaganites and Republican think-tanks seriously plotted for decades to destroy Medicare and Social Security. It’s not a conspiracy-theory, it’s documented that they wanted to create deficits specifically in order to bankrupt entitlement programs and then present this as a fait accompli to demoralized Americans.
    My personal thought, which I am guessing kovane will NOT agree with me on this (because we have debated this in the past on Adomanis’ blog!) is that ultimately America will have to switch to some kind of socialist/state-capitalist type system (like China, for example). However, this will not be easy process, because of the mentality of average American, plus the fact that majority of Americans are too ignorant and uneducated to understand the real issues and make rational political choices. (Sorry, American friends, but it’s true…)

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know that that was Reagan’s reasoning when he chose to run deficits – I think he just had no idea at all how economics worked, coupled with a personal belief that thrift was inappropriate for a big nation with big ambitions. He was the original “go big, or go home” guy. I also did not mean to convey that Reagan was essentially evil – he was just stubborn and hard-right ideological conservative, with a little blind spot about money that is usually not present in true conservatism. A bad combination, admittedly, that had the odd effect of doing real damage to the country while creating the illusion of fantastic progress. But at least he wasn’t a mannerless dolt like Bush.

      I can’t see current Americans ever accepting socialism. Opponents of Obama like to wail that America is living under socialism now, but that’s so stupid it’s funny. The current system is nothing like socialism, and the bitterest complainants about socialism are the first to scream, “get your govamint hands off my Medicare!!” when Republicans get them all wound up about healthcare initiatives by saying Obama wants to take away their (socialist) medical entitlements or tamper with their (socialist) Social Security. I don’t think Americans are necessarily stupid, but most of them are not politically informed or aware, while believing that they are and being prone to repeat the latest nonsense they hear from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. The electorate is easily manipulated and terrified, and quick to believe crazy things that would make most populations shake their heads and say “what????” Such a population is better off with a severely authoritarian government, provided it consistently acts in the national interest, than a representative government driven by a sleepwalking, lazy and selfish electorate who can only say, “What’s in it for me me me?”

    • kovane says:

      Yalensis,

      We certainly had a wide range of interesting discussions at True/Slant and I look back on them with a certain amount of nostalgia, but I don’t recall any specific debates about the future of the American political system.

      I don’t believe that China can be called a socialist state, as far as I know, the social guarantees there are practically non-existent, health care is quite expensive (though most hospitals are run by the government). As I pointed out in my response to Mark’s comment, I don’t have the required knowledge of America to make any reasonably accurate predictions, but knowing how the Americans value individualism and entrepreneurial spirit there’s doubts that America will have a state-capitalist economy. Ayn Rand is virtually a goddess there and you have to kill off a good half of Republicans to even bring up that sort of question.🙂

      I think you are not being fair on Americans, the US educational system is considered to be one of the best in the world, despite its evident problems. And you can’t become the single superpower with ignorant people. Maybe the problem lies with their certain overconfidence that everything is best in America, which, I’ve heard, reaches almost a religious extent.

      • marknesop says:

        I find it enormously comical that Republicans can be so russophobic while slobbering over the philosophy of a Russian from St Petersburg – Ayn Rand.

        • kovane says:

          No, I don’t see any discrepancy here, Rand was Jewish, I think they make that distinction pretty clearly. Besides, she wasn’t very fond of Russia, but who can blame her, considering her turbulent biography.

      • Yalensis says:

        My friend, kovane: please don’t get me wrong: I am not demeaning American education system, I agree it is very good, and graduate students from everywhere in the world go to study in America, for very good reason. Also, America still wins most Nobel prizes, that has to count for something; not to mention their preeminence in many areas of scientific research. The problem is that higher education in America has become so expensive that it no longer available to working class. Also, I do think it is possible to build a superpower with ignorant people, so long as they are led by very clever people! (I allude to great American novel “The Caine Mutiny” by Herman Wouk, for discussion of this very point.)
        Speaking of literary writers, it is very spooky to me that everybody is talking about Ayn Rand on this blog, because I had very vivid dream last night involving Ayn Rand (whom I have never read, alas!), and this was BEFORE I had read any of these comments! Честное слово! Maybe I am psychic?

        • kovane says:

          Yalensis,

          Quote: “The survey found that the area with the highest percentage of people 25 years and over with a bachelor’s degree was the District of Columbia (45.9 percent), followed by the states of Massachusetts (37 percent), Maryland (35.1 percent), Colorado (34.3 percent), and Connecticut (33.7 percent). The state with the lowest percentage of people 25 years and over with a bachelor’s degree was West Virginia (16.5 percent), next lowest were Arkansas (18.2), Mississippi (18.8 percent), Kentucky (20 percent), and Louisiana (20.3 percent).”

          Quote: “Согласно докладу под названием Education at a Glance 2010, вышедшему в свет на этой неделе, в Корее, Японии, Канаде и России доля получивших высшее образование превышает 50 процентов.”

          I think that 40% of the population is the optimal value for higher education. So maybe you do have a point.

          “Also, I do think it is possible to build a superpower with ignorant people, so long as they are led by very clever people”

          I haven’t read the book you are referring to, but I can assure you that this is a fallacy. An excellent example happened right in our country. At first, the Bolsheviks tended to underestimate the importance of education, the number of educated people among them was abysmally low. They hailed “revolutionary consciousness” instead. Remember the slogan “every cook can govern the state”? That led to some awful results and Stalin reconsidered this policy, emphasizing the value of higher education. Only then the Soviet Union started to advance to the superpower status. But, unfortunately, the opposite is very true. Even a few ignorant and zealous people in power can ruin the most advanced country in a matter of several years. We also were witnesses to that.

          “Maybe I am psychic?”

          That’s very selfish of you to say. Why do you detract from my ability to read other’s dreams? As you could have noticed it was I who brought up Ayn Rand. Maybe it is I who is an expert dream reader🙂

  4. Natalie says:

    I share La Russophobe’s revulsion for the Obama government, as you put it, though for very different reasons. I am also fond of Ronald Reagan, but I think his role in the downfall of the Soviet Union has been greatly exaggerated.

    • marknesop says:

      I’m inclined to give Obama a little time to try and fix the mess he was left with, since he hasn’t even been in office a year yet. I like his less belligerent approach to foreign policy, and believe truly great powers don’t have to be always shoving everyone around and getting in their face to prove it. However, I’m aware I’m a great deal more liberal than you.

      I personally liked Reagan as well, as a person. His civility to everyone, even those who disagreed with him, is much missed in today’s politics. There’s little doubt from me that his policies played a role in the disintegration of the Soviet Union, although it would have happened anyway as it was already collapsing from internal pressures. Reagan may have accelerated it a little.

  5. carpenter117 says:

    Ouh, me-me! I got a question!!

    May I? Ok. Why is it 100% politically correct for westerners to start a blog titeled “La Russophope”, lie about some very big country and its peole and offcials, fudge data to better support its own views (Russia is a hellhole of our planet and Mr. Putin is baby-eating leader of Internationall Evil Legue of Evil(c)), and avoid charges of “racism” and “hate-speech”. Why I cannot start a blog titeled “L’Anti-semite”, or “Der Blacks-Hater”, or “All Faggots ARE DOOMED To HELL and ETERNAL SUFFERING, amen” in The West?

    • kovane says:

      carpenter117,

      you’re wrong. You can start any blog in the USA and hate the Jews, Russians or even Americans themselves. As long as you’re not making death threats (which Hero Journalist Julia Ioffe accused you of, by the way). Although, whether you’ll get published in the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post is an entirely different question. I’m looking forward to your faggot-bashing blog!

      • marknesop says:

        You’re right Kovane; you can say just about anything you like in a blog as long as you are not openly inciting to violence or threatening an individual ( I wish I could have seen the original comment in which Carpenter allegedly threatened to kill Julia Ioffe – did you, Carpenter?) Bloggers are supposed to limit themselves to what is reasonably tasteful and what they can prove or substantiate. It’s certainly true there is no shortage of focused hatred in the world, and Jews and gays likely come in for a disproportionate share of it. Hate is a counterproductive emotion that damages its host almost as much as its target. I haven’t shopped the white-supremacist blog market, for example, but I’m sure there are sites that are pure foaming crazy.

        As I’ve said before, pointing to a country’s or group’s problems isn’t necessarily hate – not if the problem is clearly identified, together with it’s principal group of sufferers and perhaps those who are beneficiaries of letting it continue. This should be followed by an example of where it’s done better, and how they went about it. Those with the problem are free to take your advice or ignore it as they will. Reading that some Russian police take bribes, for example, and turning that into a general statement like “The Russian police force is riddled with corruption and there is no hope of it ever getting any better” is not an exercise of this process.

        Incidentally, Kovane, your English is improving to the point that there isn’t much room for improvement (especially as a second language), and your background research appears to be excellent. Would you like to do a guest spot? Think it over.

        • kovane says:

          Well, Mark, thank you for the compliment, it’s always nice to hear it from such an educated person like you.

          What is a guest spot?

          • marknesop says:

            I mean that, if you like, you can choose a subject you think should be addressed (like picking someone’s blog post you hate and tearing it apart). Or a learned article from, say, The Economist, whose Russia coverage is (as Adomanis correctly suggested) awful, and deconstructing it. It means you can take the stage for the full post, field and respond to comments, etc. Just send it to me and I’ll post it for you. A guest spot is you taking over being the Kremlin Stooge for one post.

            • kovane says:

              It would be very awesome, thank you!

              I hope you’ll provide some editorial mentorship, I certainly could use some help with translating difficult terms more smoothly.

              And by the way, do I get to receive an associate Kremlin Stooge’s pay?🙂

    • Misha says:

      A La Judeophobe site at the same level of LR wouldn’t be tolerated in the way that the latter is. Not that I endorse having the former.

      Likewise, de Custine gets accepted in a way that Pobedonostsev doesn’t.

      • marknesop says:

        Wouldn’t be tolerated in what sense? If you mean it’d receive a huge amount of protest comments and suggestions for the author’s immediate – if not retroactive – suicide, I’d agree. If you mean it’d be removed, I doubt it. As I’m sure I mentioned before, I did a fair amount of research on American hate law, with a view to having La Russophobe shut down. It wasn’t even worth trying. American law is hypersensitive to expression of personal freedom, and unless your blog openly and unambiguously incites to violence, personal property destruction or the assault or murder of an individual, it’s not happening.

        • Misha says:

          Mark, your comments cover some prior discussion. Pardon the repeats that follow.

          The hypothetically mentioned La Judeophobe wouldn’t get linked at RFE/RL and posted at a venue like JRL.

          BTW, I recall a prominent neocon leaning pundit rationalize his linking of LR by saying that we should be open-minded. Hence the double standard on such matter.

          I respectfully see somewhat of a contradiction in seeking the possibility of having LR shut down while linking to it and frequently referring to it – albeit with valid criticisms. It might be better to not give it so much attention. It’s idiotically bigoted. Besides, there’s plenty of other material to either go after or support. Your call of course.

          I lean more towards the libertarian mindset of not seeking to shut LR like sites down, while not giving them much if any attention.

          It’s established that LR punked out of a live point-counterpoint discussion at the most major worldwide media venue, where LR would’ve been allowed to remain anonymous. Instead, LR chooses to lob cheap shots from a shielded situation.

          • marknesop says:

            Hi, Mike; yes, you’re quite correct that the urging of open-mindedness is often a cover for encouraging the excusing of something you’d likely find unpleasant if it were up to you. However, sorry for any confusion I created by mentioning the interest in shutting down La Russophobe. That was before, right after I stumbled on the site during a Google search for “Sochi souvenirs” (I was looking for a backpack for my wife). Once I’d satisfied myself that there was no hope of having it shut down by siccing the authorities on her, I tried refuting her nonsense as a commenter, using material that was very similar to what’s in these posts. I got banned twice for my pains, and so settled on bashing her in a blog, which is a frequent suggestion offered by La Russophobe herself (“if you don’t like the way this blog is run, why don’t you start your own blog and see who reads it?”). So as long as I continue to disagree with La Russophobe, there is little alternative to calling attention to her blog if I want to bash it. However, I wouldn’t worry about it generating increased readership – you’ll notice comments over there are way down, and usually just the same few regulars, many of them off-topic.

            I am trying to branch out a little and take on more of the RFE/RL crowd – and perhaps others, if I receive suggestions – but I usually do such posts when there’s nothing remarkably stupid on offer at La Russophobe.

            • Misha says:

              Mark, your recent one on the former Georgian SSR serves as a great example of great LRless commentary.

              LR is what it is. Once again: when the subject of LR comes up, I think the greater issue are some of the people propping LR – besides RFE/RL and Pajamas Media. (Recall that tennis piece on Sharapova I linked at another thread at your blog – which involves LR under another name.)

              The opposition to LR can be somewhat contradicted by linking it along with the anti-Russian elements who do the same.

              Ideally, there should be a completely well rounded criticism of the situation.

        • carpenter117 says:

          So, saying all, what Kim Ziegfeld saying is norm? Her languge isn’t “hate inspiring”, her posts aren’t “intolerant”? Ok.

          And, i wonder, what american law (and, more importantly, common americans) says, for example, about calling “gallant Israeli’s military officers” a “brutal goons intimidating common people of Gaza and West Bank on regular basis with total disregard of basic civil rights in this troublesome region”? Or, constatntly describing Prime Minister of Israel as “coward”, “failur” “bloothirsty freedom hater” and other words, which LR uses in Putin’s description?

          And what if this hypothetical blogger would dare to portray people of Israel as “brutal barbarians”, insist, that they have no culture at all, that their cusine is horrible, that their counry is declining and going to collapse any moment. And, that’s important, aforementioned anonymous hypothetical blogger isn’t muslim. Wouldn’t s\he be accused of antisemitism\racism by american law? And how long would common americans tolerate that kind of “expression of free speech”?

          • marknesop says:

            No, I certainly wouldn’t characterize it as “normal”. However, as I mentioned, America’s hate speech laws are oriented in favour of freedom of speech. “Kim Zigfeld” is careful to skate right up to the line, but never cross it – and the law says in order to qualify as hate speech which requires investigation, your words must clearly instigate and advocate an act of violence, (like, “I want you to get some people together Tuesday night and go over and burn Yalensis’s apartment”), murder or assault. Even then, I imagine there’s considerable leeway for the instigator to argue that he/she was “taken out of context” or that it was an “artistic statement, meant figuratively rather than literally”, something like that. Feel free to check how many successful prosecutions against hate speech there were in the USA last year, but I don’t imagine there were many, and that doesn’t necessarily mean there wasn’t any of what we would consider hate speech.

            It’s important to keep in mind, though, that those views represent a very tiny minority of Americans, and that the vast majority are kind, generous decent people who are some of the world’s strongest advocates against racism, bigotry and hate speech.

            I actually think it’s kind of funny the number of times La Russophobe has predicted Russia’s iminent collapse, like….any…minute….now. If she was the weather-girl on TV, I don’t think I’d base my purchases of sunscreen on her predictions.

  6. carpenter117 says:

    Threatening “Our beloved Hero(ess) Journalist” of the decade Julia Ioffe – who, me? Nope. Way back in august (argh!), during especially hot day (and after reding Julia’s, ehem, “egregious” post) I humbly suggest that Julia should stop whining and writing such negative posts overcharged with her own bile and other not so pleasant fluids. Yes, it was hard for us to survive heatwave in Moscow. Yes, death toll was unprecedented. Yes, Luzhkow is an asshole. Yes, smog was choking. So? What is Hero-Journalist’s advise? What should all we, uneducated Russians, do in that situation? No answers +my post was immediatly removed. Oh, and my previous, my first one post in her blog (is she a relative of soviet scientist Abram Fedorovich Ioffe and why her family left our country in 80’s?) wasn’t even published.

    Ok. Later, after another Julia’s “egregious” post (about smog) I humbly suggest that, perhaps, Nature should end the pain of our beloved Hero-Jurnalist by choking her with the aformentioned smog, if our russian weather is so unbearable for her (+ stop complaining about everething). Unfotunatly, I do not possess any kind of supernatural power like kovane’s telepaththic ability or Yalensis oracular power, so I just couldn’t summon clouds of unbreathable air in Julia’s apartment with the ill intent.

    Ergo – she has no right of accusing me of killing her.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s pretty funny. I laughed out loud about the supernatural powers bit. Well, a threat is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. But I’d tend to agree that it was much more of the “why don’t you die?” category rather than the “I’d like to kill you” (Which is a death threat, although I probably say it ten times a day in traffic).

      • Yalensis says:

        Yeah, sounds like carp skated right up to the line with Ioffe, but didn’t cross it. And there are mitigating circumstances: her blog truly had become unbearable to read, it was enough to drive anyone to explosions of irritation. Also, our girl Iulia is a bit of a paranoiac, while also suffering from a martyr’s complex. In other words, she thinks the Putinoids are out to get her, and may have overreacted to carp’s testy comments.
        But, my friend carpenter, what exactly do you mean by my “oracular” powers? Are you referring to my flawless command of the English language?? 🙂

        • Misha says:

          Recall Tregubova claiming she was targetted by stated clicking over her phone line and when her apartment complex was bombed.

          On the former, American phone technicians have said that periodic to long term phone clicking are often for gliche like reasons not associated with wire tapping. On the latter, I remember someone in the Moscow area claiming that the bombed area of Tregubova’s apartment complex wasn’t close to her apartment and that the building’s landlord was said to be a more likely target, because of a supposed realtionship with organized crime.

          Way too much attention is being given to some journos, as some better, but not as promoted media options have been in existence.

          • Misha says:

            Another questionable (put mildly) scream was a JRL posted Felgenhauer rant about how the then Moscow Times editor was censoring him on account of a questionable story of his on Russian atrocities in Nalchik not getting approved.

            If anything, this was an example of The Moscow Times (TMT) showing some journalistic integrity, combined with possible personality differences, not having to do so much with different political views. Note who replaced Felgenhauer as TMTs’ columnist on military matters. At last notice, Felgenhahuer has since been picked up by the Jamestown Foundation affiliated Eurasia Daily Monitor.

        • carpenter117 says:

          Um, your prophetic dream about Ayn Rand, no?

          • Yalensis says:

            carpenter: I suddenly realized what you meant by “oracular”. Earlier I confused it with the word “oratorical”, and I didn’t understand why you were praising my “oratorical” powers. So I looked it up in my English dictionary. Well, I am glad you consider me to be a prophet. Now, if only I could predict the future, then I could be a millionaire!

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