Greenwald links to a piece in the NYRB by long time Putin critic Masha Gessen. I was going to say it is a worthwhile read, but I guess I really just mean, "this is what I think too*." In any case, there it is.
* Well, it's part of what I think. I'd also go much further than she does here concerning the motivations for neo-liberals who keep relentlessly pushing this story.
I would describe Kremlingate as the Clintonites' Benghazi -- a non-issue that they keep pounding on, thinking they are all super-clever. Gessen has a good point, which is that the Repubs want to keep Trump in, no matter how much disinformation the NYT and CNN spew out, so they can "shrink government" or whatever it is they think they are doing.
Also, Gessen seems to take on faith that the Russkies hacked the DNC; Assange says no. A skeptic might tend to believe him over US disinfo-central.
Yes, and I disagree of course so maybe I worded my initial post too strongly. But the reason I'm so excited by this article (and it is giving me hope!) is precisely because she is in the main stream. She is a Putin hater (I'm not.) She, as you say, seems to take it on faith that the Russians hacked the DNC (I do not.) But even she still comes to the conclusion that all this xenophobic anti Russian stuff coming out of the Clinton / Obama faction of the Democratic party (what I call the neoliberal wing but which might be called globalist or corporatist wing) is at least very counter productive. That's what I took from her as the big picture and that I agree with.
Also, the latest wikileaks dump is interesting in that, among other things, it gives ammunition to those skeptical of the "Russians hacked the DNC" story line. Of course no proof has been offered publicly that the Russians are responsible, but the reasoning suggested (by Crowdstrike most of all, but then parroted by many others) revolves around the "fact" that the tactics and methods involved are similar to tactics and methods seen before in other cases that have been attributed to the Russians. The wikileaks dump (assuming it turns out to not be fabricated) confirms what I have been reading from computer experts: hacking tools (specific tactics and methods) are in wide circulation so attribution this way is impossible. Just because Fancy Bear or Apt. 28 used a certain exploit in the past doesn't mean that other people don't have that same exploit in their arsenal. We now know the CIA has a large library of such software specifically for the purpose of generating wrongful attribution, and I see no reason to doubt that other nation states as well as individual hackers don't have the same. As a hacker, you cover your tracks as well as you can, and where that's not possible you try to make it look like you are someone else. It may well have been the Russians, but this hasn't been proven and the NYTimes and WaPo and everyone else constantly repeating the charge as fact is not helping.
Do you read EmptyWheel (Marcy Wheeler)? She believes it was the Russians, and interestingly / annoyingly falls back to "I have information I can't reveal that you don't know" when pushed for a reason. But I've found the conversation there pretty interesting. She is smart (although I disagree with her on this point) and smart people push back in the comments, and some actual back and forth happens instead of just name calling and other useless stuff.
I haven't followed EmptyWheel on this particular issue -- am a little surprised she's taking that line. I've definitely noticed that while all this Russia-squawking is going on in the MSM, Trump's been getting his cabinet picks passed (as Gessen notes). Maybe she can pop this bubble of delusion where CNN thinks if it just keeps spewing Russophobia Trump will resign and we'll get Clinton! (Or whatever their agenda is.)
Everything is a distraction from everything else. This is why the massive flurry of crap ... Bannon's exec orders, the tweets, etc., etc. It's easy to say "ignore X, the issue is Y", or "why are we focused on Y, look at the Z!", "wake up sheeple, it's not X,Y, Z it's U, V, W!".
"A shit storm has a lot of turds"
Kremlingate doesn't appear to be a deliberate "Bannon" distraction -- if that's what you're saying. The Very Serious People in DC cooked this one up on their own.
Bill linked to this Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone that covers similar ground. No way to know if the Gessen piece was a necessary precursor, or if they just independently came to similar conclusions at about the same time, but it's at least one further data point that the narrative might be changing. I think for the better.
I still think there is much further to go. It's not just that Russia-gate might not be true and therefore will be a strategic error for Democrats to have gone so far down that rabbit hole. Instead, why did this happen? How did this narrative gain so much traction? And who gained from it?
Note that in battling all the noise in the press about him being in bed with Putin, Trump has installed a bunch of virulent anti-Russia, anti-Putin people in very powerful positions. Maybe this was his plan all along, but I don't think so (why put Tillerson as Sec of State?). I think he genuinely saw conflict with Russia as a bad business move (like he repeated over and over during the campaign) and a huge and powerful base in the U.S. power structure disagreed (on the left and right). So in order to force Trump into line this faction pushed the Russia-gate story. Where the NYTimes and WaPo and a lot of their readership saw the story as holding out a hope to topple Trump, I think it wasn't cooked up to achieve that end. It was just meant to tie Trumps hands in terms of de-escalating tensions with Russia.
Sadam is Hitler! So we invaded and killed him. Gaddafi is Hitler! So we invaded and killed him. Assad is Hitler! So we backed various Al-Queda linked organizations trying to topple or kill him.
Putin is Hitler! Wonder where that one is trying to lead us....
Agree that it "wasn't cooked up to achieve that end." Wanting better relations with Russia was one of the few good Trump planks. The people who want to bait the bear are the "greater of two evils," in this instance.
Taibbi is writing awfully cautiously about what "we" in the press should be doing. He's been kind of neutered in his political writing since his bosses came out hardcore for Clinton.